Star Wars Miniautures Hall of Fame - 2015

Mark And Tim

Someone who frequents the online community of the Star Wars Miniatures game may not know the name of Dennis Beard. He has been a part of the game since the beginning, yet he has a much more infamous identity. He lives in Western Kentucky with his wife in a log cabin, where they care for three cats, who Dennis claims, “are often better treated than some other couples' children.” However, Dennis is much more widely known as the sharp-tongued, quick-witted, and, admittedly oft-controversial, Boris_the_Dwarf. The username he is famous for takes it roots back in the old TSR-era version of Dungeons and Dragons, and has nothing to do with his real life height or appearance (considering a dwarf has more hair on its upper lip than Dennis does from the neck up!)

It seems that Dennis was a lover Star Wars Miniatures well before it was ever created! He and his friends actually used the Star Wars troop packs that Galoob put out through their Micro Machines line and created their own game for them, based loosely on the old West End Games RPG system. Now that is a serious Star Wars gamer! Then, in 2004, the weekend that Star Wars Miniatures was released, Dennis was attending a local convention, I-CON, and he saw a guy there who had purchased a Rebel Storm starter set. Dennis asked to be shown how to play. He bought a starter and a few boosters to try it out. He quote is one that could be said for many SWM players. “One game and I was hooked.” He worked deals that weekend, and came away buying nearly $100 worth of the game before he left the convention.

Dennis says his all-time favorite character from the Star Wars Universe would have to be HK-47. To explain this choice, he replied with, “I loved his homicidal responses in the video game. They’re just comical.” For his favorite pieces in the game, he has some different, yet all strategic, answers. First off, he mentions General Kenobi and Princess Leia, Senator, both for their Commander Effect. He also likes the usefulness of Emperor Palpatine for being the original “Force Battery.” He says he has been a major fan of the Rebel Faction, even before all of the boosts it has received from sets such as Alliance & Empire and The Force Unleashed (his favorite set so far, and we’ll get to the reason soon).

Of all the ways in which someone might make changes to the Star Wars Miniature game, Dennis has some different approaches. He thinks the idea that Droids are not subject to Commander Effects does not make much sense. In each of the Star Wars movie, Droids take orders, “and not just Separatist Droids. Obi-Wan even tells R2 (in Revenge of the Sith), ‘Stay here and wait for orders.’" He also wishes that, when the game was first made, the basis for the game was to create 200 point squads, versus the 100 point idea that was the original idea. He believes this would have costed the figures in a way to create much better games.

Dennis was asked his opinion on his own personal achievement he is most proud of. His answer cannot be given justice without a direct quote. It would have to be “. . . running a 1,200 point Hoth Battle with four AT-ATs at Gencon Indy in 2006, and far more importantly, having SWM Lead Designer Rob Watkins agree to participate in the event. I really didn't expect him to say yes when I asked, but I was glad he did. He also brought four Snowspeeders with him to use. The best part of the experience was later that evening when, after the SWM seminar, Rob put one of the Rebel Snowspeeders on the table (the event at Gencon occurred before Bounty Hunters came out), and gave everyone a chance to roll off for it. I won the die roll, but better than receiving it were Rob's words of appreciation for the AT-AT game that morning.” That must have been an irreplaceable experience!

All these years later, when Dennis gets to sit down to play a game, most of them are played at home with his wife at the kitchen table. He also claims to spend almost as much time on Vassal. When he does get to play in tournaments, it's at Coolector's Mall in Owensboro, KY, almost every Saturday. He has a claim that many enjoy saying. “They are a great group of players of all ages.” And if a new player were to ask Dennis for advice, he would say, “Play like every die roll will let you down and you will win almost every game you play. Don't overextend your forces hoping luck will bail you out. Sometimes it will, but usually it won't . . . get the pieces you want and a couple of maps and go from there. Build squads, not armies, at least until you're sure this is a game that will always be a part of your life.” Fantastic advice that many seem to have followed, only to be brought into the game full time!