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How to play Armada: Building your Fleet

6th Oct 2020

Rob Burman

Today we’re kicking off a brand-new series on the blog that’s going to give you an in-depth guide on how to play our upcoming naval wargame, Armada! We’ll be explaining everything from how to move, how to shoot, to boarding actions and anything else we can possibly cram in. We’ll also be breaking this down into a video too, so stay tuned for that.

Of course, if you simply can’t wait for all that and want to see the game being played RIGHT NOW, then check out the gameplay video by Blackjack Legacy. This is a small taster game, featuring the Basileans and Dwarfs.

If you’re still reading, then let’s get cracking by talking about how to build your fleet – after all, choosing, then painting your ships is one of the most exciting elements of the whole process. When it comes to starting your fleet, we recommend players begin with the basics and only have around three ships per side. However, once you’re comfortable with the rules, we expect you’ll probably be using around 6-9 ships.

Options are split into different size categories:

  • Tiny – Orc Rabble
  • Small – Orc Bombboat
  • Medium – Orc Hammerfist
  • Large – Orc Smasher
  • Extra Large – Orc Ripper Hulk

Of course, the bigger the boat, the more expensive it will be… but the more powerful it will be! Ships are also split into two categories: Main Battle Ships and Support Ships. For each Main Battleship you can add up to two Support Ships into your fleet. There are also Named Vessels – these are ships of legend that have stalked the seas and claimed numerous victories. You can only have one of each Named Vessel in your fleet.


Once you’ve got your fleet selected, it’s time to start having fun with some upgrades! Just like Kings of War or Vanguard, you can add standard or magical upgrades to your ships. The standard upgrades are things like boarding nets to try and stop grapple attempts by the enemy or a Master Carpenter, which will help with repairs.

Meanwhile, the magical upgrades feature names that regular Kings of War players will be familiar with. There’s the Brew of Strength, which makes boarding actions more likely to cause Crushing Blows, or the Sails of Honeymaze, which enables a boat to make an extra move step once per game. Although standard upgrades can be given to any ship, the potentially more powerful magical upgrades may only be given to Main Battle Ships and (just like Kings of War) you can only select one of each magical upgrade per fleet.

However, they’re not the only options you’ve got when it comes to customising your fleet because each faction has their own unique standard and magical upgrades, plus special captains! For example, the orcs can take the War Drum of Spite, which helps the orcs cause extra damage during Boarding Actions.

The Captain Upgrades are also unique to each faction and you may only take one captain per fleet – so choose wisely! You can add a Captain to a Main Battleship and they give that ship a powerful special ability. For example, Katrina von Specctra for the Basileans, can give her ship a free Move Step after being deployed… potentially giving her the edge when it comes to claiming an all-important objective.

So, as you can see, there are plenty of exciting options when it comes to building your fleet. In our next blog we’ll start diving into the rules!


Related Products

Armada: 2-Player Starter Set

The Armada Two Player Starter Set is the perfect place to start your journey onto the seas of Pannithor. Inside you’ll find everything you need for two-players to start their own fleet of courageous Basileans or marauding orcs, along with a rulebook, tokens, ship cards and a paper gaming mat. The fight for the oceans is about to begin!

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