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Tactics Tuesday: a Commanding Presence



Without doubt, the most important unit on the battlefields of Armoured Digital is the Command unit. This is the source of your orders, the noble steed for your commander and also a capable combat vehicle. So how to best use your command unit to best effect?
At present, there are two command units available to players of AD. These are the Centaur, a long-range support unit, and the Vampire, a close-in combat-centric command vehicle. The Centaur boasts a FP3 missile launcher, comms 4 and Simplified Systems. The Vampire instead has a FP4 laser weapon, as well as the Resilient and Stealth traits, but only comms 2 and no Simplified Systems.

To complicate matters, there’s a range of options for you to choose for your hardpoint system. Choose comms, sensors, shields or any of the six weapon systems to further customise your vehicle. Do you choose shields for your Centaur to keep it safer, or just keep it out of the battle entirely? Do you add Comms to your Vampire to overcome the weak point it has, or just add Meerkats or a range of comms 3 units to your force? Do you add another laser to your Vampire to extend it to Firepower 5, or do you add an HE hardpoint to give you more punch against units with Reflective armour, meaning that you will also be subject to the multi-weapon shooting rules on page 17?

The final (or is that first?) thing to take into consideration when choosing your command unit is who you will be putting in the command seat. A Vampire, with all its go-forward combat capabilities, is perhaps best placed in the hands of a Bushi or Templar commander for their bonuses to hit or save. Alternatively, an aggressive Hoplite commander might like to take the fight forward to the enemy while trying to achieve their faction victory condition. A Hoplite commander might instead prefer to take the Centaur in order to boost their Command stat and to have more control of the table with that 16” comms range.

It can all be a bit overwhelming to a new player, which is why for your first games we suggest leaving out of the rules the Option trait and the faction special rules. It will take time to figure out what works best for you as a player. While you’re trying out new and interesting things, here are some combinations that have proved useful in the past:

•   Centaur with comms, commanded by either a Skald Berzerker or the Kickstarter exclusives Lenna Marsin or the Theif. This gives you a long comms range from which to throw down Core Wipe, Capture, System Crash or other cards. The Skald Berzerker is useful for the Research and Surprise stat, Lenna gives an unparalleled range of 28”, and the Thief is super useful for winning Core Wipe and Capture contest rolls.
•   Centaur with Sensors, commanded by pretty much anyone but especially Bushi Samurai or Bastion Fellow. With this package, you can sit behind a hill or building and drop the Guided Missiles order on high rotation, throwing them at any target within sensor range. Take the Bushi to give you a re-roll to hit, or take the Bastion and enjoy the 20” active sensor bubble when trying to get a sensor lock on the enemy command or production units.
•   Vampire with HE, commanded by a Bushi Samurai. Avoid Precision Fire or Assault orders and instead skip to the Rapid Fire. This will give you FP5 energy and FP3 explosive, albeit at the expense of your chances to hit. Pair with a Jackal if the enemy are in cover and use those Bushi re-rolls to full effect.
•   Vampire with Shields, commanded by a Templar Knight. Put this one into the middle of the fight, and watch as it becomes the hardest thing to kill on the battlefield. Stealth, Resilient, +1 to all saves, a re-roll to a save dice each attack, as well as Composite Protection and Self-Repair.

So now you’ve chosen your commander and put them into the fight, what should you do with them? You’ll no doubt have noticed the number of orders marked ‘Command unit only’, or effectively do the same thing because of the command unit’s stats and traits (think Capture, Emergency Repairs and the like). This means that if you’re going to play your command unit in the fight, you’ll need to choose carefully what orders they will get each turn in their maximum of three.

Generally, it’s best if you don’t try to do too many different things with your command unit in a single turn. Just stick to one activity (relocate, attack, repair, electronic attack, etc) each turn. If you shoot and then try to Core Wipe enemy drones, you’ve only made yourself a bigger target. If you only bring one Core Wipe but your chances of success aren’t great, maybe take another Core Wipe instead of a Capture card. If you’ve sustained damage, get out of the fight as soon as possible. Pick your timing with cards so that you’re using your limited commander space to best efficiency, like playing your Buffer and Tactical Analysis cards in early turns and then waiting until later to go into battle.

Remember too to be cautious with your command units. While they’re a little more robust than any other combat drone, they make excellent targets and can die surprisingly quickly when the enemy focus fire on them. I’ve seen on more than one occasion a sneaky raider getting into an isolated command unit and one-shotting it once they’re in the right place.


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