Let’s Fly Away – Switching factions in Star Wars: Legion

Let’s start off by saying that this isn’t the first time I have stepped out on my love: The Empire. I dabbled almost a year ago at PAX Unplugged and ran a double air speeder list as an excuse to not actually try to play for real. At the time I was deathly afraid of losing. We had been maybe 14 episodes into our Star Wars Legion podcast (The Fifth Trooper) and we were picking up some notoriety in the community and I didn’t want to be embarrassed. I didn’t want people to see how bad I was (or at least how bad I thought I was). At that time, I didn’t take it seriously and used it as an excuse. This time though, I am going all in.

There has been a lot of talk in the Star Wars Legion community lately that the Rebels are not good, or specifically, are out matched by the Empire… I don’t agree. I think that the rebels in most cases are being misplayed. I think the Empire is easier to play, more forgiving and has shinier toys and therefore attracts more players. With more players there are more reps, more matches against Empire and just more data for people to work from. That being said, if we looked at the Star Wars: Legion worlds breakdown it’s a 50/50 split. Something must be good about them if half of the top players are using them, right? So, the question must be asked: are most people playing rebels wrong? Or just not trying them at all?

Star Wars Legion Rebels

When deciding on the switch to Rebels, that conversation is for sure in my head. Also, I want to become better at Star Wars Legion. I want to be more educated, versatile and flexible when it comes to playing. In my head the only way to take the next steps for me, was to switch factions and take it deadly serious. I did have some takeaways and lessons from playing against rebels already that could help me in my list building:

  • Patience & Ingenuity – Both factions can benefit from this, but I think Rebels in particular need this. Think about all the movies, books and documentaries on any rebel incursions factual or not and what do they all have in common? They hide, wait and attack weak points. This is the same in Star Wars Legion. Be patient, setup fire lanes and use your surroundings to your benefit. Think of it this way: If the Empire is a cluster bomb – big, flashy and deadly on multiple fronts, the Rebels need to be a sniper – hidden, methodical and precise.
  • Command Cards – The command cards are a huge part of this game. Most players can get thrown for a loop if they get out played in a command phase or lose a commander’s set of cards. I think this is a huge attack point for Rebels – beat your opponent in the command phase and you can demoralize them for the rest of the turn.
  • Weakness as a Strength – As everyone knows Rebels are weak on defense. When you see a Z6 unit out in the open as an Empire player you just hear in your head “Meats back on the menu boys!” Rebels can use this as an advantage. Bring your opponent in close, setup some juicy bait they can’t resist and distract them. You now can use that distraction to flank the other unit, grab an objective or attack some where else.
Luke and Han - Star Wars Legion

Building a Star Wars Legion Rebel List

When I began to build my Rebel list, I knew I wanted to do “Fly Boys” (Luke/Han). Luke is one of the best units in the game and I believe Han is severely undervalued.  Why? I think most people don’t look at a unit’s overall value to include the command hand. I don’t mean the value of each command card from a unit; I am talking about the ability to use that card and maybe not use your unit that turn. Han, in my opinion, is best when kept back until turn 3 or 4 (maybe later depending on time) and letting his cards do the early work. Change of Plans and Reckless Diversion are such great control pieces and match those up with Luke and his cards and you have an answer every turn.   

I knew who my commanders were going to be, now I needed to flesh out the rest of the army. When building a Star Wars Legion army list I go in this order: Commander(s), Special Forces, Corps then filling gaps. When I was looking at the Special Forces, I decided to go ultra Meta for this list and go 3 snipers. The next step with corps units I started to really look at all Z6 squads vs putting in some Fleet Troopers and was really going back and forth. I like Fleets but they are very dependent on terrain and in my mind are a gamble. It was serendipitous that right as I was thinking this through there was a conversation happening where Kyle and David (from the Notorious Scoundrels) were discussing a similar list and brought up using two Rebel Officers and a medic in those Z6 squads. Now, I have never run a medic before and frankly have talked a lot of crap about them on both podcasts, but how can I grow as a player if I don’t try new things? I decided to add the medic and the 2 officers and see where it took me.  

At the time of this articles release I have run this list 3 times and absolutely love it. Here are some things I am really enjoying about it:

  • Officer Squads – The inspire 1 is amazing and having 2 of them on the field feels good especially with all the suppression going around now. Having that extra black die in the attack pool as well is really nice. They are the work horse of this list.
  • Han Solo – When played right, Han is a sledgehammer. If you can get your opponent out of position and start gunslinging it is a sight to behold. I like him as a late game piece that kind of waits until a critical moment then pops out and says not today my friend. His command cards are great too and I love that new aspect of the game for me – messing with opponent’s command hands.
  • Medic – Ok, ok, ok…. I was wrong. They are a great way not just to keep your snipers alive but to also keep your Z6 squads at full strength. I think in my defense they are way more crucial in a Rebel list than an Empire list

Though I am only a few games in I believe that I am already seeing things different. It is forcing me to think out decisions, be patient and focus on terrain more. I believe that all of us can benefit from switching factions to become better Star Wars Legion Players.

Fly Boys Star Wars Legion List

Luke Skywalker
Force Push
Emergency Stims

Han Solo

2 x Rebel Troopers, Z-6,
Officer Upgrade
1x Rebel Troopers, Z-6,
Medical Droid
2 x Rebel Troopers, Z-6

3x Strike Team,  Sniper

The curious case for the Airspeeder: The time for the T-47 in Star Wars: Legion has come.

I’d like to make a case for this to be the T-47’s time in Star Wars: Legion. I will present my case with facts and eyewitness testimony. By the end of this trial you will see that my client is innocent…. err viable!

Armor for your Armoire: Let’s talk about the Occupier Tank in Star Wars Legion

Once we were done ogling the tank like a dessert cart at a fancy restaurant, we realized it may actually be really good. Besides the sculpt being (at the release) one of the best sculpts FFG has put out.

When Death Troopers come knocking: Why my Star Wars Legion list has changed

That’s where I am really going with this, playing this list made me play Legion the right way. I couldn’t run Darth Vader at an opposing army, I couldn’t Palp bomb, I couldn’t have Boba Fett jet pack all over the place. I had to be conservative and pick my opportunities, I had to deploy carefully or be destroyed… I had to be better.

The Trade Federation has arrived: Why I think Star Wars Legion’s price will increase

In a capital not so far away there has been a trade dispute occurring with another land. The dispute has led to increased tariffs on goods from this land by 25%. Now for the most part this has not included goods such as board games and has been more focused on electronics, batteries, auto parts etc. But there has been a list prepared by the US Trade Reps that includes board games as a potential product to incur the 25% tariff.

Designer Notes: Star Wars Legion Custom Mats

Before I start talking about the status of the mats I first want to thank everyone who has placed an order! I am very excited about the response we have had so far! Now to business… For those of you that have ordered either the Mud Planet or Salt Crystal mats I’d like to take this opportunity to let you know the status

Kickstarters Anonymous Part 2 – When designing in an echo chamber you only hear yourself.

I began this game as I am sure most creators do with an idea and a lot of passion. Even though the final product was themed as an office game, it originally started as a space-based game about getting resources from planets.

Getting minis table ready for Star Wars: Legion Pt 1

Before we begin, I’d like to start with a disclaimer – I am in no way a master painter. I am just like you, a dude with limited time who wants to get my minis table ready. With that said and expectations set, let’s talk about how I get my minis table ready with limited amount of time.

Kickstarters Anonymous Part 1 – Supply is demanding …

Hi, my name is Jay Shelanskey and I am a Kickstarter
failure. <Crowd> Hi Jay…

I had it all… a game idea, artwork, playtests and a
marketing plan. How could I fail?

Well, I think my first real failure was right in the
beginning. I thought (with my background in marketing) that I could treat this
like any other product: find my audience, build my marketing content, have an
outreach plan, advertise and go to “trade shows”. The real problem with this is

Kickstarters Anonymous Part 1 – Supply is demanding … 9

I was entering an already saturated
market. Even though this was a year ago now, there was just so many games out
there already and there were so many people (like me and maybe you) that were
trying to use Kickstarter to transform their dreams into reality. From a gamers
perspective this is awesome, the more games the better right? Yes and no. Let’s
look at this from a supply and demand perspective, to the right is a
Supply/Demand chart I put together to try and explain this. On the y-axis you
have quality which I define as: easy to get in to + high level design elements
+ re-playability. On the x-axis you have the overall quantity of games in the
market.  As the demand started to increase
for board games with gaming becoming a larger part of our society, not just for
the diehard gamers but now for the everyman, the supply quantity began to
increase as well. Supply in this case is not only the number of games a few high-level
creators make but with the advent of Kickstarter and crowd sourcing there is
also an increase in creators as well.

Here is where the issue comes in, as the demand increased, and
the market grew to accommodate, competition created a consumer base that now
craves quality vs quantity. So, before we just wanted more games to play, now
we want good games to play. How does this effect the Kickstarter campaigns?
Consumers want more “bang for their buck” and they want a solid track record.
Sometimes these can be mutually exclusive, where as a trusted brand has a new
game coming out and even though it may not look as great as the previous ones,
the community has a belief that the quality will be there. Or, on the opposite
side, a new brand has a game that the quality is so high that consumers feel
they can take the risk to get into it (see any high-end Kickstarter miniatures

So where did I go wrong? I ignored the solid track record
and thought quality and theme alone would keep me a float. I spent a lot of
time on game mechanics, design, artwork, manufacturing and deliverables but not
enough time building trust. I believed (wrongly at the time) that I could
overcome the lack of community behind me with the shear “brilliance” of my

Here are a few of the things I did wrong:

  • I sent the game out for a few reviews, more as a
    testament to my game being good. I didn’t realize that the reviews weren’t to
    add credibility to the game but were there to help build a community through
    trusted sources.

    • Lesson: I
      should have sent more games out to the reviewers. Also, make sure you pick the
      right reviewers for your game as well not just a list of reviewers, I had some
      great reviewers, but I got lucky.
  • I went to a convention after I started the
    Kickstarter. I thought it would be a good idea to play test while I was
    kickstarting… being all “Hey you like this game, it’s on Kickstarter!” This was
    a terrible idea because people don’t Kickstart at GenCon they look/play/buy at

    • Lesson:
      I should have gone to several cons with the game and built a following. I
      should have collected emails and met people and engaged in the convention community
      way before I started the Kickstarter.
  • I didn’t build an online community. I was in
    such a rush to get this on Kickstarter that I didn’t spend the time to build up
    my brand.

    • Lesson: I
      should have spent time on the BGG and reddit pages talking, discussing and
      meeting people. This is community outreach at it’s core and I failed miserably.
  • I thought Kickstarter would get me there. I
    thought just having it on KS would make me. I was wrong.

    • Lesson: I
      should have expected that Kickstarter would only account for a small portion of
      my traffic and backers. To tie in with the above lessons I should have built my
      following, then started to Kickstarter.

This is just some of the things I did wrong in my pursuit in becoming a game publisher. I think the lesson here is that the community is there, you just need to engage with them, get them excited about you as a publisher and then about your game. My hope is that you read this can side-step the mistakes I made and deliver your dream game to the world.

Next Week – Kickstarters Anonymous Part 2 – When designing in an echo chamber you only hear yourself.

Here are the links to the campaign and my Board Game Geek Profile for you to see:

Cubicle Raiders Kickstarter Campaign

Cubicle Raiders Board Game Geek