Sunday, July 11, 2010

Firestorm Armada - opinion after a few of games

Got a few games in of Firestorm Armada this weekend. We didn't use the actual fleets that are in the Firestorm universe as we didn't have any of the models. So instead we used the ship design rules found in the main rulebook to create the Starfleet and Klingon ships that my friend gave me.

I tweaked the rules from the ones I posted earlier and they can be found here. All our games were cruisers vs. cruisers/frigates games so no battle ships.

The game play was rather fast and quite simple. Lots of dice were rolled which can be fun but if someone is super lucky and 6s start showing up a lot the game tends to be lopsided. One of the game mechanics rewards 6s because they count as double (double hits, double shield deflection, double point defense etc.) and allows the roll of an extra dice which if it turns up a 6 allows you more rolls.

It got rather ridiculous at times as the store owner threw 8 dice and ended up getting 4 6s followed by more 6s and then after 1 more 6 finally stopped. It resulted in a whopping 14 hits on a particular ship. Now this was important because in the game mechanics if you can only cause 1 point of damage with each attack, but if you can somehow score multiples of a ships critical rating in hits you get that many critical hits on the ship. So this ship suffered one point of damage and two critical hits (it only had a critical rating of 6) which was enough to wreck the thing (and there are two results on the crit table that result in big explosions regardless of how much damage you've taken)

I supposed there's precedence for stuff like that happening in real naval battles (HMS Hood vs. the Bismarck) but if it happens often, the game seems too luck based. Does give that cinematic feel though as there are many space battle scenes where some ships get one-shotted while others can take a pounding.

Aside from that dice rolling mechanic (probably should have just allowed the extra roll or the 2 successes, not both), the standard ship to ship combat is pretty simple. No complicated movement rules (larger ships need to move first before turning and you can perform minor corrections to avoid model collisions for free). Shooting is simple as nothing blocks LOS except celestial objects (unless we missed that rule while playing) and you don't get reduced firepower for shooting at targets moving perpindicular or parallel to you.

We didn't do any fighter/bomber combat as we didn't have any carriers (there is no canon carriers or fighters for the Star Trek universe as far as I am aware) but there is a whole section dedicated to that.

In my opinion it's a simple game, lots of potential and the ship creation rules are great if you have starship models that need a game system. Way easier to learn than Full Thrust.

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