In endeavoring to write my next article about Legion I was faced with a choice: What should I write about? I’ve been writing an article about the new Darth Vader Operative, but with his imminent delay that seems like an inopportune thing to talk about. I could write another “Road to Worlds” article, but there also hasn’t been any big events that I’ve attended or significant changes on that front. So where does that leave us? Well, it’s Thanksgiving here in the States – so I thought I’d talk about Star Wars: Legion and how it changed my life. That’s something I am Thankful for.
2001 – You have my Axe
On December 19th 2001 the Fellowship of the Ring hit theaters. It was a big deal for me at the time – it was something to look forward to after a pretty scary and frightful year in the States. It was a world we could disappear to and forget about all the bad things that were happening in the real world. As a 7th grade kid, The Lord of the Rings Trilogy was the escape I needed. As I was walking out of the theater with my friends and my dad (Who was the one that insisted we had to go see it in the first place, having been an avid fan of the books) we walked past a banner for what I thought was a board game. Little did I know, it was Games Workshop’s latest scheme, that would later turn into what is now the Lord of the Rings Strategy Battle Game – A miniatures game. I immediately told my dad we had to go see what it was all about so we took a turn in Carousel Mall (Don’t let people tell you it’s called Destiny USA, they’re full of it) and we walked into the local Games Workshop for the first time of what would be many trips. I bought the Lord of the Rings Starter set and it whisked me off on my journey that would eventually lead me to where I am now.
2004 – Finding Heresy
In 2004 I was getting a bit tired of the Lord of the Rings, so I decided to jump into the Warhammer 40k universe. At the time, it was being marketed as a more grown up game in contrast to the LotR SBG, and I was starting to “Grow Up”. So two things happened here – I bought an Eldar Battleforce and Codex and the Battlefleet Gothic Starter set. Over the course a few months I realized that while the Warhammer models looked really cool and seemed awesome, the rules set left a bit to be desired for me. What really ended up being my thing was Battlefleet Gothic. For those of you who are unfamiliar, it’s gigantic miles long capital ships fighting it out in space in the 40k Universe. Unfortunately for me, the game would soon be discontinued by Games Workshop and that would basically end my miniatures hobby for the foreseeable future. I just lost interest after becoming jaded with Games Workshop.
2013 – The Space Wolves Rise
After graduating from High School and working my way through College part time and working full time I decided to check back in on the hobby that been a part of my life when I was a teenager. Suffice to say, it was alive and well and I had some disposable income to toss at it. So I did what only could be described as a nostalgia purchase. I went on Games Workshops online webstore because they had closed the local branch down (That was part of the reason I was disenfranchised with them before) and purchased about $400 worth of Space Wolves – because Space Vikings are cool – duh. They came in a big box and I put them all together and I realized this was a big lot of models to paint at once. To this day, I only have 4 painted of the 60 or so models I purchased that month. They’ve seen the table like five times in super casual games and have never seen the inside of a game store. The nostalgia hit, I blew some money, and the hobby hit the back burner once again. I just wasn’t interested in the universe as much as I thought I was. After all, it didn’t have lightsabers…
2014 – The Move to the Capitol
In 2014 most of my local friends in Central New York (Syracuse) had moved on. Without going into super detail, the area has generally had a mass exodus of young people. I was one of the few left and I lived in a pretty rural area, so making new friends was difficult. I had a few friends that had moved to DC, so I quit my job after saving some money and moved to the district, renting a room in a group house (super common in DC) and with no job prospects. It was a risky move and it would ultimately pay off – I landed a desk job at a local construction company that took care of me and I was living downtown in an upscale neighborhood. It was a huge quality of life change and I realized that I absolutely loved the city I had moved to. The one thing that I was missing was a hobby outlet and a way to meet like minded people.
2015 – Deploy the Fleet
In 2015, a board game company that I was loosely familiar with released a game called Star Wars: Armada. The company’s name was Fantasy Flight Games, which I was aware of because of the countless hours my friends had made me play The Game of Thrones Board Game, even though we all hated the last 4 hours of it every time. Star Wars: Armada was a game changer for me. It was like Battlefleet Gothic, the game I loved but got discontinued, but in a universe that was super interesting to me. Star Wars had always been something I loved (Again, thanks to my dad) and I can remember to this day watching Return of the Jedi and then rewinding it on VHS and watching it again and then again and then again when I was a youngling. So of course, I bought the core set and a few expansions, and I fell in love with the game. I played casually for a few years and then I found out about …
2017 – Going NOVA (The first time)
In 2017 I decided I wanted to play Star Wars: Armada against people that were good at it. So I looked around to see if there were any tournaments for it locally. I found the NOVA open. I also found out in my search that the LotR SBG was alive and well – specifically at the NOVA open. So I bought my ticket to NOVA, I finished purchasing my Armada fleet for it, and then I bought a LotR SBG army for it too and painted the whole thing in the next few months (Which is huge for me, I hate painting). I arrived at NOVA with my fleet of Star Destroyers and Elves of the Golden Wood under the tutelage of Galadriel and battled it out for four days. And I loved every minute of it. But there was thirty minutes of that weekend I loved more. They had a demo for a game that I had not heard of yet there and my eyes lit up when I saw it. It had warriors in shining white armor and lightsabers. This small company called Fantasy Flight Games that had created Armada had done what I thought was impossible at the time, they made Star Wars Warhammer. But it was more than that, the rules were better and simpler. The game was cheaper and more accessible. And that weekend I preordered it. All of it. 2 Core Sets, 2 Storm Troopers, 2 Rebel troopers, 1 ATRT, 1 Speeder Bike, 2 ATSTs, 2 Airspeeders. I was going to play the ever loving **** out of this game. It was Star Wars and it. was. awesome.
2018 – Space Orks
March came and my pre-order came in. It was so many boxes the delivery guy had a bit of trouble getting it all on my doorstep – but we ended up working it out. In the meantime I had also bit the bullet and commissioned a table to be made, because we don’t have any games store in downtown DC where you can play. I reached out to Alex Wright of Wright Terrain Studio and he made me an awesome board. I had seen his tables that he made at NOVA and I was blown away. He did not disappoint, I’d encourage any of you to reach out to him. In any event, it was March and I had two armies and a hand made table. I was ready to game. I had all of the people I knew that were into board games come over and play it – constantly. I started to get pretty good at it and I wanted to find some people that were just as into it as I was. I found the Legion Discord and I posted in general chat trying to find people in the DC area that played. Some guy named Orkimedes responded. He said he lived pretty close and could meet me at a store in Virginia. So I packed up my dudes and went to meet this guy from the internet at a local store. We played a game I remember quite well. It was Long March Vaporators and he tried to force push my Darth Vader off the board (I didn’t really know that was a thing at the time) and I was like hey man, uncool. I think he may have thought it was funny. Turns out Ork(Kyle Dornbos) had a blog called Never Tell Me the Odds. We started talking a bit and he asked me to write an article about Darth Vader. I did. We talked some more and thought hey, wouldn’t it be fun to start a podcast? It was a bit of wishful thinking at the time, at least that’s what we thought…
2018 Continued – The Adventures of Jay and Endless
A few weeks later Kyle said that he had talked to that guy that did the Fifth Trooper podcast. Kyle had been on his show to talk about his stat analysis of the units in Legion and this Jay guy would support us if we wanted to do a podcast. So we reached out to David Zelenka, who had been a pretty big face in the discord scene at that point and asked him if it would be something he would be interested in. Three people felt like the right number. So we all met online one day in a private discord and Jay set up a recording bot – I think the bot’s name may have been Craig. We named the podcast Notorious Scoundrels and we started recording every week. More people listened to it than we thought they would. We got great feedback from people we had never met. We decided to keep doing it.
2019 – The Force Awakens
In January of 2019 we all got together for the first time at the Las Vegas Open. It’s kind of weird to think about that we all were in the same place the first time less than a year ago. It feels like we’ve all known each other for years. We met so many people at LVO. Fans, other community members, and just good people. It was striking to me how many awesome people are part of this community. It was after LVO that I think we decided to get a bit more serious about it. It was starting to become more than just a hobby – it was a passion for all of us and we wanted to make sure that everyone else got to share in that. We made the decision to stream Adepticon Live. It was what I would consider the first step in a much larger world. Most of you will know the rest of this story from there – you can listen to our podcasts or read out blogs. Since then we’ve constructed the Fifth Trooper Network – a conglomeration of everything we’ve been working on, together and separate. Evan, Jay’s partner from the Fifth Trooper Podcast got more involved with us and we brought on Zach and Mike from the Jedha Journal.
While I could talk at length about this year, that’s not really what this article is about. My Journey to this specific point has been a long road, filled with many events and decisions that could have gone differently or not happened at all. I’ve made more good friends in the last two years than I have in a decade, maybe a life time, and I could not be more thankful for that. This is more than just a hobby or a passion – it’s a coalition of people banding together to make something amazing.
Thank you Jay, Kyle, David, Evan, Zach, and Mike for forging friendships and supporting each other.
Thank you to all the content creators and community members that support everything about this game.
Thank you to our listeners, readers, and fans for supporting us and giving us your feedback.
Thank you to Fantasy Flight Games, Alex Davy, Luke Eddy, and the countless other employees for making and continually producing content for this game.
Thank you Dad for showing me how to imagine.
Thank you Star Wars – for letting us have a Star War.
May the Dark Side be with you, always
Michael “Dashz” Barry