Fantasy Flight Games Review – Tales of a Gamer: Part 1

Earlier this year, Fantasy Flight Games (FFG) released a new table top miniature game called Star Wars Legion. In it, fans would be able to take control of either the Rebels or the Imperial forces, constructing and painting a team to battle for the fate of the galaxy (or at the very least, the table top). This series of articles will explore my trials and tribulations as I try to learn all the different aspects of the game; collecting, painting, building squads and, most importantly, playing.

In my teenage years, I had collected Warhammer 40,000, mainly because I liked to paint the miniatures. I played very few games and only then, with a large group of people in control of a squad or two. As I got older, I decided that it wasn’t for me, that I had more important things to do with my time. Throwing away all my paints and models, I said goodbye to a hobby I thought I would never return to…

…That is until my son (Charlie) saw Legion and got the core boxset for himself. Although the miniatures looked cool and the game interesting, I told him I just didn’t have the time. Not only were we playing X-Wing and Destiny (two other games from FFG), I did not have the time to paint as well as learn a new game system. Determined to do my fatherly duty, I did agree to help teach Charlie to paint. That was my first mistake. I hadn’t picked up a paint brush in years, yet the techniques and style came flooding back to me. Just like that, my head drooped and I was in.

The next week, I brought myself a core set and started to explore the contents with a more detailed eye. The first thing I found was the rulebook. FFG are very good at publishing all their rules on their website and I’ve found it far easier having the rulebook on my iPad, than having the paper copy. Thankfully, Charlie is at that wonderful age where he reads and retains every last detail, so my reading of the rulebook has been somewhat slow. I then started to look at the miniatures. Although I had been helping Charlie with his, there were certain things he wasn’t too bothered about. The mould lines on his models didn’t bother him and the bases were fine just as they were. Not for me.

I’d already brought a number of paints for Charlie. Having used Citadel paints before, I brought these again as I knew they were good quality. I had a bit of a shock when I found all the names had changed since I had last painted. However, finding a few conversion charts helped me to work out what we needed. I also brought a can of black primer and some various sized brushes. With me painting my own models, I suddenly found myself buying sand and rocks to base my models and a modelling knife to do my best to remove the mould lines. I spent hours watching video tutorials to see what had changed in the world of miniature painting since I left it. And oh had it changed. But very soon I had assembled my core models and began painting. And painting. And painting.

It felt like all I had really done was paint. Charlie and I had the odd game here and there with a friend from Asgard Games called Andrew. One of the great advantages of playing Andrew, rather than just Charlie and me playing, is that Andrew plays Imperial. The basic point cost of a game is 800, yet under Andrew’s advisement, we have yet to play a full 800 point game. Instead, we started small, playing 350 points, 400 points and 500 points. This allowed us to learn the rules gradually, rather than having a shock to the system with every new rule to follow. It was certainly interesting. With so few units available, our tactics have been limited. It has also meant though, that with such little time to play, we don’t feel like we are getting left behind.

So what have I learnt from these games so far? Well, to be honest, that all the really cool looking stuff (the airspeeder, Luke Skywalker) are all very expensive point wise and are a huge hit on what else you can run. In the few games I’ve played, it would seem the more basic squads you have, the better. I do wonder if this carries through to full 800 point games. Although having seen some game reports on Facebook, this does seem to be a pattern. With some new releases due very soon, this could all very quickly change (and provide yet more stuff that needs painting!). What it does mean is that I still need to practice, to really get my head around the rules as they certainly aren’t learnt yet.

Of course, between games I’ve been doing my best to paint all my units. Although it seems like a hardship at times, what I really like is because of the game being so new, the releases for new units seem quite slow. Now some may complain about this, but for me who doesn’t have a huge amount of time spare, it gives me the chance to catch up on all the painting I need to do, without worrying about when the next release is. And I suppose this is what is great for any new player. With games like Warhammer, that are so well established, you have a huge army to buy and paint from the word go. Everyone knows more than you do. This is not the case with Legion. The game is still developing and crucial squads are still yet to be released. It is easy for any newcomers to leap onto the game and not feel at a total loss.

And that brings us up to speed with where I am. I’ve brought a few more things for my army. The first was a second core set to give me a second set of dice (there isn’t enough in just one box), a second AT-RT and some more rebel troopers. I’ve also brought Han, Leia and a set of commandos. I have a beautiful shelf that is filled with two painted core units, a painted Luke, Leia and AT-RT. The AT-RT even has magnetised weapons (I know a man shouldn’t get really excited by magnets, but oh my gosh, are they cool!). I’ve just finished four commandos and have started to paint Han. I feel quite proud of myself and the army has a good, uniformed look to it. Then I look at the shelf beneath with three more core squads and sigh, knowing I still have a fair bit more painting to do before I can say I’m on top of things.

Next week, Charlie and I are going to our first Legion tournament. I would never usually dream of going to a tournament so soon, but it is at a store we regularly play Destiny tournaments at. The staff are great with Charlie and are always so welcoming. The other reason I agreed to go, was that the tournament is for a 400 point army. It’s what Charlie and I are used to playing so (hopefully) we won’t be too out of our depth. So my next tale will be all about how Charlie and I got on! Until next time, may the force be with you…