Massive Star Destroyers fly to battle against Rebel corvettes and frigates. Banks of turbo lasers unleash torrential volleys of fire against squadrons of X-wing and TIEs. Engineering teams race to route additional power to failing shields. Laser blasts and explosions flare across the battlefield. Even a single ship can change the tide of battle.
In Star Wars: Armada, you assume the role of fleet admiral, serving with either the Imperial Navy or Rebel Alliance. You assemble your fleet and engage the enemy. Using the game’s unique maneuver tool, you steer your capital ships across the battlefield, even while squadrons of starfighters buzz around them. Then, as these ships exchange fire, it’s your job to issue the tactical commands that will decide the course of battle and, perhaps, the fate of the galaxy.
The maneuver tool is one of the game’s most innovative features and adds a unique feel to the way your capital ships must accommodate for inertia as they maneuver through the stars.
It consists of a number of segments linked with hinges, which is used to plot the ship's course. More nimble ships are allowed to turn the ship further at each hinge.
Armada balances the awesome scale of the Star Wars galaxy’s ships and space warfare with intuitive ship designs and accessible rules for issuing commands and resolving combat that make for rich, engaging, and highly tactical play experiences.
Capital ships are extremely powerful war machines, but they’re also massive and sophisticated vessels that can’t swiftly react to every development in the heat of battle. Accordingly, the key to flying these vessels effectively is learning how to plan ahead. You want to issue your commands in such a way that your crews will be ready to execute them at just the right times.
Each of your pre-painted capital ships has a command value, which determines how many commands it will have in its stack at any given point in time. During setup, you secretly build your initial command stack, selecting from any of four different commands, each of which provides a different advantage. Once you have locked your selections, you place the commands in your stack in the order of your choice. Then, during each round of game play, you secretly select and assign a new command to your ship, placing it at the bottom of your command stack, before you reveal the command at the top of your stack and gain its benefits.
How to Play
Like “X-Wing”, each ship has a fleet point cost. Players will agree on a fleet cost not exceeding 300 points. A 3×6 play area/mat is recommended, though you can get by with 3×3 if your table won’t support the former. The more ships you add, the larger the area you’ll want. Details about game setup and the restrictions that come with it can be found on page 20+ in the rulebook.
The game is played over six rounds with the goal being to eliminate the other player (or inflict more damage if that doesn’t happen). Each round has four phases:
- Command Phase – Players assign command dials to each ship. On the first round, players will assign a number of dials equal to the ship’s command value, face down, in a stack. On future rounds, players only assign one dial, placing it at the bottom of their stack.
- Ship Phase – Players take turns attacking with AND moving each of their ships. Starting with the player who has initiative, they’ll reveal their topmost command dial, attack, and then execute a maneuver. When revealing the command dial, players have the option of using it for full effect that round, or taking a token of that type for use in a future round (though a token isn’t as powerful). Ships can perform up to two attacks, though a hull zone can only fire once per round. There’s a lot more to say about combat (shields, tokens, hull damage, dice symbols, etc.), so I’ll opt to refer you to the rulebook (again) starting with page 8.
- Squadron Phase – Players take turns attacking with OR moving their squadrons (not both). Starting with the player who has initiative, players will activate two squadrons at a time (in turn). Squadron movement and combat is simplified in that they don’t have firing arcs and can attack in any direction. Squadrons can attack capital ships, though MUST engage other enemy squadrons at range 1 if able.
- Status Phase – Players ready all of their defense tokens and flip over the initiative token. The next highest round token is placed nearby and players begin a new round. The person with initiative retains initiative until the end of the game.
The game continues until one player eliminates the other or until six rounds expire. In the event of the latter, whoever scores more points (by counting up the enemy ships/upgrade cards they’ve destroyed) wins the game.