As I’ve shown with the Buying Into Legion posts, while entering war gaming as a new hobby can be immensely rewarding, it’s also a not insubstantial investment. You should know what you’re getting into before you dive in, and you should know why you’re getting into it.
So if you’re still on the fence, here are a few reasons why Star Wars Legion and war gaming writ large might be right for you:
Painting is a wonderfully therapeutic hobby…
When I first started looking into Legion, my main reason for hesitancy was that I’d never painted a mini in my life. I was afraid that I would be too critical of my own work, or that I wouldn’t enjoy the process.
What I found, however, is that my ability level has had basically nothing to do with my enjoyment of a few zen hours of painting, getting my Bob Ross on. My first Stormtrooper brought me as much joy as the AT-ST (although my 28th Stormtrooper felt a little more tedious), and being able to see the progress I’ve made in just a few months is very gratifying. It’s nice to have an end product to show off.
More than that, it’s surprisingly easy to get into once you learn the basics.
The community is also incredibly supportive – even in the dregs of the Facebook groups you can get quality feedback and comments, no matter what your minis looks like.
…that you can totally ignore if you want to.
Of course, Legion is ultimately a war game. You don’t score objective points by having a prettier Darth Vader. If you really want to play and not paint, you have that prerogative.
Maybe all you do is assemble your minis and spray paint them one color. Maybe you pay someone else to do it for you. Or maybe you come to every tournament with half your army painted at any given time. That’s fine!
Play the game how you want to play it. If painting isn’t your thing, you can still find something worthwhile in Legion.
Games aren’t just about wins and losses, they’re about storytelling…
Picture this: your unit of Snowtroopers is pinned down behind a derelict building, threatened by a quickly approaching T-47 Airspeeder. It already made a mess of your AT-ST, wrapping it up in a tow cable and whipping it around, and it’s about to get behind your lines and tear up your fortified positions. With time running out, you’ve got to make a move. You decided to go for it.
You run out from the safety of the building’s shadow and into perilously open territory. One move forward, then another, then your entire unit is lobbing grenades at the oncoming speeder (which you used to be able to do, but not anymore) – a few miss, but the Airspeeder takes enough damage and explodes, crashing out of the sky. You’ve staved off destruction… for a turn, anyway.
And that’s just one activation! You’ve got a half dozen or more left to go, each single unit part of a larger battle. Painted minis and scenic battlefields lend themselves (more than my other tabletop love, X-Wing) to fun story lines that make for memorable matches, win or lose.
The social aspect of war gaming, telling and reliving epic moments of combat, is one of the best.
…but taking down a powerful unit with a well-executed plan still feels really good.
At the same time, the back-and-forth activation style of Legion means that there’s a massive amount of strategy to be considered for gamers who are more inclined to chess than checkers.
Your Commander is threatened. Do you activate them and get them out of harms way, or reach into your token bag and hope to draw a Corps unit that can pin down the encroaching troopers? Each activation represents a tree of choices and probabilities on its own.
Throw in the wide range of objectives, conditions, and deployment zones, and you’ve got quite a puzzler on your hands. Just because this game is less exacting in measurements than X-Wing or Armada doesn’t mean it has to be any less intense.
It’s still early in Legion’s life – at the time of writing, each faction has only two available commanders. As the game ages, that strategy will only deepen. There’s plenty to consider.
And sometimes it’s just fun to charge Luke right at Vader.
Finally, the reason that I truly was drawn into Legion.
There’s something intensely satisfying about playing commander with Star Wars themed troops. If you’re even considering purchasing this game, that’s probably a big reason for you, too.
Every time I roll a defensive surge with Vader and deflect an enemy trooper’s blaster fire back at them gets me chuckling like a little kid. Every time I take a second to appreciate my great white wall of Stormtroopers set up in defensive positions, I want to step back and take a picture. Sending in Luke to tear up an AT-ST or Speeder Bike with his lightsaber is fun every last time, too.
Legion delivers a very satisfying Star Wars gaming experience, and each character they add to the game (Han! Boba! Leia!) is exciting in and of itself.
Sometime it’s worth it to just pull out your toys and feel like a kid for a couple of hours, and that’s what Legion offers. If that sounds enticing to you, give it a whirl.