Massive Star Destroyers fly to battle against Rebel corvettes and frigates in Star Wars: Armada, the two-player miniatures game of epic fleet combat in the Star Wars galaxy!
In Armada, you assume the role of fleet admiral, serving with either the Imperial Navy or Rebel Alliance. You assemble your fleet and engage the enemy. Using the game’s unique maneuver tool, you steer your carefully detailed and pre-painted capital ships across the battlefield, even while the battle rages around them.
Banks of turbolasers unleash torrential volleys of fire against squadrons of X-wings and TIEs. Engineering teams race to route additional power to failing shields. Laser blasts and explosions flare across the battlefield. Even a single ship can change the tide of battle, and it’s your job to ensure that it’s in the right place at the right time. You issue the commands that will decide the course of battle and, perhaps, the fate of the galaxy.
~ Capital Ships In Combat ~
Armada balances the awesome scale of the Star Wars galaxy’s capital ships and space warfare with intuitive ship designs and accessible rules for issuing commands and resolving combat. The result is a rich, engaging, and highly tactical play experience.
Capital ships are extremely powerful war machines, but they’re also massive and sophisticated vessels that can’t swiftly react to every development in the heat of battle. Instead, you must plan ahead. Each of your ships has a command value, which determines how many commands it will have in its stack at any given point in time. These commands are then revealed throughout the game, one per round, even as you assign new commands to the bottom of your stack. Each of the four possible commands offers a different, powerful advantage. The key to flying your ships effectively is to issue these commands in such a way that your crews will be ready to execute them at just the right times.
~ An Innovative Maneuver Tool ~
Another reason you need to plan for the future is that the massive space battles of Armada are always in motion. Throughout the Ship Phase, in which you and your opponent activate your capital ships, you’re always exchanging activations. Not only that, but when you activate one of your ships, it attacks first, then moves. This means that you’re always setting your course to set yourself up for the next round’s attack, rather than setting a course to set yourself up for an attack in the same round. You have to consider where your opponent’s ships have already moved, where the unactivated ships are likely to move, and which ships are likely to activate first in the coming round. You also need to consider your ship’s limitations.
Capital ships can’t easily vary their speeds or execute hairpin turns like the starfighters that buzz around them. They measure hundreds of meters long, boast thousands of crew members, and carry tremendous inertia through every turn they execute. Accordingly, Armada uses a unique and innovative maneuver tool to maneuver your capital ships that makes it easy for you to set a ship’s course, even while it lends an element of realism to your ship’s pitch and yaw.
~ Squadrons of Starfighters ~
The Star Wars movies remind us that there’s always room – even a need – for personal heroics. No matter how many Star Destroyers, corvettes, or frigates rain laser fire upon each other as they vie for the fate of the galaxy, there’s always the chance that a single starfighter pilot can turn the tide of battle.
Accordingly, even though they’re dwarfed by the capital ships they accompany, starfighters and their pilots are a critical part of Armada. Entering the game as whole squadrons, your starfighers are highly adaptable and flexible, and only a foolish admiral would overlook the tactical options they can add to your fleet. While squadrons don’t pack the raw power or resilience of the capital ships they accompany, they come with their own rules for movement and combat that make them far more capable of occupying and threatening the exact portion of the battlefield that you choose.
If left unchecked, a swarm of starfighters can tear down even the most massive of capital ships, and while capital ships can return their fire, any shot directed at squadrons is a shot not taken at a larger ship.
~ Assemble Your Fleet ~
With its capital ships, starfighter squadrons, and accessible rules, Star Wars: Armada provides you an unparalleled take on the largest and most consequential battles in the Star Wars universe. What’s more, your first games are only the beginning of your involvement in the Galactic Civil War. Just as it is your job as fleet admiral to assemble a battle plan, it is your job to build the fleet that stands the best chance of emerging from battle victorious. Rules for fleet-building allow you to handpick your strike force as you prepare to meet the enemy.
Within the Core Set, you will find plenty of options. Not only can you choose which ships and squadrons to bring to battle, you can upgrade them with powerful weaponry or call upon the talents of elite pilots and officers. However, these options expand further with starship and squadron expansions that allow you to refine your strategies and explore even more of the Star Wars galaxy.
Through the Breach is a tabletop roleplaying game based in the world of Malifaux where outlaws, mages, mad scientists, and unspeakable creatures vie for power. Unfortunately for most, their destinies are already weaved into the great tapestry of fate, and there is only one path they can walk.
There are others, though, who were not weaved in so tightly. Great individuals who are able to embrace - or deny - their destinies. These individuals are known as the Fated, and they are the true shapers of the world. Players will take on the role of one of the Fated. They have a destiny, and the players will get to choose whether to accept the road that lays before them or wander off to forge new paths. In Through the Breach, the players’ destinies are tied integrally into their characters from the very beginning of character creation.
~ Determine Your Destiny ~
Character creation is a simple process that can be completed fairly quickly. The full details can be found in The Fated Almanac, but for now, we can grab a deck of cards and start making a character.
Through the Breach uses a deck of cards known as a Fate Deck to determine everything random in the game, and character creation is a part of this. The Fate Deck is a standard deck of playing cards with the two jokers, and a simple conversion for all the suits. This deck of cards represents exactly what you’d assume by the name: fate.
After the deck is shuffled, we’re going to deal out a tarot reading. This tarot, known as the Cross Roads Tarot, tells us the character’s past and present, and then we’ll step in and start to determine his or her future. This tarot is the most important step in character creation, and it is made up of five different card flips.
Once you’ve completed, you’ll end up with a Tarot that looks like the below, and helps tell the narrative about your character.
The tarot also tells you your character’s destiny. Each card of the Cross Roads Tarot has a phrase that, combined with all the others, is your destiny. Starting with the southern card and making your way back to the Station, you will discover what may lie in store for your character… if you choose to embrace your destiny.
~ Focusing on the Future ~
With the Tarot completed, it is time to looking forward to the future. It’s time to take things out of the hands of fate. The first step is increasing an Aspect or two. Your past may tell you a lot about yourself, but now you’re beginning to break out of your predetermined mold.
Next you’re going to choose your Pursuit. A Pursuit is a bit of a mash-up between mindset and occupation. It tells you a bit of what you’re good at, but it also informs how you approach the world. It is something that you can change about your character every time you sit down to play, and it is one of the core ways your character is able to choose their own fates. This is because the Pursuit, in gameplay, lets you draw cards in certain situations from a personal deck of cards called the Twist Deck. This deck is just for your Fated, unlike the Fate Deck. Your Twist Deck symbolizes your control over your own destiny, the ability to manipulate the very threads of fate to ensure something comes to pass. Whenever you flip a card from the Fate Deck, you can use a card you drew from the Twist Deck to replace it – grabbing a hold of fate and letting it know just who is in charge.
After you have your Pursuit, you’re going to pick a Talent from the list of General Talents. Each Pursuit has some of its own Talents, and coupled with the General Talents this will give your character a lot of flavor as they specialize in different ways. Sometimes Talents open up new actions, sometimes they let you use different Aspects for skills, and sometimes they modify things you can already do. Regardless, it’s in the Talents that you’ll see a lot of your Fated’s individual quirks.
Finally, you’ll need some gear if you’re going to walk the path of fate. You start the game off with some cash that you can use to buy equipment. Maybe you need a pistol or want a musical instrument. Regardless, the final step in creating your character is to fill your pockets by emptying your wallet.
~ Adventures in Malifaux ~
Once you’ve got your character worked up (the full details of which can be found in The Fated Almanac), you’re ready to go gallivanting through Malifaux – fighting with the aforementioned where outlaws, mages, and mad scientists on your journey towards your destiny. Each session you play in, you or one of your fellow Fated will complete one of their destiny steps and move closer to resolving their fate.
You can find more information on this process in The Fatemaster’s Almanac, the guide to running narratives in Malifaux, but the important thing is that every adventure moves one of the Fated closer to their destiny. Character stories, in this way, have a fairly clear beginning, middle, and end. After your character completes all 5 destiny steps, they have finished their journey through the Breach.
Everything in Through the Breach is designed to tie into the core concept of fate. As you saw above, the players all use the same deck, a Fate Deck, to determine the outcome of things. They have the ability to manipulate this by using a hand of cards, which comes from their own Twist Deck. It all gets sewn together to create a single unifying theme that permeates the mechanics and the setting at once.
The Fatemaster, the person running the adventures, also plays into this theme. Unlike in most other roleplaying games, the Fatemaster doesn’t randomize anything. The non-player characters in the game are not the Fated, and therefore they don’t touch the threads of destiny. Instead, the Fatemaster uses simple target numbers to set difficulties. In this way, the game shows that it is the players, and only the players, who have final control over fate. They are the architects of their own futures.
There are always more strands of fate that make up the Malifaux tapestry. You can find a quick-starter adventure, "An Easy Mark," in Wyrd Chronicles 14. You’ll be able to find multi-session story arcs in our Penny Dreadful releases, the first of which is the upcoming "In Defense of Innocence."
Future releases will include books that expand on character options, allowing players to explore more of Malifaux and see it through different lenses. All of our journeys through the Breach are just beginning…
I keep all of my email. All. Of. It.
Seriously, no matter how small or insignificant the message is, I file away email just in case I need it in the future. Dozens of mailboxes, broken down into even more subfolders, litter my mail program, but because I keep all of that old mail reachable at all times I can identify the first date that we started discussing what would eventually become Car Wars Classic: February 25, 2008.
Yes, almost seven years ago we were exchanging project ideas at the office when the suggestion of a reprint of the 1990 small boxed edition of Car Wars first came up. The idea changed very little from that initial message – “A near-exact reprint of the game, sized to our standard Munchkin box and priced at $19.95.” – and watching the excitement of fans at Gen Con 2014 when the advance copies of Car Wars Classic went on sale told me we had made the right decision in bringing this edition of the game back to store shelves.
~ What Is Car Wars? ~
First released in 1981, Car Wars was the first blockbuster title from Steve Jackson Games and even today, over three decades later, the classic edition of the game has passionate fans who get together weekly to go up against each other in duels to the death. Using dice, rulers, car record sheets, and the game’s clever turning key gives players everything they need to put the hammer down and race across the arena, blasting and ramming their opponents into oblivion.
Over the years there have been millions of Car Wars games and supplements sold, but with the last big boxed edition of the game being close to 20 years old, the act of finding a copy of Car Wars in stores is becoming more and more of a challenge. As we at Steve Jackson Games prepare an entirely new edition of Car Wars (more information below), it became clear that those initial ideas of a game reprint made perfect sense today: get the classic edition of the game into stores now so that old-school players can replace their battered boxes – and everyone new to the game can get a taste of what it feels like to drive cars...with guns. Machine guns, rocket launchers, even lasers – there are over two dozen kinds of weapons you can unleash against your friends. Add engine mods for extra speed, beef up your suspension for better handling, upgrade your armor, add a targeting computer for improved accuracy – your options are nearly endless. Build your car for speed and quick strikes, or bulk it up with extra armor and “turtle” your way to victory. Pull off your fastest, most furious maneuvers, but don’t lose control or else you’ll crash and burn!
Car Wars is set in a not-too-distant future where the lucky ones are holed up in glittering cities, where the latest in high technology stays one step ahead of the never-ceasing needs of the masses. Some keep themselves entertained following the exploits of their favorite autoduellists – professional (and sometimes amateur) drivers who face off in brightly lit arenas, seeking fame and glory from the driver’s seats of their armed and armored four-wheelers. And out on the open roads between cities, the rest try to scrape by surviving on what they can salvage, or take.
Car Wars Classic, reaching store shelves now, is a slightly modified reprint of Car Wars and includes everything players need to design cars – a significant part of the fun of the game is the option for players to custom-construct vehicles – and then take those cars into battle with their friends. It’s not the entire game system – this box focuses on cars and motorcycles and leaves out helicopters, tanks, hovercraft, and all of the other add-ons that were introduced as Car Wars grew during the 1980s and ’90s – but it is everything players need to get down to the core of the game: Drive cars really fast and shoot your opponents.
~ Car Wars Classic And The Veteran Autoduellist ~
If you’re an old-school Car Wars fan excited to rip open this box set, then you’ll feel right at home once the shrinkwrap is off and you have the components on the table and ready for play. The rules, counters, turning key, and maps will feel very familiar if you’re a longtime Car Wars player, and the only significant changes between this and the 1990 box are as follows:
And that’s it for significant changes. We made minor errata fixes to the rulebook in spots, but flipping through the game’s rules will definitely take you back to an earlier era and should spark gaming memories from the past.
~ Car Wars Classic And The Amateur Autoduellist ~
If this is your first shot with Car Wars, you’re in for an exciting time. Inside the box is what I consider to be the absolute best introduction to Car Wars that was ever created, taking nearly a decade of rules and experience with the game (at the time) and giving you everything you need for a great play experience.
You will want to read the rules over carefully – especially the movement and combat rules of the game – and for your very first sessions I suggest using stock vehicle designs. Get a couple of games under your belt before you jump into designing your own cars, because I think you’ll create far more combat-worthy vehicles after you see how the cars maneuver and fight on the battlefield.
And if your local store has an open gaming area, your very best way to learn Car Wars is to post a notice looking for players. I guarantee you that someone who visits your favorite local game store is familiar with Car Wars...and who knows, your posting on the store’s bulletin board could uncover a local Car Wars group that’s operating underground. With hundreds of thousands of Car Wars fans over the years, it’s not at all unrealistic to think that there’s an active group near you right now.
~ Where To Next? ~
Once you’ve got your hands on Car Wars Classic, you can enjoy the game for decades – many have! – without ever adding any expansions to the game. Creating your own vehicles, designing your own scenarios, and running local tournaments will let you play for hundreds and hundreds of hours without adding any game supplements to the material inside the box.
But if you’re having a remarkable bit of fun with Car Wars Classic, then we think that you’ll want to keep your eyes open for the new edition of the game. Currently under construction at a secret location (our offices), the upcoming Sixth Edition Car Wars game strips the classic game down to its chassis and rebuilds the entire machine from scratch, streamlining where appropriate and salvaging the best elements of the original game for what we know is going to be an awesome new edition of the game of car combat.
To guarantee that the new game is the best it can be – and to ensure that it is given all of the attention it deserves – we brought in an expert earlier this year, dropping Scott Haring right into the action and handing him the keys to the entire project. Longtime Car Wars fans will recognize Scott’s name from the golden years of Car Wars, when Scott developed and edited the best Car Wars supplements (and even designed some great expansions, including the fan-favorite 1985 Dueltrack box set).
We are still a long way from sending the new edition of Car Wars to the streets, though, so embrace the new (old?) Car Wars Classic game and use the ridiculous amounts of fun packed inside the box to either introduce new players to the idea of cars with guns, or to just bring back those memories of an age when you and your friends would gather around the turning key and push your cars as hard as you can.