Friday, April 3, 2015

Review: Star Wars RPG Adversary Decks

     So the first time that I ran FFG's Edge of the Empire, I found myself wishing for an easy way to represent enemies.  As you know, Edge of the Empire and the rest of FFG's Star Wars games use special dice, so it's necessary to roll different amounts of differently shaped and colored dice for different opponents depending on their stats and skills.  Now this isn't that hard, and once you get to know the system it's not too bad to figure out, but it can be tricky for GMs that are new to the system.  What I found myself doing was writing down the opponents then doing crude sketches of the dice so that I quickly knew how many combat dice to roll for Thug #1 or Slaver #2.

     When I came across these Adversary Decks at my FLGS I was pretty excited.  I imagined that they would have all of the things that I needed for an encounter in one easy place.  We'll talk about whether or not that turned out to be the case a little bit later.
     First, let's talk about the cards.  There are three decks currently available; Scum and Villainy which has an assortment of smugglers slavers, and bounty hunters; Citizens of the Galaxy, which has things like droids, dancers, and various administrator types; and Imperials and Rebels, which has your various Imperial and Rebel soldiers, leaders, and pilots.  The front of each card has a large full color adversary picture on the front along with all of that individual's stats and skill.  The back of each card lists the adversary's talents, abilities, equipment, and a descriptive writeup to provide some flavor.

Adversary Deck Front
Adversary Deck Back

     I think that these cards were a great idea, and the art is top notch, but sadly, they have what I think is one big drawback for the novice GM, and that is that it is still necessary to figure out the dice on your own.  So, a Hired Thug with an Agility of 2 and a Ranged (Light) skill of 1 would roll... "Hmm, I'll need to figure that out" to attack.  I think that it would have been great to have represented at least the adversary's combat skills in format that was used in the Edge of the Empire Beginner's Box adventures, which used the dice symbols along with the skill ratings.
How I wish they had done them

     Many of the cards have plenty of space on them for it, and I think it would have been possible to have shortened the ones that didn't.  It's really a shame that they didn't do this because I think it would have made these cards a must have for all GMs who are new to the system.  When I compare the Star Wars Adversary Cards to my recently arrived Far Away Land RPG Creature Cards: Series 1, I have to say that the Far Away Land cards are more useful to me as they provide everything that I need with no needs for extra calculations.  But then I'm kind of lazy. :-)

     Overall, I'm going to give The Star Wars Adversary Decks a 3 out of 5 rating.  They are a good idea that could have been great if they had just included the dice symbols.

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