The Lost Lighthouse Reviews: Star Wars Armada

What a box! No, I’m not talking about your mum, I’m talking about Fantasy Flight Game’s Star Wars Armada. It’s a beast. Once again, not your mum. There’s no hiding this on the bus home from your LGS, and why should you! You should proudly shout, at the top of your lungs “I’m king of this fucking bus!”

Enough with the silliness, what’s this game like? Well, once you’ve done with the new box smell, you can admire the beautiful components. A common ritual for me with FFG products. I challenge you not to rip the Star Destroyer straight out its plastic coffin and bask in its glory. The rebel ships deserve the same treatment. Then you see the squadrons…Oh. Ok, so on face value, the squadrons are a bit of a let down, but I’m quietly confident that after a lick of paint, they will be fine. They are basically just counters after all. Everything else is the standard, great quality that you  pay for with FFG. The manoeuvre stick thingy is mental. It’s hard not to sit there just clicking and moving it like a steam punk snake.


The 2 rule books included are very well laid out and gets you playing very quickly, and like X-Wing, it’s very intuitive after a few turns. That’s right, I mentioned it. The big old elephant in the room. Ok, that time I was talking about your mum. I’ll talk about the 2 games similarities later.

The turns themselves are split over 4 phases. The 1st phase is the Command Phase, where players secretly choose their ships special actions. The bigger the ship, the further you have to plan with the larger ships planning 3 turns ahead! To represent the slow reactive nature of the big capital bastards. The 2nd phase is the ship phase, in which you alternately activate capital ships. The 3rd phase is where your squadrons move or shoot and lastly the 4th phase is a standard refresh stage. Then wash, rinse, repeat.

I found the most important thing to get right was the speed of your ships. Get that wrong and you’ll find your most important ships out the battle for long periods of time. Dealing with squadrons is also vital. Leaving X-Wings too long near your ships and you’ll find them with no shields rather quickly.

Is this just X-Wing, tarted up and given a new lease of life? No. Well I don’t think so. I found the skills you need to be a good X-Wing player, are similar to the skills you’ll need to master in Armada, but you go about it different ways, and you have new elements to think about. Armada is more refined, more intricate, dare I say it, more fun. This coming from a guy who really enjoys X-Wing. I find Armada more of a war game than X-Wing, which is maybe why I enjoy it more. And, possibly, why others won’t.

So, do you need both X-Wing and Armada? Of course not. Will you buy both X-Wing and Armada? Probably. I’m happy to say, both games are fantastic and deserve space on your shelves. Though you might need to extend it for Armada!

If you fancy picking up a copy, you can from Element Games

Gary.

Gaming For The Busy: Why Tournaments Are The Answer

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Our old ‘friend’ and Avenger fanboy Jan Novak runs us through his favourite game for a busy lifestyle

I am a very busy person, I have a full time job, I keep a house and a young family to contend with. Gone are the days of me spending hours painting up little figures ready for a whole weekend of pushing them round and making ‘pew pew’ noises. Sadly, I simply don’t have the time to dedicate myself to this sort of endeavour anymore.

Having taken some time off after the birth of my first child, I decided the time was right for me to get back into gaming. I needed a good dose of geek, surrounded by like-minded, socially awkward brethren. My first task in this new chapter of my life was to find a game that I wanted to play which would be suitable. I immediately wrote off playing a game such as Warhammer, where I would need to paint up a whole army before I could jump in and get involved. I’d never really played card games like Magic the Gathering, so this was also pushed to the back of the queue. After much deliberation I settled on X-Wing, the miniatures game by Fantasy Flight Games which has been reviewed briefly by Gary on this very site.

I played a few games at home with some friends on evenings after work, really enjoyed myself but came to the realisation that this really wasn’t scratching the itch I had for some hardcore geekery. Then, I did it, I plunged myself in at the deep end and signed myself up for a tournament. It was this decision that changed my gaming life forever. I nervously went along to the event, a whole hour drive away from my home, horrendously underprepared and expecting the worse.

What happened? I got absolutely smashed in my first two games but actually learned how to play the bloody game, taught by a couple of lovely and friendly opponents. My third game was a bit closer and the last two games I actually won! None of this really matters though because I had experienced the shot in the arm I needed, the itch had been scratched and I was whole again.

In essence, what I had achieved was finding a way to play geeky games within the context of my normal life. I was able to fit a whole five games of X-Wing in one day which I wouldn’t ordinarily get to do in a whole month! All of this was also achieved with near-zero preparation which is a massive draw for me as a busy person. I’m not advocating this as a ‘one show fits all’ solution to gaming for the busy but it has definitely worked for me. I now regularly attend X-Wing tournaments and am loving it. I’m finding that the short, concentrated burst of gaming events provide fit perfectly into my lifestyle.

Jan