Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Dropzone Commander: Targets of Opportunity

Sgt. Ramos clenched his teeth as the dropship burned through the atmo of Ouroboros at Mach 25. His Sabre tank nestled in the warm embrace of a Condor dropship, Ramos knew only that the tinheads of the Post-Human Republic were going to be in his crosshairs within moments.  For their own obscure reasons, the PHR military had made landfall on this remote UCM colony, and moved to seize its urban centers.  Having never seen a tinhead or their weapons, Ramos had heard they fielded friggin' robots instead of good, honest tanks.  He was confident the sleek, heavily armed and versatile Sabres, supported by their sister AA guns and infantry, would make short work of these robotic freak turncoats.  The red lights and klaxon of the landing alert woke him from his reverie.  The Condor touched down, hard, on the dirt.  His Sabre section rolled out hot onto the LZ, scanning for targets. Yes, he saw there were some big-ass robots, moving slow and presenting a huge profile. Nothing he couldn't handle with the main gun and....what the frelling hell was that??  A frelling SCORPION!!!? As he moved to depress the firing stud of his Sabre, Ramos saw a brilliant red glow from what looked like an enormous tail...and he then saw nothing at all.  

Yes, so I played another game of Dropzone Commander.  This time with my friend Stone, who was in town from far away on a rare visit.  Stone had gifted a PHR starter set and supporting forces to me, starting this whole new obsession.  So, it was only fitting that we play a game together!  I had also painted up a couple of UCM starters as well as a command vehicle, so I had sufficient troops painted for a 1000 point Clash.  

For the PHR, I fielded:

Command group of 1 Nemesis Command Type 4 Walker with Poseidon dropship-Counselor Lv. 2
Battlegroup of 2x Ares and 2x Phobos with Neptune dropships
Battlegoup of 4x Immortal infantry in 2x APCs, on Neptune
Battlegroup of 2x Odin heavy walkers on Neptune

For UCM, Stone got:

Kodiak with Squad leader level 1 commander (I forgot to add the commander in FFOR so technically it was a free upgrade)
Battlegroup of 3x Sabre and 3x Rapier and 2 Condors
Battlegroup of 3x Sabre and 3x Rapier and 2 Condors
Battlegroup of 6x UCM Colonial infantry on 2x Bear ACS, and Condor.  
-All UCM dropships got the missile upgrade

Pictured below are the armies.  Ignore the Athena and the extra UCM infantry.  Also ignore the Chaos star, wrong game.  I painted the UCM in a 3-color woodland camo as a kind of homage to the US Army 80s-90s three-color scheme. I am thinking about adding some gunmetal to them, though, as they are maybe a bit too well camouflaged and kind of hard to see on the table.  

Our mission was Targets of Opportunity, where there are 5 objectives in buildings.  Objectives have to be located by infantry and moved off the board in either the hand of infantry or a transport. Objectives moved off the board are worth 2 VPS, and those held by a player on table worth 1.  Any ties are resolved with kill points.  Full scenario can be found on P.9 here:

Turn 1:  I won initiative and made Stone move first.  On came some tanks, taking up a central position.  

In response, I challenged the center of the board with the Nemesis walker.  

 Hey, that's big!

Stone brings on infantry, occupying an objective building.

I can see my house from up here!

Some Ares walkers move on...

 Stone moves on more tanks, and I send my infantry, still in dropship, toward an objective.

Stone deploys more tanks still in carriers to pressure the center.

Phobos walkers deploy on the flank for AA and anti-personnel work.  Odins fly in, still on Neptune.

Turn 2:  PHR get initiative and the Phobos shots fail to down the Condor still carrying troops! DRAT!!!

UCR secure a second building but fail to find the objective in the first.  

Immortals deploy to two objective buildings.  The race is on!

The Nemesis snipes a Rapier AA tank. 

The tanks take evasive action and a brave Condor pilot launches missiles at the Nemesis, but fail to scratch its massive steel hide.

The Rapiers inflict damage on the building and the immortals within.

Ares walkers return the favor, firing on one building occupied by the UCM.

UCM infantry find an objective and transfer it to a Bear APC.

Phobos finish off one Condor and damage another. 

AA tanks damage the Poseidon

The Nemesis smashes another Rapier.

The Poseidon fires a missile, but to no avail. This will be a theme.

UCM forces swarm around the PHR-occupied buildings.  One APC is iced bThe lone Rapier harasses the infantry with heavy fire.

The Odins redeploy to threaten the Bear holding an objective, as it approaches the table edge. 

A Kodiak orbital strike destroys an Odin and damages the other.

Turn 3: The remaining Odin destroys the Bear APC and shoots up some infantry with its secondary weapons.

Immortals find one objective, and jump into a waiting APC, which jumps into a dropship, which hightails it away.

The Odin makes its passive save against an orbital strike!

There, he is, the Odin who won't die.  

Ares walkers destroy an AA tank, meanwhile noe of my flyers can hit a 3+ attack roll.

Phobos walkers shrug off infantry AT fire and continue to whittle them down.

AA tanks down a Neptune.

Nemesis takes damage, from Sabres and dropships.

And returns fire, destroying two Sabres.  Some foolhardy infantry loiter in the street.

The Odin passes another save from Sabre fire!

No, I won't die!

Poseidon nails another AA tank.

The second Bear APC makes off with an objective discovered by UCM infantry.

The unkillable Odin destroys the other Bear APC.  No objectives for you!

Turns 4-6: I appear to be missing some photos.  PHR get initiative but then the Odin finally falls to Sabre fire triggered by a command card before he could actually activate.  He made at least 4 5+ saves.  Posthumous Medal of UCM Honor awarded.

Responding in kind, PHR play a "Weapon Hack" card, forcing a Rapier to fire at a Condor, destroying it!

Ares walkers destroy another Rapier.

An orbital strike from the Kodiak destroyed one Ares and damages the other.

The Nemesis engages and eliminates the Sabres on the left.  The Nemesis took 4 damage during the game, but I used a Field Repairs card to fix one point.  It was never in danger of being destroyed.

UCM infantry recover one objective.

The PHR move to mop up any remaining enemy, having broken the back of the UCM forces.  The PHR have evacuated one objective and hold another on table.  UCM forces hold on to one objective on the table.

Conclusion:  PHR win, 3 VPs to 1 VP.  

PHR losses: 2 Odins, 1 Ares, 1 APC, 1 Neptune.  
UCM losses:  4 Rapiers, 5 Sabres, 2 infantry stands, 2 Condors

This was a learning game, so Stone and I made a number of mistakes, but we corrected most of them. Both armies had fairly small infantry detachments, and one of the biggest lessons learned is that infantry wins games by finding and moving objectives.  I was able to destroy both APCs and some infantry, making UCM unable to evacuate their objectives.  Conversely, my infantry were able to get off the board and/or hold in place, allowing me to win.  

The Nemesis was a beast, taking out 5 Sabres and acting as a fire magnet.  It earned its points, in my opinion. Stone may have made a mistake in engaging it as much as he did, but my Poseidon allowed me to get the Nemesis far enough on to the board that it was going to be able to engage the main battle line. The Odins (or at least the surviving one) got an MVP for shrugging off a destroying both objective-carrying APCs. For the UCM, Sabres are no slouches and the Rapiers are very dangerous AA and against infantry. the Kodiak's orbital strike, even with the penalty for using indirect fire, is very deadly.  

We both enjoyed the game very much and are looking forward to a lot more Dropzone Commander action.  I have acquired a greater variety of specialized units to shake up army composition and provide some options for future army lists.  Stay tuned! 

Counselor Andromachus surveyed the wreckage of his UCM opponents' force.  It was sad, really, that these unenlightened humans had to die in order for their ignorance to be burned away.  The motives and goals of the PHR were unknown and unknowable to them.  Their unimproved organic minds were less capable of grasping the finer points of tactics and strategy.  Their overall backwardness made them capable only of industry which produced low-tech weaponry, numerous but inefficacious.  Also, thought Andromachus wryly, they were not expecting his new toy: the massive, scorpion-like Type 4 walker known as "Nemesis". There was little, Andromachus believed, that could not be solved by the logical and efficient application of overwhelming force.  If only these benighted souls could understand the message of the White Orb. They would see, in time.


Paul Liddle said...

Very nice report, I look forward to more.

Scott said...

Those Phobos don't like to shoot Condors....

Black Knight said...

Seriously. It took way more shots than it should have. The weapon-hacked Rapier did a better job!