Alongside the core rulebook for their Edge of the Empire RPG, Fantasy Flight Games has also released a GM screen/ guide. Retailing for about 20 bucks, it includes a very nice GM screen and a 32 page, full color, adventure book/GM advice section.
The screen itself is very nice. Usually when I think of GM Screen I’m thinking of fairly thin cardboard – not cheap, but light. Meanwhile this screen is more in line with the cover of a hardcover RPG book – sturdy and very durable. The player facing side has some very nice FFG art including the Millennium Falcon running from TIE Fighters and Boba Fett threatening the players, plus the Edge of the Empire logo in case they forget what game you’re playing. The GM side has all the charts you’d expect in easy to use fashion, ranging from reminders of what the dice are and how to read the results to critical hits to potential combat actions/ maneuvers. Given the complexity of the system I’d say this is worth the purchase for the GM for these charts alone.
The included booklet is up to FFG’s usual quality standards. While it’s a softcover paper book, it uses high quality paper with full color (beautiful) illustrations throughout. The first 25 pages are dedicated to an adventure which I will not spoil here beyond saying it is a short adventure – unsurprising since this is little more than a quarter of the space a full adventure book gets. Despite its length the adventure is a fully contained story with hooks for the players and room for the GM to fit it into their ongoing narrative including two potential future Nemeses should the GM wish to use them.
Which transitions nicely into the last part of the book (or would if I didn’t hang a lantern on it) the advice for Nemesis usage. Clocking in at 5 1/4 pages, it relays some good advice despite its brevity. It’s at exactly the level I like seeing these types of articles: straightforward enough for a new GM to understand and learn something from while also being sufficiently detailed – and with specific examples from this setting – that I as a veteran GM can still gain from it. Further, given its quality and brevity I might add it to my pre-campaign reading list – books and articles I like to read before starting a new campaign to get the creative juices flowing and help focus my mind on things I usually just gut feel but are better when given thought.
The only real knock I have on this product is it could have used one more editing pass. There were a few minor typos/grammatical mistakes, and a mis-key in the map. (what the text describes as area 2 obviously describes what the map marks as area 3 and vice versa) I also might have liked more general RPG advice for the GM, but given that there is already a plethora of such advice in existence I’m really just picking nits to find flaws in a very high quality product. If you plan to GM an Edge of the Empire game I would certainly recommend picking up a copy of the GM’s screen. Even if you don’t use the adventure, having those charts at your fingertips is always helpful as GM, and this is assuredly the finest GM screen I recall ever seeing.
May the Force be with you!