So, rolled up to Mark's today with two game ready (read: somewhat painted) forces for Dropzone Commander. Now, some of these things I've had virtually since the game released… three years ago. And despite my love for the game, I have been rather lazy; but finding willing opponents to play a new system isn't always easy. So that's why I've got two armies, plus terrain.
Anyway, on with the battle: A Skirmish level engagement, with 750 points a side. To keep things simple we played Targets of Opportunity. So that means 3 central structures, each with an objective.
Terrain density might not be quite right, but this is our fist game of DzC. For those interested, the central buildings are Blotz MDF terrain. The other bunches are old 6mm Battletech resin buildings.
Taking Tritons over Junos (APCs) is cheaper, and gives more tactical flexibility, but Tritons are very fragile, so need to be used carefully.
Now both me and Mark have to wait a turn as our squads make their way through the structures to begin their search.
In the centre the Janus squadron disembarks, their Tritons showering the central building with missiles. Their heavy fire is enough to remove an entire base of Legionnaires.
My Immortals, on the other hand, luck out in the office tower, scooping the objective from the first floor before rushing back to their dropship.
The Immortals on the opposite flank are not so lucky, despite only needing a 4+ to find their target. Pants.
Here Mark made good use of the Articulated rule to allow him to make the shot over the Rapiers that would normally have been in the way. The Condors also fire as many missiles as possible at the left objective structure.
The Phobos on the far left takes a number of shots at the Falcons, but fails to hit anything.
The Immortals at least manage to escape unscathed, but are now stuck in the open with lots of enemy tanks nearby. Not good.
…which is shredded by rail rounds at flies through the corridor through which the Phobos could see. Everything survived in a barely controlled landing. The I activated the armour group, and the Ares put a single round clean through the Bear's engine block, putting it permanently out of action.
The Rapiers move up and fire—and not until later did we realise that Mark had already reaction fired. I repeated the mistake myself not much later.
And they still hold that blasted objective.
My other Immortal squad blasts past in their Triton, but the Rapiers prove just as deadly as last time, turning the dropship into a pile of flaming wreckage carving a deep furrow in the asphalt. No one's walking away from that one.
So, at the end of things, Mark wins 1-0.
Aside from a few rule hiccups, I'd say it was a fairly successful game. It really did seem to accelerate towards the end; but it takes a fair bit of getting used to the idea that you can't shoot when deploying, and that the average tank is only as tough as a single trooper in a 28mm skirmish game.
Mark made some good points about the tactical flexibility inherent in each list, but for now, most of the imbalance comes down to the models I have on hand (ie: actually built/painted). It's hard to make mirror lists though, because each faction works in distinctly different ways, and has trade-offs in either price or effectiveness of its units that reflect that.
Overall, it's likely a very balanced game, but at low points levels it's a bit harder to grasp that balance. Much reference was made to tactical rock-paper-scissors though, and that comment feels right for this game. Everything has a hard counter, which is fairly easy to see in most cases; but a lot of things also have soft counters that are more down to playstyle or resource management. There's quite a lot of depth there, and I'm looking forward to playing more.