X-Wing and Armada are fantastic ship-to-ship miniature combat games. They combine a relatively simple ruleset with an aptitude for complexity. In fact, one of their best qualities is that they allow the players to be very clever, both in how they build their fleets and in how they actually fly them. All while sporting a simple ruleset that’s casual friendly. But you know what else does that great? Sails of Glory. Taking place in the Age of Sail, it has a ton of attributes that should excite X-Wing and Armada players.
Huge Variety of Ships
One of the best features of X-Wing is the huge variety of ships. Armada has a good array, too, though it is still playing catchup to the older title. With so many to choose from, you can tailor the game to your strengths. It allows you to focus on more nimble strikers or heavy hitters. Or some of both that coordinate in a lovely ballet of cinematic destruction.
Sails of Glory does the same. While you may not be able to customize individual ships to the same degree (although you can now add Captains and Crew with special powers), the different kinds of ships you can add is huge. You get everything from frigates to ships of the line. Even small sloops. You can toss in a few first rate ships, make a stand with fourth rates, or try for an agile fleet of smaller ships.
Like X-Wing and Armada, you can tailor your fleet to your strengths. Building up your fleet is often as important as actually piloting it. And, as a nice bonus, when you do send your ships into battle, it makes sense why the combat takes place in two-dimensional space.
X-Wing and Armada are very casual friendly. If you have a buddy or two and want to have a great 45 minutes of humming the Star Wars theme and impersonating TIE engines, then you absolutely can do that and have a great time. Of course, if you want to go to the organized tournaments and try to dominate, you’ll need a much greater understanding of the available cards and interactions and how to fly against them. In other words, the game is as complex as you want it.
That same range is effortlessly achieved by Sails of Glory. If you want to play a super casual game where you fire off canons and work old-timey sailing jargon into your play, then great. It absolutely can do that for you. But if you want something with a little more depth, you can play the game at a much higher level that incorporates lag time for orders, different types of cannon fire, and changing sails.
More than that, for those who truly want to go down the rabbit hole, there are tons of advanced rules that add in different wind conditions, entanglement, damage types, crew orders, reefs and shoals, and other items. Add it all in, and you get an almost simulationist experience of the Age of Sail.
Combat System Promoting Strategy Over Luck
I’ve had more than one new player tell me X-Wing is all about the luck of the dice. No, it is not. Sure, dice are involved, but it’s really more about your skill. Can you fly and out-maneuver your opponent? Can you get to a point where you can attack them, but they can’t get you? Play it enough, and you’ll see that your flying more than makes up for the chance of a die roll. … At least most of the time.
And that’s absolutely the case with Sails of Glory. In fact, there are no dice at all. Once you’ve sailed into the right position, you can unload your cannons for huge damage. Damage is determined by drawing chits based on the type of carnage you’ve inflicted. So there is still randomness. It’s not the kind of game where everything is calculated beforehand. But it will strongly reward your ability to maneuver in a way that helps you and harms an opponent.
Plus, it provides just the right amount of tension. As chits are taken, there are fewer and fewer 0 damage chits available. This means that, as the crew becomes more beleaguered and the battle rages on, attrition will find you and damage will escalate. It’s a great touch that adds a sense of realism and tension to an already fantastic game.
Have you played Sails of Glory? Tell us what you think in the comments.
Image Credits: Ares Games
Featured Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons / Philip James de Loutherbourg