The Joy of Unboxing: Star Wars Armada

It’s a trap!

The Star Wars madness continues with the unboxing of Star Wars: Armada!

I seem to have given in to the Dark Side this week with not one, but two Star Wars unboxings. This time it’s FFG’s new game of fleet-level spaceship combat, Star Wars: Armada.

It’s not often I catch my breath with surprise at the amount of empty space in a box. I assume FFG is giving us a huge box we can store expansions in, they just want to make a big impression on the shelf, or they’re attempting to reduce the sticker shock by giving the impression of more value—or maybe a combination of all those things. I’m sure that the licencing fees for Star Wars are very high, and there’s some expensive and clever plastic engineering and prepainted plastics in this game, but even taking that into account this is an expensive game that didn’t, to me, project an impression of value when I took the lid off.

Still, I did get to play last night and it was a lot of fun, completely different in feel than X-Wing, easy to play and with a good flow uncluttered by rules exceptions. The big ships do feel like lumbering beasts, the squadrons like agile and busy insects. There’s just not a lot here variety-wise until you start forking out for (also expensive) expansions or, as I did, buy a second core set (and that really hurt the wallet). It’s only after a few more games with both core sets when I’ll decide if the game is good enough to warrant expanding the fleets.

Check out the video and see what you think!


  • razide says:

    Maybe their idea with such a big box is being able to store the miniatures on their stands inside it; ready for gaming. Which is a good idea as taking ships on & off stands eventually makes for loose connections. Something I hated with Battlefleet Gothic.

    I don’t suppose that big “starfield” cardboard insert flattened out is actually big enough to play the game on is it ?
    FFG could possibly have put a folded rubberised gaming mat in a box this big – it could have kept the components in place too.

    Seems a pity the dials on the stands were not all plastic considering the cost. Cardboard inserts probably make them more flexible for the expansion sets.

    More custom dice !!!!!! Are you able to use the ones from Imperial Assault or X-Wing ?
    FFG should include a small chart for using regular numbered dice in their games.

    Overall I’m still sort of impressed by the the look of what is included – even though there was obviously plenty of space to include a few more ships. I expect the upgrade cards provide a type of variety once you get into the game play.

    If only it had been Babylon 5 spaceships instead.

    Is Will scheduled to play this too ? I hope there will be a video too.

    • I wonder if there really is a good reason for selling the game at that price despite the size of the box – I hate to be cynical but I suspect the box size is there to help justify the high price point. There’s only one cardboard range ruler, one maneuver tool, and not enough ships for a standard 300pt game, so I think FFG are imagining that each player will buy their own set. That’s fine if it’s affordable to do so, but this isn’t a ‘core set’ price, it’s a full game price, almost the same as the pricey Imperial Assault and two and a half times the cost of the X-Wing core set.

      The cardboard insert is big, but it ain’t that big! 🙂 The custom dice are custom for this game. As usual, you can buy all these bits separately (dice, maneuver tool, playmat …) for extra cost…

      Look, I know they’re a business and the bottom line is making money. I have no problem with that at all. I just wonder how much the market (and the game) will bear. I would absolutely hate to see FFG start straying into the Land of Utterly Insane Prices where Games Workshop currently holds dominion.

      Hope to do a video. Will is visiting next week so lots more battle reports hopefully!

  • pagan8th says:

    Games boxes seem to be of two varieties. Lots of air as in this one and snug which are too small to hold the expansions. Flying Frog suffer in the latter category as they use really thick card for character boards (Fortune & Glory, A Touch Of Evil to name two) which are great for longevity of the game, but make storage a problem. Most miniature games suffer too (Tannhauser, Mansions of Madness etc). It would be nice if the game makers released an oversize box when the expansions get too big, especially as most gamers are a bit OCD about their purchases and collect everything.

    • Yeah, I don’t agree with you there I have to say. You can’t release a box that can accommodate expansions if you don’t know how many expansions there are going to be. That’s why in most cases, unless the expansion is a very small one, I keep them in their own boxes.

      I suspect FFG isn’t providing a big box here to make space for extra ships – even with a box this size it won’t be big enough after a wave or two. They’re trying to give the illusion of content when in fact it’s about 70% air.

  • pagan8th says:

    Small house. Lots of games. Space limited. Plus I transport games to a friends house in another city and don’t drive, so need to cram them in a backpack.

  • It looks like a good game and it’s picking up steam in the local gaming community, but I can’t justify the price when I have bills to pay. At least with IA I can use the minis in any game as proxies or in an RPG. I also get stymied by the use of cards in these attack wing type games. It becomes a confusing mess of cardboard and I lose track of everything I’m supposed to be buffing or debuffing etc.
    I suspect that FFG just bought a standard box size from the “box factory” and adapted it to fit the game as it looks like you could have fit everything into a XWing sized starter. If the price point was 40$ like XWing or Star Trek aw, then maybe I would buy, but 2 starters for 200$ to play a decent game? Sorry but that’s just too much. Also FFG has a dice rolling app for phones and tablets which has all the different dice for each game as well as standard dice from d3 to d20s and beyond so one app for everything dice related sounds cool but no visceral feel of rolling dice. 🙁
    anyways thanks for the vid!

  • Matt Price says:

    Unfortunately, this is definitely FFG’s foray into the expensive world of miniature gaming… The starter box was fine for a few games, but already I’m longing for Wave 1.

    Well. What I’m really longing for is the Universal Head Player Aid for this game. But I can wait. For a bit.

  • Came for the player aid, stayed for the unboxing. (Well, I’m also staying for the player aid. I’ll just be right here on the couch, thanks. No hurry; it’s really very comfy.)

  • Wait, there’s a price? At last, some incentive!

  • pagan8th says:

    I think your reward is the satisfaction that comes from a job well done.

  • The simple fact of the matter is that whenever I get a new game, my first order of business is to look for a Universal Head rules summary. As for price, if you throw a donate button up, I’ll happily click it. (Or order an EOG t-shirt, or whatever your preferred fundraising method is.)

  • Matt Price says:

    Any chance, o great UH, the SWA player aid might be up in the next week? Next Friday I’m teaching SWA to a pack of newbies at a local convention… No greater way to spread the gospel than via your player aids!

    • I’ll try, but I’m swamped with real world work at the moment unfortunately.

    • Mikael says:

      I would like to second that..your work is awesome and second to none…tried my first game of this friday and its not that the rules are complicated but without your handouts it becomes ALOT more difficult..hope you have time to play this game soon;)..

What do you think?