Friday, 1 June 2018

Star Wars Armada

I know this has been out for a while but that's me, always late to the party, provided of course I actually get an invite. But enough social woes, I'm a wargamer I should be pleased with what I get, right?

Anyway, I purchased Armada about a year ago along with a few extra ships and only managed to get round to breaking the seal on the box last week, so it was a surprise to actually get a game in (first of the year!).

The scenario was simple as this was a learning process and taken straight from the book using the ships supplied by the core set. So for the Imperials there was a nifty Star Destroyer identical to the one in the opening sequence of the original film plus a half dozen TIE fighter squadrons. The rebels had a corvette and a Nebulon class cruiser, again familiar to watchers of the original trilogy, and four X-wing squadrons.

The setup was on a three foot square table with the opposing forces facing each other.

Turn 1
Not much happened in a very long round apart from a lot of page turning to find out how everything worked. The rules were split into two booklets Learn to Play and a Rules Reference. I admired the intention, get players up and running as quickly as possible but the split was annoying sometimes having to reference two or three pages to work out what was supposed to happen. There was the odd contradiction too which presumably Fantasy Flight, the manufacturer, must have known about as there was a clarification on contradictions between the two booklets!

Anyway after much flicking, pondering and scratching of noggins the fleets advanced.
A ponderous advance

Turn 2
This took even longer as we worked out what we had done wrong in the previous round and had to handle the first round of shooting. This was actually straight forward enough utilising some of the now familiar custom D8s that come with this and other Fantasy Flight products. The Star Destroyer's frontal batteries quickly knocked out the front shields of the Nebulon cruiser.

Some shooting!

Turn 3
The one turn where everything seemed to be in range. The corvette started the action off by taking out two (of three) of the Star Destroyer's shields. In response the Imperial ship blasted the corvette with it's port batteries nicking the rear shields of the rebel vessel. It then unleashed more attacks on the Nebulon, doing actual hull damage and a critical hit on the ship's shield generators.

Then the fighters clashed and all I can say is I wouldn't want to be a TIE fighter pilot. Those X-wings were mean taking down two squadrons of TIEs almost immediately. There was some response from the Imperials with an X-wing squadron being obliterated but if I had been in that navy (and with my accent that would be likely) I would have been hyper-spacing out of there!

This turned out to be the height of the battle

Turns 4-6
The issue now was that everybody had to turn and this took time (especially for the Star Destroyer). There was also the question of the table size for the Imperial ship there was a real danger that it would fall of the edge of the universe.
Turn, turn, turn...

The fighters continued to engage and the TIEs even managed to get in a few shots at the Nebulon cruiser.

Unfortunately the hiatus also allowed those ships that were damaged to recover shields which in effect meant that, apart for the dwindling fighter forces - which had had minimal impact on the capital ships - everything recovered.
Fighters still engaged

The game was supposed to conclude at the end of turn six but with no clear result a couple of further turns were agreed.

Turns 7-8
Finally two of the capital ships get back in range
The corvette and Star Destroyer passed each other but were unable to dent each others shields and the game petered out to a draw.
But damage is minimal

It might not sound like it but I actually enjoyed this and it definitely had that Star Wars feel (I was told off repeatedly for humming the Imperial March). I have a feeling that we were not applying the damage rules properly and that may have caused the issue. A bigger playing area and a better appreciation of the ships in play would also help. A re-read of the rules, especially now that I'm aware of the areas causing me confusion is also in order.

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