Review: Star Wars Legion boardgame

Miniature games where armies go head-to-head have been popular for decades. Examples are Warhammer and Axis & Allies, who haven’t lost any of their popularity over the last 35 years. So it’s strange that a really good Star Wars variant. Fortunately, there’s American game manufacturer Fantasy Flight Games. They have released a great series of Star Wars games, including fan favorites X-Wing, Rebellion and Imperial Assault. In 2018 they released Star Wars Legion: the miniature wargame that fans had been waiting for so long.

The game

Legion in a nutshell: Two armies (rebels and imperials) compete against each other. An army consists of various types of miniatures: a leader (in the base set Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker), support (Speederbikes and an AT-RT), stormtroopers and rebels, and a stormtrooper and rebel commander. You would say: two armies are fighting, so the winner is the one who has defeated the other completely first. Fortunately, it is not that simple: i you are given a mission (for example to intercept a transmission) by means of a card. If you succeed in this during the game (which lasts 6 rounds), you win, even if you have fewer miniatures on the table.

As can be seen on the photos it is not played on a board with squares. You move your miniatures by means of various bendable rulers. Where the game can of course be played on an empty table, you can also paint the miniatures and make a diorama on which you play the game. Legion is really more than a game; it’s a complete hobby. Don’t be discouraged by the phenomenal creations you encounter online; I speak from my own experience when I say that with the right paint (I can wholeheartedly recommend Games Workshop’s Citadel paints) you can go a long way and you can buy ready-made items such as miniature trees and grass mats at model shops to make your diorama. There are many tutorials online on how to get the best results. This way you can have hours of fun in addition to playing. No time to make a beautiful diorama? Then you can always use one of the separately available play mats to quickly and easily have something great on the table!

The core set and extensions

The Legion base set logically contains everything to play the game: 1 book with all the rules, 1 plate with tokens, a number of miniatures (Darth Vader, Luke Skywalker, an AT-RT, 2 Speederbikes, a number of Rebels, 1 Rebel leader, a gusset stormtroopers and 1 stormtrooper leader), a set of dice and assorted cards. Fantasy Flight Games is known for their great design (both physical and visual) of their games and that is the case here as well. The cards are beautiful and sturdy and the rulebook extensive, but it is again the miniatures that steal the show. All figures must be put together (with super glue -not included-) and when this is done there is a fantastic group of Star Wars miniatures in front of you. Sturdy, diverse and above all detailed. I can well imagine that diorama builders would buy this game just for the figures. As with most Fantasy Flight Games games, there are a lot of expansions, ranging from heroes like Leia and Han to the Imperial bunker from Endor and a Snowspeeder. An extensive list can be found here.

Pros

  • Visually and technically it looks fantastic
  • There are many expansions to make the game even more extensive.
  • It’s more than a game; it’s a complete hobby

Cons

  • The expansions are relatively expensive
  • To make the game look really great, a lot of time and money has to be invested in materials, painting the miniatures and making scenery
  • The game is not ‘ready to play’ (all miniatures must be glued)

Summary

Legion is the game that fans of Star Wars and wargames have been waiting for for so long: extensive, beautiful and a hobby in itself. For the casual gamer, however, all this can be too much of a good thing since it comes unpainted and without the beautiful scenery. Wargamers who like Star Wars can purchase it blindly; If you don’t belong to this group, you would do well to first play a demo or watch a Youtube video where this game is played.