Wednesday, 7 April 2021

Fire When Ready: Star Wars Armada Round-Up #2

Hello, once again, and welcome to Fire When Ready: Adventures in Star Wars Tabletop Gaming. Sort of.

If you’ve been paying attention to the news, you’ll be aware of that whole ‘pandemic’ thing that’s going on at the moment, so it’s not actually possible for me - your host as always, Brad Harmer-Barnes - and my constant compatriots Ian and Dave to get together to make an episode of your favourite Star Wars themed tabletop gaming show. It’s a sad time, but the time when we can get back together gets closer every day.

However, that’s not stopping Fantasy Flight Games, Atomic Mass Games, Hasbro and the producers of all the other wonderful games we play from releasing all sorts of wonderful new stuff for us to play with. So, we’ve decided that the best thing to do it let you guys know all about it, here, and then get them on the table for a test drive and a gameplay video as soon as government guidelines allow. So, here we go.

Star Wars – Armada: Galactic Republic Fleet Starter

The Clone Wars have finally arrived in the Armada world, and the best way to jump in is to grab yourself one of the Fleet Starters. It contains all the cards and chits and rulebooks you need to get playing, with enough ships and squadrons to give you around about 200 points worth of fleet. That’s about half the size of a full game, but perfect if you just want to start playing, and there will be expansions aplenty down the line, don’t worry about that.

What do you get included? Well, we’ll come onto the ships and squadrons in a moment, but you get a damage deck, the dice, rulers, counters and necessary components for play that you got in the original core set. You will have no problem getting and up running. If anything, as most veteran Armada players will attest, you’ll end up with too much of some stuff, but hey, coming up with storage solutions and reasons for not throwing stuff away is half the fun of tabletop gaming, right?

The main thing that threw me, as someone who has been playing Armada since day one, is the change to the size and format of the cards, and I’m not sure if I like it or not. I can certainly see a bonus in terms of the amount of real estate on the table that the cards used to take up, but I also kind of liked it. I guess this is one of those instances where we’re just going to have to test it out on the tabletop, and we’ll be doing just that as soon as guidelines permit.

In terms of ships the Galactic Republic are given an Acclamator-Class Assault Ship, which is a pretty light destroyer, comparable to one of the smaller Star Destroyers the Empire has in their fleets. It has a lot of black dice, especially for the points cost, so has the potential to be truly devastating up close. In support, you get two Consular Cruisers, which are much lighter and speedier than the Acclamator, capable of hitting a full speed of four and still being reasonably manoeuvrable.

Again, their weapons are only blues and blacks, meaning that you’ll have to be getting up close in order to hit, but when you hit it will really sting.

On the squadron front, you get enough plastic to be able to field four squadrons of V-19 Torrents. Would it have been nice to have a bit more variety in the Squadron department? Possibly, but I also understand that they have to try and sell you the squadron pack as well, and that this is a set merely designed to get you up and running.

In terms of upgrades, you get a choice of two Admirals, Bail Organa and Obi-Wan Kenobi, which is of no real surprise here. Kenobi has a superb defensive power, which has the potential to make or break a victory in the later turns of the game. You also get a decent amount of Clone captains, officers and gunners. Hyperspace Rings give squadrons the ability to deploy exceptionally far forward at the start of the game, which could be very helpful for springing traps and getting the jump on the CIS.

Next time we’ll be taking a look at the CIS Starter Set, and seeing how they measure up. For now, if you want to get into Armada and are determined to play as the GAR, then this is a great amount of stuff for what you’re paying.

That’s all for now. Hopefully we’ll be able to resume our usual schedule in the very near future!

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Brad Harmer-Barnes is a writer and comedian who has been into tabletop gaming since he was eight years old. He is the host of Fire When Ready and Bring On The Bad Guys on Emotionally14.com, co-host of Talk Star Wars, and a frequent guest on The E14 GameCast. His latest novel Fog of War is available now in paperback, Kindle and Kindle Unlimited. You can follow him on Twitter and Instagram @RealBradHB using the buttons below!




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