Thursday 1 April 2021

Fire When Ready: Star Wars Armada Round-Up

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.

Nadiri Starhawk Expansion Pack

This thing is an absolute unit!

Ostensibly released about a year ago, alongside the Galactic Empire’s Battleship the Onager, the Nadiri Starhawk is absolutely huge. Finally, it looks like the Rebel Alliance might have something that could stand up against the Chimaera, the Onager, or even the Super Star Destroyer in terms of sheer firepower. Joining the New Republic in the very last years of the Galactic Civil War, including a significant appearance at the Battle of Jakku, they were a turning point in the destruction of the Galactic Empire. And now they’re in Armada. And it is an absolute unit.

Weighing in at 140/150 points naked, out of your allotted 400, it’s fair to say this is going to be the centre of the majority of fleets that it’s deployed in. If you want to pull off eight dice attacks on the enemy, then this horrendous thing has your back. Throw in some fantastic anti-squadron and 14 hull-points, this is a beast that’s going to go the distance. It’s honestly hard to see anything short of the SSD taking this out of the running.

In terms of potential weaknesses, it’s pretty slow, only having a maximum speed of 2, with just one navigation point at each juncture. Also, the defensive capabilities are a little too diverse. I prefer to have two of some powers, and this has one brace, one redirect, one contain and one salvo. This obviously could make it susceptible to concentrated fire, bombing runs and ion weapons. Of course, this is just theoretical, and it’s currently impossible to organise a face-to-face game and put this on the table, much as I really, really want to.

You get quite a few nice upgrades in here, as well. Krysta Agate, one of the stars of the Aftermath trilogy is available, as both a captain and an admiral, both of which give some nice refresh and replace abilities to your ship and fleet’s defensive capabilities.

Also making his first appearance as a captain is fan favourite Wedge Antilles. Unsurprisingly his ability is used to seriously buff some of your squadrons.

Shriv Suurgav, Lando Calrissian’s Duros sidekick from Battlefront II is also available as a captain, in a move that no-one anticipated, asked for or wanted. His ability, though, based around a boarding action to knock out an enemy ship’s defensive capabilities, is absolutely superb, and a bargain at just six points.

In addition, the Intensify Firepower and Magnite Crystal Tractor Beam Array offer a lot of potential for great, cinematic moments in your games.

The Naidiri Starhawk is absolutely huge, and probably the first truly punishing war machine that the Rebel Alliance/New Republic has ever had in Armada. If you’re a dedicated Rebel player, then this is an essential purchase, especially if you’re expecting to be meeting the full might of the Galactic Empire anytime soon. More importantly, it is an absolutely hench model – longer and taller than an Imperial Star Destroyer – and, let’s be honest, a lot of us got started in this great game because we loved the absolutely hench models.

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, 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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