"Welcome to Armada!" The New Player's Resource Guide

Welcome to the Star Wars Armada Community!

I (Biggs) originally made this guide way back in the days of Wave 2 to help you, the new player, start to get your feet wet in the game.  I'm happy to update it now that Wave 6 is coming out.  There are quite a few questions and answers that we will be covering, and we also have quite a few resources for you to look into to get started.

We are going to start by assuming you've gotten the core set, and played the quick start game.  This is good - it gets you a general feel for how the game plays.  However, there are a few differences once we scale things up past the core set into typical game play.

Here's our podcast talking about slowly building up your skills by playing simple lists.

Major Changes From Quick Start to Normal Gameplay

First, you'll need to scale up and build a 400 point fleet to play against your opponent.  With the core set only, you'll need to pick up some more ships to get up to speed.  There is some small consensus on what ships to pick up to reach the 400 point threshold:

  1. MC-30c Frigate (Rebel) or Gladiator Class Star Destroyer (Imperial)
  2. Rebel or Imperial Fighter Pack #1
  3. Medium Transport (Rebel) or Gozanti Carriers (Imperial)
  4. Extra Dice and Extra Maneuver Tool

Your first post-core pickups should be the MC-30c Frigate if you are planning on sticking with the Rebels, and the Gladiator Star Destroyer if you are going Imperials.  Both are very good ships, come with good upgrade cards, and give you a good feel for how close range ships fly in the game.  Buying just those ships though won't quite get you to 400, but can let you play around at the 300 point level without too much trouble.

Buying one fighter pack for your faction is also a good idea, as they contain key cards for squadron combat, specifically your Escorts (TIE Advanced / X-Wings) and quick Counter interceptors (TIE Interceptors / A-Wings).

Your next pickup after your fighters should almost certainly be a flotilla from whichever side you want to play.  These are cheap, disposable ships that excel at moving squadrons, or supporting your other stronger ships in doing their tasks.  For the Rebels, this would be the GR-75 Medium Transports, and for the Imperials, the Gozanti Carrier.

**The best investment you can make is a dice pack** - You will very quickly be throwing more dice than the 3 of each color they give you in the starter set.  Get one extra dice pack and consider a second if you want to play around with Ackbar and an MC80 - Home One Class.  Another good investment is to get a second maneuver tool, and build it as a "speed 2" tool - putting the final notch at the 2nd speed and discarding the extra 2 bits.  This is especially useful for slow navigations in the middle of a crowded table.

For more information on how each ship functions, please check out the Commander's Guide - a good way to figure out which ship you should add to your fleet next, based on your play style.

The second big chance you will notice when constructing your list for your first non-core game are the objectives, and how initiative works.  In a normal game, players compare the cost of their lists, and the lower cost player (or the winner of a coin toss if you are tied) selects whether they want to be first or second player.  Unlike the "Learn to Play" game, initiative is set at that point - it no longer swaps between players.

First player has a natural advantage of making the first activation for ships and for squadrons each round, which is a fairly powerful advantage to have to the point that many high level players will bid 10 or more points to try and "win" this advantage.  They also get to chose which of the three objectives both players will have to play with for the game.  To compensate, the second player gets to use their 3 objectives as the ones the first player must chose from, and typically these objectives come with a tangible benefit to the second player.  The second player also gets to place the first obstacle, and places their ships and squadrons second, alternating with the first player.

For details on choosing Objectives for your list, check out my articles on objectives:
Assault Objectives / Assault Objectives (ctd)
Defensive Objectives / Defensive Objectives (Oops, never wrote this article!)
Navigation Objectives / Navigation Objectives (ctd)

If you are constructing your own list from scratch, Fab's Fleet Generator is an excellent tool.  It lets you either construct a list based on the cards and ships that you actually have, by selecting which expansions you own.  Another option is Armada Warlords.

Common Misconceptions About Armada

One of the biggest issues with Armada are how dice and defense tokens interact, as well as how critical effects work.  Two excellent Youtube videos have been made by Lyraeus that explain in detail how attacks work, as well as the proper timing for attacks and critical effects.

How Does it Work:  Attacking
How Does it Work:  Criticals

He also has an excellent one for the when, how, and why of commands:

How Does it Work:  Commands

For questions regarding cards, FFG frequently releases a FAQ of updated rulings (April 2017 FAQ in link) as they are brought up to their rules department.

Where Can I Play A Game?

Trying to find someone to play against?  The first thing to see is if there are any local stores supporting the game in your area.  One of the best places to look into this is FFG's own forums, which has an Organized Play forum.  Aside from that, you can also check Facebook, by searching for
"[Your Area] Armada" in Groups.

Steel Squadron HQ strongly recommends that you always support your Friendly Local Gaming Store (FLGS) that is, in turn, supporting Armada by giving table space and running events.  If at all possible, once you find a place to play, buy your expansions (or at the very least, food and drinks) from them instead of from online retailers or big box stores - after all your purchase helps keep the lights, the doors open, and a table available to play against your opponents on.

If you are unable to find a FLGS to play at, or just want more Armada than you'd otherwise get, there is another option for you:  Vassal.  A simulated table top - Vassal and the Armada module give you the opportunity to play against people from around the world, though you will need to own a copy of the cards, including the damage deck, to play.  Check out this Facebook group to help you find games and get started!

**Edit:  You're probably going to want to learn how the Lingo works too.**

Other Resources:

For one, check out the links that are on the right side of this article.  There's some good bloggers / writers / videos out there, and I have barely scratched the surface of what is available.

It isn't the most stable of resources, but if I need to look up a picture of card text in a hurry, I usually google the card name and "Armada Wiki".

Join up and at least lurk FFG's own website and forums.  You'll find me there posting as BiggsIRL if you want to send me a message.  Don't be afraid to post with questions, we don't bite!

Another forum is the Star Wars: Armada sub-reddit.  Sometimes contains topics that don't come up on FFG's website.

Check out Crabbok on Youtube, who does a lot of Armada related content.  Or see Biggs and Shmitty (and some other cool folks) talk about things on our Youtube Podcast - Boring Conversation Anyway.

This is far from the only blog out there, and Cannot Get Your Ship Out by Geek19 and Snipafist is putting out content faster than you can imagine, and starting their content about the same time you're starting the game!  Follow them!

Most important to everything though is to get out there and have fun.  You've found yourself a really cool game to play.

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