Fantasy Flight Games’s Star Wars Armada is a tremendous game, but like many wargames it has some hurdles to entry which can seem pretty daunting. I’m going to collect here information to help new initiates have a great gaming experience.
1st Step – Play it first
Either at your local game store, war-gaming club or or at convention, talk to players/staff about having a demo of the game. The core set provides a good taste of the full Armada experience, and if there are local players they may well be willing to play a full sized game without you needing to buy your own models at first.
Armada has a fantastic player community, so don’t be afraid to approach them.
Introducing your Friends
If there isn’t an existing Armada community in your area, then realistically you may have to buy a few ships of both sides in order to have enough to play games with.
Cost, particularly as a first impression, can be a significant barrier: looking at a pricey core set and a wall of expansions can give the impression that this is a game requiring a huge monetary investment to really experience.
You may well find then, that friends who are open to the idea of Armada want to thoroughly experience it before committing, and it falls to you to act as a local ambassador for the game and create your own community.
The core set recommends building to 300 point battles, remember that if your building both sides then the standard objectives system isn’t used: randomly assign sides (or let your opponent pick) and then randomly select a mission and 1st/2nd player. If your playing several games with the same fleets you might want to exclude missions you’ve already played.
I present here 2 sample starter fleets. To help keep it on a reasonable budget and using freely available models, I’ve made them using a combination of the Core set, the most recent new ships: wave 6’s Quasar and Hammerhead expansions, and the Rebel/Imperial Squadrons 1. There are a few upgrade cards listed which aren’t found in those expansions, you should print out proxies using the Armada Wiki. You can add some variety by changing up the ship variants, upgrades and fighter types
3 X-Wing Squadrons ( 39 points)
2 Y-Wing Squadrons ( 20 points)
1 Tycho Celchu ( 16 points)
[ flagship ] Victory II-Class Star Destroyer (85 points)
– Admiral Sloane ( 24 points)
– Intel Officer ( 7 points)
– Gunnery Team ( 7 points)
– Disposable Capacitors ( 3 points)
– Quad Battery Turrets ( 5 points)
– Leading Shots ( 4 points)
= 135 total ship cost
Quasar Fire I-class Cruiser-Carrier (54 points)
– Admiral Montferrat ( 5 points)
– Flight Controllers ( 6 points)
– Disposable Capacitors ( 3 points)
= 68 total ship cost
1 “Mauler” Mithel ( 15 points)
6 TIE Fighter Squadrons ( 48 points)
1 “Howlrunner” ( 16 points)
1 Soontir Fel ( 18 points)
Building your collection
Tournaments are played at 400 points, and personally I find this a great size of game to play as well. Fortunately, almost all the units in Armada are highly playable. The two units which should probably be last on your list for picking up are the Rebel Phoenix One, and the Imperial Interdictor Cruiser, but even these have qualities to commend them.
FFG’s distribution system means that periodically expansions will go out of print, causing a spike in the price as stock runs out. They will eventually be reprinted however, so it’s not usually necessary to pay a severely inflated price. For example, the original Rebel and Imperial Squadrons packs just got resupplied, and prices are quickly crashing from the $100+ they have held for the last few months.
Supporting your local game store is a fantastic thing to do, particularly if they are providing facilities like play space. For online purchases a watch list on Amazon will periodically highlight a sale for a particular unit, which can result in a cheap pick up. There are also discount online retailers like Miniatures Market, Outpost (for the UK)
Establishing a Local Community
Even if there aren’t any existing Armada players, you may find potential recruits amongst other local wargamers and boardgamers. Talk to your local game store, or game cafe about them providing an occasional or regular venue, community centres and pubs can also be suitable. Even if they can’t provide play space, they’ll probably be happy to take advertisements for any new club, and notices in their Facebook groups or dedicated forums will help get the word out.
Tournaments and Campaigns
Eventually you can look at participating in a Tournament, such as a Regional or Store Championship, or getting together with your regular players to hold a Campaign.
Some players, particularly those who have previously played wargames where models don’t come pre-painted, choose to re=paint their ships.
Imperial Squadrons by Author
Since they come as plain grey plastic, painting your Squadrons will really make them pop on the battlefield. There are various guides for painting models available online, plus you can find local clubs of model painters who meet up to paint together (which can in turn be a source of potential players).
FFG’s Armada page This is your main source of news and updates. Here you can get the updated rules and FAQ downloads – some of the upgrade cards have rules changes (errata) which you can find out about here.
Armada Wiki A visual guide to all the ships and upgrades is collected here, as such it’s a good source for when your making proxy upgrade cards for casual play (Tournaments typically won’t allow you to use a proxy card).
Armada Fleet Builder there are a few different sites and Apps available, Warlords is my preferred option because they update with new cards the most reliably.
Happy gaming, any questions I’ll answer as well as I can.