Sunday, May 15, 2022

The GAR Victory!

Cross-faction ships! The ol' Victory! Bringing its might to the Republic! Just like we always something something let's break the ship down and pretend it has value.

I believe retail is about $49.95, but maybe you have an old one sitting around?

Friday, May 6, 2022

Hera and Anakin Actually in articles!

Hera and Anakin added to the articles, and copy-pasted below! AND I updated the Rebel squads article (pretty sure I just typed the name "Hera" in there, maybe once?) and GAR squads grouping one (massive re-do and changes, go read as I'm not reposting it), too!  Along with the individual GAR squad articles (minor changes, but always worth re-reading as I just learned smarter play that I wrote 6 months ago) themselves!

Space Mom!
As mentioned, all the different X-wings emphasize different aspects of the X-wing chassis; Biggs and the tankiness, Luke and the anti-ship, and Wedge and the anti-squad.  Hera allows all the different X-wings to work together, allowing for all the Escort squadrons at distance 1 to reroll 1 die when they attack.  This is in addition to Toryn Farr for anti-squad or BCC for anti-ship.  In practice, Hera's significant cost over even a regular X-wing ace means that she may end up replacing a BCC in your lists.  Hera does NOT have Escort herself, but she helps all your friends who do like a real squadron leader.  Pair her with at least 3 generic X-wings and/or Biggs and Jan Ors to allow her to get the best benefit out of her ability.  At the MOMENT, her ability is a pulse.  Which means when she activates, all those around her get Adept-1.  And if you "de-activate" her with Adar Tallon, she can potentially give out Adept-1 again to everyone for Adept-2.  That means you can reroll 2 dice with anti-squad attacks, but you may NOT reroll the same die more than once (for anti-ship OR anti-squad).  For added fun with those X-wings, pair her with Biggs and Jan.  You're approaching your ace limit (and the squadron limit) but you've got a strong, tanky squad ball going for sure.

Should you use Hera and YT-1300s for counter and Adept? Eh.  It's FINE but if you're bringing them you want the tankiness of the YT-1300s more than the inherent dice they roll.  Toryn (and obvious Jan) nearby is fine and most likely all you need with them; leave Hera at home in that case.

Always bring your lightsaber in case you need to make a Hot Landing

Anakin (or Splashikin as Truth has started calling him) is your basic Jedi ace.  Dude hits like a TRUCK and is worth bringing for sure; I'd almost count him as your first ace a lot of the time!  His ability only works on his activation, so a second shot from Ahsoka (above) doesn't let him use his ability, but the dice he throws and the damage he can do are significant.  3 damage and 1 accuracy (not impossible from 4 dice and Adept-2) or 2 damage and 2 accuracies, combined with his own ability can instantly kill any 3-hull scatter ace.  Imperials and CIS pilots fear this Jedi Master Knight. His black die anti-ship with Adept should be 1 damage almost every time, and it is well worth throwing him against ships when you've mopped up the squads.  For added fun, pair him with Flight Controllers.  He's also the only ace with both Dodge AND defense tokens.  Make sure to apply THAT first before you do anything else.  He is a 4 hull scatter ace, though, and remains quite squishy.  Make sure you have V19s, probably Axe especially, protecting him to keep him alive and only in the engagements that matter.  If you over extend him, or ANY of these Deltas, for that matter, they will die.

Sunday, May 1, 2022

The Adepticon Write-Up Part II: Who's the Bossk

Well, I promised I would do it, though it's taken some time. Let's find out how this whole thing went down! (I'm aware the formatting isn't great, but hey at least you can read it?)

A face only a mother could love...

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Jank Army of the Republic Podcast Companion

Because John is a terrible person was busy or something, it falls to me to do belatedly put up the lists we discussed on the podcast the other night. Sorry for the delay!


Combat GAR
Author: Biggs
Faction: Galactic Republic
Commander: Plo Koon

Assault Objective: Marked For Destruction
Defense Objective: Abandoned Mining Facility
Navigation Objective: Volatile Deposits
[flagship] Venator II-Class Star Destroyer (100)
- Plo Koon (26)
- Resolute (6)
- Thermal Shields (5)
- Mercy Mission (0)
- Flag Bridge (0)
- Clone Captain Silver (4)
- Local Fire Control (4)
= 145 points
Consular-class Armed Cruiser (37)
= 37 points
Pelta-Class Transport Frigate (45)
- Bomber Command Center (8)
= 53 points
Consular-class Charger C70 (45)
= 45 points
4 BTL-B Y-Wing Squadron (10)
1 "Axe" (17)
1 "Kickback" (16)
1 Anakin Skywalker (24)
1 Ahsoka Tano (23)
= 120 points


GOOF Tarkin  (57/400/400)
Venator I-class Star Destroyer (90 + 29: 119)
· Clone Captain Zak (5)
· Ordnance Experts (4)
· Intensify Firepower! (6)
· SPHA-T (7)
· Assault Proton Torpedoes (4)
· Tranquility (3)
Acclamator II-class (71 + 47: 118)
· Admiral Tarkin (30)
· Clone Captain Silver (4)
· Clone Gunners (4)
· Thermal Shields (5)
· Implacable (4)
Charger c70 (45 + 8: 53)
· Radiant VII (1)
· Slicer Tools (7)
Pelta-class Transport Frigate (45 + 8: 53)
· Comms Net (2)
· Projection Experts (6)
Axe (17)
Kickback (16)
2 x V-19 Torrent Squadron (2 x 12)
Blockade Run
Hyperspace Migration
Contested Outpost


Name: Yularen Beef Wall
Faction: Republic
Commander: Admiral Yularen
Assault: Precision Strike
Defense: Capture the VIP
Navigation: Superior Positions
Venator II (100)
• Admiral Yularen (24)
• Clone Captain Silver (4)
• Flight Controllers (6)
• Boosted Comms (4)
• Electronic Countermeasures (7)
• Tranquility (3)
= 148 Points
Pelta Medical Frigate (49)
• Clone Navigation Officer (4)
• Fighter Coordination Team (3)
• Bomber Command Center (8)
= 64 Points
Pelta Medical Frigate (49)
• Fighter Coordination Team (3)
• Comms Net (2)
= 54 Points
• Anakin Skywalker (Delta-7) (24)
• Axe (17)
• Kickback (16)
• Delta-7 Aethersprite Squadron (17)
• 4 x ARC-170 Starfighter Squadron (60)
= 134 Points
Total Points: 400

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

The Adepticon Write-Up Part 1

Now that we're in the wake of new stuff new stuff yeah yeah yeah, it's time for what you all wanted to read about: the old meta.  Hit the jump for some Adepticon talk!

Friday, April 8, 2022

Rapid Reinforcements Hot Takes

It's time for a new hot take article and John/geek19 and I/Eric have some company this time with Truthiness offering some opinions as well. Generally, one of us took the lead for each section and others chimed in afterwards.

Speaking for myself (Eric), I have mixed feelings about the Rapid Reinforcements. A year and a half since AMG took the reins from FFG, we got something finally but it was a low-effort something. No new models, no actual product created by AMG that we can purchase. Just a PDF we can print out and now we can use models FFG made earlier for different factions. The choices in some regards seem based on lore rather than what would offer new options for a faction: this is particularly striking with GAR getting a Victory, which is very similar to an Acclamator, instead of something that would meaningfully diversify a four-ship Clone Wars faction (an easy lore-friendly example would be an Arquitens, which would give GAR something they currently lack). But it is something and AMG deserves some credit even if I personally am a little underwhelmed. Truthiness and John are more enthusiastic about it, so I want to reiterate this is my personal opinion. If it had been accompanied by a balance patch (like Legion has been getting) I'd be a lot more jazzed. Regardless, let's talk about the new stuff, shall we?

Monday, March 21, 2022

Who's the Bossk SECRET RULESET


I've found the secret ruleset that will gain all players bonus points for Who's the Bossk (this Saturday March 26 at Adepticon).  The attractive judge has assured me that trying to obtain these bonuses will result in EXTRA POINTS for you and your list (370 points, no commander, 4 uniques total across the fleet remember!)  This isn't an exhaustive list, but it's just what I've been able to dig up and unredact and translate.  I'm SURE some enterprising code cracker will figure out what SOME of these can mean....

Friday, March 4, 2022

More Experimentation

Hey everybody! It’s your friendly neighborhood Truthiness back again. Last time I was writing, I was working on a double Venator SPHA-T fleet that was a little janky, but I thought might have some potential. Well, I’ve gotten a bunch of reps with it and I’m reporting back in. Unfortunately that fleet just isn’t quite scratching the competitive itch for me. Today, I’ll break down the experiences of that previously discussed Tarkin fleet and then talk about the next fleet I’ll be trying out.

Experimenting is fun!

If you need a refresher on my last thought experiment, you can find it here. Let’s start first with what it does well. With the double SPHA-Ts, it can dominate a section of the battlefield, creating very effective overlapping fields of fire. It shines against medium ships, such as the Acclamator and the Munificent. The large number of blues in the dice pool meant that I hardly ever went without at least one accuracy. They were similarly effective against larges. When working together, they could melt a large base in short order, especially when one of them could manage a double arc. The squad ball also won me over in its screening role. Kickback and Axe together manage to create a kind of perfect situation for the two generic Deltas, shielding a lot of their worst weaknesses. Axe’s damage mitigation is pretty obvious in his own right, but Kickback also plays a critical role in managing engagements. He keeps the incoming shots on the Deltas more limited, allowing them to stick around longer and use their impressive offensive firepower.

Where the fleet struggles is positioning, which should be pretty obvious. With such a limited number of deployments and GAR's typical bad yaw values, it is prone to being out-deployed pretty badly. You can mitigate this to a degree with objectives and precise maneuver, but you need to be essentially perfect. The biggest vulnerability is the Venator 1, which is prone to knockout shots without access to a defensive retrofit. A large ship, flown well, can box out the Venator 2, which really needs to screen the Venator 1. MSU is also a major struggle for the fleet. SPHA-Ts are certainly lethal against small base ships, as are the Venator 2’s double salvos. That said, seasoned MSU players are used to timing their attacks to swarm a single target. With such limited maneuver options, it’s hard for the Venators to compensate for an MSU swarm piling onto a single ship, once again usually the Venator 1. You’ll take some down with you thanks to the lethality of SPHA-Ts, but not enough to compensate for the loss of the Venator. Finally, while the squadron wing is solid against equal sized or larger enemy squadron balls, it is painfully inefficient against lighter squadron wings. If an opponent is squadless, it is just too expensive for the small amount of damage it can do against ships.

It’s still a surprisingly fun fleet. I’ll keep it in my back pocket for occasional use in store tournaments and other more casual events. But as far as my quest for a new competitive fleet, I think I have enough experience with the fleet now to call it. It’s just not quite up to snuff. So that means it’s on to my next idea. Believe it or not, there was a time I played squad heavy. As befits my contrarian nature, it was back in the wave 1 and 2 days, when squadrons were considered “bad” in competitive play. I won a wave 2 regional with an Independence MC80 and a good stack of B-Wings. There are days I miss that style of play, but I generally don’t really care to fly fleets too similar to popular archetypes. I like the challenge of trying different things. Rebel squadrons aren’t exactly lighting it up anymore, though, so I think it’s time to indulge my old tendencies. Since last year’s VWC, I’ve greatly admired Louis Andre’s squadron heavy fleet from that tournament. I beat it, but it was an absolute bear to grind through. I made an adapted version of my own shortly after playing against it. I’ve continued to revisit and tweak from time to time, but never got it on the board. Here is the latest and great version:

The best sci-fi ship ever made, seen here in no way about to die.

Name: Tench Meiloorun Disease

Faction: Rebel

Commander: Kyrsta Agate

Assault: Most Wanted

Defense: Asteroid Tactics

Navigation: Superior Positions

Assault Frigate Mk2 B (72)

• Kyrsta Agate (20)

• Toryn Farr (7)

• Flight Controllers (6)

• Expanded Hangar Bay (5)

• Reinforced Blast Doors (5)

• Linked Turbolaser Towers (7)

= 122 Points

CR90 Corvette A (44)

• Hondo Ohnaka (2)

• Turbolaser Reroute Circuits (7)

• Liberator (2)

• All fighters, Follow Me! (5)

= 60 Points

CR90 Corvette A (44)

• Ahsoka Tano (2)

• Turbolaser Reroute Circuits (7)

• Jaina's Light (2)

= 55 Points

GR-75 Medium Transports (18)

• Leia Organa (3)

• Parts Resupply (3)

• Boosted Comms (4)

= 28 Points


• Lando Calrissian (23)

• Jan Ors (19)

• Ketsu Onyo (22)

• Biggs Darklighter (19)

• 3 x X-wing Squadron (39)

• Gold Squadron (12)

= 134 Points

Total Points: 399

With so many X-Wings, and the presence of Biggs and Gold Squadron, the name is a call back to the “Trench Run Disease” of the old Rogue Squadron series. Why was Meiloorun thrown in there? Because we like puns and Rebels, ok? The anchor of the fleet is unquestionably the Assault Frigate with Agate in the command chair. This was the element that really stuck out to me last year. I honestly think this ship might actually be as durable as an Agate Liberty, and much more flexible. Key to that durability is the ability to double up on two different damage mitigation tokens depending on the situation. If you’re facing more smalls, the ability to double up on evades brushes off a lot of damage while maintaining Agate’s “break glass for emergency” for the brace. If you’re going up against larger dice pools, you can double up on braces instead. The Assault Frigate’s preference for broadsiding is also helpful for survival, as it can kite pretty well if needed. Its role is to be the tip of the spear for the squad fight. You want it right in the middle of the squadron action, commanding squads, dishing out LTT flak (situation depending), and providing Toryn re-rolls for both the squad on squad fight as well as for Gold and Ketsu bombing runs. You might have to disengage at some point, but it’s a very durable and slippery ship.

You thought I'd only have ONE picture of X-Wings being awesome?

My choice of two CR90s instead of two flotillas is the biggest difference between my version and LA’s fleet. I might be legally obligated to run at least two CR90s in Rebel lists at this point. Hold on, let me check my contract. *Shuffles through some papers* Yup, legally obligated. In seriousness, I prefer a more combined arms approach rather than leaning almost exclusively on squadrons for damage. CR90s with TRCs provide a lot of reliable dakka for cheap. They’re prone to getting bullseye in this age of long range haymakers, but I have the anchor of the Assault Frigate and the lethality of the squadrons to give the CR90s some cover. Getting the second CR90 in there in place of a flotilla might seem like a small change, but it really isn't. That change, along with TRCs instead of LTTs on the 90s, shifts the role of the CR90s to a more aggressive ship hunting role rather than the tabling insurance and flak LA used his CR90 for. The second CR90 also allows me to get All Fighters Follow Me into the mix with the Liberator title. That one turn of speed four means a more aggressive squad ball in addition to more aggressive ships. You can see the pattern here: I like the option to be aggressive.

At its core, the squad ball is a pretty standard Rebel Mustache Ride. Biggs and three X-Wings supported by Jan are a very durable and lethal air superiority wing. With AFFM and Flight Controllers, I’ve leaned pretty hard into winning a squad on squad fighter to create space for the bombers. Lando is a nice flexible option, able to go after ships or critical squadrons in equal measure. Believe it or not though, he’s probably the part of the ball I like the least. I have a bad habit of getting him killed after only getting the opportunity to use his ability once. I need to get better at keeping him protected by the X-Wings so that he doesn’t get burned down quickly on a single brace. Still, Lando is probably the first ace I might toss out in favor of something else as I refine this. Yes, I know that’s heresy, but I’ve never been as high on Lando as others are. Ketsu and Gold provide the obvious bombing capability that the squadron wing is a little light on. Ketsu in particular is a favorite of mine. You could toss her ability out entirely and I would still take her. Her combination of Rogue, Grit, two blue bomber dice, and a scatter defense token make her an entirely unique asset that has won me games in the past. Before the advent of Point Defense Ion Cannons, I might have been tempted to take Norra Wexley in place of either Ketsu or Lando. With PDICs running around all over, though, and evades also allowing re-rolls on bombing shots, Norra’s utility I think is no longer of much use.

This day and age I also feel like you need a plan to handle what I call the “speed zero trap”. If you haven’t seen the monster that is Sam’s VWC and LVO fleet, you might want to stand up and pay attention. It is centered around two Interdictors, an Onager, and a boatload of mines. His objectives are brutal. The yellow and the blue are almost certain to give him around a 100+ point scoring advantage. Your options for getting any kind of decent win against him are either out bid him and take second, or find away around Surprise Attack. Between two G7-X Grav Well Projectors and a Grav Shift Reroute, Sam can make Surprise Attack hurt a lot if you’re not prepared. There’s two things you have to overcome. First is the G7-X bubble that will force your flagship to deploy at speed zero. With Cataclysm lined up to take a turn one shot, you obviously can’t stay defenseless at speed zero. You need to expect a turn one nav raid as well. Second, you’ll have to find a way around the mines deployed on top of obstacles that will also be shifted around by the Grav Shift Reroute. Your goals should be to get to at least speed two and get hit by no more than one mine. My plan is Ahsoka and Hondo. Hondo gets me my nav token to clear the inevitable turn one nav raid from Surprise Attack. Sam has to bring his own Hondo to fuel Cataclysm, so I can somewhat rely on getting a token of some kind from Sam’s Hondo. With the first activation, I can clear the nav raid with my nav token, then flip the second token to a nav with Ahsoka. Between that and a nav command, I can get the AF2 up to speed two. Unfortunately I lack double die flak to try and kill an obstructed mine, so I’ll have to have my Assault Frigate kite away from the fight for a chance at survival.

X-Wing picture hat trick! This one in honor of Hera and her favorite fruit.

As with all fleets, there are a number of tools I’ve left in the box because I just didn’t have the space. One thing I really wish I could find room for, and something I may still attempt to work back in at some point, is Adar Talon. With Yavaris being effectively dead (yes, John, it’s dead. Let it go.), Adar is one of the best force multipliers available for Rebels. Lando with Asteroid Tactics and Adar is a mean son of a gun. Ketsu is also a great choice for Adar double taps, amplifying her double bomber dice. Gallant Haven is another choice I wish I could find room to include. My more aggressive approach generally means I’m fighting further out from the Assault Frigate, but it’s still a great upgrade to have when dealing with heavy alpha strikes, such as Sloane. The final choice I’ve made is going without a Bomber Command Center. That significantly limits the reliability of my X-Wings on bombing runs, but I really like the flexibility of Ahsoka and a Resupply upgrade. The Assault Frigate is always starved for tokens, be they nav or repair. I’m currently prioritizing that token flexibility over X-Wing bombing lethality. My calculus is I’ll have the X-Wings focusing mostly on wiping enemy squadrons. If they whiff badly I reserve the right to change back to having BCC.

I have managed one game with this new fleet. Besides squandering Lando, the fleet performed very well. I beat a Plo Koon Republic fleet flown by Maturin 349-130. We were both squadron heavy, making for a very bloody squadron fight and very little actual bombing. Where Maturin’s ships focused on flaking, my TRC90s and Assault Frigate hammered his Venator. Ketsu slipped in for the Venator killshot in turn three’s squad phase, which was the most decisive moment of the game. My squadron chops are clearly a little rusty, but this is definitely a very fun fleet for me to fly so far.


Tuesday, February 8, 2022

Dipping My Toes Back In

Hey everybody! It’s your friendly neighborhood Truthiness checking in. And for the first time on CYGSO! It’s been a while since I wrote or talked about anything Armada related. Between the 2021 and 2022 Vassal World Cups, I only played a grand total of six Armada games. After AMG’s rather disappointing Armada news, like many Armada veterans, I just wasn’t feeling great about the state of the game or its future. So I took a pretty long break. I’ve been playing a mix of other games, most notably Dropzone and Dropfleet Commander. I’ve been having a blast, but I still love Star Wars and Armada. When the Vassal World Cup came up again, I signed up mostly out of habit and fond memories. I didn’t put a whole lot of effort into my fleet other than “be different than last year.” That’s how I ended up in the Vassal World Cup with three Ackbar shrimp supported by a couple flotillas and Shara and Tycho. I had one very close loss, one blowout win, and one blowout loss. About when I was losing my second shrimp to massed Munis, I realized that the game had changed noticeably during my break. That’s pretty damned cool for a game with no releases in between. It speaks volumes about the community’s constant experimentation and evolution. It’s something I’ve always loved about our competitive scene. So after my rather embarrassing early exit from the Vassal World Cup this year, I decided to start developing some new fleets for this meta. I’ve now played more Armada games in the last month than I did all of last year. Better late than never right?

Footage of Truthiness trying to be competitive again

I started with more of a stated purpose than a real solid concept. First of all, I wanted something entirely fresh. I still have my Crackentor list that I continually tweak and update, but I hate repeating myself. There was a time I flew squad heavy B-Wings swarms. These days I’m more known for Liberties and TRC90s. The few games I played last year were mostly using Ackbar. I wanted something else entirely. I might still default back to the Crackenator in highly competitive events, as I am quite comfortable flying it and it still looks very effective in this meta. However, for this foray back into Armada, I wanted something entirely new for me. I bounced around some ideas with friends, including some Yularen squadrons, some Grievous TRC spam, or even some Agate with a pimped out MC75. What I’ve settled on in recent weeks is something I did not expect to enjoy: Tarkin Venators. Today I’m going to break down the fleet, how I got to where I am right now, and what makes the whole thing tick.

The basic structure of the fleet is two Venators with SPHA-Ts, a supporting Pelta, and a moderate squadron wing for fighter cover. Tarkin is the lubricant that keeps the parts moving, with concentrate fire tokens feeding SPHA-Ts and Intensify Firepower. I’ve had a version of this in my back pocket for sometime. I’ve never gotten to flying it, assuming that it wouldn’t be all that fun to fly anyway. Fun is always my top priority when picking a fleet. I always try to optimize my fleets, but not at the expense of enjoyment. You’ll never find me flying a fleet just to win. I don’t say that to judge, just to explain why I never really got around to this fleet archetype until recently. It sounded boring all around. In an effort to knock myself out of my comfort zones, though, I gave it a try. I was pleasantly surprised. Venators were more fun than I remembered. Rather than being bored with what I assumed would be easy to use SPHA-Ts, I found the placement and use of the weapons to be quite nuanced. It was a very different style and feel than I had experienced in Armada in quite some time. I like it when I find something new to enjoy. As Barney Stinson says, new is always better. After some refinement, I’ve ended up at this point:

Yes, this is what I'm reference. No, I don't regret it.

Tarkin Presents: Clonelodeon Splat! (67/400/400)


Venator II-class Star Destroyer (100 + 55: 155)

· Admiral Tarkin (30)

· Clone Captain Silver (4)

· Local Fire Control (4)

· SPHA-T (7)

· Electronic Countermeasures (7)

· DBY-827 Heavy Turbolasers (3)

Venator I-class Star Destroyer (90 + 35: 125)

· Clone Captain Zak (5)

· Ordnance Experts (4)

· Intensify Firepower! (6)

· SPHA-T (7)

· Assault Proton Torpedoes (4)

· XI7 Turbolasers (6)

· Tranquility (3)

Pelta-class Transport Frigate (45 + 8: 53)

· Comms Net (2)

· Projection Experts (6)

Axe (17)

2 x Delta-7 Aethersprite Squadron (2 x 17)

Kickback (16)

Contested Outpost

Doomed Station

Station Assault

I’ll start first with the token infrastructure that holds up the whole thing. Needless to say, this is the most complicated part of the fleet. It takes a lot of practice and some forgiving opponents while you learn to make it all work together. I’m only like 60% there, so thank you to everyone I’ve played with it so far. Remembering to trigger tokens at the right windows with the precision the fleet requires is not exactly easy. Between Intensity Firepower and two SPHA-Ts, the need for concentrate fire tokens is obviously pretty intense. That’s where Tarkin comes in. His timing window allows me to grab concentrate fire tokens at the beginning of the turn and then immediately fuel Intensity Firepower. The difficulty comes with readying the SPHA-Ts at the end of the turn. While the Venator 2 can just hang onto its token until the end of the turn, the Venator 1 needs a second concentrate fire token to ready its own SPHA-Ts at the end of the turn. The Comms Net Pelta addresses that issue. It passes its own Tarkin token to the Venator 1 during its activation. Since the first token is spent at the beginning of the ship phase, the Pelta can activate at any point in the turn, provided it can stay in range of the Venator 1. That makes the positioning on the Venator 1 in relation to the Pelta a careful proposition. The actual token plan for Tarkin is pretty simple. He starts the game with 2 repair and 4 concentrate fire tokens. On turn one, he gives out repair tokens. On turns two through five, he gives out concentrate fire. If he’s still around on turn six, he gives out the final set of repair tokens. 

I'm sure this will in no way collapse on me.

The Venators operate pretty dependently on one another, generally needing to stick together to work properly. The Venator 2 flagship, with ECM to help it stay durable, is the screening ship. It is the one that is supposed to take the brunt of damage, especially early in the game when incoming dice pools are at their highest. As such, it generally wants to start pumping out repair commands no later than turn four. When it’s not repairing, it’s generally using squadron commands. I always want at least one squadron command out of the ship on turn two. Sometimes a turn three squadron command is helpful, but more often than not, I’m repairing on turn three. Only if it looks like it’s going to get away scot free do I dial up a navigate command. Normally going without a navigate on a big, less maneuverable ship like the Venator would be a death sentence. Enter Captain Silver, the man with the speed plan. Being able to so rapidly adjust speed without a navigate command cannot be understated here. Thanks to SPHA-Ts, extra ticks of yaw are less of a concern. After all, three out of four arcs are pretty dangerous from a considerable range. Given this ship is designed to be on the front line taking shots, it should be no real surprise then that I’ve found great use out of Local Fire Control and DBY-827 Heavy Turbolasters. The result is that the Venator 2 is able to plunge into the heart of the fight, blasting away with abandon.

If the Venator 2 flagship is the shield, then the Venator 1 is the sword. At the start of the game, I prefer to keep it further away from the enemy fleet, allowing the Venator 2 to take most of the punishment, or forcing opponents to take damage from the Venator 2’s guns to get to the Venator 1. It is in the fleet expressly for Intensify Firepower, the best and most reliable source of dice control for the Republic. That also means taking a large ship without a defensive retrofit, a risky proposition. To compensate for that relative fragility, I take the Tranquility title, allowing me to focus any potential repair commands on just recovering shields and not worry about shifting any around. Every shield counts when you have Tranquility. In contrast to the flagship, the Venator 1 is much more inclined toward flexibility. While I’ll dial up a repair command if I know I’m about to deal with bombing runs, I general prefer to navigate, or maybe even concentrate fire with this ship. I’m continually amazed at how well the ship can reposition at speed 2. So while the flagship is tanking, breaking, or opening the throttle, the Venator 1 is looking for openings. It can jump out ahead of the flagship to rush in. It can cut in hard while Captain Silver is putting the pedal to the metal. It is also geared out a bit better for direct fire compared to the Venator 2. Where the rainbow dice of the flagship are a bit harder to control, Tranquility here is much more straightforward. Between its native armament and Captain Zak adding dice to SPHA-T shots, this ship has the potential to throw out a solid amount of black dice. So Instead of LFC, this ship takes Ordnance Experts. A close range double arc from this ship is very rude. I've recently decided to give APT and XI7s a try on this ship, as I can already think of multiple circumstances where it would have helped delete a small ship faster. With Zak and SPHA-Ts, it's throwing at least two black dice out the side, with a high probability of locking down any pesky evades on ignition shots.

Example of Tranquility and the flagship trading positions mid-match.
Tranquility positions in green, flagship positions in red.

The Pelta is the quiet glue that holds everything together. It’s not there to bring amazing firepower to bear or dash in to save the day. It is the commensurate plodding support ship. It’s not going to win any beauty contests. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t serve two critical roles. First and foremost is the simple matter of transferring its Tarkin concentrate fire token to Tranquility. It doesn’t sound like much, but it makes the whole fleet sing. The second big thing the Pelta brings to the table is Projection Experts. Long an underutilized upgrade, I’ve been seeing it more and more in the current meta. For a 45 point ship with an engineering value of 4, Projection Experts is almost a no brainer here. This list is all about keeping those two Venators humming, so giving whichever one is ailing more shields is an obvious win. Worst case scenario, someone shoots the Pelta. You know what that means? They’re not shooting a Venator. The Pelta doesn’t disappear easily, so I can typically count on it for at least three turns, likely four. If it goes down, I’m not at a complete loss when it comes to keeping the SPHA-Ts singing. My typical choice is to just discard Intensify Firepower for one last use and then save the Tarkin tokens exclusively for reading SPHA-Ts. In both scenarios, either dying heroically or supporting from behind the line, the Pelta serves a major purpose.

The squadron wing was a longer trial and error than the rest of the list. I have made some minor tweaks to the ship upgrades even and there, but outside of changing out LFC for OE or something else similarly minor, I haven’t really messed with the ships. The squadron wing, by contrast, has seen three different iterations with substantial differences. I started with Plo Koon and three generic V-19s. These put out some decent fire, but tended to crumple quickly. At the suggestion of a few people, I tried out Kickback, Axe, and two generic V-19s next. It was better, but still seemed lacking. It could last decently well, but if it got tied down by, oh say, Shara, they couldn’t really fight their way out of the problem and properly cover the ships. This latest iteration is not one I would have expected to like. I am on record absolutely HATING how much generic Aethersprites ended up costing. I still think they’re at least one point overcosted, perhaps even two. On their own they do NOT work well, dying to a stiff breeze. I have to majorly credit Maturin here for showing me how to leverage them properly. The combination of two Aethersprites, Kickback, and Axe is a deceptively great little squadron ball. Between Dodge and Axe, you can end up mitigating a lot of damage. You just have to carefully manage your Axe positioning and the amount of incoming attacks the Aethersprites have to absorb. That’s where Kickback comes in. His ability to move around the fight, even while locked down and without squadron commands, can help subtly shape fights to spread damage between himself and the Aethersprites. It is a nuanced little ball of fighters that is a lot of fun to use. It perfectly suits the needs of this fleet, which needs some solid squadron cover, but can’t afford to invest a whole lot into it.

Don't die, don't die, don't die

It’s all well and good to describe some abstract roles for the different parts of the fleet. It’s quite another to put it all together on the tabletop. While we often prize deployment advantage and flexible approaches as Armada players, there is room in the game for more standardized and regimented approaches as well. This fleet is definitely the latter, preferring a pretty standard formation to start the game. First of all, it doesn’t really tend to go straight at an enemy fleet. Rather, I like to refuse one flank and approach at an angle. This serves two purposes. First, I really don’t want to be taking fire from multiple sides. Allowing MSU to get around the flank with significant firepower is usually a recipe for disaster. Second, it allows me to disengage more easily if needed. ISDs these are not. They cannot charge headlong into a problem and plow their way through. They need to skirmish a little bit at long range before closing in for a close range finish. Depending on the fight, they might just want to engage at a distance altogether. The starting formation is what allows that. Speed can vary a little, but I prefer to start at speed two on all the ships. That ensure the Pelta can keep pace and the Venators have maximum yaw without additional navigate commands. The Venators are set up staggered. The flagship is set further back, but closer to the side likely to see the mass of enemy ships. Tranquility is set further ahead of the flagship, but on the “outside” position, further from enemy ships. The Pelta follow behind Tranquility, basically following it around the battlefield like a puppy. After deployment, things can get a little more fluid, as described in the above Venator 1 section. Objectives can help this formation flying work. The fleet is comfortable going either first or second, hence the relative lack of bid. However, the priority is concentrating the fight in one area as much as possible. Station Assault, Contested Outpost, and Doomed Station are its own preferred objectives. It’s also built to survive Surprise Attack and can probably flip Volatile Deposits if I manage the asteroid placement properly. By keeping the fight focused on a central location, the Venators are more easily able to control the fight and keep the enemy on one side.

Example approach to Contested Outpost assuming the enemy is
coming mainly from the upper right

I’ll finish up talking about how the SPHA-T placement shapes the whole fleet. They were one the reasons I expected this fleet to be pretty boring. I assumed it was “plop down token, go brrrrrrtt.” It is, instead, a bit more than that, and something I’ve started to enjoy quite a bit. The first big surprise was how big of a choice it is between using SPHA-Ts on the side or on the front. I assumed I’d rarely use it out the front and mostly use it out the side. Instead, I’m almost always taking a shot with them out of the front early in the game. With such easy token generation from Tarkin, I can comfortably bank concentrate fire tokens on the Venators for turn one and plop down SPHA-Ts after my turn one movement. That starts to shape the fight pretty aggressively. From there, SPHA-T placement depends on how I need to approach the enemy fleet. If I’m dealing with someone trying to kite me, I’m likely to continue to put down SPHA-Ts out of the front. If I’m plunging into the heart of an enemy fleet, then I’ll likely switch to side SPHA-Ts. I’ll likely be angling for a double arc, but they can also be a critical terrain denial tool. Nothing says “stay the hell away from my side” quite like a SPHA-T ignition marker daring that small ship to make a run. The third eventuality is that I need to kite for a little bit to weaken the enemy fleet before I can afford to engage closer in. In that case, I’m also using the SPHA-Ts out the side, but I’m likely turned into more of a broadside position with the Venators. The fact that I can fly the Venators in multiple ways depending on the tactical need is another major part of what I’m loving about this fleet. The fleet may not be as navigationally flexible as my Cracken or Raddus fleets of old, but it is still quite tactically flexible.

Some seriously nasty ignition covering the sides of each Venator

That’s all for today. I intend to be playing this fleet for a good bit. I haven’t decided if it’s actually competitive. Heck, I’m not even entirely comfortable with the rhythm of the fleet. But I’m getting there, and I’ll eventually put it through some true stress testing. I’ll be sure to report back when I do! 

Thursday, December 2, 2021

BIG Holiday Tournament!

Twas the month before World Cup
And all through Vassal
All the players were cursing
John's latest rules hassle

You too will be able to own a hula hoop...

Hit the jump for the newest and zaniest plan!

Thursday, September 9, 2021

Guest post: “A Frank Correspondence on the Future of Armada”

Eric here in bold text. We've got a new guest post from regular contributor GiledPallaeon and it's... well, it's not optimistic. Honestly, he's unhappy. And while I normally defer to John's usually more optimistic outlook for the official blog position, I agree with GP. And given what's happened in the last two-ish weeks, so does John at this point despite his earlier optimism. GP wrote most of this on August 31st after the AMG Ministravaganza non-news hit the Armada community like a brick to the face (22 hours of programming, not a single minute for Armada to allay concerns after the early "nothing for you for a year and a half at least" announcement) but it got lost in edit-hell until today. I don't want to steal GP's thunder, so I'll let him take it from here and I'll be back briefly at the end.

Hey folks. GP here. It’s, ahh, Tuesday, August 31, 2021. It’s currently 9:20pm where I live, and my sick wife is on one side of me, and my leftover jambalaya from this weekend is on the other, as I eat while I write.

Today sure sucked, didn’t it?

I’m not going to lie to you, I was angry when I read the schedule. I still am angry. Very. Angry. But I’m also sad, and disappointed, and I don’t want to send you through what I did. I do, however, want to offer an alternative view to what John posted here a week ago (God it feels longer than that). So let’s talk.

What’s my Armada story? My Armada story is that Armada was my first miniatures game. Yup, it was my first, and in all likelihood it will always hold a special place in my heart as my favorite. Rose-tinted glasses are probably involved; I was there for all sorts of shit. AdmiralNelson, the infamous Flotilla Wars, the ascendancy of Pryce, the wait for the Super, the wait for the Clone Wars. The collapse of IRL gaming during the pandemic, even as Clone Wars arrived. I was there for all of that, and I’ve been positive and bullish about the game through all of it.

I remember when I discovered the game. I was working as a student assistant on a co-op rotation with the Georgia Tech Research Institute. I was living with my parents outside Atlanta, since it was the summer, my first summer after coming to Georgia Tech, and I was walking back to MARTA, Atlanta’s metro system. I was scrolling through Facebook (ahh 2015, when Facebook wasn’t a dystopian hellscape bending the collective will to insanity, or at least if it was we didn’t know it). I saw an ad (that’s how you know how old this is, Facebook ads were worth a damn), and it was, I think, this image.

You old hands know this picture. Way way back when the only thing out was Wave 1. I saw this, and I’ll admit I was intrigued. A spaceship game? Star Wars? No painting? (I hate painting. It always feels inadequate.) But then I searched on Google. This was the first FFG article that came up.

Wave 2. God, those were heady days. Star Destroyers, kings of the battlefield. Ackbar gunlines as far as the eye could see. Raiders and MC30s duking it out for small ship supremacy. Arguments about APT and ACM raged. My first game, played out of a core set and an extra Victory, played on the carpeted floor of my parents’ guest/spare bedroom. Games with a close friend I’m still in touch with, played in parks and on the floors of Georgia Tech dorm rooms.

I got into competitive Armada the Regionals season after the Interdictor came out. That would have been December 2016. My first tournament at Giga-Bites Cafe. I went 1-3, would have been 2-2 if I hadn’t forgotten about Montferrat. I brought my Interdictor/double Glad list because it was the first list I had ever beat my regular opponent with twice in a row. From there, the world opened up to me.

I’ve traveled this country to play this game. I’ve played a game now up on YouTube while I was in the Land Down Under. I’ve met people from all over the world, made many dear friends. I’m attending a wedding because of this game. In case it wasn’t clear, I love this game. I love this community. To the Armada community, I want to tell you: what we have is special, and don’t ever let that we have it lead you to doubt how precious it is and how much we should treasure our game, and most of all, each other. We may not all get along, hell, we definitely don’t. But this is our game, and we are each other’s people. Remember that. Tell your Armada story. Tell it loud, so the whole world knows how great this game is.

AMG. Asmodee North America. We need to fucking talk.

I could rant at you. I could rage. I could complain. I could point out I’ve spent the last year husbanding my doubts, holding out hope against hope that despite the awful circumstances that brought us to this point, things could and would get better. I’ve actively avoided airing those doubts publicly, in the name of community support. They haven’t gotten better. Why?

Let’s be clear about what’s happened here. Asmodee, you annihilated FFG. The company was in the best place it had ever been in. The miniatures division finally thought they had caught up. They had a plan going forward, ready to execute. And you, Asmodee, dropped the hammer. The FFG team was fired, on almost no notice. You handed the games to a company that, at the time, had one game on its platter. That had no one with experience with any of the three FFG miniatures games. And you gave them all to AMG, during a global pandemic, and let one FFG developer make the transition. Then you fired him too. All of the Clone Wars releases were their work, finished before the pandemic even started.

AMG. We can lay a lot of blame at Asmodee’s feet. We can have a long discussion about how the Clone Wars launch for Armada was wildly successful and apparently surprised the suits in charge of the decisions that somehow expected this game to fail. This community is resilient. It has to be, to have survived as long as it has through what it has. But here we are.

You’ve had these games for a year. All you have released for Armada is a poorly balanced “OP” format for a three day event that included two work days and gave no one any notice to try to organize games to celebrate Armada or its new custodianship in your care. You have, despite maintaining the breakneck pace of Marvel: Crisis Protocol development that has seen the release on average of a new pack every two weeks, not had the time or the manpower to learn Armada and begin new work on future expansions.

You even owned up to that, to your credit. No one was thrilled when you admitted that there was nothing currently in development for Armada. But no one was particularly surprised either, given the year’s worth of open letters, closed letters, podcast and YouTube invitations, from community leaders, from bloggers, from the old playtesting teams across the country eager to get to work creating your vision of the future of Armada. All those missives, and in large part, silence. The odd “We’ll reach out to you when we’re ready”. A year. And here we are.

I won’t lie, as a community we have something of a chip on our shoulder. We know we’re the red-headed stepchild. We always have been. We’ve survived a serious lack of attention that would have killed lesser games. If anything, it’s a testament to the fundamental strength of the Armada core systems. This game could have been dominant, a truly historic way. When my son and his friends talk about miniatures games set around spaceships, it could have been “Well it’s no Star Wars: Armada”, just like my generation’s “Well it’s no Battlefleet Gothic.” It still can be. But you need to give a shit.

You have three days of content around your games coming up with the Ministravaganza. 22 hours of scheduled content. The lion’s share of it goes to your flagship, Crisis Protocol. Nobody faults you for this. I’d be proud of my flagship game too.

Here’s the rub though. You promised to support Armada. You just told us nothing is in the pipeline for development, we know. But at least throw us a bone. You said you were planning to support the game. Paint an ISD pink. Talk to us in a short little panel about what you do and don’t like about where the game is now, and where you’re interested in taking it. I’d tell you you promised, but I’ll do you one better. You really need to.

See, here’s the thing. I said I’ve flown all over this country and played Armada. I’ve literally played it on the opposite side of the planet. I know a lot of the community organizers, the guys and gals who go out and get tournaments organized. The folks who hype regular gamenights, who teach new players, and give up their time in huge quantities to support the game. I’m one of them. We’re tired. And today broke us.

We’ve been keeping up that brave face. Pushing back against the folks that wail and gnash their teeth that the game is dead. We’ve filled in where you haven’t been to keep the community going. We’ve been relying on your promise for OP towards the end of this year, going into next year to keep our hopes up. We didn’t expect a huge showing at the Ministravaganza, but we hoped for something. A lifeline, to help us keep making the case that the game isn’t dead.

Nobody you care about is selling out of the game. We all love it too much for that. But you dropped a bomb today. And this one got through our armor. A lot of us are seriously considering how much of our time, talent, and treasure we are going to keep investing into a game and a company that clearly doesn’t care, even when the obvious business case makes itself. Under FFG, Armada during a release quarter would consistently be the third or fourth best-selling miniatures game in the world, behind only 40K, X-wing, and once it was on the scene, Legion. That’s phenomenal, but it was apparently never enough. To the community organizer point, we won’t just up and walk away, we can’t bring ourselves to that. But we’ll back up, and we’ll put less and less in. And that will slowly but surely whittle the community away, the community you need to sell your games. Because we talk, and we remember. And we will remember.

I won’t beg. I’ve asked nicely often enough, and here I am asking nicely, one more time. Please, give us something to show that the game you want to make money on will be here for us to spend our money on. Convince us that you’re a company of your word. Start doing some basic damage control, because this is rapidly approaching a catastrophic meltdown, and by then it will be far, far too late to save the game we love, and that we would love to teach you to love. Give Armada that chance, by giving us the attention not that we deserve, that you promised. Show us what you’re made of, and we can save the game together. Or this can be how Armada dies, not with thunderous applause, but with that quiet, slow death of ignominy this beautiful, wonderful game deserves so much better than.

I’m never going to sell my Armada collection. My Chimaera will be a pride of my model collection for the rest of my life. I plan to teach my son one day, and any other children I may have. Please help there still be a game to teach them, and a community to play with when that day comes.

9/9 ADDENDUM: So here we are. I’ll take the fall for the gap between when I originally wrote this and when it’s going up, I was unclear to Eric and John when this was done and ready for posting. Upside (“upside”) is that it has taken long enough that it is now the day that AMG has deigned to release their Hunting Season event rules. I will continue my blunt assessment from above, which is unchanged: what the hell is this?

AMG, this doesn’t even look like someone who plays Armada very much wrote it. Even if I account for the event clearly being designed by committee, phrases like “if its activation slider matches the initiative token” are so poorly phrased that it’s jarring to read. Just say “if unactivated” and be done with it. I need to get three hits on five black dice to do anything, and that’s if my opponent gets no blue hits to cancel my hits? A major selling point of Armada for much of the community is that it isn’t Yahtzee style dice vs dice. I understand that makes it the red-headed step child of the three ex-FFG Star Wars games since both Legion and X-wing use that system, but that doesn’t make it appealing to us.

I left off your effort last year, the “Unconventional Warfare” event, out of my complaints in the above article. It was very poorly balanced, but you also had only just then been given Armada. I was willing to let it go if you clearly made efforts to improve. I don’t see those efforts here, nearly a year later. And while we’re on the subject of learning lessons, let’s discuss the other lesson you clearly didn’t learn from last year, despite the (we thought) loud and pointed complaints. There’s a bloody pandemic on. 650,000 people here in the US are dead. Hundreds of thousands more are currently ill. Of note, while the numbers were smaller last time around, this is exactly the same situation you tried the same release schedule for last year.

What planet are you living on where working people, who can afford these games, can just drop whatever their previous plans were and make arrangements to play these games at the drop of a hat? Again, you gave less than 24 hours notice that there would be an event at all. Again, you orient the event around workdays that are difficult enough for most of your players, who have jobs and families, and all of that is before trying to game safely during another surge in a highly virulent, highly lethal pandemic. What are you thinking? To paraphrase a friend of mine, if this is your idea of “organized play”, you are in serious need of a dictionary.

You couldn’t have dug yourselves out of the hole you’ve managed to dig with just some little one-off event. But you could have put down the shovel. Instead, there’s dirt in my eye. Hopefully your “major announcement” about the “preserving the future of the Star Wars games”, which as of this writing I have not seen nor seen a scheduled time for release for, is less disastrous. I hold out hope. Why I don’t know, but I do, for now.

Eric back. There's been really no good news for our spaceships game and AMG seems intent on letting us slowly die off while they do no work on actually developing or supporting our game past "we'll reprint models and give you really terrible organized play events." I don't like coming to this conclusion - I love Armada, I've spent hundreds of hours playing Armada and writing this blog. But that's where I'm at. We'll keep the blog updated but there's really nothing new to update it about right now so I'm expecting new articles will be coming out at a slow pace. If you want to catch up with us, I'll be joining my fellow BIG members(and GP too!) playing Dropfleet Commander and I'd encourage you to give it a try as well. Maybe AMG will suddenly decide to give Armada some love and it will make a miraculous recovery but even should that ideal situation happen we've got at least until 2023.