If you are unfamiliar with Armada let me encourage you to become familiar with it. Fantasy Flight games currently holds the license from Lucasfilm and Disney for tabletop games based on the Star Wars property. Fantasy Flight has done a remarkable job of handling the content and creating gaming channels in the pen and paper, collectable card game, board game, and miniature game mediums. Armada falls into the miniature game category.
I personally have been consistently impressed with Fantasy Flight Game’s reverence for Star Wars, a property that many hold closer to them than family. With Armada they have set up a game system which allows two players to face head to head in starship fleet combat. It’s a brawl between capital ships, their support ships, and their squadrons of escort fighters.
Armada is built on a point system. Each player is given a starting budget of points which they may then spend on purchasing ships, staff that bring advantages, and ship modifications that bring special abilities. A large amount of fun in the game is employing different fleet configurations and measuring them against opponents so that a player learns what works or doesn’t work for them. Its tricky, and strategy is certainly a large component to fleet construction, but a little luck maybe needed as well in order to come away victorious once the turbolasers open fire.
The miniatures utilized in Armada are high quality and detailed and Fantasy Flight Games has made an honest effort to keep things to scale. This adds to the experience. Whether you are commanding a Victory-class Star Destroyer or Mon Calamari MC80 Cruiser, the models look great and come ready to play out of their packaging.
The game has a relatively easy learning curve in order to come up to speed and the Armada Corse Set comes with everything you need to get started: rules, maneuver tool, range ruler, command dials, nine of Fantasy Flight’s proprietary dice, ten squadrons (these are left unpainted due to scale I imagine), and three painted miniatures: a Victory-class Star Destroyer, a Nebulon-B frigate, and a CR90 Corellian corvette, plus 130 some cards containing the staff and modifications mentioned above, and tokens to keep track of games actions.
If you are happy with the experience of the Armada Corse Set you can then invest in expansion packs which provide more capital starships, support ships, and squadron options to customize your fleet. These expansion packs are released in “Waves” and Wave I and Wave II are currently available. With these expansion packs you also get more staff and modifications that can be put into play. This allows for your playing experience to never become stale.
The game requires a moderate playing space easily accommodated on a family dining room table or floor. It’s set-up for two players, one person playing the Imperial Navy and the other the Rebel Alliance. It usually takes about two-hours to play a game, and the recommended audience is for folks 14 and up.
I indisputably like Armada and it fills a niche that many were looking for when Fantasy Flight Games released X-Wing. X-Wing is a similar gaming experience except at the starfighter level and will be a subject of a future blog post. X-Wing came first and was on the market for what I’d consider a significant time prior to Armada hitting the shelves. I have to be honest that I am more passionate about X-Wing and while my joy in playing Armada is genuine I am not as fanatic as I am when it comes to X-wing. This being said it is important that it exists because the through-line in game mechanics that began in X-Wing hitches into Armada, which sets up a relationship that ignores birth order. Where X-Wing is the home of the brash and younger brother looking for fisticuffs, Armada is the slightly older and craftier sibling that’s learns some maneuvers and holds. It took what is great about X-wing and scaled up the stakes. It satiates the hunger of gamers looking for large fleet combat in the Star Wars universe, and doesn’t skimp of the servings.
For those of you who are already engaged I’d suggest you jump on board The Fleet Commander Contest. For those of you new to Armada or aware of it in your periphery I’d recommend visiting a game store when they are holding an Armada event. You may just leave with the Armada Core Set in tow.
Until next time I bid thee love and merriment.