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Star Wars, Revised and Expanded (1996)

Star Wars, Revised and Expanded (1996) is the third iteration of West End Games’ D6 Star Wars RPG. It is still considered part of the second edition, but while it is aesthetically inferior to the 1992 edition, it does feature some nice quality of life improvements.

Let’s take on the looks first. I think this book is ugly. It is full color and the photo reproduction is great, but the illustrations (several of which are colored versions of art that appeared previously in black and white) is just…it reminds me of when I get an old D&D module and find someone had colored in the black and white illustrations, but with none of the charm. I find the art in the 1992 edition, particularly by Alan Nunis and Mike Vilardi inspiring and universe-expanding. This stuff here? Bland and generic.

But what we really care about is the substance, right? Right. Very little of the “revised and expanded” in the title refers to rules and mechanics. What few there are streamline play — you don’t notice them. And that’s the point, because the rest of the changes are all in the service of making this a faster, more cinematic, easier to learn and easier to play game. There are way more explanations (though I can do without the in-character chapter introductions – cornball city) and examples of play, there’s a solo adventure, quick reference rule handouts and a starter group adventure. It is just as chunky a RPG rulebook as every other single-book system rulebook in the 90s, but I am hard pressed to think of a contemporary RPG so focused on making itself easy and accessible. In 1996, we’re past the height of the complexity for complexity’s sake, but that impulse didn’t just vanish off the peak. That makes this iteration of Star Wars all the more impressive. If I ran WEGSW again, this is the rulebook I’d use (unless that bootleg third edition is substantially better, but I’ve not read that too closely).

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