Three kinds of collectors are interested in Star Wars roleplaying games:
- The first type is the Star Wars collector who is interested in Star Wars RPGs as just another facet of collectible Star Wars memorabilia. This type of collector isn’t interested in collecting roleplaying games per se; he’s just interested in Star Wars. The roleplaying games are just part of a larger collection, in this case.
- The second type is the RPG collector who is interested in collecting one of the categories of roleplaying games that the Star Wars RPGs are part of. Some RPG collectors are interested in collecting all of the Wizards of the Coasts products, for example. Some RPG collectors are interested in anything related to the D6 System or anything published by West End Games. Some RPG collectors are intereted in collecting science fiction RPGs. In this case, the RPG aspect comes first, and the intellectual property of Star Wars is secondary.
- The third type is the RPG collector who is also a Star Wars collector. Not only is this type interested in RPGs in general, she’s also interested in other aspects of Star Wars memorabilia to collect.
Disregarding computer games and MMORPG type stuff, two publishers have used the license to publish Star Wars roleplaying game products:
- West End Games published their d6 version of Star Wars roleplaying from 1987 to 1999.
- Wizards of the Coast published their d20 version of Star Wars roleplaying from the year 2000 to the present.
D6 Star Wars, or West End Games Star Wars Roleplaying Game
Since West End Games held the license to publish Star Wars roleplaying materials for thirteen years, they were able to produce a large quantity of material. Over 140 books were published in their Star Wars line, which consisted of three editions of the core rules, multiple supplements, sourcebooks, adventures, and magazines. All of West End Games’ Star Wars products are out of print now, and many of them fetch high, but not exorbitant, prices from collectors.
Core Rulebooks for West End Games Star Wars
The first edition of Star Wars was published in 1987. Greg Costikyan was the author of this hardcover book, which contained 148 pages of material. This rulebook included a solo adventure, several adventure seeds, and full color pages with pictures from the original trilogy of movies. You can find used copies of the first edition Star Wars rulebook for as little as $3 or $4 on the Internet, but a good quality copy in excellent condition might cost as much as $30 or $40.
The second edition of Star Wars was published in 1992. This edition was written by Bill Smith and included 176 pages of material. The second edition was completely revised and included rules for converting first edition characters and adventures. This rulebook also included a beginner adventure. Finding copies of the second edition Star Wars rules is easy enough, and it’s affordable. You can find excellent condition copies in practically new condition for $25 or less.
The third edition of West End’s Star Wars game wasn’t actually called a third edition–it was titled Star Wars Roleplaying Game – Second Edition, Expanded and Revised. When I checked prices for this one online, I found them starting at $35. I’m not sure why this edition is more expensive than the two earlier editions, but my guess is that it had a smaller print run.
You can tell the three editions of the rules apart by the artwork on the cover. The first edition features Luke Skywalker and the rest of the original cast on the cover. The second edition is blue, and the only character pictured on the cover is Darth Vader. The third edition (or the “second edition, revised and expanded”) features no characters on the cover at all. Instead, you’ll see the Millennium Falcon flying through space.
Considering how affordable these products are, it makes sense to collect all three core rulebooks. It also makes sense to get copies of them in excellent condition, if you can afford it.
D6 Star Wars Supplements, Adventures, and Sourcebooks
You can find a complete list of D6 Star Wars supplement in the Wikipedia article about the game here.
The first supplement ever published for the game was called The Star Wars Sourcebook, which was released in 1987. (A revised edition of this book was also published in 1994.) If you’re looking for information about various Star Wars spacecraft, droids, aliens, and equipment, then this book is excellent. It also contains game stats for the heroes and villains in the original movie trilogy.
Another early supplement for the game was the Star Wars Campaign Pack, which was only 32 pages, but contained a lot of great information about how to run a Star Wars campaign as a series of related adventures. The Star Wars Campaign Pack included a short adventure, five adventure ideas, a gamemaster screen, and floorplans of a spaceship for the characters’ use.
A dozen supplements called Galaxy Guides were also published. Each one included information about specific aspects of the Star Wars setting. For example, A New Hope contained information about the first movie. Galaxy Guide 4 contained information about various alien races in the setting.
Later sourcebooks covered information in the Star Wars Expanded Universe. For example, West End Games published a Thrawn Trilogy Sourcebook which covered material from Timothy Zahn’s trilogy of novels.
A magazine for the game was also published from 1994 to 1998. It was called The Star Wars Adventure Journal. Fifteen issues were produced.
Most of the 140+ supplements for the West End Games Star Wars roleplaying game are affordable, even though they’re out of print. There are enough titles in the series that collecting them all will still take a little bit of time and money.
West End Star Wars Roleplaying Game Spinoff Products
Besides the core line of roleplaying game products, West End published four boardgames set in the Star Wars universe:
- Star Wars: Star Warriors
- Star Wars: Escape from the Death Star
- Star Wars: Assault on Hoth
- Star Wars: Battle for Endor
A miniatures battle game called Star Wars Miniatures Battles was also published, as well as a series of “choose your own adventures” books. A couple of picture gamebooks, The Lightsaber Dueling Pack and the Starfighter Battle Book were also spinoffs of the RPG.
Star Wars Roleplaying, Wizards of the Coast Style
When Wizards of the Coast got the license to publish a Star Wars roleplaying game, they opted to use a D20 based system. The first edition of the D20 Star Wars rules was published in 200, and this edition was revised in 2002. A new edition, called Star Wars Saga Edition, was published in 2007. All of these rules were similar enough to Dungeons and Dragons that they would be easy to pick up.
Bill Slaviscek was one of the main designers of the d20 versions of the Star Wars roleplaying game, which is cool, since he worked on the d6 line of Star Wars roleplaying games too.
A considerable number of rulesbooks and supplements were released for the Wizards of Coast version of the Star Wars RPG, but the company decided not to renew their license for the property in 2010. They did not come close to matching the 140 or so publications that West End Games released, but there are probably 30 or 40 titles for the collector to pick up.
The production value on the Wizards of the Coast Star Wars RPG products were excellent, which is no surprise since they’re owned by Hasbro. (That gives them a lot of money to spend on things like artwork and packaging.) Their hardcover rulebook for the main game sells for maybe $40 in good condition, but that isn’t much higher than the original cover prices for the book.
Many of the supplements for the Star Wars Saga Edition actually command better prices than the supplements for the old West End Star Wars game products. I attribute this to higher production values and lower print runs.