Old- Fashioned Star Wars Miniatures Battles

Courtesy RPG Geek

A few days ago I was in Gamer’s Haven here in Colorado Springs and was looking over their used RPG book sales. Amongst the items I picked up that day was the West End Games Star Wars Miniatures Battles (SWMB) rulebook. This book is part of the West End Games Star Wars Adventure Game series and proclaims to be “compatible with Star Wars the Roleplaying Game, Second Edition” although you “do not need the roleplaying game to play this game.” According to Wikipedia, these rule were first published in 1989 and won the Origins Award for Best Miniature Rules in 1991. My book is copyright 1993 making it part of the Second Edition collection.

SWMB is essentially a set of skirmish rules for the Star Wars universe. The scale is one miniature per soldier and 1 inch equaling  2 meters. The time scale is not defined but looks to be about 30 sec to 1 minute per turn. The core combat mechanic is closely related to the West End Games D6 engine; indeed soldiers in SWMB can be used in the WEG Star Wars Roleplaying Game with almost no conversion needed and vice versa. The Basic Game covers the sequence of play for combat while the Advanced Game adds useful rules such as hidden movement, Heroes (essentially player characters), droids and creatures.

Courtesy RPG Gek

Vehicles are not covered in this book; for that you need the Star Wars Miniatures Battles Companion. Also note that this ruleset was published after the original trilogy (Star Wars, Empire Strikes Back, and Return of the Jedi) and before the prequels so it is based heavily on the first three movies with a bit of what would later be called the Expanded Universe thrown in.

Courtesy RPG Geek

Inevitably, one wants to compare SWMB with the newer Wizards of the Coast Star Wars Miniatures . The older game is definitely more wargame-like and less of an RPG, although the section on Heroes is essentially how to take a RPG character and drop them into the game. For an old grognard like myself, I find these wargame combat rules more to my liking but at the same time I recognize SWMB is a set of wargame rules and not intended to replace player combat in an RPG, nor is it a mass battle resolution system. I also like the fact that you can almost seamlessly move SWMB soldiers from or into a roleplaying game. This makes the entire series hang together better. There is alot to be learned here regarding how to integrate an existing RPG system with a wargame.

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