…I promised myself, that I wont start anything new, until I don’t finish my open projects. I kind of kept it (kind of… but that’s another story). But it looks like that I vaccinated my kids with attraction towards tabletop gaming. And Star Wars (do you see the double meaning of the title?). And those two things can only lead to one destination: Star Wars Legion.
Disclaimer: It’s not my project! They decided to get into it, they bought it from their own saved money (okay, I added a bonus Boba Fett and Chewbacca, but I’m allowed to get a bit weak sometimes..). And I will help them to paint it, but wont do it instead of them (unless they completely lose their interest, and I wont be able to watch those miniatures...).
Let’s get a quick overview of the system: It’s a big skirmish game on a 6x4 foot table, the minimum size of 800 point (which is much more than the starter box has…) means around 30 miniatures per side: the mandatory leader and 3 full basic trooper units (6x3) are 19, and let’s say, an additional lieutenant +1, a special unit +6, a support +2, and a heavy unit +1. So it’s not about a half dozen AT-AT´s shuffling towards the enemy lines, there are some smaller vehicles (the biggest is an AT-ST), but mostly troopers (scale is a bit taller than 28mm, but true scale). It uses a lot of cards, tokens and special dice (typical for FFG, see Descent), a 4x6 inch measuring rod, and 3 different sized (and awkward-to-use…) movement templates. It has alternating activation with a twist coming from the command cards, uses morale, covers, terrain. Im not a review writer, but the first games were fun, so I can make some pros and cons already:
Cons (I like to start with the bad news):
- Star Wars + FFG = expensive. Not a GW level of expensive, but still pretty much expensive. The starter box has a nice value, but after that comes the avalanche: a character is around 12-15€, a unit of troopers around 25-30€, and the big vehicles for around 50€. So a 800 point (which is again, the recommended minimum size) army is around 180€ (with the half of a starter box). Again, its not GW, but there are cheaper games (although not in the Star Wars universe).
- Lots of special dice (I like the maximum of 4+1 D10 concept of Oathmark a lot more)… But not enough (what?). Because the dice amount of the starter set is not enough. An attack of a full trooper unit needs 5 of the same dice, and there are only 3… With another box of dice, it could be okay, but its 15€ again. The card on the picture needs 6 white attack dice, but there are only 3...
- Lots of tokens. The problem is not that bad, You don’t need to lay the gaming table with token tiles, because there are unit cars, tokens can be on them. But still there are a dozen different types, and their appearance is not self-explaining (I think it could have been better designed…), you have to learn them. Who could say what do they mean (and these are not even all the tokens...)?
- The movement templates are a pain to use. I can understand the logic for vehicles, but absolutely not for troopers. It would be much easier with a measuring tape. Or rod, which is actually in the pack…
- The rulebook is a kind of meh… Not really bad, but a good rulebook is not like that: the structure is not user friendly. And there is an almost 100 page rule clarification and explanation online… That’s a bit too much.
- There are a bunch of games which were published by FFG, and then suddenly abandoned without support, left to die. Star Wars Legion is pretty new, and it looks successful, but the time will come, when FFG won’t get enough profit from it, and then…
- Star Wars universe has a big handicap for tabletop games: there are only two sides to choose from. There are no elves, humans, dwarves, orcs, goblins, undead like for example in Oathmark, and basically any other tabletop game has a lot of factions: WH40k, Age of Sigmar, WFHB, Middle Earth SBG, WarmaHordes, Conquest, Songs of Ice and Fire, Kings of War, Warpath, SAGA, Dragon/Lion Rampart, Warlords of Erehwon, Beyond the Gates of Antares, not to speak of the historicals… Star Wars Universe is so, You have to take it as it is, but I love to have a lot of factions… However, I could imagine a third, neutral faction with headhunters, smugglers, mercenaries, criminals, weequay pirates, gamorrean guards, tusken raiders... Sooo… FFG?
- Where are the ewoks? Star Wars has a lot of different species! Where are they in the game (except wookies)? There are some sporadic appearances, mostly on the rebel side, but still around 95% humans…
- The game needs a lot of terrain. The fun is pretty limited, if two sides are shooting at each other in the middle of a desert, and a 6x4 table can be huge, if You want to fill it... I would say, that it needs (at least almost) the terrain-density of skirmish games, but on a 2-2,5 times bigger surface. A small band-aid to this is, that Star Wars universe can use any terrain.
- The miniatures look really good. The poses are dynamic, and although the used PVC-like material has its limits regarding the quality, the results are very good. And at the end, as You see the platoons of stormtroopers fighting with the rebel scum on Your table, You just don’t care about softer details, and awfully placed mold lines!
- I love unit cards! Its so much easier to use them, as to turn the rulebook pages back and forth. Of course, it limits a bit of the unit composition, but FFG solved the problem with even more cards: additional troopers, heavy weapons, grenades have their own cards. It may sound like a chaos of cards, but its not, it works good! Unit cards for every game! Although, they need space...
- The rules hit the sweet spot (for me at least), they are not too complex, but not to simplified either.
- Its alternating activation. I don’t like the waiting in I-go-You-go systems…
- Command cards can give another tactical layer to the game. But only if more units are used, the starter box is not enough to exploit the possibilities.
- The starter set includes some terrain pieces. Not much, but more than most starter sets.
- There are only two sides, and too few non-human species, but at least there are two different periods to choose from: the Clone Wars with the Republic and the Separatists, and the Rebellion with the Rebels and the Empire. (I think they could be mixed without technical problems, so theoretical there could be four factions, but that feels just wrong…)
- Its Star Wars!
It may sound that the game is not bad, but not that good. Well, it isn’t perfect, but as soon as You understand the basic rules, get a bit used to the tokens and that movement template, Your reward will be Star Wars on Your table! And that feeling of getting sucked into the game, is what matters after all! (Warning! Unpainted miniatures and unfinished terrain pieces!)