“Alert all commands. Deploy the fleet.”
―Admiral Firmus Piett
Fantasy Flight Games (FFG) has announced a new miniatures game named Star Wars Armada. Unlike Star Wars X-Wing, Armada will be focused on capitol class ship combat. When I first heard about the game I thought it might just be a money grab for X-Wing on a capitol scale. A closer look revealed plans for a different game that focuses more on large scale combat and fleet maneuvers.
First, the obvious. There was no way X-Wing will ever have an Imperial Star Destroyer (ISD) in the game. The scale just won’t accommodate it. The CR90 is a bit overwhelming on its own and its only a fraction the size of an ISD. I think its safe to say, there is a pretty big section of Star Wars fans that are craving capitol ship combat. I think Armada will go beyond X-Wing with bigger ships. The innovations in play FFG is touting look pretty intriguing.
The game isn’t released for sale yet but there is a good overview on the FFG site and it was demoed at Gen Con 2014. I have to say it looks pretty good. So far they have shown the ISD, a rebel Nebulon-B Frigate and a CR90. The game also includes markers for TIE Fighter and X-Wing squadrons. No other ships have been previewed. The quality of the ships looks excellent at usual. My concern is going to be ship variety. In the original three movies there really is not a huge variety of capitol ships on either side. I’m not a huge fan of the expanded universe but I know there is more material there. I’d like to see an interdictor and some of the rules associated with it. Though I’m not sure how the gravity well rules would affect another capitol ship.
Ship play is designed to simulate the planning required to maneuver a capitol ship and the difficulty in changing speed. Players will plan movement several moves in advance. Ship maneuverability will be tied to ship speed. Movement will be plotted not by the X-Wing markers but by plastic movement template. The template is jointed and rotates to indicate plotted movement. The game allows players to deviate from planned maneuvers but penalizes them for it. It also rewards players for sticking to the plan. From a fleet management perspective, this makes sense. Success on the battlefield will be determined on how accurately the Admirals can anticipate the enemy and execute a battle plan.
The capital ships offer flexibility in managing shields and multiple firing arcs. Shields can also be angled to blunt attacks. Ships will also be able to fire twice as long as its from different firing arcs. The massive power of capitol ship weaponry is simulated by providing different sets of dice for different ranges of fire. The most powerful and damage dealing sets of dice are reserved for close range.
The smaller fighter squadrons perform their logical functions of defending and attacking their parent capitol ships. I’m not sure if they will actually have the power to destroy a capitol ship though.
The only turn off I have seen for Armada is the price. Currently its projected to be $99. That’s just for the starter set. Does that mean the expansion sets will cost $40? Might be a cool game but might also be outside my price range. I’m honestly not sure the reason for the high price tag. The models are still plastic and look about the same scale as the X-Wing models. I’m hoping FFG rethinks the pricing model.
Other than the price, I’m pretty interested. I’m looking forward to the release. If they lower the price I’ll likely buy Armada.