Tuesday, April 4, 2017

The attack sequence and you!

I'm taking a break from writing up the General Tagge article to talk about the attack sequence and how it works. I've mentioned it in a few posts (primarily the ordnance upgrades article) and John recently covered it somewhat in his Ackbar article and it should probably all be in one place for easy reference. In short, the attack sequence in Armada can be very important and it's frequently misunderstood. Once you get the hang of it, it's pretty easy, though, and I'd like to catch you up to speed and provide some examples!

This is how Imperials feel when Ackbar uses his add effect on an HMC80 broadside in step 3.

First things first, I'd like everyone to bust out their rules reference guide and go to page 2. We'll be transcribing exactly what the "attack" section has to say here before proceeding.


Attack
To perform an attack with a squadron or ship, resolve the following steps:
  1. Declare Target: The attacker declares the defender and the attacking hull zone, if any. If the defender is a ship, the attacker declares the defending hull zone. Measure line of sight to the defender to ensure the attack is possible and to determine if it is obstructed.
    • If the attacker is a ship, the defending squadron or hull zone must be inside the attacking hull zone's firing arc and at attack range of the attacking hull zone.
    • If the attacker is a  squadron, the defending squadron or hull zone must be at distance 1.
  2. Roll Attack Dice: Gather attack dice to form the attack pool and roll those dice. Gather only the dice that are appropriate for the range of the attack as indicated by the icons on the range ruler.
    • If the defender is a ship, gather the attack dice indicated in the attacking hull zone's or squadrons' battery armament.
    • If the defender is a squadron, gather the attack dice indicated in the attacker's anti-squadron armament.
    • If the attacker cannot gather any dice appropriate for the range of the attack, the attack is canceled.
  3. Resolve Attack Effects: The attacker can resolve attack effects as described below:
    • Modify Dice: The attacker can resolve any of its effects that modify its dice. This includes card effects and the concentrate fire command.
    • Spend Accuracy Icons: The attacker can spend one or more of its accuracy icons to choose the same number of the defender's defense tokens. The chosen tokens cannot be spent during this attack.
  4. Spend Defense Tokens: The defender can spend one or more of its defense tokens.
  5. Resolve Damage: The attacker can resolve one of its critical effects. Then the attacker determines the total damage amount. Then the defending squadron or hull zone suffers that total damage, one point at a time.
    • If the attacker or defender is a squadron, the damage is the sum of all hit icons.
    • If the attacker and defender are ships, the damage is the sum of all hit and crit icons.
    • Each ship has the following standard critical effect: "Crit icon: If the defender is dealt at least one damage card by this attack, deal the first damage card faceup."
  6. Declare Additional Squadron Target: If the attacker is a ship and the defender was a squadron, the attacker can declare another enemy squadron as a defender and repeat steps 2 through 6. The new defender must be inside the firing arc and at attack range of the same attacking hull zone. Each enemy squadron can be targeted only once per attack.
  • A ship can perform two attacks during its activation, but it cannot attack from the same hull zone more than once per activation.
  • A ship can attack the same target with different attacks.
  • Ships and squadrons cannot attack friendly ships and squadrons.

Okay, we're done with the transcription, yay! Now let's go over it bit by bit. I'll be copy-pasting the rules in bold and then commenting on them.

1) Declare Target: The attacker declares the defender and the attacking hull zone, if any. If the defender is a ship, the attacker declares the defending hull zone. Measure line of sight to the defender to ensure the attack is possible and to determine if it is obstructed.
  • If the attacker is a ship, the defending squadron or hull zone must be inside the attacking hull zone's firing arc and at attack range of the attacking hull zone.
  • If the attacker is a  squadron, the defending squadron or hull zone must be at distance 1.
The only major thing to note here is the need to declare an attacking and defending hull zone for ship-to-ship violence as well as making sure to check your line of sight and obstruction. Make sure to check for those with a squadron attack as well - it can happen that a squadron doesn't have line of sight to a ship hull zone or that the attack would be obstructed, so be careful. Line of sight and firing arcs are covered in the relevant portions of the rules reference guide but they're fairly straightforward so I'll move on...

2) Roll Attack Dice: Gather attack dice to form the attack pool and roll those dice. Gather only the dice that are appropriate for the range of the attack as indicated by the icons on the range ruler.
  • If the defender is a ship, gather the attack dice indicated in the attacking hull zone's or squadrons' battery armament.
  • If the defender is a squadron, gather the attack dice indicated in the attacker's anti-squadron armament.
  • If the attacker cannot gather any dice appropriate for the range of the attack, the attack is canceled. 
Okay, we're getting to the meat of this article so buckle up!

Regarding the initial attack dice roll:
Remember that these dice are only the dice from your anti-ship (or anti-squadron) battery and do not include any dice from "add" effects such as Ackbar or concentrate fire dials or the Opening Salvo objective or anything like that just yet. It's at this point that you also choose and remove one of your dice due to obstruction. I want to make a special point of the final bullet point for this step of the attack sequence:

If the attacker cannot gather any dice appropriate for the range of the attack, the attack is canceled.

This is very important when you're counting on add effects to boost your attack. This is why GR-75 Transports do not get any benefit from Ackbar - they have no dice to gather for their initial attack and it is canceled. This is also why a 1-dice attack that is obstructed is immediately canceled regardless of your ability to add dice to it later on. Suppose you had a CR90A firing out the side arc at long range against an obstructed target but it was using Ackbar, a concentrate fire dial, and Opening Salvo. Your initial 1 die is removed due to obstruction and your attack is canceled. It doesn't matter that those other effects would have added 5 dice to the attack later, the initial attack drops to 0 and nothing happens. I see people get this one wrong frequently and they don't like being caught by surprise when they're told their attack won't work at all. Please be aware of this.

3) Resolve Attack Effects: The attacker can resolve attack effects as described below:
  • Modify Dice: The attacker can resolve any of its effects that modify its dice. This includes card effects and the concentrate fire command.
  • Spend Accuracy Icons: The attacker can spend one or more of its accuracy icons to choose the same number of the defender's defense tokens. The chosen tokens cannot be spent during this attack.
There are a few important things to note here, so we're going to hit them bullet-point style (because clearly what this article needed was more bullet points):
  • You can resolve any of these effects in whatever order you like. This includes any of the following type of effects (for example, not strictly limited to these):
    • Effects that spend dice for an effect
    • Effects that add dice
    • Effects that reroll dice
    • Effects that set dice to a specific side
  • Spent dice are removed from the pool. This means that when you spend an accuracy die, it leaves the pool for good. It can't be targeted by future evade spending or anything like that. It's gone, but its effect persists.
    • Because this is the only window to use spend effects this means that if a defending ship causes your ship to reroll a die later and it comes up an accuracy icon, you're past your window to spend it and therefore it will (usually) be useless.
  • Because you can resolve these effects in whatever order you like, you can get to some really fun combinations that can be quite powerful. A few examples:
    • An attacking Defiance HMC80 with Leading Shots, concentrate fire dial, and Opening Salvo is attacking an activated enemy ship at long range of its side arc. It gathers its 3 red dice and rolls them into the pool. It then uses Defiance to add a blue dice into the pool. It then uses Opening Salvo to add 2 black dice into the pool. It then uses its concentrate fire dial to add another black die into the pool. It then uses Leading Shots to spend the single blue die to reroll all the blank red and black dice. All this despite initially being out of range for anything but red dice!
    • An attacking VSD-I with the Warlord title, Quad Turbolaser Cannons, Ordnance Experts, Assault Concussion Missiles, and Admiral Screed is attacking a ship at short range of its front hull arc and at distance 1 of Captain Jonus. It gathers its 3 red and 3 black dice and rolls them. It then uses Captain Jonus turn a red die to a side with an accuracy icon. It then uses the Quad Turbolaser Cannons to add another red die to the pool, set to the accuracy side. It then uses the Warlord title to turn one of the accuracy icon red die to the side with 2 hits. It uses Ordnance Experts to reroll its black dice not showing hit+crits. It then uses Admiral Screed to spend a die to flip one of the remaining black die to a hit+crit symbol and hopes the opponent doesn't have a way to stop the black hit+crit from getting through later...
    • A much simpler combination is rolling your dice out, spending your accuracy icons, and then rerolling all the remaining dice with Veteran Gunners (if you wanted to), as the accuracy icons are spent and thus out of the pool when the Veteran Gunners are used. 
4) Spend Defense Tokens: The defender can spend one or more of its defense tokens.

This looks pretty simple, but it's not. Haha, sorry. If you're unfamiliar with the specifics of defense token use, I'd recommend looking them up in the rules reference guide (I'm not going over them in detail to keep this from getting too lengthy)

  • It's important to note that any effects are used during the "Spend Defense Tokens step" like Lando or Admonition are used here as well. You can use them before or after spending any of your individual defense tokens.
  • Some defense tokens have an immediate effect upon being used:
    • Evade tokens force an immediate reroll or removal of a die, depending on the range of the attack.
    • Scatter tokens remove all dice from the pool, which thus cancels the attack.
  • Some defense tokens have a delayed effect that will be applied later (you still spend them now):
    • Brace tokens will halve the total damage during the resolution of step 5.
    • Redirect tokens allow you to redirect damage to one adjacent hull zone during damage resolution in step 5.
    • Contain tokens prevent the attacker form choosing the standard generic critical effect during step 5 but do not prevent other critical effects from being chosen.
  • Remember that you cannot spend more than one of each type of defense token. Also remember that any defense tokens that accuracy icons were spent against cannot be spent. They can be discarded for other effects (primarily Admonition) but they cannot be spent.

5)  Resolve Damage: The attacker can resolve one of its critical effects. Then the attacker determines the total damage amount. Then the defending squadron or hull zone suffers that total damage, one point at a time.
  • If the attacker or defender is a squadron, the damage is the sum of all hit icons.
  • If the attacker and defender are ships, the damage is the sum of all hit and crit icons.
  • Each ship has the following standard critical effect: "Crit icon: If the defender is dealt at least one damage card by this attack, deal the first damage card faceup."
 Time for some more bullet points to break down the important elements of this step.
  • First and foremost, the attacker can choose and resolve a critical effect before the total damage amount is calculated.
    • If there are no critical symbols in the pool at this point (due to defense token spending and/or the attacker didn't roll any), then no critical effect is chosen. Also remember that criticals cannot be chosen unless the attack is ship-against-ship, barring the Bomber special rule that allows Bomber squadrons to use  the standard critical effect against ships.
    • You can choose not to resolve a critical effect if you wish. Normally it's best to do so, but in some cases (for example, the defender has a Medical Team on his ship and you want to be sure the damage isn't prevented if the face-up card is a crew damage effect) it's best not to.
    • As a reminder, you can only apply one critical effect for an attack, regardless of the number of critical icons in the pool. For example, if you use an upgrade-based critical effect then you cannot use any other critical effects.
      • Additionally, the critical icon is not consumed by using a critical effect. It stays in the pool. Newer players tend to get this one confused.
    • The crit effect is applied immediately at this point. For critical effects that do damage or discard tokens or the like, it happens right now prior to damage being resolved. That means Assault Proton Torpedoes or Assault Concussion Missiles would do their damage right now (including resolving the effect of the face-up damage card for the APTs), Ion Cannon Batteries would strip a shield or command token right now, Overload Pulse would exhaust the still-fresh defense tokens right now, etc.
      • The standard critical effect is still applied at this step, but because that critical effect only applies if damage cards are dealt later, it effectively "waits around" for the damage resolution that is coming shortly.
  • Once the critical effect (if any) is resolved, then damage is applied. Remember to halve the damage (rounded up) if a brace token was spent and to now choose the adjacent hull zone for the redirect token (if you are the defender) if one of those was spent.
    • Normally this is fairly straightforward (I take X damage here due to redirect and then Y damage to the original zone, this squadron takes X damage and is destroyed, etc.), but it is important to realize that the damage is dealt one point at a time. This can have an effect on how the defender takes damage in some niche circumstances.
      • For example, suppose a defending ship with Reinforced Blast Doors is taking a 4-damage shot with a standard crit to a hull zone with no shields and has 3 shields on a neighboring hull zone. The defender had spent a redirect token earlier and now nominates the 3-shield zone as the redirect zone. The defender wants to sample the damage to see if it would be feasible to take 3 damage to the empty hull zone  to then wipe it with the Reinforced Blast Doors next turn and then redirect 1 to the 3-shield hull zone. The defender elects to take the first damage (face-up) to the empty shields hull zone. The face-up damage card is Projector Misaligned, which is resolved immediately. The hoped-for redirect hull zone has the most shields and they are all removed. The remaining 3 damage goes straight to the hull. Oops.
      • Additionally, this means that if you're using XX9 Turbolasers with Dodonna and he's able to get two damage to your hull zone with the XX9 crit, you'll resolve the first face-up damage card (by having Dodonna look at the top 4 and keep the one he likes) and then the second face-up damage card (by again having Dodonna do his thing) one at a time. Dodonna gets to use his ability on each card and he gets to apply the effects of the first prior to moving on to the next.
    • Remember that the brace token halves the damage, but it doesn't remove any dice from the pool. Dice (and thus crits) in the pool are still dice in the pool, it's just the total amount of damage is halved.
6) Declare Additional Squadron Target: If the attacker is a ship and the defender was a squadron, the attacker can declare another enemy squadron as a defender and repeat steps 2 through 6. The new defender must be inside the firing arc and at attack range of the same attacking hull zone. Each enemy squadron can be targeted only once per attack.

We're back to the easy ones! The only real ramifications of this are you get to choose what order to attack squadrons in when flakking from an arc and the defender makes all of his defense token spending decisions one at a time before you attack the next squadron. The timing of these attacks can be very important when the defender has the optional ability to move damage around or reduce it from other sources, such as Biggs Darklighter or Jan Ors.

It's also important to note that squadrons can be double-arced just like ships can be. You can only target each squadron once per attack, but you get to make two attacks per ship.
  • A ship can perform two attacks during its activation, but it cannot attack from the same hull zone more than once per activation.
  • A ship can attack the same target with different attacks.
  • Ships and squadrons cannot attack friendly ships and squadrons.
 These are all pretty straightforward, and don't really require any additional clarification. It's nice to see it spelled out that attacking the same target from two different hull zones (double-arcing) is a-okay, but we knew that already 😊.

Final thoughts
Hopefully that clears things up for anyone uncertain about the importance of the attack steps in Armada. The learn to play rulebook doesn't really go into great length about the specifics and I find that causes occasional confusion, which hopefully has been addressed. If you have any remaining questions, please let us know!

6 comments:

  1. Been enjoying your content for a while now. Thanks! Can you guys talk a little bit about storage/transport options for your fleets at some point. I'm a newer player and looking for efficient ways to carry my gear.

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    Replies
    1. I'm not sure we've got a whole article in us on that topic, but by far my favorite and most cost-effective solution for storage is a tool box with clip-on organizers underneath. That basic setup gets a lot of use locally and you can get it on Amazon for around $30. Hopefully that helped!

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    2. https://www.amazon.com/Stanley-Tools-STST19900-Connect-Organizer/dp/B01NBJ8GBF/ref=pd_sim_469_1?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B01NBJ8GBF&pd_rd_r=WK3BPFE09SHA017VD2JJ&pd_rd_w=JClpV&pd_rd_wg=VLyV5&psc=1&refRID=WK3BPFE09SHA017VD2JJ

      That's a link to what I use. The price has gone up a bit but it's still a very convenient way to carry a lot of plastic spaceships around for a much lower cost than buying a foam bag.

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    3. WickedfictitiousApril 6, 2017 at 4:41 PM

      Thanks!! That's exactly the sort of suggestion I was looking for. And at that price its still cheaper than the foam solutions I've seen everywhere else.

      Delete
  2. OK, I think I get it. But does this mean that resolving APTs before the actual damage means an ADDITIONAL faceup damage that is not included in the dice total? One faceup because of APTs and that crit icon adds one to the damage total. Correct me if I'm wrong.

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    Replies
    1. APTs will inflict that faceup damage card prior to damage being resolved normally and then the crit symbol still adds damage, yes.

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