Tag Archives: CR-90 Blockade Runner

Gaming roundup, October 2015

I’ve been pretty quiet lately, and I suppose I should check in and give my readers an update. This won’t be a deep article by any means, just a high level overview of my recent gaming exploits, including X-Wing, Armada, Battletech, and a bit of video gaming too.

X-Wing

A big time sink for our X-Wing Miniatures group lately has been a cooperative RPG campaign, Heroes of the Aturi Cluster. We have a group of six pilots including myself, plus a standby backup pilot, chewing through this adventure on a semi-weekly basis. So far we’ve manged to capture an Imperial Moff, shoot down a couple TIE Phantoms, and clear a giant minefield. We have not, however, managed to protect anything we have been supposed to escort. We’re good at dealing damage, not preventing it.

We take this way too seriously and not seriously enough at the same time.
We take this way too seriously and not seriously enough at the same time.
Hey, guys, weren't we supposed to be protecting something on this mission...?
Hey, guys, weren’t we supposed to be protecting something on this mission…?

It’s otherwise been pretty quiet on the X-Wing front lately. I’m still playing regularly, often multiple nights per week, but there’s a bit of a lull for the moment. Everyone is still trying to absorb the influx of new ships from the X-Wing Core Set 2.0, Wave 6 (TIE Punisher, K-Wing, Kihraxz Fighter, and Hound’s Tooth), and the Imperial Raider  (including the TIE Advanced fixes). We’ve got a few local players that are making the trip to the World Championships next week (sadly, I will not be one of them), so we’ve had some regular practice sessions lately to throw “meta” lists at them. In the process, I’ve gotten a decent bit of familiarity with flying Sith Lords (Palpatine in a Lambda Shuttle, Vader, TIE Interceptor ace of choice), and have come to really appreciate Bro-bots (dual IG-2000‘s) once again. I might field the IG-2000’s at a few store Championships, in fact.

We’re continuing to stream X-Wing from a local gaming store every other week, and I’ve made several appearances lately. Rather than linking to individual videos, I’ve assembled a playlist of my games, with the more recent matches being up first on the playlist.


I’ve been working with one screwball list lately that will likely be on a future streamed game, and it is detailed below. There’s a few too many points tied up in Rhymer for my liking, and I want Engine Upgrade on Vader. But it’s fun for a semi-casual game, and can dish out a lot of burst damage to clear small ships quickly, or cripple a big ship with loads of critical hits, thus the name.

Crit City

Major Rhymer – 26 (TIE Bomber)
Extra Munitions – 2 (K-Wing / TIE Punisher)
Advanced Homing Missiles – 3 (K-Wing / TIE Punisher)
Push the Limit – 3 (A-Wing / Imperial Aces)
Proton Bombs – 5 (TIE Bomber / VT-49 Decimator)
Munitions Failsafe – 1 (Z-95 Headhunter / TIE Defender)

Lieutenant Colzet – 23 (Imperial Raider)
TIE/x1 – 0 (Imperial Raider)
Proton Rockets – 3 (Rebel Aces)
Fire-Control System – 2* (TIE Phantom / B-Wing)

Darth Vader – 29 (TIE Advanced)
TIE/x1 – 0 (Imperial Raider)
Proton Rockets – 3 (Rebel Aces)
Veteran Instincts – 1 (Slave 1 /  Millennium Falcon)
Advanced Targeting Computer – 5* (Imperial Raider)

As far as our local Atlanta meta is concerned, things are all over the place. Players love the T-70 X-Wing, but the TIE/FO Fighters aren’t seeing much play. TIE Phantoms are starting to show up again, but they’re just tasty snacks for the Twin Laser Turret Y-Wings that are way too prevalent for my liking. The TIE Punisher is the one thing that really hasn’t taken hold out of the Wave 6 releases – I still haven’t found a reason to open mine.

3 YV-666's (1 with Greedo) and a Z-95. Not exactly fun to chew through.
A more unusual sighting: 3 YV-666’s (1 with Greedo) and a Z-95. Not fun to chew through.

Armada

Armada has been my least active game lately. The game just feels stale at the moment, at least until Wave 2 arrives, bringing Imperial Star Destroyers, Imperial Raiders, MC30c Frigates, MC80 Cruisers, and a collection of Rogues & Villains to boot.

We did get a sneak peek of these ships during the recent Massing at Sullust pre-release tournament. I brought a rebel swarm list to the event, and did okay with them, taking 4th place and scoring myself an Imperial Raider for my trouble. I had a 2-1 record on the day, but I hit a figurative durasteel wall in my loss, getting completely wiped out by a trio of Assault Frigates carrying Advanced Projectors and Gunnery Teams – I just couldn’t punch through enough damage to actually hurt any of them.

Unnamed 300 point Sullust list

Nebulon B Support Frigate
Mon Mothma (CR90 Corellian Corvette)

Nebulon B Support Frigate x 2

CR90-A Corellian Corvette x 2

A-Wing Squadron x 2

All those fighters go away if (when) I can kill the capital ships they escort...
All those fighters up top will go away if (when) I can kill the capital ships they escort.

Battletech

After a handful of demo games recently, I finally got in my first mission of my our Clan Invasion campaign over the weekend. I’m still using proxies from the Starter Set because there was a bit of a mixup on our shipment, and my mechs haven’t arrived yet. I have to say I’m glad that my FLGS is dealing with that for me, and I’m not working with the supplier directly.

At our default Battle Value allowance for the campaign of 5,000 points, my Timber Wolf and Summoner (represented by the unpainted Catapult and Hunchback, respectively) squared off against a Catapult, a Timber Wolf, and a Jenner.

Sizing up the opposition and setting up for a defensive engagement.
Sizing up the opposition and setting up for a defensive engagement.

As I had hoped, the enemy  chose to avoid the water, and rushed my Timber Wolf, allowing the Summoner to snipe away at the advancing enemy unmolested with his Extended Range Lasers and accompanying Targeting Computer.

Timber Wolf vs Jenner and Timber Wolf...
Timber Wolf vs Jenner and Timber Wolf…
IMG_20151024_124916197
…but one good Gauss Rifle shot leveled up those odds. Splash one Diamond Shark.

Things continued to go my way for the rest of the match, and the Diamond Sharks eventually retreated from the field to avoid further losses.

I think we hit them a few times...
I think we hit them a few times…
An example piloting skill roll for the Diamond Shark Catapult, which spent more time prone than upright, yet managed to survive and flee the battle.
In the odd manner of clan honor, I'm not sure which pilot did better - the one that got chewed up by the enemy, or the one who didn't get hit at all.
Post-battle status of my mechs. In the odd manner of clan honor, I’m not sure which pilot did better – the one that got chewed up by the enemy, or the one who didn’t get hit at all.

In the interesting style of this campaign, my opponent and I are due to fight at least one more battle, as control of a given planet is determined via a best of three series. I expect to face a pair of slightly heavier mechs instead of a trio in our next engagement. I’m tempted to use that salvaged Jenner (borrowing the model for an appropriate paint scheme) just for fun and to thumb my nose at the enemy’s honor.

Video Games

On the electronic front, I haven’t made a lot of new purchases in recent months. Partially because I’m stubbornly waiting for a version of Blood Bowl 2 that comes with all the DLC teams bundled in (gonna be here a while), and partially because my PC is showing its’ age and in dire need of replacement.

Watch Dogs has been my go-to for console gaming lately, and I have very mixed feelings about it. The story is far-fetched but okay, and it gets the ideas that the writers were trying to emphasize across. And there’s tons of depth in the side games, everything from chess puzzles to quicktime drinking contests, with random PvP  firefights sprinkled in. But the hacking is just too simple. I get it, that’s the moral of the story, but when there’s more effort involved in playing a hand of poker than in detonating a grenade in someone’s pocket via their phone, that bugs me a little bit. There’s too much of a “Press [X] to play the main story” at times, but the game itself does have some depth to it, and it’s refreshing to actually have to think about combat as opposed to being able to charge straight in and recover from 10 gunshot wounds every 15 seconds.

Rebel Galaxy has been my recent PC choice when the hardware wants to work – it’s a space combat sim with a Firefly-esque, “Privateer lite” sort of feel. Cool soundtrack that could use a little bit longer of a playlist, an engaging if slightly predictable story… it’s worth picking up as-is if you’re into space sims, but I’m hoping for more out of future updates.

Summary

So that’s what I’ve been up to as of late. Nothing hugely significant, but I’m trying to keep up with everything I’ve been involved in, and starting to ramp up for the X-Wing Store Championships starting in January. Speaking of which, I’m working to informally coordinate a schedule of the Fantasy Flight Games Store Championships around the southeast. So if you haven’t talked to me about it, and you’re running an event, and you’re in the southeastern US, please send me a message. Who knows, I might just pop in for a visit?

– The Tabletop General

Armada wave 1 review – Rebels

Having gotten my fill of X-Wing lately, this week’s game night at my FLGS was filled with Star Wars: Armada. I dove in head first with the Wave 1 releases a couple weeks back, but only had time to try out the rebel ships before going on a vacation, and then I was purely focused on preparing for the X-Wing regionals until this week. But by gosh I own it all…

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This wasn’t shipped, my FLGS owner took one look at my order and gave me a box to put it all in.

On release day, I picked up two copies of the Gladiator Class Star DestroyerAssault Frigate Mk IIImperial Fighter Squadrons, and Rebel Fighter Squadrons, as well as one expansion copy each of the Victory Class Star DestroyerNebulon B Frigate,  and CR90 Corellian Corvette. The new capital ships were, of course, the big focus for me, as those would have the greatest impact on the game (or so I thought). And expecting the Rebels to have gotten the biggest boost of the two factions, I went for the Assault  Frigates first, immediately challenging someone to a game using two of them. I absolutely loved how different they felt in comparison to the existing options for the Rebels.

wpid-img_20150512_170240649.jpg
“The Flying Football” is one of the cleaner nicknames I’ve heard for this one.

There are two distinctively different directions you can go with the Assault Frigate Mk II. It can be a tank, or a great fighter support ship.

Set up in a combat role, it is the first rebel ship able to truly trade blows with the Imperial Fleet. With 12 total shields, a brace, a redirect, and an evade token available to it, the Assault Frigate can take a lot of punishment and keep on fighting. With an engineering value of 4 (so recovering two shields at a time) and access to the Advanced Projectors to really boost your redirects, it takes a lot of concentrated firepower to bring one of these down. Meanwhile, the Enhanced Armament upgrade can increase the “B” variant to a respectable total of 4 red dice on side shots. Throw in the Paragon title, and you get an extra black die (from any range) if you manage to shoot the same ship twice in a round. Dare your opponents to pick your Advanced Gunnery objective!

Assault-frigate-B                Advanced-projectors

Advanced-gunnery   Paragon

On the other hand, you can outfit the Frigate as a full-blown carrier. The “B” variant has a squadron value of 3, and that can be increased with Expanded Hangar Bays. Then toss the Gallant Haven title on your ship, and suddenly it’s nearly impossible to kill your nearby fighters. Bring out a few A-Wings with their nifty “Counter” ability (more on how broken that can be in the upcoming Imperial article), and you’ll end up doing just as much damage on defense than your opponent’s fighters do on offense! Toss in a couple bombers, like Y-Wings or B-Wings, and that’s suddenly an area that the enemy wants to avoid at all costs.

AWings     Gallant-haven

Next, let’s take a quick look at the expansion versions of the rebel ships from the starter kit.

The CR90 Corellian Corvette offers a couple of neat little tricks to enhance your fleet. If your Corvette is going to be serving as a command ship, then perhaps you should invest in the Tantive IV, carrying Raymus Antilles. Raymus lets you double up on actions on your own ship (Change speed by two within a single turn, or activate an extra squadron, etc), but the Tantive IV title lets that token go to another ship. If that ship happens to have a Defense Liaison or a Weapons Liaison, you can then spend that token to make a surprise adjustment to your command stack!

Tantive-iv        Raymus-antilles

Normally, your Evade defense tokens, which all Rebel ships have, are useless at close range, but Mon Mothma lets your entire fleet use them at least to some extent at any range, so you don’t have to fear getting up close to enemy ships (as much).

Mon-mothma

And if you’re looking to hug close to some obstacles, Jaina’s Light would come in handy. In addition to giving you much more freedom to maneuver without worrying about the occasional asteroid, I see this title as great insurance against the potential hazards in the Dangerous Territory objective.

Jainas-light      Dangerous-territory-objective

One last card that stands out to me in the CR90 pack is Leading Shots. This is the first card I’ve seen in Armada that blatantly makes less sense on the ship it comes with than on another ship. In particular, Imperial players are going to want these for their Victory Class Star Destroyers, especially on builds using the Victory II or Dominator title. Completely miss your attack? Throw away one of your blue dice and reroll as much of it as you want. With a Corvette throwing 3 dice, you’re rerolling up to two – no big gain. But you take a VSD I with Dominator and Expanded Launchers, and that front attack is as much as 3 red, 2  blue, and 5 black before any other modifications like a Concentrate Fire command.  There’s 8 dice that could potentially come up blank in there, having the option to throw away a blue die and reroll all of those misses makes for a brutal shot!

Leading-shots      Dominator

Expanded-Launchers      Victory-I

The Nebulon B Frigate doesn’t bring quite as much to the table as the Corvette. There are two new title cards, Salvation and Yavaris, and this expansion is the only source for XI7 Turbolaser upgrade cards.

I’m not entirely sold on Salvation. For seven points, your expected damage output (before any modifications) goes up from an average of 2.25 to 3, a 33% increase. But it only takes effect when firing in the forward arc, and depending on which variant you take, it’s a 12-13% increase in the cost of the ship. On a point for point basis, I think you’d be better off investing in more ships. This line of thinking about efficiency is a slippery slope, and it’s this kind of thinking that led us to the horror that is BBBBZ in X-Wing Miniatures.

But let’s go back to our carrier loadout from earlier with the Gallant Haven – What would make those squadrons even tougher to deal with? What if they could attack twice in one turn? Well, with the Yavaris in your fleet, they can! On an Escort variant that can activate two squadrons, three with Expanded Hangar Bays, that’s five points well spent.

Salvation      Yavaris

The XI7 Turbolasers don’t jump out at me as a “must have” card, but there could certainly be some utility to be found in them. This add-on limits how much damage can be moved by a redirect token, which makes it much easier to wear down a specific hull zone and punch a hole through the enemy’s shields. With Victory Star Destroyers only having access to two Redirect tokens and a Brace, you can spend a single accuracy result to block that brace and know that no more than one point of damage in your attack will do anything other than damage the targeted hull zone of that VSD.

XI7-turbolasers

One more expansion to go today, let’s take a look at the Rebel Fighter Squadrons expansion. Containing two squadrons each of X-wings, A-wings, Y-Wings, and B-Wings, this is a pack that 99% of players are going to want two of right now. Perhaps a third pack would come in handy for some extreme concepts when the game expands to 400 points, but as much as I like to go crazy with hypothetical builds, I’ve not put anything together yet that calls for more than four squadrons of any one particular set of Rebel fighters.

Starting with the basics, we’ve seen X-Wings already in the core set, and I showed you A-Wings earlier – They’re fast, do decent damage, and their “Counter” ability means they won’t be your enemy’s favorite targets to shoot.

B-Wings and Y-Wings are the heavy hitters for the Rebels. The issue is getting them there. Y-Wings are lumbering beasts, plodding along at speed 3, with only two anti-fighter dice. But they’re also the cheapest squadron available to the Rebels, have the most health, and deal more damage to capital ships than all-purpose X-Wing squadrons. B-Wings are even slower, and are the most expensive basic squadron in the game; but they’ll also tear any capital ship that does come into range to shreds, dealing an average of 1.75 damage per attack. The best use I’ve seen so far for B-Wings is to hold a position where you know the enemy is coming to, warding off a charging Gladiator Class Star Destroyer approaching your flanks, or hovering around a Contested Outpost objective. In both cases, though, with the B-Wing and Y-Wing squadrons, having a capital ship nearby to grant squadron commands is almost required to get them shots when it counts.

BWing-squadron      YWing-squadron

In addition to the generic cards, there’s also four unique pilots available for rebel squadrons in this pack: Keyan Farlander, Tycho Celchu, Dutch Vander, and Wedge Antilles. For a 5-7 point premium over the generic squadron, each comes with defense tokens and an extra ability.

Keyan… well, I’m a little undecided about him, mostly because part of his ability is so conditional. But compared to a regular B-Wing’s 1.75 damage, his heavier dice make for an average of 2 damage per attack against capital ships, or 2.5 per attack if their shields are already down, and could potentially deal as much as four damage in that attack. This would pair well with the XI7 Turbolasers and both Nebulon B Frigates from earlier: Salvation can punch a hole with the Turbolasers for a best case of three damage on the target hull zone’s shields (accuracy blocks the brace, and 1 point gets redirected) on one activation, and then Keyan gets activated by Yavaris on the next to blast away for a best case of eight damage. It’s highly unlikely to roll that well, and difficult to set up, but for those of you keeping score at home, that’s a kill* on a Victory Star Destroyer that was previously at full health.

*Yes, I understand that the VSD would have defense tokens left for Keyan’s attacks, but our hypothetical Yavaris hasn’t fired yet, it has only activated one fighter squadron, and I assumed that the Salvation didn’t concentrate fire for extra damage. He’s dead, Jim.

Keyan-Farlander

Tycho Celchu is easily my favorite pilot of the bunch. He’s the kind of pilot that I’d have a Red Bull with, because he’s too wired to have a beer. As fast or faster as any Imperial ship around, Tycho can go where he’s needed, when he’s needed. Tied up by Soontir Fel? Nope, let me go harass those TIE Bombers over there. Oh, those bombers actually dealt some damage to me? Nope, Scatter to cancel the attack, have a counter attack for your trouble. He’s not a hammer that will break the enemy force, but Tycho is a scalpel that will give a lot of Imperial admirals nightmares when used properly to disrupt a battle plan. There’s nothing complicated about him mechanically, it’s just all about where you should move him and when.

Tycho-Celchu

Last, but not least, there’s a tag team in the named pilots for the X-Wing and Y-Wing. The Dutch Sandwich, the Wedge Salad… whatever you want to call it, it’s simple, and it’s nasty. If Dutch Vander hits a squadron, it loses its’ activation for the turn. If it’s already activated, then Dutch does an extra damage. Then Wedge follows up and gets a whopping six attack dice against any squadron that has already marked as activated for the turn. It takes a lot of luck for a squadron to survive a hit from both of those together, even a named pilot with defense tokens is in for a bad day.

Dutch-Vander      Wedge-Antilles

Have you picked up your copies yet of all the Wave 1 ships? If not, I highly recommend that you go to your FLGS and get them right away, ours is having trouble keeping them in stock from the high demand. If you can’t get them there, then (and only then) feel free to order copies of them using the links above. :)

Here’s the scary thing… even with all these new toys for the Rebels, I still like the Imperials more. I’ll show you why next time.

– The Tabletop General

 

 

Hands on with Star Wars Armada

The day has arrived, and the Star Wars: Armada core sets released today at Friendly Local Gaming Stores across North America. So I declared it a miniature holiday, and went in to pick my two starters up as the shops opened, cracked them open, and ran a series of demo games for anyone who wanted to come by. I played a grand total of four games today, and watched a fifth one.

Perhaps the biggest paradigm shift from X-Wing is that there are no defense dice, only abilities. Combined with that, there are multiple types of attack dice, usable at different ranges and in different situations. So in case you were asking yourself (Google, please pay attention to these phrases): “What is the difference between the Star Wars Armada attack dice?”, or “How many of each result are on Star Wars Armada attack dice?”

  • Red dice have the longest range. Their faces are: Blank, Blank, Critical, Critical, Accuracy, Hit, Hit, Double Hit.
  • Blue dice are medium range, and always do something. Their faces are: Critical, Critical, Accuracy, Accuracy, Hit, Hit, Hit, Hit.
  • Black dice have the shortest range, and do the most damage. Their faces are: Blank, Blank, Hit, Hit, Hit, Hit, Hit & Critical, Hit & Critical.

Contents of the core set

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I got a lot of things wrong in the first day’s worth of games, but that’s to be expected when diving in head first to such a deep game. That is going to improve with practice, there’s just a LOT of rules to remember. Generally, my biggest mistakes involved being too permissive about things, such as letting the Redirect defense token move damage to a non-adjacent hull zone, or allowing shots that had valid line of sight, yet weren’t actually in the shooter’s firing arc. But for the most part I feel pretty solid with the basics of the game now.

Getting started with our first basic demo game.
Getting started with our first basic demo game.

My foremost thought at the moment is that it’s going to be a wholly different scene from Star Wars: X-Wing Miniatures. With X-Wing, I’d say that about 80% of tournament games finish in under an hour. With Armada it’s a different story; even with a hard limit of a six turns in the game, it looks like it will take about two hours to play a game at a full 300 point level. possibly a little quicker for some builds (fighters tend to slow things down a LOT). So tournament play is going to take a great deal more time, and games will need a time limit in addition to the round limit. In turn, I think that makes it much more likely for players to bring big beefy ships that will take longer to kill, (thus being more likely to survive in a game that gets called on account of time) and less of a balanced fleet.

Going back to the Fighter Squadrons, I understand the necessity of including them, but… the implementation is rough. The best way I’ve found to use them so far requires being extremely precise with their positioning, sniping one squadron by placing multiple of yours on the edge of firing range (premeasuring is allowed, remember), but just out of range of their allies, so that they must spend an activation moving to you before engaging.. Yet it’s nearly impossible to adjust the remaining health on a squadron when hit without moving them, since the damage is tracked on their bases, and that does not turn easily without picking the squadron up off of the table to do it. Also, the disparity at this stage between the TIE Fighters and the X-Wings is immense. I know they fill different roles, but… wow. In my final game of the evening, three squadrons of TIE Fighters managed to deal one damage over the course of two turns of shooting. Conversely, my first game of the day featured X-Wings taking a Victory Star Destroyer to the sci-fi equivalent of the wood shed.

X-Wings blowing up a Victory Star Destroyer
The bigger they are, the harder they fall…

 

Stepping things up to the 300 point level by using two starter sets, I chose quantity over quality for the Rebels, and my opponent showed me how much better of an idea “quality” might have been. Grand Moff Tarkin combined with the Liason crew upgrades made his Star Destroyers able to react MUCH faster to the flow of battle, constantly changing the top dial of his command stack to be exactly the command he wanted to execute at any given time. And the Dominator title, along with a Gunnery Team, makes for a terrifying alpha strike.

Going in to that game, I felt pretty confident about my ability to navigate, so I picked the Minefields objective out of his three selected. Then I proceeded to trigger five out of the six sets of mines. It wasn’t a good game, but it was fun!

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Overlapping a debris field AND triggering mines? Good thing I have that Engineering token!
Star Destroyer and Corvette surrounded by fighters
I don’t know who was more surprised by this move: the Star Destroyer’s captain, or its’ gunners.

Looking at the contents realistically, there’s only about ten upgrade cards that are non-unique in the starter, and I would think some of those would be in the expansion packs too. So I can’t imagine needing more than one of the core sets unless you’re really wanting to play 300 point games right away, and you don’t know someone willing to loan you the other half of their kit for a game.

 

At this point, I would heavily recommend picking up the game, but to fill out your fleet, I would say to get the expansion versions of the extra ships instead of a second starter. In particular, I’ve pre-ordered the following list from my FLGS to add to my collection:

Gladiator Star Destroyers
Victory Star Destroyer
Imperial Fighter Squadrons
CR90 Corellian Corvette
Assault Frigates
Nebulon B Frigate
Rebel Fighter Squadrons

Without a second core set, the only thing you’ll be short on is dice (X-Wings roll more blue dice than one starter set contains), but there will be a separate dice pack along with the rest of wave 1. As for other supplies, if you’re interested in card sleeves, here’s what you’ll need:

Damage Deck & upgrades: Two packs of  “Mini American”.
Ship cards: One pack of “Tarot
Squadron cards: One pack of “Standard

Will all the fit on the table at once? Not in a standard game, no. But it’s really nice to have options. And the extras will look really cool sitting on my desk at work. They’ll fit much better than their X-Wing equivalents.

X-Wing and Armada CR90 Blockade Runner size comparison
If the Tantive IV gave birth, does that make the baby the Tantive V?

Armada is a very enjoyable game from what I’ve seen so far, and I can’t wait to see how it evolves. It’s exciting to be in on the start of the game. It won’t scratch my tournament play itch quite as well as X-Wing, and the pace is a little slower, but this is definitely what I would prefer to play when my opponent is a friend. Still going to blow ’em to bits though.

– The Tabletop General

Armada Incoming!

The latest Star Wars game from Fantasy Flight Games, Star Wars: Armada is officially set to release next week. I’ve been chomping at the bit to get my hands on this one. The only reason why I haven’t posted much about it is that Fantasy Flight tends to do a really good job of previewing their own content, revealing exactly what components from a given ship that they intend to reveal, and showing in detail how those components work within the game. But today’s release announcement also provided a link to the Learn To Play Armada PDF as well as the Armada Rules Reference PDF. Now, for the first time since Armada’s announcement, more information was released than was reviewed, and there’s finally a place for me to add my own observations and notes about things that stand out to me.

Here’s some of the things I’ve found that seem noteworthy:

Setup
In a standard game with a 6’x3′ play area, ships and obstacles cannot be placed within 1′ of the short board edges. That makes me wonder if we will see tactics involving use of the board edges for a clear maneuvering lanes.  Perhaps the scenarios will force players into the center more often than not.

All ships have their initial speed set as they are deployed, before any further ships are deployed. So the first ship on the table is going in 100% blind.

Squadrons are deployed in pairs, and do NOT have to be in the deployment zone, but they do have to be close (range 1-2) to a capital ship. This gives you a little bit of flexibility, and means that some of the ambush scenarios may involve squadrons being really close to the enemy from the start of the game!

Measuring
The range ruler can be used to premeasure at any time. The navigation tool can also be used freely during the “Determine Course” step, but inserting the tool into the guides on your ship locks in your decision.

Capital ships will maneuver appropriately. It’s kind of obvious from looking at the maneuver template, but it’s explicitly stated that nothing can allow you to yaw (click the maneuver template) more than two points away from straight at any single point. Only fighters will be able to take tight turns and zip around the battlefield.

Although none exist yet, the base dimensions are already specified in the rules for large ships (with Victory Star Destroyers being Medium ships, for scale reference). That tells me that they’re probably coming sooner than later.

Scoring
The “Second Player” wins in the case of a tie score at the end of a 6 round standard game. And scoring is based off of objectives achieved and ships destroyed, points remaining does not matter. This may possibly a rare occurrence, but it means that a player that chooses to be “Second Player” with an initiative bid can force the opponent to come to them.

Tactics
If your ship’s chosen maneuver causes a collision with another ship, the speed of that ship is temporarily reduced by 1 to a minimum of 0 until it doesn’t overlap. Then both the ramming ship and the final ship overlapped receive one damage. Combine that with the fact that you can’t spend defense tokens when your speed is 0, and I see a potential way for swarms of cheap ships like the CR90 Corellian Corvette to overwhelm a juggernaut like a Victory Star Destroyer, but it wouldn’t work as well on an Assault Frigate or a Gladiator Star Destroyer. (Pending probable FAQ clarification on whether you check the ship’s speed dial or the reduced value).

Line of sight is required for squadrons to be engaged. Which means if there’s an asteroid or a ship between your TIE Interceptors and my Y-Wings, I’m free to move them away, regardless of range. Fighters can ignore obstacles for movement purposes, and obstructed shots remove one attack die, which in some cases makes those fighters immune to capitol ship attacks (looks like all capital ships except the Nebulon B Frigate in the initial launch only has one anti-squadron die) This leads me to believe that squadrons hiding out among obstacles and debris fields will be a valid tactic for fighter builds, especially in scenarios that involve controlling a particular portion of the playing field.

Hopefully we’ll be able to put some of these thoughts into action on the table soon! I’m ready to play! (insert obligatory “pew-pew-pew” noises here!)

– The Tabletop General

X-Wing Miniatures Epic battle report

I put out a general (no pun intended) challenge to my local X-Wing community last week for a game using the Epic rule set. I’ve had an opportunity to play one Epic game previously, and I got absolutely flattened by a well flown Rebel fleet because I underestimated the effectiveness of actions like Jamming (give out stress tokens to nearby ships) and upgrades like Slicer tools (deal damage to nearby ships with stress tokens), and because I let a large portion of my fleet get more literally flattened by a battering ram Medium Transport. A little older, a little wiser, and a little more rebellious, it was time for me to bring my huge ships out to play. Our X-Wing group actually had two simultaneous Epic matches going on, as several other players pooled their ships to have a 3v3 300 point game as well. It’s not every day you see multiple CR-90 Blockade Runners in use for casual play, at least not until Star Wars: Armada releases next year!

Rebel Alliance Patrol

CR-90 Blockade Runner Fore – 50
WED-15 Repair Droid – 2
Jaina’s Light – 2
Sensor Team – 4
Engineering Team – 4
Quad Laser Cannons – 6
Single Turbolasers – 8

CR-90 Blockade Runner Aft – 40
Slicer Tools – 7 – My biggest mistake in this build was not putting this on the fore!
Quad Laser Cannons – 6

Medium Transport – 30
Combat Retrofit – 10
Navigator – 3
Dutyfree – 2
EM Emitter – 3
Frequency Jammer – 4

Lt. Blount – 17
Veteran Instincts – 1
Assault Missiles – 5

Gold Squadron Pilot – 18
Ion Cannon Turret – 5

Gold Squadron Pilot – 18
Ion Cannon Turret – 5

Blue Squadron Pilot – 22
Ion Cannon – 3

Blue Squadron Pilot – 22
Ion Cannon – 3

Imperial Assault Force

Bounty Hunter – 33
Heavy Laser Cannon – 7

Bounty Hunter – 33
Heavy Laser Cannon – 7

Bounty Hunter – 33
Heavy Laser Cannon – 7

Omicron Group Pilot – 21
Heavy Laser Cannon – 7

Soontir Fel – 27
Royal Guard TIE – 0
Hull Upgrade – 3
Shield Upgrade – 4
Push The Limit – 3

Howlrunner – 18

Academy Pilot – 12

Academy Pilot – 12

Academy Pilot – 12

Academy Pilot – 12

Academy Pilot – 12

Academy Pilot – 12

Academy Pilot – 12

Academy Pilot – 12

Pre-game photo
The Rebels are outnumbered, but not necessarily outgunned! [Click for full size]
Since my opponent won the initiative, eight TIE Fighters and the Lambda had to deploy blindly in what I will refer to as the northeastern corner. I paired a Y-Wing and B-Wing to the southeast to serve as harassment, and had a matching pair in the southwest (partially hidden by the Transport in the photo provided). The Bounty Hunters set up in the northwest, anticipating correctly that my capital ships would follow in the southwest. I made sure to set the Medium Transport aligned with both the Lambda and the Firespray beside it.

With so many TIE Fighters on the field, I had to find a way to delay them and reduce their numbers, and Howlrunner had to go! Seeing that both mini-swarms of Fighters deployed on one side of the map, I put as much distance as possible between them and my CR-90 Corvette (I never know whether to call it a Corvette or a Blockade Runner) both to thin their numbers before engaging and have time to store some energy. Howlrunner and Soontir Fel joined in with the swarms, while Lt. Blount got lined up for a suicide shot with his assault missile.

The first hour or two of the game could have been handled as completely separate matches on the east and west halves of the map, each won in a relative landslide by the player with the most firepower available there.

If one (or both) of the TIE Fighter squadrons decided to take a hard right turn and come screaming over on a coordinated attack run, I wanted to have a little surprise available. So in the west, the Transport reinforced its’ front and charged straight ahead at it’s intended ramming targets, and allocated all available power to charging up its’ ionization reactor. This beastly upgrade requires 5 energy to trigger, but deals an ion token and one damage to all ships at range 1 when used! With the reinforce token in place (reducing incoming damage by 1 per attack), and a total of 15 hit points, the Transport held its’ own against incoming fire, and the Corvette began whittling away at the closest bounty hunter at extreme distance (range 5).

Capital ship engagement
Imperial heavy assault craft making an attack run. [Click for full size]
The Transport took fairly heavy damage, but kept barreling forward over several turns. Leaning on my experiences from my previous Epic battle, and knowing that a potential collsion was eminent, I had the fighter escorts make a sudden surge forward at full speed, and at Pilot Skill 2, they were able to move ahead of the PS3 Bounty Hunters, and clog up their intended movement lanes. It didn’t work as well as I had hoped, so I leaned on the Navigator’s ability for a little extra speed out of the Transport, but the ramming attempt still only took down one of the Firesprays, missing the second by about a quarter inch. Combined fire from the fighters and the Corvette took down a second Bounty Hunter, and the lone survivor followed the Shuttle, both fleeing regroup and hopefully return with reinforcements. The Y-Wing pilotgot a little too excited and managed to put himself directly in the path of the Medium Transport, but the B-Wing gave pursuit to the east.

Imperial-dominated dogfight
Operation Distract in progress, working surprisingly well! [Click for full size]
Speaking of the eastern front… Q: How many TIE Fighter pilots does it take to change a light bulb? A: I don’t know, they’re too busy chasing a Y-Wing to bother! “Operation Distract” started out with mixed results, Lt. Blount lost his shields to Soontir Fel, but countered with an Assault Missile shot that stripped Soontir’s shield modification in return, and scratched up a trio of Academy Pilots, all while missing his original target entirely. The TIE Fighters returned fire on Blount, and quickly removed him from the fight. Meanwhile, the Y-Wing and B-Wing pilot on that flank may have earned themselves an honorary spot in Wraith squadron with their flying antics. Soontir got ion-ed once. Howlrunner got ion-ed once, Academy Pilots scattered everywhere, and a couple were given landing instructions onto asteroids by more ion tokens. Only one TIE Fighters went down over here on this side of the battle, but by the time these two heroes were almost out of the fight, the reserve B-Wing had arrived to cause more chaos, and Operation Distract was considered a major success.

Scattered Imperial ships turning to face the capital ship out of frame
The Imperials are finally ready to swarm the Corvette [Click for full size]
Not wanting to be picked off from long range, most of the Imperials all turned East save for a couple of the Academy Pilots who stayed to finish the B-Wing off. These ships aren’t as coordinated as they had been, though, and would be approaching in both firing arcs of the Corvette without quite as much concentrated fire as I had been worried about earlier. Academy pilots did manage to swarm the transport, and even with its’ shields replenished, it didn’t survive the turn (and couldn’t muster the energy to fire off its’ reactor). But Soontir got a little too eager, and took a direct hit by being the only one in range of the CR-90 for the first turn. Howlrunner had survived the melee, but wasn’t nimble enough to avoid the big guns either. One by one the Imperials began to fall, but they closed in quickly and started piling on the damage on the Corvette, which could only fire its’ guns so quickly. Without escorts to provide assistance, the Imperials began to find blind spots behind (and even beneath) their target, and the damage was piling on fast. In an attempt to cause collisions or at least line up a shot, I began to occasionally jink the Corvette from side to side.

Firespray under the engines of a CR-90 [Click for full size]
Now that’s some tight maneuvering! That Firespray is literally UNDER the CR-90!
Academy Pilot strafing heavily damaged CR-90
With a crippled aft section and a damaged fore, killing this CR-90 might make the remaining Academy Pilot into a legend! [Click for full size]
Feeling a little close for comfort, one of the TIE Fighters K-Turned away, only to be destroyed with a gambled use of Slicer Tools (using he Slicer Tools, being on my Aft section, prevented me from using a Recover action to refresh my shields that turn). One of the turn maneuvers finally got me enough of an angle to fire rear quad-lasers, and down went the last of the Bounty Hunters, but the lone TIE Fighter crippled the Aft section of the ship, and there was already five damage on the Fore. The damage was piling up (another three hull damage would finish the CR-90), the Imperials were down to their last ship, the store was closing soon… and then I ran him over with another banking turn.

Apparently, in the Imperial Academy, they don’t teach you to give capital ships a wide berth.

Clocking in at just under 5 hours to completion (we weren’t in a hurry), this was officially my longest game of X-Wing yet, and one of my favorites to be certain. With that being said, I think I’ll stick to 100 point dogfights for a little while…

Thanks for reading!

— The Tabletop General