On page 8 of the rule book it says "If there are any armor ( ) boxes,
they must be filled before any other boxes."
Does this mean that all available dice that CAN fill armor boxes MUST do so? And if I don't have the means to fill all of the armor boxes do I automatically fail the encounter and not claim the card as loot or can I use remaining dice to fill in the rest of the boxes and pass the encounter?
It is my understanding that if you can fill it in... you must fill it in first.
If you can't fill the armor square ... you are not allow to fill in any other box. You still "kill the monster" and get loot but you suffer all damage and time on all the squares.