Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Firestorm Armada on the Horizon

I recently picked up Spartan Games' Firestorm Armada. This is something we've been talking about off and on for a while, so I figured, "What the heck?" and just got them. I also picked up the optional card deck to accompany them.

I've been sitting on a copy of Full Thrust (which are now free) for some time now, and rules such as Sunder the Stars (also free), and all give you great space battles but Firestorm grabbed me for some reason. I've already bought the rules, but I'm still interested in hearing any experience y'all may already have with these.

Ironically, it was the models that really grabbed me and even more ironically I'm in no position to plop down fifty bucks right now for said models. Problem solved, as suggested here at Mik's Minis already, why not use ships similar to the micro-scale builds shown here on LEGO Thursdays? Why not indeed? So it looks like I'll be building some new ships to run the first few games with, probably a pair of matched cruisers per side or something. Here's some past candidates in one place:
That's it for now, hopefully I'll be able to get all of these rules under my belt, run a few games, and the big catch is whether or not it will stick with my fickle gaming group. Enjoy!


  1. Ooh! Spaceships! Now you've got me all excited!

    About the system:
    Hmm... I think Firestorm: Armada is a solid rules system but for me it feels boring in a way. Every kind of weapon stat in FA boils down to how many dice you get to roll and to hit you need to roll 5+ and you need to get more hits than the targets armour.

    This is a good system for modelling a great many different weapons. However, I think it loses something as all the different weapons get mashed into the dicepool-grinder. Basically it gets a bit too "samey". For example there's no mechanical difference when shooting torpedoes or when shooting laser cannons, just calculate your firepower and roll your bucket of dice. Yes, torpedoes can be shot down, but that's beside the point. It doesn't feel different. To me at least.

    In fact, when playing it always reminds me of Battlefleet Gothic (there are some similar elements) except that we generally had much more fun with with that game than FA. Me and my friend have come to the conclusion that we need to bring it out again and try it to see if it actually is more fun, or if it's just our old rose-coloured memories.

    Now, I really want to stress that it's not a bad game in any way, I just think the rules don't work all that well for space combat. I want more granularity I think. I like Full Thrust for example, which is a bit more detailed although share many similar mechanics.

    Oops, a bit longer than I thought this...

    About the models:
    Some of them are fantastic (Sorylians, alliance races, generally the later stuff) while others are plain ugly (early Aquans and Terrans) and the rest are somewhere in between. The models are generally of the HUUUUGE variety (have you seen the new dreadnoughts?!) which is kind of cool, but prevents you from mixing and matching with ships from other ranges.

    I started my Starblazers/Yamato project because I didn't really like any of the main factions enough to buy into it. I think using Lego ships is a great idea! I really like the one's we've seen so far. Much more hard sci-fi than the official models.

    In any case, I hope you have fun with it! I think I might try Dystopian Wars or Uncharted Seas instead as I think the system will gel a lot better with true naval themes than with spaceships. For me at least. :)

  2. Love the idea.Looking forward to seeing both the games and your micro builds.

  3. Mik,
    I love the idea of using your micro-scale Lego models.

    If Firestorm Armada does prove too generic, you might look at Starmada. It's completely customizable and gives a pretty wide range of possible weapons effects. I've been using that system in it's Star Fleet form (Klingon Armada, Romulan Armada, etc) and we've been able to play multiplayrer games with 2-3 ships each and finish up in 2-3 hours.

  4. @Martin: Thanks for the input, that's the type of feedback I was hoping for.

    @Spacejacker: Any excuse to build more LEGO, right?

    @Brian: I have a ton of the old Micro-Machines Trek ships in a box somewhere, I should break those out too for something like Klingon Armada. The Starmada rules sound like they are worth closer inspection, I saw a lot of rulebooks, you just really need the main one, right?

  5. Sunder the Stars came about because I wanted an entry-level fleet vs. fleet battles game to introduce the genre to new players and to be able to handle a table full of ships. The ironically named Starfleet Battles grinds to a near halt with more than a few ships on the table. Firestorm: Armada, though fun at first, became tedious due both to its mechanics and, at the time, its limited ship selection.

    StS is also a good convention game. All the necessary rules fit on both sides of one sheet of paper, and all your fleet information fits on another. I can usually walk away from a table of four first-time players by the middle of the second turn and the game would still go on without me. The player fleets used at conventions are currently 6 frigates, 6 destroyers, 3 medium cruisers, one battleship and one megadreadnought.