Star Wars: Armada is a table-top game about huge ships blowing the heck out of each other. With all the focus on the big guns, you’d be forgiven if you’d forgotten that the game is also about hordes of fighter squadrons duking it out in space. The smaller ships make up for an essential part of the game, screening damage and wearing down the larger units.
The core set only provided you with X-Wings and TIE-Fighters. Good enough to begin with, but the new expansions (one for each faction) furnish the player with whole CGI effects budget worthy of tiny attack craft.
The Rebel Squadrons consist of A, B, X and Y-Wings. The models are nice enough, but they are tiny – they look like the things they represent, but they aren’t display pieces (though they make a nice garnish for showing off the larger ships). The A-Wings are designed to be advance scouts – light fighters that will waste your opponent’s time whilst you sneak past an Imperial blockade to do some real damage. Extra rules cards can make them last a bit longer, but they’re pretty much fodder. The B-Wings are very versatile ships, better than the X-Wings in a number of ways, but mostly they’re for hitting capital ships. The Y’s are cheap fireworks, use them to take down enemy shields as quickly as you can. Again, extra rules cards allow you to fine tune your strategy.
The Imperial Squadron comes with all sorts of flavours of TIEs, and they’re all lovely sculpts; the drop in scale somehow making them looking even more deadly. The roles they take are similar to the Rebel Squadrons. The Fighters work as a general all round attack ship, the Bombers work as a hazard for capital ships, the Interceptors are swift and deadly, and the TIE Advanced are solid and adaptable attack craft that can do most jobs. The cards supplied add a little bit of flavour and allow for some adjustments.
Both expansions suffer from the obvious flaw that you have to buy the entire set (and all the different ships) to get the models you want, so if you only favour Interceptors, you’re going to be stuck with a pile of Bombers. It’s not much of a problem given the social nature of gaming (and the existence of eBay,) but it is an additional faff. Overall, both expansions are good additions to your collection, provided you’re happy to tinker with your fleet’s line up, which a strong commander should always do.
INFO: STAR WARS: ARMADA - REBEL AND IMPERIAL FIGHTER SQUADRONS EXPANSION PACKS / DESIGNER: JAMES KNIFFEN, CHRISTIAN T. PETERSEN / PUBLISHER: FANTASY FLIGHT GAMES / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW