The new rulebook for Firestorm Armada has finally been released, and it compiles all the previously released PDF’s that were available on the site for download and condenses them all into one handy rulebook. There have been some minor rules changes to the game and the over all visual appeal of the book is much greater than its first edition incarnation. Click the jump to learn more as I break down my likes and dislikes of Firestorm Armada Second Edition.
The first thing I need to say is that after reading through the rules several times I’m not one hundred percent in love with what Spartan Games did with it. The rulebook in itself was not too expensive which is good because a lot of the content inside is straight from the resource page of Spartan’s website.
Spartan did make some changes to the rules, not many but a few, and they definitely went back and streamlined some of their more confusing rules.
Wings have been streamlined to the point where they actually become viable. Wings no matter their size are now represented by a single token and a D6 representing the amount of wings in a flight. This reduces clutter and also makes it possible to move things around a lot easier. Wings have also been given “Combined Fire” which means that now their AD stack so a flight of six bombers would have 18AD to use against enemy ships. This takes wings from being a small afterthought and makes them a lot more competitive. Most faction carriers now have the Deck Crew MAR which allows them to replace D3 lost wings one per game. To balance out Wings a bit more, after they preform an attack with their Torpedoes they need to land on their carrier and reload. As Wing’s cannot land and takeoff in the same activation this will at least give your opponent a reprieve from them and also reigns in their power a bit. Add to this the changes to Point Defense (which I will get into shortly) and the best way to counter flights is with flights.
Point Defense is no longer the all-conquering defensive system it used to be. Keeping your squadrons in a big bunch for mutually assured PD is no longer possible so players will now have the flexibility of moving their ships away from other squadrons. Only ships in the same squadron can contribute PD to an incoming attack and all the PD must be split equally between the amount of incoming attacks. The only outside help for squadrons now comes from Wings and Escorts also making those ships more desirable. Also to hit numbers with PD no longer use the exploding dice mechanic against Wings making it harder for a single ship to stand up to a dedicated assault from a flight.
Finally Boarding assaults have also been streamlined from the bloated mess they were in first edition. No longer requiring a calculus degree and raging for more than one turn. assaults are resolved quickly and effectively in the turn they are launched. Ship’s are no longer taken as prizes, they are either destroyed, sabotaged or they succeed in repelling the assault. Also due to the changes in how PD work’s assualters have a much better chance at surviving the flight to their targets, getting more marines on the enemy ship for a much better shot at actually doing what they were designed to do.
Also it deserves a quick mention, the Critical Hits table and MAR’s have been modified and cleaned up. Critical Hit’s are no longer as ridiculously powerful as they used to be and MAR’s have been streamlined to no longer be confusing.
That’s really all the rules changes that are huge, there are some more small thing’s but I won’t get into them here. Watch next weeks War-game Wednesday to see the game in action.
Overall the rulebook looks way nicer then the first edition rules. There are colored photos of lovely painted ships. Spartan even included and painting and modelling section at the back for those of us that struggle with the hobby aspect of war-games. The rule’s are in the front and the fleet information and fluff are in the back sorted into which side of the conflict your fleet is on. Spartan decided to not include an index at the back which is a bit annoying but the table of contents is well done and has a lot of subheading’s so the annoyance should be minimal. Overall I have to say they did a good job on the presentation.
Nothing absolutely nothing. Ships from the beginning of the game are the same points cost as they were before, no changes have been made to their stat-lines and they have not received any of the new MAR’s. I can understand this from the standpoint of not wanting to screw up stat cards that got shipped with their models. But overall after looking at some of the newer ships in the allied fleets their MAR’s really make for much more interesting fleets.
I don’t like this at all because it puts a damper on some of the older ships. I wish Spartan had gone in and re-balanced and distributed MAR’s to the older ships to give them a bit of a push.
I’d have to rate this edition of the rules a 8/10 as although they went and fixed a lot of stuff that was annoying about the game and a lot of the rules have been streamlined and changed the lack of change to the ships to bring older models up to speed is kind of let down. Also lol the blatant copy-pasta from the website into the books is a small issue. Overall though if you’re a fan of Firestorm Armada you want to pick up the new rules as it is worth it just for the updated Wing and PD rules. Check out next week’s War-Game Wednesday for a look at the updated rules.