The Empire's Interests
A Preview of the Imperial Light Cruiser Expansion Pack for Star Wars™: Armada
"In the absence of Governor Pryce, you have had a single, simple objective, Minister; to protect the Empire's industrial interests here, interests that are vital to our expansion throughout the Outer Rim."
–Grand Moff Tarkin
The Galactic Empire governs countless star systems, worlds, and citizens, so its ranking officials cannot be bothered to tend to the minutiae of its every interest. Instead, they rely upon a bureaucracy built of necessity, one in which responsibilities are delegated from the likes of Emperor Palpatine, Darth Vader, and Grand Moff Tarkin down to lower Moffs, regional Governors, and local Ministers.
Accordingly, when a ranking official like Grand Moff Tarkin finds himself forced to deal with the failures of his subordinates, the response is almost always swift, authoritative, and decisive. Responsibilities may be reallocated. Resources will be assigned as needed. Heads may roll. And if the matter is military, troops and vessels will be deployed as necessary.
To deal with Rebel insurgence in the Outer Rim, the Empire's military deployment would frequently include one or more Arquitens-class cruisers. Featured in the Imperial Light Cruiser Expansion Pack for Star Wars™: Armada, these versatile ships are smaller than the Star Destroyers the Empire reserves for its most urgent concerns, but they present a considerable threat, nonetheless, due to their speed, responsiveness, and the firepower they command with their quad lasers and turbolasers.
Life at the Periphery
Much as the Empire cannot afford to abandon its interests in the Outer Rim—even if there are more pressing engagements nearer the Core Worlds—you cannot afford to abandon your pursuit of objective points in Armada.
The destruction of your opponent's ships is always beneficial, but there may be times you either cannot destroy a ship or cannot afford to exchange fire with one. Typically, this is more of a problem for the Rebel Alliance, whose starships can't match the raw firepower wielded by the Empire's Imperial-class Star Destroyers. But Imperial forces in the Outer Rim don't always benefit from the presence of the larger Star Destroyers. There may be times they may be outmatched in a head-on confrontation, and at such times they may find themselves adopting the sort of tactics the Rebels typically employ.
In such situations, the Light Cruiser is a boon for any Imperial admiral. Its speed and broadside firepower make it ideal for flanking runs and long-range exchanges. In fact, if the Rebels feel they can finally rush into confrontations head-on after gaining the forward-facing firepower of the MC80 Battle Cruiser from the Wave IV Liberty Expansion Pack, you might just dash their hopes by sending a fleet of Light Cruisers around their flanks to prey upon the MC80's less heavily shielded left and right hull zones.
Both the Arquitens-class Light Cruiser and Arquitens-class Command Cruiser sport battery armaments of three red dice from their left and right hull zones. Moreover, because both versions of the ship can equip turbolaser upgrades, you can utilize Enhanced Armament to get the ships up to four red dice from their sides.
Of course, since a good portion of the ship's value is rooted in its efficiency—just fifty-four fleet points for the Light Cruiser and fifty-nine for the Command Cruiser—you may opt to focus on the overall accuracy of your attack pool, rather than the raw number of dice. Here, the Imperial Light Cruiser Expansion Pack offers a tempting alternative in the form of the Dual Turbolaser Turrets upgrade, which you can exhaust to add a red attack die to your attack pool and then remove a die. With luck, you'll add a red die worth two hits to replace the red die on which you had rolled a blank.
The ship's relatively low fleet-point cost also makes it well-suited toward the pursuit of objectives like Intel Sweep and Hyperspace Assault . In fact, its modest fleet point cost and solid long-range attack may even make it a good choice for Advanced Gunnery , at least in the hands of those admirals who know how to fight their battles at distance.
Above all, though, ships assigned to the Outer Rim need to be able to defend themselves. They patrol and fight far from Imperial reinforcements, so they need adaptable defenses in case a battle ever turns against them. And, again, not only do both versions of the Arquitens-class cruiser feature the defensive retrofit upgrade, but they can both benefit from the additional defense afforded by Minister Tua .
Not only will it be hard for your opponent to generate accuracy against your Imperial Light Cruiser in long-range exchanges, but the defensive retrofit Electronic Countermeasures can make it even harder for your opponent to use that accuracy to negate your evade token. Alternately, you could use Advanced Projectors to shift damage from the hull zone your opponent can target to distant hull zones, threatened by no one. Or you could absorb the damage and then ignore it by closing your Reinforced Blast Doors .
Even though the Arquitens-class cruiser can only boast five hull, a Command Cruiser with Minister Tua, Reinforced Blast Doors, and Electronic Countermeasures could easily absorb multiple long-rage volleys, even from a ship like the Mon Karren . When it's able to fight at those long ranges, your Arquitens-class Light Cruiser is arguably more effective than even a Victory II-class Star Destroyer , and at twelve fewer squad points.
Double Your Efforts
"We shall double our efforts."
Generally, when you're the official in the Outer Rim to whom Grand Moff Tarkin or Darth Vader has delegated a good measure of responsibility, you don't want to see them coming around to check on your progress. If they do, the correct response is to make sure they leave happy. Often, this may mean doubling your efforts.
Moff Jerjerrod makes his Armada appearance in the Imperial Light Cruiser Expansion Pack as an Imperial commander that serves as something of a counter to the Rebellion's General Madine . Like Madine, Moff Jerjerrod enhances your fleet's maneuverability. Unlike Madine, Jerjerrod doesn't require you to spend navigate commands from your tokens or dials. Instead, his ability requires your ship to suffer a point of damage.
Nonetheless, for that point of damage—which can prove a trivial cost in crucial moments—Moff Jerjerrod can enhance the yaw value of even the notoriously stiff Victory-class Star Destroyer, which normally can't adjust its maneuver template by more than a single click at any joint.
In fact, even though the Imperial Light Cruiser is a relatively fast and agile ship, which features a yaw value of "II" at its last joint, only its last joint gains that yaw value. This means that if your Arquitens-class Light Cruiser is flying at speed "2," it cannot adjust its maneuver template at the first joint. At speed "3," it cannot adjust its maneuver template at either the first or second joints. That is, unless you follow the command of Moff Jerjerrod.
With Moff Jerjerrod as your commander, your Arquitens-class Light Cruiser can gain that extra bit of maneuverability that it might need to skirt the edge of the battlefield, keeping foes within firing arc and range, even while avoiding the worst of enemy fire. In this light, it's easily worth suffering a point of damage on a distant hull zone to make sure you get the positioning you need.
Imperial Expansion in the Outer Rim
The Imperial Light Cruiser has been vital to the Empire's interests in the Outer Rim, and it may soon prove vital to Imperial efforts at the periphery of your Armada battles. How will you outfit your Light Cruiser? How will you fly it? Share your thoughts with the other members of our community forums. Then be sure to head to your local retailer to pre-order your copy of the Imperial Light Cruiser Expansion Pack today!