“Hey! How’s it going?” I ask as I notice a person standing to the side of the game table. “Good” they reply as they stare at the ATST on the battlefield. “This is star wars legion! Have you ever heard of it before?” I question. “No, what’s it like?” they ask back.
That is a very short interaction that happens almost every time I play legion in my local game store. A person walking by to look at comic books or Warhammer models will notice always notice a Star Wars game being played and want to take a look at it. As with all hobby games (ones you have to build and paint) nothing really does the game justice until it’s put together and painted on a table. It’s the iconic units/heroes that people can recognize that draws attention to the game. I really enjoy Warhammer 40k/Age of Sigmar/Underworlds, but if you are not familiar with the franchise, it’s hard to get the people to stop and take notice. What Legion really has going for it is the Star Wars license.
So what does that mean for you? This series of articles will help give you ideas and strategies to attract new players to the game, or if nothing else, get people talking to you about the game. The next few bullet points are just things that have worked for me:
- Bring in the heavies: If I can only give you one bit of advice, its build and paint the heavy units in the game. The T-47, ATST, Landspeeder, and the Occupier Tank have a big presence on the board as well as look really cool. My go to when just playing lists for fun or want people to learn to play is I make a Hoth board (just a snow mat and some things that go with it) and the T-47 and the ATST. I recommend playing with them as often as you can but at a minimum just set them next to the board as eye candy.
- Choose your battlefield: Having Star Wars themed terrain is a big help in getting people drawn over to the game. I know a lot of people are using Star Wars models and toys to help bring a little more in universe feel to the battle. Revell and Bandai have models that are just about to scale for the game, so buying one and either having it crashed is really cool idea that I have seen. The coveted AT-AT popcorn bucket from Disney World is another easy piece that is relatively cheap and is cool to have on the table as well. That being said, building your own ships, terrain and add-ons helps with the conversations too, showing people the fun of the hobby aspect as well. If you are unsure about building your own terrain, there are a ton of great resources that you can find online on how to build Star Wars themed terrain.
- Be Personable, Be the Leader: Anytime someone walks up to my table looking at the game I always address them in a courteous fashion and ask if they have heard of the game before. Then I give them a real light breakdown of game play and what kind of cool units there are. Just very open and cursory ideas such as “ This is Star Wars Legion! You get to command armies with iconic leaders such as Darth Vader or Luke Skywalker!”. The other part of this is being the “Go-To” for the game in your store. If someone wants to do a learning game, try and find time to do it. If someone wants to know what local events are in the area, try and keep up on them. If someone wants to know what new units are coming out, be excited about them. Some folks are introverted and that’s okay. You don’t have to be bombastic and hyper energized to do any of this. Just remember what can truly kill a game in your area is having someone have a bad first impression of the people playing it. The old saying “Be the person who you wish was there when you started the hobby” goes a really long way.
- Bring Two Lists: This comes in handy when you want to demo the game . You can do this a few different ways and I’ll take a deeper dive in a later article, but it’s something you should keep in mind. I tend to bring enough for each side to field, trying to bring a core set like experience for someone brand new. Bringing two leaders that fit well against each other that really don’t need upgrades (Luke/Vader) and few core units with just the heavy upgrade (DLT/Z-6) goes a long way to make it an easy and enjoyable experience. I generally don’t include vehicles due to some of the rules making it a bit more difficult. The idea here is to make the first game fast, engaging, dice flinging, and fun. Then, if they show interest you can talk about all the other kinds of units that are kicking around. I tend to do a lot of demos, and this strategy has worked for me.
So, here are some of my closing thoughts. The more people we have playing the game, the more ideas and bigger community we create! Doing the things I listed above are good ways to help break the ice for people on what the game is all about. The Clone Wars is going to bring a huge influx of new folks on it’s own, but a lot of people still won’t even know the game exists so awareness is going to be key.
That about wraps it up and remember this is just a simple primer on getting new players interested and expanding this game that we all love! Let me now how your experiences have been: How do you get people interested in the game? Have you tried something above? Did it work/not work for you?
Let me know, I would love your feedback!