One of the unique things about Star Wars: Armada is the use of Objectives. Objectives add a very welcome strategic layer to the game as opposed to X-Wing. Each player must build their fleet, and also pick objectives. These come in the form of 3 different categories, and before the game each player picks 1 of 4 available objectives from each category. Once initiative is decided, the player with initiative (first player) picks 1 Objective from the ones that their opponent (second player) has chosen. All of the objective cards generally favor the second player over the first – thus meaning that the first player wants to try to pick something that minimizes their disadvantage, or fits best with their fleet composition.
As I am still relatively new to playing Armada, I have been doing a lot of reading about Objectives and which ones favor certain types of fleets. Below, I will try to give a brief overview of each one, and what they do for each player.
Assault Objectives: These objectives all modify a player’s damage dealing abilities.
Opening Salvo: This objective will totally favor more swarm oriented lists of CR90’s or Raiders. It allows each ship to gain additional dice to it’s first shot. The first player gets to add 2 red dice, and the second player gets to add 2 dice of any color to that first shot. The more ships you have on the board, the better this objective is for you to have in your selection.
Advanced Gunnery: This is perhaps the most hated of the assault objectives. It allows both players to designate an objective ship, and in doing so it gains the ability to shoot from the same hull zone twice per round. The first player cannot target the same hull zone or squadron, however the second player CAN. This will allow someone with an ISD a total of 16 dice to throw at a single hull zone… which will most likely be devastating.
Most Wanted: This is kind of a cat and mouse kind of objective. It allows the second player to choose a ship on both sides to assign an objective token to. When this ship is attacked, the attacker gets to add 1 dice of any color already in the dice pool to their roll. If this ship is destroyed during the game, the ship value is doubled making the loss that much more painful. This will result in a lot of chasing of the objective ships around the board. The first player will be at the biggest disadvantage as the ship chosen will almost always be their most expensive, so protect it at all costs!
Precision Strike: This objective allows the second player to give out criticals like they are going out of style! Each time a ship or squadron with BOMBER attacks, they can spend a hit to turn over a random damage card already on a target face up – resolving whatever critical effect the card has. This is going to be a go to objective for BOMBER heavy lists, and ships with abilities to ignore shields.
Defense Objectives: These objectives all have special rules governing deployment and positioning.
Hyperspace Assault: This is another popular objective, as it allows the second player to set aside a small or medium based ship, and up to 3 squadrons. This ship and squadrons can then be deployed at any point after turn 1 near objective tokens that are setup at the beginning of the game. This allows you to position some fresh ships right where the enemy probably won’t want them. It definitely favors smaller faster ships that will be able to better flank and stay in the rear arcs of your opponent. As player one facing this, your best bet will be trying to deny any favorable time for the ships to “warp in” keeping your opponent down a ship and some squadrons. No matter which side of this objective you’re on – it definitely keeps both players on their toes and adds a unique flavor to the game.
Fleet Ambush: This objective will require the first player to split their forces and deploy ever odd numbered ship into an “ambush zone” away from their regular deployment. This enables the second player to get a jump on a large portion of the first player’s forces, and also prevents them from racking up some command tokens for use once the shooting starts. While this doesn’t mean the first player can’t win, it does put them at a considerable disadvantage if they are not able to withstand a few rounds of fire without backup. This is definitely one of the funner objectives I have played.
Contested Outpost: This objective is essentially a King of the Hill game. The second player gets to place the station token anywhere (with a couple range restrictions) they like after other obstacles are placed as normal. This is a huge benefit for a player with large beefy ships that can park on the objective. At the end of each phase, the player with the highest value of command points within range 1 of the station gains a victory point. This objective also forces the first player to come to you as the second player, allowing the second player to dictate terms of the engagements.
Fire Lanes: This objective is unique in that as the second player, you can either place the objective tokens in a way that they will end up range 1-2 away from each other, or you can space them around the map. The way you set it up will depend on your list – if you have a big slow list you will want them to be close together, and camp them. If you have a smaller mobile force, then spacing them a part and splitting your enemies forces will be ideal.
Navigation Objectives: These all deal with the movement of your fleet and obstacle placement.
Superior Positions: This objective forces the first player to place all of their ships before the second player, allowing the second player the advantage of knowing where the enemy will be. It also has a special rule giving a victory point anytime a ship deals damage to the enemy from the rear. This is probably the most straightforward objective, and the only real advantage it gives is to a very mobile fleet that will be able to flank a slower/tankier force.
Intel Sweep: This is a fairly straightforward objective. Each player will take turns placing objective tokens on the board. During the game, when a ship activates within range 1 of a token they can pick up the “intel” and receive a victory point. The rest of the game plays out as normal, but at the end the player with the most tokens gets a bonus of 75 points to their total. This objective will favor faster ships, but if you have the larger beefier force, you can risk skipping the objectives all together, and just tearing apart your opponent if they are using smaller/faster ships.
Minefields: This objective allows the second player to place all obstacles, and an objective token (i.e a mine) within range 1 of each objective. The only limitation on placement is that they must be range 5 from each other. This can be a daunting objective for the first player, as they are going to have to adapt to whatever their opponent throws at them for placement. The mines come into play as any ship that lands on them, that payer roles 2 blue dice, and resolves any damage that results (including critical hits). This can be an intimidating objective to face, but if you have some large bulky ships (read Imperial Clas) then it is less of a task to avoid them, and you can probably absorb the damage without much work.
Dangerous Territory: This is another straightforward objective, it simply allows the second player to overlap obstacles with no effect. There are also objective tokens near each obstacle that can be picked up for additional points. The first player can maneuver around the obstacles to pickup tokens – or ignore them outright again and just destroy the opponent (my absolute favorite option in all cases…)
So, that was a huge wall of text, and I thank you for sticking with it. I hope the information above is useful, and helps you build your lists and choose your objectives. It definitely adds a lot more depth to your Armada games, which is something I really enjoy. Also, I plan on being a bit more regular with posting again as my schedule is settling down (finally!) and hope to get a lot more Armada and X-Wing content on here for everyone to enjoy!