Monday, December 19, 2016

WEG Star Wars RPG vs Age of Rebellion RPG

I have been a long time fan of the older WEG Star Wars RPG.  I thought it was a great game system and enjoyed it.  Unfortunately it is long OOP.

Enter Fantasy Flight Games.  They now have the license for most of the Star Wars games.  They have created an RPG system that originally started with Edge of The Empire, and has sense expanded.  I have recently picked up Age of Rebellion RPG and wanted to offer a comparison...

(I know that there was a D20 Star Wars game, but never played that because I simply didn't like the idea of D&D modified for Star Wars!)


The first thing that I have to say is that I have played WEG Star Wars several times, but I haven't played Age of Rebellion yet, just read through the rules (and did a couple of play test fights against myself)

Simple Comparison

What I like most about Age of Rebellion is their dice system.  In essence it is a dice pool vs a target number.  However, the target number is determined by the dice.  Also, the dice aren't simple numbers, but rather they are icons.

Below are the dice and their icons (plus there is a conversion table for using "normal" dice.

So, let's say you wanted to do a skill test.  You insert however many dice the governing ability is - usually 2-4.  Then you would insert any proficiency dice which represents advancement in that particular skill.  If the GM determines that there are any advantageous circumstances, then you may get a boost dice (or even more than one!).  The GM then sets the difficulty of the action by adding difficulty dice, and if it is very hard a challenge die or two.  Possibly some setback dice based upon the situation.

You then roll the pull, and you are looking for successes vs failures.  If you get more successes than failures you succeed.  You many also get Advantages or Threats which indicate special successes or failures.  You can also get a triumph or Despair which are extraordinary successes or failures.  In order for those to apply you must have more of one than the other (i.e., more Advantages than Threats)  It is possible to succeed at a task, but also have a threat or even a despair.  This is then up the the GM to determine possible outcomes.

 (For instance you are hacking a computer and you succeed, but with a Threat.  So the GM says that you get the info you need, but manage to set off an alarm while doing it)

Combat uses the same mechanics as skill tests, which is a good thing.

In a lot of ways this is somewhat similar to the old WEG game.  The new dice mechanics though add a good change.

With the old WEG system skills were a dice pool of D6s.  The greater your skills are, the more you have.  The problem with that approach is that after a while the benefits of increasing your skills start to diminish.  The more dice you have, the less likely you are to get an extreme result, so the more average your rolls become.  A character with 10D skill isn't much better than one with 8D.


Combat is pretty good with a couple of minor issues (in my opinion)

Damage is basically a hit point based system.  Weapons do a certain amount of damage. The damage is modified by extra success dice.  (for instance a blaster may do 9 damage, plus 1 for every success dice that isn't canceled by a Failure dice)  Damaged is then reduced by a "soak" value, which is a combination of armor and physical "toughness".  The total is reduced from your hit points (called Wound Threshold)

In addition, weapons can generate critical affects if they do a certain number of excess Advantages.  The number needed is set by the weapon.  2-4 is the most common range.  So, if you hit, AND you have enough Advantages left over, then you can also do a critical.

Now, most of the critical hits are kind of geared to be used against PCs or named enemies because for the most part they deal long term injuries rather than just extra damage.

In WEG system damage is dealt by D6.  Like a good blaster will do 4D6 damage.  Roll 4 dice and then compare it to the victim's Strength (Usually 2D6-4D6).  If the blaster roll is higher than the Strength roll, then you do damage.  While Age of Empire uses "Wound Threshold"  WEG uses actual wound levels.  You can be "stunned", "wounded", "incapacitated", or "mortally wounded"

I kind of like the WEG approach to injuries better.  I have never liked hit point based systems.
 However the Age of Rebellion system doesn't use a ton of hit points, and they aren't constantly increasing like in D20 games, so combat is still dangerous.  Also for most simple bad guys they have "minions" which are characters with only a few HP, so a good hit will usually kill them.

Both systems handle space combat similarly to ground combat which is great because you don't have to use two different systems to play.  Both systems scale damage to the area of play so that you don't have to use massive amounts of dice to do space battles.  The damage ranges are basically the same as those in character battles, but both give a way to represent the larger guns if they attack characters.
FFG says to add 10 to the damage done by vehicle blasters against people.  WEG adds extra damage dice.

Combat flaws...

The one area that I don't like in combat is that ranges and movement are abstracted.  You have some basic range bands, and movement is basically closing from one range band to another.  It works pretty well for most things, but the one area that I find a flaw in, is the location of characters and enemies within relationship to each other.  

Ranges are "engaged", "short", "medium", "long", "extreme".  Some weapons will only fire to short, or medium, while others can fire even longer.  The problem is with grenade weapons.  They affect everyone within "engaged" range of the blast area.  So it is always up to the GM to determine who is within the blast radius.  The game really doesn't support using miniatures to represent the battlefield very well.  However, you can still use them to give an idea of the picture, so it isn't a major concern.

Another flaw

This isn't really a flaw, just a concern.  The Fantasy Flight Game can be VERY expensive to get into. You can buy a boxed set that has the basics of the game, but to really play it, you need the core rule book.  However, there are three core games.  There is Edge of Empire, Age of Rebellion and Force and Destiny.  The core rulebooks all cost $60.00.  Now you don't have to have them all, you can use only one, but each one gives a different area of play.  For instance, if you wanted to play a group like those in "A New Hope", you would need Edge of Empire for Han and Chewie, Age of Rebellion because of the rebels involved, and probably Force and Destiny, because the other two don't have a ton of info on the force.

Which is better

That is hard to say.  There are a lot of great aspects about both systems.  The one thing I like about WEG is the ability to use WEG Star Wars Miniatures Battles with the system.  It converts over solidly for when you want to do bigger battles.

However the FFG system has some other great advantages with them. The dice system is great, offers a little more variety than just simple dots on a dice.