Review: Do Yourself A Favor And Play Star Wars LEGION

Play Legion you must, have fun you will.

Coming out at the end of March Star Wars: Legion is a new tabletop wargame from Fantasy Flight Games. Unlike previous offerings from FFG, LEGION is a full company-level ground combat game in the vein of Warhammer 40,000 and Warmachine. Like those other games it also has hobby elements, and both building and painting of miniatures will be required. I’ve been lucky enough to get to play with advanced copies of the game and am here to tell you it is a ton of fun. Here are some of my impressions.

Caveat : While the Starter Set comes with the main rules the full rules reference PDF which clarifies some things and has rules for terrain is not out yet. Due to this there may be some inaccuracies in how we currently understand rules.  

The Models Are Amazing

One of the most important, if not the most important, things about a miniatures game are the miniatures. In the run up to this release there have been a lot of questions about the minis for Legion. How do they look, are they good quality, etc.. Well, I’ve gotten the chance to mess with, both painted and out of the box, all the initial release sets and can firmly say that these models are great. These are high quality sculpts with a lot of detail that simply look wonderful. The plastic is harder than FFG has used in the past for infantry and is overall a better quality. The units are easy to put together and paint and look great on a tabletop. In particular the vehicles have a lot of very crisp details and just look amazing.

Compared to other miniatures games Star Wars units tend to be far less elaborate. Next to the massively busy and ornate 40K models like Mortarion it’s natural to think that a Stromtrooper or Vader looks a little plain. Of course thats not FFG’s fault, nor is it a comment on the quality of the sculpts. Star Wars is a gritty place, not often given to the baroque and gothic themes of some other games. That’s simply how the Galaxy Far Far Away is, and FFG has done a tremendous job capturing those worlds and looks.

Simple And Easy Rules

So simple even a Trekkie can learn

Legion is an easy game to pick up and play. It’s rules are tightly written (like all FFG games) but not overly complicated. Most of the rules are very intuitive and easy to figure out. With only a small initial test game we were able to pick up Legion and play a full sized 800 point game on our Twitch channel. Over three hours we got though three turns of the game, while still learning and talking to a live audience with a lot of questions. Thats about as far as most 40K games go, and we have a lot of experiences with 40K.  This will be a game that both newbies and tabletop wargames veterans can pick up and run with.

The rulebook is also well laid out, making it easy to find rules and answers. FFG is known for writing tight systems that lend themselves to competitive play and this game is no exception. The rule are detailed without being cluttered and provide a lot of structure.

Vehicles Feel Special

One of the things I really like about Legion is how it deals with vehicles. Vehicles are one of the hardest things for wargame rules to get right but Legion nails it. For the most part they function the same as anything else in the game. However when it comes to movement they are much more restricted than infantry. Mostly they have to move in a forward direction with a turn or two. This manages to make they both feel like they have some mass, without being too restrictive. They also have facings, meaning that some weapons can only fire in certain directions and some vehicles are weaker in places, like the rear. Lastly most of them have armor, a special ability that makes them very hard for small arms to hurt.

All together these rules make vehicles feel special while not bogging them down with a host of special rules. Vehicles still feel like they are part of the game, but act in a unique way. They also feel like they have some weight and power behind them, which I really like.

Tactically Deep

Legion is a game that brings a lot of tactical deep to the table top. As I mentioned above, vehicles have to deal with facings and turns, something which some people complain other games are currently lacking. The system of alternating activations adds a whole layer for strategy to the game, making players decide if they want to get the jump on the enemy or react to what they’ve done. It’s deep and rewarding.

The system of using a command pool to randomly determine what units get to active is also really cool. While your Command Cards let you modify what units go when by a bit, you do have a big random element there. This is a great way of represented the fog of war and making things a bit uncertain.  It also puts a lot of strategy into what command cards to bring and when to use them. If you are looking for a game that has depth this is the game for you.

That FFG Feeling

This game does bear the hallmarks of a classic FFG game. From movement tools to custom dice, it just feels different from your standard wargames coming out of the other major manufacturers.  Overall however I feel these elements combine to good effect in the game.  The custom dice allow for more granularity of results than basic d6s do. The movement tool really shines in making vehicles feel special. Overall this game has a lot of unique mechanics that really make it stand out as it’s own thing.

You Don’t Have To Buy Everything

 

One of the complaints you heave about some FFG games is how you have to buy everything to stay competitive. Because they often package generically useful, or must have, upgrade cards in single expansions you often have to buy a new release to get the needed card, regardless of if you want the model. They seem to have made a real effort to avoid that with Legion. So far most of the upgrade boxes come with 4-5 upgrade cards. The majority of those cards are only usable by the unit they come with. While there are a few generic upgrade cards, these cards come in all the sets of the same type (i.e. infantry or vehicle). So while you may want to buy some extra infantry to bulk out your force, Rebels players are not going to be forced to buy Imperial units (or metric units) just to get cards.

Give It A Shot

Just make sure YOU shoot first.

Here is the bottom line. If you like Star Wars, tactically complex games or both this game is going to be for you. It’s simple, yet deep. It’s got beautiful models and an expanding range. It’s also simply a ton of fun. AT-STs, Airspeeders, Darth Vader Force Choking, Imperial Stormtropers with precision aim (and armor that actually counts), this game has it all. If you are a wargamer, you owe it to yourself to give it a try.

What the worst that could happen?

Are you looking forward to Legion? Let us know down in the comments! 

  • Jose Luis Camarasa

    BUY IT DAMN IT

    • Fergie0044

      JUST DO IT

    • marxlives

      Reading and watching Legion play out, the game seems like everything 8th promised to be through marketing but through underpaid development staff, didn’t deliver.

      • Jose Luis Camarasa

        Lets hope that both make babies together

        • marxlives

          Where is that Barry White CD…?

  • AmorousBadger

    I give this 4 months before BOLS is running articles on ‘how to beat the SW:L meta’, whilst simultaneously complaining about how ‘the meta’ is sucking the fun out of the game.

    • orionburn III

      Followed by an article with a list that helps break the game…lol

      • ZeeLobby

        I mean they might try. It’s a lot harder to do when the game isn’t as easily broken. FFG is pretty good about rebalancing power levels.

        • AmorousBadger

          I dunno, there’s some pretty cheesy lists out there for the Imperial Assault skirmish game..

          • ZeeLobby

            Skirmish was always an rpg-driven side game. They don’t rules like organized play events or tournaments circuits for imperial skirmish. Not to mention they’ve probably known for a while that legion was on the horizon. Why offer two very close products in the same space supported to the same level?

          • marxlives

            Use your IA models to proxy a game.

          • AmorousBadger

            Mate, I’m a 40K ‘player’ who hasn’t played since the eve of 2nd edition. ‘Counts as’ is practically my middle name.
            Me and a bunch of mates once played a whole campaign using Realm of Chaos Chaos Renegade rules, some Space Hulk Terminators, Heroquest figures and the Space Orks and Space Dwarves box sets.
            On Space Hulk and Dark Future Tiles for terrain.

            For what it’s worth, my Chaos Warband was wiped out following a teleport accident that summoned a Bloodthirster(Read: the Gargoyle from ‘HQ’) into my midst. Some unfortunate rolls from the GM basically saw it slaughter everyone apart from the war band leader before succumbing to Instability and vanishing again.

          • marxlives

            So what is wrong with using you IA models to proxy a Legions game? I am confused.

          • AmorousBadger

            Nothing, that’s what I’m saying.

          • marxlives

            Man I am tired today. Next time just attach a bullhorn and and Christmas lights to the sarcasm cause my brain is running on fumes.

          • AmorousBadger

            We’ve all been there, homes.

        • Just wait till we let Goatboy start making LEGION army lists…

      • Ian Earle

        Then…GW PRICES CONFIRMED! NOW BACK TO MORE NON-TACTICAL DISCUSSION FROM PIMPCRON

      • Pl4gu3 B4st4rd

        By Goatboy.

        • Now now, everyone knows the Goat is tame. Just feed him SPAM and he’s happy in his pen.

    • Hey, the cycle of life is the cycle of life. 🙂

      There’s no pushing back the tide.

  • Slippy

    Even if the game is great, the FFG selling model really turns me off. It put me off of X-Wing too

    • ZeeLobby

      Well this is different then X-Wing. The only cards you’ll need will be in your own faction boxes (supposedly), and the units actually look internally balanced enough to buy a box of everything.

      • 9breaker

        I thought that cards were X-Wing solution to the limited factions available in the SW universe.

        How would this game move beyond just Rebels v Empire? Have they announced if they will be releasing other factions?

        • marxlives

          They haven’t announced the additional factions but in conventions they have stated that there will be additional ones.

        • ZeeLobby

          I mean at this scale of skirmish I don’t see why you couldn’t do any race. Jawas. Sand people. Bounty hunters. Etc. Just cause they haven’t been huge in movies doesn’t mean they can’t be expanded.

          • marxlives

            since Disney bought the rights, technically Mandalor.

          • ZeeLobby

            Very true. I mean technically they have a whole galaxy and new fluff to explore. Whose to say there can’t be new races, etc.

        • There are some “hooks” in the rules and some cards that strongly imply that more factions can be added later.

          I think FFG need to move aggressively to get Scum and Villainy into LEGION as soon as they can.

          • marxlives

            With all the stuff they are releasing when the game isn’t even out yet, I wouldn’t be surprised to see another faction this year.

          • 9breaker

            I’m wondering how tight of a leash Disney has on FFG. Are they able to dive into other eras of SW or even Legends? I would love some stuff from Old Republic era, Mandelorian Wars, etc. Fielding a small elite strike squad of Jedi, etc. There is so much they could include if they move past the OT.

      • Exactly. So far in the wave 1 releases, we saw no “mandatory cross faction cards” included in each set. So if you want to play Imperials, you should only need to buy those kits.

        I think FFG has wisely realized that model only works on X-Wing with it’s much lower price point per ship.

        For a full miniature wargame I don’t think customers would put up with that kind of shell game.

        • marxlives

          That is true, X-wing draws not just wargamers but also people who are into the Clicks and like that sort of card collecting.

      • SacTownBrian

        Confirmed during the demo at LVO it’s the same as the very successful X-Wing and Armada.

        • ZeeLobby

          Who’d you talk to? There’s been multiple developer interviews that have been posted that say that it’s not the same. As well as confirmations throughout the community forums. All cards available to a faction can be found within the faction. I’d def be interested in knowing I’d there’s a valid conflicting source.

  • Pete McGwire

    Hey look it’s another battle of Luke vs Darth.
    Snore…….

    • ZeeLobby

      They already announced other commanders in wave 1 of the expansion, which should be hot on the heals of this. I mean a games gotta start somewhere. It’d be dumb not to start with it’s most iconic characters.

    • m3g4tr0n

      I’m in the same boat. I might check it out once other commanders are released who aren’t Jedi/Sith.

      • Patriarch

        They have previewed Veers and Leia.

        • m3g4tr0n

          I know. I’m holding off until they release more. I have zero interest in Jedi.

          • marxlives

            I have no interest in Star Wars but I am going to play. Because the core rules are solid and fun and the quality to price point value still puts it above some other options out there. Vehicles that behave like vehicles? Wtf?

    • marxlives

      Well they are kind of iconic. This game will not only be bought by wargamers but collectors will pick this up in droves.

    • Yeah, but it is the Starter Box. Who else would you put in there? Jabba vs an Ewok?

      Leia and General Veers have already been announced, so I wold soon expect a big set of commanders for both sides.

      The cool thing is how each commanders give you unique orders you can use on your army. Looking forward to that.

      • marxlives

        What you don’t see HUGE sales potential in an Jabba vs Ewok starter faction?

  • orionburn III

    Don’t know why but I can’t get past the card system with the game. That’s put me off of all of their games. Game does look good. I’ll give it that. Just not my cup of tea.

    • ZeeLobby

      Yeah. I mean it’s just different. Instead of having army lists, dataslates, and CP lists it’s all in card form. The downside is that they can crowd a table. The up side is that they’re easy to transport and identify for opponents. But I totally understand where people are coming from in this regard.

      • orionburn III

        I have no idea why it puts me off. I’ve never had an ounce of interest in any games like MtG so maybe that’s it. I know the FFG stuff isn’t chasing cards to the extent that games like Magic have you doing. And now with 40k you can argue that stratagems aren’t that different from something like Star Wars and its cards giving you different abilities.

        Either way it still comes down to too many games and not enough time to play them all.

        • Patriarch

          “Either way it still comes down to too many games and not enough time to play them all.”
          Ain’t that the truth.

          • ZeeLobby

            Forreal XD

          • The trials and tribulations of the 2018 gamer…

        • ZeeLobby

          Yeah, true. You gotta pick the games you enjoy. Nothing wrong with that. I mean I was excited for Steamforged Games new fantasy skirmish game until I found out it was played on hexes instead of using measuring. For me, taking out measuring kills a tabletop game and makes it very board gamey, just like cards make you feel like it’s MtGy. I wasn’t sold on FFG skirmish/wargames until I played Runewars. The mechanics were just so smooth and intuitive (minus flipping rune tokens XD), it got me a lot more excited for Legion. Before now I’ve only played FFG games in passing.

          • marxlives

            That is true, there are some systems that are so solid that you may end up selling your old system on ebay or FB. That is what happened to me but I never looked back or yearned because I was to busy having fun.

      • Yes, that is the classic FFG model. NO codexes, but tons of cards.

        The plus side is all of your rules are right there in front of you, so no flipping through books.

        The down side is your gametable looks messy, and don’t lose those cards!

        • marxlives

          No pausing the game to flip through books and having to print my list beforehand or write it down?! That is soooo stupid.

    • EnTyme

      The custom dice are what keep me away from FFG games. I’m okay with it in boardgames or even small skirmish games, but not in a wargame. And I still just can’t get excited about these minis. The vehicles are pretty cool, but the infantry? I can’t quite put my finger on it, but something just looks off about them. I hope others enjoy it, but I’ll just stick to FFG’s boardgames.

      • marxlives

        I felt the same way when I played X-Wing for the first time but honestly I wish MORE games did it. It is a quick easy way to stop the everything can kill everything you get with 40k through a simple flat stat, but you avoid the math in Warmachine you need to do to find target numbers RAT + d6 > or = Def with modifiers to get a granular game. It is an easy way to make a game simple while keeping it tactically granular. I am still going to play Warmachine because I love tactically granular games but I am definitely going to play Legion because I want a large sci fi game that is tactically granular but easy to pick up and this is the only one out there. And I am not a big Star Wars guy but I am a big rules and mechanics guy.

      • SacTownBrian

        I would swear they are using the old Star Wars miniature molds from the blind booster game.

    • marxlives

      I do like that since it is played on a 3×6 you can just add 12 inches to your deployment zone and use that extra space for your cards. Basically 40k has the same thing…warscrolls. But the cool thing is I never had to play a game of Warmachine or Dark Age with a rulebook or codex on the table to look things up.

      • orionburn III

        Good point. I need to give one of them a try. Hopefully they do some sort of demo day event at my local shop.

        • marxlives

          To make the image complete I hope the person is wearing a trench coat in the middle of summer and whispers “hey kid, play any Legion yet”.

      • Yeah – that’s what have been doing onstream. Just loading up the outer 6″ bands with all the cards.

        Works fine.

        You will need more dice though. The boxed set comes with about half of what you will need.

        If two players both bring their dice sets and pool them it’s probably enough.

        • marxlives

          True, I remember buying more Command Dice for Deadzone and dice for X-Wing.

      • SacTownBrian

        Actually it’s designed to play on a standard dining room table which is usually 36”x60”. The bane of every 40K player.

    • SacTownBrian

      Same reason I don’t want to play Shadspire Underworlds, thank you but I’ll pass on buying stuff I don’t want just to chase cards.

      • orionburn III

        Are you limited to the cards that come in the indivdual sets or can you add more in? I seriously know nothing about that game.

  • Nogle

    I’ve got too much on my plate right now. But if there is a way to run a full Ewok army, I’m all in.

    • Xodis

      That would be brilliant. The first “Horde” army lol

    • marxlives

      I was thinking about ewoks for the game yesterday and for some reason, I thought it was cool as heck.

  • JL

    “You Don’t Have To Buy Everything”

    Haha. You clearly don’t know me.

    I’d love to get in but I just can’t add any new games on top of all the other stuff. I’m already stalled on Imperial Assault minis. But I’ll probably crack eventually.

    • Xodis

      The size difference between IA models and Legion models isnt that big for troops (Vehicles are completely incompatible) so Im still grabbing everything IA so I have extras and unique models to make battles look a little bigger.

    • You don’t understand the POWER of the Dark Side!

      Join me and rule the galaxy as father and son…

  • Don’t have the time to dedicate to another game.

    I have two star wars miniatures games on my shelf from the long ago. I’ll sit back and wait and watch how this unfolds before I spend a dime. I just had to sell my armada off because no one wanted to play it.

    If its like xwing, combos and cards galore, I’ll pass. But to get a good feel of where the “meta” goes with it first, i’m going to wait a year or so.

    • bobrunnicles

      Agreed. If you end up having to buy (for example) a General Veers character pack just to have access to the ‘Stern Leadership’ card to use with my General Rieekan figure then I’ll pass.

      • Xodis

        That is not likely to happen, according to FFG.

        That being said, FFG likes to give out Alt-Art cards as rewards, so instead of buying the $20 Veers/Leia pack you can probably buy the $2-4 Stern Leadership card by itself, like you would bits for games that dont give you all that you need.

    • marxlives

      Well thank god we got 8th so we don’t have to play a game that depends on combos! 😉

      • Those aren’t my preferred games either but I’m not going to jump TO a system that is combo loaded.

        • marxlives

          I got you man I was just poking a little fun. Are you big into Flames of War or Team Yankee type games? Those seem like the only non combo games out there nowadays.

          • Nah not into world war 2, but you are right. Most modern game design is centered around trying to emulate board games and magic the gathering it seems.

            Hail Caesar is something that I enjoy a lot but is not seen at all where I am.

          • marxlives

            I run in to that with some of my games. Just me and a couple friends with Dark Age but nothing knocking down shelves at the local shops.

    • Oh come on Auticus, there’s always more time…

      Who needs time for silly things like exercise and showering… There’s games to be played!

      • Thats true. Showering is for the weak.

  • Jon Bohlinger
    • af

      Ah, Twilight Imperium. So pretty. So unplayable. The most expensive game I ever gave away.

    • Point taken.

      Oh Twilight Imperium…

  • Agent OfBolas

    Everything is fine, but the “FFG” mark as well as “Upgrade Cards” are for me a total no-go for this game. It’s going to be ultra expensive.

  • 9breaker

    UGH, more custom dice and measuring sticks. No thanks.

    • I think the custom dice are now “a thing” for all big FFG games. X-Wing got them hooked on custom D8s…

      The sticks can be replaced by a ruler once you know how long each section is (hint: its 6″). So the 4 ranges in the game are actually 6″, 12″ 18″ 24″

      • 9breaker

        Are they measurements in 6″ increments? If that is the case, then maybe its not as bad.

        I was just speaking from experience looking at the range measuring sticks in their other games , where they were not a round and easy number when you measured them out. Dice can be excused, but needing a bunch of specialized measuring tools were a turn off for me. I will wait to see.

        • marxlives

          The sticks are basically there for people who have never wargamed so they have everything they need.

  • frankelee

    Maybe it’ll have more appeal once they put out cooler looking units. For some reason when I look at the game previews, it’s not connecting with the Star Wars part of my brain. I’m not feeling anything.

  • Elijah Herstal

    Only two factions. Stormtroopers or rebels. No thanks. I want options.

    • af

      There are no other factions than Stormtroopers or Rebels.

      Maybe if they had filmed any other movies beyond The Only Trilogy they could have introduced some new factions. Shame that they didn’t.

      PS: maybe you could play with Ewoks?

      • There are lots of directions to expand:

        Scum and Villainy
        First Order
        Resistance
        Republic
        Seperatists
        Trade Federation
        Etc…

        • af

          “First Order”? “Separatists”? “Trade Federation”? I thought we were talking about Star Wars!

      • Elijah Herstal

        “There are no other factions than Stormtroopers and Rebels?”

        Obviously you haven’t had much experience with the Expanded Universe. The bit that hasn’t been retconned.

        P.S. maybe you could play with a fork and a light socket?

        • af

          Ouch. It was a joke. Specifically, the last joke in this strip: https://xkcd.com/566/

          • Elijah Herstal

            Oh, don’t get me wrong- I hate the prequels and sequels a lot.

            But I would at least like for this system to not narrow itself down to ONE era. I’d like to see some Clone Troopers, Droids, Mandalorians, Sith troopers, Old Republic Troopers, Imperial Knights, Vong, etc.

  • BrassWitch

    I wouldn’t call the models amazing, maybe mediocre at best. They look like something that got rejected from Mantic, specially the infantry.

    • marxlives

      The models just forgot to wear flare. Models must wear 15 or more pieces of flare before being considered beautiful.

  • Raven Jax

    I’d love to try it. However, I have neither enough time nor money. Simple as that. So no, I won’t be playing it.