Posts Tagged ‘rogue one’


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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To celebrate the release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, FFG released two new ships for X-Wing: The TIE Striker for the Imperial Faction, and for the Rebellion, the U-Wing. Being a predominantly Rebel player, let’s dive into the U-Wing!

As usual, the first thing I do is look at the physical model, and I’m glad to say that it meets the usual X-Wing standard. Like only a few releases before it, it has moving parts. The wings go from the forward “landing” position to the rear “attack” position in a very satisfying way, physically representing an in-game mechanic, as well as just looking really cool. The detail is as crisp as always, and the paintwork is nice, featuring the standard Rebel “used future” wear and tear. My only quibble is that it is a large-base ship, no longer than the K-Wing on its small base, and so looks a little diminutive on the table, but that’s really more of a game mechanic problem than a modelling one.

I’ve yet to see the ship itself make a massive mark on the game, but there’s plenty of promise in it. The expansion features four pilots, three of them unique, as well as fourteen upgrade cards, nine of them new as of this release. It boasts 3 Attack Dice, 1 Agility, 4 Hull and 4 Shields, and can take both the Focus and Target Lock actions. The dial is fair, with a nice range of motion. It cannot flip and turn around, but it can do a “0” manoeuvre, essentially not going anywhere for a round.
The highest skilled pilot is Cassian Andor, the only U-Wing pilot capable of taking Elite Pilot Talent upgrades, a 27 point, Pilot Skill 6 unique character. His special ability allows him to remove a stress token from any friendly ship, other than himself, at Range 1, at the start of the activation phase, making him a useful support in the current meta of ships handing out stress tokens.

Two other names pilots, Bodhi Rook and Heff Tobber are also included. Bodhi basically frees up the range that your squad can take target locks, by allowing them to use each other to lock on, meaning that you are not limited by only locking on to a ship close to you.

Heff is a blocking pilot, with his low pilot skill, he wants enemy ships to bump into him, and after stopping them taking an action, he gets a free action himself, allowing him to get multiple actions per turn if you put him in the right place. Give him something like Engine Upgrade, and when a ship bumps into him, he can then boost away from them, waiting for the next ship to touch him. That will cause chaos against swarm players.

More of the cast of Rogue One show up in the form of Crew Upgrade cards. I won’t do a detailed break down of each one, but as a quick list:

Jyn Erso can collate multiple Focus tokens if multiple enemies are bearing down on her.

Cassian Andor can take a sneaky look at your opponent’s dial, and change plan accordingly.

Baze Malbus allows you to shoot at another target, if you miss your first.

Bistan lets you turn hits into critical hits.

Bodhi Rook has the same ability as his pilot card, allowing you to target lock all over the place.

Another upgrade of note is “Pivot Wing”, a free dual title card for the U-Wing that represents its mobile S-Foils. In “Landing” mode you can, after performing a 0 “stop” move, rotate the ship 180 degrees, essentially creating the tightest turn in the game. On the other hand, in “Attack” mode, you increase your agility by one, bringing its attack and defence level with something like an X-Wing. After moving, you may flip this card, so planning for the next round is essential. 

And then there’s “Expertise”. Expertise is a 4 point Elite Pilot Talent upgrade, and it has made a huge impact on the game, both in its effectiveness, and in the fact that people are planning whole ships and lists to counter it. It’s beauty is in its simplicity: As long as you are not stressed, when attacking, you may change all of your eyeball results to hits. That’s it, and in the right hands it’s brutal. If you read my review of Heroes of the Resistance you’ll have seen my list for Rey flying the Falcon. That list was getting me to between 10th and 8th in tournaments. I dropped Expertise on Rey, and instantly came 4th. The only lists that beat me were ones specifically built to counter how my list works. And you get two of these cards in the box!

Expertise aside, the U-Wing is a great little expansion, even if not a complete “must have”, even for Rebel players. It doesn’t capture the ship or the characters quite as lovingly as the aforementioned Heroes of the Resistance, but isn’t exactly inaccurate either. If you liked Rogue One, particularly the awesome space battle at the end, you’ll love moving this ship’s wings and doing K-2SO quotes.

Rebellions are built on Expertise/10

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Ömer Ibrahim is a regular contributor to Suppressing Fire and you can check out his modelling work at Can’t Sleep, Must Paint.