Thursday, 18 August 2016

Star Wars Armada Interdictor Expansion Pack from Fantasy Flight Games

Time to check out some reinforcements for the Imperial fleet for the excellent game we looked at before. Star Wars Armada 

The Interdictor-class Star Destroyer was a variant of the Imperial I-class Star Destroyer equipped with gravity well projectors.

Sienar Fleet Systems already produced an Interdictor, the Immobilizer 418 cruiser based on a 600 m Vindicator-class heavy cruiser (also used for the Enforcer-class picket cruiser). Though it was decently armed for its size, it was a high priority vessel that was generally unable to hold its own in combat, especially if the battle involved Imperial Star Destroyers and comparable vessels.
Kuat Drive Yards decided to produce their own Interdictor offering to rival that of SFS by using an Imperial I-class Star Destroyer hull as a base. 

To make room for the gravity well projectors, half of the turbolasers and ion cannons, as well as eight of the Phylon Q7 tractor beam projectors found on the original Imperial-class Star Destroyer, had to be removed.  The Interdictor-class Star Destroyer's reduced hangar held sixteen TIE fighters.
The Interdictor-class Star Destroyer did not require additional support when performing patrol and customs duties. Some bold commanders such as Loka Hask even used the ship to pull armed convoys out of hyperspace and destroy them.

Nonetheless, like the Immobilizer, the gravity wells remained a major drain on the ship's main reactor. This had the potential to compromise defenses in heavy combat. For instance, while Loka Hask's Dominator had interdicted and was destroying a New Republic Convoy, Rogue Squadron's X-wings counter-attacked by hitting Dominator with a salvo of proton torpedoes. While an Imperial Star Destroyer's shields would have easily held up against such an assault, Dominator's shields partially collapsed and the hull took some damage, prompting its commanders to call off the battle. Rogue Squadron also successfully used this tactic on the Immobilizer 418 cruiser Aggregator, which caused it to retreat.

So what comes in this new pack? what wondrous goodies does it add to the forces of the Empire? lets crack it open and take a look..........

Once you have popped it out of its massive but very protective packaging you are left with a couple of baggies of goodies, and a nice component list sheet to check you have everything.
 As Always with FFG, plenty of lovely tokens, all you need to play.  The ship has a nice balanced fire arc, with a good wide frontal zone, and some average firepower, she wont be setting the galaxy afire with weapons, but that's not this ships main role, she can handle herself, but she has tricks.
 The ship comes in two flavours, the Combat Refit, and the Suppression Refit.  Both have the same shields and commands, with a very high engineering rating.  the combat refit has two red dice allowing a little longer ranged fire, and an extra black dice for firing at squadrons. With a max of speed 2 she wont be outrunning your fleet, and with one click in each isn't the most nimble ship, but as an Imperial player you will be used to that, and wise use of the navigate command can mitigate that

 You get a nice selection of upgrade cards in the set.  Admiral Konstantine provides a new option for your fleet admiral, hes very effective at adjusting your opponents speed, and effect he speed of ships in range 1-5 of him.  This can be great to get them to slow down so you can get into a better firing arc, or speed them up so they overshoot theirs...... a very sneaky option.  If you combine this with Admiral Titus in the officers section, who allows you to change speed of a ship but only at the start of the first round it can let you mess up an enemies plan.  I am not sure i would use Titus too often, as he is a one effect only, then a "dead" card.  Commandant Aresko is a very useful card, letting you gain a token if an enemy reveals it in a certain range.  This can provide extra abilities to you, and make your opponent think twice, very much a good choice for me, though i think i would want him on a ship in the centre of my fleet leading the line to get the maximum effect.

That though is the joy of these new packs, all the different upgrades that can of course be used on other ships to change up your play style, it makes you start rethinking your list, wanting to try new things, tactics, techniques, and it really keeps the game fresh.

Flight Commander lets you move your fighters AFTER you have moved, which is really good as it can let you get into range of them first if you are not.

Fighter coordination team lets you move a number of squadrons up to your rating at close-medium range after you perfrom a maneuver, and they can then move up to distance 1.  This is excellent, as it has no cost, just after you move, so very good for keeping an escort force close to your ship without having to worry about commands for it.

Engineering team adds another point to your engineering, good for keeping your shields up.

Quad Laser turrets give you a good counter fire against squadrons, again very handy on a ship you know will be in the thick of it.

Leading shots lets you spend (remove) a blue dice from your pool to re-roll the rest, very useful on a big damage output ship.
MS1 ion cannons helps you when your blue dice roll a crit allowing you to exhaust one of the defenders defensive tokens, which is good to stop them getting rid of that damage.  The title version of the ship in this pack is the Interdictor.  this is a great title, when a ship activates, could be yours, could be an opponents, it lets you ready an exhausted card. So played right you can potentially get two uses out of cards a turn like that.

Now we get to look at the special cards for the interdictors  grave wells slot.  Since she is the only ship with this upgrade so far its going to be intriguing to see what they actually do.

Grav shift re-route lets you place one of the grav shift tokens into play before setup anywhere on the board.  When the fleets are out you can then move each obstacle that's in range 1-3 to medium range, adjusting the battlefield to your desire.  Perhaps opening up a lane of attack, or closing one down.

Targeting Scrambler is an excellent support option, that helps out if you ships are targeted.  You can exhaust it to force the attacker to reroll up to 4 dice of your choice, so you can use it to get rid of hits, or crits hopefully.

The G7X Grav Well projector causes a grave well token to be put out and any ships that deploy at range 1-3 must set their speed to 0, forcing them to use actions and commands to get going again.  This can hinder your opponent, o be used on your own ships to slow down a defence and take your opponent off guard who would have judged for you coming at speed 2.

G8 Experimental projector lets you drop an enemies speed at distance 1-5 before it manovuers which can really limit its turning ability.  When you combine this with the other upgrades that can effect speed, she can certainly have na impact on the battlefield.
Now for the ship herself.  Typical Imperial design, long sleek angular and menacing, but with those grav well bulges.
Always nice to see painted engine glow Its a very detailed model as usual with FFG, and the paint work is nicely done.

All in all a very good ship, maybe not the toughest, but her specializations are in other areas, with board manipulation and support being the main goals.  As part of a fleet she can really help with some great combos forcing your opponent to re-roll, or causing them to completely rethink how they may deploy due to her grav wells.

Coming in with an RRP of £36.99 this will add a whole new way to think about your battles with the ability to manipulate space, and some excellent cards for your other ships.
Head over here to find your local game store and grab yourself one to add to your fleet.