Noble Armada – House Decados – A first look.   1 comment

So Justin convinced me to pick up yet another game.  Noble Armada: A Call To Arms by Mongoose Publishing.  It is a Space combat game pitting (mostly) the capital ships of various feudal houses against each other in a desperate struggle to gain control of a “galactic” empire.  For a more detail look at the fluff surrounding this game I will point you to Mongoose’s website: here and to the role-playing game website that the setting is licensed from: here … skip that, the copyright holders site is useless as far as I can tell…here is a fan site: link apparently this guy/girl cares more about delivering some useful information about the setting than the designers do.

Justin and I had been talking about getting into Star Fleet: A Call To Arms, but with the release date so far out, and fleets that I was interested in even farther out, Justin caved in and ordered a starter and a rulebook from Meeplemart.  Apparently my starter was “backordered”  (and by this I mean Justin forgot to order me a starter and did so only when his came in. Right Justin?!).  Anyhow, no big deal.  I now have my starter in hand and lucky/unlucky me Steve at Meeplemart “accidentally” (I don’t mean anything by this, he actually did get a copy in accidentally) got in a copy of the rulebook too, so I bought it.

I am now the proud owner of:


I carefully (unlike Justin) cut open the sleeve that was glued around the edges of the box.


Gosh, what a mess.  Not a very good first impression.


Once you pull it all out and get it spread out in front of you it actually looks pretty good.


We managed to get in our first game several weeks ago.  Just getting around to typing up some commentary on it now.  We dumped our full starters out on the table and began fumbling through the rules.  For this sort of thing I tend to rely on someone else to give me the basics and then I work on getting the details down.  And this time was no exception.  After having only briefly glanced at the rules I thought it would be best to just let Justin guide me through what he knew about the game.

It is important to note that all phases in this game (including deployment) are alternating.


As with any game where a large part of the strategy is in the manoeuvre, deploying properly is often a vital part of an effective strategy.  We didn’t.  Not knowing any of the rules, I decided to deploy aesthetically.  Knowing some of the rules, Justin decided to deploy aesthetically also (as far as I could tell).  What could we have done differently?  Tough to say.  The ships in Noble Armada seem to all be symmetrical, so it would stand to reason that you would want to pass your ships between two enemy ships so that the guns on each side can have targets.  If you can do this AND take a shot with your fore facing guns then bully for you.  This being said, it is probably a good idea to deploy your least important ships first, hoping that if you stall long enough your opponent will be forced to place their more important ships before you and this give you the advantage of foreknowledge when you place your most important (read: devastating) ships.

Movement phase

This phase is pretty straight forward.  Each player nominates a ship to move and then moves it forward any distance between half its current speed and its full current speed.  This forward movement can include a number of turns based on the ships turn rating and manoeuvrability.  Some ships are so manoeuvrable tat they are completely unrestricted in the number and size of turns they can make.  Some ships, including the Decados carrier, are lumbering and if the attempt a turn it kills all their inertia and they must end their movement immediately (read: make sure you point this ship in the right direction at the very end of its movement!!!!!!  very important, trust me.)  Ships can’t overlap, if your movement is going to take you on top of another ship you must end your move early and keep the ships apart.
That’s it.
All movements are done before any other actions take place.  Again, it is probably a good idea to try to move your most effective ships last so you can ensure that their movement takes them into range and shooting arcs of an enemy.

Attack Phase

By far the most complicated phase in the game due to the various arcs, the variety and special abilities of weapons, and the fact that damage is applied immediately (meaning if your buddy’s dreadnought destroys your carriers weapons in a volley your carrier will not be shooting if it hasn’t already, pretty obvious but some fleet games don’t work that way).  So in a nutshell, shooting IS NOT simultaneous.  I’m not going to go into much detail about this phase except to say that a big part of the game is having the weapons that knock out shields fire before the weapons that like to hit hull and deliver critical hits, again pretty obvious.  Almost all ships are equipped with a bunch of lower damage guns that are shield killers and a few higher damage guns that are specifically to do damage directly to the ship.

Boarding Phase

Being a learning game everything took quite a bit longer than normal.  By the time we got to do some boarding actions we were out of time so we quickly mocked up a boarding and resolved it.  Some big questions came up.  The biggest for me was; “What happens if, as  a result of the movement phase, the mandatory move initiated by the boarding phase causes two ships to overlap?”

Well that is all for now.  It looks like NA: ACTA has been shelved temporarily (of course) in favour of Malifaux.  Oh well.  I’m looking forward to getting back to this one.  Maybe the work on my new Malifaux crew will inspire me to get busy of my Decados fleet immediately after.

Thanks for reading.



One response to “Noble Armada – House Decados – A first look.

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  1. I enjoyed learning this game. It looks like it has a lot to offer. I do look forward to our next outing with it. Hopefully in the coming weeks.
    I must say, though, that while I initially liked the look of the ships, I don’t much care for them anymore, now that they are in-hand. Some are still neat, but overall, meh. Although the scale is quite different, I like Spartan’s Firestorm ships more, and I’d like to play the game using those.
    I wonder if this will change, though, if you get your stuff painted and ready for the table.

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