Star Wars Legion: Boots on the Ground
Ok, so I played a game of Star Wars Legion today. This is the first game I’ve played since the Big Bang despite preordering a copy for release day. I have loved how the models looked since day 1 and built up a decent collection of which I’ve also largely painted the Imperial side. I played at Game Kastle in Ankeny, a somewhat unpleasant 20 minute drive since I could just WALK to Mayhem in 5 minutes but I had Today off so it could have been worse.
For my opponent I matched up with a gent named Tim who is a regular there and who brought his 3 kids. His kids also designed the list for them and I probably owe them a drink or something because they did me right. Near as I can reconstruct it was this (missing some upgrades as he had next to no bid.
I on the other hand got some excellent advice from a friend who knows his stuff and coaxed me from 8 activations to 9 which ended up being pretty decisive.
My original list had one fewer stormtrooper unit and a BUNCH more upgrades, especially filling every training slot.
For the mission it was Key Positions, Battle Lines, and Rapid Deployment with him putting his naked clones in reserve and me putting a DLT Storms in the bag.
Deployment I put my objective as close to the middle as I could and Tim put his way out. On reflection we should have reversed that, he probably would have been better served with a deathball to share tokens while I wanted to spread him out to prevent that. Either way we ended up with the token placement we kinda wanted just not the efficient way. He deployed his 2 Phase 1 squads and Rex well out on the flank with his objective, with the Phase 2s supporting somewhat towards the middle, ready to flex either way. Yoda was in cover closer to the middle and the Arcs were just past the midline of the board. I deployed Shores with their mortars from the center line to the left, with Iden backing them up, then Vader, with Storms to his right, and the Special Forces in front of him.
Turn 1 was mostly us shuffling around. I played Darkness Descends, giving Vader his much-needed Surge tokens, Tim played Air Strike which he used to throw some damage around. With some long-range speculative shots, he picked off one of my ISF troopers and put a couple wounds on Iden I took down an ARC trooper, a couple clones, and laid out a bunch of suppression. For those not familiar, suppression is the way the game represents friction and it’s a neat mechanic, below a unit’s courage, there’s no effect, from 1x to 2x a units courage, they lose one of their 2 actions, which makes everyone less effective, above 2x they panic. Units lose suppression at the end of their turn and can shed some (1/3 chance) at the start of their move. I tried to focus on getting multiple suppression on a couple units to ensure that the effects persisted. Also he dropped his naked clones WAY out on my right, his left, and I countered by putting mine flanking them, pincering him between the two Stormtrooper squads (either of which had more firepower than him to begin with.)
Turn 2 was nasty for him. I played Pulse Scan and he played Size Matters Not. He blitzed out with Yoda, putting 3 wounds on Vader and double Force Pushing my ISF well out of cover. He moved Rex out ahead of his troops but forgot Rex’s jetpack (until the end of the game in fact) leaving him exposed while the two clone squads behind him milled about in cover. He put some shots on my ISF but a lucky token pull got them in cover and landed more wounds on his ARCs leaving Fives on 1 wound. More fire on Rex left him with a couple wounds. Throughout the turn I focused my fire on unactivated units early, landing a lot of hits and, more importantly, suppression, on units that still needed to go, forcing him to give up several actions from his army due to higher levels of suppression. Iden activated late in the round and moved up to the exposed Rex, putting a bolt through him, leaving the brave Clone Commander dead in the dirt. When Vader went he managed to completely fail to wound the Jedi Master, but Force Pushed him away, triggering Iden’s standby which… whiffed. She needs aims. However the shore troopers behind her put 2 wounds on Yoda, losing one of their own to a deflected blaster shot.
By this point the game was really leaning in my favor. I had 2 squads ganging up on one of his out on one flank, with 1 of mine camping an objective. My dice had been blistering hot (my ISF had rolled 4 black 4 white and landed 7 hits, my shores fired 6 black and 2 white and landed 8 with 3 crits… just absolutely unreal amounts of luck) while my opponent was probably under 33% saves with red dice and a bunch of surge tokens.
Going into turn 3 Yoda was wounded in the center of the board with a wounded Fives in cover behind him. Tim played There is no Try. I played Implacable. Yoda and 1 other trooper squad (his Phase 2s) got orders, as well as a dodge, Outmaneuver and Relentless. I got an order for Vader, as well as a Dodge. By playing a 1 pip I ensured I went first. I activated Vader and the Dark Lord of the Sith took an Aim token, Walked up to Yoda and hit him for 6. Burning his dodge he rolled 5 saves, needing to make 3… and made 2. Yoda fell under the crimson blade, Vader then threw Fives out of cover and into the open. Tim then activated his Phase 2s and moved them up. He wanted to attack Vader, who had taken a wound to shuffle his token back in the stack, but they were his 1 basically undamaged unit, and he didn’t want to eat a bunch of deflected shots so he blasted away and the out of cover ISF unit. His dice totally betrayed him and only 2 of the ISF troopers fell, leaving the squad leader and the heavy weapon. My mortars threw out more suppression, my shores did more damage, and Iden picked off 5s with a disrespectful shot.
At this point Tim’s sons had finished their games, and it was getting close to closing time. We called it and shook hands with 2 objectives firmly under Imperial control and the 3rd about to fall. It was a crushing victory but it really came down to the top half of turn 2. I felt that there were a couple things that really hurt Time and really helped me. First: My luck was absolutely unreal early, and his was awful. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a game of any type where my dice were THIS hot and my opponents were THIS bad. Red dice are 1/2 in defense 2/3 on surges, which he had tokens for, and they just refused to cooperate. I doubt he’d have won even without his mistakes the way the dice were rolling.
But he also had some things he did wrong, he didn’t know his list, which, I get, your kids come up with a list, you play it, suboptimal or not. 7 activations wasn’t great, and it meant he had to get the most out of them and I *FEEL* in my inexperienced state, he didn’t always do that. He put too many shots into units that had already activated and spread his suppression out, so I rarely had to worry about it. In fact, I think I lost only 2 or 3 actions over the course of the game, and I feel like he lost far more due to suppression each turn after the first. Second, he didn’t focus fire, which was harder to do with fewer units and widely spread out both physically and by the terrain. He couldn’t bring his army together which from what I’ve heard the clones REALLY want to do so they can form a token-sharing deathball. I feel like if he’d grouped up more and focused his firepower on my troops to eliminate units before they could activate, or at least suppress them, he could have done much more to slow me down.
On my side, I did a better job utilizing suppression and I am looking for ways to maximize that going forward. I did deploy my mortars poorly and, while I used them to some effect, had they been better located they’d have contributed more, and they were SUPREMELY lucky to not get vaporized. I’m talking one finished the game without a single wound token despite having to roll 9 saves. I need to really think more about objectives and how to take advantage, Tim did me a big favor not putting all 3 on top of each other (to the extent he could) which would have forced me to face a big death ball of token sharing clones. Not ideal.
But it was a great learning experience. I am going to tweak my list, I’m sure he’s going to come up with something spicy and hopefully next week we will both do better! Also I will take pictures, not video as the free WordPress DOESN’T LET YOU INSERT VIDEO/GIFS GRAAAAAAH!