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Tag: dropzone commander (Page 1 of 6)

Dropzone Commander: 2017 Fall Campaign

Today we had our first game of our Dropzone Commander 2017 Fall Campaign at Funtastic Games.  It was 999 point Skirmish-sized game with 6 players in attendance.  Before I left, I had a few minutes and decided to try out a quick proof of concept I’d been thinking of: a pimped out spinner for Indirect Fire deviation (and anything else that needs a random direction).

I started with a cheap spinner, an extra flight stand base from the now defunct Planetfall game by the also defunct Spartan Games. The ship is an Athena Air Superiority fighter that had some miscast issues.

As this was just a test to see if the thing worked, I wasn’t really trying to make things permanent.  Cutting off the arrows from spinner piece and supergluing it to the flight base position.  Then I cut off the flight peg holder on the Planetfall base and used blutac to keep the big spinner base connected.

And done.

This took all of about 5 minutes and seemed to work out well. Not really practical but painted up and clearing that base down to size would make it a bit better.  I have some other junk pieces so I might play around with this a bit more.  This might make a cool bunker with a spinning gun mount on top.


Now for the Dropzone game.  With 6 players we rolled off for map placement and opponent.  Today, I had the honor of playing a new recruit to Dropzone, Jayme, and he was running PHR.  I had really played against PHR before. Early on in our learning of Dropzone, we tried all the factions in their starter form and just couldn’t get PHR to work.

Stephen, the campaign host, started us off for the campaign with the following opening:

…transmission intercept…
Forward Intelligence units have discovered that a UCM ship will be airdropping vital supplies and equipment at 1330.
All available units to mobilize to deployment zone to intercept. The enemy cannot be allowed to retrieve this shipment.

We were also going to try out some of V2.0 rules:

* disembark and shoot for a -2 penalty
* flyers are at peg height, not 6″

With that, we were ready to begin.  We were playing the Ground Control scenario.  This was the first time I’d tried this scenario and it is probably the closest to a normal tabletop wargame than most of the other Dropzone scenarios.  It has units directly deployed to the map (like most minis games) and no objective, focal, or intel points.  The game map is split into four quarters and awards scenario VPs to the player that controls each quarter at the end of round 6 (which is the end of the game).  Control is determined by having the most points in units in a given quarter, with infantry gaining double points if they are in a building.

This type of scenario made for a pretty slow opening as a lot of the usual scenario tactics call for running out as fast as possible and grabbing objective points before your opponent. Since nothing is determined until the last round, the game has a bit more “dance” to it before units really engage.  After the first turn, I had pushed my Anti-Air (AA) unit to the left-center while my big Thunderstorm hovercraft at the bottom rumbled to line up on one of the long sight lines.  The rest of my units made for the center and used buildings as cover.  My opponent did similar as everything he had was in dropships and he didn’t want to commit to the ground game quite yet.

After I set up down one of the less open firing lanes I realized my massive hovercraft only had an 18″ firing range (that’s what I get for pillaging Scourge tech).  Hanging out in the back will make 25% of my army basically useless as I can’t even shoot far off buildings.  I really suck at this big hovercraft.

So, after failing with my hovercraft, I then started playing like all the other scenarios and threw my infantry into some buildings thinking they’d be safe there. That also turned out to be a mistake as my opponent had some good building demolishing and so these safe-havens I jumped into were turning out to be death traps.  I decided to load up the battered infantry once more into their APCs and Lifthawk dropship and head for safer skies.

my opponent’s AA walkers are conspicuously not there anymore…

I decided to turn my attention to his AA walkers and after they almost melted my infantry dropship (precariously hovering with all my troop transports in tow).  My Typhoons (yay! new unit) used their long range to chip away at one of the AA walkers and then after winning the initiative roll, I closed the game and threw all I could at them to take them off the board.  To add insult to injury, my attack choppers are in the same battle group as my AA trucks and they ended up taking down my opponent’s dropship as well, wiping out an entire unit activation.

With no more AA options on his side, my opponent got desperate and threw down two infantry squads to serve as proxy AA and try to bring down my loaded up Lifthawk.  I was able to repair my dropship back up to 2 damage points to give a little bit of a boost but I didn’t see this coming.  Pretty risky but if he can bring down my dropship with all those troops, it’ll be a major blow to my ability to later control these different areas of the map.  My luck wins out and his infantry aren’t able to land a hit (mainly due to the penalty gained from disembarking and firing in the same turn, a v2.0 rule we implemented).

The risk of that gambit hits home when my air units start lighting up the exposed infantry.  I open up and after two turns of fire, the PHR infantry are down to one base with one guy standing.  They finally hop into a remaining transport and run for cover in the buildings.

With Round 5 ending, my opponent pushes his remaining infantry squad into a small building in my starting quarter of the map via an underground monorail. I can’t pass up the opportunity to finally put this big hovercraft to use so I pull back from that main firing corridor to shoot at the little building and hopefully drop it, killing all the infantry inside. I do 8 damage and need 2 more to drop it.  For a point comparison, my 265 point hovercraft with 4 shots at the highest power of any gun in the game did the same amount of building damage as my opponent’s little Railgun-toting APCs (60 points total).  The dice were not in my favor on that.  I was able to follow up with about six weaker attacks from my Skulltaker but only landed one more damage.

Turn 6 started and I lost initiative but had a dirty trick up my sleeve.  I was able to pull a command card that allowed me to interrupt my opponent’s activation and take a single activation beforehand.  He activated his infantry in the nearly collapsed building and I interrupted it with a final salvo of from my Thunderstorm command hovercraft. This time, I landed the hits and dropped the building on them.  I finished by moving my commander back into that quarter, sealing the point control for that one.

After that blow, my opponent did some quick math and realized that he didn’t have enough points on the board to control three quarters of the map and since he was also behind in kill points, a tie would still equal a loss so we called the game.

It was a fun game and it was nice to see some really effective PHR units.  My new Typhoons were definite MVPs in this as they basically could own the map after I took out the threatening AA walkers. I tend to find that this is the case in this game with aerial gunships are in play and that was my biggest fear in building this list- that my AA wouldn’t be enough to overpower a strong gunship that could then just obliterate my ground units with abandon.  Luckily, I was on the dealing side of that situation.

We have another game set up in November and we’re going to escalate to 1250 points.  Time to start working on my next list!

Dropzone Commander: Typhoons Reporting for Duty

Even with the busy week, I was able to burn through my painting regiment to finish up my new Dropzone Commander Typhoons.

As with all my Resistance Army, they never can really find matching anything.  The most common is usually a black urban paint scheme but this time I opted for a desert themed scheme for one of the Typhoons.

I really rushed through these and it caused some issues with paint flecking. The weather also turned so the lower temperatures may have messed with the setting up of the primers too.

Overall, I’m happy with them.  They are painted and will go in my army this Sunday and will word for tabletop use.

I’m still debating on my actual list.  I think I’m set on this list:

My concern is it doesn’t have enough anti-air and it doesn’t max out the activation groups.  The lack of anti-air might not be that big of a problem since we’re playing a pretty small game (999 point Skirmish) but still, I’d like to have a little more balance.  Instead, I have a lot of anti-tank, some building demo, and a ton of squads.  The Fighters are pretty much a staple for most Resistance lists but I also have a group of fast-flying Berserkers with a Skulltaker for support and a group of Freeriders.

It should be a fun time regardless and I’ll plan on writing up how it went sometime next week.

Back to the Grind

Having finally finished up my Gen Con 50 reports, I jumped back into prepping some miniatures.  I started with a Knight Model for the Batman Miniature Game.

I have a few Suicide Squad starter figures that need to be put together but this Green Arrow figure I picked up is one of my favorite sculpts so I decided to work on him instead.  I got smart this time and busted out my dusty jewelers clamp because I remembered that Knight Models loves complicated three-point poses and rarely do they all match up easily.  I used a little green stuff to fix the angle on the bow arm and it all worked out in the end.

For basing, the new metal miniatures come with the much improved solid base instead of the slotted rubble bases that always required greenstuff to fill in and sculpt.  It was always a pain and I never felt like I could get the effect right.  The left image above in grey is an old base I obviously used greenstuff on.  The right is the new base that I’ll customize to fit the dynamic scenery that Green Arrow stands on.

And here he is in all his glory.  He should be pretty fun to paint up.


This upcoming weekend, I have a Dropzone Commander game coming up at Funtastic Games so that means another “drop everything and finish up some models” week for me.

I’m tackling the new-ish Typhoon attack helicopters this time.  Only two models so it shouldn’t be too bad.

Ah but I spoke too soon.  These models are part of their dual packaging wave where each model comes with all the other gun iterations.  This package can double as the older Cyclone attack choppers or the new Typhoons.  I still really like the Cyclones so I don’t want to commit this models to only one choice so that means magnets.

It took me awhile to find my 2mm magnets and get everything set up but after that, it went as good as could be expected.  No real major issues but I wonder if I’m going to have to add a second magnet to those wings to help hold them in place.   Maybe after this weekend.  I’ve got to get these guys into the garage to prime up.  I’ll post my progress at the end of the week.

Gen Con 50 Recap Day 1

Thursday opened the Con with its typical crush of attendees all vying for position at the main entrances.

While I didn’t really notice a difference in attendance on Wednesday, I surely felt it Thursday. Gen Con personnel did a good job of keeping things safe and moving so even with the larger crowds, the transition into the exhibition hall was smooth and quick.

Inside, I had a goal of grabbing the new dexterity game Flip Ships (art by my favorite game artist Kwanchai Moriya).  Unfortunately, Renegade Studios also announced a new game in the Clank! line so their booth was packed. With the aid of a friendly attendee couple, we found a way through the disorganized chaos of that booth and paid for our haul and got out of there.

I had about 30 minutes before my first event so I made my way to the Hawk Wargames booth to chat about the new Dropzone 2.0 rules.  I was not disappointed as the demoers were pretty knowledgeable, being avid fans of the original game. I have a summary of the 2.0 rules here. Please note that these rules were what I heard/understood and are subject to change.

Soon after, I was off to my first event of the Con: an X-wing variant “The Heroes of the Alturi Cluster.”  This variant automates the Imperial ships and turns the overarching flow of the game into a full co-op with all players (up to 6) piloting one ship.

I chose a B-wing to pilot and we were off to stop a group of Imperial interceptors from attacking a Rebel transport.  The system worked out very well and I plan on printing out the campaign for our group.

The system allows for pilots to gain experience and buy upgrades and skill so it also contains some light advancement rules.  Very fun and I can’t wait to get a group together to play through it.

The event ended a little earlier so I snagged a quick lunch and jumped back into the dealer hall to scout out some games that were on my demo list.  I went to the Ares Games booth to see about Hunt for the Ring but they didn’t have anything except some minis in a case (lame).

Next, it was over to Flying Frog Productions to see about their new 10th Anniversary Edition of Last Night on Earth.

The new bits look good but are a little cheap.  The new heroes sound fun and if they offered an upgrade pack for the fans that helped get them to 10 years, I’d be in but forcing me to rebuy all the content I already have gets a big “no thanks.”   From talking with the guys at the booth, they sound like they want to do the same thing for A Touch of Evil.  If that is the case and they won’t also release an upgrade pack, I can just scratch that publisher off the list of ones to ever check out again.

I popped over to the Catalyst booth with little hope for info on some of The Duke expansions that have sat around on pre-order for almost a year now.  Catalyst, as expected, was too busy dealing with their big Gen Con release, Dragonfire, to have info on those expansions but lo! What was this??

In their display case, a new Duke core set was shown (with some uninspiring art).  I went in search for more answers and it sounds like they are hoping to have this through in a year (don’t hold your breathe with this publisher).  After that, they want to work on a Feudal Japanese themed version.  That really isn’t news as they’ve been dangling that carrot in from of The Duke fans for years now.  In any case, it was surprising to see a new edition in the works with some new and out of print bits included.

So you may ask, ‘why does Catalyst get a free pass with a version re-issue and Flying Frog doesn’t?’ and it is simple economics.   I have a lot of Last Night on Earth and having another copy of all those components will be pretty useless.  Another copy of The Duke, however, can be used in a travel version I’m making and includes the OOP Arthurian Legends expansion that is impossible to find for anything but insane price points.  Also the price for this new Duke set will likely be on par with the original unlike the 10th anniversary Last Night on Earth set which is retailing for $100.

At this point, it was time to head over to my next event, A Song of Ice and Fire Miniatures Game.

This is CMON Limited’s new tabletop miniatures game that just finished wrapping up on Kickstarter. I’m really not sure what to think of what CMON was doing with this product.  They ended the Kickstarter campaign right before Gen Con, missing an opportunity to show the game off to a lot of people and gain more backers and base support.  I did back the campaign but wanted to try it out before I committed to any more in their eventual pledge manager.  Luckily, I was able to get into a demo and get some hands on experience.

I’d read the work-in-progress rules posted to the campaign so I was pretty familiar with the basics but it’s always better to see the game in action.  Unfortunately, CMON overreached on this whole product and didn’t have enough production copies on hand to run the full event that was listed in the program.  Instead of a full game, they only had enough models to play two units vs two units.  Some demo is better than no demo and they compensated us for the change in event layout with the remainder of the San Diego Comic Con exclusive promo.

That is a nice little bonus. It was unfortunate that I wouldn’t get to try out a full game but planning for this event has to happen months in advance and if any little issue comes up, it can cause things like this to happen.

Back to the demo at hand.  It was good to see and feel how the units work and interact but we hit another snag in trying to learn this game as the person running the demo (a volunteer for CMON) had zero experience with any tabletop game and it seemed like a passing understanding of the game he was demoing.  I would like to say that we just got unlucky but I had other friends demo this at the CMON booth later and they had the same experience.  It also didn’t help that, as a “feature,” CMON hired a live violinist to play Game of Thrones themes with amps pointed directly at the play tables. Not the best idea for your demoers to shout the rules at you over live music.  The musician was good but it was just another misstep in a series of missteps for this products first debut at the biggest gaming Con in North America.  I asked for them to turn it down or turn the speakers to point somewhere else but was told they couldn’t.

In the actual demo, after wading through a lot of missing rules, misunderstandings and incompetent instruction, we played a “game” with me running the Starks and my friend taking the Lannisters.  Whatever game we ended up playing was interesting but I have zero confidence that I actually played the game listed on the box.  I was able to surround Jaime Lannister’s unit and beat the hell out of him but I can’t claim that it was due to any strategic prowess on my part. Rather, it was due more to the fact that the demoer would let my friend know what he could have done instead, usually using a rule never explained or mentioned.

The miniatures are great and there seems to be an interesting game on that table if I cobble the basic experience I had playing with the physical models and combine it with the beta rulebook posted but I can’t say if I’m really going to go in on this game as there is too much unknown at this point.  I was glad to see some of the unit stats got revised between the start of the KS campaign and the demo as it looked a little unbalanced with the few units they showed so far. Things didn’t go as swingy as I thought but again, who knows what game I was actually playing.  I tried to get clarification from the person running the demo group but all I got was that some of the rules were modified to fit the extremely small game we played as a demo. Ah well.  At least the minis look cool. Maybe I’ll pick it up and pillage it for Kings of War.

While at the display case, I also checked out their next Kickstarter, Hate. I have no info on this game but the resin miniatures were fantastic looking.

Moving on from the debacle that was Song of Ice and Fire, I had a few more minutes to check out the hall before it closed and remembered that I saw some little teaser about some interesting 15mm miniature game coming out called Time of Legends: Joan of Arc. The company was new so it got shunted into the very corner of the exhibition hall so I trekked over and saw a pretty amazing scene.

My jaw dropped when I saw that display case.  I didn’t have time to really check it out but I immediately cancelled my first event on Friday to make sure that as soon as the dealer hall opened, I would bee-line to this booth and drop in for a demo to see if it played as cool as it looked.

With the dealer hall closing, we headed out to dinner and then hit the They Might Be Giants concert.

I’d always wanted to see this group live and they were ok but I think it had just been too long since I listened to them and that style of music just isn’t as interesting anymore.

We left the concert before the encore and headed to the BGG Hot Game room.  The game room didn’t seem as well stocked as last year or maybe the offerings were just weaker but we got in a good intro game to Flamme Rouge.

Flamme Rouge is a racing game with a customized track.  You move by playing cards from your two rider decks.  Each player has the same decks but you’ll be adding low “exhaustion” cards to your deck if you stay out in the lead.

By mid-game, I’d broken away from the pack and we all left our friend Colton (black riders) in the dust.  I figured my lead rider would burn out and my second rider to coast in using the blue riders as his wind shield. But apparently Colton had other plans and was just biding his time.  We got all bunched up on a hill and then Colton started subtly making his move.

and then used his sprinter to blast ahead right at the very end, narrowly winning the race.  The game was shocking and quite fun.  I’d definitely play it again but still feel like CFR delivers the better racing game.

We finished out the evening and day 1 with Kingdomino, the Spiel des Jahres winner.  I’m not sure what happened but I totally misheard the rules and played totally wrong, losing horribly.  This was surprising because the game is really simple.  I guess I was more tired than I thought or had a little too much bourbon during Flamme Rouge…

Gen Con 50 Dropzone 2.0 Beta Rules

At Gen Con 50, we were able to talk to the Hawk team and get a rough idea of the major changes coming to Dropzone 2.0.  These rules are still in beta so may change and are mainly from my notes so I may have missed or misinterpreted them:

  • Dropships are not tied to units period. As long as the unit could be carried by the dropship, you don’t need to assign it to a specific unit. APCs work the same way.
  • Non-AA vehicles dropped by a dropship can fire with a penalty on the same turn.
  • All units not in a dropship start in reserve. Reserve units enter play on turn two.
  • Only units with demo can deal double damage on hits against buildings. Falling masonry damage only triggers on damage rolls +2 over the target roll.
  • Searching buildings starts the roll with target 6, then the target value gains -1 if you have an APC near the building, -1 if you are the occupier (entered building first), and -1 if the building is small sized. The target never decreases during additional rounds.
  • Infantry units searching have -3 CQB in combat, infantry units at the windows  have -3 CQB but the effects are not cumulative. APC units add 3 CQB if within an inch of the building
  • Enemy units may also attempt to search in buildings.
  • Skimmers and hovercraft always get there bonus regardless of travel distance.
  • Aircraft height is located at the top of their peg, not an imaginary point 6″ above the play surface. And no more aircraft going “to the deck.” (Thanks to the Dropzone Commander Colorado Facebook page and Colton!)

That’s all I have from my notes.  If you have info or clarifications, let me know in the comments!

edit: I just saw that Hawk posted some general concepts of the 2.0 changes on their site: Gen Con Sneak Peek: Dropzone Commander 2nd Edition

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