When it comes to Star Wars games, Adepticon represents a better marker of the new year than the actual new year, and I’ve got some educated…ish guesses on what this year will bring.

Adepticon has been a blast each time I’ve been and I’m sure this one will be no different: between seeing new friends, making new ones, the joy of competition, and the bouquet of vendors, it just can’t be topped for miniatures gaming. Speaking for myself, however, I can say that the promise of “new stuff getting announced” is right up there as well. When I attended in 2022 it felt like gaming was still waking up from its two-year nap and it was just another Legion tournament, but in 2023 we were blessed with a surprising (to most of us) presentation directly from Atomic Mass Games that shared news of many releases to come. This year, we’ll be getting the same treatment: Atomic Mass has already confirmed that on Sunday (at 1pm Eastern Time in the US) we’ll be getting that again. We’ll be sure to cover whatever news comes from that right here as soon as we’ve got it!

Sadly for me, some obligations at home have kept me from going to Adepticon this year where I would definitely enjoy seeing everyone and POTENTIALLY had the chance overcome the odds to make it all the way to round 3 on Day 1 before washing out. I’m gonna plan on going to some extra cons this year to make up for it, so I hope to see many of you around a little later. With that out of the way, I don’t have to be there in person to write on the internets so “here” I am!

Kyle/Orkimedes will be SOMEWHAT occupied as this goes live so he made the mistake of letting me just edit my own post AND picking the topic. So, given that we are just before the dawn of the next season of Star Wars gaming, let’s make some bold predictions…not for the reveals this Sunday (I already know the Clone Commandos are gonna make me mad, I just don’t know why yet) but for these games we know and love in a broader sense. I was strongly considering finally putting the 25 years-worth of collected thoughts I have on Gremlins 2 to ink for the first time but I suppose I’ll be kind to the bosses and cover something SLIGHTLY more relevant to the revelry happening over in Chicago.

Five Dramatic, But Reasoned, Predictions For This Year In Star Wars Hobby Games 1


DISCLAIMER: I am not a playtester (they’re like cops, they have to say so if they are…is what I’ve heard) nor do I have any other inside information of any kind, so this is truly off the dome. The closest thing I suppose is that I’ve often had a curiosity for the economics of gaming and thus have read some industry blogs and watched a summary presentation from GAMA 2024. Does a curiosity mean expertise? Absolutely not (though that clearly isn’t stopping any of you yahoos from diagnosing yourself with WebMD right before hitting the ER), but what I can tell you is that these opinions will at least be reasoned. Whether they’ll be good reasons is another question entirely! Given that I’m just so confident, I’ll hold my own feet to the fire by donating $25 to the National Coalition of Homeless Veterans for each one that’s proven wrong by the time Adepticon 2025 rolls around…assuming that I still haven’t been fired yet.

Prologue: The Business of Our Star Wars Hobby Games

Feel free to skip down to my first prediction where I’ll summarize this stuff before I dive in, but this part is key to most of my predictions.

Our beloved Legion studio, Atomic Mass Games, is owned by Asmodee (which owns over 20 studios) which is in turn owned by the eerily named Embracer Group (which also owns several video game studios and IP’s). Embracer didn’t have the best year last year, exemplified by a 40% drop in stock price after a $2 billion(!) deal with Saudi Arabia fell through by surprise. Those of you who follow the video game industry may have heard that many studios are closing or laid off many of their employees, and Embracer’s belt-tightening to account for its losses was a major reason behind that. Pour one out for those programmers, artists, and other hard workers, who I hope have found more employment by now.

The good news for us though? Embracer’s bottom line was actually boosted handsomely by Asmodee. We know this of course because both Embracer and Asmodee are publicly traded and therefore provide conglomerated data to their investors and the public at large. Do we know how much Legion or Shatterpoint made them? No, but we do know that in the Oct-Dec 2023 Asmodee had a year over sales growth of 7%. This recouped a lot of Embracer’s losses, and my guess is that as a consequence of this Asmodee’s share of layoffs required by Embracer were more about restructuring than they were about lasering studios to death.

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“You have been EMBRACED

Ok seriously I’m almost done with the CNBC ticker here I promise. The last thing I want to highlight is that you may or may not know that Asmodee’s game production is augmented by being the biggest hobby distributer in pretty much the whole world that isn’t North America. This means that even when games from non-Asmodee studios like Magic: The Gathering or Lorcana (maybe you’ve heard of them) sell like hot cakes, Asmodee gets a piece of that cake by sending those games to Magasin de jeux Convivial in Paris or Vänlig Spelbutik in Stockholm. Trading card games, in fact, were by far the biggest driver of Asmodee’s profits while board games took a bit of a net hit. Miniatures didn’t get called out one way or another in Embracer’s report unfortunately.

With that out of the way, let’s get predicting!

Prediction #1: Legion will get a Second Edition announced

I decided to start with what I consider to be the elephant in the room.

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I am aware Max Rebo is not an elephant, thanks to this educational video

Ok before your fingers overheat from typing, I am not trying to throw my hat into the ring on the podcast war between The Fifth Trooper which reasoned that Legion NEEDS a 2.0 and Notorious Scoundrels which said the opposite. The truth is that I’m somewhere in-between these two opinions, but that doesn’t matter a bit. When was the last time a game STUDIO was the one that called the shots regarding whether a big retail release will occur? It’s fine to have discourse about the gameplay-health of a game, but unless said health affects sales one way or another it will be invisible to “the bosses.” There ain’t a damn thing in Embracer’s report about how good Ticket to Ride is, but there’s a couple mentions about how it still sells well and (ding ding!) has a new big box releasing soon. Star Wars: Armada is a wonderfully balanced and lovely game, but there’s a reason this is the last time that particular property will be mentioned again in this article: its days of making noteworthy money for Asmodee are long past, just like a certain other space game I’ll mention later.

To pause for definitions, what I mean by a Second Edition is a very different core rules set as well as a new starter box (or boxes) along with ways to print and/or buy cards that WILL allow for old plastic to be incorporated.

To summarize the prologue to this article, AMG’s owner Asmodee is in the good graces of its owner Embracer Group at the moment for being a profitable member of the family, and it will naturally want to keep things that way. Star Wars: Shatterpoint (initial release) and Marvel: Crisis Protocol (second core set, but not a new edition) both had big box releases in 2023 meaning both are going to be back in standard expansion mode for all of 2024, almost certainly along with Legion.

According to this article on ICv2, Legion and Marvel Crisis were still going very strong in Spring 2023. These lists are based off interviews so they should be taken with a grain of salt, but given that the guy who runs this site/magazine is a big big big time industry expert and consultant who talks to game stores yes but more importantly (in my opinion) distributors and publishers…well, I think we can take them decently seriously. In any case, Asmodee will want to have something big and new on the horizon to keep its parent company happy, and what makes more sense along those lines than an announcement of a Second Edition of its oldest game that is also still successful?

It’s not just logic that convinces me of the imminence of a second edition for Legion, it’s history. Check out this list of all-timers.

Game# Years Between Initial Release and Second Edition
Warhammer Fantasy1, then 2 more years until Third Edition, then 5 years until Fourth Edition. I guess things were wild for the real pioneer of the genre
Warhammer 40K6
Blood Bowl2, then 6 years until Third Edition
BattletechTechnically 1, funny enough though this was because the game was originally called BattleDroids and George Lucas forced a name change, assumedly because he was perturbed the mechs weren’t doing the sort of Three Stooges bits that B1’s would make famous 15 years later. But the actual second edition (called Third Edition, naturally) happened 7 years after that

Is it a coincidence that Legion released exactly six years before the date of this article?….I mean, yeah, a little bit but that was because it released at Adepticon…but in either case, if we’re to use the biggest games in the history of this industry as a guide, then it seems like next year would be about time wouldn’t it? I’m considering other factors as well:

  • A call for Legion playtesters last fall, which immediately smelled to me like a move toward Second Edition to me since the rate of releases for Legion as we know it now wouldn’t seem to necessitate a change
  • The announcement of new plastic miniatures being on the way for Rebel Troopers and Stormtroopers at last year’s Ministravaganza. Realistically, how many people would really buy these if they were coming out with the same old rules attached? I know many of you are raising your hand out there, but let’s be real, if you’re reading this far down it means that you’re CRAZY and you’ll buy everything! It makes more sense to me if they are the contents of a newly constructed Core Set.
  • Republic Ahsoka, who was hinted at in the Ministravaganza two years ago has still not even been announced despite being an extraordinarily popular character, but she would be a very sensible aspect of a new Republic core set wouldn’t she? The same goes for Jango Fett.
  • It would be an opportunity for Atomic Mass to make this game “its own” for the first time, which I think matters to the studio (pure conjecture)

Please note that I’m not saying this would be announced on Sunday. I think it would be a 2025 release and that it would actually be announced either at the next Ministravaganza this fall or at Gen Con this year. I could go on but I have other predictions to get to. The first piggybacks onto prediction 1.

Prediction 2: We’ve seen our last new Battle Force in this iteration of Legion

Battle Forces have usually been fun, have reliably added a lot of variety to list-building, and yet perhaps most relevantly, have been notoriously difficult to balance. Doing so seems like it would be a lot of work, especially when each new Battle Force carries the list of generic unit cards and upgrades like an entire flock of albatrosses hanging on their necks.

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Pictured: A Geonosian, maintaining his wing speed and velocity due to the lack of an albatross

What about Geonosians you ask? Well…what about em? They only have three units that are of the right species! For what it’s worth I think the developers would be wise to avoid worrying about this now anyway, it really is a big pain to manage 5 factions (just don’t) and several more pseudo-factions. Instead, they could incorporate some of the current concepts of Battle Forces into a new Edition in a less Frankenstein’s monster sort of way than the current state. Even if I am wrong about a Second Edition on the horizon, none of the upcoming known releases really fit into a Battle Force anyway (unless of course the Crab Droid is a part of a Crab Battle Force) so I feel safe in reassuring you that the only Battle Forces you’ll be losing to will be all the ones you’re losing to already.

Prediction 3: X-Wing has seen its final release of any plastic

X-Wing was my gateway drug and so it still holds a place in my heart, though it hasn’t occupied a place in my free time for nearly four years now. If you can believe it, according to those same industry polls referenced above, X-Wing was selling better than 40K for a while in 2016. Mind you, that’s just as much a sign of Games Workshop having a very bad time as it was that things were going well for X-wing, but 2016 is a long ways away. Back then, people (totally not including me…nope…no way) were spending a hundred USD on what was basically a desk ornament because it had a single upgrade card.

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There are more words on this card than there are Raider models that were ever used in “Epic Play”

Please don’t misunderstand: X-Wing still has a very active player base, many of whom are happy with the current state of the game, and that will probably be true for a very long time. But let’s be real: the people who play this game now are the people who played this game when the pandemic started. The last new plastic releases were nearly two years ago, and since then there’s been a few card packs, re-packagings, and reprints of ships that never “officially” made it into Second Edition. Atomic Mass hinted during their presentation last year that the Alpha Class Star Wing aka “Imperial Gunboat,” a favorite of First Edition players and classic PC gamers alike, would finally be re-released but there’s been no news of that since then.

There was no mention of that ship, or anything involved with X-Wing, at last fall’s Ministravaganza. Despite its own relatively slow release schedule, we’ve had the announcement of and subsequent pre-order availability of two Legion units that we didn’t even know were going to exist after last year’s event (Range Troopers and Clone Commandos), but we’ve still seen no sign of a Star Wing or anything else for that matter. The Battle For Endor card pack, which was the final actual product shown at adepticon a year ago, came out pretty recently, so the game is just now at the end of its rope when it comes to merchandise that we know for a fact went to production.

And, I think it’s gonna stay that way when it comes to plastic. This one isn’t dependent on my first prediction being right: store space is always at a premium and the older a game gets the less likely a store would want to stock a lonely reprint expansion for a game that isn’t attracting many new players and that is generally slowing down. Given that Shatterpoint is now making that squeeze tighter all the time, smaller stores especially may balk at ordering these reprints more and more as time goes on. The game itself will be fine, will probably see continued (but slower) balance attention and may well see some more card packs, since that’s cheap and requires less space on the shelf, but all the evidence to me signifies that we may be at the end of an era of the original (for me) “plastic crack.”

Prediction 4: Shatterpoint will announce the first miniature from the High Republic Era

This is a quick one, and may be my “coldest take” but among the fan base people sure seem to be talkin’ bout and watchin’ that Acolyte trailer a lot! It seems pretty cool to me and I was (rightly) cold on the Ahsoka trailer so here’s hoping!

As my brother eloquently put it, the teacher probably should have written that kid’s name down when she said she saw fire…you know, just like, may be important some day

In Shatterpoint you roll out with two squads of three units each, but the “era” those characters come from only needs to be shared per squad, not your whole force. Therefore, you only really need one box (which almost always comes with a full squad) to “legalize” a whole time period. This means that it will be fairly easy to take this whole show and turn it into one box of good guys and one box of bad guys, wash their hands, and move on all the while capitalizing on this show’s recency. We already basically know they’re going to be the first game to break ground on sequel trilogy characters “in person” (which Legion almost certainly will never touch) and there’s basically only 8 characters worth making minis of in those movies anyway so it’ll work out pretty well.

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Pictured: One of those characters

Prediction 5: Star Wars Unlimited will become a Top 5 TCG

I’m less familiar with cards than minis so this prediction is even less informed than the others, but some would say it’s also fairly safe

Recall the list of estimated miniatures sales I linked to above, where Legion is basically right there with Marvel as one of the bigger “medium sized fish,” big enough to make money but never remotely approaching (or trying to, to be fair) the size of the colossal fish of the sea? SWU is never going to even remotely get close to Magic or Pokemon, and it ain’t gonna be able to compete for the Bronze against YuGiOh or Lorcana either. I get the feeling though that there’s a lot of room between those and the rest though, and I think Unlimited has a chance to barge in there, powered initially by positive word of mouth and a very robust singles market (where the most valuable card is nudging up against $600 at the time of this writing). Oh, and hey, look who that is at the second most valuable slot. It’s our boy!

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With the value of over 4 Imperial Raiders!

Even if the craze dies down a little bit, everyone I’ve talked to has said the game plays very well and already has multiple expansions planned. I had a bad first impression of its viability from a small store that is local to me, who sort of scoffed at the idea of carrying it despite the relatively low shelf space it takes up, but out of curiosity I called 7 additional stores in the area who were all carrying it, one of whom was sold out and two of which were limiting purchases in the same way Lorcana was limited early on. “Were there shipping problems?” I asked one of them. “No man, I don’t think anyone thought it would be this popular” was his reply.

TCG’s, to a greater extent than minis, REALLY rely on active events to stay relevant, both due to drafts and the drive for players to buy more packs in the hopes of getting those sweet sweet power cards. And wouldn’t you know, every store I called that carry the game except the one store that had zero event space had events on their calendar. There was doubt Fantasy Flight Games, which is also owned by Asmodee (and therefore, REALLY owned by Embracer) would succeed as a new player on the TCG market but I was honestly kind of floored by their website, which not only lists the places that carry the game but also a list of events, right there on the front page.

FFG did the smart thing by separating their website from their own core site, allowing it to focus attention on where it’s needed most for a game that’s basically putting it all on the line. The first link you see when googling “Star Wars Unlimited,” the sponsored one, brings you right to the “Find a Store” menu. This is ironic, naturally, since Atomic Mass’ website (which does not have a sponsored link on Google) is still the third hit when you type “Star Wars Legion,” after its four-years-and-counting obsolete FFG website and Asmodee, which does at least sell the game I suppose but…it’s not amazing. I have pointed this out publicly before, because I really think it matters and I do want my favorite game to succeed, but what do I know I guess.

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Lol, I’m sorry, but come on guys, maybe write a letter to FFG, or Google, or both

Anyway, even though this isn’t minis we’ll all benefit when Star Wars as a brand is considered valuable by Embracer, you can tell their mouths are watering based on the number of mentions in their above mentioned earnings report (two) compared to Shatterpoint (one) and all their other Marvel/Star Wars games (zero). There’s gonna be an easy way to know it’s working, all you gotta do is see if it makes it out of the “More” section of TCGPlayer.com, where it currently resides.

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If Star Wars can knock off one of them anime games then we’ll know we’re cookin with gas. I ordered a box today at my real home store myself and I’m looking forward to trying it out.

In case you didn’t know, we already have some articles about Star Wars Unlimited on this very site by one Davis “TowerNumberNine” Kingsley who went from being a world class Legion player to a world class Flesh and Blood player and is now shifting to Unlimited because he really enjoys it and believes in it. Just like Matt Bronson with Shatterpoint or Kyle/Mike/Timbo/AJST with Legion, one of my favorite parts about this group is the quality of the staff when it comes to a mastery of the games they write and podcast about…but I bet none of them could even come up with a hundred words about Gremlins 2, so you have to hang on to me Jay!

I hope you enjoyed my predictions as much as I enjoyed coming up with them, let me know how wrong I am in the comments!

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