Wednesday, October 14, 2015

DZC Resistance Army

I completed a huge swath of Resistance for Dropzone Commander.  I am still painting some others up, but this is the majority of what I have and am sharing.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

DZC Scenario Frontline Control

It has certainly been a while since I've posted here, mostly due to no longer taking commissions.  I'll save the whole story for another time, but this seems the best place for me to put out my ideas and what I've been working on.  If you are looking for the scenario scroll down, as what follows is my thought process and procedure.

I've been playing solely Dropzone Commander now for nearly 2 years, and have found myself a bit disappointed with the competitive scenarios allotted us.  It's not to say they are all bad, but it feels they can be a bit repetitive and favor particular factions and can feel a bit random.  I will most likely write a whole post on why the current scenario goals and objectives are lacking, but this isn't about that.  What it is about is looking at other systems that are regarded as having great competitive play, and seeing what they are doing that DZC is not.  Then translating it to DZC.

First look was at Privateer Press, as they are the 2nd largest game played around me competitively, and, unlike #1, is generally praised for it's extremely tight rules that produce a competitive game.  I played Hordes when it first released, and so have a loose understanding of the game system.  Going through their tournament pack, most of their scenarios would boil down to Focal Points in the center that are scored at the end of every turn.  This wasn't a new idea, as scoring Focal Points at the end of the game is one of the problems, as I see it, in competitive DZC.  So this solution was already on my radar, and there are plenty of Focal Point missions already.  I asked other local wargamers, and many said Privateer Press, but others mentioned Infinity.

Infinity is a game I have not played and know little about, other than a few batreps I've watched on youtube some time ago.  There were a few scenarios that peeked my interest, and some I could see easily translating to DZC, but the one named "Frontline" really struck me.  It would translate seamlessly and bore resemblance to Ground Control, which is a DZC scenario that some in the community find necessary in tournaments to offset all of the Focal Point and Objective missions.

I've play tested some other scenarios with Focal Points that score every turn.  The problem has been that faster armies take an early lead which is hard for the slower armies to catch up since they have to move into position and than remove the enemy.  By the time they do this, it is usually too late.  Starting to score on turn 4, stops this early lead and forces both players to begin scoring at the same time.  It also prevents either player from winning on the last activation.  Keeping scoring to the 24" in the middle prevents either player from scoring the corners, but the 48" width of the table still allows for some interesting play on the flanks by the quick and sneaky.

So far in play testing it has been met with enthusiasm, and so I am releasing it to the world to hopefully get more testing.  One thing that has been found is that in it's first iteration the score produced did not reflect properly in the Hawk Tournament system.  If one player scores 1 point ahead of his opponent at the end of the 3 turns scored it results in a victory by 3, which is a decent margin.  I have brought the bonus points scored down to help mitigate this possibility.  Another thought I had was to just half the margin before consulting the Hawk Tournament pack, but then there is the question of round up or down.  Both have some merit.  Lastly, there are other thoughts to make it more DZC, such as allowing infantry in buildings to be weighed at double their points, and/or allow aircraft to throw their points in also like they do in Ground Control.

There are a multitude of ways it could be tweaked, but the core premise of having the 3 8" band between the players being scored the last half of the game really helps level any current disadvantages that may exist between all factions, and produces a victor based less on silly tricks or lucky dice rolls; not to mention a bloody and vicious game between two armies.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Dropzone Commander Tournament Report

Hey anyone reading.  Last Saturday (September 6th, 2014) I played in a Dropzone Commander Tournament at Endgame in Oakland, California.  It was 3 games at 1500 points and used the Hawk Tournament pack.  Before I go further, I will share my list.

My 1500 points of Shaltari
Standard Army
Clash: 1488/1500 points
Standard Army
Standard Roster [1488/1500 pts]
Gate Group [260 pts]
Eden Gates: Eden [45 pts]
Eden Gates: Eden [45 pts]
Eden Gates: Eden [45 pts]
Spirit Gates: Spirit [40 pts]
Spirit Gates: Spirit [40 pts]
Haven: Haven [15 pts]
Haven: Haven [15 pts]
Haven: Haven [15 pts]
Court of Elders [271 pts]
Coyote: Coyote(Elder) [171 pts]
Jaguar Squad: Jaguar [100 pts]
Swordpoint [228 pts]
Tomahawk Squad: 3x Tomahawk [114 pts]
Tomahawk Squad: 3x Tomahawk [114 pts]
Warrior Clan [263 pts]
Braves: 2x Braves [64 pts]
Braves: 2x Braves [64 pts]
Kukri Squad: 3x Kukri [135 pts]
Warrior Clan [263 pts]
Braves: 2x Braves [64 pts]
Braves: 2x Braves [64 pts]
Kukri Squad: 3x Kukri [135 pts]
Warfist [95 pts]
Caiman Squad: Caiman [95 pts]
Arrowhead [108 pts]
Warspear Squad: Warspear [108 pts]

So, as one of my opponents commented, "Two starters and some additions, right?"  Basically, though I only bought one starter.  Probably would of been smarter to have just bought the second starter (first was a gift), but I'm okay a knowing my money is going to a company I support.

After playing with the starter for a while I bought nearly one of every Shaltari blister, some two, and some none (I swear I'm saving the best for last Bird Eater and Thunderbird).  I then wrote up a list with models I wanted to get good with, and that is what you have above.  The gates are fairly standard.  I think a mix of Spirits and Havens is the better path.  I would prefer a higher CV, but couldn't fit it.  I used to run one squad of 4-5 Tomahawks so I could, but found that I prefer 2 squads of 3.  More shots and more flexibility.  The Kukri were really useful in starter games, why not have a 2nd?  The enemy will have drop ships after all.  I understand my reasoning at the time, but I am not sure if I need both, I will have to test it out.  Caiman is a beast, I've been saying that for a while, thus it is in the list.  I hope to add at least one more.  The Warspear surprised me for a while, but when it isn't getting lucky it is a bit lack luster.  Doubling down would help, but I feel there are probably more reliable ways to spend that 108 points.

But on the plus I ended up w/ Best Painted, which I really wanted after finishing the painting.

So anyways, let's get on to the first game.  It was the scenario Surging Strike and I played Ian AKA BillyJoeRay and his Scourge.

Ian's Scourge

Ian and I have played several games, so I had an idea of what he was about, but he has added an Annihilator since then, and I had never seen this unit in action.  He deployed it behind a tall building that had a focal point.  Another new unit was Ravagers which set up an AA bubble quickly.  The rest of his army came up the middle, using a large building in the middle as cover.

Ian's Scourge after T1
As you can see, his Hunters were in the open, and I had Tomahawks that tried to catch them before they received their skimmer bonus, but he had |Quick Thinking and all of that was hidden behind that center building T2.  I spread out in my back field and shot the tall building you see on the left (which is hiding the Annihilator).  That building has a Focal Point and some Warriors in it, which eventually die to masonry.

My right flank - Scourge in the top right
I really was uncertain of how this was going to go down.  I didn't want to get any closer for obvious reasons (Scourge will rock you).  I had to be prepared to hit the middle building with everything to deny the FP.  Ian's prowlers came running around my right side of the building, which caused me to start shifting left, but as the game went on the Hunters, Reapers, and Desolator came around the left side of the building, which made me shift back to my right.  It also let the Kukri you see in the picture above to continue up the flank, and the 2 gates to move those Tomahawks to support them.  I got extremely lucky on the other side of the table, as the Scourge failed to drop a medium building that housed 1 of my focal points, and the Kukri there rolled hot, stripping the Desolator of 5 DP.  Some brave Braves finished the Desolator off the turn after, having fled the building and then getting shot to pieces by the Scourge (out of 4 bases that left, only 2 braves were left to utilize a Small Arms shot).  I downed the building his Annihilator was camping after he killed my spirits and I saw no way of getting Braves to that FP.  Final score was 19-1 Shaltari, having control of all the FPs left on the board, and having wracked up a huge kill count.  This game would of played very different had the dice not deserted my opponent so horribly.  Also, he was told that FPs remain after a building is destroyed, but the rulebook says otherwise.  If he had known that, I imagine he would of played much differently.

Game 2 was Secure the Flank against Kyle AKA yoink101 and his Shaltari.

Kyle's army
I had wanted to play this list for a while, and this was my first opportunity.  Why?  Because it had 2 Jaguar and a Dreamsnare, which my army lacks (for now) and I wanted to see if it lived up to the hype.  The part I didn't know about until then was he had 4 squads of Firstborn.  This was the major issue for me, as I wouldn't be able to win a CQB.

We both put Braves in the building housing our Objective and started searching.  My Warspear got shot down NOT taking out the Haven carrying his Objective away.  I wanted to cause some of his units to turn around to pick it up.  I moved as fast as possible to use a Scout Gate Drone to get a squad in the center building, hoping to get lucky and put the pressure on my opponent, but that didn't happen.  I abandoned getting the center objective and my focus was directed at winning both FPs, as that was the only option left.  I had been hitting the Jaguars and Dreamsnare that were camping a FP all game, but between my dice being cool and his being warm it wasn't going well (to be fair, my Caiman was real HOT when it messed up the first Yari he could see, but after he acquired some real targets he began resting on his laurels a bit too much).  The game did come down to the wire, but my dice would of needed to warm up earlier then they did, and at the end Kyle had both FPs and control of the 3rd Objective (though still on the board).  Final score was 5-15.

I didn't think of it until after the game, but a better strategy for me may of been to hammer that central building to deny the Objective to both of us, then try to just claim one FP and win on kill points.  I think I was a bit too enthusiastic to take down the Jaguars and Dreamsnare.  I don't think it is impossible, and outright foolish of me considering the math, but ah well.  I got the fight I wanted and Kyle went on to win his 3rd game and was proclaimed King of the Hedgehogs.

There was a small chance of me winning the tournament thanks to Hawk's tournament rules, but it would require Kyle to basically draw and I would have to smash my opponent.  Not realistic.  So out of the running I let loose and had fun against Seth and his UCM, er excuse me, BlUeCM.

Cobra is so sneaky they didn't get an official army shot
His army was essentially 2 UCM starters, 4 Falcons, 2 Archangels, and a Kodiak.  The scenario was Military Complex, which is basically Targets of Opportunity but all the buildings with Objectives are large and hardened (A8).  This meant I probably shouldn't rely on taking a building down, as that is hard enough when they are not hardened (hard enough for me that is).

Seth's view after T1
Seth was visibly fatigued by this game, and he was super excited to play Shaltari for the 3rd time in a row.  It felt like we threw our armies at each other and got into a slug fest.  He pushed hard on my right flank, so I pushed harder on my left.  Spirit gates on my left got into the building closest to him first and were the occupiers for most all the game.  I found the Objective closest to my table edge before Seth managed to bring it down with mass Condor and Falcon fire (the Kodiak tried to help, but never actually hit it).  My Warspear finally did something, taking out both Archangels.  My right flank held, and I ended up denying most of the objectives, and getting 2 off the board.  It was a good light-hearted game, and I hope to play Seth again when he isn't suffering from Shaltari burnout.  Final score 17-3.

With that the tournament ended.  As I alluded to earlier, Kyle won and took first with 47 points.  I came in second with 41.  And third was also Shaltari played by Mark AKA ElectricPaladin with 38 points.  There was a 4th Shaltari player (Solomon AKA Tenebris) that ended in 5th; UCM was in 4th (Aaron).  Shaltari made up a third of the players (12 total) and all placed high.  I am curious to see if this changes as people adjust to playing them, but until then the only thing that can be said is:

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Shaltari Tribe Blackfoot

Finally finished my initial 1500 point list of Shaltari for Hawk Wargames Dropzone Commander.  This has been the only game I play this year.  Since the Shaltari are named after tribes I knew I wanted mine to be mostly a leather-like khaki with turquoise.  I also did not want to use metallic paints.  This is the scheme I came up with.

As far as the Blackfoot tribe themselves, they are a bit odd among Shaltari, as Shaltari are quite proud and typically use bright bold colors.  The UCM designated this tribe Blackfoot due to the black petals their ships have, but as time went on this name only became more fitting.  The Blackfoot enjoy war and will war with and against anyone, including other Shaltari Tribes.  There has even been reports where they appear to fight among themselves.