Monday, February 27, 2017

Armada 101: working your way up from starter box games tips and reminders

Last Thursday we had two new players in for Armada (our local community continues to grow, which is always a good thing), and being the odd man out, I assisted them with rules and fleet building and such for their first non-starter box game. They had many questions and made numerous mistakes (which is normal and nothing to be ashamed of) and it prompted me to think of many pieces of advice and clarifications for players in similar situations where they're starting to come to grips with "regular sized" games. So without any further ado, let's get to some general-purpose reminders/tips/clarifications for new players!

Run, run, run, jump! I can be a backpack while you run!

Squadrons Encyclopedia 2: Small Fighter Coverage

Let's begin with one of the easier ones to define and use: Small Fighter Coverage.

It helps when you make the Pew Pew Pew noises, the dice roll better.

Friday, February 24, 2017

Imperial Commander Review: Darth Vader

We're looping back around to commanders and taking a look at Darth Vader.
Counterpoint: yes?

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Imperial squadron review: Firespray-31

Wrapping up the Imperial wave two squadron reviews (the wave five squadron reviews are still a ways off, I don't like talking about something I haven't played a few games with first and I'm still working through those...), we have the Firespray-31, which includes both Boba Fett's Slave I and his innumerable generic cosplayers.

It's the recumbent bicycle of bounty-hunting ships: dorky, yet comfortable!

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Squadrons Encyclopedia Chapter 1: Basics and Outline

So it took a while to get around to it, but having finished all the Wave 2 squadrons off, it's time to talk about USING these all.  I'm going to try to hit a lot in these articles, and they will be a little blander at times (less calling squadrons by different animal names to lighten the discussion) but hopefully more helpful.  I make no claims that I'm perfect at everything, but what I do works for me.  There's that old adage that "the best way to learn how to do something is to teach people to do it," so hopefully this will help improve my OWN squadron game by describing these all.

We'll start out with some definitions which are going to help in future articles, and then we'll move on to building the three different groups I'm about to define.  Because of my play experience, this is ALL going to be Rebel based and Rebel oriented.  I have zero experience piloting TIE fighters or TIE bombers, so it's not worth my speculating when I can just let Eric give his opinions on those.  My advice will be relatively general, so it should apply to both sides, but specific builds will have Eric's input.  Given those three different groups, I'll move to the proper way to the squadron fight with each group, and I'm sure by the end I'll have some final thoughts about this whole thing to wrap it all up.  In the process of rereading this all, I realize NOW that I need to add in both a short "after" article about how to properly attack and bomb your opponent's ships with your squadrons, and another about fighting a heavy squadron list.  This paragraph may only exist in here to provide me an outline of where I'm going to go; just giving me an outline for where to go. "Teach the entire Armada community how to squadron when only occasional people asked for it and may be silently judging you from their computer screen if/when you screw up" only causes SOME anxiety, it's fine!

If you have a better example of anxiety, please let me know!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Imperial squadron review: YV-666, or "garbage trucks from outer space"

Time for a shorter review of another Imperial wave 2 Rogue squadron: the YV-666, or as it's known around these parts: "the garbage truck."

It'll take out the trash! When it gets there... some day. Maybe.

Nebulon Bs! Jousting for Fun and Profit

So Eric's encouraged me to start doing ship reviews.  This, combined with the fact that I've exhausted the Wave 2 squadrons and am in the middle of playtesting several Wave 5 ones, along with the fact that the Squadrons Post is going to take some doing (it's coming along, I swear! I have Vassal and everything for fancy-pants pictures!) means I'm going to take both a slow-down (I'm not able to do 4-5 articles a week this way, or else I'll burn out) and a refocus (again, i haven't forgotten the Squadrons Article.  It's just going to involve both several parts and a decent time to get everything through.  Expect the first one when the bell tolls one by Friday, hopefully).

So on that note: let's do a ship review of the Nebulon B.
Fun fact: when Eric and I got into this game, we referred to the Support Refit as the "Garbage Truck" variant.  Why would you cheap out on points when you can command more squadrons and have better AA? Ah, youth!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Imperial ship review: Imperial-class Star Destroyer

Let's talk about the first Imperial battleship seen in all of Star Wars, the Imperial-class Star Destroyer. With wave 7 including two new chassis for this iconic ship, this article will be covering all four of the available options and so is going to get rather lengthy, so settle in someplace comfortable!

TIE Fighter squadrons not included (but recommended!)

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Imperial squadron review: Aggressor Assault Fighter or "attack of the space ticks"

I continue my wave 2 Imperial squadrons reviews with the Aggressor Assault Fighter or, as it's known around here, "the space tick:"

I'm not the only one that kind of sees it, right? I think? The point is it's super weird-looking.

Friday, February 17, 2017

Imperial squadron review: Jumpmaster 5000

It's time for a wave 2 Imperial squadron review! Given the importance of Intel, the Jumpmaster seemed to be the clear place to start. So wear your pants backwards, put on some fantastically dated hip-hop and get ready to jump jump!

I mean if it's on a sticker, it has to be priceless, right?

Scurrgs: Space Manatees!

Wrapping up Wave II, I'm going to talk about the Scurrg Bomber.  Not many people used to use them, but they get work done (waves at Nathan, Worlds 2018 winner)!
My favorite part in the movies was when these guys.... uhhhhhhhhh....

Thursday, February 16, 2017

YT-1300s: The Magnificent 7 (Health)

We continue this week's squadron talk with the YT-1300, the ship better known by many as the Millennium Falcon.  It and Han make up the base and the ace, and they play VERY differently.  Let's get started!
I'm a real squadron too, I swear it!

Ordnance upgrades review, or "how I learned to stop worrying and love the bomb"

As promised in my Gladiator-class Star Destroyer review, it's past time to talk about the different ordnance upgrades and which you should consider for your ships.
Slim Pickens is a man after Screed's own heart!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Imperial ship review: Gladiator-class Star Destroyer

It's time to cover one of the most-feared ships in the game: the Gladiator-class Star Destroyer (abbreviation: GSD)!

So are you more of a red lighting or yellow lighting kind of guy?

YT-2400s: Fear the Angry Frisbees!

So I've come to realize that in order to discuss the proper way to Squadron Build and (somewhat) run squadrons, I'd prefer to have all of the squadrons having been discussed.  Eric and I started this to help newer players get some things under control (I wanted to write squadrons, Eric wanted to stop people from hating on the Raider and TIEs, haha), so it makes more sense in my mind to have discussed all the existing squadrons BEFORE I get into how to run them and in what combinations and such.  So my GOAL is to hit one of these every night this week, publish them in the morning, and then write another one that night.  So you get a week of articles! And I get a week to learn Vassal and then take easier to see/understand pictures! Everyone wins!

So let's talk YT-2400s, the second most loved squadron from Wave II.
Shadows of the Empire was a pretty great game.  Especially when you get to fight Wampas on Hoth.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Squadron keywords/mailbox #2

Our second request comes to us from Mark. He writes:

Hi guys,
Just started my Armada habit. I can quit whenever I like, right? Would it be possible for you to offer advice about [squadron] keywords and their tactical applications? I think I understand the rules themselves, but it'd be nice to get an experienced take on this side of the game.
Cheers from Blighty,

That I can do while John works on a "how all this mess becomes a bomber wing" style update! I will note as an aside that if you want more in-depth discussion of combining keywords with other statistics and fleet dynamics, I'd strongly recommend reading up on our individual squadron review articles, where we go into more details; a quick summary all in one place is definitely a useful resource however, and I'll try to cover the high points.

It's time to bullseye some womp rats, I guess?

HWK-290s and Jan Ors: Intel Squadrons

I had said I was going to move on to Intel, and today is that day.  Having just played in the Milwaukee Regionals, my mind is still feverishly thinking Armada (I can quit ANY TIME, haha!)

So let's talk Intel and support squadrons.
Jan Ors actually has a ship, you know.  She's not just a floating person in space.  Some people even actually USE these!

Imperial ship review: Victory-class Star Destroyer

Let's begin the Imperial ship reviews at the beginning with the first Imperial ship most of us ever pushed around a table, the OG angry triangle, the Victory-class Star Destroyer (VSD)!

The Victory-I knows how to take a more flattering profile picture. Take note, Victory-II.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Mailbox/Q&A Post #1

I received some questions from someone going by firedogee on the Armada reddit forum that I'd be happy to answer. If anyone has any shorter questions, we'll be collecting them and responding on occasion and grouping them into a mailbox/Q&A index (off on the right, so many indices!). The question was:

any chance you can cover "worst case scenarios" that new players find themselves in such as: 1) all of my command dials are set to engineering yet all my ships are about to fly off the play area, 2) I have all bomber squadrons and they keep getting swarmed, 3) at setup my ships are setup too wide and now some of my ships don't get involved in the action, 4) My ships keep running into stuff (or each other), 5) I always seem to end up in the front arcs of ISDs (or side arcs of MC80/MC30), 6) I have no idea how to choose upgrades or objectives based on the commander I want to use, 7) Why can't I just ram my opponent into submission?

I'll do my best to answer those in order, but don't be surprised to find longer answers to these in their own articles in the future.

Friday, February 10, 2017

B-Wings: Doom Turtles!

Completing the last of the original Rebellion squadrons, we'll round things off with B wings.

Now I am become Death, Destroyer of Worlds.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Imperial commander review: Grand Moff Tarkin

Oh man look out here comes Peter Cushing Grand Moff Tarkin!

I just ordered a planet and its inhabitants destroyed and I'm still in my comfy slippers.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Armada 101: faction breakdown

This is the second post (the first being my post on what I consider to be the core features/selling points of the game) of what I hope over the long run will be a series of posts I like to think of as "the basics" or "Armada 101." Stuff that people considering Armada or very new to Armada can make use of in terms of just grokking the basic elements of the game before they dig into something even more detail-oriented, like a squadron or ship analysis.

This time around, I'd like to answer a question I get from many new players: which faction should I choose? Some players intend to use only one faction (for example, John plays only Rebels) and others would like to focus on one over the other (for example, I'd say I'm about 90% Imperials 10% Rebels). Focusing on one faction can also make Armada more affordable, especially earlier on. I do come across the occasional "splitsies" player who do manages to more-or-less evenly play both sides but in my experience such people are a rarity.

First and foremost, there is no "bad" faction. Both Imperials and Rebels can field competitive fleets and have a great variety of competitive builds. Both can be fun to play as well, so there's no "good, but boring" faction either. The two factions do have tendencies in their designs, though, that differentiate them from one another and can appeal to players of different temperaments. I'd like to discuss at least some of those features with an eye towards helping new players decide which faction seems like it would appeal to them most. I would like to note that all comparisons are made as of the writing of this article, so as of wave 5.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Imperial commander review: Admiral Screed

It's time to review the monster that absolutely dominated the meta in wave one: Admiral Screed!

They all laughed when I said I wanted to be an admiral and also the Terminator! Well who's laughing now?

A Wings: Jumping Off the Deck, Shove it into Overdrive

So you've been reading Rebel Squadron articles, wondering how you're supposed to beat Imperial TIEs with their speed 4 and their blue dice and everything? Just like a mediocre NFL Quarterback*, throw it deep with the A-Wing!
Start playing Kenny Loggins.  Highway to the Danger Zone is my recommendation, but if you want to cut Footloose...

Monday, February 6, 2017

Imperial commander review: Admiral Motti

Welcome to the first of many Imperial commander reviews! Similar to how John is doing his Rebel commander reviews, I'd mostly like to cover how a commander works, what kind of archetypes he or she prefers, and then finally a little something for those facing off against that commander. These overall should be shorter than the lengthy squadron articles I've been producing (I hope, haha). Given that a commander is the first thing you should be deciding on for your fleet, this feels like the kind of subject that's best tackled sooner rather than later.

Let's begin with Admiral Motti.
You may remember him sass-mouthing Vader before force choked in A New Hope.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Imperial squadron review: TIE Interceptor

Last but not least of the wave one Imperial squadrons, we have the extremely zippy TIE Interceptor!

It's like a regular TIE Fighter, only with more triangles.

Friday, February 3, 2017

Imperial squadron review: TIE Bomber

Time for us to focus on the TIE Bomber, the cheapest bomber squadron in the game:

Haven't I seen this airbrushed on the side of a van somewhere?

Know Your Enemy/Commander's Corner: Carlist Rieekan

So now that we're officially A Thing, I figured I would get going on a slightly different topic.  I will get back to the squadron articles, I promise (A-wings! B-wings! Other such!), but for now, I wanted to focus on a topic that's been one people struggle with: Commander Choice.

Choosing the RIGHT Admiral for your fleet can make or break it.  If you try to run squadrons with Ackbar in a sufficient number, you're going to have a bad time.  Similarly, if you put Mon Mothma in with your Defiance list, you're not going to get the most benefit out of your list.  I'm not saying you CAN'T win with your list (I've run Madine with an Assault MC80 and done OK with it! I've tried that Ackbar squadrons list!), but I'd rather save you some time in figuring out what works with your guy, what doesn't work with your guy, and how to fight the Commander when all of your friends start choosing him.  I'll start this off with one of my favorite Rebel leaders.
So if I ram his ships, they take even MORE damage when they ram me back?

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Imperial squadron review: TIE Advanced

Moving on to the second (and shorter!) review of the wave one Imperial squadrons, we have the TIE Advanced:

It was in Star Wars: A New Hope that one time ever, how could you not recognize it?

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Why play Armada? What makes it unique?

This topic was our very first request received for an article topic and for something so elementary I hadn't even considered it. Given we're focusing on articles for newer players, this kind of article is for the newest of the new players: those who haven't even played Armada yet!

So, what would I consider the defining elements of Armada as a miniatures game?