Beginner's Guide

Star Wars: Armada is a fantastic game that does a great job of blending tactical choices, quality miniatures, and the Star Wars universe into a game that still manages to be a fun excuse to roll dice and say pew, pew, pew.  Still, there can be a bit of a learning curve and there are enough choices that it can be daunting to decide where to get started.

Well, you've found the right place.  This page will hopefully serve as a resource to help new players find out the basics they need to know to get the most out of Star Wars: Armada.

The Core Set

The Armada Core Set provides you with the basics that you need to get started in the game.  Aside from the ships, squadrons, and upgrade cards, this is the place to get the dice, range rulers, tokens, and objective cards that you need to play the game.  The 3 ships and 10 squadrons that are included in the box will be useful to you in your games going forward.  If you only plan to play one faction, you can look to trade the other ships to another player.  The one thing that I wish the core set included more of is dice.  It will be really useful to grab yourself another dice pack.  I wouldn't recommend a second core set though.

Your First Game

The Learn to Play guide is well setup to help you learn the rules.  Follow its recommendations for your first game or two.  After you have a little experience, thoroughly read the Rules Reference Guide as it covers things in greater detail, but is really most useful when you have the context of a game or two under your belt.  The 180 point games that you can play with the starter are useful to learn the rules, but to really get a feel for the game, you will want to bump up to 400 points, which is the standard amount for tournaments.

Basic Strategies


Here's a couple of quick strategy tips for your first games:
  • With the exception of serious mismatches like an ISD versus a corvette, it is rare to see a ship get killed in one attack in Armada.  It generally takes some concentrated fire to take something down.  You can do this in a couple of ways.  One is to try to to get a target to fall into multiple firing arcs on one of your ships.  The other is to maneuver your ships so that they can coordinate their fire on the same target.
  • Pay attention to the order that your ships activate in.  Because ships fire before they move, it is often best to setup a shot with your last activation in a turn and then use that ship as your first activation of the following turn.
  • Spend a lot of time learning how to drive.  The Navigate command is probably the most useful in the game and one that many beginning players don't use enough.  ( I know that I didn't).
  • Don't over do it on upgrades.  Spend about 10% of your points on upgrades until you learn the game better.  A common mistake for new players is to fill every upgrade slot on their ships just because they can.
What to Buy Next

For your first purchases, you really can't go wrong.  For the Imperials, I would grab an Imperial Star Destroyer and the Gladiator Star Destroyer as well as a squadron pack.  For the Rebels I would grab an Assault Frigate, Home One, and the squadron pack.  I will add some sample starter fleets using those packs to this page in the future.

Eventually, most players end up grabbing one of everything.  This is true even if they only play one side as they will want access to all of the upgrades in the game.  It is worth noting that the expansion version of the ships that come in the core set so include different upgrades, which makes them worth grabbing as well.

Building Fleets

Fleet building is a fun part of the game and many players spend hours putting together fleets of all types.  I like to build fleets around specific concepts of combinations and then tweak them to see what they can do.  Some folks like lots of squadrons or upgrades, while others just cram in every ship they can get.  Some strategies are more effective than others, but there isn't really a wrong way to go.  However, I can give you some guidelines to get you started.  For a 400 point fleet, I would spend around:
  • 240-260 points on ships
  • 40-50 points on upgrades
  • 70-80 points on squadrons
  • and then an admiral
Use whatever is left to fill out one section or another.  In Armada, the player who spends fewer points gets to decide who goes first or second.  This is important when working with objectives.  Some players intentionally leave several points free in their list for an 'Initiative Bid'.  I don't tend to worry about this in my fleets and would encourage you to learn to play as both the first and second player.

Finding a Game

Aside from playing with a friend at your own home, many local game shops will have an Armada night where you can find a game and someone to teach you.  Check the FFG message boards for a game or league night near you.

You can also play Armada online through a program called Vassal.  I've only used it a couple of times, but it can be a great resource.  There's a great how-to post here.

Advanced Strategies

As you get more games in you'll start to see a variety of fleets and strategies used against you.  Some players prefer a small number of well upgraded ships, while others spam out several cheap ships in a swarm.  Some prefer the max number of squadrons, while others avoid them completely.  I tend to think that any strategy can be effective if played well.  The key to high level play is practice.  Not just games in general, but several with the same fleet.  Learning the strengths and weaknesses of your own fleet is often more important than understanding every iteration that could be thrown against you.  Find a basic fleet plan you like and stick with it, varying upgrades or making small changes to find something you really like. 

In my play I put a high value on formations and maneuvers.  I often come into a game with a basic plan of how I want to maneuver my ships.  A good maneuvering plan will allow you to concentrate your firepower, while avoiding the worst of what your opponent can throw at you.  My Out On Maneuvers series of articles really focuses on how you can use the maneuver game to set yourself up for victory.

Playing in Tournaments 

A great way to meet new players, play against a variety of fleets, and potentially win some fun prizes is to play in an Armada tournament.  FFG produces tournament kits that are available to clubs and local stores for running Armada tournaments.  These kits include alternate-art versions of ship, squadron, and upgrade cards.  They have also included acrylic rulers and tokens.  Collecting these tournament prizes can be a fun way to build up your collection.  The tournaments fall into these categories:
  • Seasonal Kits - These come out in the Spring, Summer, and Winter.  Stores can run multiples of these tournaments and they are a great first tournament experience.  Some places use the prizes for leagues rather than tournaments.
  • Store Championships - Once a year, in late winter/early spring, a store can run an official Store Championships tournament.  These more of the same style of prizes and new range rulers for the top 8 players.  The winner also gets a bye at a Regional Tournament event.
  • Regional Championships - These happen in late spring around the country.  In the US, I believe there are 5-6 regions, with each having 2 regional championships.  FFG does try to space them out, but you can expect a bit of a drive to get to one, especially if you live on the west coast of the US.  They offer unique prizes similar to the other tournaments and a generally higher level of competition.  Winning here will earn you a bye at the National level.
  • National Championships - In the summer, each country has their own National Championships, with the winner getting a bye at the World Championships in the fall.  In the US, the National Championships will be held at the Origins Game Fair in June, while a similar event called the North American Championships will happen at GenCon in August.
  • World Championships - In the Fall, FFG hosts their World Championship events at their HQ in Minnesota.  The winner of this tournament gains the unique prize of being able to design a future upgrade card for the game!  
Tournaments are fun and the prizes are cool to win, but I have most appreciated them for the chance to meet new players and expand the Armada community.
Online Resources

If you're reading this, then you've found my blog, which I hope will be a good resoucre for you to learn more about Armada.  There are some other great, and even better, resources out there;

2 comments:

  1. tl;dr: Hi, is there an already build fleet for corellian conflict?

    Just fluff^^:
    I play with a guy who likes the game and is really good. And I'm not really a match for him. I have no strategy and no idea how to use the ships and squadrons. And I don't want to put the time into it to be a challenge for him.
    Honestly I don't need to win, just some pointers on strategy and a fitting fleet for it, so I have at least a clue why I lose^^

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    Replies
    1. Try to find some builds in the internet. I actually only finished playing my first game (that's how I end up here) so I won't be much of use.

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