|Oh man, 137 is really getting taken to Pound Town.|
Before I go any further, I'd like to address the fact that some players are extremely salty about overlapping in the game. The argument is that space is 3-dimensional and so it's stupid for ships or squadrons to actually get in one another's way unless ramming is intentional, which should be difficult to pull off (as your target can try to avoid you in 3 dimensions) and dangerous. I can't dispute that it is a little unusual from the perspective of a space battle, but the simple fact is Armada is a 2-dimensional approximation of 3-dimensional space combat. We're constrained by the fact that the table itself is incapable of holding two objects in the same physical space and therefore some kind of rule is necessary to resolve incidences where two things want to be in the same place at once. FFG also likely realized that some players would want to be able to ram ships and decided to just roll everything together. I think it works just fine overall.
One other preliminary note: I've encountered some players who believe overlapping may only be done when it is unavoidable. That's completely incorrect. You can overlap deliberately all you like. Overlapping deliberately can be extremely useful and I'll talk a bit more about that once we've cleared the rules section which is coming up.
The overlapping section of the rules reference guide (and the Armada FAQ) informs us how to deal with overlapping and I'm copy-pasting what it has to say below. The rules text itself will be bold and italicized and my commentary will be in regular text.
If a ship executes a maneuver and its final position overlaps one or more squadrons, move any overlapped squadrons out of the way and finish the ship's maneuver. Then the player who is not moving the ship places the overlapped squadrons, regardless of who owns them, in any position around that ship so that they touch the ship that moved. He can place those squadrons in any order, but he cannot place them outside the play area. (this last bit was added in the FAQ).
I would also like to add summarize relevant bits about ships overlapping squadrons from the FAQ:
- If at all possible, squadrons must be placed so the maximum number of them are in contact with the ship. You can't deliberately space them out so later placements aren't able to be placed in base contact, should there be a large number overlapped.
- Exactly how this is to be enforced when they're placed one at a time is left unclear, but I would assume that some shuffling about and squeezing together would be allowed, in such circumstances it's important to note which nearby squadrons were not overlapped, as they could not be moved about.
- Overlapped squadrons that can't be placed in base contact with the ship must be placed in base contact with a squadron that is in contact with the overlapper.
- The shield dials and little plastic prongs that frame the shield dials count for overlapping squadrons just like they count for overlapping other ships and obstacles.
|You can barely make him out there, buried under pissed-off squadrons.|
Other items of note:
Placing aside squadrons is somewhat subjective process. In general, I find the best way to do it is to set aside the squadrons that are clearly going to be overlapped prior to completing the maneuver, but leave the "iffy" squadrons where they are. It will become clear once the ship attempts to slot into its desired location whether the "iffy" squadrons are overlapped and they can be removed with some help from the other player.
If it's unclear whether the ship will be able to fit into its desired end position, it gets a bit more complex (and we're getting to the ship-on-ship overlapping soon): I'd recommend using some kind of flat token or marker to keep track of where the squadrons in question are, then seeing if the ship will fit, and if it does, proceed as above. If it does not, then try to get the squadrons back where they were as best as you can. If any squadrons have a very important position (it is engaging squadron A but barely out of engagement with squadron B, at distance one of ship X, and at blue flak range of ship Y), then make sure to verify those with your opponent prior to using the marker so that if the squadron will need to be returned to its location, its position is easier to get just right.
If a ship executes a maneuver and its final position would overlap another ship, it cannot finish its maneuver normally. Instead, temporarily reduce its speed by one (without changing the speed dial) and move the ship at the new speed. This process continues until the ship can finish its maneuver, even if that maneuver is to remain in place at speed "0."
The wording here is a little awkward. Effectively, what the rules reference guide is saying is "if you would overlap at your current speed's setting on the maneuver tool, keep moving back one step along the maneuver tool until you finally find somewhere you fit." The reference to speed can cause some players to mistakenly think that the speed dial is in some way affected by this when it is not.
Then deal one facedown damage card to the ship that moved and and the closest ship that it overlapped.
The part I want to highlight and repeat here is important. The damage card is dealt to both the overlapping ship and the closest ship that it overlapped. This can result in some paradoxical situations, which I'd like to illustrate with another example. Let's say your speed 4 CR90B is trying to get into an iffy position to line up an attack on an enemy Gozanti by hopping over your own ships but ends up overlapping the Gozanti accidentally. Here's how that would work out:
- The Gozantis do not take the damage because they are not the nearest ship that was overlapped compared to the CR90's final position.
- The GR-75s do not take the damage, because even though they are the closest ship to the CR90's final position, they were not overlapped during its maneuver.
- The HMC80 does take the damage because it is the closest ship to the CR90's final position that was overlapped during its maneuver.
If a moving ship or squadron overlaps an obstacle token, it resolves an effect depending on the specific type of obstacle token that it overlapped.
We covered how this works back in the obstacle deployment article.
- If a ship temporarily reduces its speed, its speed returns to the number indicated on the speed dial after it finishes executing its maneuver.
- Even if a ship does not change its position as a result of being at speed "0," it has still executed a maneuver and resolves any effects of overlapping obstacles and/or another ship.
- If a ship must execute a maneuver at a reduced speed due to overlapping another ship, it is allowed to overlap the maneuver tool in its final position.
It's also important to note that you don't get to break this rule for where you're "supposed" to land, going the speed that's on your dial. Even if it's obvious that there's absolutely no way you can avoid overlapping at your current speed, the original regular speed destination must be done in good faith following the "no overlapping the maneuver tool" rule that is otherwise always in effect.
Time for another example picture!
- A squadron cannot be placed so that it would overlap another squadron or ship.
- Ships and squadrons can move through other ships and squadrons without issue.
- If a squadron is placed on an obstacle as a result of being overlapped, it does not resolve the effects of overlapping.
- A ship's shield dials and the plastic portions that frame them count as part of the ship's base for purposes of overlapping, but squadrons' activation sliders are ignored.
- If a ship overlaps another ship while moving, it has not executed its maneuver until it resolves the effects of overlapping that other ship, including being dealt damage cards.
|Pictured: how not to do it with your own ships.|
That's all the rules covered and I've already mentioned a bit of gameplay advice, but there's a little more to discuss in the way of overlapping tricks available to you.
A friendly game of bumper cars
Sometimes it's better to ram your own ships than the alternative. For example, if a ship won't be able to adequately slow down and is heading into big trouble (a trap set by the enemy, a bad obstacle, flying off the table), it can be better to park a ship (particularly a flotilla, as only the flotilla takes ramming damage when involved in an overlap with a non-flotilla) in its way and suffer the damage rather than the alternative.
It doesn't always need to be such an apocalyptic situation, but sometimes if you deployed poorly (due to something like Superior Positions or Solar Corona or just due to being out-deployed), it can help to just keep a crucial ship held back without having to slow down to speed 0 and leave it vulnerable. That's easily worth 1 flotilla hull point to see how the enemy battle line develops so you can react accordingly without floating into bad times in a round or two.
Just be sure to have a plan for next round that makes it all worthwhile - when done poorly this can result in a doomed ship still being doomed and not doing much of value to compensate for the ramming damage dealt to your flotilla and the weird position part of your fleet is now in.
Cheat your way through shields
Some ships, such as MC30s, have an awful lot of shields compared to their low hull values. When in doubt, you can chip away at them fairly effectively through ramming. This can be the sort of thing that comes in handy when setting up an attack for next round or with some help from other bumper car buddies to do it all without throwing attack dice. Speaking of which...
A note on extra maneuvers
You can overlap an enemy ship more than once per activation if you're allowed to perform an additional maneuver from an effect like the grav rift slingshot in Rift Ambush. This can allow you to double-ram an enemy if necessary, but be aware of the damage you're doing to your own ship!
The space station
Keep an eye out for some guilt-free ramming opportunities against ships near the space station. Provided the ramming ship isn't 1 damage card from death, you can ram the opposing ship, take 1 damage, and then land on the station to heal the damage.
It needs to be stressed that the damage from overlapping is applied upon finding the final position of the overlapping ship. The healing from the station (or other effects from other obstacles) are applied once the maneuver is completed. That means the damage from ramming happens first and the healing happens afterwards, so if you're one hull point from death, you can't exploit this trick.
It's not uncommon to bring an enemy ship down to 1 hull after your attacks are complete. Ramming is a great way to finish them off when you are in such circumstances.
Flotilla crash landing
Because flotillas are uniquely vulnerable to collisions with non-flotillas (as the flotilla takes damage but the non-flotilla does not), it's quite appealing to crash land into them with flotilla-hunting corvettes. The ideal situation is to overlap the flotilla to deal it one damage earlier in the round, have the flotilla activate but be going too slow to escape from overlapping the corvette and so it will overlap it once again during its maneuver, and then either attack the flotilla to finish it off next round or find a means of overlapping it once again while your corvette busies itself going after more important prey.
Setting up double-arcs
As demonstrated in the Raider example earlier, being able to land on the maneuver tool once you backtrack due to overlapping can set you up for a double-arc when it otherwise would have been impossible moving normally.
Lesser of two evils
Sometimes smashing into an enemy ship and staying in a better position is superior to wandering into guaranteed death. It's been a little while since I provided an example, so it's time for another picture!
Ackbar HMC80 and is doing its best to make a getaway at speed 4. If it's trying to avoid overlapping, the best it can manage is the course I show above. That's a super dead Raider (at least 8 dice coming its way soon) barring an extremely unlucky HMC80 or activation advantage for the Raider and the HMC80 has already activated and there's nothing better to activate first. So... a lot of things need to go right or else that Raider is hosed. Not great. Conversely, it can deliberately overlap the HMC80:
Anticipating overlapping of your own ships
All the tricks I recommended you use to your benefit can be used against you in turn, so don't let them catch you by surprise. The only other thing to add to this header is keep an eye out for circumstances where you can trap an enemy ship by moving a ship into its flight path and forcing it to overlap you, preferably while also making it land on a damaging obstacle it was expecting to jump over. Preventing an enemy ship from turning (particularly broadsides ships at a crucial moment) can be game-clinching all by itself, but getting anything stuck on an asteroid field is also great.
Overlapping enemy squadrons
If there's a huge unavoidable bomber cloud ahead of your ship and it still has fairly healthy shields, it can be worth landing on as much of the blob as you can. The displaced squadrons will need to be placed around your overlapping ship rather than concentrated in one hull zone. For ships without redirects, this can help prolong your life expectancy substantially. For ships with redirects, it will decrease the pressure on your redirects at the very least. This is also a great opportunity for smaller fighter coverage groups to gang up on the spread-out displaced squadrons to at least achieve local superiority in gunning down some enemy squadrons that are lacking backup for the moment.
But wait, there's more! If there's a big pile of squadrons dogfighting somewhere and you're pretty confident your opponent doesn't have (m)any squadron commands queued up on ships in range and you do, don't be shy about belly-flopping a ship into the furball to displace squadrons all over the place. Although your opponent will have control over where the displaced squadrons go, the chaos of the furball dispersing often causes problems for squadrons that intended to simply attack (and not move) during the Squadron Phase, which can be exploited.
Either of these two tactics can produce opportunities to get a lot of flak attacks in, sometimes double-arcing a squadron or two, but be very careful that you're not biting off more than you can chew.
In short, the basic principle of maximizing the value of displacement against squadrons is "look for situations where enemy squadrons actively want to be concentrated in one specific area and then overlap them to spread them thin." Even though your opponent gets to choose where the overlapped squadrons are placed, the overlapping ship (and other nearby ships and squadrons) can result in those squadrons being placed in non-ideal locations.
Anticipating overlapping of your own squadrons
The final squadron shenanigan is a pretty basic one that's been useful for B-Wings since the wave one days, and that's to anticipate overlapping against enemy ships. If you've got a pretty good idea as to where an enemy ship is going to wind up, either because it has a medium or large base and/or is slow and/or unmaneuverable OR if the enemy ship is strongly telegraphing what it intends to do (Demolisher attack runs when handled recklessly often fall into this category), your own bomber squadrons can function as mobile minefields, awaiting an enemy ship to land on them where they then get placed (hopefully) in the front arc so they can continue this trend. When done well enough against an ideal target (slow and medium+ sized base) you can even ignore the need for squadron commands because the target will be overlapping your bombers constantly and those bombers will keep getting placed into the front arc.
Be careful of relying too strongly on this tactic in the wrong circumstances, though. If a fortuitous navigate command will throw everything into disarray, you need a better plan. It also works better with smaller numbers of heavy bombers (hence the B-Wings comment) - a full-on bomber swarm is simply going to take up too much space and will by necessity need to be placed around the flanks when the front gets full and thus will need some extra help to keep up with the target.
Overlapping is one of those little nuances in the rules that doesn't immediately reveal all of its secrets to you, but when used well in the right circumstances can absolutely decide the course of a game. I hope I've been helpful in shedding some light on the matter! Go smash into some ships!