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a pursuit of fruitless endeavors and endless refinements

Tag: funtastic games

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: 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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