The Lure Of Star Wars: Why It’s So Popular (And Fun!) On The Tabletop

May 4, 2024 by brennon

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Today is Star Wars Day! With that in mind, I thought it would be good to discuss the lure of Star Wars and why it's such an intriguing prospect for tabletop gamers to bring to the tabletop, be it through wargames, board and card games or roleplaying games.


I'm sure you have your thoughts as to why it's such a winner with tabletop gamers and I urge you to dive into the comments and tell me your thoughts. Without further ado, let's explore the whys and wherefores of a galaxy far, far away.


Despite the famous phrase "I've Never Seen Star Wars", I think one of the benefits of Star Wars is that it's so ingrained in pop culture. Even if you haven't watched Star Wars, you probably know what it is and have seen something about it during your lifetime. It means that if you're looking to dive into the tabletop side of things, you've got a great reference point to start from.

star wars luke vs vader

There is a very easy-to-understand good versus evil vibe to Star Wars so you can immediately make a decision as to who you want to play. Do you want to take on the role of the Rebels or the Republic or would you prefer to switch things up and take a different approach, embracing the evil side of your personality with the Separatists and the Empire? It can be fun to be the villain!

This then helps when it comes to diving into your games. In games like X-Wing, you get a sense of how X-Wings and TIE Fighters work and so it's more intuitive to get your head around the game. The same goes for Star Wars: Legion or Star Wars: Shatterpoint. You understand what Darth Vader can do and so when it comes to diving into games, you get to see that play out with you at the helm. Even if you take a step away from miniatures games, even in board games or roleplaying games where you take on the role of smugglers and the like, you've probably seen Han Solo or Boba Fett and know about the grey areas you can step into when playing those vagabonds!

star wars obi wan vs greivous

I think these touchstones that guide people into playing Star Wars games on the tabletop are a big reason why it's such a hit with hobbyists and it's also great for getting someone involved if they've never tried a tabletop game before. You can keep using movie reference points to explain what's happening at the tabletop and that makes these games very approachable. It's familiar and iconic and that means it's easy enough to get involved without feeling like a complete outsider!

Embracing The Accuracy

Another of the benefits of Star Wars being so bigand diving into it at the tabletop is that you've got a great reference base to work from when it comes to the hobby side of things. There's plenty of freedom of course for you to tell your own stories in the universe of Star Wars (and many people do) but a lot of people (myself included) really like trying to match their paint schemes, their armies, their decks for card games and roleplaying characters to what they've seen in the movies, TV shows and such.

star wars hoth miniatures

It can be quite a comfort to be able to sit down with someone wanting to get into a game and be able to give them a reference as to how to paint their miniatures. It's easy to get big armies of Stormtroopers in their classic white and Rebels covered in camouflage to the tabletop and it's even more fun working out the right markings for squads and accurately representing characters based on artwork of their onscreen costumes.

This is something that a lot of folks love from Historical wargames. There's a joy to be had in saying "I've built this army as the 501st" for example or getting your Princess Leia and Han Solo to look as close to their movie counterpart as possible. This helps create quite a holistic approach to your hobby as you do endless research. Much like Historical games, there are plenty of movies for you to sit down and watch in your spare time or when you're sitting down to do your hobby. Why not paint whilst you watch The Empire Strikes Back?


One of the great things about Star Wars is that it seems to manage to blend together two different genres. Star Wars has often been touted as Sci-Fantasy so this is nothing new but for fans of Sci-Fi and Fantasy fiction, it tends to bring together the best of both worlds.

shatterpoint miniatures

As an example, you have the enigmatic and mystical Jedi. Warrior monks who are able to wield "magical" forces, waving around their lightsabers. It's enough to get you excited just thinking about that. It's often said that you should bring a knife to a gunfight but it seems like the Jedi do quite well, rushing headlong into battle against the Sith and their allies, deflecting blaster shots before diving into daring duels. This really nails a lot of that classic swashbuckling action that people love from movies, books and TV shows.

This is combined with soldiers, smugglers and droids romping around with blasters or flying around the galaxy in spaceships. If you're someone wanting the best of both worlds then Star Wars manages to serve that up particularly well. You might say that worlds like Warhammer 40,000 do something similar and that's true but I think Star Wars is overall much more approachable and digestible with a clearer "classic" take on the aforementioned battle between good and evil.

All of this means that as a gamer approaching Star Wars on the tabletop, there are lots of different ways that you can do it. You can take a classic Sci-Fi take and play out big battles with clanking walkers, hovering tanks and ranks and ranks of infantry. Or, you can dive in and follow a classically Fantasy story, saving someone from the clutches of the evil villain and exploring a more personal and heroic story where the focus is much tighter on the characters.

This also leads quite nicely into the way those games play out. More often than not you get a real sense of heroics when you get stuck into a Star Wars game. Characters like Luke Skywalker or Darth Vader make a real statement. We see this in the likes of Star Wars: Legion of course but more so in Star Wars: Shatterpoint, the newest miniatures game on the block for the universe, which really digs into that "herohammer" (for lack of a better term) aspect of wargaming that people quite enjoy.

Taking the best bits from both genres and bringing them together in a fascinating melting pot of ideas means that gamers can probably find something that suits them at the tabletop.

An Ever-Evolving Future

It's probably no surprise to people that Star Wars doesn't show signs of slowing down as a monolithic entity in pop culture. There are new films, TV shows and more coming out almost every year and whilst some of them don't hit the mark, there are some gems in there and nuggets that you can mine for tabletop potential.

mandolorian miniature

All of this could flow into new games and indeed new additions to existing games. I think a lot of people would love to see Baylan Skoll or Andor popping up in the likes of Star Wars: Shatterpoint in future for example! All of these shows are also perfect fodder for those looking to come up with new tales for their roleplaying games as well. Use the likes of Andor or the upcoming The Acolyte as inspiration for the next story that you might tell at the tabletop.

This means that even if a particular game goes the way of the dodo, there will be something fun and Star Wars-based for you to enjoy on the tabletop. Even if you discount all the new stuff coming your way, there is still a wealth of content available from Star Wars of old! Even the biggest Star Wars games like Legion haven't been able to touch the sides when it comes to characters, storylines and battles. I know a lot of people are very eager to see official miniatures for a lot of old characters, troops, vehicles and more although, of course, the 3D Printing world is pretty darn good at catering for that shortfall.

Hopefully, this gives you some ideas as to why Star Wars is and will always be such a popular source of tabletop fun. As mentioned above, make sure to let me know in the comments below why you think it has such a cut-through!

If you've not caught up with our annual Star Wars Day post, make sure to go and check it out. We have some great videos from the backlog looking at different ways of playing Star Wars on the tabletop so get stuck in.

How are you going to be enjoying Star Wars Day?

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