Welcome to the sixth edition of the Mos Eisley Gazette! This is a series of articles that aims to highlight the passion and effort put forth by event organizers or dedicated fans who keep their local Destiny scenes alive!
Looking for some inspiration to start your own scene or simply want to learn about and get plugged in to an established scene? Join us for each edition of the Mos Eisley Gazette as we get to know the heroes of the many IRL Destiny scenes still kicking around the world and take a brief journey to their local scenes.
Today we take a trip to Echobase on Hoth and catch up with SWD community leader and event organizer, LandoWonka. LandoWonka is a particularly special figure, as he is known by all in the global Destiny community, is a conduit for the entire European continent, he’d give you the sleeves off his card backs, and most importantly, he loves to sing Christmas carols.
Let’s begin with a foreword from echo7
LandoWonka, or Mark as I knew him better back then, has been a part of the Echobase team essentially since its inception.
He had already been running tabletop simulator (TTS) events, but after real life events dried up post FFG, and with the arrival of COVID, Mark took on the mantle of the man for online Destiny in the European community (plus a few folks from further afield who didn’t mind the time difference).
A few events in, he renamed his well-established Destiny discord channel to Echobase. This would bring the events he was running and the online content under one roof. This act really sums up the man: he’s not seeking personal acclaim or notoriety, he just loves the game and the community and has gone to extraordinary lengths to keep it going through some very difficult times, all while he has a young family to look after.
As time has gone on, he and echo3 have been running weekly events with clockwork regularity, barely missing a week. The community who plays in these events are a lovely group of people, and I think it’s in no small part through Mark and Oli’s efforts that we all still play Destiny.
It was great to see Mark in real life up in Nottingham last month, and in classic Mark style, and despite travelling for many hours to be there, when there was an odd number of players, he decided not to play so no one had to have a bye.
Many thanks to echo7 for his thoughtful foreword. Now, let’s continue and hear directly from the subject of today’s article, LandoWonka himself.
When was the moment you became a fan of Star Wars?
Fan seems a strong word. Being born in 1977 when it all began for Star Wars it was hard to avoid. The toys and games were everywhere. My “jam” if you will was GI Joe or as it was called over here Action Force for some reason. I would say Star Wars became more of a thing for me when I started playing Destiny. I watched Rebels to find out who some of the characters I was playing were. That led to Clone Wars eventually for the same reason. I’ve watched Star Wars more religiously since then so I guess it comes back to Destiny really.
How did you get into SW Destiny?
Let me think back. I played many collectible card games over the years and FFG LCGs so their products and that style of game is always on my radar and I’m likely to try most. I did miss the initial rush of Star Wars Destiny though after watching a Dice Tower review video. I then stumbled on it at a game convention in January 2017 called Handycon seeing some in the shop that was at the event. I bought the starters and some packs pulling Awakenings Han Solo.
Tell us how you got involved in your local scene.
My first foray into the local scene was quite funny. I turned up at a gaming gathering specifically to meet the local Destiny Event Organiser and play with the few cards I had. Little did I know that they had been playing and perfecting decks for a few months so my super inefficient three wide largely starter based got smashed by Leia and Ackbar with many guns. I remember being shocked at my opponent playing Field Medic as I hadn’t pulled or seen one yet. I remember blurting out “you can heal in this game?!” I didn’t really get going until Spirit of Rebellion where I had two favourite decks that I have never managed to forget. eGeneral Reeikan and Luke Skywalker with Launch Bay and eMon Mothma with 2 Hired Guns and Planned Explosion (older players might remember these).
How did you come to be involved with Echobase?
Echobase was the brain child of echo3ofclubs and echo7 (you can tell by the names) a long while back now. They had decided to fill the gap left behind when FFG ended their production of the game causing the Your Destiny website and articles to cease. We all had some involvement writing for Your Destiny. It was much later when I joined the pair. Covid happened and any destiny play had to move online. I took the liberty of starting to run U.K. based events in my discord which was Wonka’s Factory at the time. A short while into doing that they asked if I’d like to join Echobase and write alongside them as I’d done before. It was an easy yes to give. I then changed my discord to the Echobase discord you hopefully know and love today.
When did you get involved with online Destiny?
I can’t recall when it was exactly but it started from watching the numerous YouTube channels playing Destiny on tabletop simulator, Chimaera, Noobrainer (we all know as Gameslayer), Dice Commando, Double Blanks, Jedi Trials, Your Destiny and Sith Holocron to mention a few. Of course I wanted to play more and get involved. I actually bought a brand new laptop and the sole reason was so I could play Destiny on tabletop simulator.
Tell us details about your local.
I’m guessing the Echobase Thursday Night Events are pretty much my local where we get on average probably around 10 players or so each week. For in person play, my local is pretty much mainly Erik and I playing on my dining table. Maybe the entire UK counts as my local these days where we try and find stores around the UK happy to accommodate us on a weekend. By far my favourite so far is the Dice Cup in Nottingham. A long way away from me so definitely not exactly local but feels like the home of Destiny In Person play at the moment.
What’s your favorite aspect of your local scene?
It’s always the people and community. There’s nothing better than getting together with people who have a common interest.
What keeps you motivated to host the Echobase weekly?
Finally an easy question – this is a great game that ARH have managed to continue on fantastically so the motivation comes from a personal desire to play it. The best way to do that is to have a regular slot and make people aware of it.
How did you get involved with the ARH format?
This one is even easier. It was a very easy choice that I would follow and look into any continuing committee to play the game I adore. I really like the way ARH has approached this and gone about keeping the game alive. It’s a fantastic collaboration, the pacing is right and the end product is amazing.
You’ve helped to coordinate numerous in person events in the ARH-era. What was that like?
When they are actually happening they are amazing. It’s hard to beat having the community of players come together to play and hang out face-to-face. The trickier bit is finding a venue that is going to work well for everyone. Some stores just want to charge ludicrous amounts to host as they don’t think it is worth anything to them. Also waiting for tickets to the event to sell always causes me angst. It always ends up working out but I’ve been close to canceling numerous times. Just have to hold your nerve. Build it and they will come, right?
Any advice for someone who wants to build a local Destiny scene?
If you know the players are out there, you just have to put something together and I would suggest making it as regular as you can. You then have to stick with it and keep putting it out there. I’d offer to make decks for people to, make it easy for them to come out and play and the game is then good enough that they should get the bug and start to work on wanting to get involved.
What are your Destiny plans for 2023?
For the UK, we will get in person events going as soon as possible into the New Year. Discussions with the UK Games Expo are already underway so if you fancy a Destiny event there this year again you should save the date Saturday 3rd June at the Birmingham NEC. Tickets for the Expo are already available but tickets for our event are not yet live.
How should folks get in touch with you?
I think we have a pretty full range of social media outlets.
On Discord as LandoWonka in ARH, OTS and echobase. Join the echobase discord here.
On Facebook as https://www.facebook.com/echobase.me
On Youtube as https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvZ1iL45qEOme75jBCe1QIw
Check out our gameplay videos and make sure to like and subscribe so you don’t miss any.
On Twitch to catch our live gameplay coverage that we later post to YouTube https://www.twitch.tv/echobase_hoth
We also still have our website although articles have been a little thin recently – https://echobase.me/
LandoWonka – Thank you for all that you do to grow and support the Destiny community. echo7 said it best – We believe your efforts directly contribute to the joy and reason many players continue to return and play this game we all love.
If you have a local Destiny scene, or are interested in starting one up, please reach out to us HERE. We would love to support you in kicking off something new or simply reinforcing the scene you’ve already built!
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