Let The Wookiee Win
Yesterday I had a chance to try out the new Star Wars Armada game. I have missed out on most of the "clicky" miniatures games but the subject of this one was too cool to not try. I have always wanted to play fleet battles in the Star Wars universe. While this is not the first game to be made for this or the only to have done it all along, it is the first one that I have heard my local gamers get excited about.
My opponent, who has a few games under his belt, let me choose Empire or Rebel, I decided to go with a Victory star destroyer and several squads of TIE Fighters. Before we played, he gave me a run down on the rules and explained all the components and indulged my questions about how the theme of the universe and the ships being portrayed had been translated into rules.
I think it is worth noting that, as a Star Wars fan, I am mostly satisfied with the rules interpretations of the universe and the ships so far. It is a big deal that the ships in the game are able, within the rules, to perform as expected from the fiction. X-wings fight like X-wings and TIEs like TIEs.
The fight itself was a pretty straight forward head to head. Two small Rebel ships and X-wings versus my own Victory and TIEs. The learning curve was minimal. The game is so well put together with everything clearly laid out and with everything having its own piece when it needs to. Orders, stats, even measuring are optimized (the movement tool is inspired).
There were a few points that took some getting used to but these mostly centered around the range bands and the special dice for these bands as well as getting used to plotting command in advance and working through those. I don't think I made enough use of the ability to hold orders for a later time but I also do not feel I had too many situations come up in this learning game where this was needed.
By the end of the game I was a convert. I had won, but just barely and only technically speaking. The game ran out of turns with me in a leading position but it was clear that my capital ship was a wreck and the two fresh fighter squadrons would be able to finish me with their next round of bombing runs.
Now I just bide my time and let the inventory of available models flesh out a bit before diving in. I know my budget for this game will be limited, even if the components are pretty reasonably priced, and I do not want to make an early purchase that I will regret when something new comes out. A little patience never hurts and I doubt my frugal hesitation will hurt the prospects of this game with its juggernaut appeal.