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Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader face off on the moon of Endor in Star Wars: Legion from Fantasy Flight Games.
Charlie Hall/Polygon

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Star Wars: Legion stole the show at this year’s Gen Con

New hobby miniatures game from Fantasy Flight drew big crowds

Charlie Hall is Polygon’s tabletop editor. In 10-plus years as a journalist & photographer, he has covered simulation, strategy, and spacefaring games, as well as public policy.

Star Wars: Legion is a brand new hobby miniatures game from Fantasy Flight Games that was unveiled for the first time at this year’s Gen Con in Indianapolis. Two-player demos took place on stunning, hand-made dioramas that were the talk of the show.

Legion is a points-based wargame. The boxed starter set will come with 33 unpainted miniatures, about enough for two 500-point teams of Rebels and Imperials, as well as a collection of eight barricades for cover. Tournament play will feature 1000-point teams, and Fantasy Flight has plans for more factions down the line.

Even more exciting than the stunning dioramas was the level of refinement on display from Alex Davy, a designer with experience on the hugely popular Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures Game and Star Wars: Armada.

Rebels and Imperial Stormtroopers exchange fire on the moon of Endor.
Charlie Hall/Polygon and Charlie Hall/Polygon

“You can see a lot of Fantasy Flight’s core DNA in this game,” Davy said. “It’s not a house style, but because we have the same design team and we all work together on a lot of different projects, we pull elements that we like from those designs when we’re making a new thing.”

One of the highlights of the game is how quickly it moves. Take the infantry teams, for example. Each is divided into units of five. Measurements are only needed to move the leader, and subsequent units can be placed nearby at will so long as they’re within a minimum range. No rulers are required, and all measurements are taken with out-of-the-box components.

“Something that I really like from X-Wing and Armada is the sense of momentum those games both share,” Davy said. “The fact that units are constantly in motion in Legion means you avoid the sort of frustrating stalemates that can often arise in wargames where two sides are just blasting at each other from cover for the whole game and rolling dice and not doing a lot of tactical repositioning.”

photo of Star Wars: Legion speeder bike miniature
A Scout Trooper on a Speeder Bike rounds a mud hut on Tatooine, rapidly closing distance with a team of Rebels in cover.
Photo: Charlie Hall/Polygon

The game’s systems also pull from Star Wars lore as much as possible. Speeder Bikes are high-speed units and great for flaking, but when activated they must take a movement action. If they cannot complete their move and hit a piece of terrain, they have a good chance of blowing up on the spot.

Facing and turning is handled with Armada-style hinged rulers. Three different sizes come in the box. Notches are included in the front of larger units, and their bases feature markings for each quadrant. Some attacks, like the Scout Trooper’s blaster pistol, can be made from the side or the rear of the unit. Range is managed with a segmented ruler, which is also included in the base set.

Each team must field a commander, and two units come in the base set: Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader. Both have unique command cards which are shuffled into the deck before each battle. These allow for special abilities to come into play.

Darth Vader commands two squads of Stormtroopers in battle on Mustafar.
Charlie Hall/Polygon

“If you bring Vader, that’s the only way you can play ‘Master of Evil,’” Davy said. “It’s one of those cards that can totally change a game. It involves a mechanic that we haven’t been displaying here for simplicity’s sake, but he puts out Suppression Tokens — three Suppression Tokens on every enemy unit within range one to two.

“If you get too much suppression, you run away. So it’s as if Vader’s presence is so terrifying that him even being nearby is enough to completely panic units. And so it’s a once-per-game effect, but at a pivotal moment it can totally turn the tide of battle.”

Star Wars: Legion will cost $89.95 and be available in early 2018. Expect tournaments to spring up at your friendly local game store soon after.

Polygon was on the floor at the 50th annual Gen Con tabletop gaming convention in Indianapolis, Indiana. You can find all our stories here as they go live throughout this week.

A battle on Endor in front of the Death Star shield bunker doors. Charlie Hall/Polygon
The rebel’s support unit is this massive AT-RT. It features a small set of cards, not unlike in X-Wing, that allow you to mount different weapons on the front.
Charlie Hall/Polygon
A diorama on Mustafar from the Rebel perspective.
Charlie Hall/Polygon
Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker fight on Tatooine.
Once engaged in melee combat, units cannot be fired upon from range. That tends to encourage dramatic battles in the middle of the map.
Charlie Hall/Polygon
Infantry units move in small, fluid groups. Cover is granted if the majority of units are touching a piece of scenery.
Charlie Hall/Polygon
Rebels take the fight to the enemy.
Large, 32 mm miniatures make for a dramatic scene at the table.
Charlie Hall/Polygon
A players uses a flexible range ruler to move infantry into cover.
Range markers are thematically modeled and can be painted as well.
Charlie Hall/Polygon
A player uses a range ruler to determine if Rebels are within the firing arc of his Stormtroopers.
The ruler used to measure firing arcs is segmented, and can be disassembled for storage or tight spaces.
Charlie Hall/Polygon
Gen Con 2017 - hands reach into a diorama of Tatooine from Star Wars: Legion
Players will benefit from lush terrain. It’s unlikely that the eight simple barricades in the box will be enough to satisfy everyone.
Photo: Charlie Hall/Polygon
Stormtroopers take cover on the moon of Endor. Charlie Hall/Polygon
Two Stormtroopers stand guard at the Fantasy Flight booth at Gen Con 2017.
The 501st Legion was on hand to pull security at the unveiling.
Charlie Hall/Polygon
The key art includes Darth Vader using the Force in battle. Charlie Hall/Polygon


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