Archive for the ‘Armada’ Category


Back in December, I – like so many of us – sat in the cinema watching Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, and being absolutely blown away by the way that the universe we all know and love was being presented in a totally different light.  It was dark, grounded, and (for the most part) lacking in The Force and lightsabers.  The climactic scene of the battle of Scarif had me engrossed in a way that a massive space battle hasn’t since The Battle of Endor.  Sure the Battle of Naboo and the Battle of Geonosis looked great, but they didn’t have the emotional hook that Scarif and Endor had.  

Watching the Battle of Scarif filled me with the desire to throw a game of Armada on the table.  


Now, as I’m sure some of you remember, there’s a really great moment in that battle where we see the Hammerhead Corvettes in action for the first time, crashing into a Star Destroyer, pushing it into the side of another Star Destroyer.  Now, here they are, ready to wreak their own brand of havoc on the tabletop.  So, how do they fare?  Do we have melee combat in Armada?

The models are back on form.  While they originally appeared in Star Wars: Rebels, they’ve been given an appearance closer to how they look in Rogue One.  I think this is a good creative decision, as most of the ships (except in instances where they have only appeared in Rebels or The Clone Wars) have a “movie” look to them.  The scale seems fine (with the usually leeway we give to Armada’s scale), and they look good on the tabletop.  So, what else do we get with them?


Well, just for starters there’s the option to have Princess Leia leading your fleet!  We’ve seen her before as a supporting officer, but this is her first appearance as a commander, a role she’s undeniable suited to.  For fans of Rebels and The Clone Wars, there’s also not the option to throw Honda in on the side of the Rebellion.  Hondo’s ability is based around buffing your own orders, and bamboozling the enemy’s chain of command.  A nice thematic ability for the pirate king.

Another of my favourite cards included has to be the boarding engineers.  I love boarding actions in any game, and basically the way these guys work is that if you can get up close to another ship, they leap aboard and let you flip facedown damage to face up.  A simple, yet suitably thematic way of replicating a devastating boarding action on the tabletop, without getting bogged down in minutiae and dice rolls.  

Similarly, the external racks are a wonderful addition.  The Rebellion has gradually acquired some big guns as the game has gone along, but nothing to compare with the Imperial Class Star Destroyer.  The external racks tweak that slightly, allowing you a one-shot additional two black dice attack.  Pretty punchy for a small ship.


Brad, this is all very interesting.  I can hear you cry.  But we wanna do the ramming thing.  Tell us how the ramming thing works.  

Okay, the ramming thing.  Sorry to break it to you, but you can’t just go ramming these boys into the enemy like it’s Thunder Road.  The ramming ability is unique to a ship name (“Garel’s Honour”), and basically it means that when you overlap an enemy ship, they take face up rather than facedown damage.  Yep, that’s it.  

I’m in two minds as to whether I like that or not.  I mean, the attack tactics they used at the Battle of Scarif were built on desperation and a spur of the moment attack.  It wasn’t something that the ships were actually built to the able to do, so why should every Hammerhead in the Star Wars universe decide to do it.  On the other…to get gamey…every player fielding these is going to want to do it.

I guess just go in knowing that’s not what they’re built to do.  For me, this pack is totally worth it just for the Princess Leia and boarding engineer cards.  The Boarding Engineers are just so much fun, and Princess Leia may not be the most powerful commander in the game, but, well, to me, she is royalty.  

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Half support vessel, half big guns, Phoenix Home has arrived in Star Wars: Armada. Another vessel first featured in Star Wars: Rebels, the Phoenix Home can be played one of two ways, both of which are equally valid, depending on your battle plans, and your personal playing style. 


The miniature itself isn’t too bad, but doesn’t look quite dirty enough for the “lived in” feel of the Star Wars universe. In Star Wars things are grubby, or worn, rather than hoovered and shiny like Star Trek. Perhaps it’s a symptom of being based on a cartoon ship, but Phoenix Home looks a little too much like a child’s toy, and not enough like a wargaming miniature…


…yes, I know that, but this just looks a little too much on the toy end of things. 

The two base load outs for the Pelta-class ship (that’s what the Phoenix Home is) are surprisingly diverse. For the main part ships in Star Wars: Armada either come as “the ship you want to use” or “the slightly shitter version of the ship you want to use, but, hey, it’s ten points cheaper”. Here, however, with only a four point difference, what you actually get are different styles of ship. The Assault Ship load out is…well, not exact an über heavy hitter, but it packs a reasonable amount of punch. 

The Command Ship load out, by contrast, forgoes firepower in favour of an increased Squadron statistic. So, with this in the thick of it, a good chunk of your Squadrons will become much more powerful. I love that Star Wars: Armada is focusing more on injecting some theme and narrative into a tabletop war game. It’s what the game was lacking at the start, and it’s much better for its inclusion. 

And, of course, there’s all the juicy upgrades that are so fun to tinker with. Fans of Rebels and The Clone Wars will be pleased to see Ahsoka Tano make her Armada debut. Her ability – to essentially switch one Command Token for another – isn’t particularly impressive, but at two points, it’s fun to add her to your force. “Shields to Maximum!” is a useful ploy to give your ships some shields back. The main drive, though, is on Fighter combat, with “All fighters, follow me!”, “Rapid Launch Bays” and “Fighter Coordination Team” offering some serious buffs to Squadrons. 

This is a great support vehicle for Rebel players, but looking forward, the buffs that it offers to narrative play and squadron heavy players is a welcome progression. Recommended. 

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Brad Harmer-Barnes is a games journalist and comedy writer from Kent, England, and has written for (among others) Miniature Wargames magazine, Fortress: Ameritrash, Emotionally14.com and Suppressing-Fire.Com, which he also edits. You can follow him on Instagram and Twitter @realbradhb


When comes to Star Wars: Armada, the massive dreadnoughts may be both the eye candy and the focus of play, but – much like the battles in the movies themselves, it’s the smaller, single-man fighters that can make the difference between victory and defeat. We’ve had all the usual suspects released in previous waves, so are these two new packs capable of offering something more, or is it time to get the barrel scrapers out?

The Rebel Fighter pack is led by the star of Star Wars: Rebels…the Ghost. Hera is the named pilot you get included, and she packs some pretty heavy guns, as well as a couple of extremely versatile abilities. Firstly, she has Rogue which allows the Ghost to move and attack during the squadron phase; but the Grit ability also allows the Ghost to move if it’s only engaged by a single squadron. The Ghost is built for big, heroic plays, which is exactly what you want to be ding with it. The cheaper version – the VCX-100 Freighter lacks the decent firepower of the Ghost, but it does have some nice…if more strategic and less combative abilities. 


Another vessel featured in Star Wars: Rebels is Ketsu Onyo in the Shadow Caster. Lacking the firepower of the Ghost, but featuring a few extra abilities, including the aforementioned Grit and Rogue, as well a being a Bomber. The cheaper version – the Lancer-Class Pursuit Craft is nice enough, but is just a Tesco Value Shadow Caster

The last ships included are the Z-95 Headhunters. Some people love Z-95s, but to me they’re just a cheaper, shoddier version of the X-Wing, and their debut in Star Wars: Armada has done little to change that opinion. At 7 points a squadron, you could use them to burn up some leftover points during squad building, but that’s about it. The only point of interest is that they possess the Swarm ability, which was previously only used by TIE Fighters and their ilk. How useful this ability will be to you depends on your playing style, but it could come in handy. 


The Imperial set similarly brings three new types of vehicle to Star Wars: Armada. The TIE Phantom originally appeared in the video game Star Wars: Rebel Assault II (nope, me neither) but has since develed a following among players of Fantasy Flight’s Star Wars: X-Wing. These possess the Cloak ability, which allows them to get in a bonus move at the end of the squadron phase, even if engaged. They also carry a decent amount of firepower; both anti-ship and anti-squadron. 

Another X-Wing favourite, the Lambda shuttle, is also now available. While far from a combative vessel, its use as an ECM plane role – which never really works in the scale X-Wing operates at, is considerably better handled here, allowing orders from ships to squadrons to be sent further and more efficiently than previously. 

Last but not least, and another X-Wing bad boy, the VT-49 Decimator has arrived, and it brings a serious shotgun blast of close range damage to the table. With the a heavy weapons at its disposal and the Rogue ability, this has the potential to be a serious Squadron destroyer – especially if they’re full of cheap and nasty Z-95s. 

While both of these sets are not as strong as the squadron releases we’ve seen in previous waves, they’re still definitely worth picking up. The Ghost and the Decimator are great fighters for more aggressive players, and the others definitely add flavour, if nothing else. Armada just keeps getting better and better. 

The Rebel Flighter Squardons II and Imperial Fighter Squadrons II packs are available now. A base set of Star Wars: Armada is required to use the contents. 

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Brad Harmer-Barnes is a games journalist and comedy writer from Kent, England, and has written for (among others) Miniature Wargames magazine, Fortress: Ameritrash, Emotionally14.com and Suppressing-Fire.Com, which he also edits. You can follow him on Instagram and Twitter @realbradhb