From Looney Pyramid Games Wiki
Dan Isaac
In Armada, a fleet of fast, maneuverable ships does battle with a fleet of slow, powerful ships.
:Players Players: 2
:Time Length: Medium
:Complexity Complexity: Medium
Trios per color: 5
Number of colors: 1
Pyramid trios:
Monochr. stashes: 1
Five-color sets:
- - - - - - Other equipment - - - - - -
Chits to act as damage markers
Setup time: 1 minute
Playing time: 20 minutes - 1 hour
Strategy depth: Medium
Random chance: None
Game mechanics: Measured movement
Theme: Nautical
BGG Link: 32630
Status: Complete (v1.0), Year released: 2005

Armada is a turn-based, two-player, single-stash, board-less, pure-strategy game using Icehouse Pieces. It placed Fourth in the Fourth Ice Game Design Competition.

It is the age-old struggle — An unstoppable force versus an immovable object. Strength against speed. Numbers against power. This time it takes place out on the open seas. A large fleet of small, fast ships against a smaller fleet of slower, but more powerful warships. Which side will emerge the victors in this battle of the seas?

Armada was published in Hypothermia #16.

Goal[edit | edit source]

Sink the entire enemy fleet. (Or see the Advanced Game - Optional Alternate Goals below for additional game ideas.)

Setup[edit | edit source]

Set aside one piece of each size. These will be used when moving the ships, and firing the cannons. The remaining pieces are split up such that one player gets the four Large pieces, and the other player gets the four Small and four Medium pieces. One player will choose which pieces he gets, and the other player chooses who goes first. (See the Advanced Game - Advanced Setup section below for a more robust version of the setup.)

Each player sets their pieces in a grouping near them on the table in any configuration they choose.

  • Each piece should be lying flat, and should not overlap any other piece.
  • Each piece should be no closer than about 10 to 12 inches away from any opponents piece.

Play[edit | edit source]

Each players turn consists of that player performing up to three Actions. The choices of Actions are as follows:

  • Move one of their ships (that has not yet moved this turn)
  • Fire from a ship that has not fired its full battery yet this turn

Ship Movement[edit | edit source]

As one Action, a ship can move up to a maximum number of steps based on its size.

  • Large ships can move a maximum distance of up to one (1) step as one Action.
  • Medium ships can move a maximum distance of up to two (2) steps as one Action.
  • Small ships can move a maximum distance of up to four (4) steps as one Action.

Each step is made as follows:

  • Take one of the spare IceHouse pieces that is the same size as the ship that you plan to move.
  • Place that piece such that the center of the new pieces Stern (base of the pyramid) touches the Bow (point) of the ship to be moved.
  • Orient the new ship in the direction that you wish it to move and place it down.
  • Then remove the original ship from the old position.

(Any damage counters should be moved to the new ship location as well.)

(See Illus. 1 below where the blue piece indicates the original ship, and the gray area shows the possible positions for the ship after one step.)

Continue this process until you have either gone as far as you wish, or until you have traveled the maximum distance allowed based on the size of the ship. (See Illus. 2)

Illus. 1 Ship movement single step examples
(Blue pieces indicate the initial ship position. Gray area indicates the possible positions for the ship after one step.)
Illus. 2 Ship movement distance and movement examples
(Blue pieces indicate the initial ship position. Gray pieces indicate individual steps and possible stopping points. Yellow pieces indicate the furthest step that the ship can make.)

You must travel in steps as listed above. A ship must move in increments of its size. No partial-size moves are allowed, only moves that are a number of full steps less then or equal to the maximum. (e.g. A small can move the length of one, two, three, or four small sizes, but no portions of a small unit. — No two and a half size moves.)

If a ship would come into contact with another object or the edge of the playing surface during a move, then the move is not allowed.

Note: It will be impossible to orient the new ship in some directions, such as at a 90 degree angle or even straight back, as the new ship position would overlap upon the previous one. Also, it is possible to have a ship in a position such that there are no possible valid directions that it may move. (Its path could be blocked by another ship, or an obstacle such as the edge of the playing field.) In these cases that ship is currently stuck and cannot be moved any further this turn.

Firing a cannon[edit | edit source]

During a turn a ship can only fire its cannons a number of times equal to its size, and each shot requires one turn action. So a Small ship may only fire once per turn, a Medium may fire up to twice, and a Large up to three times in a single turn.

All ships can fire cannons at objects up to a distance of one Large away, but only in specific directions.

To fire a cannon, Use a Large piece (regardless of ship size) such that the entire base side of the Large touches one of the two long sides of your ship. The Large piece indicates your possible target area. If the object you wish to shoot at lies in the area covered by the Large piece, and is not obstructed by anything, then you can hit that target.

Illus. 3 Firing a cannon cannon range examples (Blue pieces indicate the ship position. Gray area indicates where the cannons can reach.)

When a ship is hit from a cannon fire, it takes one point of damage. A ship is destroyed (sunk/removed from the game) when it has taken damage equal to its size. So a Small ship is sunk the first time that it is hit. But a Medium ship will not sink until the second time that it is hit, and a Large can survive until the third hit. You can use some form of chits or other markers to indicate ships that have already taken some damage. The damage stays with the ship the remainder of the game until it is sunk.

Note: Make sure to move the damage counters along with the ship whenever you move it.

Some (don't be so) Fiddly bits[edit | edit source]

If there is any question about whether something is possible from a given situation (e.g. if something is within cannon range, if you can move without running into something, etc) then the answer is "No, you can't do it." You should try to make certain that your moves put you into position such that it is clear if you can hit your target, etc. In general, ships should not be moved or jostled outside of actually moving them as part of your turn options. If something does get moved accidentally, you should attempt to put it back in its original position. There are no penalties for this happening, but try to avoid it.

Advanced Game[edit | edit source]

Advanced Setup[edit | edit source]

After playing the basic game a few times, you may find or believe that one fleet has an advantage over the other. Or you may wish to handicap a more experienced player. These setup rules allow you to tweak the game to your advanced needs.

For the advanced game, one player (player A) decides how many pieces (up to 4) of each size will be used in the game. That player also suggests which fleet he would like to use for the game. (Larges, or Smalls and Mediums) The other player (player B) either agrees with the sides, and will take the first turn, or else exchanges fleets with player A and lets him take the first turn.

Optional Alternate Goals[edit | edit source]

If desired, Armada could be played as a capture the flag(ship) or as a breakthrough style competition as well.

For a Capture The Flag(ship) game: Use a marker to indicate your sides flag. This could either be a stationary flag, or could be a specific ship in your fleet. The first player to sink or come into contact with the opponents flag wins the game.

For a Breakthrough style game: set up a goal line behind one of the players fleets. The other player wins if they are able to get any of their ships over that goal line. They lose if all of their ships have been sunk.

Multi-Stash Setup[edit | edit source]

For players who feel that the single-stash setup is unfairly (and unenjoyably) unbalanced, multiple-stash play is possible with the provision that each player starts with 12 points' worth of pieces (with no more than four of any given size, due to movement rules). This also adds an additional layer of strategy when it comes to deciding on one's fleet's makeup.

Additionally, a longer, more crowded, melee-style game can be done by simply having each player use four of each size of their stash.

Incidentally, the use of an individual stash for each player allows more than two players, which can then be divided up into teams if desired.

External Links[edit | edit source]

Entered in the Icehouse Game Design Competition, Spring 2005
Winner: Torpedo 2nd (tie): Cold Spell and Spectra 4th: Armada
5th: Ice Market 6th: Transformartian 7th: Simple Life or Death