Friday, September 8, 2017

Checking it Twice! Individual Activations

So we've hit the start of each turn in our last article in this series.  Now, we break this down to individual ships and how to know when to activate them.
I suggest activating the Star Destroyer first.
So one of the reasons this has taken so long to write isn't JUST that work is busy and I've got to actually keep going on marathon training, it's that there's a LOT to consider when deciding what ship to activate (and not from me being distracted by 2-3 different articles, more insane lists that I'm trying, a complete rebuild and redo of squadron lists (nested parenthesis notes: in spite of the fact that I'm the "squadrons" guy, I haven't seriously been building heavy squads for at least a wave, if not 2.  I'm back in love with them NOW, of course, so don't worry there!), nooooooooooo).  For starters, before we break down into all of the "when you activate" portion of this update, we need to look at the "BEFORE you choose" part.
First, you have to ask yourself if any ship is in immediate danger of dying. If you've got initiative and your commander's ship is under the guns of a Boarding Troopers Avenger, then I suggest activating that first.
I love the emoji at the end there
Related to that, you need to FURTHER ask if you CARE about that.  Yes, it sucks losing ships and giving your opponent points.  But if you've got a flotilla under Demolisher's guns while you have your MC80 with a Raider in each side arc at close range.... well, then that might be worth losing the flotilla then. If you CAN prevent your ship from dying and you have nothing better to activate, then go for it! Keep your stuff alive, deny your opponent points! But if you need something else to go first, welllllllllllllllllll...............
See, we let a bunch of Gungans get shot and somehow this is the smart option.  Especially bringing them to battle, because REASONS!
The best followup to that first question is asking what ship activating benefits you the most.  Sometimes it's running your ship away from danger.  Sometimes it's killing 2 other ships before they can go or before they go next turn.  Sometimes it's activating to grab a token for the objective before your opponent can get it or before your ship blows up.  Remember my last article about "having a plan" for the turn? How do you go about implementing that plan? What do your ships do to go about with that plan and getting you the win? The point of a plan and Objectives is to provide you a means/method for getting a win slash adding to your points totals.  Sometimes it's as simple as Most Wanted, which both gives you a target to shoot for extra points, or sometimes its Fire Lanes.  You need to read the objectives and determine both HOW to get more points or how to prevent your opponent from getting points.  The point of Armada is, of course, to score the most points.  How do you get more of them than your opponent?  Sometimes those points come from just killing your opponent's ships, sometimes from making sure he can't score off the objective tokens that are on the board.

So to sum up the Initial Ship Choices:
1) Is anything going to die?
2) Does that matter?
3) What ship ACTUALLY benefits you the most by activating?

That's my basic go-to for figuring out what ship I activate each time it's my turn.  Sometimes (often?) I end up waiting for my opponent to come into range of one ship, which will influence question 3 most often (I need to wait for that ISD to scoot into range before I activate my MC30!) but your opponent can screw with that by futzing with his speeds.  If that ISD drops to speed zero (again using this example) then it might stay out of black dice range of my MC30.  And that can mean the difference between 1-2 turns of black dice and 1-2 turns of just blue dice (depending on initiative and all of that).
And the less said about yellow dice, the BETTER!
So after you've determined what the BEST ship to activate is, what do you do with your ship? What do you need to remember?  For our first 2, I'm going to refer back to our last article:

1) Did I trigger the Pelta this turn?
As we saw last turn, your Pelta is going to be affecting most, if not all of your ships.  If you triggered Shields to Maximum!, it's BEFORE you reveal a command.  Choose ship, heal shield, reveal.  Heal and reveal, if it helps you remember.  If you're running Entrapment Formation, it's during the Determine Course step.  Which means, in my opinion, the best thing to do there might be to check your speed dials every time before you move to best ensure that you're getting the benefit of triggering the Pelta on your turns.

As for All Fighters Follow Me!, that's one you've likely built around.  That's not so casual as something that happens each time you activate a ship, happens once, and then you don't remember to trigger it next ship.  I personally haven't had a problem remembering that I'm getting speed 3 B-wings or speed 4 X-wings and Y-wings.  HOWEVER, I am not you, but AFFM! isn't one I use every turn.  When I trigger it, it's for a specific turn and a specific attack plan I'm going for with my squadrons, but that's me.

I would LOVE to tell you some sort of trick such as putting tokens on your dial or moving your fleet command upgrade cards around and stacking THOSE on the dial, but if I'm understanding the rules correctly, that's not "hazily legal;" it's actually ILLEGAL AND AGAINST THE RULES.
No matter what anyone will tell you.
You're supposed to keep the tokens next to your ship, and your cards are supposed to stay next to the ship cards.  If your opponent is a super rules stickler, not only would they well be within their right to prevent you from moving cards or tokens around, you could feasibly get kicked out of a tournament or Worlds or whatever.  I don't even want to recommend you write the word "Pelta!" on your hand, for crying out loud, as that's technically a note.  This is one you're GOING to need to get with experience, but the summary of this section is; you're going to be triggering the Pelta's ability (assuming you brought it, of course!) on your ship this turn.  Make a MENTAL note to remember to do it when you activate the ship.

I will say that experience is the best learner, here.  When you're playing with your friends at your local game store, ensure that you're a stickler for the rules.  If you missed the timing window, don't let yourself trigger it later.  You'll learn FAST how and when to get them done right.

2) What upgrades/people need to be activated when this turn?
Just like last time with Garm and his tokens, certain officers trigger at certain times.  Our good buddy Intel Officer triggers RIGHT after your initial roll of the dice.  No adding, no concentrating fire, no Leading Shots reroll, NUNNA DAT! First roll, base dice, what you got? That's when Intel Officer goes.

Similarly, Raymus Antilles is right when you reveal the command you get a free one.  Combine him with Ahsoka Tano, however, and you can get a fun interaction where you reveal a command with Raymus, exhause Ahsoka to change it to a DIFFERENT command, and then decide to take the ship's dial itself as a token.  Resulting in 2 tokens for 1 ship in 1 turn.  Pretty sweet, but you gotta resolve that all in the correct order to get the desired outcome.  Leia (officer) happens when you reveal the command.  THAT'S when you can switch another ship's command, so keep in mind that if you do it late you don't get to do it later (legally, I mean.  Friendly games are another matter, of course).  Admiral Titus (I didn't forget you Imp players!) triggers at the start of the first round.  So, BEFORE I get to assign my dials.  If we start going and I activate a ship, I'm not sure how willing I'll be to let you trigger him when I have everything set to my liking, currently.

I just got season 3, and I'm super excited to watch it. No jokes here, but that IS Admiral Titus at the end of that lightsaber.
The new hotness Disposable Capacitors triggers right at the start of your activation (as does Phylon Q7s!).  NOT when you've revealed your dial and are about to start your attack step.  Again, your rules stickler opponent is well within his rights to say "you didn't trigger it correctly so you don't get it" and a judge would likely rule in his favor based on timing and rules wording.  Why not just play your game correctly every time so you never need to worry about that?

I can keep listing examples on these all, but what THIS breaks down to is: when do your fancy upgrades and people need to activate and trigger?

3) Do I need to grab any tokens for the objective with this ship?
Moving away from things I wrote last article, let's talk about objective tokens.
The yellow dart dots
If you're playing an objective that requires grabbing tokens (Capture the VIP, Intel Sweep, Dangerous Territory, Salvage Run, or Sensor Net, for example), at some point you're going to activate a ship that'll be grabbing those tokens.  On most if not all of those objectives, they trigger when you reveal a command.  Grab it early or miss your chance. Obviously when you NEED to grab the token is going to influence what ship you choose to activate, but that's more in that first section, about choosing what ship to activate.  Moving tokens with your Strategic squadrons, of course, is a matter of choosing to either activate them with your ship BEFORE you pick them up (with a different one) or picking them up next turn.

4) Fire, don't forget
Sometimes I get so into a specific ship and what it's doing that turn that I focus on it to the detriment of everything else.  The CR90 NEEDS to repair this turn! The Yavaris HAS GOT to push squadrons so hard you guys! The flotilla is navigating or it's GOING TO DIE! But in all of that, I've forgotten several times to actually ATTACK with the ship itself.  Yavaris DOES have guns on it.  Guns that can shoot ships, kill squadrons, all sorts of things! Always remember to ACTUALLY attack with your ships themselves.  It adds up over time, as crazy as it may be to believe.  What's one attack from a ship, how much damage could I miss out on if I didn't roll it? Then you realize that Yavaris attack could roll 2 double hits and an accuracy on the flotilla in close range.  Or the ISD in range, taking out its brace.  It ADDS UP.  Don't forget to fire your guns.

Oh man, I bet this song is about either girls, partying hard, or partying hard with girls (I say that as a fan)
5) Where am I moving?
So with our last question here, we have to keep something in mind.  You have other ships in your fleet.  Sometimes you just need to move 1 click forwards with your Salvation.  Sometimes you've got a swarm of Hammerheads running all over, needing to both stay within distance 3 of one another to trigger the Task Force Titles.  And that's a lot more difficult, as you can't just trudge forwards.  You need to look and see where your ship is going to land for all of the OTHER ships you need to activate.
I'm so glad I chose to activate it first!
Case in point, the above picture.  I'm navigating with the flotilla this turn, and it's the first ship I have to activate.  If I rush it forwards/angled at the shown 2 o'clock slant, it's going to get in the way of my MC80.  And that both hurts my ability to navigate and next turn's ability to fire (not even mentioning THIS turn's!).  There's a lot more that you could go into with this topic, but for a basic understanding of this, that's good enough (in our too long article already!)

So summing up our back half of the article:

1) Did you trigger your Pelta this turn (and when does that affect your ship)?
2) What upgrades/people need to be activated/triggered?
3) What objective tokens do i need to grab?
4) Did you remember to fire your guns at enemy ships and squadrons!
5) Where am I moving to?

Or even faster:
1) Pelta
2) Upgrades/People
3) Objective Tokens
4) Attack
5) Move correctly!

PUPOTAM - Pup-Oh-Tam.  It's not great, I realize, but it's easy to remember verbally, and it sets up the correct order for all of your stuff, I think. Just remember that the UP and the OT are one triggering thing and it should work for you.  And for you Imperials that have a Cymoon, change it to Fup-Oh-Tam (for fleet command).  And if you didn't bring a Pelta, well then it's Up-Oh-Tam.
Up and At-Them?
So with that, let's wrap this series up with our full checklist.

Basic Building (pre-game)
1) Did I use a fleet builder (to ensure no math mistakes)?
2) Did I take time to build this list, ensuring proper thought went into it to address Eric's points?
3) Did I pull out the correct cards for the build I'm playing today?

Starting Each Turn
1) Did you remember to trigger your Pelta this turn?
2) What people/officers/commanders are triggering this turn?
3) What's my plan for this turn?

What ship to activate?
1) Is anything going to die (if I don't activate it)?
2) Does that matter?
3) What ship ACTUALLY benefits you the most by activating?
Individual Ship Choices
1) Pelta goes when?
2) What upgrades/people need to be activated/triggered?
3) What objective tokens do i need to get?
4) Did you remember to fire your guns at enemy ships and squadrons!
5) Where am I moving to?

The basics are what they are (get in the habit of printing your list out or looking at the fleet builder on your phone and you'll do those all well enough), and after that?

People, Pelta, Plan.  What ship benefits me MOST by activating? And then the PUPOTAM.  I'd like to thank you all for letting me take my way through this checklist diversion, and I hope it helps you all in your games going forwards.  If there's any questions about anything with this whole series, please let me know!


  1. Not a question, bus a suggestion: I found that my upgrade placement on the table helps with this,and its perfectly legal.

    From left to right, I set all my uogrades in their window activation order. So, say, the ship would have its Command uograde on the far left, followed by command related upgrades, then attack, then maneuver... A different row for those activating on other ships' turns and another row for passive ones.

    It's not foolproof, but helps.

  2. The Imperial version of PUPOTAM should be CUPOTAM
    Yes, I'm making that a thing now