Obligatory Star Wars post

Because it’s 2018 and I did go see the Last Jedi the first night it came out, just like I have all the movies since Empire Strikes Back, I’m going to write a few paragraphs about it for posterity.  This is mostly I can look back at this post when we are hit with even WORSE cascades of space-piss than this one (the Han Solo movie for example).  There’s a ton on the internet about the film and more and more daily.  Mostly, it’s that this “Star Wars” film has a ruthless misanthropist message, but not in a Sword of Doom type of way, but in an angry, resentful sort of way– the sort of film that would come out after Trump beat a clearly more qualified female candidate for president of the united states.

The space battles looked great, but lacked much of the emotional intensity that Return of the Jedi or a New Hope had.  I get that the ‘bombers’ in the first scene couldn’t ‘drop’ their bombs and that was all stupid.  It was forgivable except that it was a harbinger for things to be stupid later. That said, the film was not as “war-y” as Rogue One, and that was sad.  Rogue One the conflict felt a lot more intense and real, where in the Last Jedi, it felt like a Star Wars animated series episode at times.

The final surprise attack by hyperdriving into the big ship pretty much made it so the Death Star could not have existed for long since the rebels could have constantly sent (unmanned) ships warping inside it.  Of course, the Imperials could have done the same thing to any of the planets that opposed them as well.  There needed to be some technical reason for that to be able to happen– like the means by which the ship was TRACKED in hyperspace (which they made a big deal about but never closed the loop on?!) allowed that ship and that ship alone to teleport inside the other ship. Nothing like this was presented of course and to me that’s a plot hole.

While it may have been inevitable, they handled the legacy characters poorly.  Luke was not portrayed in a way that made sense at all based on the original films.  Leia was force sensitive right? But all she did was save herself?  So Yoda’s statement of “there is another” meant nothing (and yet they will be making an entire movie about the kessel run in contrast).  I don’t care about the new characters EXCEPT in relation to the old.

To echo red letter media: what happened between Return of the Jedi and Force Awakens was that our beloved characters were made out to be miserable the entire time between films, and not just because of the Star Wars Xmas special (which I sat through over the Xmas break unbelievably).

Of the new characters that are worth talking about, Adam Driver was quite good, and frankly his character is the only one I care about at all in these new films on his own.  His scene where he asks the Mary Sue to give up on all the cyclical destruction was the only poignant scene.  Finn was underutilized and pretty much comic relief, though what he ended up doing in the film was not funny at all.

So I’ve used the term a few times already, but certainly, Rei will go down in history as the poster child Mary Sue forever.  In fact, the term Mary Sue may become Rei (like, “rewrite that chapter man, that character is a REI”) or even “Daisy”.  I REALLY thought she would die in this film or get messed up on the level of Luke in the Empire Strikes Back.  The scene where she goes into that hole in the island and just saw herself infinitely in every direction was when the film hit rock bottom for me.  That was the spot for a Lynchian or Tarkovsky-esque coming of age TRIPOUT scene.  Instead, it was fucking meaningless pysse.

My own thoughts on the film is that it essentially projects a message of nihilism: people are ground to dust in a cyclical, unending conflict based on the misery of dualism which reflects in all ways that this is the beginning of unending films based on the same conflict grinding to dust infinite dollars spent by fans, and this fact was obviously felt excruciatingly by the writer.

Based on this film, there is no hope or happiness for people that are force sensitive AND trained in the ways of the force in Disney’s version of Star Wars.  Just the crushing knowledge that with the power comes unending misery, conflict and death. For a film about a pure warrior caste like 13 Assassins, great.  For an order of enlightened space monks?   uhhh?  The capitalistic focus and the misanthropic messages, with no overall controlling story arc for what’s going to happen, would drive any writer to a nihilistic state, and that certainly came out in the film.

Edge of Empire – first play

I got to play Star Wars: Edge of Empire Saturday with Matt and run by Dan at this benefit thing.   We could pay $$ for rerolls or the game’s version of bennies so it was good.

Thoughts:

I have a fucking sore spot for Fantasy Flights ‘special dice and cards’ style of RPG/board game after they fucked up Warhammer Fantasy 3rd Edition with one of the most complicated RPG’s that it could have only come out in 2009.  I wanted to like it, bought a bunch of stuff in the fire sale but it was VERY difficult to learn, VERY difficult to play/GM and covered the table in crap.  The core dice mechanic wasn’t terrible though, it was everything else surrounding that which had the suck.

Secondly, while I like the new film a lot, I’m not a big star wars GAME fan. Yes Xwing vs Tie fighter was awesome but I pretty much stick to the movies and that’s it. There’s just not much there that’s gameable to me.  Two factions, one is on the run, the other one is cool for the movies, but otherwise boring.

Naturally when Edge of Empire came out I scoffed at it since it was a version of WFRP3.  However, having played, it’s not that bad.  Gone are all the stupid cards for attacks, and though the character sheet is about 4 pages of crap long, it played fast.

What’s more, while it uses some elements of those lame-ass story games like FATE and Dungeon World, it can be played entirely ignoring that type of stuff on the dice, and use those sides for entirely mechanical effect.  It has some blammo sides to the dice (triumphs) but their effect is completely dictated by the GM, it’s basically a reason for GM fiat to hurt or help the players.  This is without any mechanics if you want, unlike FATE which piles every fucking thing about everything in the game world into ‘aspects’ that are really just wholly mechanical +2’s.  So if your group has realized that the FATE-style games are a total waste of time like ours has, you can roll and not care about that stuff.

We played with minis, but it was very abstract, like Numenera, 13th Age, etc.  That is very good.  No nurpling around with goddamn squares and five foot steps and all that 3.5 bullshit.

So, I have a plan, that may or may not happen. I want to run a 1 v 1 JEDI fight using Edge of Empire, the Star Wars West End D6 game from the 90’s and … Design Mechanism’s free Mod for Runequest 6 and see which is the most fun.  I know where my hypothesis would tell me, but let’s see what happens. Volunteers?

Star Wars

This looks pretty good actually

Fantasy Flight is going to town with the Star Wars license and most of the stuff has been great if you like Star Wars a lot, which I don’t, at least in it’s licensed form. Everything outside of the (good) films seems to get super cheesy and overused. The fact is, compared to 40K or even something as generic as Forgotten Realms, there’s not a lot going on in Star Wars, so any user of the license has to stretch out everything– to the point where most of the LCG cards are just artified frames from some of the films.  For example, a stub fighter to stub fighter battle game makes sense but the rebel capital ship fleet vs the imperials?  It’s no contest at all and just seems ridiculous.  It doesn’t help that every goddamn thing from the prequels sucks horribly as well because there at least are different factions instead of just two.

And of course, licensed games nearly always suck (there are notable exceptions!) so FF has an uphill battle with everything they make for Star Wars anyway and has done a great job so far. That said, Star Wars Rebellion looks like it could be good, with an interesting design that reminds me a bit of the old LoTR board game (very old) and Dune (with the Duels expansion). It may be one of those rare games like Star Wars Epic Battles, that both captures the feel of the films and is a good game to boot.

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