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 at convention, talk to staff or local 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. This is also a good time to establish if there is a local club that plays, or if you’ll be building a community with your friends.

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 daunting: looking at a pricey core set and a wall of expansions might leave you thinking that this is a game requiring a huge monetary investment to really experience. The truth is that you can have a fantastic Armada experience with just a couple of extra ships.

Be the visionary…

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 and relatively 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


Rebel Starter fleet: Wave 7

Faction: Rebel Alliance
Points: 300/300

Commander: General Dodonna

[ flagship ] Nebulon-B Escort Frigate (57 points)
–  General Dodonna  ( 20  points)
–  Yavaris  ( 5  points)
–  Flight Commander  ( 3  points)
–  Fighter Coordination Team  ( 3  points)
–  Quad Battery Turrets  ( 5  points)
93 total ship cost

Hammerhead Torpedo Corvette (36 points)
–  External Racks  ( 3  points)
39 total ship cost

Hammerhead Torpedo Corvette (36 points)
–  External Racks  ( 3  points)
39 total ship cost

CR90 Corvette A (44 points)
–  Tantive IV  ( 3  points)
–  Turbolaser Reroute Circuits  ( 7  points)
54 total ship cost

3 X-Wing Squadrons ( 39 points)
2 Y-Wing Squadrons ( 20 points)
1 Tycho Celchu ( 16 points)
75 total squadron cost


Imperial Starter Fleet: Wave 7

Faction: Galactic Empire
Points: 300/300

Commander: Admiral Sloane

[ flagship ] Victory II-Class Star Destroyer (85 points)
–  Admiral Sloane  ( 24  points)
–  Minister Tua  ( 2  points)
–  Gunnery Team  ( 7  points)
–  Disposable Capacitors  ( 3  points)
–  Electronic Countermeasures  ( 7  points)
–  Spinal Armament  ( 9  points)
–  Leading Shots  ( 4  points)
141 total ship cost

Quasar Fire II-class Cruiser-Carrier (61 points)
–  Captain Brunson  ( 5  points)
–  Expanded Hangar Bay  ( 5  points)
71 total ship cost

1 “Howlrunner” ( 16 points)
4 TIE Fighter Squadrons ( 32 points)
2 TIE Bomber Squadrons ( 18 points)
2 TIE Interceptor Squadrons ( 22 points)

88 total squadron cost


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. Two units which should probably be last on your list for picking up are the Rebel Phoenix Home, and the Imperial Interdictor Cruiser, and the Nebulon-B expansion is mostly useful if you want the card for use in tournament play, but even these have qualities to commend them.

If your weighing up your first purchases, I like the Rebel Mc30 Frigate, and the Imperial’s Gladiator Star Destroyer. Both ships are both fun and effective, whilst also flying very differently to anything in the base game.

It’s also worth knowing that due to the April 2018 Tournament Rules FAQ placing a limit of 2 Flotilla in a tournament fleet. As a result there’s a glut of GR75-Medium Transports and Gozanti Cruisers, both are highly playable ships, so snap up a couple while the 2nd hand market is flooded!

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 went as high as $100+ for a few months until a new shipment arrived and sent them back to normal pricing.

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. For a 1 vs 1 Campaign experience, try our own Sector War rules.

Playing Online

Vassal and Tabletop Simulator both support Armada. Tutorials for how to play these slightly idiosyncratic programs are available on YouTube. Vassal is home to an engaged tournament scene.

Painting models

Some players, particularly those who have previously played wargames where models don’t come prepainted, choose to re-paint their ships.

Imperial fleet by Author


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).

I also have a short video outlining the basic techniques I use in my own fleet.

Useful Links:

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.

FFGs Community ForumArmada Reddit discuss strategy, news & other things 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.

Armada Blogs:

Cannot get your ship out/ As well as tournament reports, Eric Taylor and his associates write strategy articles that are particularly notable for being updated as game evolves with new releases and rules changes.

Intel Sweep Blog covering Legion as well as Armada this blog is run by Captain Weather of the FFG forums and focuses on tournament results and analysis.

Watch it played here:

StarWars Tabletop Youtube  and StarWars Tabletop Twitch – Watch our games here for

Master of the Fleet – an extremely popular and well produced channel providing battle reports and strategy reviews.

Crabbok  Crabbok’s general gaming channel still includes a lot of well produced Armada content: battle reports, strategy & collecting.

Listen to these podcasts:

Fire When Ready Admiral Ackbar helps Armada Jim runs his academy: my favourite place for new starters as Jim carefully reviews what works, what doesn’t & why.

Comms Noise  My fellow Brits talk tournaments, strategy & rules. Includes great discussions of upgrades & their use.

Armchair Admirals Chuck and Andrew talk over all aspects of Armada: rules, strategy and tournament play

Galactic Conflict Brendon MacLeod interviews high level players, with deep dives into tournament level strategy.

and for “mature” listeners: The Outer Rim Job

Happy gaming, any questions in the comments I’ll answer as well as I can.