Monday, December 28, 2020

Commands in Armada

Following the success of the attack sequence article, I wanted to cover something else in Armada that tends to produce a lot of headaches: everything involving commands, particularly when different commands are possible in one activation or when a token and dial are used together. This element of the game can be confusing for the same reason the attack sequence can be confusing - it's not really spelled out in detail in the learn to play book and it incorporates elements from several different parts of the rules. Anyways, let's begin!

The cut will be done in moments, you may commence your article.
There's a bit to cover, so please forgive me if I walk through some of the basics just to ensure elements we'll be relying on later were spelled out earlier. Please check out the rules reference guide sections referenced with the page number (RRG #).

The Command Phase (RRG 3)
There's not much to spell out here. The Command Phase is the first phase of each round and it will happen after all "start of round" triggers, like a ship jumping in from Hyperspace Assault. At this point, you need to put command dials on the bottom of all command dial stacks for ships without a number of dials matching their Command value until their stack matches their Command. This means that ships that just arrived (like the aforementioned Hyperspace Assault ship, or every ship on round one) will need to have all of their command dials set up now. It also means that ships that discarded an extra command dial previously (like with my BFF, the Skilled First Officer) may need to assign more than one command dial.

  • You can look at the command dials assigned to a ship at any time. You never need to assign a command dial to a ship "blind."
Ship activation and revealing command dials (RRG 16-17, RRG 3)
When you activate a ship, make sure to resolve all "when activated" triggers (there aren't a lot, but some effects like Disposable Capacitors or Phylon Q7 Tractor Beams and the like work right now) and then proceed directly to the "reveal command dial" step. During this step, you flip over your top dial and then immediately choose if you're going to keep the dial for use later in the activation or if you're going to spend it immediately to produce a token of the same kind.

  • If you keep a dial and end up not spending it, it's lost at the end of your activation. It does not turn into a token. The only time dials can turn into tokens is during the reveal command dial step.
    • It should be noted that extra dials you get from an effect like Thrawn's can be turned into tokens the moment you receive them, but otherwise they will also be lost at the end of your ship activation if they're not spent.
  • When you spend a command dial for a ship, place the dial face-up on the ship's card to indicate it has been activated.
  • Command tokens can be spent the same turn you acquire them.
  • Remember that a ship can't have more command tokens than its Command value. If you have more than your Command, you must discard tokens until you're at a legal number.
    • Similarly, a ship can't have duplicate command tokens.
    • There is no timing window that allows you to spend a token prior to acquiring a new token in the reveal command dial step, so you can't quickly spend a repair token to make way for a new token, for example.
Resolving commands (RRG 3-4)
Here's where we get to a lot of the meat of this article and some of the weirder combinations and the like. There are three important precepts that are important to keep in mind, which I'll note separately below:
  1. Ships may resolve a command of given type during the appropriate timing window by spending a dial, spending a token, or spending a dial and a token to resolve that command.
  2. A ship cannot resolve the same command more than once per round (typically during its activation).
  3. A ship can resolve multiple different commands during its activation.
There are numerous sneaky ramifications of these rules that may not be immediately apparent:
  • The only methods possible for resolving a command are dial, token, or dial+token. Because you cannot resolve a single command more than once per activation, that means if you manage to get a situation where your ship technically has two tokens of the same kind (presently with Commander Leia this is possible), you can't spend the second token to further buff the command because dial+token+token is not a legal way to resolve a command.
    • Similarly, if you manage to have two dials of the same kind (presently only possible with Grand Admiral Thrawn), there is no method for resolving more than one dial of  given kind and one of them will be wasted.
  • Because a specific command can only be resolved by each ship once per round, that means you can't spend a dial to resolve a command and then later decide to add a token once the dial has been resolved, as that would be a second resolution of the command.
    • This is most relevant for the squadron and concentrate fire commands in practice. You can't spend a squadron dial, command X squadrons and then decide you wanted one more once you've activated those squadrons. Similarly you can't spend a concentrate fire dial to add a die and then later decide you want the reroll from a token. You have to spend the dial and token simultaneously up-front or else your opportunity is lost.
  • Effects that count as a resolution of a specific command (like the Quasar Pursuant title) prohibit any other resolutions of that command. In the case of the Pursuant upgrade, it also specifies exactly how the command is resolved and therefore disallows adding tokens to it (as it tells you exactly which of the three resolution methods the squadron command counts as).
  • The restrictions on spending dials and tokens only apply to command resolutions. Other effects that allow you to discard or spend dials or tokens for an effect (like Fleet Command upgrades or  Boarding Troopers) are not command resolutions and so don't cause any problems.
  • Because you can only resolve a command once, any effects that trigger upon the resolution of a command will only trigger at most once per activation. For example, because a repair command spending a dial and a token is one repair command, an Engineering Team would provide one additional engineering point and not one point per token or dial spent.
  • You can hypothetically resolve every one of the 4 commands in one activation (by spending dials and/or tokens and/or card effects that produce command resolutions) provided you don't try to resolve the same command more than once.
On a side note, the FAQ has spelled out that you can resolve a command and not produce its effects. You might want to do this to trigger a command-triggered card like Engine Techs, for example, while not changing your speed.
Individual command resolutions (RRG 3-4)
I'll cover some of the particulars of the 4 command resolutions below. I assume the reader is familiar with the basics of each command and therefore I won't repeat what you already know. I'll be covering them by their timing windows: earlier-resolved commands come first.

Resolves after revealing your command dial
  • Because repair has the same timing window as commanding squadrons, you can do them in whichever order.
  • Remember that a repair token is worth half its ship's Engineering value, rounded up. When combined with a dial, this remains the same. So an Engineering 3 ship spending a dial and a token would produce a repair command worth 5 engineering points.
  • You execute one expenditure of engineering points at a time, so you can remove a face-up damage card that causes a problem and then spend your remaining engineering points doing something that face-up card would have prohibited (the RRG example is Capacitor Failure and then restoring shields).
  • Unspent engineering points (usually 1 point left over and you don't want to move a shield) are wasted.
Command squadrons
Resolves after revealing your command dial
  • Because command squadrons has the same timing window as repair, you can do them in whichever order.
  • Unlike repair, a squadron token is always worth just 1 point of squadron command, regardless of the Squadron value of your ship.
  • Remember that you need to make the decision on adding a token to a dial prior to commanding any squadrons at all or else you would break the command resolutions rules, so if it's important, spend your dial and token together before resolving the command.
  • Squadrons are activated one at a time. If you're going to be commanding 3 squadrons, for example, you start your command by designating the first one within squadron command range and activating it. Once you're done activating that one, you choose a second one and repeat until you've activated three.
  • Activated squadrons can attack and then move or move and then attack. Either is fine.
Concentrate fire
Resolves during the "resolve attack effects" step of an attack.
  • Because you can only resolve one incidence of a command per activation, you can't use a concentrate fire dial on one attack and then use a concentrate fire token on a different attack, as that would be two resolutions of the same command in one activation.
    • Similarly, because you can't spend a dial and token separately, the dial and token must be spent simultaneously. This produces an extra die followed by a reroll (you could do it the other way around but... why?). This means if you really need a particular attack to succeed and none of your dice are currently disagreeable, you can spend a dial and token together for "reroll insurance" on your added die, but if you don't use the reroll later, it's wasted.
  • Remember that because the concentrate fire command is resolved in the "resolve attack effects" step, you should not be adding an extra die from a dial spend to your initial roll, but later on.
  • Because you can use dice adding/modifying/rerolling/spending effects in whatever order you please during the "resolve attack effects" step, it's quite possible to add a color of dice to your pool that wasn't there initially (say, for example, with the Defiance title or the Opening Salvo objective) and then trigger your concentrate fire dial spend to add one more die of that color.
Resolves during the "determine course" step of movement.
  • "Determine course" is better known as the "flop the maneuver tool all over the place agonizing over your options before committing to a move" step.
  • Remember that the maneuver tool cannot be put on the table at all until the determine course step, so when you reveal a navigate command dial and are deciding whether to turn it into a token or not, you can't premeasure with the maneuver tool at that point. The best you can do is use the regular range ruler to get a rough estimate of your options.
  • It's very important to remember that navigate commands aren't resolved (and thus tokens/dials aren't spent) until the determine course step. You get to see how your attacks turned out and check to see what your movement options are like with or without spending a navigate dial and/or token. You don't need to commit to spending any dial or token to change speed and/or add yaw until you're ready to move your ship. You have a lot of options.
  • Effects like Nav Team or Madine can change how you resolve a navigate token when spent during a navigate command, but it still counts as resolving a navigate command.
    • Similarly, Engine Techs triggers after the resolution of a navigate command, so you're past the point of adding extra yaw once you get to the Engine Techs maneuver as your dial has already been spent in the preceding maneuver.


  1. Thank you guys so much for your blog! It's been a touchstone as oneI gotten in to Armada and brought a few friends with me. I'm pretty constantly passing on received wisdom or pointing them to specific articles (given that I'm rocking a 1-5-1 record, maybe I should save some of the good stuff for me...).

    Commenting in particular on this article to thank you for clearing up whether you have to commit to a speed change before "flop[ing] the maneuver tool all over the place agonizing over your options before committing to a move." We weren't sure we were doing it right.

  2. So if you have a ship with multiple tokens (Engineering, Squadron, and Nav) and reveal a Nav Command dial, would it be legal to do all of the following?

    Increase speed and add a yaw with the command dial.
    Increase speed using the Nav token
    Spend the Engineering token to move shields
    Spend the squadron token to activate a single squadron.


    1. You could do all of those things, but it's very important to note that the ship retains all those dials and tokens until it chooses to spend them at the appropriate window. The repair and squadron commands would be resolved early (spending those tokens) and the navigate command would be resolved later. If it turns out that later on you don't really need to change speed by 2, you can always spend only the nav dial and hold on to the token.

  3. wagwan from space.

    So if I run a demolisher gladiator (the only gladiator) I can shoot, move, shoot, use concentrate fire, reroll if i have a token, then move one with engine techs?

    And if that's the case, can the engine tech move 1 including the 2 clicks on the card? Or just one in a straight line?

    I have a whole plethora of questions.

    1. You can do those things, yes! Getting the order right is important, though:

      1) First attack. Nothing special here, as you're saving your con fire for the second attack.
      2) Maneuver. You MUST spend a nav dial and/or token to trigger Engine Techs. Adding yaw or changing speed is optional from that spend, but now is when they would apply. Complete your maneuver.
      3) Second attack. You can spend your concentrate fire dial, but keep in mind that is also the only acceptable window to also spend the token. So if you wanted them both, you'd need to spend them both simultaneously for an extra die and then a one-die reroll.
      4) Engine Techs maneuver. Yep, it's treated as the Gladiator going speed 1 in every way, which includes that sweet double-click nav chart.

      Hopefully that answered all your questions!

  4. Hello Eric, just a confirmation: when a ship is affected by G-8 Experimental Projector, does the Interdictor player get to see what manouvers a ship could do before saying "No, your actual speed is..."? Does the ship have to commit to a manouver before being "scrambled" by the Dictor? What are the timing windows for that?

    1. I spell it out over in the Interdictor article (, but the short version is you use the G-8s before an opponent begins the Determine Course (/flop the maneuver tool all over the place and consider navigate dials/tokens) step, so the opponent will know his ship is affected while figuring out how to navigate.

  5. A question on the dial plus token timing, specifically for concentrate fire and squadrons; I think I may have been telling my group wrong information. :|
    If you are considering spending a CF dial and have a token too, do you have to declare whether or not you're using both BEFORE you roll the dice, or do you get to decide after the roll? I had been interpreting it the former way, which leads to times when you say you commit to spending the token, but all your dice are good enough that you don't want to risk a reroll. However we have also been allowing other modifications between the dial spend and token spend (e.g caitken and shola to roll all black dice, then the token on one that still is blank) - rereading this article I think this is wrong?
    Similar question for squadrons. Do you have to commit to spending the dial and token at the start of your activation, or can you do all your activations from the dial, and then decide whether you need to do one more Vs saving the token for next turn?

    1. Concentrate fire timing is anytime during the Resolve Attack Effects step (which is the "add and reroll and change die faces" step, basically). You shouldn't be spending any dials or tokens prior to the attack, you will see how the initial dice roll played out before deciding if you want to spend anything. That said, the window is only open once and you need to spend everything during that step. So you can't spend a dial and then decide after adding the die that a token would help too. It's dial and token at the same time and then resolve them in whichever order you like (which means you may spend a token as insurance in case of a bad die roll and then find you spent it for nothing if the added die turns out great).

      Similar with squadrons. You have one window (after revealing your command dial for the activation) to spend either/both/neither token(s), you can't spend a dial and resolve the command on X squadrons and then decide you'd like to add the token to get +1.

    2. Thanks. By roll I had meant the CF dial added dice rather than initial attack roll, but your response gave full clarity. Good to know I haven't been short changing my friends, but we've all been too lenient on when we use our tokens.
      This site is such an important resource for the Armada community. Thanks for all the articles and answers to questions.