Thursday, 12 May 2016

Getting Started with Dropzone Commander - UCM


I'm not known for being lucky, but last week lady luck was in an odd mood and decided to smile upon me. I managed to pick up a large UCM army and terrain pack for a silly amount of money (about 1/5th of full price).  This is good, as I didn't have much money and I'm not entirely sure I'm going to like Dropzone Commander.
The painted ones
First thing I did was to contact George and Adam to let them know I'd finally taken the bait and they now had another system with which to beat me around the table with.  Why do I do this to myself?

Last week Adam gave me my first taste of Dropzone, and in the meantime I'd been boffing up on rules, watching some Battle Reports on Youtube and reading the Orbital Bombardment blog to get a feel for tactics.
Time for a nice dettol bath
We agreed on a 750pt game, and here's my list -

Kodiak and Wolverines (I'd learned the Scout bonus is needed for the Orbital Bombardment weapon)
3 Katanas (no transport), 3 Rapiers in a Condor with Missile Pods
2 Legionnaires in Raven As with Missiles 
Eagle Gunship
Gooey mess
I hadn't taken a Commander as there's been a lot of information to take in and I wasn't sure how important it was. When I discovered Adam was taking a CV3 Commander I regretted my decision.

We played the mission with three Objectives in the middle, can't remember what it's called now and I won the first Initiative roll off.  I knew the smart move was to let my opponent deploy first so that's what I did.
Toothbrush, white spirit and elbow grease
First learning point for me was that ground units only move half movement on when deploying whereas the flyers can move full and secondly that  I wouldn't typically be getting shots on the first turn unless I target buildings (which is what I should have been doing).

I split my Rapiers and Katanas, as I thought the Katanas/Eagle could deal with his Walkers whilst my Rapiers provide some overwatch for the infantry.  I know UCM infantry is weak, so I hung back from diving in a building as I wanted to soften Adam's Immortals up before I went Objective-hunting.
My original starter set / freshly stripped / basecoated Bears
Here's how that went...I lost the Eagle early, as Adam played some evil cards which meant he could move fast and shoot.  I wasted a lot of shots on the Passive Counter-measures found on his Zeus and Odin.  I wanted to level the playing field with regards to the Commander.

I got very very lucky with the Zeus and Odin's return fire bouncing off the Katana's armour.  In true Adam-style he played aggressively, using the transports to move his Walkers up to close range.  This was helpful for me to see re-deployment in action... move the transport a bit, pick stuff up, move some more, drop stuff off, stuff moves. Wow! Okay you can't shoot, but that's an impressive mechanic and suddenly I need more AA and my Rapiers are really out of position as my Katanas got swamped.

Ammo - Earth
Eventually my Kodiak got an Orbital Bombardment kill on an Erebos... but it was game over by then and that was just for fun.

I did eventually commit my infantry... but far far too late, I think Turn 4.  On that turn Adam found the two Objectives and the Immortals bugged out, leaving me in charge of a building on its last legs.  I used Mono-rail in Turn 5 to go for the middle building and Adam flew his Valkyries over so we could have a fight.  Somehow I rolled a six for the finding the Objective, which meant to win the game I needed to wipe out his Valkyries in CQB and destroy the building the Immortals were hiding in - there was a chance!
Ammo - Sand
Ammo - Cremeweiss
Well that wasn't going to happen, but at least I got to roll a bucket of dice and do some CQB.

VMC - Light Grey
Lessons Learned

From the get go I should have been looking to level buildings.  Any shots against Adam's units should have targeted the Phobos (his AA).  I should have worked harder to keep the Eagle alive, until the Phobos was gone, then it would have been free to roam the battlefield.  If your opponent has a Commander, then you need a Commander. This last point was a little unfair as I had emailed the guys asking if I needed to take a commander or not. (Editor's note - I recommended not running a Commander and saving points, not realising that Adam would be running a CV3 Commander! Outrageous in 750pts!).
Ammo - Brown for Yellow Wash
Ammo - Deep Brown Panel Line Wash
I can't say I left the game thinking "I love me some Dropzone," but by the time I got home I was thinking about what list I'd run in a 1,000pt game and perhaps how I'd play differently.

For now Infinity will be my go-to game... I can't get enough of it, but Dropzone will be a welcome break and an excuse to hang out with George and Adam.
A few details and I'm done - simple (Editor's note - quite what Dave is planning to do with *seven* Bears I'm not sure, but they look great all together and I'm looking forward to seeing the entire force painted in this style!)
I guess I need to face George and see what Resistance are all about, I fully expect another spanking, but that's part and parcel of learning a new system.

Expect some UCM based posts soon.

Winner Dave


  1. Your army looks fantastic - I hope you enjoy this game enough to keep motivated, keep painting and keep posting photos of your progress!

    You should try to get a game in with some smaller armies - just the starter armies would be fine. They're very balanced against each other, there are fewer rules to learn immediately and because of that balance, you get to appreciate more how clever this game is.

    Which isn't to say uneven games can't be fun, nor that you can't scale up quite quickly. But if you're focussing on 'what on earth can I do to stand a chance' it's easy to miss some of the fundamental characteristics of the game, the main one being the importance of movement.

    1. Thank you for the advice, I'll arrange some smaller / easier going games soon. Must admit the lists I keep coming up with have few transports as I keep trying to cram in all the toys.

    2. That's one of the advantages of gaming with the starter sets. You don't worry about army lists, and instead focus on how the game is 'meant' to be played. You'll then havin more fun selecting new toys to add to the list or to swap in for things that come in the starter set.