Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Command Tokens and Tactical Flexibility - An Ode to Garm Bel Iblis

My last battle report featured the two token generating admirals Garm and TarkinThe game got me thinking about command token use.  With Garm I tend to use the tokens for flexibility and 'burst' turns.  My opponent was using Tarkin to stack with his squadron commands and boost his primary tactic.  I think that both tactics are valid, but tend to see people using command tokens more with stacking in mind for super-commands.  I prefer using them for flexibility and thought I would share some of my reasoning.

I've now had a handful of games using Garm again and it has really reminded me just how amazing all those command tokens can be.  Tokens from Garm tend to work differently for me than when I bring Raymus Antilles or Wulf Yularen.  Rather than looking to stack a token and command for maximum impact the opportunity to take advantage of multiple command types in a turn provides some genuine tactical flexibility in my games.

Garm obviously works best with Command 3 ships like the Assault Frigate or the MC-80s.  I've noticed when playing with him that I will tend to spend much of the game with 3 tokens on those ships only to have them all disappear in one turn.  As an example my Assualt Frigates would start a turn and use an Engineering token to shift a couple of shields around, re-roll a blank in a red dice with a Concentrate Fire token, and then spend the Navigation token to accelerate to speed 3 and get out of trouble.  All of this on top of whatever command was actually on my dial.  This flurry of 'extra' command activity would often give me a huge advantage in the games key turns.

Armada is only a 6 turn game.  The first turn is typically spent on setting up maneuvers.  The second on approach and maybe some long range shots.  The action will typically really start on turns 3 or 4 depending on the objectives and the aggressiveness of the players involved.  Being able to reliably blow through a stack of command tokens on those turns and then re-load to do it again on turn 5 is such a huge benefit.

Playing with Garm really gets me thinking about command flow and how the turns will progress.  Knowing that I get Nav tokens on turn 5 saves me from needing to setup a Nav commandAt the end of turn 4 I can move any unengaged squadrons within command distance of different ships knowing that each can be setup with a Squadron token.  Engineering tokens late in the game can ensure that you have to blow through every shield on my ships before they go down.

Garm of course isn't the only way to stack your ships full of tokens.  The restriction on not duplicating token types just forces you to use them differently than you might other sources.  If Garm isn't your cup of tea grab Comms Nets, Tantive IV, or Commandant Aresko and set yourself up for some flexibility on those key turns.

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