GAME REVIEW: STAR WARS ARMADA / DESIGNER: JAMES KNIFFEN, CHRISTIAN T. PETERSEN / PUBLISHER: FANTASY FLIGHT GAMES / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
The opening scene of Star Wars: A New Hope, one of a large spaceship being pursued by an even larger spaceship, is perhaps one of the most iconic moments of the franchise, as well as a great piece of cinema. Star Wars Armada lets you recreate those moments in the comfort of your own home thanks to some rather lovely scale models.
Strictly speaking, you get three capital ships in the Star Wars Armada starter set. A Rebel Corvette, a Rebel Frigate and, of course, a Star Destroyer. You also get a large pile of tiny X-Wings and TIE fighters. Make no mistake, this isn’t a dog-fighting game like Star Wars X-Wing, this is a game of huge spaceships duking it out with massive laser weapons as hordes of fighters scream past.
The game components are of the high standard we now demand from Fantasy Flight Games; lots of counters, lots of carefully worked out markers, specially marked dice and finely detailed models with solid paint jobs. Despite the scary number of components, each piece is designed to make the gaming experience easier. For example, there is a turn marker that flips over every round, red on one side, blue on the other. Each of the fighters have a little switch that goes from red to blue. When you’ve moved all your fighters, you turn the marker over. Simple, clever and lets you keep track of the turns. The game is full of these tiny little design ideas that just makes the playing experience smoother and easier.
Other rules are designed to evoke the epic space battles from the movies. For example, the larger the ship, the more you have to place turn orders in advance. With a Star Destroyer, you have to plan your orders three turns in advance. Fail to anticipate your opponents move and you may end up ramming into your opponent. Or worse, flying off the board and losing the ship entirely.
Fantasy Flight Games have produced a near-perfect epic space battle game, one that dwarves the likes of Babylon Five: Call to Arms and Warhammer 40,000: Battle Fleet Gothic. If you’ve ever wanted to have a hands on experience when it comes to big space ships beating each other up, this is for you.