Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Star Wars : Legion - Scale and Cynicism

Firstly the news you may be interested in is the latest release from Fantasy Flight Games; on the Heels of X-Wing and Imperial Armada.  Star Wars: Legion is the game we all hoped for, tabletop battles between stormtroopers and the rebellion with hordes of miniatures.


From the company that already brought us Imperial Assault and its' masses of miniatures this sounds like great news.

But there is a catch.

Rather than inclusively welcome owners of Star Wars Imperial Assault to the new game, by scale matching the range of figures, SW:L has scaled up, to the new kid on the block '32mm Heroic'; or as it could be known, fantasy games that don't want you using any other shit in your games.

It may not sound like a huge march on 28mm, but the reality is I doubt anyone is going to be too pleased with the size disparity up close.  Take the difference between the two 'Luke Skywalker' models featured in the base games:

SW:L on Left, SW:IA on Right
Now, apart from the fact only one of them actually looks like Mark Hamill, it is obvious that there is a huge difference in relative size.

Couple this with the Fantasy Flight - boardgame derived - approach of providing all the supplemental rules for models, with the models themselves only - and you realise that pretty extensive collection of Imperial Assault models you built up will not really be of much use to you in games of Legion.  You know, it probably would not of hurt their bottom line to throw that bone to the fans; given the expense of building up a figure collection for SW:IA.  I know my complete collection for the base game, and the handful of extras I've bought to date has cost me upwards of £150 (Even typing that gives me the hives.)  But instead, they've taken the cynical business choice to more or less guarantee incompatibility between the two mediums, presumably in the hope that the fan base will continue to throw money at the franchise.

Who knows, maybe Disney stipulated it as a contractual obligation.  Such things have influenced games in the past, such as the various commitments GW had to make around existing licenses for the Lord of the Rings Games.

But Scale creep didn't need to be imposed on miniatures manufacturers, it was invented by them; Hell, it's not even exclusive to fantasy gaming anymore.

And whilst it may be the company who jumps to mind for this, and they certainly did the most to propagate it in the modern age; I'm not even going to blame Games Workshop, even though they obviously are responsible for this sort of thing:

 By comparison, how about the slowly growing size of '20mm' miniatures over the years:

L:R ESCI (80's), Matchbox (70's), Pegasus (00's), Revell (90's), Valiant (10's)
 Or 15mm.  Where 18mm is now a thing in its' own right entirely:

Until presumably the snake eats its' own tail, 12mm models become an average of 15mm tall and 18mm models stand 20mm high.  None of this even makes sense any more.

Oh wait yes it does...

I mean, if the audience is happy enough to buy larger and larger models because companies tell them it is an improvement, so be it, throw your money down that hole.  Whether it is Games Workshop flogging you true scale Space Marines, Fantasy Flight with 32mm Heroic scale Star Wars models, or certain Wargames snops trying to tell you 40mm is the new true scale for real aficionados of the hobby; it's all the same dog and pony show.  What it all really boils down to is built in redundancy of your old collections.

So you'll buy more of their shit.  Keep the cash generator running.

Beware.  Beware.


5 comments:

  1. When I saw the new Star Wars game, my first reaction was "I already give FF enough of my money with X-Wing." Although IA has some appeal, it is just too proprietary for my taste.

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  2. I bought into X-Wing, Armada and Imperial Assault. Imperial Assault has enough variety within the range to be useful for roleplaying - the West End Games version, not FFG's. Not so long ago, had IA not been released, I would have been all over Legion, but I don't feel the need to buy a second set of bigger Stormtroopers, and therefore won't be buying into it. I think FFG have misjudged this.

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  3. Right on brother, its getting bloody ridiculous.

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  4. I'm deep in IA, and I would have jumped into this if the figures had matched. As it is, I won't. My concern now is that this will detract from IA development.

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