For weeks now, I have not peeked from our shelter. My father will not let me go out, though I believe I can handle the gun better than he does. But when he did not come back from the food trip, I had no choice. There is no place to hide on the surface, but fortunately, after a few hours, I hit the rebel camp. I sneaked closer, and when I saw a few familiar faces, I showed myself to them. Suddenly, I’m part of a rebellion!
And part of the Star Wars world is meant for the players in the impatiently anticipated Star Wars: Legion board game. It was prepared for us at Fantasy Flight Games, namely by designer Alex Davy, who brings it as a miniature fight in a far-far away galaxy. The game was released in 2018 and Esdevium Games has taken its distribution under their wings.
Box with a wild shootout on the lid is big enough, and when the players open it, they look at several compartments in a plastic insert. These are mostly filled with plastic miniatures and their parts, but players can also add a few pieces of cardboard components and two decks of cards. There are also six-and eight-sided dice.
Before the first game, players must first prepare all the miniatures and attach missing limbs, weapons and other parts.Those larger figures are much more complex and require a lot of components for them to look like they should. In addition to the miniatures, there is also a ruler for measuring distance and velocity, as well as large plastic barricades.
At the beginning of the game, both opponents create a battlefield and set its borders. The barricades just mentioned are placed in somewhere in space based on sketch in rules, and then there is a rotary turn counter. Before any further preparations begin, it is necessary for the rivals to agree, who will fight for the Empire and who for the Rebels. Everybody then takes cards for their side and spreads them on his side of the battlefield together with miniatures.
Some of the figurines will create a starting army, that the players will stand into his playing area just off the edge of the battlefield, ready to enter immediately and launch fire on the enemy. Players get also a set of command cards, while all other tokens create a stock on the side along with dice and scales.
The whole match consists of six rounds, at the beginning of each of them, player always chooses order card he wishes to pass on to his subordinates. Both opponents choose their card for the current round together secretly, and then reveal it.
Comparing plans of both rivals, however, is only a basic idea of what will happen on the battlefield in the next few moments. Their values of the initiative will determine, which of the opponents will get the chance to act first.
By choosing command cards, players simply delegate the chance to shout orders to all units in the vicinity of one of the commanders. These are only commanders of individual units, that may otherwise consist of a higher number of miniatures. However, card allows you to select only a few of the available targets to be marked by the player using the token of the command.
In the order of the initiative, players will always activate one character on the battlefield. Advantage serves those, who have already heard the goal from the mouth of the commander standing nearby. They can be chosen by the player, whenever they feel its appropriate for them. The rest of the units will come into action in random order as the player draws the token of the order corresponding to the unit.
Soldiers and vehicles have a choice of four available actions. The basic thing is, of course, movement on the map, which has to follow speeds on the scale one to three. It depends on the length of the soldier’s legs, but also on other support. People simply can not compete with techniques. But where they have a disadvantage in speed, they can do much better maneuvering. Big unit have to follow its notches on the base and respect rotation from the previous turn. Steps are then measured using plastic rulers, which have three different lengths corresponding to the available speeds. The figures of one company must then stick together and be close enough to each other.
Players can also prepare their units for attack or defense, and assign them a bonus token, they will benefit from in their next activity. Combat itself uses weapons printed on the unit card and can be melee or ranged. Shots can always be made to the front and human units can use the barricades to protect from bullets and missiles.
Combat is done using dice. The attacker will receive the corresponding set of dice for his group of pieces according to selected weapons and marks unit for attack. These dice and their results can be blocked by the defenders with help of their preparatory tokens and, above all, using their own defense set of dice. Only the difference between hits and shields rolled in the conflict will determine, if there has been any injury at all. Miniature owner places a token of injury near his miniature. The winner will be decided by the number of victory points scored for the whole game or at the moment, when last figure of his opponent is eliminated from the battlefield.
Star Wars: Legion is a two-player fighting game. It is surprisingly simple at the base and offers a sufficient level of maneuvering and expanding possibilities. The bad news for all Imperial Assault lovers is, that the games are not compatible with each other. This is a big con.
Most of the experience shifts around command and control system. Players are fighting for initiative, trying to choose the right units. But if the situation changes with an opponent’s choice, they may even prefer fighters, they did not initially choose. In addition, commands are passed through commanders directly on the battlefield, which greatly shifts the atmosphere. Only where the commander is able to give instructions, you can really deliver them.
Miniature board games are not a simple field of gaming industry. The competition is great and there are especially demanding players in here. Even so, Star Wars: Legion can get through. Of course, this can be thanks to a popular theme, that will bring the game closer to its audience. Moreover, there is a nice simplicity of rules and reasonable playing time of no more than ninety minutes. Players plan together and then only evaluate one of six rounds. These usually come within a quarter-hour length. The preparation of the match is quick, if you do not want to build your own army (but this does not happen with the basic box).
Such a level of miniature game definitely needs some glueing. We, for review reasons, do not usually complete the game irretrievably, but still we can see that a lot of work and connecting is waiting for the players. Fortunately, rules come with entire section devoted to this, as well as coloring and especially the possibility to extend its experience and how to create your own battlefield. For this part of the guide, we give bonus points to the designer.
But the whole impression is disturbed by the absolutely absurd price and the incompleteness of the basic box. If you fight for two sides, in the first few games you will try all the options and you will have nothing to discover. Fortunately, FFG has released plenty of expansion boxes to move the game further. But you have to pay for that, and quite high price. We will show in another review, how much are these expansions worth as we will focus on some of these boxes. But no matter what the impression we bring later, the basic box offers a pile of miniatures, but it has problems with variability.
Star Wars: Legion, despite criticism in the previous paragraph, is a game, that will fill many players with joy. Of course, it will be the lovers of the Star Wars world, that will get all their favorite characters and the opportunity to experience complex battles on a big table. Number of expanding rules mean, that new challenges are ahead of you, even if they do not attract the components themselves. Processing is very solid.
+ tactical options for selecting units
+ exciting combat
+ advanced rules
+ basically relatively simple
+ concept of commander and good movement
+ theme of Star Wars
+ cards and capabilities