Defining the Battlefield in Star Wars: Legion
“Your Tauntaun will freeze before you reach the first marker!”
–Echo Base Officer, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back
Star Wars™: Legion is more than a miniatures game—it’s your gateway into the Star Wars galaxy. Through the medium of the cards, tokens, and miniatures on the battlefield that you create, you’re challenged to become the commander of an army at the height of the Galactic Civil War. You’ll lead your soldiers forward in countless unique battles, maneuvering your troops and delivering your orders to the best of your abilities.
In our last previews for Star Wars: Legion, we’ve already looked at the command system you’ll use to issue orders, as well as the game’s movement and combat. Still, every battle begins before you give your first orders. In your games of Star Wars: Legion, even defining the battlefield is a tactical struggle of wits between you and your opponent… and that’s the focus of our preview today!
Objectives, Deployment, Conditions
Before you’re leading your army into epic battle in the Star Wars universe, your game begins by defining the battlefield with your opponent. Star Wars: Legion can be played on any flat, open play surface measuring six feet by three feet. This could be a table at your house, a space on the floor, or a terrain table at your local retailer.
Once you’ve measured out the battlefield, you and your opponent will place terrain—the physical forests, buildings, ruins, barricades, and other features that could impact the battlefield. The Star Wars: Legion Core Set comes with eight sculpted barricades that you can use as terrain in your games, but you can also incorporate any other terrain that may be available in your home or in the game store that you’re playing in. During the game, if you can position your units to take cover behind terrain, it can reduce the damage you’ll take from incoming ranged attacks. Of course, you can be certain that your opponent will have the same goals in mind.
Measuring out your battlefield and placing terrain on it will start to shape the battlefield that you’re about to wage war upon, but you still need to add the finishing touches with the battle cards. Battle cards are split between objective, deployment, and condition cards, and each of these categories impacts the battlefield in a different way. Before you ever fire the first shots in your game of Star Wars: Legion, you’ll compete against your opponent to gain the advantage and determine which cards will be used in your game.
The first type of battle card you’ll encounter are the objective cards. As part of the Star Wars saga, mere attrition of enemy forces is rarely the goal of your mission. The Rebel Alliance knows that it cannot hope to destroy the massive armies of the Empire—they need to concentrate their attacks where it will hurt Imperial forces the most. Similarly, the Empire can’t just win battles. They need to stamp out the Rebellion wherever it may appear and destroy their will to fight.
Objective cards define how you and your opponent will earn victory tokens to win the game. For example, you may be tasked to Intercept the Transmissions. This objective sets up three transmission devices on the battlefield, and you’ll score points throughout the battle and at the end of the game if you can control the transmitters by keeping your troopers close to them. Alternatively, you may simply need to Breakthrough the enemy position, scoring points at the end of the game for each of your unit leaders within your opponent’s deployment zone.
The deployment zones that you’ll use are determined by the second type of battle cards. These cards show the ways that you’ll be able to deploy your forces at the beginning of the game. You may find your forces in Disarray, scattered to the four corners of the battlefield. Or, you might find the whole length of the battlefield between you in The Long March. It’s easy to see how certain deployment cards could benefit your type of army and preferred playstyle more than others.
The final type of battle card that you’ll choose at the beginning of the game is the condition card. Some battles are fought in Clear Conditions —inflicting no unusual effects on the battle. Not every battle is fought on a clear day in temperate weather, however. A Hostile Environment could force your units to hunker close to terrain for shelter or forfeit their ability to remove suppression tokens. In other battles, you may experience Limited Visibility blocking all units’ line of sight during the first two rounds of the game and preventing any far-reaching ranged attacks. Condition cards commonly offer that additional twist that changes the way you’ll play the battle that’s about to unfold.
Creating a Unique Battlefield
Every game of Star Wars: Legion must have its objective, a specified deployment, and the current conditions defined at the beginning of the game. Determining these features, however, is a tactical “mini-game” in its own right.
First, three random cards from each category are displayed faceup, as shown above. Then, starting with the first player, you and your opponent alternate selecting a category and eliminating the leftmost card in it. For example, perhaps your army works best when you can begin the game with punishing, long-range attacks over the early rounds. Because of this, you use your first turn to select the condition category and eliminate Limited Visibility, which is the leftmost card. Then, your opponent decides that he would prefer to keep his army united if possible. He uses his turn to choose the deployment category and eliminating Disarray, the leftmost card, as shown below.
Once both players have had two chances to eliminate battle cards, the leftmost cards from each category are selected as the objective, deployment, and condition cards that will be used during your game! From that point, you move on to the next stage in the tactical setup of Star Wars: Legion—deploying your army into your deployment zones. Players alternate placing their units in their assigned deployment zones until your armies are massed on the battlefield and the battle is ready to begin!
Position Your Troops
The battles of Star Wars: Legion promise to test your tactical acumen to its fullest extent. Only you can lead your troops into battle and to victory—and it all starts when you make the choices that will define the battlefield for your entire game.
Enter the Star Wars galaxy, and conquer your foes! You can pre-order the Star Wars: Legion Core Set (SWL01) at your local retailer or online through our website today.