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Benjan Meruna

Armada: Where to go from here?

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So, in another thread I stated that I felt Armada was basically a finished product at this point, at least for the GCW era.  Adding a Scum faction ala X-Wing seems fairly unlikely, and while Legends can be mined for a a couple more ships I don't know how many more waves you could wring out of them (plus, you'd be faced with the difficult task of giving each ship a distinct role without invalidating a current ship or releasing a ship that's just completely lackluster).  Exploring a new era seems likely, but I found myself thinking more about the era I was currently playing and what could be done to fine tune THAT experience.  When I asked myself if I felt like anything was missing from the game as it stands right now, one thing stood out to me: I wanted to have My Dudes on the table.

Your Dudes is something of a nebulous concept, but the gist of it is that you are building your own merry little fleet.  It's led by your own custom commander, assembled and painted to your own specifications, with it's own narrative in your head.  Armada is one of the most well-balanced wargames I've played, but it's a bit lacking in implementing Your Dudes due to three reasons:

  1. Pre-painted ships.  Honestly probably the least troublesome to overcome, as adding fleet insignia and other flairs to your models is relatively straightforward compared to painting your models from scratch.  The downside is that you probably feel less ownership over those same models.
  2. Ship titles.  The pre-established ones are good, but I do wish FFG put out some guidelines to create your own titles, either tied to an ongoing campaign or just from combining things from a list of effects.
  3. Probably the biggest one: lack of custom commanders, officers and squadrons.  It's very hard to run with Your Dudes when you can't actually make Your Dudes.  Similar to the suggestion above, being able to assemble a Commander/Officer/Squadron through a combination of different abilities with different point costs attached to each one would drastically increase people's excite to play with Their Dudes.

All of that is far easier said than done, though.  Balancing all of the potential builds for custom Titles, Commanders, Officers, and Squadrons would be absolutely nightmarish.  I don't have very high hopes to see anything like that implemented, but something FFG put together for even casual play would be amazing.

 

How would YOU go about designing something like that?  What else would you want to add to the game mechanics while you're at it?

Edited by Benjan Meruna
eternal grammar and spelling errors

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Great questions, and I have been doing the My Dudes thing for a while. I've gotten Tarkin and TLJ Luke from Skull Forge Studios. Tarkin is my favorate commander for the Empire, and I liked the model for TLJ Luke. I recently bought the Imperial Specialist pack for Legion as well... so thats my first custom ship captain, Kassandra Starseeker. Most of my imperial ships are also painted up in  republic colors as well, and also have names on thier stands done by a label maker.

 

I plan on doing another female ship captain, and putting some storm trooper leader arms on her, make her prepared for boarding actions maybe? I am hopeing either Skull Forge or Mel comes out with two different poses of generic male officer. For my rebels, I plan on super kit bashing legion rebels. Likely, my custom commander will be the rebel officer specialist with storm trooper arms. Then a couple fleet trooper officers, a couple ground trooper ones. We'll find out about those when I do them. I have a move coming up so I cant be buying a ton of new minis.

Edited by Ling27

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I have yet to have any concrete fiction for them, but the core of my Rebel fleet is a trio of Corvettes that I ended up with after a Christmas sale,  and so I painted each ship in an individual yet unified color scheme to be a trio of defense ships owned by a planet's ruling house that defected to the Rebellion along with a couple of older squadrons of Y wings and Z-95's.  It's my own little way of having "My Dudes".  Their fluff is that they didn't have the red when they joined the larger fleet, but it was added to show unity after they joined.

847189_sm-.jpg

847186_sm-.jpg

Edited by AegisGrimm

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3 hours ago, Ling27 said:

Great questions, and I have been doing the My Dudes thing for a while. I've gotten Tarkin and TLJ Luke from Skull Forge Studios. Tarkin is my favorate commander for the Empire, and I liked the model for TLJ Luke. I recently bought the Imperial Specialist pack for Legion as well... so thats my first custom ship captain, Kassandra Starseeker. Most of my imperial ships are also painted up in  republic colors as well, and also have names on thier stands done by a label maker.

 

I plan on doing another female ship captain, and putting some storm trooper leader arms on her, make her prepared for boarding actions maybe? I am hopeing either Skull Forge or Mel comes out with two different poses of generic male officer. For my rebels, I plan on super kit bashing legion rebels. Likely, my custom commander will be the rebel officer specialist with storm trooper arms. Then a couple fleet trooper officers, a couple ground trooper ones. We'll find out about those when I do them. I have a move coming up so I cant be buying a ton of new minis.

Share what you come up with for your Armada stuff!  One thing that would be cool would be a template for creating your own custom cards.

 

@AegisGrimm, those are some awesome paintjobs!  That's a great way to get yourself invested in the models!  I play Imperial, so I'm pretty much limited to painting squadrons and maybe the occasional red stripe here or there.  Still deciding what I'd want to do.

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I would like to see both for Armada and X-Wing Planetary maps that, such as the deep cayons of Kyle II (See Rogue Squadron 3D as an example of the thought process) that force players to really pilot their ships with grace and strategy and new meta's, such as possible no Star Destroyers or Home Ones as they might be way to large. Other things I'd like to see is something other then ships to be added, such as the Taloraan Tibanna Gas Mining Storage platforms, turrets, and other stationary or even moving Objectives that are actual objectives.  I'd like to see actual deplomatic vessesl, such as the Naboo Royal Starship in the game, it would offer some sort of targeting buff to nearby ships, (as it did have super high end sensors) but completely defenseless on its own, and would need a heavy screen to keep alive.

Other interesting objectives would create new unique game play possibilities that would make something new happening outside of "place ships on field, and go pew pew each other"

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On 2/10/2019 at 1:24 AM, Benjan Meruna said:

 I wanted to have My Dudes on the table.

This is something I'd really like to see too! As to how I'd implement it...well the easiest solution is to "re-skin" existing commanders/squadrons/crew in casual games. Alternatively, there were some ideas floating around this forum for Aturi-esque systems where you "level up" your commander and flagship with traits, which also allows you to build a narrative over several games.

On 2/10/2019 at 1:24 AM, Benjan Meruna said:

I don't have very high hopes to see anything like that implemented, but something FFG put together for even casual play would be amazing.

I'd go further and say that encouraging "your dudes" isn't on FFG's radar. X-wing seems keen to prioritise named pilots over generics, Legion has only recently added generic officers and even in games like Imperial Assault or Descent, you're still playing pre-written characters instead of creating your own. It's interesting to me that a number of Legion players have been quite vocal about not wanting generic officers, as they want the game to be all about "iconic" named characters. I just don't think what we're looking for is part of the commercial landscape, sadly...and nothing I've seen has given me hope that this will change.

Nor is this trend restricted to FFG...even GW seems to be pushing named characters at the expense of "your dudes".

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6 hours ago, Zeoinx said:

I would like to see both for Armada and X-Wing Planetary maps that, such as the deep cayons of Kyle II (See Rogue Squadron 3D as an example of the thought process) that force players to really pilot their ships with grace and strategy and new meta's, such as possible no Star Destroyers or Home Ones as they might be way to large. Other things I'd like to see is something other then ships to be added, such as the Taloraan Tibanna Gas Mining Storage platforms, turrets, and other stationary or even moving Objectives that are actual objectives.  I'd like to see actual deplomatic vessesl, such as the Naboo Royal Starship in the game, it would offer some sort of targeting buff to nearby ships, (as it did have super high end sensors) but completely defenseless on its own, and would need a heavy screen to keep alive.

Other interesting objectives would create new unique game play possibilities that would make something new happening outside of "place ships on field, and go pew pew each other"

These sound like excellent ideas... for a homebrew campaign.  Because the main point of the game (certain objectives withstanding) is about placing ships on the field and going pew pew at each other).

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Yeah, @Dobbs Mottley, I don't have great hope for seeing more custom commander support in the future.  Still, I might try my hand at something to float it by the community later.

 

Regarding maps and buff ships and the like, I'm inclined to agree with Calkins.  I like those ideas as campaign additions, but not for standard play.  I WOULD like to see more type of terrain able to be fielded, though, such as a wandering Ion storm that moves according to scatter dice or something. 

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7 hours ago, Dobbs Mottley said:

Legion has only recently added generic officers 

Talking of generic offices - would Armada benefit from having some generic Commanders? An "Imperial Admiral" or "Rebel General" card, maybe 20 points or cheaper, with a weaker effect, but that lets you squeeze in more points for other upgrades?

Although if under 20 points it would cause problems for the Executor-I.

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30 minutes ago, Grumbleduke said:

would Armada benefit from having some generic Commanders?

I think it could, but never will. 

Armada doesn't really function off keywords like Legion. So it's more difficult to "scale down" an effect and really see tangible results. Where Legion just has to adjust the keyword strength or subtract keywords and it's measurably changed.  

Edited by Darth Sanguis

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Personally I see Armada working well for write your own backstory. Currently I'm working on writing out a backwatter nebula known as "the dust region" (largely due to lack of imagination on my part) and the Imperal fleet that is tasked with controlling it. I was thinking I'd write it up as this dusty crime ridden backwater with a large set of pre-built ships that I tend to use. For example: 

Victory I-Class Star Destroyer (73 points)
-  Warlord ( 8 points) 
-  Ruthless Strategists ( 4 points) 
-  Quad Laser Turrets ( 5 points) 
-  H9 Turbolasers ( 8 points) 
-  Ordnance Pods ( 3 points) 
= 101 total ship cost

Might be translated into a hyper agressive flack boat that uses bombers and YV-666 as squadron spotters with the attached tie squadrons understandably frightend of the flack gunners bravado. 

However with my 'rules' for writing fluff I leave out any unique units or upgrades so I'm leaving Agent Kallus off of the ship and twisting Warloard to another name. 

 

While it isn't exactly "my dudes" seeing as I leave off Admrails while building the ship roster I figure at least head cannon wise I'd just rename Tarkin or Motti if I wanted their ablility but for whatever reason didn't feel like having them be there at the moment. 

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One thing I would love to see from Armada is different "types" of missions and gameplay. Yes, Objective cards and the various ship/commander abilities are supposed to add new twists on the gameplay, but I find that more often than not this is only a tepid step towards a much greater possibility and results in games that feel like variations on a theme.

I have many complaints about Warhammer, but this is one of the things they do really well - there's a huge variety of missions and game modes available that mean that the exact same two armies can fight each other for a dozen games and every time things feel different. For instance, you could have missions like:

Breakout: One fleet is significantly more powerful than the other (maybe twice as strong), but their opponent is trying to flee off the far board, rather than fight. The "blockader" has to deploy their entire fleet first, perhaps with an extra-large deploy zone to set up multi-tiered defences, while the "runner" has to pick how they're going to try and escape. Do they pick the weakest part of the enemy formation and try and punch directly through? Do they instead opt to make a multi-pronged approach, ensuring that their opponent has to try and move forces to react to multiple points of incursion?

Base Defence: One side defends a station in the middle of the board, while the other attempts to destroy it (shamelessly inspired by the last mission of the third tour of duty in TIE Fighter). Attacker has the option of setting up on multiple board edges, and even holding some of their fleet in reserve to launch as a potential "second wave" later in the battle, ensuring the defender always has to keep one eye on the empty board quadrants. The defender might also have the option of setting up static defences, like minefields.

Last Stand: One side gets to continually cycle their ships (aside from their flagship, perhaps), redeploying any destroyed ships on their table edge the following turn. The defender is simply trying to either wipe out as many of the enemy vessels as possible before they are overwhelmed and dragged down to their demise, or, as an alternate, survive with at least one ship until a set time limit.

Convoy Raid: One side sets up on one of the short board edges and has to shepherd unarmed cargo ships to the opposite end of the board, while the enemy deploys in waves along the long table edge and tries to stop them.

Pursuit: Similar to the above, except one side sets up in the middle of one half of the board (the runner) and the other, which gets a modest points advantage, on the nearest short edge (the pursuer), with half their forces able to deploy on later turns from the long edges to intercept the fleeing fleet. The running fleet - or possibly just the flagship - has to try to escape off the other short edge. Do you gun the fleet's engines and try and try and stay ahead of the pursuers at your back? Do you let a big, tanky ship or two fall back and turn to face the pursuers in order to get in their way and cause a traffic jam?

 

I feel like Armada could be so, so much more interesting than "set up your fleet on the long board edges, fly towards each other, pew pew until someone dies". It would also encourage different-themed fleet building beyond "What can I put together that makes the enemy explode most expeditiously?" That double Cymoon build you love so much won't do so well in a mission where you have to be able to cover large swathes of the board and/or react to sudden new threats. That Ackbar Conga Line won't help you much in a mission that's going to need your fleet moving straight ahead with targets mostly in the forward arc. ****, a couple of these missions might make Konstantine be actually be worth taking in order to slow down a fleeing objective ship.

I love the game as it is right now, but a greater variety of missions would be amazing.

Edited by darkknight109

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2 hours ago, darkknight109 said:

One thing I would love to see from Armada is different "types" of missions and gameplay. Yes, Objective cards and the various ship/commander abilities are supposed to add new twists on the gameplay, but I find that more often than not this is only a tepid step towards a much greater possibility and results in games that feel like variations on a theme.

I have many complaints about Warhammer, but this is one of the things they do really well - there's a huge variety of missions and game modes available that mean that the exact same two armies can fight each other for a dozen games and every time things feel different. For instance, you could have missions like:

Breakout: One fleet is significantly more powerful than the other (maybe twice as strong), but their opponent is trying to flee off the far board, rather than fight. The "blockader" has to deploy their entire fleet first, perhaps with an extra-large deploy zone to set up multi-tiered defences, while the "runner" has to pick how they're going to try and escape. Do they pick the weakest part of the enemy formation and try and punch directly through? Do they instead opt to make a multi-pronged approach, ensuring that their opponent has to try and move forces to react to multiple points of incursion?

Base Defence: One side defends a station in the middle of the board, while the other attempts to destroy it (shamelessly inspired by the last mission of the third tour of duty in TIE Fighter). Attacker has the option of setting up on multiple board edges, and even holding some of their fleet in reserve to launch as a potential "second wave" later in the battle, ensuring the defender always has to keep one eye on the empty board quadrants. The defender might also have the option of setting up static defences, like minefields.

Last Stand: One side gets to continually cycle their ships (aside from their flagship, perhaps), redeploying any destroyed ships on their table edge the following turn. The defender is simply trying to either wipe out as many of the enemy vessels as possible before they are overwhelmed and dragged down to their demise, or, as an alternate, survive with at least one ship until a set time limit.

Convoy Raid: One side sets up on one of the short board edges and has to shepherd unarmed cargo ships to the opposite end of the board, while the enemy deploys in waves along the long table edge and tries to stop them.

Pursuit: Similar to the above, except one side sets up in the middle of one half of the board (the runner) and the other, which gets a modest points advantage, on the nearest short edge (the pursuer), with half their forces able to deploy on later turns from the long edges to intercept the fleeing fleet. The running fleet - or possibly just the flagship - has to try to escape off the other short edge. Do you gun the fleet's engines and try and try and stay ahead of the pursuers at your back? Do you let a big, tanky ship or two fall back and turn to face the pursuers in order to get in their way and cause a traffic jam?

 

I feel like Armada could be so, so much more interesting than "set up your fleet on the long board edges, fly towards each other, pew pew until someone dies". It would also encourage different-themed fleet building beyond "What can I put together that makes the enemy explode most expeditiously?" That double Cymoon build you love so much won't do so well in a mission where you have to be able to cover large swathes of the board and/or react to sudden new threats. That Ackbar Conga Line won't help you much in a mission that's going to need your fleet moving straight ahead with targets mostly in the forward arc. ****, a couple of these missions might make Konstantine be actually be worth taking in order to slow down a fleeing objective ship.

I love the game as it is right now, but a greater variety of missions would be amazing.

I don’t disagree with the concept (more mission variety = good), but nit the specific examples and what they entail.

 

Speaking on the WFB/40k line in particular, they’ve had the assymetric battle thing for a long time, even devoting an army to the concept (Achaeons Horde), but generally soeakibg, they only appeal to a few.

Nuw, don’t ger me wrong- if it appeals to you, they are AWESOME and some of the most tense and narrative battles you will ever play.

But for a seeming majority, they just smack of “unfair”. Not being able to meaningfully “play” a game (Your Cymoon are useless now!) is the very original definition of a Negative Play Experience.  I don’t mean NPE in the borders of it not being Fun, but literally not being able to meaningfully address and play the game, as your wonky actions are essentially pre scripted ... 

That, or a day of being “beat on and always scraping away0 can be telling for people - it’s not hard to find people here who want to distance from what little tournament narrative we have (Games should be W/L only), and asymmetrical battles insude of a tournament are difficult to work towards.

These things work better in 40k as there is an assumed freedom of movement. Not so in Armada.... 

 

 

Tge day I can follow the advice of my favourite Non-Star Wars (but still had to deal with Mark Hamill) Admiral, Admiral Tolwyn, is the day these become a bit easier to swallow. But we’re not there yet...

 

”When you have a junkyard dog snapping at your heels the best thing to do is TURN AROUND and KICK IT in the CHOPS...”

 

 

Honestly, I feel as if we need to do this work ourselves if we want it - FFGs focus, as the overarching company and design, should be on “fair and balanced” games of whatever size, as that is the unifying feature they can provide to everyone in the world.  Local groups can then tailor to their asymmetric desires.

 

And also, I’d like to hear more about people who take on some of that Asymmetric that we have... but no one ever plays “Nebula Outskirts” or “Asteroids” in campaign battles ...  those are some of the most interesting unbalancing missions we have, and they go unused - because inherently, people want to play fair-ish games.

 

Edited by Drasnighta

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9 hours ago, Drasnighta said:

That, or a day of being “beat on and always scraping away0 can be telling for people - it’s not hard to find people here who want to distance from what little tournament narrative we have (Games should be W/L only), and asymmetrical battles insude of a tournament are difficult to work towards.

I wouldn't suggest these missions be used in tournaments or competitive play, for the exact reasons you're bringing up here - tournaments thrive on equality and balance and it is much, much harder for asymmetric gameplay to have those traits (and even when they do, they're often still perceived as being imbalanced, which isn't much better). These would be for casual play, an alternate way to play Armada for those who want to try something new.

9 hours ago, Drasnighta said:

These things work better in 40k as there is an assumed freedom of movement. Not so in Armada.... 

To me, the more restrictive movement in Armada would be part of the appeal (and the challenge) for both sides. There are strategies you could employ in Armada that simply wouldn't work in Warhammer due to the much increased manoeuvrability in that game. By the same token, your initial deployment becomes all the more crucial, because it's more difficult to correct mistakes.

9 hours ago, Drasnighta said:

Honestly, I feel as if we need to do this work ourselves if we want it

I just like having official stuff, because it allows everyone to be on the same page and gives the company itself a chance to playtest an idea and balance it with ships they may have in development, making any fine-tuning/errata as needed.

It also gives FFG an option to support Armada without pushing out any new models if production capacity is an issue, although I'm not convinced that's the case.

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