Star Wars: Armada | Gen Con 2014 First Impressions
I got to check out this new Star Wars game from Fantasy Flight Games during Gen Con 2014. Let’s just say I plan on picking up a copy when it drops in 2015.
Star Wars: Armada is a new tabletop miniatures game from Fantasy Flight Games. This game puts you in the role of a fleet admiral, commanding capitol ships, along with squadrons of fighter craft.
On the surface, the game plays much like FFG’s X-Wing Miniatures game, with players plotting movements, attacking enemies, etc. However, the actual details of these actions can be quite different, and there is a lot of thought and detail going into this game, rather than just replacing fighters with big ships and calling it a day.
The big ships feel just that, big, bulky capitol ships. Maneuvering is done using the maneuver tool (pictured below). Every ship has a certain number of clicks they can turn each section, depending on the speed value of the ship at the time. These vary per ship.
For instance, a Victory-class Star Destroy is a large, bulky and slow ship, and can only turn very slowly, so it gets less clicks. Compare that to the CR90 Corvette, which is a much smaller, more maneuverable vessel, not to mention faster. That maneuverability could potentially be the deciding factor in a game.
The reason maneuverability matters so much, is that capitol ships have shield arcs. Positioning matters, big time. Say you’re playing as the Rebels, and you can swing your Corvette and and Frigate around that slow bulky Star Destroyer. You do it right, suddenly you’re in a position to open up on that Victory’s rear shield arc, where he’s weakest, and has the least weapon coverage also.
Being that this game is all about capitol ship combat, it makes sense to have a command system in place. Players get a stack of command wheels from which they choose what orders to give their crew. During initial setup, players choose the commands for each wheel in this stack, and order them. Then, during each round, you assign a new command and place it at the bottom of the stack, before the command at the top of the stack is revealed and resolved.
This requires the player to plan for their commands in advance, and try to anticipate the opponent’s moves. A Victory Star Destroyer has three command wheels in it’s stack, so it takes a bit for that command you just ordered to actually be executed.
As you may expect, weapons can only be fired on certain arcs, which determine how many of your attack die you can role. Players can also attack up to two times, but only from different firing arcs. If you’re positioned well, you may be able to get the same target into 2 arcs at once. Range is also an important factor in ship combat.
Players have certain types of weapons that correspond with different colored dice. Range determines which dice you can roll. So when at close range to a target, you’ll be able to roll more, and have a higher chance of hitting the target.
It wouldn’t be Star Wars without some kind of fighter combat, and so it is in Armada. Fighters can be used to add additional firepower to enemy ships, or help defend yourself from the opposing fighters themselves. Squadrons of fighters can also have skilled pilots with them, such as Luke Skywalker, which will give the squad added bonuses and effects.
Bottom line, I want this game, right now. The wait for this to come out is going to be excruciating, it just feels so damn fun. Star Wars: Armada is set to be released in early 2015, but it was a real treat getting to check it out this early at Gen Con. Visit Fantasy Flight Games for some more detailed descriptions about this game.