As ZombiePirate has already hinted at, last night witnessed my first game of Firestorm Armada. As the other three players in our group had chosen many months ago which fleets they were having I was left with the Aquans. Last night saw them deal Servitob his second ever defeat at Firestorm. I would like to claim credit for such a glorious victory, but as you will see it was mostly luck.
Having played Uncharted Seas before I was familiar with the game dynamics. I have also witnesses Servitob’s Terrans deal out a lot of damage with their long range torpedoes and due to their reliance on shields, take almost nothing in return. With this in mind I completely lost the plot and deployed my fleet spread out in a vain attempt to use the asteroids to block line of sight. Servitob had wisely placed his fleet close together. My cruisers used a turbo-boasting card to get an impressive 16 inch movement to get in between two of the large asteroids. Once there they did no damage to the Terrans and faced the full force of their firepower. By the end of turn 1 only one was left and it was badly damaged. The rest of my fleet had neither fished out (I mean dished out) or taken any damage. In turn two my last cruiser managed to drop a mine before being blown to plaices and a frigate got hurt. Still no damage to the Terran fleet.
Turn three was probably the deciding moment. I won the initiative roll and brought my battleship to within range band two of the Terran battleship. Rolling a blistering amount of dice (courtesy of a card) I managed to score a critical hit on the enemy. A double 6 was rolled and the previously undamaged battleship disappeared with an explosion that ripped a hole in the fabric of space. Things were suddenly looking good for me. My battleship also managed to down a Terran frigate at long range and damage a cruiser with it’s torpedoes. The Terran cruisers took some damage from both squadrons of frigates as well as the mine that my dying cruiser had dropped before going bye-bye. The Terrans managed to down a frigate in response.
The rest of the game saw the Aquans cleaning up what was left of the Terran fleet. The best moment being when the Aquan Battleship dropped a mine in front of a Terran frigate squadron, only to get caught in the blast when it went off. Again I managed to roll some ridiculous dice, sending all 3 Terran frigates to the afterlife and causing a critical hit on my own battleship. This resulted in a decompression that lasted for two turns and did more damage to my battleship than the Terran fleet.
So what did I learn from this game? The Aquans really do excel at broadsides. Even the small frigates can dish out a lot of firepower. The aft weapons didn’t come into play all that much as I was either facing the enemy, or using the broadsides. The mines are really, really effective. The Aquan battleship uses 5 dice which is enough to damage cruisers and prove lethal to frigates, whilst the cruisers 4 dice isn’t too shabby either. They can be very useful at blocking the enemy movement, just try not to drop them too close to your own ships. When faced with a lot of torpedoes (i.e. Terrans) deploy and move your fleet in close proximity until ready to broadside to take full advantage of the point defence.
Oh and a lot of luck doesn’t hurt.