Thursday, January 13, 2011

Aquan Prime, I choose you!

For the last week or so, I've been doing some crazy research into Firestorm Armada.  I really enjoyed my first game with the starter sets and I can't wait to play more!  The most exciting thing about this fleet-based game is that it's different.  By different, I mean a different game system and balance design philosophy than GW.  Spartan Games actually shows off its timeline of what's to come and lets the community playtest their rules before finalizing them.  Even then the rules can change should the model become too imba because all the unit stats are online in .pdf files.  I have never played any fleet games before and this looks like the best game system I can get into right now.  Time, money and support is what I care about these days.

So what army did I eventually decide on?  I chose Aquan Prime out of the 6 factions currently available.  They have some of the fastest ships in the game (fastest Battleship), good defensive measures (high PD and DR) and they're one of the hardest factions to play.  Now maybe it's the elitist side in me thinking that I can handle the most tactically challenging factions, but I absolutely love a good challenge.  What makes Aquan Prime hard to play is their subpar ship damage.  Their main batteries are weak across the board except for the BB.  With 8" speed and 11/14 broadside lasers at RB1/2, the BB can put out a respectable amount of damage.  To nullify the weakness of the onboard weapons, the Aquans have retro-fitted all their ships with guns that can shoot in all directions.  Unlike the ships from other factions where they have torpedoes or guns on a fixed or specific arc, Aquan ships can deliver their payload (including torps) from all directions.  This, in combination with their ability to drop mines on the enemy, opens up another layer of stratagems.

In terms of tactics, the Aquan Fleet likes to engage fast and and deliver simultaneous damage from all directions. They do best when they stay together and fly straight up the middle of the enemy fleet.  If you have a BB and Cruisers swimming together into an enemy fleet, they can deliver powerful broadside and fore damage from all angles.  With torpedoes coming out of every direction as well, Aquan ships do the most damage up close and surrounded.  That's when they acquire the most targets to shoot at.  I think in terms of 40K, their playstyle is closest to Seer Council Eldar.  They like to get up close and personal with their opponents, but they have to use their tricks and maneuverability to survive prolonged engagement.

Addition to weapons on all arcs, most of the heavier Aquan ships come equipped with mines.  These are normally MN4 or 5 rating with the heavy cruisers and the battleships having MN5.  This means that when I fly over a batch of enemy Frigates or even Cruisers, each ship that flies over can drop a mine from their aft port up to 4" away.  If any enemy is within 4" of that mine on their next activation, they're taking 5 dice worth of damage.  Imagine the possibilities when 3 MN5 ships fly over and drop mines.  Awesome.

Finally, the last reason I went with Aquan Prime is because of their models.  I'm not a Star Trek fan, but I really like the look of the Enterprise and the AP BB reminds me a lot like it.  My friend tells me it looks more like the Mon Calamari cruisers from Star Wars, but who cares.. it's all good!  The rest of the ships are decent looking, but the capital ships (the BB, Manta and Triton) look fantastic.


Anonymous said...

Is it a two dimensional game, or does it take into account "height"?

Empty Bolter Clip said...

I never thought of Aquans as "Star Trek" like... I'm more of a Star wars guy so I always though more of Admiral Ackbar and the Mon Calamari than anything! (not to mention some iconic Star Wars lines you could use in the game)

I'm glad to see you are liking Firestorm, as I have recently gotten into the game as well, and I'm eagerly awaiting your future posts on the game!


Minijunkie said...

I'm also getting pretty fired up for FSA (no pun intended). I just finished my Directorate fleet and also have a Dindrenzi fleet. I actually think I like the Directorate models because they also remind me of star trek with the big, curved front ends. I like the Aquan capital ships too, but not super fond of the smaller vessels.

I believe the game takes height into account mainly based on being able to fly "through" other ships. I don't mind if they keep it simpler.

I'm still reading the rulebook. I think to learn the game I will need to start out just using basic weapons and not get into cards or wings in my first game. It feels daunting in terms of complexity so far.

David said...

I would just like to comment on that first paragraph and apologize for rambling as I should be heading out the door right now.

Having all the rules/stats online and being willing and able to change them as the "meta-game" starts to show imbalances is gold!

Its a pipe dream I know. But I would love to see GW and the established game companies move in this direction. Its somewhat comparable to doing patches in mmorpg's to balance the game and would help with the horrible "codex-creep" of setting a faction/codex in stone for 3+ years.

FA looks cool. I tried BFG years ago and never got into it. From a fluff perspective its the same old grim'dark as 40k and I already have my fill of that.

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