This is a much more grown up type of game than we usually review, and unlike my usual game reviews, I won't be explaining gameplay in any detail. The rule manual is 18 pages, with an additional booklet to refer to during play. I simply can't explain in one blog post, but hopefully you'll get the gist.
As daunting as the rule booklet may at first appear, gameplay is actually pretty intuitive, and the main reason for the large rule book is because it's tricky to explain in shorter form, and there can't be room for misinterpretation. The more you play, the more the moves are familiar and second-nature, and you in turn become able to focus on strategy.
The miniatures are an important and integral part to Star Wars: Armada. This is a game that is beautiful to look at, and as the pieces move around the play area, you see the 'battle ballet' unfold.
Included in the Core set are the Star Destroyer, a Corvette and a Frigate, and squadrons of Tie Fighters and X Wings. The detail is amazing. These are beautiful and very intricate models and collectibles in their own right. Don't let your little children anywhere near them...
There are also a lot of other playing pieces to get to grips with. Dials, 8-sided dice, damage tokens, random event and objective cards etc.
The play area is understandably big - 90cm square - so clear the kitchen table and begin...
Each player will have their own 'hand' of cards, dials and tokens to use in play. These vary initially depending on which craft you are using, and their effect varies depending on which craft they are assigned to and who they attack, and even which side of a vehicle the attack is launched from.
Movement of ships is really clever - smaller ships are nippy and can turn quickly, larger ships need a bigger turning circle. This is achieved by the very clever movement measuring device, which also takes into account the speed you have set for your craft. Faster speed means it will take more distance to turn.
Games of Star Wars: Armada are played over six rounds, each of which is broken into four phases.
Phase 1: Command Phase
Both opponents assign commands to their fleet secretly using the dials. You need to have an idea of what you are planning to do and which way you hope your game is going to play out beyond this round otherwise you will waste vital moves.
Phase 2: Ship Phase
This is where you 'activate' each of your fleet by revealing the commands you planned. You can use them immediately or save them for later at a reduced effect, but they are now known by your opponent.
it is during this phase that you move, and attack.
Phase 3: Squadron Phase
The turn of the starfighters. All unactivated ships become active and move or attack.
Phase 4: Status Phase
This is where you 'tidy up', sort out exhausted defense cards, turn over the initiative token and increase the round count. If you have played 6 rounds the points are counted for completing certain objectives and destroying enemy ships. The player with most points is the winner.
Fantasy Flight Games suggest each game of Star Wars: Armada takes around 2 hours, we haven't managed that yet! Although you will have to refer to the rules more often initially it doesn't stilt gameplay too much, especially if you are learning at the same time as your opponent and you both need to check each step.
As with the very traditional Battleships game, scoring a hit on your opponent is the aim, and when you do it's a great feeling - and a fairly rare one in my case. I am not enthusiastic enough in my attacks!
At an rrp of £79.99 Star Wars: Armada is an investment, not a game which anyone will buy lightly. It offers serious strategic gameplay for the keen gamer and needs only 2 players, making it really handy despite the large play area.
The UK distributors of Star Wars: Armada are Esdevium Games and you can find out more about Star Wars: Armada on their website.
We were sent the Star Wars: Armada Core Set for review.