Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Wave 2 - Ion Cannon Upgrades

Down to the last 2 upgrades to talk about - Ion Cannons are going to be the topic today.  We've gotten three new Ion Cannon capable ships - the Imperial Star Destroy, the MC80, and the Raider II-Class - to go with the previous two (CR90B and VSDII) with two new upgrade cards available between them.

Let's see how those cards work with the ships.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Building a Fleet - Squadron Composition in Wave 2

In our previous Squadron Composition article, we discussed how to build our lists with squadrons in Wave 1.  Well, Wave 2 brings us new toys, and new strategies necessary to work with and counter against those new squadrons.  Let's jump right in.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Holiday Tournament Winner - an Interview with Truthiness

I was lucky enough to get the chance to chat with Truthiness (check out his blog for AARs of his tournament games!), the winner of the FFG Forums Holiday Vassal Tournament - the first major tournament to include Wave 2 ships.  I've asked him a few questions (Bolded) and here are his answers.  Hopefully we can all learn something from his success:

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Ordinance - Wave 2

Onward with Wave 2 upgrades, and it's time to talk about ordinance.  We have two new ships that can take ordinance and they are both small base ships.  The MC30c and the Raider1 also give us two new ordinance upgrade cards to go along with them.  They join the VSD1 and GSD as the ordinance platforms in the game.

Let's take a look at the upgrades in question, and see how they can fit onto our lists going forward.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

FAQ and Tournament Update - Wave 2, Imperial Bogaloo

Wave 2 has been out a while now and cards are getting FAQ'd away.  Let's take a look at the highlighted changes, and what that can mean for our games going forward.  Also, we'll delve into the Tournament changes, including the major overhaul to tournament points.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Building a Fleet - Point Values of Ships

Sorry for the delay everyone.  But last week was "Biggs Works a Ton of Hours" Week, and this week is "Biggs Picked up Xenoblade Chronicles X" Week, so articles got delayed.  Guess I shouldn't have pushed out all those articles last week and saved them in reserve, 'eh?  Anyways, on Monday we talked about Archetypes in Armada - how different ships played in different ways.  Today we are going to look at point costs for ships, namely point costs relative to 400 points by percentage.  We are also going to look at how many of each ship - naked - can fit onto a list.

This article was also pretty difficult to organize - there is a lot more happening with the math here than I have the space to conceptualize.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Building A Fleet - Archetypes in Armada

A long, long time ago, at least by the standards of this game, we talked about how to build a fleet.  This was back in July, when Wave 1 was still relatively new and US Nationals still hadn't introduced the GenCon Special to the world.  Non-Squadron lists weren't even considered as a viable option, aside from a brief talk about CR90 Swarms.

Well, Wave 2 and 400 point lists are the new thing that is happening now, and we have a Vassal tournament to shake out what our very forum's international meta is.  Soon, store championships will be starting, and my personal FLGS is hosting its first Winter Kit tournament on Sunday.  Frankly, this is a very exciting time to figure out the new list building, while everything is still shaking itself out.

So, what are we going to see now that Wave 2 is out and about?  This is definitely going to be a multi-part article, so buckle in for a long ride.  First, we are going to talk about Archetypes.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Commander's Guide - YV-666

Here's an odd one.  What is the point of an anti-fighter squadron that is hilariously slow and Heavy?  This is a question asked by the YV-666.  Let's see if we can find the answers, together.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

After Action Report - Wave 2 Tournament - Round 1 vs Zanos

With Wave 2 out on Vassal, the best way to do things was to hold a new tournament.  Somehow, not learning my lesson, I found myself organizing the thing.  First round of the new Wave 2 Tournament had me matching up against a strong 3 ship Imperial fleet.  I've never played Zanos before, nor do I remember seeing him play, so he should be a new experience to play.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Commander's Guide - Scurrg H-6

Coming down to the end of the squadrons, finally.  Time to talk about the final rebel squadron added in Wave 2, the Scurrg H-6, which has been lovingly nicknamed the "Silly Bomber" on the FFG forums.

Well, let's dive in.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Commander's Guide - Jumpmaster 5000

Continuing our discussion of Intel squadrons, it's the Jumpmaster 5000.   Not much to say, let's just jump right into it.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Commander's Guide - HWK-290

Having discussed the Big Names of the Rogues and Villains, and talking about the Rogue Generics, it's time to talk about the next set of fighters, with a new ability - Intel.  That's right, the next two articles for the Commander's Guide are going to be about the Rebel's HWK-290 and the Imperial's Jumpmaster 5000.

Today, we're talking about the Rebel's squadron.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Commander's Guide - Aggressor

Last time we talked about a 16 point rebel squadron with Rogue that has a role of hunting down enemy squadrons.  Well, much like with Wave 1, Wave 2 squadrons typically have an alternative squadron on the other faction.  So let's talk about the YT-2400's direct Imperial analogue, the Aggressor, and the named pilot for the squadron, IG-88.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Commander's Guide - YT-2400

Last time we talked about Squadrons for Rebels in Wave 2, we talked about the YT-1300 and Han Solo.  This time, we're going to talk about the "Han Solo Wannabe Hack" Dash Rendar and the YT-2400, the Rebel's first Rogue generic squadron.  Well, let's get to it.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Defensive Retrofits - Wave 2

Defensive Retrofits for Wave 2 gives us two new options to chose from, as well as three new ships that can take the upgrade.  The MC80 and MC30c join the Rebels in retrofits, and the ISD2 becomes the first Imperial ship to add a defensive slot.  The upgrades themselves differ from before - while the previous retrofits were about enhancing defense tokens and their use, the new retrofits are a whole different breed.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Offensive Retrofits - Wave 2

Wave 2 actually gave us three new Offensive Retrofits, more than doubling the initial numbers.  Continuing with the theme of the Offensive Retrofits of before, we got one that dealt with activating squadrons, one that dealt with getting rid of enemy squadrons, but we got one more that didn't deal with squadrons at all.  In addition, we got three new ships that could take an offensive retrofit - the MC80 (Command variant), the ISD, and the Raider - to go with the previous two.

Let's go over them, shall we?

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

All Tournament Lists for FFG Forums Wave 2 Tournament

Here are all the lists for the tournament, sorted by faction and number of ships used:

**Update Complete!  (Probably, if you or your opponent is missing, let me know)**

Use Ctrl + F to quickly search for your opponent on this page.

Monday, November 30, 2015

Commander's Guide - MC30c Frigate

Finally it is time to chat about the final new ship of Wave 2, and one that I am very excited about, the MC30c Frigate.  The first Rebel ship to pack on natural Black dice, it plays and handles much differently than the traditional rebel long range standoff craft.  Let's look today at what makes the MC30c into the the ship that it is, how it fits into the Rebel fleet, and how it differs from its closest Imperial counterpart, the Gladiator.

The MC30c Frigate.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Commander's Guide - Firespray-31

On Wednesday we talked about the rebel YT-1300 and Han Solo, so today we're going to discuss the Imperial Counterpart, the bounty hunter Boba Fett and the Firespray-31.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Wave 2 is here!

That is all.

Commander's Guides - YT-1300

With Wave 2 hitting store shelves this week, it's time to start talking about Squadrons.  Yes, I know we haven't covered the MC30c yet, but frankly I want to actually spend some time playing with it and against it before I write about what it can do.

So today we'll start with the Rogues and Villains squadron pack, the first blister to contain both Rebel and Imperial parts, and talk about the iconic YT-1300 and it's named pilot Han Solo.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Wave 2 Support Teams - Projection Experts Appreciation Station

Well, this is excitement.  Wave 2 brings us from 3 Support Teams total, to a whopping 4.  And the ships that can take a Support Team from 3, to a whipping... 4.  It's time to talk about the only new Support Team - Projection Experts!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Wave 2 Weapons Teams

Previously we've covered Wave 2's new officers, but today we are going to talk about the Weapons Teams that come with the new Wave 2 ships.  What ships do they work with?  What roles do they improve?

Well, let's take a look at the two new Weapons Teams.  We've got 3 ships that can utilize them in the new expansion - the Raider, the MC30c and the ISD, plus the three ships from the previous wave: the AFII, the GSD, and the VSD.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Obstacle Placement - Part 3 - Case Studies

Well, we've talked about setting up obstacles, and about different objectives that are played with obstacles, but what we haven't done is actually looked at obstacle placement in a real game.  Well, we're going to look at a few games we've got records for and look at how obstacles were placed, and how that affected deployment and the feel of the game.

So, let's take a look at some of them:

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Obstacle Placement - Part 2 - Obstacle Specific Objectives

On Monday we talked about placing obstacles in Objectives without any special obstacle rules.  This time we are going to talk about the three objectives that specifically change obstacle placement or rules in their use.  Both Minefields and Contested Outpost change who places what obstacles and where each obstacle can go.  Dangerous Territory, while it doesn't directly change the location of the obstacles, changes how they function for both the first player (worth points when overlapped once) and second player (points and no effect for rocks and debris).

In addition to these, the objective Fleet Ambush also puts some ships from the First Player deployed within a zone where obstacles could be set up.  While I won't be explicitly covering this in the article, keep it in mind when setting up obstacles, both as First and Second player.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Obstacle Placement - Part 1 - Standard Obstacle Placement Objectives

By request, today we are going to discuss a frequently overlooked and honestly quite difficult topic - obstacle placement.  Now, we're just going to talk about normal obstacle placement, and not dive into more complicated obstacle based objectives like Minefields, Dangerous Territory, or Contested Outpost.  Hell, it doesn't even consider non-obstacle specific objectives like Hyperspace Assault or Firing Lanes.  Just where you want to place your obstacles to maximize your potential deployment and spoil your opponents.

What we will be working with.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Commander's Guide - Guest Article - Imperial Class Star Destroyer

I was going to write up a Commander's Guide for the Imperial Class Star Destroyer, but it doesn't seem fair to write an article for a ship I've never flown before.  Though I have had the honor of flying against it, at Sullust and beyond, because David Sciulli won it, and had been one of my local regular opponents.  He was nice enough to ask me to write his own article on the ISD.

So without further ado, here's David's take on the Imperial's newest centerpiece, the Imperial Class Star Destroyer.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Interview With Worlds Champion Jonathan Reining

I managed to track down Armada World Champion Jonathan Reining and ask him a few questions about Worlds, his championship list, and what his thoughts were going forward.  Before anything else, I wanted to congratulate him for winning Worlds and becoming our first ever World Champion, and thank him for taking the time to answer the questions that I asked him.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Blogger Battle! After Action Report - Biggs vs Shmitty

I hope by now everyone knows about Concentrate Fire! the blog by Shmitty and one of the best Armada blogs out there.  In case you didn't, well go click on that link to go and see some of the stuff he's written up.

Well, because the two of us have been reading one another's blogs, and figuring out Wave 1 together, we figured the only appropriate thing to do was to play against one another on Vassal and bring you the aftermath.  You can see his thought process for creating his fleet here.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Wave 2 Officers

Let's continue into discussion of Wave 2 upgrade cards, with Wave 2 Officers.  This is the biggest addition of upgrade cards with the new expansion, bringing in 5 non-unique upgrades as well as 2 named officers for each faction.  We're going to take a look at all the new officers and see where they can fit into your Wave 2 fleet.

The Sky Isn't Falling: Reaction to Worlds

Worlds is over, and with it Jonathan Reinig has taken first overall with his list of Garm Bel Iblis, 2 AFII-Bs, a CR90B, and 8 A-Wings.  Congratulations to him, especially for being our first World Champion for the game, but also for proving something we've really known all along:  Squadrons aren't bad or worthless, just requiring practice and skill to use effectively.

And Jonathan did use them effectively in two games streamed live on FFG's Twitch TV, using them to great effect to destroy his enemy's ships with nothing in the way of upgrades on his stock Assault Frigates and only a Token distributing Garm on his CR90B.  Using the A-Wings, the rebel fighter that is not only the most point-effective Interceptor in the game, but also a viable anti-ship platform and space superiority fighter (see Squadron Composition) he was able to go the distance, ending the tournament with 42 points to his nearest opponent's 37.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Commander's Guide - Raider Class Corvette

It's time to dig more into the Wave 2 ships with a new Commander's Guide, specifically the Imperial's Raider Class Corvette, the first thing without "Star Destroyer" somewhere in the name that the Imperials can put down on the table.  Not that this "Personal Pan" pizza slice doesn't look similar to literally everything the Imperials have.  It does get the honor of filling some roles that the previous Star Destroyers couldn't or were not the ideal choice for, specifically anti-squadron support and as an weapon upgrade platform.

Let's take a look at the Raider, and see what's under the hood of the new Imperial support ship.

The Raider Class Corvette, covering the far Left flank with a GSD

Monday, November 2, 2015

Wave 1 Memorial Tournament - Round 4 vs MattShadowlord Game Play

Final match of the Wave 1 Vassal Memorial Tournament - I am up vs Matt Shadowlord and a chance to pull into 2nd or 3rd place with a convincing win.  To review, here is his fleet:

[ MattShadowlord FLEET - 396/400]
- DESPOT Victory I-class Star Destroyer - Admiral Screed (99)
- JUSTICE Gladiator I-class Star Destroyer - Assault Concussion Missiles (63)
- ORDER Gladiator I-class Star Destroyer - Assault Concussion Missiles (63)
- PACIFICATION Gladiator I-class Star Destroyer - Assault Concussion Missiles - Insidious (66)
- AUTHORITY Gladiator I-class Star Destroyer - Engine Techs - Assault Concussion Missiles - Demolisher (81)
- TIE Fighter Squadron (8) x3 = (24)

My ships would be the so far intact original Porkins as Garm's new flagship, the Memories of Alderaan from the previous game, and the new Darklighter II.  BEAST and Dinner Squadrons had been reformed.

Friday, October 30, 2015

Wave 1 Memorial Tournament - Round 4 vs MattShadowlord Initial Thoughts

Is there a sign on my back that says "Match me up against Australians?"

My round 4 opponent would be MattShadowlord, a guy I typically see on vassal, and have played once or twice casually due to both of us being available about the same time - during the week days (for me) early in the morning.  Hurray for a schedule that has me working for 16 hours every Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.  In this tournament he was playing Imperials, and matched evenly with me - both at 20 points.  After pod play both of us were tied, with Maturin, for 5th place, giving the winner a pretty secure top 4 slot, but only if one of us actually won outright this time.  First place was pretty much out though, baring JJs Juggernaut / Green Knight and Doobleg / Gowtah both going to 5-5 draws.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

How Does Wave 2 Change Wave 1 Ships? Part 2 - Imperials

On Monday, we got to talk about how Wave 2 coming out changed the roles and upgrades we are likely to see on the various Wave 1 Rebel ships - today we will be going over the Imperials.

So how will the change to 400 points, and the addition of all the new ships, commanders, and upgrades affect the Victory and Gladiator Class Star Destroyers?

Monday, October 26, 2015

How Does Wave 2 Change Wave 1 Ships? Part 1 - Rebels

There is little doubt that with Wave 2 on the horizon, nearly doubling the amount of ships, upgrades and squadrons - to give no mention of the increase in total points to 400 - will substantially shake up the game and what we will be seeing on the 6x3 surface in front of us.  But what about the wave 1 ships we've come to know and love?  How does Wave 2 affect them?

And that's what we will be discussing.  Today we will be focusing on the Rebel ships of wave 1; the Assault Frigate Mk II, Nebulon B Frigate, and the CR90 Corvette, with the Imperial ships to come soon.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Wave 1 Memorial Tournament - Round 3 vs doobleg

Here's the final round of Pod 4 for the FFG Forums Wave 1 Memorial Tournament, verses my "first" opponent doobleg.  An excellent player and the winner of the previous tournament, I knew he was going to give me a run for my money.  I also knew that at 15 points I'd have to pretty much win outright to stay in control of the pod.  At this point, doobleg had 8 points having played only a single game against Brian Black, and still had to face off against DabDarklighter.

To refresh our memory, here is what I was up against:

Victory I-class Star Destroyer - Weapons Liaison - Assault Concussion Missiles (83)
Victory I-class Star Destroyer - Admiral Chiraneau - Expanded Hangar Bay - Corrupter (93)

Monday, October 19, 2015

Commander's Guide - MC80 Mon Cal Cruiser - 50th Article Bonanza!

We've reached a milestone here at the Steel Squadron - this is our 50th article that we've put up!  Admittedly, a couple of those articles were about X-Wing Miniatures (and left us with the ironic web address) and one of them was just proof that I did, in fact, have a mustache and thus was Biggs in Real Life.

But, 50 total!  And to do something special for the big Five-Oh, we're going to go back to what put us on the map - the Commander's Guides!  Still one of our most popular articles months after we put them out.  And today we're going to talk about our first Wave 2 ship, the MC80 Mon Cal Cruiser, being released in the Home One expansion sometime soon (or already in your hands if you won one at Sullust)

The MC80 Mon Cal Cruiser Variants

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Armada Commanders - Wave 2 - Imperials

It's time for more Wave 2 discussion, this time though we will be talking about the Imperial Commanders that are coming out in the 2nd wave.  That's right, we are talking about the Dark Lord of the Sith himself, now firmly in command instead of just in the squadron voted "most likely to be destroyed first".

Oh, and also Admiral Ozzel.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Armada Commanders - Wave 2 - Rebel

It's been awhile, hasn't it?  The last time we talked about Commanders was back in June, and here we are in October.  Actually, Commanders were one of the first things I discussed on this blog, the very first for Armada being objectives, and Commanders not long after that.

So without further ado - let's go through the new Commanders that the Rebellion gets for Wave 2.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Ordinance Upgrades - Wave 1

Wave 1 only had two ships that could take Ordinance and both were Imperial.  The Gladiator Class and the Victory I-Class variant both got the chance to equip either one of the two Ordinance Upgrade cards, though of the two the Gladiator Class was more built for pure ordinance.

Thank goodness that is it for upgrades on Wave 1!

Friday, October 9, 2015

Wave 1 Memorial Vassal Tournament - Round 2 vs Dab Darklighter

In ongoing coverage of my tournament for the Wave 1 Memorial, here is my second round opponent. This time I was up against Dab Darklighter - a guy that is relatively local for me - we actually have played before in the past in real life.  For a reminder, here was his list:

DabDarklighter's Fleet:                       400 pts
Flagship                          126pts  
        VSD2                         85
        Admiral Motti            24
        Intel Officer                7
        Leading Shots            4
        XI7 Turbolasers         6
Ship                                102pts  
        VSD2                        85
        Intel Officer                7
        Leading Shots            4
        XI7 Turbolasers         6
Ship                                86pts    
        VSD1                      73
        Gunnery Team          7
        XI7 Turbolasers         6
Ship                                86pts    
        VSD1                      73
        Gunnery Team          7
        XI7 Turbolasers         6

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Ion Cannon Upgrades - Wave 1

Wave 1 did not give us very many ships that could equip Ion Cannons - actually it only gave us two, and they are both variants.  In fact, they are the most expensive and least expensive ship in all of wave 1 by their variant.  That's right, we're talking about the Victory II-Class Star Destroyer and the CR90 Corvette B.

So, without further ado, let's take a look at what the upgrades do, and what the best use for them is.

This article is part of the Upgrades series.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Wave 1 Memorial Vassal Tournament - Round 1 vs Brian Black

In ongoing coverage of my tournament for the Wave 1 Memorial, here is my first round opponent. Due to how the pod worked, I wound up playing my first game against Brian Black, simply because both of us were free on Sunday night.  For a reminder, here was his list:

+++ Brian Black's Wave 1 Tournament List (396pts) +++

+ Ships (304pts) +

Victory I-Class Star Destroyer (84pts) [Expanded Hangar Bay (5pts), Flight Controllers (6pts)]
Victory II-Class Star Destroyer (123pts) [•Grand Moff Tarkin (38pts)]
Victory II-Class Star Destroyer (97pts) [•Dominator (12pts)]

+ Squadrons (92pts) +

TIE Fighter Squadron (8pts) x3
"Howlrunner" (16pts)

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Turbolaser Upgrades - Wave 1

Wave 1 gave us a relatively large number of Turbolaser upgrades, and a lot of ships to use them with.  In fact, the only two ships that couldn't run a Turbolaser upgrade were either variant of the Gladiator and the CR90B.  Meanwhile, the Victory Class Star Destroyer, Assault Frigate MkII, Nebulon B Frigate, and CR90A Corvette all could take the upgrades.

So lets take a look at what each one does, and see which ships, and which other upgrades, works best with each one.

This article is part of the Upgrades series.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Wave 1 Memorial Vassal Tournament - After Action Report (Initial Thoughts)

With the FFG forums again having a vassal tournament, I knew I needed to be a part of it.  Fortunately not running this one - clontroper5 was going to handle that bit - I could relax and just enjoy the games.  Please note, while I am publishing this after the fact, I actually wrote this article before playing a single game of the tournament.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

After Action Report - Massing at Sullust

Hello everyone!  I had the chance to officiate for, and run in the Massing at Sullust event today at my local game store, Drawbridge Games.  First off, a big shout out to the store owner, Enrico, for letting a group of Armada enthusiasts basically take over his store for essentially the entire day.  We had 6 total attendees, which is actually a fairly large turnout for the area - we are still growing by word of mouth.  Drawbridge did manage to grab the only Massing at Sullust event for the area - Morgantown had one the previous day that I don't believe anyone that came to this one made it to, and Dublin, OH had the next closest one.  We had room for 10 players, and 5 had pre-registered, so an all-around good number.

Also a big shout-out to my Co-Officiant Chris - he had been a huge help getting the whole thing off the group, brainstorming with me and Enrico on logistics for the event (how to turn 3 tables, only two of which were big enough for Armada) into room enough for 10 players.

Because we had less than 8 participants, we decided to follow FFG's suggested round change that they had in the rule insert for the kit - 2 rounds and a cut to the top 2.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Defensive Retrofits - Wave 1

Another upgrade set for wave 1 where there weren't that many upgrades, Defensive Retrofits had only two types produced and only two ships built capable of taking the upgrades.  The ships involved were both rebel ships, the Assault Frigate Mk II and the CR90 Corellian Corvette.

This article is part of the Upgrades series.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Vassal Tournament - After Action Report - Interview with doobleg

After the FFG Forums Vassal Tournament ended, I asked each of the top four players to share their thoughts about the tournament.  I asked each one a set of 8 questions:

1:  Describe your list for the tournament.
2:  What was your general strategy going into the tournament with your list?
3:  Did this strategy change during the course of the tournament?
4:  Describe your R1 game: What was your opponent?  Your strategy for dealing with them?  What went right, what went wrong?
5:  Same for R2.
6:  Same for R3.
7:  Anything you would do to alter your strategy going forward?
8:  Speaking of the future, With wave 2 coming out, how will what you know about the spoilers change your play style?

This time, we're talking with doobleg, the winner of the tournament.  Here are his answers in his own words:

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Vassal Tournament - After Action Report - Interview with JJs Juggernaut

After the FFG Forums Vassal Tournament ended, I asked each of the top four players to share their thoughts about the tournament.  I asked each one a set of 8 questions:

1:  Describe your list for the tournament.
2:  What was your general strategy going into the tournament with your list?
3:  Did this strategy change during the course of the tournament?
4:  Describe your R1 game: What was your opponent?  Your strategy for dealing with them?  What went right, what went wrong?
5:  Same for R2.
6:  Same for R3.
7:  Anything you would do to alter your strategy going forward?
8:  Speaking of the future, With wave 2 coming out, how will what you know about the spoilers change your play style?

Here is the first one - JJs Juggernaut.  Overall 2nd place, and my 3rd round opponent who bounced me from a top finish.  Here are his answers in his own words:

Friday, September 25, 2015

Offensive Retrofits - Wave 1

Offensive Retrofits for wave 1 were somewhat few and far between - only two of them were produced and only two ships were built capable of taking the upgrades.  The ships involved were the two mediums size ships, the Assault Frigate Mk II and the Victory Class Star Destroyer.

This article is part of the Upgrades series.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Support Team Upgrades - Wave 1

Wave 1 gave us 3 Support Team Upgrades to use with our ships - and 3 ships that could use them.  The CR90, GSD, and NebB all can take the Support Team upgrade, and all make use of it in different ways.

This article is part of the Upgrades series.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Tournament Points and Winning - Part II - Squadrons?

The last time we looked at Tournament Points, we discussed why maximizing your points, and going for a 10-0 win would enable you to control your destiny in a tournament.  And we did so by looking at the winner of the US National's Tournament, the "GenCon Special" otherwise known as "VGGG".  We also looked at what a similar list would look like from a Rebel perspective.

To keep things simple for our calculations, we ignored squadrons from the equation all together.  No doubt, squadrons complicate matters.  They are worth nothing on the board if your list is tabled, and a viable strategy, popularized with the "GenCon Special" is to rush in at full speed and attempt to remove all enemy ships before your own are destroyed - against which squadrons are points that are not spent ensuring you have the hull left to survive a reckless attack.

But can squadrons be worked into the equation with the tournament points, and what would list with these squadrons look like?

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Weapons Teams Upgrades - Wave 1

For Weapons Teams, Wave 1 gave us 3 different possible upgrades, as well as 3 ships capable of bringing them into the fight - the VSD, the GSD, and the AFII.  Today we are going to go over those upgrades, and talk about how they might be best utilized.

This article is part of the Upgrades series.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Officer Upgrades - Wave 1

In an effort to clear through the upgrades of Wave 1 before Wave 2 officially hits, today we are going to go over the Officer upgrades.  Officers are an upgrade that any ship can equip, but not all officers can go on all ships - like Commanders, some officers are named, unique cards that only can only be used by a specific faction.

This article is part of the Upgrades series.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Tournament Points and Winning

With the Vassal Armada tournament coming to a close, I've been considering the point system used in the tournament, and it's effect on the meta that I've seen.  I've been trying to figure out the "best" strategy to build for and strategize around in a tournament - do you go for the table every time or do you play a long game?  With these thoughts in mind, I crunched a few numbers, specifically tournament points and overall Margin of Victory.

Suppose you knew that with your list you could win every game, but only with a MOV sufficient for an 8-2 win.  Do you bring this list to a tournament, or do you bring something more aggressive, that will likely see a 10-0 win, but doesn't guarantee you a win every time?  Actually, it depends on the number of players in the tournament, and how many of them you expect will be bringing a 10-0 list.  Consider - if any 10-0 players are in the game, they will be matched with one another in round 2, and both will not win.  While an 8-2 list will likely be matched up against another list with a smaller victory.

For that matter, if you do decide to go the 10-0 route, how many points can you be willing to offer up to your opponent?  For sake of argument, I will be using the 300pt tournament rules, as the MOV for 400pt games is not available at the time of this article.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Building A Fleet - Ship Roles and WWII

Lately, I've been playing a lot of World of Warships, and thinking of how similar this game is to the concept, if not execution of World War II - the "Golden Age" of naval combat tactics.  World War II was the last gasp of big gun ships before missiles made them obsolete, and the beginning of air superiority as the dominant feature of a modern day navy.

In this sense, Wave 1 can correspond to the beginning of the war, or perhaps the period between The Great War (WWI) and World War II.  You also begin to see the strategies in design begin to diverge between the major players of the time.  In this article, we will be looking at the various ships of Wave 1, as well as the spoiled ships of Wave 2 to see how each fit into the greater strategy of the game.

Ship Types of World War II

The Corvette - The smallest rated ship, the corvette's main role in the WWII era was convoy escort or as a minesweeper.  Probably the closest real world approximation to a CR90 Corvette, or a Raider Class Corvette would be the British Tribal Class Destroyer - a destroyer equipped with a heavier gun battery vs the torpedoes favored on other Destroyer type craft.

The Destroyer - Originally conceived to protect battleships from even smaller ships making torpedo runs, the Torpedo Boat Destroyer (shortened to Destroyer) eventually evolved into the role of making the Torpedo attacks itself, as well as convoy guarding and anti-sub duties.  Armed primarily with Torpedoes, and light armament, the closest equivalents to these would be the GSD and MC30.

The Cruiser - Larger than a destroyer, but smaller than a battleship, during WWII these ships were classified as cruisers and had multiple mission roles, and covered a huge spread of ship sizes and armaments.  For the sake of arguement here, we are going to look at two "sizes" of cruisers, and three roles.

The Light Cruiser - Lightly armored and fast, the light cruiser excelled either as the leader of a destroyer squadron or as an anti-aircraft platform that required protection from other ships.  The Nebulon B Frigate fills this role fairly well.

The Heavy Cruiser - A heavily armored and large cruiser, not sporting the heavy armament of a Battleship, would fall into this role.  The AFII would probably be the best example of this in the game right now.  The role of the Heavy Cruiser was one of high speed, heavy armor, but relatively light armament compared to a Battleship.

The Battleship - The biggest ships on the seas, the Battleship is nevertheless split between "Pre-Dreadnought" and Dreadnought eras.

The Pre-Dreadnought - Slow and unwieldy compared to modern ships, with less armor, speed and guns.  The Victory Class Star Destroyer perfectly encapsulates this concept, having been used extensively in the previous war, but being outclassed by the newer, bigger ISD.

Dreadnought Era Battleships - The biggest things on the ocean.  Heavy emphasis on armor and guns mean that the ships could deliver a pounding and take one as well.  Both the MC80 and Imperial Class Star Destroyer fit into this category.

The Carrier - Here there isn't a really good analog.  Most of the ships are capable of being a carrier, but in WWII and modern navies, the Carrier ship is a dedicated platform for bringing fighter and bomber squadrons to the battle.  If a carrier is directly engaged, it has little defenses aside from slight AA.  For purposes of this exercise, we are going to ignore carriers and assume "offscreen" sources for carriers.

Here are some raw numbers that might be interesting.

Total Numbers for Each Faction:

FS: 1
DD: 1
CL: 1
CH: 1
B: 0
BB: 1

FS: 1
DD: 1
CL: 0
CH: 0
B: 1
BB: 1

Approximate Cost Before Upgrades:
FS:  45
DD: 60
CL: 60
CH: 80
B: 85
BB: 125
CV: 10 pts / Squadron

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Vassal Tournament - After Action Report (Round 1)

To see my thoughts on my overall list, click here.

To see the FFG Forum thread, click here.

Round 1

Biggs IRL vs godofcheese  <- Click for Log File of the game to replay it in Vassal.

godofcheese's List:
  - Gunnery Team
(Total: 118)  [Total w/ Most Wanted: 203]

  - Intel Officer
  - Gunnery Team
(Total: 99)

  - Demolisher
  - Engine Techs
  - Assault Concussion Missles
(Total: 81)

Looking over my opponents list, I knew my easiest path for victory was to destroy 1 of his ships, and only trade 1 of my CR90s in exchange.  With each of his ships pushing 80+ points each, but neither being naturally over 125, I knew dropping one of them would give me the win if I didn't overextend.  As I figured earlier, Big Boy needed to live, but everyone else was expendable if they netted me a bigger fish when they dropped.  He elected to go as 2nd player, leaving me to chose his objectives, and with the above thoughts in mind, I decided to go with Most Wanted, hoping I could use it to drop one of his ships slightly faster, and counting on the Big Boy's ability to outshoot whatever it couldn't outrun, or Jaina's Light's ability to outrun everything.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Vassal Tournament - After Action Report (Initial Thoughts)

For my list in the Vassal Tournament, my though process was to give myself multiple options every turn, with the theory that the more options I had to work with, the less likely I was to be in a situation where I had no chance of success.  For this I went with a list that focused on one Battleship style ship, an AFII-B kitted out as a flagship with Mon Mothma (better evades), Advanced Projectors (to use All of the AFII's heavy shields), and Enhanced Armament / Gunnery Team, to maximize firepower from the side arcs.  Well, the closest thing we have to a battleship in Wave 1 at any rate.  I christened this monstrous point-filled abomination "Big Boy", and he clocked in at 125 points, or 5/12 of my total list.  Losing Big Boy would basically be an auto-loss.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Vassal Tournament

Hey everyone.  Biggs here, letting you know that I'll probably not be posting anything to spectacular here while the Fantasy Flight Games Vassal Tournament is ongoing.

On the other hand, I'm running the thing, and it has been a blast so far.  Much thanks to godofcheese my 1st round opponent from all the way out in Western Australia for an awesome game against a very scary list (VSDII x2, Gunnery Team & Screed + Demolisher / ACM / Engine Tech GSD).  I'm still not sure how I managed to keep my Assault Frigate alive.  So keep an eye on the tournament!  I'll have a writeup with my take on the whole thing once everything is said and done.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Playing Armada Online - How to Vassal

Edit (10/1/15):  Updated for more of the 2.00 information.  If I am missing anything, let me know in the comments, and I'll explain it as best I can.

Hello again everyone.  Today we are going to go over how to play online with strangers on the internet.  That's right, it's time to discuss how to play on Vassal.

First off you will need to download the Vassal Client and Armada module.  You can find the Vassal Client Here, and the Armada Module Here.  You will need to download both, and possibly download or update your Java client.  For me, it was fairly easy to install, but depending on your operating system, you may need to take some additional steps.

But enough about the install, let's play the game!

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Armada and Geometry: The Measuring Tools

Today, lets take a look at the dimensions of the playing space, the maneuver tool, and the measuring tool.

Board Space and the Measuring Tool

Armada Measurement Tool is just a bit longer than X-Wing.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Monday, July 27, 2015

FAQ & Tournament Rules Update - 7.24.15

Today we are going to talk briefly bit about the FAQ update as well as the Tournament Rule changes just released by Fantasy Flight on the 24th.


Overall, there isn't much in the FAQ that changes in a dramatic way an understanding of any of the cards.  For the most part, it is a clarification of the existing rules.  Interestingly enough, the ruling of XI-7 Turbolasers and how they interact with the Advanced Projectors was not covered (it should be noted that Advanced Projectors lets you transfer 1 damage to each hull zone against an XI-7 attack, per FFG email).

The biggest change was how attacks were made, specifically how line of sight was established on hull zones.  Previously, the rule as worded allowed you to take shots on an enemy hull zone if it was in arc and had line of sight that did not go through another hull zone.  Now you have to measure both line of sight AND attack range to ensure neither one goes through another hull zone.

Let's take a look at what is a legal shot and what isn't:
AFII has a line of sight on the VSD's rear arc.
But the VSD's rear arc isn't in the AFII's side arc per the new rules.
Above, the pictures show a shot that with the previous rules as written would be perfectly legal.  The rear arc of the VSD is within the side arc of the AFII (though you'd have to go through the VSD's side arc to measure it), and there is Line of Sight between both arcs.  Under the new rules, because the shortest point between the two that is still in arc is now covered by the VSD's side arc, the shot is no good - the AFII cannot shoot the VSD's rear with its side arc.

The AFII has line of sight on the VSD's rear arc from its front...
And though some points are blocked...
The nearest point in arc is not.
This is the example of something that is still legal - in the above scenario, the AFII has the rear hull zone of the VSD in its front arc, and still does according to the new rules after measuring for range.  It also has the line of sight, making it a perfectly legal shot.

General Rule Clarifications:

Each attack against a squadron is treated as a separate attack for purposes of cards.  No, you are not allowed to attack ALL squadrons with two extra blue dice with Dominator, unless you spend shields for each attack.

Card Clarifications:

Admiral Motti - Sympathetic Death for your ships is now a thing that can happen: if Motti's ship is destroyed, and another of your ships has enough damage to destroy it without Motti's effect, it blows up too.

Admiral Screed - Yes, he works like you think he does.  Screed lets you change a dice to any face that has a crit, even if other things are on that face.

Demolisher - You can use the post-maneuver attack after you use Engine Techs.  You cannot maneuver > attack > engine tech maneuver > attack.  If you don't attack before you maneuver, the first attack is lost.  Demolisher only affects one of the attacks.

Warlord - Like Screed, you can use Warlord to change your red dice to a double hit result.

Garm Bel Iblis - Just a friendly reminder, no duplicate command tokens.

Tournament Rules:

First there is a quick clarification on what happens if both players have all their ships blown up at the same time - even if there is a point differential (from objectives), the Second Player gets a win, and the game ends with a 0 point margin of victory.


TOME exists, and does stuff.  Specifically, it changes the calculations for strength of schedule tiebreakers from "How Many Tournament Points Do Your Opponents Have?" to a calculation that does not factor in Byes to the strength of schedule.  Consider the following Scenario:

Ackbar played Vader, Piett, and Ozzle.  Vader has 26 Tournment Points, Piett has 10, and Ozzle has 15.  Ackbar - according to the basic tournament rules, would have a total Strength of Schedule of 51.

But Piett had a bye in the 3rd round, inflating his score, and Ozzle also had a 1st round bye!  So the new calculation would be as follows:

Vader = 26 / 3 = 8.67
Piett = 2 / 2 = 1.00
Ozzle = 7 / 2 = 3.50
Total = (8.67 + 1.00 + 3.50) / 3 = 4.39 Strength of Schedule for Ackbar

Conversely, Ozzle had a first round bye.  His opponents were Solo and Ackbar.  Solo had 21 ponits, and Ackbar had 24.  For the old way of measuring, he wound up with 44 points for Strength of Schedule.

But since he had a first round bye, the new calculation would be as follows:

Solo = 21 / 3 = 7
Ackbar = 24 / 3 = 8
Total = (7+8) / 2 = 7.5 Strength of Schedule for Ozzle

So you can see that the new TOME calculations remove byes from the equation, as earlier Ackbar would have a much better Strength of Schedule even though most of his opponents had byes, and Ozzle had a much worse Strength of Schedule because of his early bye.  But with the TOME calculations, the effects of the byes are removed, and you get results based on only the games that were played.  Something to keep in mind if you are playing in a tournament.


The next is how pairings take place.  Pairings are random for the first round, but Players can ask not to be paired up with people they traveled with or family members for the first round only.  After the first round, players are paired up against one another randomly, based on their Tournament Score.  If an odd number of players are in any particular Tournament Score, a random player from that group is they are paired with a player from the next lowest group.

The other big edit is that players should not be paired against each other more than once before the end of the tournament / elimination rounds.

Mirror Matches:

Painting your ships is now a legal way to differentiate who owns which ships.

One Tool Rule:

You can only use one measuring tool at a time to measure range / distance / movement.  No triangulation!  And no marking things off with tokens.

Displacement in Maneuvers:

Both players need to agree on how to mark displaced ships when moving through areas.

Well, that's it for this update.  I hope this lets you look at the big highlights of the changes for the tournaments and FAQs.  Next time I'll discuss movement and formations!

Want to know right when my next article comes out?  Don't forget to follow this blog!

Monday, July 20, 2015

Building a Fleet - Squadron Composition

Last time we covered general concepts in fleet building, but now it is time to dig into the details.  In this article we are going to be covering Squadron Composition for constructing a fleet - figuring out in what way the squadrons will compliment your ships and play style, what kind of squadrons you want to bring based on their role, and making it all come together for your finished list.

My apologies, I'm still in the middle of my move (everything is moved in, but Armada isn't unpacked and internet is installed later this week), so no pictures on the blog posts yet.

Edit:  With Wave 2 out, this article is slightly out of date.  Stay tuned for an update in a future article.

What Ships Will You Bring?

The most important decision for how many squadrons to bring are what kind of ships you are bringing for them to support.  Fighters work best when being supported by Capital ships through squadron commands, and the various ships have Squadron Values that determine how many of those squadrons they can reasonably support.  Let’s take a quick look at the different ships and see how many squadrons each one could reasonably command during an engagement:

CR90 Corvette – 1
Nebulon B Support - 1
Nebulon B Escort – 2
Assault Frigate MkIIA – 2
Assault Frigate MkIIB – 3
Assault Frigate MkIIB w/ Hangar Bay - 4

Gladiator Class Star Destroyer – 2
Victory Class Star Destroyer – 3
Victory Class Star Destroyer w/ Hanger Bay – 4

Everything else equal, the ships with higher squadron commands are the ones that could reasonably be though to be able to effectively make squadron commands on a regular basis.  There are, however, a few squadrons that work well independent of squadron commands, namely A-Wings, TIE Interceptors, and TIE Fighters, though all three of them do this in different ways and for different reasons.

“Unsupported” Squadrons

A-Wings and TIE Interceptors work because both have access to the COUNTER keyword, which allows them the ability to intercept other squadrons, particularly unescorted bombers, and deal damage on the bomber’s activation.  A-Wings are slightly better at this, having 4 hull to the TIE Interceptor’s 3, however Interceptors can be improved immensely by one key addition.

Because Interceptors have the SWARM ability, they can improve their COUNTER attack with rerolls if their attacker is also engaged with another ship.  This ship could be a second Interceptor, or a TIE Fighter that has also just engaged. 

The TIE Fighter, due to its inexpensive cost and the aforementioned SWARM boost to the Interceptor, make it a viable un-supported squadron as well.  Due to its cheap cost, the TIE Fighter can be used either to ensure a larger number of squadrons, giving you the option to go last during the squadron phase after your opponent has moved and activated all of their own squadrons; thus letting you engage enemy squadrons without fear of reprisal that turn, or attack any enemy that has already engaged you.  Finally, TIE Fighters can be used as sacrificial lambs, engaging high priority targets like Luke, Wedge, or B-Wing cover for a Nebulon B, making certain that while those ships will eliminate the TIE Fighter in short order, they won’t be using them against your higher value targets that turn.

What Will Your Squadrons Do?

Here, you have a decision to make regarding how your fleet is going to work.  What role are the Squadrons going to take, considering what ships you are bringing and what your own plan of attack is going to be?  Are you going to go with the intent on shooting down a bunch of your opponents fighters, to win the overall fighter duel and wind up with free points?  Are you going to launch a BOMBER attack on the enemy ships, adding your squadrons anti-ship battery to your own ship’s attacks?  Will you fly defensively, using your squadrons as a delaying force, keeping the enemy BOMBERs from your own ships?  Or will you protect your ships with a screen of BOMBERs, deterring an enemy ship that comes into close range?

There are a variety of options for how you will build an effective force of snubfighters, but for point values the roles are something like this for using the squadrons effectively:

BOMBER Attack – Max Points (~40% BOMBERs and ~60% Anti-Squadron) – This approach requires maximum numbers of carrier spec’d ships to establish squadron superiority and then send its bombers at the enemy ships it will be attacking for a one / two punch - for example a pair of AFIIs or a pair of VSDs.  The best combinations of squadrons for this role for the Rebels are X-Wings and A-Wings (both as an Anti-Squadron role and then to transition to bombers once the enemy is wiped out), with Y-Wings being the fast (relative to B-Wing) moving bombers.  For the Imperials, Major Rhymer lets you make the “Rhymer Ball” turning your squadrons into effectively a Medium Range shooting ship.  Aside from him, TIE Fighters and TIE Advanced make up the anti-squadron fighters (and can transition to fairly cost effective anti-ship squadrons once cover is eliminated) while TIE Bombers cover the heavy hitting.  Due to how many points are sunk into squadrons for this list, consider “Unsupported” ships to fill in the gaps and screen your flanks, like TIE Interceptors, lots of TIE Fighters, or A-Wings.  They can always be the recipients of Squadron commands if the needs arises or other squadrons drop to enemy fire.

For ship based support, you will want carrier spec’d ships all the way.  More activations means larger ships with hanger bays and flight controllers are needed, if you are going to take space superiority. 

Space Superiority – 50% to 70% Anti-Squadron and Interceptors – The Space Superiority role is all about taking out enemy squadrons.  The best fighters for this role are squadrons with large amounts of anti-squadron dice, and the ability to switch to an anti-ship role if the squadron fight is over faster than expected being a big plus.  X-Wings are the probably the best at this role, while TIE Fighters / Advanced and A-Wings are all good options as well, each having something that they aren’t particularly good at.  Interceptors work okay, though they are hurt by their low hull and poor anti-ship die if they have to serve in a pinch anti-ship roll.  Named Squadrons shine at this, with Darth Vader, Dutch, Soontir Fel, Wedge, Howlrunner and Mauler Mithel bringing considerable additional power to the mix.

For ship based support, you will also want carrier spec’d ships, though possibly not as many, for example one VSD1 spec'd as a carrier and a VSD2 built to murder enemy ships would be a reasonable build.  You may wind up having squadrons that are “unsupported” to tie down stragglers until your ball of death can catch up with them.  Going with named squadrons limits the number of ships you need support for.

Ship Escort – 30% to 50% Bombers, Interceptors to taste – The Ship Escort is usually seen with B-Wings keeping close quarters Imperial ships from closing into short range of Nebulon Bs or Assault Frigates.  There really isn’t a viable Imperial alternative to this, though.  This is especially effective with Yavaris and a double attack activation, allowing a pair of B-Wings to savage an enemy dumb enough to get that close with a total of 4 Blue and 4 Black dice.  Using A-Wings to screen the B-Wings from enemy fighters is almost certainly a part of the equation as well.

For ship based support, Yavaris is the biggest name on the list, though Gallant Haven is an option as well.  Flight Controllers can be useful if your bombers are engaged, though not necessary.  Adar Tallon can mean an extra attack for that B-Wing escort, and that can be an absolute deathblow.

Anti-Fighter Escort – 30%-50% Anti-Squadron – This build assumes you already have enough anti-ship capabilities, and just want a screen against enemy squadrons - for example, a VSD and two GSDs / or an AFII and a pair of NebBs.  In this case, you want to limit the amount of points you are giving up if the enemy brings a large fighter base, but still have enough to keep their bombers off of your ships.  TIE Fighters, A-Wings, TIE Interceptors (or Soontir Fel) with Advanced support works best in this scenario.  Tycho Celchu is also a good pick for his ability to lock down enemy squadrons and then run away once they are out of range of your ships.

Really, if you’re going this route you aren’t putting much down for ship support, though a timely squadron command can make all the difference.  Warlord / H9, Point Defense Reroute, or any of the 2 Dice Anti-Squadron ships can also help with this build.

No Squadrons – So, you went with a CR90 Corvette Swarm?  Consider this, an A-Wing flying with each Corvette would let you engage a Rhymer Ball, or the Corvette could use a banked squadron token to send the A-Wing to attack (and probably stick to) an enemy VSD or Nebulon B.  One command, banked until later, and the A-Wing is fine to go off and work its magic on its own after that, no further input required.

Bringing It All Together

So a quick summary of what squadrons you want to bring, and for what role:

X-Wings – Space Superiority / Secondary Bomber
Y-Wings – Bomber Attack
A-Wings – Interceptor & Escort / Secondary Space Superiority & Bomber
B-Wings – Ship Escort

TIE Fighter – Space Superiority & Anti-Squadron Escort / Secondary Interceptor / Emergency Bomber
TIE Interceptor – Interceptor (Bombers Only), Anti-Squadron Escort & Space Superiority
TIE Advanced – Support for TIE Interceptors / Secondary Bomber & Interceptor

TIE Bomber – Bomber Attack

Well, that is it for this round.  Let me know what you'd like to see for next time at the Steel Squadron HQ.  More advice for fleet building?  Covering more upgrade cards?  It's up to you to let your voice be heard!

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Building a Fleet - General Concepts

Now we finally have covered all the ships and squadrons in our Commander's Guide series, it is time to dive into integrating what we have learned into building a list of our own.  For sake of argument, we're going to be using the Wave 1 standard of 300 point fleets.  In this article we will be covering the beginnings of building a fleet of your own - how to take those first few steps and how your ships will work together toward a goal.

Build Your Fleet to Objectives vs Pick Objectives For Your Fleet

One of the first choices you need to make when designing your fleet is if you are going to take a top down approach - picking out a set of objectives and designing your fleet around them, or a bottom up approach - build a good all-around fleet and pick the objectives which best play to its strengths.

If you are designing your fleet to a set of objectives, you will also need to bid to make sure you get the Second Player, and build your fleet to be able to manage handing first activation to the opponent.

On the other hand, if you are building your fleet first, you need to plan for it to be able to handle a range of objectives fairly well, and don't necessarily have to bid.  For this, there are two ways to go: The first is plan around a single objective type - you are guaranteed to face one of 4 Assault objectives, for example - and you can then plan your list around a single objective type.  The second is truly a bottom up approach - figure out which objectives work best for you, until you have filled out 4 of a single color.  Perhaps you'd rather pick Hyperspace Assault as first player, even though you are good with any of the Navigation objectives.

How Many Ships Do You Bring?

Having more ships than an opponent is a considerable advantage.  Being able to make the last activation of the round lets you create situations where your opponent must come to you, moving into your ship's line of fire before you have to activate.  Being Player 1 is an even bigger advantage with high numbers of ships, as you can activate a ship as the final activation of the round, put it into a dangerous position, and activate it again first the next turn, flying it to safety.

The drawback though is that smaller ships tend to be easier to destroy, and cost more to upgrade each one vs a smaller number of heavily upgraded ships.  Bringing more ships also means that you likely have less to spend in the first place for upgrades, as well as Squadrons.  It is more punishing of mistakes - if you mess up and wind up with a ship left in the front arc of a VSD, it is probably going to take it off the board, where a larger ship could have held out for a turn or two.

What Are Some Typical Compositions?

While this is far from an exhaustive list of possibilities, these are a few fleet options you can look into when constructing your first list.  Each have their advantages and disadvantages, but all will get you started on your way to building your first list.

Edit:  With Wave 2 out, this is quite a bit out of date.  Stay tuned for a new update Wednesday!

Twin VSDs - The twin VSD build is a favorite of the Imperials, giving you two really hard to kill ships and a scary number of anti-ship dice out of their two front arcs.  Relatively inexpensive but light on ships, the Twin VSD lends itself well to Carrier style builds and a strong Squadron buy, or to heavy anti-ship upgrades with minimal fighter support.  Motti is an excellent Commander for this build, adding more hull and thus more wiggle room for your ships.  Tarkin is also excellent, taking advantage of the large Command values of the two ships.  The biggest drawback is that it doesn't have very many ships, and all its ships are slow. meaning several objectives will be difficult to clear.  Most Wanted, Opening Salvo, Fleet Ambush, Intel Sweep - all of these are awful for the list if it winds up in First Player.  But letting the opponent have First Player is even worse.

VSD / Demolisher - Combining the best upgraded monstrosity the Imperials have in the Demolisher, with a Carrier VSD for anti-squadron / bomber support.  This list can put a lot of hurt on an opponent very rapidly.  Also inexpensive, but light on ships, it definitely relies on squadron support and commands from the carrier VSD to back up the Demolisher as a heavy hitter.  Its big drawback is the Demolisher itself - if not careful, a well defended enemy can force a trade against the 90+ point GSD,   Also, while the Demolisher is fast, the list is still light on ship numbers and needs to go first, and has more than a few objectives that do not favor it, such as Most Wanted, Opening Salvo, Contested Outpost, and Dangerous Territory.

Three GSDs - The closest thing the Imperials get to a swarm, Three fully kitted out Gladiators and very few to no squadrons have a lot of punishing firepower up close.  The drawback is the lack of squadrons and the need to be that close - while the list will destroy anything that gets into close range, it has basically no long range support, nor anti-squadron capabilities for stopping BOMBERs that are flying in formation with the enemy fleet.  Screed is a favorite Commander for this list, though Tarkin constantly providing Maneuver tokens is a viable option as well.

Two VSDs / Demolisher - Another three ship Imperial build that is light on squadrons - though capable of bringing a few to engage enemy bomber squadrons.  The Twin VSDs bring a decent area denial from their front arc, and the Demolisher can chase down enemies on the flank.  It is expensive to bring this many ships though, and this will limit the upgrades and total number of fighters that can be brought.  A good all-around build, it doesn't mind going first or second, so forget any point bids and cram everything you can onto it.  Motti adds a total of 5 hull to the list, keeping the important ships alive, while Tarkin can add 3 tokens (one to each ship) a turn.  Screed works well too, as both the VSDs will probably be VSD1s.

Two AFIIs - Two Assault Frigates play similar in style to the Twin VSDs in terms of points.  You have the option of going squadron heavy with a carrier style build, or going for heavy damage with Paragon and anti-ship weaponry.  As a two ship build, there are certain objectives you do not want to play, though you aren't as hampered by the VSDs lack of speed.  Garm Bel Iblis was made for this list, though depending on your build Gen Dodonna could be argued.

AFII / Neb-B / CR90 - The baseline rebel build, it could swing either way to Squadron heavy or to Anti-Ship upgrades.  Going upgrade light, you could even cram another CR90 in, though that wouldn't leave much for squadrons either.  The CR90(s) and the Neb-B are weakpoints in this list, meaning they have to be protected to keep them from just handing your opponent free points.  Mon Mothma is the general best Commander for this list.

AFII / Three CR90s - Combining the anchor of the AFII, and a min-swarm of CR90s, this list tries to get the best of all worlds.  It has the space for upgrades to the AFII and limited squadron support.  Mon Mothma really works with this list, though Dodonna could make an appearance for a more offense oriented look.  With the extra ships, this list makes a strong push toward First Player, though Most Wanted / Opening Salvo / Fire Lanes / Fleet Ambush and Dangerous Territory definitely favor it if it goes first.

CR90 Swarm - This build is all about death of a thousand cuts, and making good trades on points.  Squadrons will be minimal if they exist at all (A-Wings only, most likely) and upgrades the same.  The list is all about going first and having the last activation, so a bid for First Player is necessary to utilize the full potential.  Mon Mothma really fits as the Commander, due to the sheer number of evades, though Dodonna could argue for his inclusion as well.

That's it for the General Concepts - a brief overview of ship building.  Next time we will talk about adding Squadrons to your fleet, what roles they have to play, and which compositions will work best for you.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Commander's Guide - B-Wing

This is it.  We've been working our way through the Squadrons, and we've finally reached the end.  After covering the rest of the Rebel Squadrons, we are finally on the last of them, the B-Wing.

The B-Wing makes an excellent backup for the Nebulon B Frigate.


The B-Wing is the heaviest BOMBER of all squadrons, Rebel or Imperial.  Boasting an impressive 1 Blue / 1 Black for its anti-ship armament, it averages 1.75 damage per attack.  It also has a respectable 3 Blue anti-squadron attack and 5 hull.  Unfortunately it is also the most expensive squadron on either side, worth 14 points for the generic version.

The squadron also has one major Achilles heel, and that is its speed.  The squadron holds a speed of only 2, making it slower than the maximum speed of any of the Rebel ships or squadrons.  This makes the B-Wing best as a deterrent to enemy ships, flying along with the main Rebel line to match the Empire in close quarters damage output.

A pair of B-Wings flying with a Nebulon B Escort Frigate can not only keep it safe from enemy BOMBERs, but throw 1 Black and 1 Blue dice each at an enemy ship that pulls into close range.  What the B-Wings cannot do is go hunting themselves - their slow speed means that they won't outdistance your own ships.  At best you can direct them to where the opponent will go, and hope that they actually go there.

Keyan Farlander

Keyan manages to be an even better BOMBER than the generic B-Wing, sporting 2 Black dice for his anti-ship attack.  In addition to this, he has 2 Brace defense tokens to supplement his 5 hull.

What makes him even more of a terror is that if he is attacking a hull zone without shields, he can re-roll any number of his anti-ship dice.  That makes him by able o put up a consistent amount of damage on already damaged targets, setting up for a knockout punch.

Overall the B-Wing is a BOMBER and heavy hitter against ships.  But it isn't going to hunt them down, rather it punishes enemy ships that move into the wrong location without fighter support of their own.

And that is all for the Commander's Guide for now.  Next time we will finally start to get into the meat of list building, and since we just finished up with Squadrons, we will talk about how to fit squadrons into your list.  Stay tuned for next time!

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