Rebel and Imperial fleets fight for the fate of the galaxy in Star Wars™: Armada, the two-player miniatures game of epic Star Wars space battles!
Massive Star Destroyers fly to battle against Rebel corvettes and frigates. Banks of turbolasers unleash torrential volleys of fire against squadrons of X-wings and TIEs. Engineering teams race to route additional power to failing shields. Laser blasts and explosions flare across the battlefield. Even a single ship can change the tide of battle.
In Star Wars: Armada, you assume the role of fleet admiral, serving with either the Imperial Navy or Rebel Alliance. It’s your job to issue the tactical commands that will decide the course of battle and, perhaps, the fate of the galaxy.
In short, Star Wars: Armada is awesome. You build fleets of capital ships and fighter squadrons and then battle it out over objectives on a 3x6ft star field, over the course of six rounds, when, presumably, Imperial reinforcements arrive and the Rebels are forced to jump to hyperspace.
What makes Armada different than X-Wing? I'm glad you asked! Besides the obvious upgrade to Capital ships, a large and defining change is that rather than hiding your movement decisions, you are hiding your choice of action. Movement is decided when a particular ship is activated, with perfect knowledge of the current field, if not knowledge of what will come afterwards! Movement, rather than being handled by pre-determined templates, is controlled by this cool little doohickey:
The maneuver tool allows you to click in different directions depending on the size of your ship and its current speed, allowing for a wide range of possible courses and subtle shifts in course. FFG posted a full article on it that you can find HERE.
Another large difference is the lack of Defense Dice. Instead, each ship has a selection of Defense Tokens, which can be exhausted to provide a certain type of damage mitigation. Exhausted Defense Tokens refresh at the end of every round. However, should you come under heavy fire with exhausted Defense Tokens, what then? Well, you can
spend an exhausted token.. but then you've lost it for the rest of the game! This allows each player to have greater control and decision in those pivotal moments instead of having to wager your roll against your opponents.
Additionally, and in my opinion one of the biggest differences, is the addition of Objectives to the standard game play. In X-Wing, you and your friends might occasionally fly Missions, but in general people fly 100pt dogfights to the death. Armada takes a different approach in that as part of their fleet, each player brings a set of 3 Objectives to the game. The player with the lowest fleet-point total gets The Choice, of who is First Player. The First Player then has to pick an Objective from the Second Player's set of 3, which will usually favor that Second Player in some way. This provides a very dynamic setup and very different experiences across games. One mission might see players scrambling after bits of intel scattered across the map, while another might have the players battling it out amidst a dangerous minefield!
While many objectives do come down to who can kill the most enemy ships and squadrons, they all tweak the formula in an interesting way and force adaptation in interesting ways, whether it is how to play to the Objective, or, if your list is unsuited to it, how to take advantage of knowing your opponent's goal and...
Also, here is what the game looks like in play:
Which I guess brings us to the last question--Is this just X-Wing with different ships? To which I'd have to answer with a resounding No. The game has definite similarities to X-Wing, but it is grander and more thoughtful. Where X-Wing is a seat-of-the-pants ride through space, hoping to get that one good shot off, Armada is a game with a bit more thinking than praying, what with the lack of defense dice and blind maneuvering. The game's 6-round time limit also prevents the ability to just keep circling, hoping for an opportunity--Armada is a game about making and executing a plan on a fleet-wide scale, because you've really only got the one chance to make it right, out-wit your opponent, and succeed at your mission.
Star Wars: Armada Core Set
WAVE 1, due Late April/Early May
Nebulon-B Frigate Expansion Pack
CR90 Corvette Expansion Pack
Assault Frigate Mk II Expansion Pack
Rebel Fighter Expansion Pack (Includes 2 each of X-Wings, A-Wings, B-Wings, and Y-Wings)
Victory-Class Star Destroyer Expansion Pack
Gladiator-Class Star Destroyer Expansion Pack
Imperial Fighter Expansion Pack (Includes 2 each TIE Fighters, Advanced, Bombers, and Interceptors)
WAVE 2, due Summer 2015
Mon Calamari Cruiser
Mon Calamari Frigate
Imperial-Class Star Destroyer
Rogues and Villains Fighter Pack (Includes the YT-1300, YT-2400, HWK-290, H-6 Havok, YV-666, IG-2000, Jumpmaster 5000)
Please feel free to let me know if there's anything you'd like to see added to the OP!