As I mentioned in my previous article, I was going to share how my first few games of Armada turned out.
Since my friend Yik and I were playing Armada for the first time, our games were fraught with mistakes. We also didn’t play with any obstacles or objectives, but decided to give list building a try. If you’re interested in how the two of us stumbled around the tabletop, then dear reader, please read on.
Looking back, my first few games of X-Wing were played with much more confusion about the rules, as I was a total newb to tabletop gaming back then! In one game, R2-F2 gave Wedge an extra evade die all game, and Target Locks weren’t spent in order to fire proton torpedoes, but were used to re-roll dice on torpedo attacks instead. I had fun playing with my friend, but it definitely wasn’t X-Wing we were playing!
So the tradition continued in my first Armada game. The Empire list had Electronic Countermeasures, which aren’t allowed to be taken on the Victory Star Destroyer. That mistake can be forgiven however, as the shield generator icon on the card matches the generator on the model!
I was playing the rebels, and decided to try to maximize Dodonna’s ability by taking the Corvette B as it had more blue dice which synergized well with the Dodonna’s Pride title card. I only managed a single shot with the blue dice in our game however (and to no effect), as we were measuring range from the yellow dots on the bases of the ships! Those yellow dots are only for determining Line of Sight, and you should measure range from base to base.
We deployed like the Learn to Play booklet suggested with our speed dials set at 2.
Taking the initiative (we were switching it back and forth every round) the Empire sprung it’s trap. The TIEs closest to the Corvette were given the Squadron order and sent to attack it. With their swarm re-rolls, they managed to take down the shields and inflict a damage card!
Meanwhile the X-Wings and the Frigate couldn’t kill the TIE Fighters in the middle of the board.Next round saw the Corvette shoot at long range and then move into position behind the Victory Star Destroyer.
Dodonna was sure to get some juicy shots off into the rear arc! However, aboard the VSD Grand Moff Tarkin had other ideas. The Star Destroyer managed to punch through the shields of Dodonna’s Pride and destroy the ship. Then it moved forwards while the Nebulon B tried to flank from the side.Somehow after that firefight, the TIEs managed to survive and bring down all the X-Wings.
In our second game we switched sides. Instead of Electronic Countermeasures I took Commander Wulf Yularen. He lets you get back a command token you spend once per round. Wulf synergizes well with Grand Moff Tarken.
A dogfight developed in the middle as all the TIEs piled into the X-Wings. The X-Wings stayed their ground well and the return fire from the Nebulon B (2 blue dice on every TIE in arc) was devastating to the TIEs.
The next two rounds saw the Corvette nibble at the Victory while the Nebulon B was racing full speed ahead. Had we played another round it would have flown off the table. That came as a shock to the both of us. There seems to be a learning curve when flying ships at top speed.
One “almost awesome” moment did happen. The sole surviving X-Wing Squadron managed to take a shot and crit the VSD in the rear hull zone which had no shields! It was very exciting until a redirect was used to place the damage to another hull zone with a shield.
We decided to call the game at that point since 6 turns already went by. It was pretty much a tie game as the only thing that happened was both sides lost their snub fighters.
It struck us that it would be very hard for the Rebels to destroy the VSD since it had so many shields and hull to chew through. We posited that in a 180 point game, there probably wasn’t enough firepower on the board and perhaps Armada is more about objectives than blowing up stuff like X-Wing is.
As mentioned, we realized that Rebel ships can get into trouble when flying at high speeds near the board edge. You really need to be aware of your speed and your facing when near an edge. Plan moves accordingly!
Coming from a background in X-Wing, shooting first before moving is something new. It makes selecting the order of ships you activate very important. You probably want to get the choicest shot off before the enemy activates next and moves away.
The squadron command ability on the VSD could make those TIEs pretty deadly. However, the Nebulon B frigate is very dangerous to them as it can spray every single TIE in it’s arc. A good idea might be to have a Nebulon B escort in a group of X-Wings. Nebulon B’s side hull zones are very weak however, it’s a fragile ship if caught in the wrong position. Lots of strategies to think about!
I’m looking forward to discovering those strategies and playing Armada again. First I’d like to paint up some X-Wings and perhaps re-paint that Nebulon B as it’s stock paint job is pretty ugly! I’ll be posting pictures of my Armada paint jobs here on the DockingBay, so stay tuned.