With it's release just around the corner and a few practice games under my belt I thought I'd do a basic review of Fantasy Flight's newest Star Wars offering: Star Wars Legion.
I'll separate the review into parts in case you just want to read about certain aspects of the game, so without further adieu, here's the review.
The first thing many people will notice if they've played games from Fantasy Flight is that this game comes with a great plastic insert that does a really good job of keeping all the components organised. In the past I've opened so many FF games to be greeted by some folded cardboard in the box that doesn't make any sense to store the components contained within so this was a very pleasing sight.
On to the range and movement rulers, these look great, the range ruler is segmented and it fits together really solidly with markers to indicate each range, the movement 'rulers' are in two pieces with a hinge in the middle so you can change the direction you want to move in and each has a speed value marked by some pill-shaped pips. Both of these components have detailing to make them look Star Wars-y that is subtle but really makes them look great, my only issue with the movement rulers was when i was putting one together they were hard to snap together and one of the pegs broke when I snapped it together which was a little annoying because now it's a little limp.
The dice are well made and feel good, the only head-scratcher (if you haven't played X-wing or Armada before) is that there aren't enough, there's about half of what you need in each dice variant which is slightly disappointing.
The cards are in the usual sizes for FF: mini US for upgrades and standard for unit cards, have great quality finishes and look awesome with all their Star Wars embellishments.
There's also some little Cardboard L shaped pieces I couldn't figure out for ages but it seems they're to create boarders, or corners I guess for a playing space, however if you knock them even slightly the dimensions will be completely lost. Take my advice and buy an X-wing playmat if you plan on playing the game, it may look a little weird playing on a space backdrop but they are the correct size and I'm sure FF will release one's that have terrain on them soon.
Alright the part you're waiting for: The Miniatures themselves, these are great, they're detailed, they're solid and they are true to the cannon. In the past FF has had some miniatures of pretty questionable quality in their games but I noticed when I bought a recent expansion to Mansions of Madness that the minis were of much better quality than the previous ones. I suspect in preparation for Legion FF have switched to a new manufacturer and I love it, the Legion minis look so good assembled and painted from the detail on the vehicles and troops' gear and the really solid looking barricades to the poses of Darth and Luke in the starter set. Speaking of looks: the minis all come unpainted which I know is a bit of a dividing issue with gamers, the players with little time would probably rather them come pre-painted (especially with the quality we've seen in X-Wing) but it allows you to customise the colour schemes as you wish and lets you create your own Legion. My only issue with the minis was that the instructions are not great which didn't really matter for most of the minis but the speeder bikes have a lot of fiddly bits and it was hard to tell where everything went from the instructions.
Star Wars: Legion is really fun to play, the battles have turn limits so it doesn't drag on ever, the system is easy to learn and functions well and without hassle and it feels like a skirmish.
Okay, so the game is set in two phases: Command and Activation, in the command phase both players choose a command card from their hands and place them face down on the table, command cards are then flipped face up and initiative is determined from the speed value of the cards with the lowest gaining initiative (acting first), Each command card also has a number on it indicating how many units it allows you to issue commands to. both players then choose the units they will be issuing commands to this turn by placing command chits next to them and the game proceeds to the activation phase. In the activation phase each players takes turn activating their chosen units with the initiative player going first, my favorite part of this system though is that you don't have to choose the units that you assigned chits to, if you decide that activating one of those units might not be the best idea right now you can randomly select one of your other units and activate it instead, this allows for a lot of flexibility as the flow of battle changes.
Combat plays out nicely as well, it's easy without being too simple making it flow really smoothly which is a big thing for strategic combat games, battles are fought using the dice indicated on your unit's card, with each member of the unit contributing the dice indicated by it's weapon to the attack pool, then the opponent rolls the defense dice indicated on their unit's card.
The game continues in this fashion until one team is wiped out or six turns are up which is another feature I really like about this game, the turn limit means there are no stand-off situations where no one does anything for a long time, conversely I can see why some people wouldn't like the turn limit as it encourages aggressive plays early but the game is designed to be a quick jump in and have a few skirmishes style thing which makes is great if you want to be able to get a decent number of games in and don't have a huge amount of time to spend.
Star Wars Legion is a great skirmish game and fits very well into Fantasy Flights Star Wars Games, in a slot that was previously occupied by Imperial Assault. the game has obviously been made with a system very similar to X-Wing and Armada but adapted to better suit squad-based ground combat. The game has it's drawbacks, sometimes matches can feel a little short, like you didn't really achieve much but they are few and far between and the game makes up for it with a system that has such a great flow and feel. I would recommend this game to any Star Wars fan especially those who enjoy X-wing and/or Armada or to people who are looking for a cheaper and less time consuming alternative to other tabletop wargames.
And that's it for the review, thanks for reading and stay tuned for more.