Saturday, August 8, 2015

A Rare Update

Wow.  Has it already been more than 2 years since the last update?  LOL

I've decided to take another stab at maintaining this as certainly there are always new and shiny things in the gaming world both analogue and digital to talk about, as well as maintaining a loose log of things I've played and opinions on gaming (as I have a pretty bad memory, myself :P).

So, what have I been up to lately then, in gaming terms?  I suppose I've been quite enamored with the recent Fantasy Flight Games release of Star Wars: Armada.  I don't know what it is with Star Wars, but that franchise sucks me in time and time again.  For those who've played FFG's X-Wing, there will be parts about it that are familiar, but SW:A uses an all new ruleset to accommodate the change in scale to capital ship engagements. 

All in all, not bad for such a ruleset.  While not as complex as Firestorm: Armada (which actually is very streamlined come to think of it, compared to something arcane like Starfleet Battles or Saganami Island Tactical Simulator) and having a "wargaming lite" feel, it still has enough strategic and tactical options to keep gameplay relatively fresh.  As a result of the relatively simple rules (which are only a few pages in length and can be downloaded under "Rules" here) can be learned quite quickly and games can be resolved much quickly than in other fleet based wargames.  Ship stats come on handy cards, and are also reflected on the stands themselves - they contain handy dials to help keep track of shields as well as display other basic info at a glance. 

Like most FFG games, SW:A does come with a lot of gaming paraphernalia like dials, counters, cards, and tokens but thankfully have not degenerated into Game of Thrones levels of insanity.  :)  The ship sculpts look really great and are for the most part pre-painted to an acceptable tabletop level but the starfighters are instead casted in an appropriate faction colour. 

One minor concern with this game however, is the fiddly nature of the game with respect to on-table components.  As convenient as the shield dials may be, there's a high probability there will be accidental bumps that put ships slightly out of position - the starfighters especially suffer badly from this problem as the dials are the size of their bases and are difficult to turn.  In addition, the maneuvering tool used to determine capital ship movement is made of relatively flimsy plastic and has a LOT of wiggle room, leading to potentially imprecise measurements - not to mention the fact that it can and will snag onto and knock other ships around.  The tool really needs to be adjustable to accommodate for different situations, but I suppose that's why FFG is selling the tool separately in the next wave of expansions. ;) 

In addition, the sheer number of ships and components will probably prove to be an annoyance to many.  I've managed to fit the core set and all of Wave 1 (plus duplicates of a couple of ships) into a Husky toolbox, but I can forsee myself looking for a better solution in the future.

Minor concerns aside, I feel that this is an excellent game that both wargaming veterans and n00bs will enjoy alike, as well as an excellent candidate for a "gateway wargame" to introduce others into the hobby.  If you feel so inclined, the link for the ruleset is again here, and a handy web based fleet generator can be found here

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