Star Wars: Armada
In Armada, the fleets of the Rebellion and the Empire wage massive battles, with Star Destroyers and Mon Calamari capital ships trading fire while X-Wings and TIE Fighters engage in fierce dogfights. The game emphasizes forward planning, rewarding skilled positioning and ship commands chosen turns in advance, with an upgrade system that allows for an almost unlimited variety of list-building options.
- 1 Why Play Armada
- 2 Star Wars X-Wing
- 3 Cost
- 4 Gameplay
- 5 Campaign Expansions
- 6 Faction Tactics
- 7 Non-Faction Upgrades
- 8 External Links
Why Play Armada
Armada is a game of planning and foresight. Where other games focus on turn-to-turn tactics and responding to a shifting battlefield, Armada is a game where you set your strategy in motion, and then lean back and evaluate as it unfolds - for better or worse. Armada is a game of momentum, that challenges your grand designs rather than your snap decision-making. You're not a sergeant commanding a squad of infantry as they assault a bunker; you're Grand Admiral Thrawn, tapping your fingers on your armrest as Star Destroyers explode in anticipated sacrifices, while bombers draw the enemy deeper into a trap that may well be about to backfire.
Welcome to the Armada, Commander. The fleet is at your command.
Armada's ships come pre-painted and pre-assembled (although squadrons come in unpainted colored plastic), saving players less interested in the hobby side the need to model and paint, while still allowing those who want it the option to customize their models. Ships and squadrons come with all rules and tokens needed to use them, aside from the basic game rules available in the Core Set and as free PDFs on FFG's website, so there's no need to buy a giant rulebook or continually re-buy overpriced army books; and ships include dials, tokens, and counters, to make tracking game information such as ship health, speed, activation, upgrades, and the like quick and easy. The game is also well balanced - while some upgrades may be overcosted or have niche applications, and certainly some ships see the table more than others, every ship in Armada is viable and can be made to work with the right list.
The rules are straightforward and intuitive, but still allow for a great deal of complexity and depth. Inherited from its forefather X-Wing, Armada's player base brings a "fly casual" attitude to the table, focusing on fun and civility over nitpicking and tilting, even in tournament competitions.
As a disclaimer: note that the Core Set can be a rather poor and misleading representation of the full game - giving the inaccurate impression that Rebels are strictly fragile flankers with strong squadrons, while the Empire flies slow front-firing bricks supported by glass TIEs; and often ends in very lopsided games dependent solely on whether or not the VSD managed to line up a shot with its front arc. This assessment is in fact only MOSTLY true... not all the rebel ships can flank, and some of the imperial ones can. Also with the Starhawk the Rebels eventually got a giant brick of their own; but that means accepting that movies VII-IX exist.
Star Wars X-Wing
Star Wars: X-Wing and Star Wars: Armada are completely different scales and rulesets, and while those familiar with X-Wing may notice many individual similarities, Armada is a very different game and in some instances the rules are the exact opposites of their X-Wing equivalents. While X-Wing is a tactical game of starfighter combat between small squadrons of fighters, Armada is a strategical game of fleet combat between capital ships escorted by half a dozen or more squadrons of fighters. If X-Wing draws inspiration from World War 2 dogfighting and allows you to re-enact scenes such as the Death Star trench run, Armada is inspired by WW2 carrier fleets and can simulate the entire Battle of Scarif. If you want to command the full might of an Imperial Star Destroyer and throw a baker's dozen squadrons of TIE Fighters at all of your problems, you're in the right place.
Compared to some other tabletop strategy games, Armada has a relatively low entry cost and upkeep requirement. That said, Armada's price is largely front-loaded, especially compared to X-Wing, with the Core Set required to play the game running $100 MSRP, yet providing less than half a full fleet for each faction and the necessary components being impossible to split between two new players to share the cost.
However, once that sticker shock fades off, the good news is that beyond the initial purchase staying up to date with new releases is very inexpensive. With one to two waves per year, and typically one ship per faction per wave, upkeep costs can be as low as $20-$30 once every six months. Unlike X-Wing, it is typically uncommon to need more than two of any ship, and as often as not there's limited need to buy more than one. Furthermore, only a small handful of upgrades are found only in one faction's boxes, so a player who only purchases mono-faction won't be significantly hindered. Eventually, many of those upgrades end up as alt-arts, making them plentiful and cheap to buy or easy to borrow.
As for going from the Core Set to a full 400 points, it'll depend on which faction you want to play and what sort of fleet grabs your interest, but will likely run you around an additional $120. Obviously, if you can grab anything below MSRP - either from a local retailer selling at a discount or buying ships second hand - then that price will begin to fall dramatically. Sample Imperial and Rebel cheap starter fleets for $250 or less (including the $100 Core Set) can be found here, if your own Google-fu fails you. Get imperials if you like pizza slices and Doritos, Rebels if you want the option to proxy potatoes and pickles as ships.
As of 2020 it's now possible to buy the older upgrade cards in just a big box of cards (appropriately named the Upgrade Card Collection), for the most part allowing you to buy just the plastic you want. However you still need a starter set for things like the damage deck, and it remains the only source of the Luke Skywalker & Howlrunner squadron cards.
There are also separate starter boxes for the Galactic Republic and the Confederacy of Independent Systems. Each starter has all the necessary bits you need to play, but focused on one faction and giving you a respectable starting force of three ships.
The game is played on a standard 6'x4' table, with 6'x3' dedicated to gameplay and the remaining six inches per side for cards and tokens.
The first player activates a ship, and then reveals a command dial set in secret often several turns in advance. If it's a squadron command, the ship activates a number of nearby squadrons which can then engage enemy fighters or make a bombing run on an enemy ship. Then the ship fires if any targets are in range, and then after shooting, moves - making positioning a game of cat-and-mouse as you try to predict where your opponent will be, rather than being able to shoot at where he is now. Huge ships can also choose to pass, delaying their activation until later in the turn.
Ships attack with one or more of three colors of dice, each with a different combination of results and a different range, making up to two attacks a turn; with each of the ship's four firing arcs potentially having different numbers and colors of dice. The new category of Huge ships is an exception, with six firing arcs (the basic four, and the new left-auxiliary and right-auxiliary) which can make three attacks per turn.
While defending, ships have a variety of defense tokens that can be spent to reduce or redirect the incoming damage, with the remaining damage reducing their shields or damaging their hull. Ships move using a maneuver tool that restricts turning based on the given ship's maneuverability and current speed, creating a feeling of momentum and further rewarding skilled positioning and spatial planning.
Squadrons - representing groups of X-Wings, TIE Bombers, or aces like Tycho Celchu or Boba Fett - zoom forward, engaging in dogfights or bombing enemy ships. Squadrons can only make attacks at range 1, regardless of dice color. In addition, squadrons can only move or shoot (not both) unless activated by a squadron command. On the other hand, squadrons can move in any direction and any distance up to their maximum speed, and can do their movement and their attack in either order, giving them great flexibility. If two opposing squadrons move into range 1 of each other they become engaged, meaning they are locked in a dogfight, unable to attack ships or move. Capital ships and squadrons both have separate attack profiles for attacking squadrons or attacking ships. Like ships, squadron aces gain defense tokens of their own to reflect their superior piloting or uniquely modified starfighter.
Activations alternate, with the first player activating one ship, then the second player, until both have no unactivated ships; then players begin activating any squadrons that weren't already activated by a squadron command, with first player activating two squadrons, then second player activating two, and so on.
Each round is divided into a number of phases.
- Both players set a stack of command dials for their ships in secret, with each ship having a number of command dials equal to its command value. A ship's top command is revealed at the beginning of its activation, and new commands are placed on the bottom of the stack; meaning that ships with Command 2 or 3 require planning well in advance. However, even Command 1 ships have to account for the actions of any other ships that may activate before they do in the turn. Instead of providing the command's normal effect, you can gain a command token of the same type, which offers a lesser version of the ability but can be saved for a later turn. Each ship is limited to no more than one command token per type, and no more total command tokens than its command value. A ship can spend a command token while taking the effect of the same command from a dial, to augment the effect - for example, spending a token while using a navigate command to change speed by 2, or a squadron 3 ship spending a squadron dial and token to command 4 squadrons.
- Navigate - When your ship executes a maneuver, it can make one additional click to the maneuver tool over what its ship card allows, and can also raise or lower its speed by one. Navigate tokens can be spent to change speed by one. Note that these are normally the only ways to change your ship's speed.
- Squadron - You may activate a number of squadrons at close-medium range equal to your squadron value, which can then move and shoot in any order. In addition to bypassing the normal restriction that squadrons can only move or shoot, this allows you to activate them earlier in the turn for an alpha strike. A Squadron token can be spent to activate exactly one squadron, regardless of ship. Squadrons can only attack at range 1 - regardless of the color of their dice or the target - and if opposing squadrons enter range 1 of each other, they are "engaged" - unable to move or make attacks targeting ships.
- Repair - Your ship gains a number of engineering points equal to its engineering value; spend one to move a shield from one hull zone to another, two to regain a shield, or three to discard a damage card (regaining one hull); taking each option multiple times if desired. Engineering tokens provide half your engineering value, rounding up.
- Concentrate Fire - Add one die of a color already in the attack pool to one of your attacks. Concentrate Fire tokens instead allow you to re-roll one die. If using both in the same turn, they must both be used on the same attack.
- The player with initiative chooses a ship to active, revealing its top command dial. You immediately must choose to either convert it into a token for later, or to use it that turn - if applicable (squadron or engineering), resolving it then. The ship can then make one attack each from up to two of its hull zones, declaring an attacking hull zone, the target, and the target hull zone if targeting a ship. Then the ship must execute a maneuver, after which the other player activates one of their ships. Players continue activating ships back and forth until all ships have activated.
- The ship can then make one attack each from up to two of its hull zones, declaring an attacking hull zone, the target, and the target hull zone (if targeting a ship).
- First, determine arc of fire, following the lines printed on the ship's cardboard as if they extended out (a laser line tool is useful for this).
- Then measure range, from the closest cardboard on the attacker to the closest cardboard of the defender, using the range ruler. The attack can only consist of dice that match the distance of the target.
- Finally, check line of sight, from the yellow diamond on the attacking hull zone to the yellow diamond on the defending hull zone (or the closest cardboard, of a squadron). If line of sight passes over a ship or obstacle, the attack is obstructed, and you must remove one die from your initial pool. If line of sight passes through one of the targets hull zone lines, then you cannot attack that hull zone at all - another hull zone is in the way!
- Then, to attack, you first roll the initial dice pool - the dice printed on your card, plus any added by effects that modify your "battery armament", such as Expanded Armaments. If this would be no dice - either because the target was out of range of your dice, or because obstruction removed all your dice, then you cannot attack - the target is too far! When firing against squadrons, your ship does not use its hull zone's normal dice, but instead uses its AA value (which is the same for all hull zones). This still counts as firing from a particular arc for that turn, but unlike shooting at a ship, you roll your AA dice as a separate attack against every enemy squadron within arc and range.
- After the initial dice are rolled, the attacker resolves any effects that take effect "while attacking", such as adding a die via a Concentrate Fire dial or Admiral Ackbar, or re-rolling dice using Leading Shots. The attacker can spend any Accuracy icons to lock down the opponents defense tokens. (Note - attacker can do these in any order, such as spending Accuracy icons before re-rolling the pool using Veteran Gunners, potentially then spending new Accuracy icons).
- After the attacker is done modifying the dice pool, the target gets to spend any defense tokens not targeted by accuracies to mitigate the damage - flipping green tokens to red (exhausted), or discarding exhausted tokens altogether. Tokens unexhaust at the end of every round - but discarded tokens are gone for the rest of the game!
- After defense tokens are spent, but before any damage is taken, the attacker has the opportunity to resolve a critical effect. To do so, there must be at least one critical hit in the pool. The crit die is not removed from the pool, and having multiple crits doesn't enable multiple critical effects - only one critical effect can be resolved per attack, regardless of the number of critical hits rolled. All ships (and squadrons with Bomber) have the same critical effect by default - "if the defender is dealt at least one damage card by this attack, deal the first damage card faceup" - with others available via upgrade cards or squadron ace abilities.
- Finally, the defender suffers any damage, one point at a time, either onto the shields or as damage cards onto the hull.
- Both ships and squadrons can possess defense tokens. The defender can only spend one of a given type of defense token per attack, and a specific defense token may only be spent once per attack.
- Brace - Halve the damage in the damage pool, rounding up.
- Redirect - You may take some (or all) of the damage on an adjacent hull zone, up to that hull zone's remaining shield value.
- Evade - The first defense token to be errata'd as of Armada 1.5. If the attack is at long range, cancel one die. If at medium or close range, force a re-roll on one die instead. If the ship is of a larger size class than you, you can opt to discard the token outright to force the effect on an additional die (2 discards at long, 2 rerolls at mid-close). Furthermore, the debut of the Onager introduced extreme range, where evade tokens can now cancel two dice outright. Note the timing - if an evade removes the only crit from the pool, then the attacker cannot resolve a critical effect.
- Scatter - Cancel all attack dice. As with evade, this prevents the attacker from resolving a critical effect.
- Contain - The attacker cannot resolve the default critical effect.
- Salvo - After resolving damage, you can return fire on the attacker with your ship's printed rear hull dice battery (or perform a single flak response if the attacker was a squadron). This retaliatory attack cannot be activated by the Counter keyword, the Onager's Ignition attack, or another Salvo token, but can still be triggered if your ship would otherwise be destroyed in the attack. Furthermore, you cannot add any additional dice to the attack pool or perform any critical effects other than the default.
- Like most of the other FFG Star Wars games, the system comes with its own unique dice. In Armada, the dice faces feature:
- Blank - a miss.
- Hit - add a point of damage to the damage pool.
- Accuracy - the attacker gets to prevent the defender from using one of their defense tokens. Multiple accuracies can lock down multiple defense tokens.
- Critical Hit - add a point of damage to the damage pool, and allow the attacker to resolve a critical effect. Note that unless otherwise stated, only ships and bombers can score critical hits, and only onto ships - otherwise it offers no effect and doesn't add any damage.
- There are three colors of dice - all three are D8s, but each features a different combination of faces and have a different range:
- Black dice (ordnance) have the shortest range and are the most deadly, with four hits, two faces with a hit and a crit, and two blanks.
- Blue dice (ion cannons) are medium ranged and are the most accurate, with four hits, two crits, two accuracies, and no blanks.
- Red dice (turbolasers) have the longest range but are the most variable, with two hits, one double hit, two crits, one accuracy, and two blanks.
- Damage is taken first onto any shields, and then onto the hull. Normal damage is taken as face-down cards drawn from a damage deck, but some effects - including the default critical effect - cause face-up cards. Face-up damage cards carry a negative effect that persists until indicated by the card, or until the card is repaired by the player. Once a ship has a number of face-up and face-down damage cards equal to its hull value, it's destroyed.
- After attacks have been resolved, the ship executes a maneuver. If the ship has a Navigate dial, or spends a Navigate token, it may change its speed by 1. Place the maneuver tool beside the ship, rotating the yaw at various distances, up to your current speed, based upon the yaw values in your ship's maneuver chart. Note that you can only pre-measure with the maneuver tool during this step! You cannot execute a maneuver that would cause you to overlap the maneuver tool (except if caused by a ram). Once you've made your decision, slot the maneuver tool into the ship's base - at that point, your decision becomes final, and you must execute it. Place your ship's base into the maneuver tool at the corresponding speed - if your maneuver would cause your ship to overlap another, it moves back to the previous notch and both ships take a face-down damage card (if it would still overlap at the previous notch, it continues to back up, potentially such that it doesn't move at all - and only the closest of any overlapped ships receives damage). If the ship overlaps friendly or enemy squadrons, the opposing player places them anywhere in base contact with the ship. Finally, if any part of the ship's base - excluding shield dials - is outside of the play area, that ship is immediately destroyed.
- Any squadrons that were not already activated by squadron commands activate, but by default they can only move or attack. The first player activates two squadrons, then second player, until all squadrons have activated. Squadrons can only attack at range 1 regardless of the dice in their pool, and can move up to their maximum speed in any direction.
- Basically a clean-up stage - you reset your ships' and squadrons' exhausted (but not discarded!) defense tokens, unexhaust any upgrade cards, and resolve any upgrade effects with this timing (eg, dead ships kept alive by Rieekan).
Every fleet must have exactly one "flagship" - a ship equipped with your Commander, a unique character leading your fleet and granting a fleet-wide effect. Any ship other than a Flotilla can serve as your flagship.
Each ship can equip one Title upgrade (for example, turning a generic MC80 into Admiral Ackbar's Home One) and/or your Commander, plus a variety of other upgrades depending on the upgrade icons on its ship card. You can equip no upgrades, or as many as you have slots, and you can take as few or as many ships as you want (to a minimum of one, your flagship). There are at least two variants of each ship model, with different point costs, dice, Squadron values, or upgrade slots. Unique cards, usually characters like Darth Vader but sometimes upgrades like the Interdictor's Grav-Shift Reroute, are indicated by a dot next to their name and can only be taken once per fleet - so you can't have Darth Vader as your Commander and field Darth Vader's TIE Advanced at the same time, or field both Officer and Commander Leia. The same upgrade can't be taken more than once on the same ship, and a ship can have at most one upgrade with the "Modification" keyword.
You cannot spend more than a third of the match's point limit on squadrons, rounding up, and can only take one named, defense token-carrying "ace" squadron per 100 fleet points of the agreed total for each fleet. For most games, played at 400 points, this means you can take at most 134 points worth of squadrons and a maximum of four aces. You can take none, or up to your squadrons point cap; taking multiple generic squadrons and/or unique aces - such as a "Red Squadron" wing of Wedge Antilles/Luke Skywalker/Biggs Darklighter, or simply 8 groups of TIE Fighters.
Finally, every fleet has to select one each from three types, of objectives - Assault, Defense, and Navigation. Every game is played using one of the players' chosen objectives. During setup, the player with the lower points value chooses who goes first, giving incentive to "bidding" by intentionally taking fewer than max points to try and guarantee being first (or second) player. First player always activates first in the ship and squadron phases, granting a significant advantage. To counteract this, the first player has to choose one of the second player's three objectives to play that game, with most objectives granting the second player a large advantage - but moreover, giving second player the ability to bring objectives uniquely suited to his list.
The Corellian Conflict
The Corellian Conflict introduces a 2-6 player campaign set in the Corellian Sector. Splitting into Rebel and Imperial teams, the players battle for control over planets and resources on a sector map, building up to 500 point fleets while their ships and characters become skilled veterans, or battle-damaged junkers. New mechanics allow for players to retreat to hyperspace rather than wage a losing battle that may have their ships (and their upgrades, titles, etc.) permanently destroyed, or emerge from hyperspace to reinforce their allies during the campaign's ultimate, 1000 point all-out battle. As each team is limited to one of each unique across all of their fleets, and makes their offensive and defensive decisions as a group, each player can opt to specialize their fleet in a certain type of task, or take on the harder battles while weakened fleets repair and rearm.
In addition to the campaign components, the Corellian Conflict also introduces new material for standard Armada games. Four new Objectives per type (as well as a new Dust Field Obstacle that blocks all attacks) increase your list building options, as well as the variety of lists you must be prepared to counter; and each of the squadron types in the Rebel and Imperial Squadrons 1 boxes get two new unique squadron cards/bases - one new ace, and one new unique that lacks defense tokens but brings new options to the table - for a total of 16 new squadrons.
- Intel Officer - Exhaust after rolling your initial dice pool (but before resolving any effects, like Concentrate Fire) pick a defense token, and your opponent has to discard it if they use. Great on heavy hitters, especially those only making one attack per round anyways.
- Navigation Officer/Tactical Expert/Engineering Captain/Wing Commander - Your command can always be this command. Pricey and in a valuable slot, but the ability to always have a certain command if you suddenly need it (eg, Navigate on a Madine Liberty) can give you the freedom to crank out other Commands, rather than dialing in commands you end up not needing.
- Defense Liaison/Weapons Liaison - Discard a command token, and your command can always be one of two commands. Similar to the above options, cheaper in points and more flexible, but pricier in conditions (requires a token). As above, you can dial in the same command over and over while resting easy you can switch out if needed.
- Damage Control Officer - Upgrades your contain token to prevent all critical effects. Meta dependent, but useful if you expect lots of APTs or the like.
- Support Officer Discard your entire command stack and reset it. Only useful on Command 3+ ships (otherwise, use Skilled First Officer instead), but allows them to change their commands if things are not going according to keikaku, or a Slicer Tools/Cham Syndulla has "altered" your plan.
- Strategic Adviser - Designed as a counter for the mass of Small ship swarm fleets. A Large ship could exhaust this upgrade and pass their turn, forcing your opponent to activate another one of their ships before your ISD or MC could enter their fire zone. As of the most recent changes to Armada 1.5, this upgrade is now BANNED from the game.
- Expert Shield Tech - When defending and using a Redirect token, you can choose to instead decrease the damage by 1 instead of the standard Redirect effect. Good for pairing with Brace tokens to hopefully totally mitigate all damage from an attack, or making Redirects stay useful when the rest of your shields are gone.
- Veteran Captain - Discard to gain a command token. Cheap and useful in a pinch, but Hondo is cheaper still, and while he benefits the enemy too, he doesn't have to use up the Officer slot of the ship you need a token on.
- Flight Commander - Your squadron command can resolve after moving, rather than immediately after revealing your dial. Primarily useful with Fighter Coordination Team.
- Hondo Ohnaka - A unique but not faction-locked officer, Hondo can be discarded to give two ships two different command tokens. Then, your opponent chooses two ships and assigns them the remaining two tokens. A double-edged sword, but first pick of tokens and control of exactly when he's used grant you the edge if you utilize his effect well - such as when your opponent has only one ship left and has to give you the fourth token. A heads up for Imperial players, but officer Hondo and Slave 1 Hondo cannot be in the same fleet, for obvious reasons.
- Chart Officer - Discard to ignore the effects of landing on an obstacle. Cheap insurance for a ship that doesn't have the hull to afford eating a damage card, like the MC30; or for pairing with an objective like Navigational Hazards.
- Skilled First Officer - Discard to discard your top Command dial. Useful on Command 3 ships, and allows Command 2 ships to overwrite their entire stack (you discard your top Command dial before reassigning the one used in the previous turn). A fantastic card for a single point, the main reason it wasn't used more was the former exclusivity to the Liberty expansion. The recently released Upgrade Card Collection mitigates this somewhat by having two in the box.
- Gunnery Team - You get to shoot twice with one arc, but can't target the same ship or squadron twice during this activation. Note that if you take Advanced Gunnery, Gunnery Teams "can not" overrides Advanced Gunnery's "can" on shooting the same target twice.
- Flight Controllers - Squadrons you command get an extra blue die in their anti-squadron roll. Another good reason to keep your carrier close to the dogfight. Pairs well with the Empire's generally higher Squadron values, and makes for frighteningly lethal alpha strikes.
- Sensor Team - Exhaust and spend one die to turn another die into an accuracy. Makes for a discount H9 Turbolasers if you don't need the slot for anything else, but you usually do.
- Veteran Gunners - Exhaust to reroll your entire attack pool. Black dice ships prefer Ordnance Experts, and red dice ships usually want Gunnery Teams, but it's a source of dice-fixing at a low price.
- Ordnance Experts - Reroll up to 2 black dice. Used to let you reroll all black dice, but was rebalanced with a slight point cut. Most of the time, all you want to reroll are those pesky blank results to trigger a crit to proc APTs or ACMs.
- Ruthless Strategists - While attacking squadrons, you can take a damage on a friendly squadron to deal an (unblockable) damage to an enemy squadron. Great way to deal with pesky scatter aces, especially if you're flakking with red die-wielding ships and have high hull squadrons like VCX-100s or Decimators around.
- Fire Control Team - Exhaust to resolve an additional critical effect, but not the same one twice. Note the way that the default critical effect, APTs, and XX-9s are worded, you can't stack them with the default critical effect (and if stacked with each other, you don't get 3 crits, only 2). Still, resolving ACMs and XX-9s, or some combination of the various blue crit effects, can be very fun - but while the upgrade is cheap, it's on top of paying for both crits, and most ships with a Weapons Team want to take something else besides.
- Local Fire Control - After deploying, you MUST replace one of your existing defense tokens with a Salvo token. Gives ships with previously clumsy defense token setups (MC75 with two Contain tokens, Raider with 2 Evades and Braces but no Redirects) a bit more firepower than before, but only after taking one on the chin.
- Weapons Battery Techs - When attacking a ship, change one of your accuracy icons to a face with a crit icon. Obviously doesn't work with black dice, but combine with H9s to always produce a blue crit, or make Heavy Ions or NK-7s that much more likely to go off. The Onager also gets a boost from these, as both Superlaser and the Sunder title don't need black crit die to activate.
- Phylon Q7 Tractor Beams - Force a ship of equal or smaller size to toss a Navigate token, or slow them down by 1 (to minimum of 1) if they have none.
- Rapid Launch Bays - Load a number of squadrons up to your Squadron value into your ship, and then deploy them at range 1 with a Squadron command. You can then resolve that Squadron dial as normal, but if used to activate the Squadrons you just deployed, they can't move this turn. Drop in the face of a big ship coming to bully you, or use a second carrier to send the deployed squadrons off into the fight.
- Hardened Bulkheads - Attach this to a Large ship. When it rams or is rammed by a smaller ship, it does not take a face down damage card. This does not protect it from 'Garel's Honor', as that title assigns a face up critical damage card on impact.
- Point Defense Reroute - Reroll crits when shooting at squadrons at close range. Worthless on ships with black flak, but doesn't benefit from the extra range of blue flak. Rebels should just take Toryn Farr, but it can add a bit of damage to blue dice flak coverage if you've cheaped out on taking squadrons.
- Expanded Hangar Bay - Increases your Squadron value by 1, and not considered a "Modification". Cheaper than taking another flotilla if points are tight, or you've got upgrades that make your activated squadrons better.
- Reserve Hangar Deck - When a non-unique with Swarm within distance 5 of this ship is destroyed, discard this upgrade to bring it back into play with 2 hull points within distance 1 of your ship. More of an Imperial/Separatist upgrade for now, as the Rebels/GAR only have one squad type each that can benefit from this (Z-95s and V-19s respectively). Three points to replace an 11 point TIE Interceptor/Tri-Fighter or a 12 point Jumpmaster is a bargain.
- Quad Laser Turret - Your ship gets Counter 1 at close range. Can make a target less appealing if you've got enough overlapping flak coverage that the potential extra 1 damage matters, but taking fighter squadrons is usually the more cost effective defense unless you've got a good reason not to.
- Boosted Comms - Command squadrons at long range. Useful for ships that are fragile enough they need to keep some distance from the brawl, or for fast squadrons that want to pounce and alpha strike the enemy.
- Advanced Transponder Net - Heavy squads up to distance 2 keep enemy fighters from attacking the ship. Can get more play now thanks to Armada 1.5 nerfing Intel, but it takes up the valuable "Modification" tag for any ships taking this.
- Disposable Capacitors - For one round, a small or medium ship can throw its blue dice at red range. Huge boon to VSDs, giving them the ability to potentially one-shot two different small ships (with Gunnery Teams) who thought themselves relatively safe at long range with their evades, and somewhat ameliorating their slow speed.
- Proximity Mines - Once obstacles are placed, discard this to place the new Proximity Mine tokens onto the play area. You're limited to half of your engineering score rounded down, so you're going to be placing no more than 2 per ship without upgrade shenanigans.
- Flag Bridge - The first 0 point upgrade in the game. Strap onto your Medium or Large flagship that's missing a Fleet Command slot and isn't already using a Modification like Spinal Armaments to gain a single use Fleet Command option.
- Flak Guns - Treat your anti-squadron dice as black. When resolving a Salvo attack against a ship, your black dice may be used at Medium range, and your blue dice may be used at Long range. Helps get a little more oomph out of ships fishing for black-blue crit upgrades, but only if they already have Salvo or gain it through Local Fire Control / Reactive Gunnery.
A specific type of upgrade that uses both an Offensive Retrofit and a Weapon Team slot, and requires you to discard a Squadron dial/token and the upgrade, while at close range of an enemy ship, to trigger.
- Boarding Troopers - Select a number of defense tokens up to your Squadron value, and exhaust them. Slap on an ISD with Avenger to one-shot almost any ship in the game.
- Boarding Engineers - Select a number of facedown damage cards up to your Engineering value, and flip them face-up (one at a time). Rarely seen outside of anti-SSD monobuilds.
- Engine Techs - If you resolved a Navigate command this round, you can execute a speed 1 maneuver after your normal maneuver. Great on slower ships, ships with good yaw at speed 1, and any ship that wants the extra flexibility - or just to ram something twice.
- Projection Experts: - Spend up to two engineering points to shunt that many shields to a friendly ship. Useful on high-engineering ships like Home One or the Interdictor that can then regenerate back the shields they sent off.
- Auxillary Shields Team - When recovering or moving shields during a Repair command, you can increase the maximum shield value of each hull zone as one more than the printed card value, but not beyond the maximum value of 4. Beef up the anemic side arcs of a Nebulon-B or a LMC80, or make sure that a Demolisher Gladiator has a little more protection before sending it into the fray.
- Engineering Team - Gain one extra engineering point. Pricey at five points, and only useful for moving a shield around unless you have an odd Engineering score.
- Nav Team: - Your Navigate tokens can be used to increase yaw instead of change speed. Useful for a bit extra yaw if you have tokens lying around, stacks with Ozzel (but not Madine).
- Fighter Coordination Team - After your maneuver, you can drag a number of unengaged squadrons up to your Squadron value distance 1. More useful on otherwise slow squadrons, like B-wings, and/or with Yavaris - there's no rule that they can't end the move engaged.
- Medical Team - Discard before taking a "crew" faceup damage card to discard it. That's around half the deck - worth it? Usually not, although the Separatists have a tanky Munificient build that likes it.
Powerful, unique upgrades that enhance your entire fleet. Most commands require you to discard either a corresponding Command token or the upgrade itself at the start of the ship phase. Every faction has at least one ship that can use them natively, but if you just want a one-time-use command they can be equipped on most medium or large hulls using the Flag Bridge offensive retrofit. Once a fleet command is activated the effect persist until the end of the round, even if the ship carrying the upgrade is destroyed.
- All Fighters, Follow Me! - Squadron token; every squadron activated by a ship increases its speed by 1 (to a maximum of 5).
- Entrapment Formation! - Navigate token; during their Determine Course step, your ships may change speed by 1.
- Shields to Maximum! - Engineering token; before revealing their command dial, your ships may regain 1 shield.
- Intensify Firepower! - Concentrate Fire token; while attacking another ship, your ships may change 1 die to a face showing 1 hit icon (and nothing else).
- Take Evasive Action! - Navigate token, during their Determine Course step, your ships may increase their final yaw value by 1.
- Hot Landing (Republic/Separatist Only) - When the Squadron Phase starts, all friendly squads with Adept gain Grit until the end of the round. If a friendly Adept squad is destroyed, you may also designate an enemy ship at range 1-2. The ship you choose gains 1 raid token. As of this writing, the only squadrons with Adept are the Republic Delta-7s with their aces and Anakin Skywalker's Y-Wing.
- Redundant Shields - Regenerate one shield per turn. Eight points for (probably) 3-4 turns worth of spent Engineering tokens, in a (usually) valuable slot.
- Early Warning System - At the beginning of each round, you can choose a hull zone and place a chaff token on it. Any attacks to this hull zone by ships or squadrons are considered obstructed. Then remove the token at the end of the round. Great for ships with wide arcs that want to stay at longer ranges. As an added bonus, this does not count as "obstruction by a ship or obstacle" as per General Romodi's commander effect, so you don't have to worry about extra damage coming from Imperial players.
- Electronic Countermeasures - Exhaust to spend one defense token targeted by an accuracy. Extremely valuable on ships with a single brace token, but remember to have an Engineering token on hand to refresh post Armada 1.5 rebalance.
- Advanced Projectors - Your redirects can put damage on as many hull zones as you like. Hard-countered by XI7s, but useful on ships with balanced shields in a meta without XI7s.
- Cluster Bombs - Discard for four dice against an enemy squadron that attacks you, bypassing their defense tokens (and Biggs, etc). For an average 3 damage, not worth it unless you have other means of piling on flak damage (Quad Laser Turrets, etc), and dubious even then.
- Reinforced Blast Doors - At the start of the ship phase, discard up to 3 facedown damage cards. Three extra health on an MC80 or ISD is amazing, but smaller ships like CR90s or Arquitens can have trouble not going from 3/4 hull to 0 in a single turn - although even 1 or 2 extra HP on those ships can make all the difference; just ask Motti.
- Reactive Gunnery - When defending, spend a defense token and exhaust this card to treat the defense token as a Salvo token. Obviously, this only works once per attack and spending a genuine Salvo token at the same time is impossible.
- Thermal Shields (Republic/Separatist Only) - May only be equipped to a Medium or Large ship. After your opponent gathers his dice for an attack, but BEFORE any additional dice are brought in with a Concentrate Fire dial or card effects, you may spend a Brace token to remove half of the attack dice rounded down from your opponent's attack pool. Essentially, you're trading in rounding the total damage down by half in exchange for potentially removing an entire color band of dice, and doing so without being locked down by an accuracy result or triggering Intel Officer. However, this counts as spending your Brace token for the attack, and it does poorly against effects like Slaved Turrets, Opening Salvo, Admiral Ackbar, General Romodi, etc.
Exclusive to the Interdictor.
- G-8 Experimental Projector - Before an enemy ship within range 5 of your Interdictor begins the Determine Course step, exhaust this upgrade to temporarily force it's speed down by 1 until that movement ends. Note that this is a temporary decrease and not resetting your opponent's speed dial. This means that if your opponent spends a token or dial to bring their speed up to normal, they'll need to end the turn 1 speed higher than before. If they were at maximum speed, for example, they cannot increase their speed because when your G-8s wear off, your opponent's ship will then be 1 speed above their maximum. It also only works for 1 maneuver, not for 1 activation. Use it to cancel out your opponent's Engine Techs, or combine it with other speed control like Admiral Konstantine or Phylons to keep your opponent where you want them.
- Targeting Scrambler - When a friendly ship at up to distance 3 (including the Interdictor that has this upgrade) is defending at close range, exhaust this card as if your were spending a defense token and force your opponent to reroll up to 4 dice of your choosing. Leveraged properly, this can keep your ships alive through even the most dire situations. Have a Gladiator or Raider pull up to stabbing distance with the confidence that they'll survive the shootout. Keep it around to nullify a MC30 bombing run on your ISD. Or combine it with a damage mitigating upgrade like Captain Brunson to make your Interdictor frustratingly hard to kill.
- G7-X Grav Well Projector - After placing obstacles but before placing fleets, place a Gravity Well token anywhere in the play area. When any ship deploys within range 3 of the token, it must deploy at speed 0. This effect continues for the rest of the game, not just during setup. So Raddus ships and Hyperspace Assault ships are also affected.
- Grav Shift Reroute - After placing obstacles, place a Gravity Shift token within the play area. After placing fleets, any obstacles at up to distance 3 can be moved within distance 2 of their original position. For 2 points, you can totally change the flow of the game before it starts. All obstacles are affected by Grav Shift Reroute, including objective obstacles like stations or asteroids with tokens on them. Clear a path for your fleet, or box in your opponent to get the leg up on early on.
- Generally Good
- Heavy Ion Emplacements - The ion cannon version of Assault Concussion Missiles. Use with a blue crit and exhaust the card to drain 1 shield from the targeted hull zone and both adjacent shields. Since this occurs before damage is dealt, your opponent can't Redirect the shield damage away. HIEs are the standard ion choice for big ships throwing enough blue dice to reliably generate a critical.
- Ion Cannon Batteries - Blue crit effect; force enemy to discard a command token, losing a shield if they have none. These are good strictly for their token removing, but it's meta dependent. Cards increasingly rely on tokens, but in turn more commanders and upgrades are able to supply them on demand. They're slightly cheaper than heavies and don't exhaust, so they're worth considering on ships with enough blue dice in multiple arcs to expect a critical on both their attacks.
- SW-7 Ion Batteries - Unspent blue accuracies count as 1 damage. Which means, yes, your blue dice now are guaranteed damage. SW-7's are best on small ships throwing 1-2 blues at bigger ships that might not bother to brace away such a small attack.
- Leading Shots - Spend a blue die to reroll any number of dice in your attack pool. This is the card that ensures your big ships do the damage they need to with their strong arcs. Pair with Defiance, Opening Salvo, etc to trigger at long range. Leading shots is more often used when you have a lot of red or black dice and maybe one comedy blue that you're willing to sacrifice to improve your black and red dice.
- Arc Upgrades
- High-Capacity Ion Turbines - Adds a blue to each side. Like most dice adding cards it's expensive and uses the modification slot.
- Situational at Best, Usually Not Encountered
- NK-7 Ion Batteries - Blue crit effect; exhaust to make the defender discard one of their defense tokens. At 10 points for an exhaust effect and the defender chooses the discard, the NK-7 is simply not worth using. If it was cheaper, worked on every attack, or hit the attacker's choice, then it'd be a contender for best upgrade in the slot. Instead it's a contender for worst upgrade in the whole game.
- Overload Pulse - Blue crit effect; exhaust all of the enemy's defense tokens. Turns enemy ships into punching bags for the rest of the round, but crits resolve after defense tokens are spent, so you need another ship to set up your big (cough Avenger cough) attack.
- MS-1 Ion Cannons - Blue crit effect; exhaust one enemy upgrade card. Being exhausted doesn't do anything to cards without an exhaust effect, so very meta dependent. It's cheap at 2 points but for the ships you might spam this on you're generally just better off finding three more points to use SW-7's.
- Point Defense Ion Cannons - Non-huge ships can force attackers at close range (or distance 1, for fighter attacks) to reroll a single die of the defender's choice.
- Most Frequently Seen
- Assault Concussion Missiles - Amazing upgrade that hammers both adjacent hull zones for one damage each on a black crit. Weakens Redirect, can't be Braced, and if you're rolling black dice they can't Evade anyways. As of the 1.5 update it's now an exhaust effect, but it's also now 2 points cheaper. The go-to choice for big ships focused on fighting other big ships.
- Assault Proton Torpedoes - Black crit deals an automatic face-up damage card. Free crits through shields never hurt. The 1.5 card update makes this an exhaust effect, so you'll do that face up card only one time per turn.
- External Racks - Discard to add two black dice to a single attack. A 4-point upgrade that works for any arc and is cheap enough to be an auto-include on anything that can take it, even on kamikaze builds.
- Arc Upgrades
- Expanded Launchers - Two extra black dice in the front arc. Decent enough, but the ACMs are usually more flexible (work on side arc shots) and more cost-efficient.
- Rapid Reload - An extra black die on either side. External racks killed this, since in practice most ordinance ships have difficulty staying alive long enough to justify an expensive modification.
- Anti Squadron
- Flechette Torpedoes - Spend a black critical result while flakking to activate the targeted squadron. While inexpensive and potentially devastating to fighter meta, this is only really seen in the wild on Raider-I's.
- Ordnance Pods - After your attacks, exhaust this card to make a black die flak attack from one of your hull zones. Exclusive to medium or large ships, so putting it on a Raider or MC30 is impossible. This attack stacks with other flak boosting upgrades like General Draven or Agent Kallus.
- Wide-Area Barrage - As a black critical effect against a ship, an enemy ship or squadron at close range of the target takes damage equal to half the number of hits showing on your black dice. Most ships with an Ordnance slot have better cards to put there, and your opponent can just spread out a bit, making it situational. But for 2 points, a last/first Demolisher can rush Gallant Haven, and snipe Jan Ors at the same time.
- Rarely the Wrong Choice
- H9 Turbolasers - Flip a hit or crit to an accuracy face. Decent at ensuring damage goes where you want it to. H9's tend to be favored in meta where flotillas are expected, since they can shut down the scatter token.
- Linked Turbolaser Towers - Reroll 1 red die per attack without having to exhaust like Dual Turbolaser Turrets. This works even during salvos and squadron attacks. BUT THERE'S MORE! When attacking squadrons you can choose to only attack the first squadron of your choice and add 2 dice of any color to your attack. Pound high-hull squads into submission, or lock down Scatter token dependent aces. Clone war ships like this card as they usually have salvo and some have red flak, but it works well on any small that doesn't have a second evade for reroute circuits.
- X17 Turbolasers - Redirect defense tokens can only shunt one damage per hull zone. Amazing at ensuring damage goes where you want it to, as long as you're not attacking anything with Advanced Projectors. X17's are the usual go-to for big ships throwing lots of red dice, except where meta is flotilla heavy (see H9's above).
- Good but Situational
- Turbolaser Reroute Circuits - Exhaust and spend an evade to change a red die to either double Hit or Crit. Delicious guaranteed damage, if you can spare the token. Rebel fleets have long relied on the "TRCR90" corvette spam, and commander Agate can give her flagship this option. Needa also lets the Empire use this on any Turbolaser capable ship for 1/10th of Agate's price.
- Heavy Turbolaser Turrets - Target gets to block only one damage with Brace unless it's the only token used. Good for heavy hitters only; if you're not tossing at least 3 damage regularly at the enemy, this upgrade is doing nothing for you. But it stops Brace + Redirect shenanigans for that juicy juicy hull damage. Particularly effective against salvo-boats, since they have to choose between brace or salvo.
- Swivel-Mount Batteries (Clone/Separatist Only) - This one is complicated. You can exhaust it to pull a dice from an adjacent arc into a arc of your choosing, although it needs a token to reset itself and until it does it reduces your dice in adjacent arcs. Where it gets interesting is in the wording and sequence. Because of the order of attack steps, it's possible to use Swivel-Mount to pull a black dice, and throw it out to red range, AND use concentrate fire to throw another black. Expect to get some gruff the first time you try using this.
- DBY-827 Heavy Turbolasers - When a Salvo attack goes off, you may change the result of one die to a face with a Crit icon (including a black Hit-Crit). Obviously worthless on ships without Salvo, but on ships that can pair it with flak guns and local fire control it's the defining card of the salvo-boat.
- XX-9 Turbolasers - Flip the first two damage cards instead of one. Combine with Dodonna on the Rebel side for picking out exactly what debuffs you want to slap on the enemy. A good upgrade but only on ships throwing enough damage to make it worth it.
- Arc Upgrades
- Enhanced Armament - Boost your side arc shots by one red die. Expensive, so put it on something that'll last the battle. Thanks to the rules wording, it won't work on the Executor's auxiliary side arcs.
- Spinal Armament - Increase the front and rear arcs by one red die. The vertical brother to Enhanced Armament for one less point.
- Slaved Turrets - You get to only shoot once, but you get a red die shooting at ships. This is a crippling limitation for big ships, but it's a cheaper spinal that sometimes is seen on the Nebulon-B, Arquitens, and Hardcell.
- Not Typically Seen in the Wild
- Dual Turbolaser Turrets - Exhaust this card to add a red die to that attack and then discard a dice from the attack (in that order). The Linked Turbolaser Towers is superior, but this is two points cheaper.
- Quad Turbolaser Cannons - When attacking, if one of your red dice has an accuracy result you may add another red accuracy die to the attack. VERY situational and expensive on its own but can be combined with accuracy generating effects like H9 Turbolasers, or Captain Jonus with a Warlord title Victory.
- Quad Battery Turrets - When a ship with Quad Battery Turrets is attacking an opponent that's going faster than itself, it may add a blue die to the attack. This die is added regardless of the range which is good for older, less maneuverable red dice heavy ships like Nebulon-Bs and Victory Destroyers.
- Heavy Fire Zone - You can change your anti squadron dice from blue to red if you don't have a friendly fighter engaged with the defender. Pretty meta dependent and only really any use on a ship with two blues for squadrons, but gives you a chance of knocking a chunk of out of a squadron before they get to you and off the field sooner.
- Bomber Command Center - Bombers out to distance 5 get a reroll. What you use if you're running a squadron-heavy list.
- Slicer Tools - Screw with the top dial of a ship at distance 3. Scatter will save you from the ship you're hacking... but leave you open to others. Stick to them like a remora and use them for cover.
- Repair Crews - Engineering commands let you fix 1 damage card on a ship at distance 2. Perhaps useful, but is this really the best use of points?
- Comms Net - Shift tokens to ships nearby. Ship support, if you have a ship build that needs a lot of tokens.
- Jamming Field - All squadron shots on other squadrons at distance 2 are obstructed. Note this affects friendlies as well! Also doesn't break engagements. Largely regarded as binder trash.
- Munitions Resupply - Comes with 5 Concentrate Fire tokens, and requires a non-Squadron token to refresh. After revealing the command dial, you can discard any number of tokens from this card to give a Concentrate Fire token to that same amount of friendly ships at distance 1-5 of you. Great for feeding hungry upgrades like Intensify Firepower, Gunnery Team or Director Krennic.
- Parts Resupply - Functionally identical to Munitions Resupply, but provides Repair tokens and can refresh with any non-Concentrate Fire token.
- Superheavy Composite Beam Turbolasers (Onager-Class Only): - Allows your Onager to place an Ignition token at Medium range. Then, when resolving a red critical result from the superlaser arc, your opponent must take additional damage from every red or blue critical icon in your attack pool. If you're lucky, this can be up to 4 or 5 extra points of damage that the defender must soak up one at a time, most likely draining their shields for the rest of the attack to come.
- Orbital Bombardment Particle Cannons (Onager-Class Only): - The closest Armada will get to having an honest-to-god nuke. It lets an Onager place an Ignition token at Long range. Then, when resolving a red critical result from the superlaser arc, every other ship at range 1 from the defender (INCLUDING friendlies, so watch out) MUST take 2 damage to any hull zone, and all squadrons MUST take 1 damage. It's strong, it's deadly, it should be considered the default upgrade for an Onager. Just remember that you don't NEED to resolve the critical effect, in case you didn't want to accidentally kill your own Gladiator or Raider engaging the defender in the process.
- Magnite Crystal Tractor Beam Array (Starhawk Only): - At the end of your activation, exhaust this card to force any enemy ship at range 1-5 to match your speed. Enemy Gladiator trying to slip away after dealing a full broadside attack? Surprise! He's now speed 1. That MC80 about to start tanking damage with all green defense tokens? Speed 0 says otherwise. Granted, if you use the tractor beams at speed 0, you cannot re-ready the card until you start a turn at speed 1 or faster. But you can do some SERIOUS damage with this if you play it right.
- Star Wars: Armada on Fantasy Flight Games' website, includes a full description of the rules and play.
- The Star Wars Armada wiki, featuring pictures of the ship/upgrade cards and rules text.
- Armada Warlords Fleet Builder
- Fab's Fleet Generator
- Ryan Kingston's Fleet Builder
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