New Ships Hove Into View

We have a double treat today, as brand new ships for both Noble Armada and Star Fleet have just come back from our painter, looking resplendant in their fleets’ colours!

First up, two new ships for the Church fleet in Noble Armada…

Lextius-class Cruiser

This bad boy is bedecked with heavy heat blasters – 12 of them, in fact! This weapon literally cooks crews inside enemy vessels, bestowing an automatic critical hit to the Crew location with every normal critical hit caused. If that weren’t enough, it is also a Multihit 3 weapon, backed up by 5 light heat blasters on each broadside. Still want more? Well, help yourself to four fighters carried on board too, all for just 400 points.

Zorothion-class Destroyer

Escorting the Lextius into battle will no doubt be a squadron of Zorothion destroyers. Fast and agile, the Zorothion carries a healthy complement of troops, with half of them being Marauders, guaranteeing you will overwhelm your enemies when things get up close and personal.

Kzinti Fast Cruiser

Sporting a slightly new look and an all new paint job is the Fast Cruiser for Kzinti fleets. Each Kzinti ship is painted in a fashion mirroring the fur patterns of its captain, and this ship is adept at sprinting behind enemy lines to flank and destroy ships before they can retaliate against the rest of the fleet.

Kzinti Medium Cruiser

A mainstay of the Kzinti fleet, the Medium Cruiser can not only dish it out, it can take it as well, as evidenced by the ADD fittings, three Disruptors and, of course, a healthy amount of drones. Plenty of shielding ensures this ship can mix it up with heavy cruisers and still hold its own.

 

All these ships are available for pre-order on our web site right now, and will start shipping in August.

 

Fleets of the Fading Suns

We are just waiting on approval from Noble Armada Masters at Holistic Design, and then the PDF of the first supplement, Fleets of the Fading Suns, will be available to download as a PDF (the printed version will be following soon after, just as soon as we have finished the remaining ship miniatures).

Fleets of the Fading Suns

So, what can you expect to see in Fleets of the Fading Suns? More intrigue, tactics and tools with which to foil your Noble rivals? Of course!  Here is the whirlwind tour…

New Rules
This chapter contains a few nuts and bolts necessary for the new fleets introduced in Fleets of the Fading Suns, as well as a few extras for the existing Noble Houses. Heat Blasters are a new class of weapon used by some of the new fleets, powerful medium-ranged weapons that are both Inaccurate and Slow against shields, but which also increase the Critical Score of enemy crew by one for every critical hit they score – effectively cooking crew inside their own ships!

There are a few new traits added as well, such as Escort and Suicide Fighter, which will allow you to protect valuable craft and plough into enemies respectively. However, we have also added a Raider trait, which will allow all raiders (not just those included in this supplement, but classes found in the core rulebook too) to deploy ahead of the main fleet, hidden within Stellar Debris. When the moment is right, they can leap out to attack an enemy or lend support to a boarding action. Expect some extreme sneakiness! The Scout trait is also amended to allow such ships to deploy ahead of the main fleet but they do not get the other goodies raiders are now capable of.

There are a variety of new upgardes on offer as well, from new types of Marines (such as Gannock Saboteurs, which run amok on an enemy ship inflicting critical hits, and Ukari which work well as Marauder killers), to fighter enhancements. These include Battle Shields, making fighters more durable, and electronic decoys which force incoming attacks onto a single (less valuable) fighter, much to the consternation of the pilot who probably has not been told what he is carrying! There are also new rocket types, allowing you to upgrade weapon systems to carry semi-guided or multiple warhead rockets that enhance their effectiveness, albeit at a cost in range.

There are also three new rules that, from playtesting, we have seen greatly change the nature of the game for the better.

First up, due to many requests from players, you can now include captured ships in your fleet. So, if you want to lord it over the Decados, your Hawkwood nobles can now bring a Grigori into battle. You will be greatly limited in the number of captured ships you can bring to battle (after all, a Hazat fleet should look like a Hazat fleet) but this gives you some new options in your games and means you can give insult to injury to your opponents by having their prized ships painted in your colours!

Second, we have made some tiny, tiny tweaks to all five destroyers in the core book. This will not diminish their raw firepower at all, but will help ensure they are no longer the ‘default’ building block of fleets.

Finally, the really big change… All carriers (and we mean all carriers) now carry a full complement of fighters into battle for free. Only the base fighter of each fleet comes free (the Fitzhugh, for example) and you will have to pay an upgrade cost to change them, but this means fighters and carriers become a lot more viable at all levels of play. A light carrier in any fleet becomes a reasonable choice even in small sub-500 point battles and as for larger games… well, Hazat players, think of the possibilities of a Trafalgar now (especially when you read what else is coming below!). Hawkwood players, that Osprey is now a serious contender to lead your entire fleet.

Reinforcements
Before we leapt into the new fleets, we wanted to make sure players of the existing fleets were well taken care of. In doing so, we also wanted to further seperate each fleet, making each unique and distinct from the others. This will be an ongoing process as we continue to develop Noble Armada but, as you will see, we have made great strides already;

Hawkwood players, you will now have access to the only Stealthed fighter in the game, the Aurora. The only sensible defence against this fighter is to field more fighters, as few will waste shots on fleeting readings at the edge of sensor range. You also get the Sawfly Command Frigate – not only has this frigate got the Command trait, allowing you to grab the initiative even in small games, it is the only frigate among the Noble Houses to have a Hull of 5. However, if that is not durable enough for you, may we present the Heracles, an Armoured Cruiser with a Hull 6… Granted, it steers like a cow and does not quite have the firepower of the Vladimir, but for taking hits, few ships are better.

Decados players have by no means been left behind, with the Donatello Gunship bringing very heavy fighters to the battlefield for the first time (for when a Rodrigo just isn’t enough), and the Leonardo Monitor, a frigate-sized ship with a front-mounted light meson cannon. That is a vessel designed to scare a lot of very big ships. Decados also receive a light and heavy cruiser, giving them multiple options in mid to large-sized battles. Those, however, we’ll cover in more depth at a later date.

Hazat players will see their fleets redefined with the addition of three new ships. First up, the Immortal Boarding Shuttle, a large barrel of a fighter that attaches to an enemy ship and throws 2 Troops straight into a boarding action – no trouble, no fuss. In playtests, these scared everybody! Just think what your Trafalgars are capable of now, as Immortals are a mere +5 point upgrade. Of course, they are not especially fast and will come under attack before they reach their targets, which is where the Allat Escort comes in handy, shooting down any incoming fighters before they can get to grips with your shuttles. In larger battles, you may wish to consider the Shamshir Strike Cruiser, a cruiser-sized ship with cruiser-styled firepower, able to bring flights of fighters into battle with it, truly a warship capable of all missions.

So, what of al Malik? Well, they have a modest two additions – but what additions they are! The Rashid Escort Carrier is a galliot-sized ship that, for just 100 points, bring four (now free, remember!) fighters into the battle, forcing your opponent to think about anti-fighter tactics even in small games. However, no doubt your noble pride will be vested in the Wraith Stealth Destroyer. You will no doubt have seen that stealth ships are lovely until they get very close to the enemy which, unfortunately, they often have to do in order to complete their missions. Not this one! The Wraith is quite happy taking a step back, safely hidden by its stealth as it pounds away with rockets and torpedoes!

Finally, Li Halan nobles will be itching to get to grips with their new craft. These include the Honoured Saint Martyr Fighter (suicide fighter to you and I), whose pilots love nothing better than to race towards the enemy and explode, causing crippling damage to even the largest ships! If that is not enough, consider the Naga Grand Cruiser, now with a completely different weapons fit than the preview we displayed last year…

Psychics and Theurgists
Aside from a little tweaking from continued playtesting, these chaps remain largely the same as they were previewed last year, and have become a favourite among regular players (there are some very nasty tricks and combos possible with these – my favourite being a Hazat galliot loaded with Bedlam and Psi Shield).

New Fleets
And, at last, we come to the new fleets.

We have the Church (big on Heat Blasters, big on Brothers Battle to board enemies with), and the Vau (very alien, very frightening, very powerful), both of whom we are currently awaiting miniatures for. Then there are the Kurgan and Vuldrok fleets, which are already available and already previewed. However, these are not the Kurgan and Vuldrok you have become used to, as they have been under continual playtest over the past few months and we have made some changes…

Since they first appeared, the Kurgan have become born again hard, as the saying goes. The amount of damage they can withstand has gone up, the amount of firepower they can lay down has gone up, and their average points costs have gone down. In general, expect to see these ships 10-20% cheaper than they were before, giving a real barbarian ‘horde’ feel to the fleet, backed up with thousands of arrows (rockets) soaring through the sky to tear apart your own ships!

The Vuldrok have their special Armour ability, eschewing shields in favour of being able to increase the number of ‘bulkhead’ hits sustained by incoming attacks, effectively ignoring a larger proportion of damage than other fleets. The Darraor Light Frigate is the weakest of the Vuldrok ships but, in return, it is fast enough to keep up with any other ship in any other fleet, has a respectable amount of firepower, and is extremely cheap for a frigate class ship! From the Hadruk Frigate onwards, however, the Vuldrok ships get progressively tougher, culminating in the Langskip Destroyer and the Slatra Konungr Dreadnought, both of which will be ignoring fully half the hits they sustain, if not attacked with Precise weapons!

The new fleets will certainly be tickling the fancies of Noble Armada players everywhere, though I hope we have also done enough for the existing Noble Houses to make their players comfortable about meeting the new threats in the galaxy.

 

If you want to dive in with Fleets of the Fading Suns as quickly as possible, grab a pre-order of the book and we will send you a PDF copy as soon as Holistic have given us their approval!

We will also be organising a Noble Armada tournament at Mongoose HQ this summer, so keep your eyes peeled for news!

 

 

 

 

The Battle for Suchenko

A new jump gate has been discovered in a lost system beyond the Known Worlds.  With riches promised, several fleets move in to claim ownership…

Every Tuesday night, the local gaming club hits the Mongoose offices and plays a wide variety of games (consider this an open invitation – they play all sorts!).  A group of us got together and decided to set up a campaign of A Call to Arms: Noble Armada.  For us, it was also a chance to give a last playtest to the Fleets of the Fading Suns supplement.  We drew up a campaign map, and selected fleets.  After much debate, we ended up with the following fleets;

Hawkwood
Hazat (that would be me!)
Li Halan
Another Li Halan (sparking an argument about who was the real Li Halan…)
Kurgan
Vuldrok

We ended up playing through two camapign turns yesterday evening.  The first turn kicked off and, frankly, we weren’t expecting any action.  This is usually when people just race for territory and set up their starting positions.  However, the second Li Halan fleet took exception to the Kurgan grabbing a gas giant with a hidden base, and a small skirmish kicked off to contest the move.

A 500 point Towering Inferno scenario was rolled up, which the Li Halan cunningly got round by taking a destroyer pumped up with all sorts of upgrades.  This wrong-footed the Kurgan who started off with a single Galliot and then watched as their fleet came on in drips and drabs.  A Mujahidin raider arrived on the battlefield right in front of the destroyer, and was quickly claimed as a prize.  Though they had the advantage in numbers when it came to boarding, the Kurgan could just not bring their fleet to bear, and ended up vacating the gas giant, one ship down.

And that was fine.  However, on the second turn of the campaign, the other Li Halan player had been taking notes on my actions previously. I had sneaked my fleet past everyone and grabbed the jump gate to the entire system, which meant that not only did I get the lion’s share of resources. I was also stopping transports reaching the other players, penalising their earnings!  So, that Li Halan fleet made a beeline for the jump gate, daring any one to make a play for it.  Everyone else scattered about the system but, fool that I am, decided that the jump gate belonged to House Hazat.

We rolled up a Space Superiority match, at 1,500 points.  Considering this was a small campaign where we started off with 2,000 point fleets, this would be a sizeable amount of forces at war and the result would powerfully affect the rest of the campaign for at least one of us.

There was plenty of stellar debris on the table, with a planet in between the opposing forces, and the Li Halan fleet set up in a classic tight broadside formation.  I rather fancied Hazat’s chances, and so set up to attack!

Things went downhill from there.  In fact, I had my rear-end handed to me royally.

What I should have done was delayed my main attack for a turn, using the planet to first shield the majority of my force from Li Halan lasers, then use it to slingshot round straight into his massed fleet.  With four galliots and two cruisers (including the brand new Shamshir strike cruiser) hitting the rear of his force, I could have seized a destroyer, maybe two, and a couple of frigates into the bargain before the rest of his ships could turn round to respond.

Instead, two galliots were blown out of open space before they got within striking range (though it took the combined firepower of the entire Li Halan fleet two turns to do that – gotta love the Close Blast Doors! Special Actions).  Two galliots made it in, diving straight into the middle of the formation (couldn’t reach the back). While they were able to tie up a large amount of his firepower, giving the two cruisers a free turn of bombardment withour real response, they were also immediatly mobbed by the ships travelling in the Li Halan rear, and so the trioops were heavily outnumbered.

The game went on for quite a bit after that, as the Hazat died hard (as they should), but in the end not one Hazat ship left the table alive, leaving me 1,500 points down after the first confrontation.

Yes, that was a mistake!

I will now be spending the next few turns of the campaign trying to make myself look very small while we rebuild and (hopefully) theother players tear each other apart!

At the end of Turn Two, the campaign map looks something like this;

Campaign Turn Two

New Ships for Noble Armada

You’ve seen the Kurgan, you’ve seen the Vuldrok, you have even seen sneak peeks of the Vau, and there are already four brand new ships available for the Noble Houses.  What else is Fleets of the Fadings Suns bringing with it?  Let us take you on a quick tour of some of the new vessels that are being worked on right now, along with what you can expect fvrom them on the tabletop…

Decados Donatello Gunship

Donatello Gunship

This bad boy is one of a new breed of vessel – slightly larger than a heavy fighter, it can still be taken into battle by carriers and packs a meaner punch! The Donatello is not much of a dogfighter but it has a military-grade hull with reinforced shields, meaning it can weather a full broadside from many small ships, which form its main prey.

Hazat Immortal Boarding Shuttle

Immortal Boarding Shuttle

Troops just hanging back on your Trafalgar all day? Not any more!  Load them up into an Immortal boarding shuttle and send them off into the void!  If you flood an area of space with these and a few choice fighters, your enemy will not know which way to look.  The Immortal will float towards an enemy (a Hull of 5, with Shields, will make sure it gets there), then latch on, disgorging Troops directly into the heat of battle.  Then the shuttle can return to the carrier, pick up more troops, and do the same thing all over again…

Hazat Allat Escort

Allat Escort

Of course, you want to guarantee your shuttles get tot he enemy in the first place – which is where the Allat comes into play!  This is one of the few dedicated escorts in Known Space, with its banks of gatling lasers specially primed and calibrated for the protection of other craft.  Have a few of these in your formation, and say goodbye to worries caused by fighters or missiles!

Hawkwood Sawfly Command Frigate

Sawfly Command Frigate

It is never easy, being in command, but you can make things at least a little less difficult with a Sawfly or two in your fleet.  With a sophisticated flag bridge, this small ship is capable of leading a decent fleet into battle, and if you take several, you weill never lose the Command trait they bring.

Church Confirmation Grand Cruiser

Confirmation Grand Cruiser

Be very afraid – the Church is coming, and they don’t care whether you have been naughty or nice. Armed to the teeth with new technology (that is far too complicated for your use, of course), the Confirmation arrives on the scene when the Church really means business. Packed from stem to stern with heat blasters (of the biggest variety), the Confirmation carries fighters into battle and is packed full of Marauders.

Church Mitre Monitor

Mitre Monitor

If you need something smaller, then the Church is only too happy to send along a squadron of Mitres, a deadly monitor; the size of a galliot but built round a meson cannon!

Honoured Saint Martyr Fighter

Honoured Saint Martyr Fighter

There is never any shortage of fanatics in the Church, and the best and the brightest get to pilot one of these – the deadly Honoured Saint, a suicide fighter designed to ram into an enemy vessel to cause catastrophic damage.  Nobles will be pleased to hear that a large contingent of these fighters have been gifted to Li Halan.

Zorothion Destroyer

Zorothion Destroyer

The main ship of the line for the Church, the Zorothion carries massed heat blasters to cook enemy crews and plenty of troops to board the empty hulls thereafter.  Fear the approach of this ship.

Fleets of the Fading Suns is due for release in October, and this is just a smattering of the new ships and fleets included. Still to come; the rest of the Church fleet, the Hawkwood Heracles Armoured Cruiser (Hull 6!), the Decados Raphael Heavy Cruiser, al Malik Serendipity Scout Cruiser, the Li Halan Kojiki Escort and many more!

 

Hear come the Kurgans!

The first new fleet for A Call to Arms: Noble Armada has just been unveiled on our web site – the Kurga Caliphate has arrived, and they are angry! This fleet is arriving in our warehouse in early July, so get your pre-orders in to make a big impact on the Known Worlds. The entire fleet list is also on our web site for free download – you can see the entire fleet here at the link below.

At first glance, the Kurgan fleet seems comparable to those of the Noble Houses, with raiders, frigates, cruisers, and the rest. However, in play, you will find them very different. The Kurga have a greater reliance on fighters, with two carriers in their list and a dreadnought capable of launching them as well. While they have no dedicated heavy fighters, the Kurga have the Bogatyr which is a multirole design that can double up for heavy work. However, their most feared fighter has to be the Khangard, a ‘martyr’ fighter designed to speed towards the enemy and detonate on impact!