We have an ongoing Edge of the Empire campaign on roll20.net in which I am the GM. Kyle is playing as well as my old friends from high school - Craig, Brent & Chris. Brent's son Jonas is playing as well, though he's not there for every minute of every session. We are having a BLAST! Gaming with my old gaming friends is great, of course, but it's even MORE special gaming with Kyle as well.
So, while at Gen Con, we picked up the next Core Book - Age of Rebellion. We had the softcover Force and Destiny beta core book in our hand, but decided not to purchase it. Why? A couple of specific reasons...
First, Kyle said he couldn't justify paying $30 for a book that would get updates via PDF download for the next 8 months or so and then have to turn around and spend $60 for the hardback final release. I mentioned that we were "late to the party" getting into Edge of the Empire anyway and Age of Rebellion beta was out when we started. It released hard cover just a few months ago and we are just now picking it up, so there was no 'rush' to get a beta.
I also commented that even though he and I were the only ones to get the Age book right now that it will benefit the others too. I now have the "Duty" rules as well as new ships, races, rules, etc. that everyone will benefit from. (side note - We started a module a few weeks ago that ties into Craig's character's Obligation and backstory, but was also a mission for the Rebellion. We finished it AFTER Gen Con so I was able to assign Duty as well. They are officially a 'mixed group' now.)
So - after a cursory look at Force and Destiny, we realized that the only player to benefit from it would be Kyle and since he was hesitant anyway, we opted not to get it. It is full of force user stuff. Not just Jedi, but all disciplines, and even includes rules for "dark side" players. Yes, it might have come in handy for me to 'outfit' the NPC at the end of the module they were on, but that's the only thing I saw worth it, and that wasn't enough.
So - we didn't buy it, just like we didn't buy the beta for the first two. We did, however, get to play in a "con module" with Phil as GM. He's known as GMPhil, a regular co-host on the Order 66 Podcast as well as DarthGM on Twitter. He had written a module that he wanted to run at Gen Con (I think this was also his first Gen Con) and I made contact with him about getting a seat for Kyle and myself.
The two of us drove back to a hotel adjacent to the convention center and walked into the "open gaming" room. Holy Cow! There was table after table of gamers playing different board games and RPG's. To skip ahead, I told Kyle on the drive back that the vender hall was great and next year I want to play in some scheduled events (Dice Masters, X-Wing, etc.) but that THIS is where the real gaming happens!
Anyway, we found some others that looked like they were standing around waiting, and I knew from our Twitter conversation that Phil was running last minute, so we approached them. Yep - they were there for the same game.
I will not go into detail here of the module, in case you get a chance to play through it (my friends know how much I DESPISE spoilers!) but I will say that Phil is a MASTER at GM'ing! He had some professional quality maps created and printed, he had tokens that represented our characters, he had magnetic colored tokens to go on the bottom to show elevation, pending setback die, pending boost die, etc. He used a dry erase marker to note initiative order and did the classic "here's your difficulty" as he would show what the dice were and why they were there.
He also had something I thought was cool... A felt bottomed dice tray to roll into (to keep stuff from being knocked around on the table). I've been looking at and thinking about a dice tower, but I like the feel of shaking and rolling the dice. This little tray gave me the ability to keep the dice "close" without losing the feel of 'shaking and rolling.'
When it was all said and done the PC's "won" the module, but not without some exciting play, combat, decisions, rolls and disagreements. Now, to be clear, the PLAYERS didn't disagree at all. We all worked together as a team though we didn't really know each other... But our CHARACTERS had different opinions and different outlooks, and it really added to the game.
We started a little after 8 PM and finished up just before 2 AM. It was awesome. :-)
Here's the pic Phil put on Twitter just before we started...
Since this is running a bit long, next time I will tell you about Kyle's foray into GM'ing the game... :-)