Sunday, December 21, 2014

Firestorm Armada PT 3: Building a Fleet

Seasons Greeting all! SeerK here with part three of my introduction to Spartan Games Firestorm Armada. We have had an overview of the major races in the setting and an overview of the game turn. We are now going to look at list building. Building a fleet in Firestorm Armada can be a little intimidating at first, but once you do it once or twice it becomes second nature. There are two things you must determine before you dive into list building. You must decide first what the point level of the game is to be, this is referred to as MFV or maximum fleet value. You then determine which mission you are playing. There are 6 missions in the main rule book. The real key to list building is that you know exactly what faction you are facing and also know the mission before hand. This means you can make a list that is properly kitted out for the game. I know 40K players will look at this and think “Oh Great List Tailoring”. You both get to do it and you do not know what your opponent is bringing other than the faction.

Once you have a point limit determined and you know what mission you are playing you can move into building your actual list. Firestorm Armada uses a “Force Organization Chart” style of list building. That is you have minimum squadron requirements and maximums. Each race has its own Fleet Composition Table. Vessels are divided into 3 different tiers based on its size. Tier 3 vessels are the smallest ships. This tier is made up of Frigates and Corvettes mostly. Tier 2 vessels form the bulk of your fleet. Cruisers, Gunships and other more specialized vessels make up this tier. Tier 1 vessels are the biggest. This tier is made up of Dreadnoughts, Battleships and other command level vessels. Your Fleet Admiral always occupies a Tier 1 vessel.

There are also three different Fleet Composition Charts. The point level of the game determines which one you use. The “Patrol Fleet” chart is used for games of 800 points or lower. The “Battle Fleet” chart is used for games of 801 points to 1200 points. The “Grand Fleet” chart is used for game of 1201 points up to 2000 points. Games in excess of 2000 points are big. You end up basically making a Grand Fleet and then a Patrol Fleet, Battle Fleet or second Grand Fleet. Each must fulfill your minimums and each has its own Admiral and TAC's Generally speaking games this big are part of a campaign and are not the typical point value most players play.

We will keep our example simple and build a “Patrol Fleet”. When you buy a fleet box you are ready to play the game at this level. Your typical Fleet Starter Box has about 600 to 700 points of ships. With upgrades you can sometimes max out at 800. I recommend playing at the Patrol Fleet level when you are learning the game. Adding in Squadron boxes past the Patrol Fleet Box will allow you to play bigger games and mix up the composition of the fleets you can make. I will be using as reference the Dindrenzi Federation Fleet manual for my examples. You can download the Fleet Manuals for free at the Spartan Games Website.

So if we look at the first page of the Dindrenzi Fleet Manual we can see the Fleet composition Charts. The First Chart is the “Patrol Fleet” chart. This is broken into 3 sections. Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 vessels. If we look at the very top of the chart, in the header is states you must take “between 1 and 2 squadrons” from the Tier 1 list. It then shows what your choices are in terms of class of vessel. This is repeated on the other Tier charts. So for a patrol fleet you must have at least 1 Tier one squadron, 1 Tier two squadron and 1 Tier three squadron. The maximum number of squadrons you can take is 2 from each tier. The List of squadrons in each tier also tells you how many of each different type you are allowed at this level. For example in the Tier 2 list you can have up to 1 Destroyer squadrons. You can have up to 2 tier two squadrons, but only one of them can be destroyers.

You build your fleet using the guidelines the chart sets up to the point limit you determined with your opponent. If you are starting out you will have obvious choices as you will be limited only by the ships that you own. As you expand your fleet you are given more tactical options. This is especially true if you add more specialized ships to your fleet. R&D cruisers, Shunt Cruisers, Carriers and Gunships all add tactical dimension to the game and the way you play the fleet. You can experiment with the different ships and use the ones you like or that suite your style of play. Generally when you build your fleet though, you are going to be making the list to firstly give yourself the best chance of completing the mission you are playing and secondly dealing with your opponents fleet.

So if we were building a Dindrenzi Patrol Fleet for the simplest Mission, “Border Clash” we would want lots of killing power. The whole point of the mission is to score more battle log than your opponent. This means killing your opponents ships while keeping yours alive. So if I had the Dindrenzi Patrol Fleet with a couple of squadrons on top of it I would choose the following ships from the fleet guide.

Tier 1 Nausica Battleships 180 points

Tier 2 A squadron of 3 Secutor Cruisers 180 points

Tier 3 A squadron of 3 Thraex Frigates. 90 points

New 2 Player Starter Available January 28th
These fulfill the minimum squadron requirements of a Patrol fleet, they are also pretty tough with good weaponry and range. As you can see though that is only a point total of 450 points. We still have 350 points to spend. Now as you look at the Fleet guide you will notice that some ships have add on options. Larger ships have “Hard Points” which allow you to add extra Movement, extra defensive systems and a whole host of other options. They also have “Upgrade” options which are generally weapon enhancements and modifications. These both allow you to customize your ship so that is can perform its job better. This is when you really start to focus your list building.

If you look through your chosen fleet guide you will start to see that the Hard points and upgrades allow you to turn your larger vessels into specialists. The Dindrenzi ships can be made more durable and more maneuverable and you can increase the lethality of their weaponry. Other fleets can be made so that they are experts at boarding or have the ability to “Hack” ships computers to turn off weapons and shields. Some can even add Nuclear weapons that can effect all the ships within a certain distance of the target ship. You have the ability to outfit your ships to help you fulfill the mission and destroy your enemies.

As you gain some understanding of the game and look at the different fleets out there you will notice that each one has some unique tricks and tend to have a theme in regard to how the ships play. There is something for everybody. I find the best thing is to look at the models and see which ones you like. Look at the stats after and see if they fit your play style. The best thing to do is to not compare it to an army in another game, like “I want a Fleet that plays like Tau”. Determine what it is you like based more on “I want long range fire power” or “ I want a fleet that is maneuverable and fast”. Think about what it is you like about particular armies you play in other systems. I guarantee you can build a fleet that plays to the same strengths and style of play you are use to.

Thats all for now. Don't forget to sign up for the Firestorm Armada Tournament, The Schaumburg Prime Offensive at Adepticon. Get on the wait list now to reserve your spot. We are getting more slots! Also stop by and say hi and get a demo if you are still on the fence. We will be running Demos Friday and Sunday of the Convention. Also don’t forget to check out my Blog The WayGate, for more in depth Firestorm Armada and Firestorm Planetfall articles.  You can also follow us on Twitter under @thewaygate.  

Until next time Crush the Alliance and as always...



  1. You make the game so appealing...Can't wait for Adepticon!

  2. Will definitely stop by and say hi to get a demo! Thanks for these articles! Happy holidays!

  3. It is appealing!

    I am happy to do the articles, its a great game and I look forward to running people through demos in March