TGN Unboxing: Star Wars Armada Starter Set from Fantasy Flight Games
Fantasy Flight Games (FFG) takes gamers to a galaxy far, far away with their new Star Wars: Armada starter set. The highly-anticipated fleet combat game is making its way into people’s hands. We here at TGN got one and wanted to give you a few articles about it (since it’s a game I’ve been anxious to get for a while now). First we’ve got an unboxing. We’ll have a review article forthcoming as well. We just need to get in a few more games first.
So, without further ado, let’s take off the shrink wrap and dive into an unboxing of the Star Wars: Armada starter set.
The first thing to notice about this box is that it’s tall. The top is 11.5” square, but the height is 5.25” tall. There’s a window that lets you see the 3 big ships for the game, the Corellian Corvette, Nebulon B Frigate, and the Victory-class Star Destroyer. While Armada doesn’t hold to the strict scale that Fantasy Flight uses for their X-Wing Miniatures Game, the ships look to be an appropriate size compared to one-another. But let’s actually get inside the box to find out what’s there.
Sliding the top off, we see a shrink-wrapped package that contains the rulebooks for the game (technically speaking, they’re a “Learn to Play” guide, and a “Quick Reference” booklet) and the three punch-boards of tokens. It just wouldn’t be a Fantasy Flight Game if there weren’t tokens, and Armada certainly has its fair share. The punch boards also have the cardboard components of all the dials the game uses.
Underneath that, we get into the box, proper. It is separated into the slot where the large ships are, and then a deep trough where the rest of the components are held in little bags. The large ships are secured in a vacuum-form tray. The ships are held fairly well in there. You sort of have to “pop them out” of their spots. In the trough, everything has been separated out. There are the squadron ships, the various ship and squadron bases, the multitude of cards, the maneuvering tool, and the plastic pieces for the Command Dials. The whole group can be a bit daunting when taken in all at once. There’s a good deal of prep work before you can play your first game. Thankfully, the Learn to Play guide spends several pages explaining all the different things that need to be put together.
Here’s a list of what all needs to be done: Place the Ships on their bases, place Shield dials on all the Ship bases, place the Squadrons in their respective holders and then onto their bases (including their Activation Sliders), put together the 6 Command Dials, assemble the 3 Ship Speed dials, assemble and number the Maneuver Tool, and punch out and sort the rest of the tokens and range ruler.
Assembling everything took me about an hour, though I was working on other stuff at the time, sort of going back and forth between a couple projects.
So what of the quality of the components?
If you’ve purchased any FFG products in the past, you’ll not be surprised by the materials used. I’ve played many FFG games and have always been happy with the quality of the items. The cardboard is nice and thick with the images connected solidly. I had no issues with the cardboard splitting or peeling or bending while assembling the components. The cutting is very good, too. It is centered well and the pieces punch from the board without tearing. Though a lot of the cardboard pieces created a pretty snug fit in their respective dial slots, they all spin rather easily. It’s enough to not have to worry about tearing anything, but they’re not going to move on their own and cause problems when moving ships or such around the board.
The various cards are also like one would expect from FFG. There are several different sizes of cards, ranging from the oversized Ship cards, to the standard playing-card size of the Squadron and Objective cards, to the reduced-sized cards of the upgrades and damage deck. I know that FFG makes sleeves for all their card sizes. You can generally find them at your LGS, but if you do see them at your shop, they should be able to be ordered The cards don’t necessarily need to be sleeved, except maybe the Damage Deck which will get regular use. The cards are good strength and have a crisscross texture on them.
As for the plastic components, there seem to be three different plastic formulas at work: the grey plastic of the Command Dials and Movement Tool, the clear plastic of the ship and squadron bases, and the plastic used to make all the ships. The grey plastic has a slight texture to it and is rather “soft.” It originally felt a little “cheap,” but I see that part of it is because the little “clicks” on the maneuver tool (that indicate how much yaw your ship has) need to be able to move into place easily and repeatedly without snapping. The clear plastic for the bases is much harder. This is much more like acrylic, as it feels like it would cleanly break if bent or dropped. The ships use the same plastic as X-Wing, so it feels. The only slight concern is that the ships attach to the bases via very tiny pegs. If those snap, I’d hate to have to think about gluing them back again. At that point, they could probably just be pinned using paperclips to replace the plastic.
One last thing to mention is a bit of an oddity about the box, itself. It’s very tall compared to what is inside. You’re left with a lot of “empty space” if you take out the divider. I think the point is you can assemble your ships and have them on their bases and just have them in the box, which would easily fit them. The only downside is the “viewing window” that lets you see the ships. It’s, well… a big hole in the lid of the box. If you want to transport your game around in the starter box, you’ll have to do something to factor in that window (cover it up with cardboard or paper, or something).
So that’s a look at what comes in the Star Wars: Armada box. Stay tuned for a full review of the game system. And may the Force be with you.