Firestorm Armada or Full Thrust? Let Battle Commence!
Full Thrust is the grandaddy of space games. It’s been around for ages and you can now get the rules for free. Firestorm Armada is a relatively new offering and really owes a lot to it, especially the More Thrust version of Full Thrust. The whole dice rolling business of 4 and 5 is one hit, 6 counts as two hits and roll again, was a FT concept many years ago. What FA did to the mix though was to introduce damage and critical ratings. Thrust used to rely on damage charts where you would tick boxes. Armada did away with all the paperwork to make the game more straight forward. And I think this is a good thing.
Psychologically, Armada also trumps Thrust quite severely. It is a simple thing really, but in Armada you get to roll buckets of dice, which is exciting. In Thrust you only ever roll a few, which is not so exciting. Simple things please simple minds. In addition, Armada models are excellent. Thrust models are not so hot.
Strategically however, Thrust has an ace. All movement is preplanned and carried out simultaneously so you need to be paying attention to get your fleet into an advantageous position. Also, the physics of Full Thrust, while not perfect, is far more representative of space. If your super dreadnought keeps accelerating it will eventually be moving at 60″ per turn despite the fact that it should be a lumbering behemoth. This is actually what would happen in space, and requires extra skill and planning to make the most of. Unfortunately in the Firestorm Armada universe space is filled with custard which means that spaceships move in a way that is easy to comprehend, as it is similar to the way that ships sail in the sea.
Now then, if some bright spark could take Firestorm Armada and add the Full Thrust movement rules we would not only have a potential lawsuit, but also a slightly deeper strategic game. However, as it hasn’t happened yet, and would require some testing, we must choose one or the other. I choose Firestorm Armada. Because ultimately gaming is about fun, and Armada is just that. Not to say that Full Thrust isn’t… it’s just that Armada does it in a much more accessable way. The miniatures are easier to get hold of, the game itself is better promoted, and there is a decent fanbase (but that might just be dependant upon where I live). It’s a bit like Full Thrust is a kit car, and Firestorm Armada is a purple Nissan. Yeah sure, if you put the effort in the kit car is going to be splendid. But ultimately if you just want to cram your mates in to go down the chip shop then the Nissan wins every time.