Monday, May 11, 2015

Star Wars Armada: The Asteroid Runners get Cap ships!

 This would be my second favourite of the Star Wars ships, the magnificent Nebulon B frigate. It's clearly a space going vessel in true sci-fi tradition. Like the Star Trek ships were before they got the shapely next-gen treatment. It's also one of the two rebel ships in the starter box... and at long range it has as many shooting dice as a Victory class Star Destroyer. Sure, it might not add much more at closer ranges, but I'm already finding this games works in some unexpected ways. I got to have my first proper go of the game vs John, he of  'Asteroid Runners' fame. Appropriately, we were playing the mission where you get an objective point by intentionally colliding with one of four obstacles on the board. I was drawing two objectives and picking one.... my alternative was one that gave bonus points for shooting ships in their rears arc, not a winner when I had a Victory II SD vs a Corvette and a Frigate.

 We were giving it the full start box treatment, which allows the Victory to be accompanied by 6 TIE squadrons and Howlrunner (+1 dice to friend!). My Admiral was Tarkin, he allows me a free command token per turn, which I forgot about all game. John had a Corvette A, Nebulon Escort version, General Dodonna (who helps with crits) and 4 X Wings with Luke (he ignores shields!). My plan got off to a perfect start as I crashed through an asteroid on my first order. Luckily the next obstacle in my path was a repair station.

 I also deployed copious TIEs in likely Rebel approaches. While Squadrons are either move OR fire, if a ship runs into them, they redeploy in contact, AND they engage all enemy squadrons in range one. So stringing out a chain would help keep Luke et al off the Vickie's back for a little while.

 Turn two and I was on the second objective. John rammed an Asteroid with the Frigate to make it 2:1. Hilariously, given his problem with X-Wing was hitting asteroids.... he totally flew past the other asteroid with the Corvette and had to start moving around for another pass. I had got Howlrunner in with some friends to try and take out Luke.

Wait that's one-one odds and he has 5 HP Xwings vs my 3 HP Ties. Abort, Abort!

 John decided plan B was the Frigate would loop behind the SD (where it was, after all,safest) while the Corvette was to go hunting.

 I then decided to gather my squadrons for a proper attempt on the X-Wings before I then went Corvette chasing.
 They did not succeed, Luke lived on and Howlrunner dies. I even fired on the farmboy with my Star Destoyer but still couldn't get the whiney kid. Worse still, the last three commands of the six turn game that I chose were NOT Navigate. I also forgot I get free command tokens. So try as I might I was never going to bear that SD around on objective number 4. Leaving us to reprise the opening scene from a New Hope.

You know, the one where the Corvette pursues the Star Destroyer? Some turns did finally get that Corvette alongside me though and I skewered it between two arcs, giving me twice the dice. Finally a cap ship died, even if off in the distance the Nebulon B got objective number 4, tying our score.  We both really enjoyed the game, in fact I am totally hooked and need many more ships, even more starter box ships so I don't have to wait for wave one to get here...

I see the price has now dropped back to NZD $102.31 I've never seen a game price be so volatile.

What about the game, as a game? Can the Rebels realistically foot it vs the Imperials? Who knows for sure, yet. The obvious Imperial play is three Victories vs whatever the Rebels try. In the interests of science, the guys at WWPD tried that and it did not go well for the Rebs. However, maybe there is more to it, for starters how does a Nebulon B ever want to end up in this position in a game of Armada? The Rebels do have their strengths and I am getting more an more keen to bloody mindedly line up Nebulon B's (support refits, because even cheaper) and blast away at Imperials at range while they close and trust in my defence tokens. In fact, I almost wonder if the biggest problem for a Reb player isn't other Reb players because X-Wings would eat Nebulon Bs for breakfast.

Whatever, there are a lot of random objective cards and John and I found ourselves treating lining up shots as incidental to the real work of lining up our flight paths. It really showed the advantages of John's favourite ship, the humble Corvette.

Thanks for reading.


  1. Not opened let alone played my copy of this - looks great though :)

    1. I predict opening the box and playing will be addicting...

  2. The Rebs can and do win for us! They might need a bit more finesse, but they are absolutely capable of pulling it off!

    1. Cheers Steven, have been enjoying the batreps you guys have been putting up.

  3. Aaaah this game is great! I played a game with Jon last night (Jon's copy) and although not much died it was still very entertaining. We used the same fleets as you but Jon played the Imperials. Game ended with all squadrons bar Luke + Howlrunner dead who were duking it out. My corvette was down to no shields (on any hull section) with a single hull point left!! While the Neb B was mostly unscathed other than a couple of damage from a strong attack that punched right through the side for a crit. The Victory was pretty much out of shields but only a couple of damage cards on it. If that thing just starts cranking engineering commands it is very hard to bring down...

    Anyhow your mission Jamie if you choose to accept it is to conceive some type of campaign system that marries this with Xwing! I'm thinking an Xwing 'raid' mission on repair facilities that if successful leaves ships with some initial damage in an armada game or something similar. So many cool ways to tie things together!

    Now I just need to resist the urge to buy excessive amounts of things... nnngh

    1. Just give in man. Job and now two young kids in the year of star wars. A ffg game with pre-paints makes so much sense. will ponder the x-wing / armada crossover issue. Would need to work out a way to make this kind of thing optional. Possibly do it as a 'raid' option using fighters/bombers instead of a battle.