Pimp My Board Game

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Tag: funtastic games

Dropzone Commander Winter Campaign, Game 2

This weekend we had our second Dropzone Commander game in our three game campaign cycle.  This time we were up to 1,250 points and were pushed beyond the smaller Skirmish army build options and into the full Clash-sized rules.

We also decided to run a new scenario from the latest book, Reconquest: Phase 2: Battle for the Olympus Shipyards – Hull Breach.  This new scenario used a bucket list of new environmental rules that did everything from increasing movement and the power to all weapon systems to having orbital debris and unstable environment effect randomly occurring.  With that in mind, I built a sort of old-school list:

I’ve gone back to the M3 Alex as a commander (cheaper in points and easier to move around with the new firing rules after getting dropped off from a transport) and with the speed and weapon upgrades, I spammed a bunch of Freeriders to harken back to their pre-nerfed glory.  I also jumped back to a bunch of Cyclone helicopters because the scenario boosted Barrage, which suited them better.  A Barrel Bomber and two sets of the ever annoying Gun Wagons rounded out the group.

As I try to do with all of these games, I try to make a list that forces me to paint up my backlog of units so this time I needed to complete the helicopter wings, allowing me to swap out the unit type (via the magic of magnets).

Running this many Freerider biker squads meant I needed to paint up a bunch of new stands.  Likely overkill as I don’t see myself running eight of these ever again but good to have them done and painted.

Last, I needed to get another set of Gun Wagons up to snuff.

This round is a little wacky.  My friend is pretty annoyed at these lame-ass trucks having better anti-air guns than most of his advanced weaponry. Add to it that they are pretty fast at 6″, take 2 damage points to kill, and have armor high enough that small weapons fire does work and you get a lot “wtf” throwing around.  To add insult to injury, I decided to put two of them in bright “we don’t belong on the battlefield” colors.  I think it makes them look like broke-down fruit stand trucks, which maybe makes for even more gnashing of teeth with they take down unsuspecting aircraft.

That other odd duck is a little pet project of mine that got roped into service. The poor guy is so confused, being a kit bash of two of the truck models and sporting the wrong weapon type, this is a flame weapon, not an anti-air.  The only thing he really has going for him is a nice shout out to another favorite famous truck of mine.

roll out!

Ok, enough about him.  We’ll revisit him later.

It was another great game day at Funtastic Games and I drew our other PHR player as my opponent.  This was great as I really don’t know much about this faction and it was a good learning experience.

I totally forgot I even had a camera until about halfway through the game but that was just a testament to how involved this one was.  With all the environmental rules happening and the learning curve of figuring out what all those slightly different PHR walkers do, pictures were the last thing on my mind.

To start things off, we had massive debris chunks rain down on us over the first three rounds.  Aside from wiping a particularly annoying AA walker in round three, all the debris ended up doing to smashing into buildings.

All this orbital debris funness did force a lot of use out of my random direction spinner I made for the last session.

The spinner proved easy to use and effective. I think I’ll finish it out by painting it up as well.

My opponent made great use of these open firing lanes with his AA walkers (at the top of the image on the road) and it started choking up my flight lanes so that I either had to go way out of my way to avoid them or risk some reaction-fire and some damage.  Later on, I risked it and ended up losing things badly most of the time.

In those first three rounds, my bikers crashed into the closest building and picked up an objective right away and made it out of the building only to be the target of a fast-moving interceptor jet (the same model as what is on the spinner).  Lucky for me my fruit truck AAs were wide awake and ended up taking it down early in its flightpath before it could take out the lone biker.

My ignorance of PHR really came to a head when I threw stands of infantry into the above building only two see two walkers dropdown.  “What are those?” I asked casually.  “Flame walkers” my opponent replied. Oh. Fun. Basically the bane of infantry squatting in buildings.  I thought it should be ok, I used a lot of flame weapons on one of Beserker transports in the last couple of games and it was decent but ultimately weak. Apparently my faction’s flame capability is pretty weak as these PHR guys know what is up.  Rocking 16 dice at my dudes, it could have gone much worse but the roll was weak and ate up only 8 of my 20 guys.  With only needing 3+ to damage my guys, I got pretty lucky.  My opponent followed up by dropping in a squad of Immortals.  These are the stock troops for PHR so I still outnumbered him.

Those Immortals aren’t messing around though. Even down 10 to my 12 guys, they still through more dice than me and had better armor.  They ended up knocking my 12 guys down to one lonely dude. Needless to say, he failed morale and fled the building.  Good thing too because after I saw that, I made an attack run with my Barrel Bomber to go wipe out that building before those Immortals could find the objective.  My opponent already skunked me in another building objective by finding it on the first try and playing a card to get his guys out of close combat to get the objective out of the building and off the map.

By the end of round three, we were tied at 2 VP each.  My Barrel Bomber obliterated the Immortals in the building that wiped out most of my standard infantry and earlier work wiped out the PHR Valkyries.  I had a bunch of my other bikers in the last objective building so I had a good amount of confidence this game would turn out alright.  His squads seemed unable to do much damage to buildings so it was just a matter of finding that objective to seal the deal.

We went back and forth a bit trading units but I was able to overpower the PHR in raw damage so that by the end of it, there weren’t many of his units left.  I went through 4 rounds of searching with two squads in that last building and they never found it.  I suspect it was bad intel and it was never there so the game wrapped with 2 VP for each of us.

When we counted the tiebreaker (kill points), I ended up ahead 936 points to 431 points. Another Resistance victory!

The environmental rules were interesting but the random destruction didn’t end up doing much and really just slowed the game down.  I think I liked the rules that altered the stat lines of the units as that meant you could be a little more creative in list building.  I’m still not a big fan of the Resistance command card deck as I never get anything that really makes a big difference.  I watched as the PHR did these cool things like take over some of my weapon systems and shoot my own guys or force my trucks to false start, etc.  The coolest things I did was make the wrong infantry dodge close combat better and regain a few damage points on my transport.  All the other useful cards are in the other faction decks.  I’ve been playing the “Feral” side but for the next game, I’m going to mix it up and play with the Allied side.

Dropzone Commander: 2017 Winter Campaign

Today we had our first game of our Dropzone Commander 2017 Winter 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: Bringing Tanks to an Infantry fight.

A couple weeks back, I was able to get in another game of Dropzone Commander at Funtastic Games‘ Dropzone Commander monthly get together.  This time, my friend and I went to a 999 point Skirmish battle.

I don’t recall the name of the scenario but it featured a reinforced bunker in the center that was used to house an objective marker and two downed UCM Bear transports to use as focal points.  I decided to go thematic with an Allied Resistance force who was trying to recover the wounded UCM soldiers and get the last bits of intel reports from the bunker.  My friend had his Scourge force coming in to sweep out the area.

We both knew that this game was going to center around that bunker.  The grey pieces on the side were the only entrance points to the structure.

I actually messed this game up by starting on the wrong corner of the map.  We decided to let it play as we were already through the first round before we realized the mistake.  My Lifthawk trundled in to get as close as possible to the bunker.

Followed by the rest of my forces: a duo of Cyclone Helicopters, a Thunderstorm commander craft, some Anti-Air units (Gun Wagons and Gun Technicals) in their Kraken hovercrafts, and some Attack ATVs and Freeriders to take up the rear.

My friend brought in his Scourge Prowlers to stalk the side of a building with car debris as cover.  Then he drove on a whole division of tanks from the board edge two sets of Anti-Air Reapers and two sets of Anti-Tank Hunters.

By the start of round 2, he was able to get one group of Warriors into the bunker at the cost of their light transport.  That transport thought it was going to be a badass and stay “to the deck” but must have clipped the bunker taking off as it spun out and crashed to the ground.

My Kraken launched a bunch of Gun Technicals to take down more light aerial transports but only got one.  The Prowlers came in to respond, one even trying to take a leak on my shiny Gun Technical.

Bastard.

The Scourge are able to get a second group of infantry into the Bunker as I drop all three of my infantry groups inside.  I definitely have the numbers to hold out in there but we’ll see if the Scourge can find the objective next turn and get out before the battle gets too pitched.

Round 3 starts with the infantry battle and I wipe all the Scourge clean down to one lonely Warrior on one final infantry stand. I send my APC’s around the side and ‘nade that last stand but it totally fails.

My Cyclones get in on the action after seeing the Scourge Anti-Tanks come around and shred my Thunderstorm command unit.  I can’t have those Hunters running free so my Cyclones go full out and wipe out three tanks.  At this point, each Hunter unit is down to one tank.  My Cyclones fall quickly to the Scourge Reapers but it was worth it.

And I get a lucky Objective find and get an infantry group out of there and head home.

Meanwhile my Freeriders have been hopping building to building until they got over the far focal point, where they will camp it out.  The Scourge only have a Reaper to try to claim that focal so I’ve locked that one in.

My Attack ATVs try uselessly to weaken the Scourge Reapers but get taken down instead.

My objective is still trying to make it home while I repair my Thunderstorm and keep my Gun Wagons covered, waiting for the Scourge Overseer to try to come out and make it’s final push for the focal point.

The Overseer comes out but shrugs off most of my Gun Wagon hits.  It won’t take the focal point so my side has this one secure.

I run my remaining APC over to the far side focal point as insurance and take this one at the end of the game as well.

Finally, my Lifthawk makes it to my starting zone and takes the objective home.  The final result for this one were firmly in the hands of the Resistance. I got some really lucky rolls in the mid-to-late game that took out a few key Scourge tanks but I think the biggest thing was being able to overwhelm them with my infantry. With only one objective, this swung the game pretty well in my favor and starting in the wrong corner next to a focal point didn’t hurt either.

6×6 Game Challenge 2017: Dropzone Commander and Santorini

It’s been a crazy busy week but right before hell broke loose, I was able to get in my first session of Dropzone Commander for my game challenge and was able to hit a little Santorini at the end.

Funtastic Games is about the only place in town that is hosting anything Dropzone related and last weekend they had their monthly Dropzone Commander get together.  My friend and I stopped by and threw down a quick 700 skirmish game.

We decided to try a new scenario that featured a focal point in the center and two objectives on nearby tall buildings. We also decided to mix up the terrain and have the center dominated by low undergrowth to surround the focal point, in this case a nearly intact high yield orbital ordnance that both sides were desperate to claim.

I truck out to the center as fast as I can with my Hovercraft forces and Lifthawk but I soon realize I’m severely outclassed in activations (my 3 battlegroups to his 5) and speed (my 16″ lifthawk vs his two 30″ quick troop carriers).

His Hunters get the drop on my choppers even though I won initiative (sneaky scourge devils).  Luckily, I somehow only lose the one chopper.  I end up taking out one of the hunters in reprisal but it won’t be enough.  With this small of a force, this was to be my dedicated Anti-Armor unit.

I focus on the left tower for objectives hoping my right flank can mess with the scourge occupiers in the right tower long enough for my last infantry group to get in there and make a stand.  This tower was a slaughterfest.  My infantry dominated at 2:1 and the dice showed.  We wiped the scourge threat with barely any casualties.

The victory was short-lived as the last hunter gunned down my Chopper.  The nerfed Freerider biker squads were now playing tertiary role as anti-armor and actually weren’t doing too bad against the weak-armored scourge armor units. My Attack ATVs were peppering the right tower with chem ‘nades to piss off the scourge occupiers but it wasn’t enough.

My troops raided the tower full of chem gas and tried to stop the scourge but got slaughtered with even odds 1:1 then, in a bit of irony, the chem gas finished them off.  If it could have went the other way, I might have had a chance.

The last bit of control I had to desperately pull something off was to drop the scourge Overseer.  I got it down to 1 last damage point and even though those scourge tanks lit up my hovercraft, I survived with two Gun Wagons left and enough movement to get a bead on the Overseer again.  My luck held and I won initiative to try to take out the main command piece of the scourge force but dice failed hard and I couldn’t finish the Overseer off.

The clean up was quick, efficient, and brutal. The last hunter that I could never seem to kill dropped my Lifthawk, the scourge tanks wiped my Gun Wagons and the only thing I had left were my Left Tower heroes who, for the life of them, could not even find the objective.  Too much partying and celebrating their lopsided victory to notice that we also apparently lost the war.   Maybe humanity just isn’t ready to reclaim the surface.  Ah well, there’s always next month…

Later that day, we ran over to a little game party and threw down some Santorini.  I chose Hypnos while my opponent took Hermes.  This was an interesting match up with Hypnos’ power to force the opponent to always be on the same height before ascending making it very hard for the Hermes player to get much traction.  Hermes was able to run all over the map and easily thwart my attempts to build out towers out of sight but eventually I found the trick.  If you wall off Hermes, he can’t run around as fast and that sealed my victory.


In other news, I’ve been working a little bit on this bright idea for the Batman Minis Game:

….more on that to come.

And finally, this big monstrosity dropped on my doorstep:

…definitely more to come on that bad boy.

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