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Celebrating Star Wars Day with Star Wars: Legion!

Star Wars Legion Box Art

Star Wars: Legion from Fantasy Flight Games
(All photos of Fantasy Flight Games products were taken and edited by KristaG unless otherwise specified)

Fantasy Flight Games has seamlessly captured George Lucas’ world of Star Wars yet again with their newest miniatures game: Star Wars: Legion. Instead of engaging in epic dogfights in the backdrop of space like in X-Wing: The Miniatures Game, players will be able to experience infantry battles on the ground while utilizing familiar characters such as Darth Vader, legions of Stormtroopers, Luke Skywalker and many others! As with X-Wing, however, this is strictly a skirmish game so there are no scenarios and it is also strictly 2-player. For Star Wars Day (a.k.a. May the 4th) this year, I’m going to be taking a closer look at these gorgeous miniatures and the gameplay for Fantasy Flight Games’ newest addition to their line of Star Wars games.

Unpainted Legion Minis

Darth Vader and a 74- Speeder Bike Unit assembled, but unpainted. Even unpainted, these minis are well detailed and gorgeous!

Star Wars Legion made its debut at GenCon2017 but hit the retail shelves in March 2018. The game was designed by Alex Davy, who is also the co-designer of X-Wing: The Miniatures Game, and can take well over an hour to play. As stated above, the game is strictly a 2-player miniatures game. The miniatures, like with most minis war games, come unassembled and unpainted so for those who aren’t craft or hobby-oriented, this already may not be a game for you to dive into. That being said, however, these minis are quite pretty! They do come pre-cut from their sprues and have very minimal mold-lines, which I feel is a weird, but great perk!

Legion Basic Set Up

An example of a basic set up for Star Wars: Legion on a homemade 3’x3′ board with 3D printed terrain (I was playing Empire!)

Players of X-Wing and Star Wars Armada will feel right at home building forces for Legion as the process is very similar. Each unit has a stat card, displaying not only abilities but also type and point costs. Upgrades may be attached to these cards for additional points. Once you have your force put together and terrain has been placed on the board, each player will deploy their units in opposite deployment zones. Games may be played on either a 3’x3′ or a 3’x6′ playing area depending on player preference and force size. Players begin the game with 7 Command Cards, which will be used to determine initiative and unit activation. The Rebel Alliance player will take Round Tracker and set it to “1” to mark the beginning of the game and then each player will simultaneously choose and reveal a Command Card, commencing play.

Star Wars Legion is played over a series of 6 rounds, with each round being made up of 3 phases: Command Phase, Activation Phase, and End Phase. The player who revealed the Command Card with the least number of pips will go first, issuing Orders to their troops based on the card they played. This will be followed by the second player. Once both players have issued their Orders, play will go back to the first player who will begin their activations. When activated, a unit may perform 2 actions (usually move and/or attack, but there are others to choose from as well). Activation will take turns until all units with Orders have activated. When attacking, the player will roll a number of dice based on the unit’s attack value. The defender will then try to defend against any hit results. Gameplay will continue until a player either completely wipes out the opposing force or the game goes for 6 rounds.

Star Wars Legion Expansion Boxes

Several of the Star Wars Legion expansions
(Image from Fantasy Flight Games)

Right off the bat, Fantasy Flight released several expansions with the base game. These included the AT-ST, T-47 Airspeeder, 74-Z Speeder Bikes Unit, AT-RT Unit, Stormtroopers Unit, Rebel Troopers Unit, but has also expanded further to add General Veers as a Commander. According to the Fantasy Flight website, there are additional expansions already available for pre-order, which include several new Commanders (Leia Organa and Han Solo) and more unit troops (Snowtroopers, Rebel Commandos, and Fleet Troopers). There are also several play-mats, extra dice and terrain packs available for purchase, but most of the players that I personally know use custom terrain.

Painted Legion Minis

Several examples of painted minis for Star Wars: Legion as painted by Domagoj Mitrovic for Great Escape Games. (As with most of these photos, click to enlarge for better detail.)

Though perhaps it shouldn’t have to be said, I still feel I need to point out that this is not a board game. It is a miniatures wargame so the “base set” is really more of a “starter set.” There is enough in the box to get started, but to get the full experience, you’ll want to flesh out your custom forces with a few expansions. I feel there’s going to be a lot of support coming out of Fantasy Flight for the game, so it isn’t one that will just be pushed aside and forgotten about for something else (don’t worry X-Wing players, we’re not going to be forgotten about either! 2.0 is coming out soon!). Overall, I feel there’s quite a bit of a learning curve when getting started. If you’ve never played a skirmish game before, it’s not very easy to jump right into, but for veteran wargamers, it’s pretty easy and quick to pick up. Not really a game for kids unless they already have a lot of experience with this type of game. One of the things that I really like is that Fantasy Flight has included sections on how to assemble the minis, build some DIY terrain, basing techniques, and painting basics within the rulebook. I think that with where the game is right now, the gameplay is kind of “meh,” but there is a lot of potential with the upcoming expansions that will allow for force customization and more diversity in match ups. May the Force (and the 4th!) be with you on this year’s Star Wars Day!

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