1 December 2020 | Star Wars: Armada

New Rules of Engagement

An Updated Star Wars™: Armada Rules Reference is Now Available

Big changes are coming to Star Wars™: Armada. The game enters the Clone Wars on Friday with the introduction of the Galactic Republic and Separatist Alliance factions. To mark this occasion, a new Rules Reference Guide is now available here and on our Armada product page. You can also find a list of all the cards found in the Upgrade Card Collection here. Join us today as we give you an overview of the changes!

Hello Armada fans! The wait is almost over and the Clone Wars arrive on Friday! As we've been discussing in articles and interviews throughout this year, we have updated our Rules Reference Guide to support these products and the future of the game.

Armada veterans will notice a number of significant changes as you read through the updated RRG. However, we encourage you to think of this as Armada version 1.5. It's still the same game, but with some added features to improve play and support a new era of expansions. This release article is meant to give you an overview of the changes and the thinking the design team has put into them.

Revised Rules

A number of key changes have been made to long-standing rules. This section covers the most important.

Pass Tokens

This is the single biggest change to the core Armada game experience. We've repurposed the pass token mechanic introduced with the Super Star Destroyer to provide more parity to fleets with lower activations than their opponents. Tokens are now expendable and spent during the Ship Phase to pass an activation turn.

Armada has always benefited from its great tournament community, which has given us a window into the game played at the highest level. But we've noticed some definite patterns emerge over the years; the kind of fleets that are dominant prioritize an ideal number of activations. This has often led players to feeling pushed toward playing with several extra ships (like flotillas) or taking specific upgrades (such as Strategic Adviser) that assist large ships in delaying their activations.

These new rules for pass tokens help fleets the most during the maneuvering in the early game, but can be spent flexibly, when the player feels they are most crucial. This not only adds balance, but rewards good tactical decisions, which have always been a central part of Armada.

Evade Defense Effect

With the changes to allow more passing, the activation advantage of small ships has necessarily been reduced. As small ships also rely heavily on the Evade token, this would also weaken their survivability. To offset this, we have revised this token's effect so that its medium-range reroll effect now also works at close range (including distance 1).

This changes the dynamic of Evade slightly, while still leaving it chancy for a ship to rely on it at close range. This revision also opens up the token to being used in other contexts, which players of the Clone Wars factions may notice first.

Squadron Play

Squadrons are a signature part of Star Wars, and have always been a core part of the Armada experience. As with activations, some patterns have developed over the years that we wanted to address. Squadrons are often seen as an all-or-nothing component of a fleet. This tendency is reinforced by the context of keywords and the defining abilities of 'ace' squadrons.

We've made several changes to address this, starting with limiting the number of unique-named squadrons with defense tokens that a player can add during fleet building. These squadrons are now limited to one per 100 fleet points of the agreed total for each fleet.

We have also revised the effect of the Intel keyword, so that it is no longer as easy for bombers to completely ignore engaging squadrons. Intel now grants friendly squadrons at distance 1 Grit, instead of giving enemy squadrons Heavy.

New Rules

The updated Rules Reference also includes new major rules introduced with the Clone Wars expansions, bringing them fully into the game.

Upgrade Cards and Token Icons

The biggest of these new rules are the new upgrade card symbology representing cards that start play with command tokens or dials, and upgrade cards that require a cost to be readied. We have added these rules to provide more room in the game for new types of card effects with more concise text. They also allow for and for more options in the pacing of effects, such as a middle ground between discard cards and those that can be used every round. Some older cards that used long-form text for these types of effects (such as Grand Admiral Thrawn) have been revised in the new Upgrade Card Collection to use these icons instead.

Reformatted Ship Cards

As part of updating the line, we have moved to a consistent cards size for new products. We have reformatted where upgrade icons and points costs are displayed on ship cards. We have also introduced a new ship traits box on new ship cards. These traits are rules in themselves, but they can be referred to be other effects or as requirements for upgrade cards. Older ship cards remain legal for play.

A Living Reference

Another great long-term benefit of this update is that we have changed where the rules are gathered and how we treat them. Like X-Wing and Legion, our RRG is now a living document that can be updated regularly as the game expands or requires changes.

Consolidated Rules Source

Players also no longer need to hunt through multiple expansion inserts to find a specific rule during a standard game of Armada. We have consolidated all previously published expansion rules into one source, including keywords, upgrade icons, and new mechanics. It should be noted this does not include rules specific for campaign play, but does cover obstacle types and other standard play components introduced in this expansions.

Integral Errata and FAQ

Armada's errata and FAQ are no longer a separate document but are now sections within the RRG. As part of this process, some older rulings have been moved out of the FAQ section and into rules.

The errata section is also now reorganized into two sub-sections to include all new errata from the Upgrade Card Collection as well as past errata. One section covers significant changes that affect a card's function; the other covers simpler consistency changes. Finally, all card and component images have been updated to reflect their latest versions. Older mini-size upgrade cards remain legal for play, though players should check the errata section of the RRG for any updates to these cards.

These sections will grow over time, so it is important to note that no new FAQ or errata have been introduced to cover the Clone Wars expansions themselves. These will be added in future updates as questions about the new rules and cards are received.

Speaking for Armada's past and present designers, we feel lucky to have some of the most devoted and enthusiastic players in minis gaming as our fans. We're excited for the next phase of this game and hope that these changes will improve play, provide an easier reference source, and continue to support the Armada community. Although this article covers the high notes, we encourage you to begin reading the updated Rules Reference for yourselves, and to let us know how we can continue to improve the game!

Download the Star Wars: Armada Rules Reference Guide for a full look at all the changes and be sure to look here for a list of all the cards in the Upgrade Card Collection. As always, game rules, tournament regulations, and other support materials for Star Wars: Armada can be found on our Armada page!

Back to all news