Category Archives: Firestorm Armada

Made Of Win!

Hello folks! Well this is a wargaming blog and I was worried about the whole “He rolled a four and I rolled a two” stereotype imposed upon our noble hobby. Well, today my friends, I will indulge that stereotype!

Firestorm Armada…

Fire six Terran Torpedoes! Pew pew pew!

Take that, Sorylian scum! Time for the rerolls!

Eat crits galore! What’s this? Double six on the crit table? Sorylian battleship vanishes in a puff of jammy dice rolls…


Fire All Dorsal Fins!

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.

Conventions in Gaming – Luck

Last night availed the inhabitants of the 6 Inch Move floating citadel to yet another unplanned gaming rendezvous. Due to permission/absence/voodoo sacrifices of wives and girlfriends Castle Servitob was once more transformed into the vacuum of deep space. Both Space Hulk and Firestorm Armada got some table time.

This would the first outing for Gribblin’s new Aquan fleet, the first time any of us had seen the fleet played. Like a burk I forgot the flight stands for my fleet so the salty fleet went up against the torpedo happy Terrans. This post is not going to be a battle report, I will leave that to either of the participants to regale you all with tales of bold tactical manoeuvre and world-destroying firepower. What I do want to talk about though was aptly highlighted during one turn of this game. Look away now if you don’t want to read some spoilers. Feel free to read again once the italics end.

At the start of the game Gribblin deployed his fleet quite spread out, hoping to use the cover of a reasonable asteroid belt that spread across the middle of the table. Misjudging his distances and the alternating activation turn method that Firestorm uses saw his Cruisers zoom ahead unsupported by the rest of his fleet. This gave Servitob an opporunity for some early smackdown which he delivered forthrightly. By turn 2 the Aquans had no Cruisers left and with the fleet heading towards the Battleship things were already looking bleak for Capt. Birdseye and crew. However, we are all aware of how fickle the tides of fate are. Shortly after losing all of his Cruisers gribblin engineered a range band 2 broadside against the Terran Battleship, dice were rolled, hits were counted. Enough were rolled to cause a critical hit on the Terran capital ship, Servitob rolled the dice for his shields and, for once, they did not negate enough of the shots to prevent the critical hit. Gribblin eagerly grabbed his 2D6 for rolling on the critical table and was rewarded with a double 6! For those of you unaware of the Firestorm game either a double one or a double six cause the ship to explode, in this case as its main reactor is hit and causes the Firestorm version of a warp core breach. An undamaged battleship reduced to smouldering space flotsam in a single salvo. This changed the course of the game and Gribblin ended up wiping the Terrans from the table after a few more turns.

What this demonstration goes to show is that in many cases luck can be a major deciding factor in the winners and losers of our hobby. I am sure we can all recount sordid tales of the desertion of Lady Luck, when the cruel dice gods decide that we will roll ones and twos when we need high numbers and fives and sixes when we need low. Servitob did manage to cause a decompression on Gribblin’s Battleship in retaliation, venting liquid like an octagenarian granny, and on the following turn rolled the only number that kept the decompression going. However, when those dice are rolled, we are purely in the hands of the law of averages, hoping that we can do enough. As any gamer will tell you though, the law of averages mean squat. I can think of many instances where rolling a bunch of dice has either resulted in a massive haul of 1’s and 2’s or 5’s and 6’s, those middle numbers can be mightily elusive.

Although luck cannot be counted upon it’s actually just as much a part of our games as the terrain and models we use or the tactics or strategy we try to employ. Also, we cannot rely upon it deserting our foes either, although the phrase “Fortune Favors the Bold” does play out on occasion and some games even encourage an aggressive stance during play. Sometimes the right luck at the right time can really swing the fortunes of an entire conflict, just as in the example given above. I’ve seen units perform heroic last stands against superior enemies just because of the dice they managed to roll. After all, the games we play are not just pushing some toy soldiers around a table, at least I hope they aren’t. I would hope that each game is a story written in our memories. Thus it is that we can picture in our minds eye Sgt. Thumpy of the Blood Angels beating down countless hordes of Genestealers (well, 13) protecting a narrow corridor with nothing but a Storm Shield and Thunder Hammer for company. The Tau Fire Warriors standing atop their wrecked Devilfish fighting hand to hand with vile Necron Flayed Ones and surviving turn after turn without taking casualties. The Ork Boyz mob cruising around in their Trukk killing a Carnifex with a drive-by pistol storm. The poor Wood Elf alter kindred Noble who heroically charged into a Great Unclean One only to have his magical talisman fail on the first turn from the one attack the Daemon was allowed to make.

All these moments are the ones that get discussed for years afterwards, an event that should not have happened but, due to the luck of the dice, did. While Malifaux moves away from the dice mechanic, getting a hand full of the right cards to Cheat Fate is also full of chance, we cannot escape the luck that sometimes graces our battlefields. In some cases we may be the one of the receiving end of the misfortune, but even though I might moan and whine like a bitch when the dice desert me, beyond that I am happy that we have these systems where but one roll of the dice can dramatically change how things are going and give us excited memories that we carry with us of great times spent amongst friends.

Lcuk can be the best of friends, or a cold-hearted traitor and this gaming ZombiePirate wouldn’t change that for the world!

A Wild Tabletop Game Appears – GW Competitors, I Choose You!

Last night I got a call from Servitob and was asked to come and help give a demo of Firestorm Armada to a chap considering diving into the Storm Zone. So it was I packaged up all my gear and made the drive over to his house picking up Gribblin along the way. Even though I had planned to spend my time sat at home painting my Haradrim it was nice to get to have a game of Firestorm for the evening and it was a close game. By then end all that was left was a heavily damaged Dindrenzi Battleship supported by two undamaged Cruisers beating on the Terran Battleship that was also starting to take damage. Servitob conceded at the end of turn  7 but it really was a game where out fortunes went back and forth as to who was holding the upper hand.

However, this isn’t a post about Firestorm, that was just a pre-amble to what I have been trying to come up with the words for over the majority of this week. There should be no surprise that personally I am unconvinced by the new version of Warhammer Fantasy and that all of us here feel a great sense of excitement about War of the Ring. Odd how two games from the same company can bring about such different emotions. I know there are a lot of people out there in Internet land that cannot stand 40k, I happen to find it an interesting and fun game, this may depend on the environment in which you play it though. My friends and I enjoy chilling out and playing with each other, we don’t take the super competitive armies nor do we go to tournaments.

From this I have been wondering about how people decide on which games they will play. For many years now GW has not been the main player, there are a number of viable competitors exciting the market, I’ve had the fortune to play a number of these and some I’ve looked into but never took off. Sure I’ve gone through a large part of my adult life with no one to play with (yeah, I know, /violin) but since getting in with my current pals we do play some games and not others. Firstly, I think I should make a list with all the games I’ve spent money on getting the rules and/or models for in the not too distant past;

  • Warhammer Fantasy
  • Warhammer 40,000
  • War of the Ring
  • Warmachine
  • Hordes
  • Infinity
  • Secrets of the Third Reich
  • Malifaux
  • Sphere Wars
  • Necromunda
  • Confrontation
  • Dungeons and Dragons
  • Magic: The Gathering
  • Uncharted Seas
  • Firestorm Armada
  • World of Warcraft: TCG

That’s a lot of stuff that has come around, far more than any of us could actually get around to gaming with, yet as I have said in previous posts I am a sucker for fantasy worlds. Some of these games all I ever got was the rules, some of them have good models, some of them don’t. I like the rules for Secrets of the Third Reich but the models are hideous. So, let’s put up another list of the games that are really the ones that our group will be playing in the foreseeable future;

  • Warhammer 40,000
  • War of the Ring
  • Malifaux
  • Warmachine
  • Firestorm Armada
  • Dungeons and Dragons

This is still quite a long list, Warhammer Fantasy may pop back in there later but at the moment I have little inclination to get the new rules and finish off my High Elves. But, how did we come to the conclusion that this is what we would be playing. Well, a large part of it is what people are willing to spend their money on, a lot of the games listed at the top I guess most of our group has never even heard of. I am always looking through gaming forums and spotting what is new and if the models are good (we bought stuff for Sphere Wars from Salute just because the models were really awesome, I don’t see us playing it ever if I’m honest with everything else happening). Warhammer 40,000 is a long time favourite of the group, it’s what we started playing together and we all have armies for it. War of the Ring is obviously the newbie for us but it looks a solid rule set and we are all really excited by it, more so than anything else for a while. Warmachine is throw back to our individual gaming days as we all have models for this game already, we’ve had a couple of games of Mk2 and people are keen to keep it around to play now and again.

Malifaux is awesome, currently there are only myself and nBreaker playing it, but I love the Fate Deck mechanic and the game is a lot of fun, it is quick to play and is different from the other games that we play, hence it stays. Firestorm allows us to take a break from normal gaming as it is a completely different setting, we all really enjoy it so again, it stays. D&D got a resurgence after we tried 4th Ed at Salute, Servitob is currently DMing a campaign and I think we are almost at the end of his current set of prepared stuff. It tends to be a quite light-hearted game (we are currently running through a mine that has a beholder as the foreman who has a magical hat which allows him to look human for public appearances) and expands the gaming circle to include Mrs Servitob playing her emo Wizard.

So, we have a broad range of games that are across genres and settings, each has a rich universe to enjoy and allows us to test our grey matter against one another. But with all the other games out there how many do you feel comfortable playing, how often do you get to play them all and how do you decide which ones are keepers and which drift into obscurity?

Ships Ahoy – Firestorm Armada expands

Full Thrust fanbois prepare to flail with nerd rage as new kid on the block Spartan Games has released another fleet for their outstanding space combat game Firestorm Armada as well as painted pictures of the next fleet for release. This rounds out the 6 fleets detailed in the main rulebook, the Directorate are shipping to stores as we speak while the Relthoza will appear a little down the line, this will also include the Escorts and Heavy Cruisers so you won’t miss out with the options available to other fleets.

Starter sets are being released to allow people to dive on in with the new factions. I’ve reposted some of the pics from the Spartan website to get people in the mood.

Spartan Battle Report – Leonidas Vs Master Chief?

In support of our favourite ocean and final frontier boating specialists Spartan Games I thought I’d bring to the general populace’s attention a poll on their forums. The lovely chaps that created the “maybe better than Full Thrust” tabletop extravaganza that is really popular with our good selves, have decided that they want to host up a battle report and show us all how one of their games really should be played.

It is up to the consumers to therefore pick which system they want to see, either wave-bobbing Uncharted Seas or the frozen vaccuumness of Firestorm: Armada. When I voted Firestorm was winning by a single vote (deja vu of what is going to happen at the UK general election perhaps?) but with such a tight margin things could swing back and forth.

You’ll have to register on the forums if you want to have a go, luckily I am providing a link to that thread here.

Internet, I Need Your Help

If there’s one thing you can count on the Internet for, it’s unsolicited opinions and advice. Therefore I am hoping that when I actually want people’s opinions and advice we’ll all be able to come together in a conflagration of self-enlightenment and personal growth. At least, that’s the theory.

I have already given Servitob a brief heads-up, he knows what I’ve been thinking but not necessarily how much I have been thinking on it and how it pertains to our gaming. This isn’t a massively serious topic in the grand scheme of things but still, I need to get things out there if only to clear my head and have the opportunity for angles I may not have considered.

As I’ve mentioned in a couple of posts over the course of running the blog I really do enjoy skirmish games. The awesome fun we had with Malifaux recently only brought that into sharper relief and the majority of the games we are currently playing fall into this type of gaming. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy 40k or Fantasy, sometimes it is good to have sprawling armies fighting it out and this was evidenced in our recent battle with the new Tyranids.

To put things in context I have also made the pledge not to play Warhammer Fantasy again until I have a fully painted army. This has so far caused me no stress other than I have yet to paint anything for that system this year, I’ve been focussed on other things. I am currently trying to get my Cult of December painted.

Due to the fact that I enjoy the Warmachine we’ve recently revived slightly and Firestorm Armada/Uncharted Seas plays so well and now Malifaux has come up I am looking at all the various models I have lying around my house and wondering what to do with them all? The skirmish games tend to play faster and more aggressively than those requiring a lot more models to play. With my incredibly slow painting style a game where I only need between 5 and 20 models seems like a real bonus in terms of getting painted models onto the tabletop too. Everything about these games gives them a resounding thumbs up for the way I like to play. Small numbers of models means that a game may only take an hour to play, this means we can get more games in during a day and generally also means that the games are cheaper to buy into as well.

So, my current dilemma is whether or not to sell up and get rid of all my Warhammer Fantasy and 40k stuff and then focus on the couple of smaller skirmish games I really like and making sure that I have fully painted forces for each of them. Should be much easier considering the total numbers of models I own for each of these systems is less than one full mob of Ork Boyz.

You might think the decision is obvious, everything fits the puzzle so far, but please bear with me while I present the counter-points.

I’ve already mentioned that we have some new gamers in our group, nBreaker is one of these. When we first started getting these guys in what we do we were playing Warhammer Fantasy, neither of them have played a game yet, nBreaker has some Dwarves and the other fellow has his hands on my old Warriors of Chaos. Servitob does not play Warhammer anymore and if I packed it all in as well I feel I’d be abandoning my friends. It’s not that I don’t enjoy the game, I do, it’s just that perhaps I’d be better off time, money and game wise by sticking to the smaller styles. I could just kick off playing Warhammer but then I’d be breaking my resolution to get stuff painted, even though none of it is on my desk at the moment as I try to prepare Malifaux for a proper demo game for those yet to see it.

Another point is that Servitob and Gribblin play and enjoy their 40k. I know that in the future it may well be that our new players also jump on board for this. If I got rid of my 40k stuff I’d be losing an opportunity to game with my best friends, guys I love and respect in a totally masculine and none gay way. I don’t want to lose out on that outlet, again I do enjoy the game immensely.

If I had my time all over again then I’d probably have stuck with the skirmish games. You could be playing 10 games with 10 models each rather than 1 game with 100 models as I love my gaming worlds and their background you can see why this is appealing. I want to have one force that I focus on for each of the games I love, this should help me restrict the often excessive spending that can come with this hobby and give some floor space back to my much beleaguered wife. I don’t want to be tempted by each new army book that comes out (waiting on Dark Eldar which I would sell all my current 40k stuff for if they do the models right). I am already looking at budgeting my wargaming quite harshly and I would really like to spend more time in Malifaux and Warmachine, but I don’t want to feel or look like abandoning the friends I have.

This was meant to be a short post but has ballooned quite horribly, so Internet I ask for your help! Please, comment and help a dude out.