Thursday, 7 January 2016

Playing Star Wars Armada

I don't get to play that often, so every game is an special occasion. Last week, after a long time, I got the chance to play Star Wars Armada and oh, by the Force, it was totally worth of the wait.

No further words needed :D
I guess the game is quite well known by now, so I can make a dynamic review. We played a 300 points battle in which we favoured the numbers against the quality, i.e., we wanted to see ships in the space and shout 'pew pew', 'die rebel scum', 'it's a trap!', not to play a tactical game to test our prowess and all that shit.

Let's see how this works. You have a number of capital ships and fighter squadrons. At the beginning of the battle, you will have to prepare the commands you will address to your capital ships (change speed/activate squadrons/concentrate fire/repair). Given that each ship will perform a command per turn, that means that you are planning your mid term strategy for the game in advance (good admirals stick to their plans!). On a regular basis, you will be planning your three next turns in advance.
During the activation phase, each side will alternatively activate a ship, revealing the first command the ship has received. So the ship will act accordingly, variating speed, ordering a nearby Fighter Squadron to move & attack or concentrating fire on the shoots the ship's gonna do immediately afterwards. This way, each ship will reveal its orders, shoot (if possible) and then move.

Ships begin to maneuver
You use this ruler to move
And this other one for shooting
Depending on the distance, you will use certain dice. Obviously, the closer, the more dice you will use. Different colour dice make different harm.

These are the tools
Advanced Ties are making Han Solo sweat!
There is more space battle in this single pic that in all the Episode VII movie
X-Wings go hunt the Slave-1
I'm afraid my 40K origins showed up. I simply went for the slaughter (and the show!). In a stupid dauntless maneuver worth of the most distinguished Ork Admiral, my Assault Frigate simply rammed against the Imperial Destroyer:

Ke-rrunch
Apparently this was much less destructive than I expected. Oh, come on! I saw that in the movies! A single A-Wing crashes against a Destroyer and it all explodes. I smash this behemoth... and it's all scratches what I get!

The Imperial Cruiser shoots the Mon Calamari Frigate
Each capital ship has a number of shields on each location. Once you have disabled them, every hit on that location will cause hull damage untl the ship is destroyed. Fighter Squadrons don't have shields, so it's all a matter of inflicting enough damage.

The Mon Calamari Cruiser adds its firepower to the Assault Frigate
But the Destroyer resists everything and avoids the Rebel ships
Resists everything? No! A final X-Wing squadron bombs the ship and it's utterly destroyed!!
The board suddenly looks so empty...
This was the break point. The loss of the massive Destroyer changed everything. The Mon Calamari Cruiser was also heavily damaged and could be destroyed any moment from now, but the other Imperial Destroyer was being harassed by so many ships...
In fact, all the Rebel squadrons immediately focused on the ship:

Rebel Fanfare sounding now
And managed to destroy it! With no capital ships, the Empire had lost control of the sector. Victory for the Rebel Alliance!

Well, this has been quite a quick review of the game. It took us about a couple of hours and they were totally exhilarating. In a few words, it's kinda like the movies; the Empire has dreadful capital ships but expendable fighters and the Alliance has medium capital ships, not that powerful, but amazing fighter squadrons.
The game itself somehow reminded me Battlefleet Gothic (though I haven't played a game in, I don't know, fifteen years), I mean, the way you have to give your commands in advance and hope that your plan works, or some other points of the sequence of play. However, this is simpler than BFG, and of course is conceived in the way games nowadays are presented (tokens, gauges and stuff). It's enormously visual and of course it hits our nostalgia hard. What else can you ask for?

At some point I'll need to paint those Fighters, of course, but that will come in due time...

16 comments:

  1. Cool stuff.
    I find the rules to be somewhat lacking compared to BFG, but the conveniences like the manoeuvre tool etc make it a pretty cool game, and easier for non-wargamers to get into.
    Looking forward to more Armada stuff ;)

    W

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    1. That's right, BFG has quite more depth (damaged ships, vessels adrift, torpedoes, all that stuff), but this one is excellent for the novice, and totally eye-candy!

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    2. And, it is pretty fun too ;)

      W

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  2. Interesting. I've played X-Wing, but not this. Does sound fun.

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    1. It is! Both games are quite different; it's like comparing WH40K and Epic; they are the same stuff, but different.
      X-Wing is more dynamic, a constant sucession of decisions to be made on the go. Armada is more reflexive, you have to stick to your plan and let it happen. Different styles of gaming, both have their appeal...

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  3. Armada is always a great looking game!

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    1. Indeed it is! You cannot but deploy an Imperial Destroyer and begin to softly hum 'dum dum dum, dada dum, dada dummm' :D

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  4. Replies
    1. Against all probability! :D
      Anything could have happened, it was quite an enjoyable game!

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  5. I'm soooooooooooo jealous. :)
    I wished I had the budget to get this boardgame.
    Moreover, that play mat / terrain looks FANTASTIC!!!
    Nice 'mini' batrep by the way. ^_^

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    1. The game is prohibitive, but enormously appealing. I have a X-Wing of my own, this one is my friend's. Good thing we have a sharing community! :P

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    2. Heh heh ... don't mind me man. I'm just a jealous git. ^_^ Seriously man ... I would love to get every miniature produced in this board game. I saw them in shops and they look way cool. This might surprise you but if I had a choice the first miniature vehicle I would get if I had budget left over would be the TANTIVE IV ... it's the first ship I saw in the Star Wars universe .... followed by that triangular destroyer ... the second ship I ever saw in the SW universe. ^_^ XD

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  6. Holy Crap, I didn't realise the miniatures were that big!, that Star Destroyer look fantastic, it looks about a foot long, no wonder I see prices like £18-£20 for a single ship, I was wondering why, now I know.

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    1. Yup, they are huge! Capital ships are supplied pre-painted, and I must admit the job is quite decent, I only need to paint those fighters!

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  7. Great review and pictures! I've got Armada on my shelf but haven't played it yet. Your enthusiasm for the game is motivating me to get a game going. As you said, I really want to yell out "Pew! Pew!"

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    1. Haha, thanks! You really must give it a try, you won't be disappointed at all!

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