This winter I finally took the plunge into Star Wars Legion (SWL). After commissioning the bulk of two forces, and painting up some heroes on my own, I am raring to play with The Fawcett Avenue Conscripts.
The current quarantine situation being what it is, over Easter I used Crabbok's Legion AI rules to play-test the first scenario of a small narrative campaign I plan to run for my fellow Conscripts.
A mixed force of Rebels, led by Princess Leia, are assaulting Imperial-held generators in the middle of a nowhere town on a nowhere planet in the Outer Rim. It's basically like the SWL "moisture vaporators" scenario, with the human-run (by me) Rebels trying to sabotage the two generators, and the AI-run Imperials trying to repair them. Each generator starts out having two wounds, perhaps from a pre-game orbital strike Leia called in. The generators can have as many as 4 wound tokens, or as few as zero.
The outcome of this game will have on-table effects for the second game, where Leia's brother, Luke Skywalker, leads a strike team trying to intercept some key Imperial transmissions.
Game, Aids, and Setup
Each turn in SWL has three main phases. In the Activation phase, steps are repeated for every unit in play until all units have activated.
- Select Command Card
- Determine Priority (fewest pips on Command Card)
- Issue Order Tokens
- Create Order Pool of remainder of Order Tokens
- Choose Unit: Faceup or Random Token
- Activate Unit
- Start of unit Activation
- Rally: Roll white defense die to remove suppression; check for Panic
- Actions: Perform up to two actions + Free Actions (like using Force power cards)
- End of unit Activation
- Place Order Token facedown
- Discard Command Card
- Remove Tokens: Remove all Aim, Dodge, Standby, and Surge Tokens + One Suppression Token per Unit
- Update Order Pool and Promote (if Commander defeated)
- Advance Round Counter
The desert themed 36"x 36" game mat was specifically ordered for SWL skirmishes from Mats by Mars; it has all skirmish deployment zones printed in fine black lines!
The terrain is a mix of GF9, Crescent Root Studio, and Rackham pre-painted pieces.
Like a lot of FFG games, there's a ton of counters to mark different states or effects (Suppression, Dodge, Aim, etc.). I got a pair of 3D printed token holders from TheWretchedHive on Etsy.
FFG is also known for its proprietary dice. There's not enough dice in the basic SWL starter set that I had originally purchased, so I got another 3(!) sets of dice, in order to be able to perform an entire squad's shooting or defense at once.
The larger models have 90-degree fire arcs marked on their bases, but modeled groundwork obscures them somewhat. I got the arc of fire templates from Litko. For the future, I got some random event cards from The Fifth Trooper. (SWL also features tons of cards to represent forces and their upgrades. So, I also pre-ordered some sidebars from The Fifth Trooper, to help organize the chaos. They should be available later this month.)
Each SWL squad, vehicle, or hero in play has an associated card with its stats. There are also cards for extra squad members (including droids!), and skill or weapon upgrades. Instead of order dice like in Bolt Action, SWL uses Order Tokens, which are (usually) randomly drawn to activate a unit, and used to mark when a unit has finished its activation. The cardboard tokens get a LOT of handling. Some people use coin protectors (like for numismatics). I went with 3D printed Order Tokens from TableTopLegion. The tokens are printed in multiple colours, not painted.
In SWL all the units have an associated point cost. Special weapons, skills, equipment, and extra squad members also add to their costs. A SWL "skirmish" is by definition a game involving no more than 500 points per side, played on a 3-foot-square play area (much like X-Wing Miniatures).
The forces I chose were as follows:
Rebels (a mixed force of light infantry, with some anti-personal and anti-tank special weapons, supported by a light walker, and led by Princess Leia of Alderaan, one of my favorite characters in the entire saga):
Leia Organa (90 + 8 = 98)
- Electrobinoculars (8)
Rebel Troopers (40 + 22 = 62)
- Z-6 Trooper (22)
Rebel Troopers (40 + 24 = 64)
- MPL-57 Ion Trooper (24)
Fleet Troopers (44 + 31 = 75)
- Scatter Gun Trooper (23), R5 Astromech Droid (8)
Rebel Pathfinders (68 + 53 = 121)
- Bistan (32), Duck and Cover (4), HQ Uplink (10), Recon Intel (2), A-300 Short Range Config (0), Impact Grenades (5)
AT-RT (55 + 25 = 80)
- Linked Targeting Array (5), AT-RT Laser Cannon (20)
Coordinated Bombardment (1), Sabotaged Communications (1), Push (2), No Time for Sorrows (2), Somebody Has to Save Our Skins (3), Covering Fire (3), Standing Orders (4)
Imperials (Stormtroopers, led by a low level officer, and supported by an AT-ST walker providing heavily armoured firepower):
Imperial Officer (50 + 0 = 50)
Stormtroopers (44 + 33 = 77)
- DLT-19 Stormtrooper (24), R4 Astromech Droid (9) (usable to repair the AT-ST if damaged)
Stormtroopers (44 + 19 = 63)
- Stormtrooper (11), Grappling Hooks (3), Concussion Grenades (5)
Stormtroopers (44 + 19 = 63)
- Stormtrooper (11), Grappling Hooks (3), Concussion Grenades (5)
74-Z Speeder Bikes (75 + 0 = 75)
AT-ST (170 + 0 = 170)
Commands: Usually, forces get command cards which allow you to bid on who gets to Issue Orders (that is, lay one or more Order Tokens on the table, instead of randomly draw them), and adds some special flavours or effects. Here, this function was taken over by the cards in the AI Rules.
The forces were set up in opposite corners, the Imperials around a tower, and the Rebels in a bazaar. The wall is low enough that the AT-ST walker can step right over it without effort. The Scouts on speeder bikes can just skim over the walls.
The Rebel Pathfinder squad (think the special forces from Rogue One) got to infiltrate, but no closer than 18" from the nearest enemy.
A special upgrade, Recon Intel, allowed the more elite Pathfinders to make a single regular move before the game started; I used this to get them into contact with the nearest generator.
The game started strongly for the Rebels, who, having infiltrated the Pathfinders, sabotaged one generator for two more wounds, gaining 2 Victory Points. The AI forces moved strongly towards the centre of the table, ignoring the objectives (their actions were run by the AI card system, after all). The AI special effect this turn was wasted; the Commander was not in range to use her weapon.
With a Target Priority of "Most Expensive Enemy", the AT-ST shot at Leia, reducing her wounds by half!
She returned the favour on the bikers, inflicting a couple of wounds (each had 3).
The AT-RT moved up and finished off one of the bikers.
One Rebel squad managed to get in range of the AT-ST with a grenade launcher, causing a wound and Ionizing it, forcing it to lose one of its actions next turn!
The Imperial AI card draw (or roll, since I just rolled a D10 to choose from amongst the numbered cards in the 10-card AI deck) resulted in a random draw of the AT-ST's token for a free attack, which was targeted at a random squad (the special forces Pathfinders were out of LOS behind the generator, and Leia was blocked by a unit of Rebel Troopers). The Rebel Troopers were reduced to 2 members by the AT-St's fire. Its token was then re-shuffled into the pool, allowing it to activate later in the turn. It might as well have not been ionized at all!
Leia was hit badly, so played one of her special Command Cards to issue Orders to herself and two other units.
The sole Scout biker skimmed over the market wall and shot Leia in the back with his holdout blaster pistol, for 2 more wounds.
White defense dice suck.
Concentrated Rebel fire defeated two entire squads of Stormtroopers.
Though the Imperials lost two squads (and a droid!), the Rebels also lost a Trooper squad to the AT-ST, who fired at them again.
The AI card draw had their units move towards their commander, but the biker was already over the wall with Leia, so he'd move as best he could towards her. Great.
Leia was on her last wound, so she issued another of her special Command Cards. If she was defeated, her specific Command Cards would not be available for use anymore.
The Rebels started advancing towards the other generator.
As anticipated, Leia went down to the last Scout biker, despite the light cover of the market stall.
I have been reading online, and I agree, white defense dice really, really suck!
The Rebel squad leader nearest the second generator was promoted to Commander. He was closest to the action, and in command range (18") of most of the other Rebel units still in play.
Toward the end-game, the Imperials showed some real pre-programmed heroics, moving towards the Objective finally. They sacrificed the last Stormtrooper and their Imperial Officer in Repairing the other generator, generating two VPs for the Imperials, and tying the game.
The AT-ST defeated most of the squad of shipboard troops from Princess Leia's ship.
The bike moved all-out to get a bead on the Rebels at the second generator.
Turn 5 (Final turn!)
With only the lone biker and the AT-ST on the table, both classed as "vehicle" units, the Imperials could no longer Repair the generators. The bike shot at the Rebels at the generator, inflicting a casualty, and causing them to receive a Suppression token.
A last-turn push by the Rebels managed a single wound on the second generator: the Trooper unit in contact was Suppressed, then failed to rally, and thus could only perform one Sabotage action this turn. No one else was close enough to reach the generator.
This left the final tally at Rebels 2 VPs, Imperials 1 VP, for a minor Rebel victory!
After Game Thoughts
The AI rules made for some interesting, and surprising, actions. Though sometimes not optimal moves, advantages like the extra attack on Turn 2 really made a difference.
I guess in this Star Wars timeline, it's Leia who'll be healing in the bacta tanks for awhile, as Luke starts his own assault at the crack of dawn...