In our last article related to Fantasy Flight Games’ new Star Wars RPG line–Edge of The Empire and Age of Rebellion–Terrible Gamers reviewed Star Wars Dice. For those of you who are unfamiliar with Fantasy Flight’s new Star Wars RPGs, both games are built around a core mechanic which utilizes Fantasy Flight’s proprietary Star Wars Dice. These dice consist of 3 unique sets of twelve sided dice, 2 unique sets of eight sided dice, and two unique sets of six sided dice. And while it is still possible for players to use standard gaming dice to play Edge of The Empire and Age of Rebellion it is difficult to do so. You can always check our review here to find out why.
Because of the difficulty involved in converting standard gaming dice to Star Wars Dice, Terrible Gamers believes that the vast majority of Edge of The Empire and Age of Rebellion players will purchase one of the two Star Wars Dice accessories sold by Fantasy Flight Games–the Star Wars Dice accessory or the Star Wars Dice iOS and Android App for mobile devices. We gave Fantasy Flight Games a pretty tough time in our review of their physical Star Wars Dice accessory. This is mostly because a single set of physical Star Wars Dice does not provide a single player with enough dice to make many basic Edge of The Empire and Age of Rebellion skill checks.
Our review of the physical Star Wars Dice did not make Fantasy Flight Games look very good. We think it is fair to assume that Fantasy Flight and Terrible Gamers aren’t on speaking terms at the moment (that’s what happens we people write real reviews) and we have resigned ourselves to the fact that we will not be getting any Christmas presents from Fantasy Flight this year. Terrible Gamers does want to make clear that our intention in writing our reviews is to inform gamers, not to make anyone person or organization look bad. Besides, I think Fantasy Flight Games will be marginally happier with this review, and we have made no secret of our opinion that the people at Fantasy Flight Games are some of the best in the industry.
What you will find in this article is our review of the second Star Wars Dice option available to Edge of The Empire and Age of Rebellion players–the Star Wars Dice App. As with our previous review of Star Wars Dice this review should not be understood as a review of the actual Star Wars Dice Mechanic. If you are curious as to how Terrible Gamers thinks the use of Star Wars Dice in Edge of The Empire or Age of Rebellion works out, you will have to wait for our full review of those titles; however, our opinion (so far) has not changed much since we wrote up our first impressions of the Star Wars RPG system (here).
Review: Star Wars Dice App
What You Need:
- iOS or Android mobile device.
What You Get:
- A mobile device capable of producing dice results need for Star Wars: Edge of The Empire, Star Wars: Age of Rebellion, and Fantasy Flight’s Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures Game
We want to start off by being upfront with our readers. We at Terrible Gamers are not huge fans of dice applications. As we have discussed many times, we are randomness snobs (this is why we like Lou Zocchi & GameScience dice as much as we do). And if there is one thing we are certain about, with some pretty rare exceptions like Random.org, “random” electronic die rollers and number generators are not random. Such things can have the appearance of randomness, but there is just something about knowing that a number is selected by an algorithm that really makes some of us at Terrible Gamers feel cheated. We recognize that this is crazy and many, if not most, gamers are not bothered by the not exactly random nature of die rolling software. For that reason, our reviews of dice applications never get marked down for “not being random,” unless they do not even give the appearance of randomness. Thankfully, Fantasy Flight’s Star Wars Dice App for mobile platforms had no problem delivering the illusion of randomness.
In fact, Terrible Gamers finds Fantasy Flight’s Star Wars Dice App to be pretty solid when it comes to giving players the feeling that they are actually rolling dice at a table. The three dimensional dice look just like the dice included in the physical Star Wars Dice package and the Star Wars Dice App’s die rolling animation, while fast, is believable.
Fantasy Flight’s Star Wars Dice App has all of the same pros of its physical counterpart. Players who chose to download this app instead of forking over the $30 to $45 dollars that they would need to spend to get an adequate number of the physical dice, will probably be happy about their purchase. This is particularly the case if players of Edge of The Empire or Age of Rebellion also happen to be fans of Fantasy Flight’s new Star Wars miniatures game X-Wing as the Star Wars Dice App contains all of the dice needed to play either game line.
The application itself is presented well, looks good, and tries really hard to deliver to the user the feeling that she is actually rolling physical dice. We really have to give credit here to Fantasy Flight Games for making a pretty good looking product that really adds something to Edge of The Empire and Age of Rebellion game play. Having access to the Star Wars Dice while playing one of the Star Wars RPGs not only makes the lives of the Star Wars RPGs’ players and GMs easier, but it also makes skill checks and combat feel very smooth and continuous.
This is where Terrible Gamers feels that the people at Fantasy Flight Games really excel when it comes to game design. Fantasy Flight’s combination of mechanics and accessories, when used together, creates game experiences that capture the imagination of the players. A big part of this is the continuity that exists between all of the game elements–game mechanics, dice, visual aids, etc–which really work to get everyone at the table involved in constructing a narrative. So Terrible Gamers really does appreciate how hard the men and women over at Fantasy Flight work to bring us games that come pretty damn close to making us feel like we are participating in authentic Star Wars stories.
Do not let our appreciation of Fantasy Flight’s games, or our appreciation of what Fantasy Flight’s accessories add to their games, fool you. Even when we ignore the fact that dice rolling apps and programs do not give random results (we are joking), Terrible Gamers found flaws in the Star Wars Dice App.
While Terrible Gamers’ experience using the Star Wars Dice App was positive, we do have a number of minor complaints about the application’s interface. We do not like the Star Wars Dice App menu icons that much, as it took us quite awhile to feel certain about what we were selecting.
We feel similarly about managing the dice on the virtual tabletop. Adding dice is easy enough–users simply touch the icon of the particular die they want to add at the top of the screen. Unfortunately, removing dice once they are on the table is a little bit more complicated and requires app users to navigate through a menu. Subtracting the dice from the table could have been (and probably should have been) made just as easy as adding them.
Fantasy Flight Games also gave users of their Star Wars Dice App the ability to add standard gaming dice to the application’s virtual tabletop. This is a vast improvement over the physical Star Wars Dice accessory, in that Edge of The Empire and Age of Rebellion players using the app have access to all the dice they need to run either game; however, the standard gaming dice come with only one plain white skin. As we discuss further on, for the cost of the Star Wars Dice App ($4.99), Terrible Gamers feels that more skins for the traditional gaming dice sets should have been included.
Finally, Terrible Gamers is not quite satisfied with the way in which the Star Wars Dice App displays the results of die rolls. The Star Wars Dice App presents users with the graphic of the dice, and the raw scores displayed at the bottom left of the screen. We universally felt that the application would have been better had it provided users with the option of having the Star Wars Dice App present the tabulated results of rolls instead of the raw scores.
All of the interface issues we discussed are relatively minor, and do not detract too much from the product as a whole. Unfortunately, Terrible Gamers’ biggest issue with Fantasy Flight’s Star Wars Dice App is not these minor interface quirks. Instead, we found that, while considerably better than its physical Star Wars Dice accessory counterpart, the Star Wars Dice App still is not a great value to consumers.
This is primarily because of the fact that a player who spends $4.99 on the Star Wars Dice App gets an attractive looking dice rolling application, which includes Fantasy Flight’s proprietary Star Wars Dice and nothing more. In truth, it would be more accurate to say that consumers are getting an attractive dice rolling application only if they stick to using the Star Wars Dice. Using this application for dice rolls with traditional gaming dice, as we have said, is possible, but the “look” of these additional dice is pretty plain.
When Fantasy Flight’s Star Wars Dice App is compared with other available dice rolling apps for mobile platforms, the value of the Star Wars Dice App seems even more questionable. At $4.99 the Star Wars Dice App is as expensive as Gandreas Software‘s dice app–Dicenomicon. In fact, there are many dice apps available for both iOS and Android devices, which offer consumers more than the Star Wars Dice App, for significantly less money. For example, MachWerx‘s dice app, Mach Dice, sells for around $1.99 and gives users the ability to add their own tabletop images and custom dice–Terrible Gamers actually used Mach Dice to make our own Star Wars Dice.
There is even a free alternative to Star Wars Dice App specifically–Empire Dice. Empire Dice is a dice roll calculator designed for use with Edge of The Empire and Age of Rebellion. It does not show users the actual dice rolling–doing that would be a copyright violation–but it does calculate the results of each roll for the user. So instead of giving just the raw scores, like the Star Wars Dice App does, Empire Dice displays the result of a roll after all of the successes, failures, triumphs, despairs, advantages and threats have been calculated. We love this feature and are disappointed that something similar was not included in the Star Wars Dice App.
Overall Score: B
Terrible Gamers really struggled with assigning the Star Wars Dice App a score. Fantasy Flight Games really got a lot right with this app, and our experience with the Star Wars Dice App was far, far, far better than our experience with the physical Star Wars Dice accessory. And as we told you earlier, Fantasy Flight Games really has something special with the integration of their game mechanics and accessories for the Star Wars RPGs.
Our biggest problem with Star Wars Dice App was not the interface problems or questionable design choices that Terrible Gamers encountered. While these exist, we feel that they are relatively minor and do not have tremendous negative effect on the product as a whole. Instead, our biggest problem is about pricing. Fantasy Flight Games really is not providing consumers enough to justify the Star Wars Dice App price tag of $4.99.
And do not misunderstand us. Terrible Gamers thinks that Fantasy Flight Games’ Star Wars Dice App is a great application. It is even a great value when compared to its physical Star Wars Dice counterpart (we paradoxically prefer the physical version because of the whole randomness thing). Unfortunately, you really need to appreciate how wrong Fantasy Flight got the physical Star Wars Dice to appreciate the value of the Star Wars Dice App.
When we compare the value of the Star Wars Dice App only to other role playing tools and dice apps available on mobile platforms alone, Terrible Gamers feels that Fantasy Flight really overshot their price point. Nearly all of the Star Wars Dice App’s competition offers better all around role playing game tools for a fraction of the cost.
In our last article Terrible Gamers reviewed
In our last article related to Fantasy Flight Games’ new Star Wars role playing game line (which you can find here)–Edge of The Empire and Age of Rebellion–Terrible Gamers reviewed Fantasy Flight’s Star Wars Dice accessory. For those of our readers who are unfamiliar with these new role playing titles, both Edge of The Empire and Age of Rebellion are built around Fantasy Flight’s proprietary dice system, which is composed of specialized six (d6), eight (d8), and twelve (d12) sided dice (check out this article to learn more). In that article, Terrible Gamers gave Fantasy Flight a pretty hard time for not including enough dice in Star Wars Dice for a single player to make many of the dice rolls he might encounter while playing either Edge of The Empire or Age of Rebellion.
Our Star Wars Dice review was so harsh, Terrible Gamers fully expects that Fantasy Flight Games will not be sending us any review copies for Christmas; however, we are hopeful that our review of the
Our last piece game Fantasy Flight Games a pretty hard time about their Star Wars Dice accessory.
The reasons for Terrible Gamers low score (C-) are pretty detailed and we suggest readers check out that review.
This is because, while it is possible to run a game of either Edge of The Empire or Age of Rebellion without using one of Fantasy Flight’s Star Wars Dice accessories, it is difficult to do so. This leaves players of either game with two options: purchase the Star Wars Dice ($14.95) or purchase Fantasy Flight’s Star Wars Dice App for the iOS or Android ($4.99). As we pointed out in our previous review (here), players opting for the Star Wars Dice accessory would quickly discover that they need to purchase Star Wars Dice sets to have enough dice to make many of the skill checks encountered while playing either Star Wars RPG.
Terrible Gamers thinks that the only way to be fair to Fantasy Flight Games is to keep our readers informed about all the options available to potential players of the new Star Wars RPGs. For that reason we decided to go ahead and publish our review of the Star Wars Dice App for mobile platforms ahead of schedule.
What you will find in this article is a review of the Star Wars Dice App for iOS and Android only. If you want to whether or not we like, or dislike, how Fantasy Flight’s proprietary Star Wars Dice mechanic actually plays, you will have to wait for our review of Edge of The Empire and Age of Rebellion (our opinion has not change
Given the negative character of our last review, it would be fair to assume that Terrible Gamers and Fantasy Flight Games are not on speaking terms (no review copies for us!).
To be fair to both our readers and to Fantasy Flight Games, we decided that the best course of action would be to review all the Star Wars Dice products available to players who want to maximize their Edge of The Empire or Age of Rebellion experience.