Star Wars Armada – Imperial Light Cruiser Expansion Pack

9.6 Overall Score
Utility: 10/10
Dollar Value: 10/10
Point Value: 9/10

A versatile and cost-effective Light Cruiser with terrific upgrade cards.

Stiff manueverability

Star Wars Armada
Imperial Light Cruiser Expansion Pack
Fantasy Flight Games
2017

The Imperial Light Cruiser Expansion Pack is an excellent addition to Star Wars Armada. Any Imperial player should want one for the versatility of the two Arquitens-class cruiser variants it provides, the upgrade cards it contains, and what it does for the venerable, beleaguered Victory Star Destroyer.

New waves of Armada expansions could easily make the Victory SD obsolete – which would be very annoying to players with $80 worth of them on the shelf. Instead, the designers at Fantasy Flight Games produced the Imperial Light Cruiser Expansion Pack, reinvigorating the VSD and making the Galactic Empire great again.

But first, let’s discuss the Light Cruisers.

The Arquitens-Class Light Cruiser costs only 54 fleet points, and contrary to most Imperial design doctrine, it carries most of its firepower in its broadsides, with three red dice. With eight shields, five hull, and four defense tokens, it’s tough for its cost. A Command value of two and Speed 3 make it decently quick, although its speed chart makes it a bit stiff to maneuver.

The obvious tactic with the Light Cruiser is to stand off and broadside Alliance ships that are preoccupied with your more powerful Star Destroyers. Compare it to the Gladiator I-Class Star Destroyer, which is more maneuverable, lacks the Defensive Retrofit upgrade slot that the Light Cruiser possesses, costs two more points, and is notorious for being vaporized in the short-range confrontations its black dice force it into.

The Light Cruiser can take turbolaser upgrades, so Enhanced Armament or Turbolaser Reroute Circuits are obvious choices. It can take officer upgrades, and is a good home for cards that you might not want to spend the officer slot on a Star Destroyer to get, like Director Isard and Admiral Titus.

The Light Cruiser is also a good ship to assign the Commander to, to spread your points around your fleet and thereby make it more resilient.

The second variant in this expansion is the Arquitens-Class Command Cruiser, which is identical to the Light Cruiser except that it is five points more expensive; has one red and one blue anti-ship armament front and rear, instead of one red and one black; has Squadron 2 instead of 1; and has a Support Team upgrade slot.

This means that both variants are equally good buys. The Light Cruiser is a tough little gunboat, while the Command Cruiser can be a gunboat and a pocket carrier with, for example, a turbolaser upgrade and the Engine Techs Support Team. You could even throw in Admiral Chiraneau.

But, as useful as the Cruisers are, the upgrade cards in this expansion are even more valuable. While any of these cards can be deployed on an Arquitens, their real value is in upgrading the venerable Victory Star Destroyer, not to mention the Imperial SD.

Dual Turbolaser Turrets effectively provide a one red die reroll. It is the cheapest Turbolaser upgrade, at a mere five points, and very cost-effective.

Moff Jerjerrod is the new Commander upgrade. He allows the player to take a point of damage to a ship and change its first yaw value to II until the end of its activation. Jerjerrod’s effect applies to every ship in the Imperial fleet, and is tailor-made for the tough Victory and Imperial SDs, tightening their notoriously wide turning radii at a crucial moment.

Minister Tua is an Officer upgrade who costs only two points, but allows the ship on which she is equipped to also equip a Defensive Retrofit. Now your VSD can have Electronic Countermeasures or Redundant Shields, or most spectacularly, the new Reinforced Blast Doors.

Reinforced Blast Doors cannot be overstated. For a mere five fleet points, this Defensive Retrofit upgrade allows you to discard three facedown damage cards when you discard this upgrade. Previously, this could only be done by resolving several engineering commands over multiple turns. This makes it far superior to the more expensive Redundant Shields, which only allows you to recover one shield, in one hull zone, each turn. It isn’t as good as Electronic Counter Measures, but it is cheaper.

Any Imperial player who fails to acquire The Imperial Light Cruiser Expansion Pack is making a grave mistake. It is highly recommended.

 

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Brian Downes
Author: Brian Downes View all posts by

Brian Downes is a writer who lives in Orlando, Florida. His novel, The Berlin Fraternity, about a man who hunts vampires for the Third Reich, is available on the Kindle and through Amazon.com. He enjoys pen and paper roleplaying games and geek culture. He clearly remembers waiting for The Empire Strikes Back to hit theaters, and vindicate his opinion that of course Vader was not Luke’s father. You can’t trust Vader’s word!

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