Posted in Star Wars, Star Wars Legion, Uncategorized

Fantasy Flight Games announced Star Wars Legion Miniatures Wargame

“It was I who allowed the Alliance to know the location of the shield generator. It is quite safe from your pitiful little band. An entire legion of my best troops awaits them.”
–Emperor Palpatine, Star Wars: Return of the Jedi

Shouts and screams echo around you—the din of pitched battle. The air smells acrid from blaster fire as lasers hiss past your squad. A scout trooper roars past on a 74-Z speeder bike, weaving between trees and firing at someone you can’t quite see through the underbrush. You raise your blaster and fire in the same direction, hoping to avoid any shrapnel. Ahead, you see Darth Vader, towering over a group of fallen Rebels strewn across the forest floor. He flicks his lightsaber forward, and your platoon charges…

Fantasy Flight Games is proud to announce Star Wars™: Legion, a new miniatures game of infantry battles that invites you to join iconic heroes and villains, lead your troopers into battle, and battle for the fate of the Star Warsgalaxy. With Star Wars: Legion, you can build and paint a unique army of miniatures. You can command your troops in battle and devise masterful tactics. And you can conquer your opponent’s army to bring victory to the light side or the dark side!

With thirty-three unpainted and easily assembled miniatures, and all the cards, movement tools, tokens, and terrain that you need for battle, the Star Wars: Legion Core Set is the perfect way to bring Star Wars battles to your tabletop.

If you’re here with us at Gen Con 50 in Indianapolis, head to our booth to get your first taste of Star Wars: Legion, but in the meantime, read on!

Charge into Battle

Star Wars: Legion casts you as a commander in the heat of battle, pitting the Empire’s finest against the ragtag forces of the Rebellion. You’ve received your objectives from high command, and the tactics that you execute in battle will determine if you can restore freedom to the galaxy or crush the resistance of the Rebel Alliance forever.

The heroes, villains, vehicles, and squads of troopers that you command are the heart of your army, and each round, you’ll command your units to press your advantage. Whether your unit is a squad of Stormtroopers or a salvaged Rebel AT-RT, each unit can take two actions to march across the battlefield, launch a devastating attack, take careful aim, dodge away from enemy fire, take a moment to recover, or hold their action until the optimal moment.

Movement in Star Wars: Legion is fast and organic as you maneuver your troops around the battlefield using jointed movement tools. Unlike many miniatures games, you don’t need to measure movement for every miniature in a unit! Once you’ve measured movement for your unit leader, you simply pick up the other soldiers in the unit and place them in cohesion with the unit leader.

Not only does this make movement fast and intuitive, it lets you strategically position your troops to take cover from blaster fire or control strategic terrain. Sending your Stormtroopers charging into just the right place to line up a devastating crossfire or catching your opponent’s forces between Luke Skywalker and a powerful AT-RT walker are some of the game-changing moves that can turn the tide and decide the fate of the galaxy in any game of Star Wars: Legion!

Movement and positioning are important, but you’ll need to send your troops forward if you’re going to defeat the enemy army. Combat in Star Wars: Legion is driven by the weapons each soldier wields—whether you’re firing blasters, throwing grenades, igniting vehicle-mounted flamethrowers, or drawing a lightsaber. For every attack, you’ll choose the weapons you want your soldiers to use, adapting to the evolving battlefield by choosing between a blaster and a rocket launcher, for example.


Each of the four Rebel Troopers chooses to use an A-280 Rifle, contributing a total of four black dice to the attack. The 74-Z Speeder Bikes unit will roll a defense die for each hit.

Just as important as choosing which weapon you use is choosing when to attack. If your opponent is taking cover behind terrain or prepared to dodge your attack, then it may be better to reposition your unit and maneuver your forces to create a better opportunity for your onslaught. The choices you make will govern the fates of your soldiers—but if you lead them wisely, then victory is assured! For more information about movement and combat, visit the Star Wars: Legion minisite and keep an eye out for future in-depth previews.

Command Your Troops

To win the battle, your troops will need to move and attack, but first they need orders—and that can be challenging at times during the heat of battle. Luckily, you have your army’s commander to ensure you can activate your units at the critical times.

While every unit you control on the battlefield will activate each round, the command system for Star Wars: Legion presents you with the opportunity to outmaneuver and outthink your opponent. Adapting to the changing tides of battle is one of the things that separates truly great commanders from lesser officers.

You can find more details about the command system and ordering your troops on the Star Wars: Legion minisiteand in future articles!

Build Your Army

Like other miniatures games, Star Wars: Legion also gives you the chance to build a unique army. Before the game begins, you’ll select the exact heroes, villains, troopers, and vehicles that you want to use. Within the Core Set alone, you already have choices to make with thirty-three miniatures, including Luke Skywalker, Darth Vader, Rebel Troopers, Stormtroopers, an AT-RT, and 74-Z Speeder Bikes.

While the Core Set gives you everything that you need for your first battles, you’ll find even more options as you expand from there. You may choose to build an army that uses swarm tactics with large numbers of troopers, or you may focus on the improved armor and firepower of vehicles, but whether you’re planning a small-scale skirmish or a pitched battle between dozens of units, the game allows you to build an army that fits the way you want to play.

The choices and customization don’t stop there, either. Every unit in Star Wars: Legion has the option for you to tweak it to fit your preferences and playstyle with upgrade cards. You may upgrade Darth Vader with the ability to throw his lightsaber, load a rotary blaster onto your AT-RT, bring heavy weapons specialists into your trooper unit, or equip your 74-Z Speeder Bikes with long-range comlinks. No matter how you upgrade your units, every upgrade card is another step to making your army different.

 

And of course, perhaps the most entertaining step of army building for many players is to paint and customize your miniatures! All Star Wars: Legion minis come unpainted, so after you assemble your army, you’ll be able to paint them to create a truly unique army and bring the Star Wars galaxy to your tabletop. Although you don’t need to paint your army, many players find it more enjoyable to play with a painted army—and we’ll have plenty of articles and video tutorials to support your painting in coming months, including help for beginners. Even if you’ve never played a miniatures game or painted an army before, the Star Wars: Legion Core Set is the perfect entrypoint to the hobby.

Build. Command. Conquer.

Your troopers’ boots are on the ground, and battle is about to be joined. If you’re with us at Gen Con 50 in Indianapolis, head over to the Fantasy Flight Games booth to be among the first to experience the infantry battles of Star Wars: Legion!

Take command of your forces and give the order to charge—the Star Wars: Legion Core Set (SWL01) is scheduled to be released in early 2018.

Posted in Uncategorized, Warhammer 40K

Bell of Lost Souls Hacked!

Popular wargaming news site Bell of Lost Souls appears to have been hacked and is currently offline. Moreover, the Warhammer wiki website Lexicanum.com, which belongs to Bell of Lost Souls also has been hacked and is (likely) running malicious scripts (I would advise not to visit it).

Hope they figure it out soon!

Posted in Deathwatch, iPhone games, Uncategorized, Warhammer 40K

Retro Gaming on the iPhone – Deathwatch: Tyranid Invasion

Deathwatch CarnifexAs I move house, my paints and miniatures disappeared in boxes. Deprived of “proper” hobby time, I took to playing on my iPhone. Deathwatch: Tyranid Invasion is a really cool retro game with shiny modern graphics

Playing Deathwatch feels a lot like playing Space Hulk or Imperial Assault (if set in Games Workshop’s grimy 40k-universe, not Star Wars).


What is Deathwatch: Tyranid Invasion?

Genestealer Overkill Deathwatch

Deathwatch plays as a turn-based strategy game. You command a “kill team” of 5 Space Marine to battle hordes of the insect-like Tyranids.

You select one of your Deathwatch Space Marines and order him to move, shoot, attack in close combat or use one of many special abilities (like setting a Space Marine, Space-Hulk-style, on overwatch) with a limited number of action points.

After that, it is the Tyranid’s turn. And more than once I found myself nervously fidgeting, hoping a Space Marine of mine would make it to my next turn alive.

As I said, very retro. And a lot of fun.


Choosing & Equipping the Space Marines

A big part of why Deathwatch: Tyranid Invasion is great fun is the ability to train, personalise and equip the various Space Marines serving in your kill team.

Deathwatch_Blood_Angels_Tactical_Marine
A newly recruited Blood Angels

At first glance, Space Marines would appear to be fairly uniform. It is also worth mentioning that the game (currently?) only comes with Space Marines from three chapters, the Ultramarines, the Blood Angels and Space Wolves and in four variants: Tactical Marines, Assault Marines, Devastators and Apothecaries.

Deathwatch_Ultramarines_Tyrannic_War_Veteran
A veteran of many bloody battles!

Though this might seem limited, the game more than makes up for this in the various skill-trees, equipment options and variants it offers within this selection.

Surprisingly, the developers truly managed to bring “personality” to the Space Marines. Playing the game, I really became attached to my band of grimdark heroes.

Rodeo Games even added a bit of banter between the Space Marines of different chapters, which sometimes plays during a mission. A cool touch!


Accomplish Different Missions!

Deathwatch Carnifex Mission
Take down that Carnifex!

Rodeo Games also added variety to the game by giving you different missions: Break through and reach a base, secure vital information, defend a position for a number of rounds or take down a particularly tough opponents like a Carnifex or Hive Tyrant.


Give Deathwatch: Tyranid Invasion a try!

Does Deathwatch: Tyranid Invasion replace the tangible gameplay of a board game with miniatures? No, not for me. Probably not for you, if you are coming from the miniature-games side of the hobby as well.

But if you’re plastic soldiers are packed away, as mine currently are, Deathwatch: Tyranid Invasion is a great game to scratch that particular itch.

It truly plays like a miniatures board game on a touch screen and very different from most smart phone games. And it really makes you work hard to achieve those missions (on Veteran and Heroic difficulty) with some nail-biting challenges.

Give it a try. Highly recommended!

Posted in Uncategorized

Book Review – Star Wars: The Weapon of a Jedi by Jason Fry

Book Review The Weapon of a Jedi

The Weapon of a Jedi: A Luke Skywalker Adventure offers well-written and well-illustrated, fast-pace action scenes of X-Wing dogfights and lightsaber duels, strung together by a minimal story of, essentially, The Force telling Luke to go from A to B.

It is a good fast-food-read of Star Wars nostalgia and a bit of X-Wing and lightsaber-action, but nothing truly memorable stands out. No unique story is told.


A Journey to Star Wars: The Force Awakens

Disney acquired Star Wars and cleared out four decades of books, comics, games and other background material known as the Extended Universe. A few classics regrettably went down with it, but having a clean slate still seems like a good idea.

The novel series “A Journey to Stars Wars: The Force Awakens” is part of the new Disney lore, leading up to the Star Wars: The Force Awakens later this year.

That said, The Weapon of a Jedi, this particular book in the series tells a story set between the original Star Wars movie and The Empire Strikes Back. It holds no secrets, hints or spoilers for things happening after The Return of the Jedi.

The book itself has 184 pages, uses a large font and features several double-page illustrations throughout. It is a premium format with a short story, not a true novel.


The Story of “The Weapon of a Jedi”

The story follows Luke, before as a Rebel pilot – before he ever met Yoda, before he knew the identity of his father – along with C3P0 and R2D2.

The book kicks off with a bit of X-Wing vs. TIE-Fighter action, which I thought was great fun. Ultimately, Luke feels The Force nudging him to visit a backwater planet, and on the backwater planet an ancient temple quarantined by the Empire.

Once Luke finds the temple, he receives a bit of pre-Yoda Jedi-training and must immediately test his new skills, especially with his lightsaber.


The Good

There is a lot to like about this book. This book is clearly meant as a quick, fun read, and it delivers in that.

The writing flows well, the action is exciting and the C3P0 vs. R2D2 banter adds old school Star Wars comic relief. Likewise, the production of the book is great. The grey pages, the added artwork Disney veteran Phil Noto fits and the general visual design make this a very nice book to hold and read.

Thus, before I start nitpicking, I would recommend Jason Fry’s The Weapon of a Jedi to anyone looking for a fun, light Star Wars-read for an afternoon or two.


The Bad

There are a few things that keep the book for being truly excellent.

  • The story, in any sense of the word, is nonexistent. The Force tells Luke to go to this place or that. Luke, after some hesitating, follows and the next action scene occurs. A bit more plotting would have added a great deal.
  • The whole idea of Luke receiving separate Jedi-training, distinct and before he meets with Yoda, for me, does not sit that comfortably with the original trilogy of movies. If scrapping the old Extended Universe meant to clear out inconsistencies, it seems odd to bring them back in from the get-go.
  • It is a brief tale. 184 pages sounds like more than you get, given the large font, plenty of artwork and more. The book is beautifully produced, but with a regular font and less white-space, this story would only fill 40-50 pages. There is an element of making it appear more than it truly is.

Conclusion

I had fun reading the The Weapon of the Jedi and would usually recommend it for Star Wars fans looking for a light read.

The book probably holds little interest for a broader audience, as it really tells no distinct story of its own. There is no room to lose oneself in a fantastic universe or become engrossed with the twists and turns of a thrilling story.

This isn’t what The Weapon of a Jedi aims to do.

This is a book for a quick, fun lightsaber-battle and some nostalgic Star Wars quotes to read about on the subway, which it nails pretty well.

Posted in Uncategorized

X-Wing – Z-95 Headhunter Unboxed

Z-95 Headhunter for X-WingThe Z-95 Headhunter, predecessor to the X-Wing in the Star Wars universe, was, I believe, a game-changer for the Rebels in the X-Wing Miniatures game.

The Z-95 offers Rebels a small, useful little ship for as little as 12 points – the same as an Academy Pilot TIE-Fighter – though it plays quite differently. It is a staple in many of my X-Wing lists for the Rebels, so it deserves a moment in the limelight.


Z-95 Headhunter – Inside the Box

The Z-95 Headhunter is a regular small expansion for the X-Wing miniatures game.

It includes the ship itself, a flying stance, the maneuver dial, tokens and cards. No new missions, unfortunately, but one cannot have everything.


Z-95 Headhunter – The Pilots

The Z-95 Headhunter Expansion contains four pilot cards, two named pilots, Lieutenant Blount and Airen Cracken, and two generic pilots.

Bandit Squadron Pilots
The generic pilots of the Z-95 Headhunter

The generic pilots of an X-Wing expansion usually are not that interesting. However, with Z-95 Headhunter, things are different. In X-Wing, even to this day, Rebel ships generally are more expensive than their Imperial counterparts.

The very modestly priced Bandit Squadron Pilot first allowed Rebel players to field “swarms” of starfighters, either on their own or in support of a bigger and/or more pricy ship. The Tala Squadron Pilot with a pilot skill of 4 is also a steal.

Z95NamedPilots
Lieutenant Blount & Airen Cracken

That said, the named pilots of the Z-95 Headhunter are also both interesting and useful. I have fielded both at different times.

  • Lieutenant Blount gives you a guaranties hit, even if the defender dodges, which works very well with missiles that provide specific effects after hitting (like the Ion Missile). In this day and age of slippery autothruster-arc dodgers, a single guaranteed hit (with effects) on … say … Soontir Fel, can easily decide a game.
  • Airen Cracken is the most expensive pilot for the Z-95, and still cheaper than a Rookie X-Wing. Extra actions are a powerful thing. Airen Cracken works well with Cluster Missiles, which allow him to perform two attacks in a round.

Z-95 Headhunter – The Upgrade Cards

The Z-95 Headhunter for X-Wing comes with five different upgrade cards.
Munitions

Three of these cards deal with missiles.

Though the Z-95 comes at roughly the price of a TIE-Fighter, it is a less manoeuvrable ship. And while it has shields, only 2 defensive dice to dodge also make it a fragile ship on the board. The Z-95‘s main advantage over the TIE-Fighter is its ability to load missiles. The expansion adds an interesting options to the arsenal.

  • The Ion Pulse Missile is obviously useful to ionize large ships, which require two tokens. As large ships become more nimble – as for example the YT-2400 and the Aggressor – these become more useful.
  • The Assault Missile is in many ways the opposite of the Ion Pulse Missile, hoping to find a swarm of ships instead of a single large one.
  • Munitions Failsafe is useful, but its best synergy is probably with Flechette Torpedos, which deals stress even if it misses, not the missiles included here.

Z-95 Elite Talents

There are also two elite pilot talents.

They are, truth be told, probably the least interesting part of this expansion. While both Decoy and Wingman look like they could interesting, they clearly pale besides some of the better elite talents already in the game.


Final Thoughts

Ok, I did not want to end on a sad note there with the elite pilot talents. The Z-95 Headhunter is a fantastic expansion for the X-Wing Miniatures game.

  • A beautiful little ship, easily fitting into most lists
  • Interesting named pilots
  • Cool ordnance with useful effects

I own multiple Z-95s and cannot recommend them highly enough.