Tuesday, November 10, 2020

A Semi-Serious Note

We're in Armada blitz now, getting several articles as we lead up to that delicious 12/4 release date for wave 9 and the new Galactic Republic (GAR) and Confederacy of Independent Systems (CIS/droids interchangeable for me), but before Eric and I can start writing all those fancy new articles like a dad putting together a bike on Christmas Eve..... I want to bring up something.  No jokes this time, but please hit the jump for details.

Not everyone is going to be getting wave 9.  Specifically, FFG isn't going to be translating the game into French and Spanish for our overseas friends.  I offered to give a few of them a platform, so I'll let them speak for themselves.

First up is Adrien, "ZaZ" on the French forums (http://sw-armada.forumactif.org/) and Facebook.  I made a few minor edits for clarity, but it's his words below.

We are French Armada players who have concerns about the future of our game. We have a lot of love for this game of strategy which allow us to immerse ourselves in a wonderful license and in the same time to test our abilities to lead units in a complex way. It is an absolute joy each time to take out the gorgeous minis, to build a list, to analyze the opponent’s fleet and to elaborate a battle plan to try to win the game! The combination are endless, and the situations often unexpected.

Yet Asmodée declared [recently] that the next wave, which is taking place during the Clone Wars, won’t be translated. It is, however, a period which has allowed to extend the community of the Star Wars fans and which brings a whole new set of fantasy : new ships, new heroes… All of which make players want to play it.

Armada gathers many players: experienced ones who are contributing to the game in France, by producing content on the Internet like videos, forum, organizing tournament or regular appointment for playing. There is often new players who have discover the game and who want to buy old and new expansions to expand their fleet. All this people have encounter difficulties cause by the distributor, Asmodée: they don’t communicate much, scarcely reprint products, and by stopping the translation, they put the future of the game in France at risk.

The issues brought by the survey bring us to this terrible paradox: while there is a demand, customers, and a passion for this game, Asmodée seems to give up on it. We understand that a firm has to make profit, but it seems to us that it is not the matter here. The lack of communication has as consequence to isolate the product on the miniatures game market. Furthermore, the new Clone war expansions should have a positive effect on the unsold stock : on one side it offers a new kit to start the game, and on the other side it increase the interest for the old products, by diversifying the game. Even if it’s still not enough, there is other solution than the cessation of the translation: X-Wing and Legion are, for instance, sold in France and Spanish with two kits of cards and cardboards : one in Spanish, and one in French!

We know that an amateur’s translation is still possible. But it isn’t without its own issues : first and above all, translator is a profession. Texts in games have not just a literary sense, they are explaining rules and mechanics which have to be as explicit as possible and which doesn’t have always an easy way to say it. This work needs time and skills, and volunteers can replace that only partially.

Lastly, the French shops don’t all have the possibility to sell the products in the English version, because the have to go through Asmodée UK, which is a completely different entity than Asmodée France. This decrease more the possibility of an amateur translation, the distribution of English products couldn’t be easily done.

We hope that all the Armada community will help us to make Asmodée listen to reason and to get this new wave in French, even this means to wait more. Armada is still a game with a bright future, both in Spain and in France. Cut this game from all the other non-English communities will certainly not help it to be more popular. We want to play!

I'll turn things over to Guillermo, who translates my ramblings into Spanish over at nopuedessacarlanave.blogspot.com, and I really hope many of those Muppet jokes still work in Spanish.

I think my friend here has left the issue perfectly clear, but just to be sure, I'll reiterate:


And having an erratic distribution doesn't help either.  As the Clone Wars drop for the game (no official announcement for Spain, of course), we see the possibilities of many new players getting into this game slipping away right in front of us.  The future of organized play is foggy as well:  Local game stores might not be interested in hosting events for a game that they don't sell, or sells poorly due to bad distribution and lack of an official translation.

But, like I said, the issues have been raised properly.  So, If you don't mind, I'll go on a freestyle rant while I attempt to give you the perspective from Spain.


I remember the moment I saw it.  Huge, solid cardboard box.  A Victory-class star destroyer against the background of a planet exchanging heavy turbolaser fire with nimble rebels ships as squadrons of TIE fighters and X-Wings danced at lightning speed.  I was enthralled immediately.  And then... The price tag.  This was no cheap game.  I remember walking away from the store feeling like that box had stolen a piece of my heart.

Two weeks later I was walking out of the store with the box in my arms.  I devoured the manual:  This game was much more complex than my usual board games. It took several test games to get the rules right, but it was incredibly rewarding.  This was truly cinematic.  I had Imperial Assault, mind you, so I wasn't new to the idea of miniature games, but this was a whole other level.  And I loved every bit.  I delved into the English-speaking community, and remember discovering Biggs's Steel Squadron blog and how his explanations made the game completely click for me.  I was hooked.

So I went on buying everything.  Every expansion, at least twice.  Each new ship, each new card opened great new possibilities.  I eventually mustered the courage to enter a tournament and finally became acquainted with my local community.  A little later I played my first regional (and placed 3rd with a double interdictor list!) and got introduced to the national community.  It was great fun, and it still is.

God, I love this game.


The Super-class star destroyer has always been my favorite ship, from the very first time I watched it loom over ISDs on Empire Strikes Back, with its arrowhead shape and those menacing, powerful red engine glow.  I was thrilled when the ship finally made its way into Armada, and so was the entire Spanish community.  We kept theorizing and having heated discussions of mechanics we didn't even understand yet.  We even got the announcement article at almost the same time as the Americans, a rare occurrence for Armada news in Spain!  But alas, that would be the last announcement for a new ship we would ever got.

And we didn't even get the ship.

As Fantasy Flight Games kept releasing (every so often) articles and news for what i wanted to be the jewel of my collection, we got nothing.  This wasn't a new occurrence, but this time we didn't even get an upcoming entry on the Spanish site.  This was...  Worrysome.  The Spanish branch kept radio silence, and the situation became incredibly frustrating as the release date approached.  Then we learned the ship would not be translated.  Bad news, for sure, but we could live with that.  However, with the ship nowhere to be found on FFG Spain's site, it was impossible to preorder the ship on our local game stores.  We got unofficial confirmation that the ship would not be distributed in Spain.  I panicked, like many in the community did.

So I preordered the thing abroad.  And let me tell you, I felt dirty every time I went into my usual game store and the guy there waved at me.  I had betrayed my people.  But what else could I do?

Eventually, the SSD made it to Spain (untranslated, obviously) as at least I know of one (1) shop managed to bring it.  Several members of the community bought theirs through them, and not all of them managed to snag one on the first go.  The climate was, to say the least, stormy.  There was some understanding that translation of the beast would not have been practical, but no distribution?! What the heck?

We got Rebellion in the Rim, fully translated.  That was something, and we thought there was hope.

The Onager and the Starhawk crushed our dreams.  This time we didn't get even an announcement.  Again I preordered my expansions abroad.  Again, several Spanish shops managed to get a few.  And now we had it:  Official confirmation that there would be no translation.


I'll say that the Clone Wars situation is, at least, better than the situation we lived with the SSD and the Onager/Starhawk wave.  Many more game stores have all the products ready for preorder and this time I chose to pre-purchase locally:  I want my shops to do well, after all.  And yet, several stores I frequent have nothing, not even a notice of the Clone Wars products coming out.  They have some old Armada expansions on their shelves, though.  And it makes me deeply sad. 

Because one of the stores that doesn't have this is the one where I bought my Core box.  And I realize that, right now, when Armada could experience a new wave of interested players, my love story will not be repeated.

Local shops might never have the Clone Wars core boxes on their shelves.  And if they do, the game will not be in Spanish, adding an additional roadblock to interested ones.  And if the game doesn't do well, or sells little, or is not even sold in stores...  What will that mean for organized game?  How long will stores support events for a game that gives them little profit, if any?  It's a bleak picture for the future.

The community will go on, of course.  We will do our unofficial translations if we have to, and we will keep playing the game we love with passion.  But because we do love and we do care for this game, because we do want to see it succeed, because we do want others to discover and enter the world of Armada, we kindly ask FFG, Asmodee or whoever needs to be addressed:

Don't kill the game.  Don't kill the community.  Keep supporting this game with official distribution and translation.

Thank you for your time.

Can you imagine not being able to get the Super Star Destroyer? That's all kinds of messed up, and I say that AS a Rebel player.  The Armada community is one that I've grown to be happy to be a part of, mainly a result of the camaraderie and togetherness we all have with each other.  I have friends I've made internationally because of this game, and have several much closer friendships that have blossomed BECAUSE of Armada.

So what can YOU all do about this, rather than just listen to the sob story? First, sign the petition; it takes like 30 seconds, click the link and do it guys.

Petition Here!

Second, if you have friends who play Armada or a channel with access to more people, have them sign this too.  If you attend some in-person FFG event with a question and answer portion, please ask an FFG employee what's going on with this? We're ONE community, guys, and right now they need our help over in France and Spain.  Let's work together and help our brothers and sisters out!

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