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Friday, May 6, 2016

A Rookie's Road to Regionals

Time for a bold bomb: Star Wars Armada is the best miniatures game I've played in years. The setting is amazing, of course, but I'm not even that much of a Star Wars fan. The rules are tight, the game is relatively balanced, and the actual gameplay requires strategic planning. Plus, there is a well-supported tournament system in place, which is important for gamers like myself who enjoy the competition.

That's why I was excited to hear that FFG chose my FLGS to host an Armada Regional Tournament. I have no illusions of getting the overall win (especially with the IFF crew making the trip) but I set a goal to at least win one of my games.

The problem, so far, has simply been a lack of time to get in some real practice. I've spent more time painting my ships than I have playing with them! Some of that was self-imposed, since I have other gaming obligations, but with Regionals scant weeks away I'm committed to getting better at this game and achieving my goal at the tournament. This mini-series of articles will focus on my preparations, and hopefully offer some insight for fellow new players who are diving into the deep end for Armada.

(the deep end)

Here are a few guidelines that I've always followed when getting serious about a competitive game (inasmuch as it's possible to get serious about a game with plastic ships that go "pew-pew!"):

Know the Rules: Probably the most important way to prepare for a miniatures game tournament is to know the rules inside and out. Obviously, most of the rules will be absorbed while playing the actual game, but a lot of the rules intricacies can be learned simply by taking a few minutes here and there to closely read the RRG. You don't want to plan an entire turn of movement only to have your opponent (correctly) point out that what you're doing is invalid.

Memorize the Powerful Cards and Combos: If you go into an Armada tournament and you don't know what Demolisher does, you're going to have a rough time. It would be time consuming to memorize each and every upgrade card, and it could lead to confusion to even attempt it. However, know the big ones: Ordnance Experts, Assault Proton Torpedoes, Ackbar, etc...

Play Games, and take notes!: This is the big one: you have to get your minis on the table. You know how your high school teachers always promised to make learning fun? And remember how they always failed? Playing Armada is the most fun way to learn the strategies that will lead to victory. It's important though, while starting out, to take notes during games. Jot down some of the decisions you make so you can analyze them later. Also important: make a note of any rules questions that came up, then after the game you can dive into the RRG and go through the details of any rules queries.

These basic tenets have helped get me to a point where I at least have a general idea of what I'm doing. I still have a lot of work to do if I want to get a victory in one of my games, and hopefully I'll be able to share more of these experiences with you at a later date.

Until next time, may the force live long and prosper. You can find me on Twitter @ParkerInce

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