Event Recap: Funko Games Hosts Star Wars Rivals Launch Event at Scum & Villainy Cantina in Hollywood

About five or six years ago, an unlicensed Star Wars (and other pop-culture)-inspired bar called Scum & Villainy Cantina opened in Hollywood, California, not far from where I was living at the time. Despite being a pretty huge Star Wars fan for most of my life, I deliberately avoided it because I knew the genuine article (a Lucasfilm-approved in-universe cantina) would soon be opening up at Disneyland’s Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge themed land.

Cut to last night and my first time ever stepping foot inside Scum & Villainy, for an invite-only launch event promoting Funko Games’ new miniatures release Star Wars Rivals. I grumbled and begrudgingly attended, even going so far as wearing my newly acquired Oga’s Cantina shirt to show where my true corporate allegiances lie, but truth be told and all preconceptions hesitantly put aside, I ended up having a pretty great time.

My fellow LaughingPlace.com contributor Alex Reif got to check out Star Wars Rivals back at Star Wars Celebration Europe in London last month while I was busy covering other stuff during the convention, so I was genuinely excited to get a first look at the game in its final form last night. Star Wars Rivals is basically a competitive showdown between the forces of the light and dark sides for control over famous locations from A Galaxy Far, Far Away. The “Premier Set” for Series I includes the characters of Luke Skywalker, Commander Cody, Darth Vader, and Asajj Ventress, but there are also booster packs available for this expandable game system that opens up the world to dozens more characters. I played about two and a half full games of Star Wars Rivals during the launch event yesterday evening, and can say I had a pretty good time with it– there’ll be a full, in-depth review of the game coming to this website later today.

The atmosphere at Scum & Villainy was energetic as inviting Star Wars fans and influencers gathered around central tables and in corner booths reminiscent of where Han Solo shot poor Greedo (first) in A New Hope. Funko Games representatives were on hand to guide attendees through the basics of the game, and guests were given scorecards to keep track of their progress through the evening– the participant with the most amount of points by the end of the night receiving a gift bag full of Funko goodies and some attractive Loungefly Star Wars bag and apparel. But the real highlight here was Star Wars Rivals, which generated a lot of buzz among those experiencing the game for the first time.

As for myself, I walked away having to admit that I definitely enjoyed my first visit to Scum & Villainy Cantina (which, in addition to Star Wars-adjacent theming also includes references to other geeky properties like Star Trek: The Next Generation, Harry Potter, and the Marvel Cinematic Universe) and was happy to take home a complementary copy of Star Wars Rivals to play with friends and family. As I mentioned above, you can check back right here later today as I break down the contents of the game system box I received and review the gameplay itself on a more detailed level.

Star Wars Rivals is available now via Walmart.