Alright, so let's talk Star Wars Armada. A lot of people have been expecting FFG to release a capital ship focused starship combat game for some time and now it's finally here. Or announced at least. Seeing as X-Wing is fairly low complexity and is very much aimed at the casual gamer (as well as the hardcore!) I was a little weary that Armada might scale back on complexity as well, possibly loosing parts of what would make it interesting to me. However, after having read about it and watched Team Covenants demo game I have gone from cautiosly optimistic to fully rabid gundark! Ok, maybe not that far, but it has certainly availed most of my fears. Check out the video:
After the initial announcement I was surprised to see quite a bit of confusion and some angry rants over at BGG by X-Wing players who didn't understand the difference between the games and/or who thought FFG was just after a quick money grab. I guess having people not understanding the difference might be down to the fact that there are a lot more X-Wing players out there than people who play large scale starship combat games like Full Thrust or Firestorm: Armada. Still, I almost found it a little annoying that people expected a Star Trek Attack Wing when this was clearly something more ambitious. As you might have gathered the adherance to scale that FFG made such a bid deal about in X-Wing has gone out the window with all the ships being "relative scale". However, they still look right-ish so I don't really have much problem with it.
spaceship combat and even though I haven't played a fraction of all the games I want to play I'm always on the lookout for new stuff. You might remember my Wanted: More Spaceship Gaming article from a couple of years ago. That article is still relevant today as I have yet to find the "perfect" game. Of course, that will be very difficult as it depends on what I'm after at the moment; something rock hard like Attack Vector Tactical, or something much softer (and wetter!), like Firestorm: Armada. I'm mostly on the hard side of the fence these days but I know I will have trouble finding people to play those kinds of games with.
Now, while Armada is certainly not of the hard variety it still has enough interesting features to make me want to play it. Let's make a nice bullet point list to break it down:
- Momentum. While not as detailed as in some other games we do have momentum to the ships and you will only be able to accelerate or decelerate by using a special order for it. Your momentum also decides how much turning you'll be able to do using the funky bendable stick. Simplified, sure but also very simple and quick!
- Order planning. The larger the ship the longer you'll have to plan ahead. For the Victory SD in the core box you will make a stack of three orders of which you will use and then add one each turn, basically forcing you to plan three turns in advance all the time. The Nebulon B has to plan two turns in advance while the corvette can pick its order every turn. This is very cool! This basically combines written orders with ponderous command structure and/or ship design. Something I don't think I've seen before (although I'm sure it's out there).
- Maneuvering. Fire arcs and range plays a big role and there doesn't seem to be a cookie cutter "always best" solution to every situation (like range band 2 in 1st edition of Firestorm: Armada). It all comes down to the ship firing and what it's firing at.
- Fighters being interesting. I love how fighters and EXO armours are proper pieces in Lightning Strike and can be both upgraded and personalized as well as be a threat to almost anything on the table in the right circumstances. Armada seem to be doing something similar where fighters are more than simply tokens and you can have aces and properly screen your ships etc.
- Customization. If X-Wing is anything to go by Armada will have a similar card system for putting your fleet together. I like how this system is very easy for the new player yet still rewarding for the veteran, trying to squeeze every bit of firepower out of his force!
- Ease of use. While I'm not adverse to writing orders or having a datacard or tokens to keep track of FFG have become better and better at integrating this kind of stuff into their game hardware. In armada almost all the info tracking needed is done with various dials and tabs on the bases of the ships. Lovely!
All these things combined make for a game that I find highly interesting. Of course there are still a lot of things
|Image courtesy of Dice Tower News.|
| Love the B-wings! Oh, and I REALLY hope the fighters are easily |
detachable for painting. Image courtesy of Team Covenant.
|Interceptors and TIE bombers for the imps, and the Gladiator SD looks pretty spiffy! Image courtesy of @twarnken.|
So there you have it! I think Armada has a lot of potential and I'm eager to read more previews and hear more impressions from Gencon. While I really enjoy X-Wing I've always been more of a cap ship kind of person, and just imagine the kind of campaigns you could do by combining Armada, X-Wing and Imperial Assault! It would be teh awesome!! Haha! Well, that's all for now.
I'll be back later with Infinity news...