I picked up a few of these fellows from the Dungeon of Magic just off the Bourke street mall the other day. This is the best place for cheap singles of both Star Wars and D&D, though the coverage is patchy and the service is always an experience. My suspicion is that the owner’s real business is buying cases of figures, cracking them open and selling the rares on eBay and dumping the rest in the boxes in the shop. The shop front is just for remainders, in other words.

But that’s OK. It’s a fine business model if it works, and the fact that the shop is still there after all these years indicates that the model works.

So I bought a handful of these StarWars guys for a dollar a throw because they looked sufficiently generic to be used for a StarGrunt style games. They could also be used for specific skirmish games moderated by Andreas Filigois’ Mutants and Deathray Guns. Heck, I could even use them in a StarWars game if I was desperate.

Here’s a funny thing about the SWCMG: I have studied these rules because they seemed to be ‘good enough’. They covered everything you might want. They were sufficiently abstracted. My younger son Zach occaisionally wants to play. But the problem is that in play every game always comes down to a line ’em up and knock ’em down event. There seems little opportunity to develop any tactics. The forces just run at each other, attritting each other, until one side or the other is eliminated.

Perhaps it is the ‘two figures at a time’ rule. This really punishes a side that has masses of very weak troops – say Corporate Droids. Mind you, it might be that I go soft on the rules and tactics to allow my son the very good chance of winning every time. Perhaps. Experiences like this raise little suspicions in the back of my mind about skirmish gaming in general.

A good skirmish game is a rarity. It’s not about the ‘game’. It’s about the story.