I played a test game of Firestorm Armada today and I'm very satisfied with the game. I'm going to keep this in note format so people can follow along a lot easier. I played Sorylians and Dimitri played the Terrans. We played with no wings and no game cards since this is our first learning game.
First, the army lists. The starter boxes can produce the following lists:
3x "Sentinel" Cruisers
3x "Pilgrim" Frigates
3x "Pilgrim" Frigates
3x "Skyhammer" Cruisers
3x "Scythe" Frigates
3x "Scythe" Frigates
As you can see, the two armies are very similar to eachother with 1 mainstay ship, 2 squads of smaller ships and 1 squad of medium ships. Here comes the quick BR:
- The Terrans go first and push their stuff up. Nothing really happens the first turn. I keep the Sorylian Battlegroup relatively close so their PD can fend off enemy torpedo fire.
- His second turn sees some torpedoes being shot my way but my PD fend them off easily. He moved a group of Frigates a little close to me and my Cruisers punished them hard with their broadsides firing. My leftover Frigates finished the last Frigate in his squad.
- His Cruisers opened fire on my Cruisers but he was at RB3 and didn't manage to do anything. He moves his BB closer to my forces and my BB does the same. BB stands for Battleship btw.
- Now this turn gets really interesting. I open fire on his Cruisers with my Cruisers and with linked fire, I score a critical and damage the movement on one of his Cruisers. His return fire doesn't do as much as he'd like and I take 2 hull point damage on my first Cruiser. I move my BB up to RB2 Broadsides and I beat on another Cruiser hard enough to disable his starport Broadsides.
- His BB moves up and his Frigates shoots a bunch of stuff at my Cruisers but nothing really happens. I feel confident that I was in the lead so far.
- He takes the initiative next turn (and for the rest of the game) and his Cruisers open fire on mine. The first one takes a heavy beating and is knocked out completely. My return fire on the undamaged Cruiser sees 3 6s being rolled and 2 hits, along with 6 more consecutive 6s. We couldn't believe our eyes.. but after 20 or some hits from the exploding dice, the unharmed Sentinel explodes in spectacular fashion. He fails to repair anything on the other 2 Cruisers.
- After that, his BB came up and came within exactly 16" of my BB and unloaded a devastating Broadside. He scores a massive amount of hits and scores a critical. I don't really save anything with my shields and now my BB loses 2 hull points and 1 of each crew and AD.
- The Frigates on both sides move around and fails to harm anything because of overlapping fields of PD.
- On my turn, my BB returns fire of his BB and does no damage at all to it. Not good.. even with 12 dice thrown from my broadside, I fail to breach his hull.
- Here's where things go downhill for me. He takes the initiative again and his BB pounds mine again for another 2 hull points after a crit. My bays are jammed but without wings or whatever, I don't really care. His torpedoes are also shot and catches some of my frigates. My return fire from my BB again does nothing. I am really sad.
- His Cruisers go and crits one of my Cruisers and a raging fire breaks out on board. My return fire puts down another Cruiser and that's it for that.
- Our remaining Frigates dance around a bit and a few losses happen here and there.
- On his next turn, his BB rips my BB a new one. He rolls something like 6 6s and a bunch of hits and then rolls a double 1 on the table for Reactor Overload (see screenshot). My BB disappears in a vortex of swirling energy and I do 16 dice worth of damage on his BB. Too bad he rolls his shields like a madman and after a 4 and 2 6s, followed by another 6, I only manage to do a hull points worth of damage.
- I finish his Cruiser sometime here and my Frigates fail to board his BB because of they all got shot down by AD7. We call it after another turn of his BB raping more of my army.
So here's what I noticed:
- The PD thing might seem complicated at first, but it went by really quick once we played 2-3 turns worth.
- Getting the first jump with a good roll on someone's BB seems game changing; especially if I can't return fire correctly (cause of shields and rolling). Given there was some amazing rolls from Dimitri, his BB completely decimated mine.
- This gives me another idea: Maybe my Cruisers should of focused on his BB and ignored his Cruisers? If I linked all my fire into his BB, I might have caused enough damage for some criticals or something.
- The Terran turret is strength 12 at RB2, has 360 degree coverage and can be linked into any of his guns. This gives him a ton of flexibility to where he wants to shoot. I thought closing in to his BB will save my BB some damage.. yeah right. His turrets just turned around and shot the living crap out of me for Reactor Overload.
- My Cruisers are amazing. They move 10", has strength 8 broadsides at RB2 and has 4 CP and 4 AP. They're considered the best Cruisers in the game and I agree.
- Terran shields are amazing. Saving any type of hit on a 4+ and can save 2 with 6s and has a exploding dice mechanic seems very.. erm, good. I think this makes Terrans a very forgiving race to play since enough SH saves can nerf a ton of damage (turning Criticals into a mere hull point damage). The most disgusting thing about this is that shields can never be degraded and works on 4+. That might be a little too good.
- After my BB fell, I knew I had no chance to kill his battleship. I concentrated on focus firing his smaller units and getting "victory points", but after the game went 8 turns, I was told there's no limit to how long the game goes. This means that after 10 turns or whatever, his BB would have killed everything I have. What's the point of VPs then? The turn a game ends is actually "optional". I wish I knew that before.
- I enjoyed the game a lot, but next time, I think game cards and fighter wings will be encouraged. The cards adds a whole 'nother dimension to how the game is played and fighter wings can make up for a lot of a fleet's weaknesses.
- Good game, had a blast - literally.