Who doesn’t love Star Wars? The epic space battles, the operatic stories, the fun aliens and relatable humans. Almost since its release in 1977, Star Wars has been a staple of pop culture, even among non-science fiction fans. There are movies, comics, novels, videogames, and more. All with their own canons, their own lore, and their own stories. So, so much to play with.
It stands to reason, since it’s such a wide universe to play in, that people would be interested in stepping into a Star Wars Tabletop Game. In making and playing characters fit into the Empire, the Rebellion, the Jedi, and more. And you can! Provided you sift through the multiple editions (and canons!) to find which version of the game really suits you.
If you’re a little overwhelmed, D20Collective is here to help. Here’s a brief overview of each edition of the Star Wars RPG, with a brief explanation of how they play, and they audience they’re likely to appeal to.
Star Wars D6/ West End Star Wars RPG
Star Wars D6 (published by West End Games) was the first Star Wars Roleplaying Game to be put out, first being published in 1987. It came out before many of the novels, even, and established a lot of the lore used in the novels, comics, and other expanded universe media. Much of it was even acknowledged as canon lore by Lucas Studios.
The game plays (as the name implies) on a fairly simple d6 system, where characters with higher skills roll more d6s to try and reach a higher number. It fleshes out the system with various types of ‘points’ – Force, Dark Side, and Character – which allow the player to roll extra dice. Higher bonuses like Force and Dark Side points, though, come with restrictions as to which actions your character can take.
If you’re into the expanded universe lore of Star Wars, this is a great edition for you. There are tons of expansions and supplements, a relatively simple play system with a good amount of customizability, and the ability to set the game in almost any time period, location, or storyline that you please. The books are no longer in print, so physical copies are pretty expensive, but you can find most of the pdfs here: The Star Wars Expanded Universe Timeline
Star Wars Saga/Wizards of the Coast Star Wars RPG
West End Games eventually went under, and the rights to Star Wards RPGs went to Wizards of the Coast. That’s right, the Dungeons and Dragons people. They put out their own Star Wars Roleplaying Game, with mechanics that line up pretty closely with 3/3.5e DnD. They released a few different editions, but those mostly updates mechanics, since by the time of publication most Star Wars worldbuilding had already been established.
As previously stated, this version plays a lot like 3e DnD, or Pathfinder, with a few base classes with heavy customization and later prestige classes. There fewer expansions and adventures than West End Games released, but still a good amount. Plus, since WotC is owned by Hasbro, the quality of art and publication is stunning.
If you’re already familiar with the d20 system from previous games, and are a fan of the experience, then this is probably the edition for you. Physical copies of the books can get a little pricey, since they’re also out of print, but you can also find online versions here: Star Wars Roleplaying Game Saga Edition
Fantasy Flight Star Wars RPG (Age of Rebellion, Edge of Empire, Force and Destiny)
After 2007, the rights moved onto be owned by Fantasy Flight Games. They published multiple different series, each of which focuses on a slightly different type of storyline for you to play through. They all play pretty much the same though, just with different types of characters and stories.
Age of Rebellion
In this setting, you are a member of the Rebel Alliance, actively righting against the tyrranical Empire. Be you a spy, a fighter pilot, or a soldier, you have a Duty to your rebel cause, and an honorable mission to fulfill.
Edge of Empire
In this setting, you find yourself at the outer edges of the Empire’s influence. These stories are compelled by Obligations, as smugglers, bounty hunters, or colonists, and are united by their need for survival in the grittier, shadier party of the galaxy.
Force and Destiny
This series is compatible with the previous two settings, with one twists: Force sensitivity. As a force-sensitive character, you have a greater destiny, and a wider, more mystical threat to deal with. Leading a light for a new Jedi order, or falling to the Dark Side, Destiny compels you along the track in this version of the game.
These games require a specific type of dice to play, representing positive and negative outcomes, with sides that might spark unusual events or outcomes. It’s a little different than a lot of other, more generic, roleplaying systems, so it might be a little harder to pick up. However, it was published a lot more recently, so it’s both easier to find, and more inclusive of recent Star Wars lore and releases (including the sequel trilogy movies). If you’re into up-to-date Star Wars worldbuilding, this would be the game for you. You can buy it here: Fantasy Flight Star Wars RPG
Edge Studios’ Star Wars RPG
Recently, Edge Studios has taken over publication of Star Wars RPG content. They haven’t published anything just yet, but there’s plenty of promises for new content soon.
Word “on the street” is that they may start with re-releases of Fantasy Flight content, with some updates, and then move onto new stuff.
Have you ever played any of the Star Wars Tabletop RPGs? Which one did you prefer? We’d love to hear about it!