DZC is in my opinion the best game I have played suitable for urban warfare. The rules are interesting and the buildings and infantry rules makes it a very interesting game focusing on rapid redeployment and a wonderful rock scissor paper system. But after a while the Urban terrain becomes a bit redundant. We play on it over and over and over again. The tables just looks the same all the time. It becomes a bit of old Warhammer fantasy “A hill on the right side of my table edge. A hill on the left side on your table edge. A wood in the center – don’t like it? Switch sides”. So I thought to give examples of different types of “buildings” you could use, without any changes to balance (more or less – any change will affect balance but I think it is negligible for my suggestions). The purpose being giving variation on the battlefield itself. Rural, desert, forests and so on. But still retaining the balance in “Target’s of opportunities” where you enter buildings and search for objectives.
First I’m going to give some examples of what we have today and then give four different new type of buildings that are represented by things normally considered “area terrain” which I consider being the easier type of terrain to use and look good.
The buildings available are plentiful and you can vary the look on your field with many different types. It will give different experiences and variation on your terrain. The problem for me is that after a while you get the same type of gaming boards over and over again, even with the static buildings because even though they have different looks the rules are basically the same. But let’s take a look – what do we have today?
The standard paper terrain is functional and with a good base you can vary it quite a lot. It is by far the easiest way to have terrain to your DZC tables. The problem with these are that it you might become lazy and not do anything else. You can flock the paper terrain, use different bases and add their resin parts without much issues (click here for that video). But I get lazy and haven’t actually done much with it. You can also use them as base to make ruins (here). We have a tendency to also only use the buildings and not any small terrain pieces like cars. I think we are fairly good at adding an area terrain or two but it is far from enough.
Laser cut MDF buildings are a middle tier buildings available for rather low price like Blotz which are my favorite or more expensive ready panted like 4 ground buildings which looks really cool (I would say better than Blotz with my skill) but are a bit of a pain to assemble. You can vary MDF buildings, they encourage a bit more of flocking and adding stuff than the paper terrain and you can change appearance on your table quite a lot. Several producers are also available to give variation on the buildings. Again the does not change any type of buildings you use in Target’s of Opportunities (ToO).
The high end of the cost tier are the Kato N-scale and the resin buildings Hawk have. The Kato buildings looks really good and can be enhanced with LED lights but painting or modifying is quite tough to do. Hawk’s resin buildings also looks good but need much assembly and much work. It looks good though – if you know what you are doing. But most of us aren’t made out of cash or have a pay check as thick as a 100 old tree.
So why another terrain type?
With all these different types of terrain why would we want to add more? Well the answer lies in the rules. For basically all of these buildings we have a tendency to use the same rules. For instance, all buildings have openings at all locations like Hawk’s paper terrain have. Even for the Kato buildings which have sides with no openings. we donä’t change the rules besides perhaps height.
Also, we have lots of different tables with great terrain that is not in use in tournaments (which is the point for me). I have talked about using dense forests before. There are tournaments in the US that aims to use more Rural terrain which I like. Most likely there are a bunch of other people that uses more different terrain but the game still needs the mechanic of infantry entering a “building” on most tables if you are going to arrange a tournament without having to change the tables from game to game as much.
So my idea is basically you add 4 different types of terrain pieces meant for tournament play as well as a small chart to use them in tournaments for the players to vary the table from game to game. The terrain pieces I have considered are; Dense forest, Rock spirals, Industry and Ruins.
The suggested rules
In all cases the terrain type should be on a rectangle or a square base. It is intended to be used as Area terrain (movable terrain on a base showing the edges of the terrain piece). Unless stated otherwise they have the same rules as normal buildings. So you are expected to use quite a lot of abstract rules as they are area terrain in their basic form. The idea is to have four sided bases and then place the appropriate type of terrain on top. The height of the piece should basically always be considered the same as the highest part of the area terrain pieces.
Rules besides normal building rules;
- They have DP of 40 points but only armour 5.
- In some cases it can be judged to be either 4″ high or 6″ high if this makes it easier for the organizer.
- Flame weapon also hit the Dense forest when they shoot at infantry inside. The terrain piece can not be entered by anything else than infantry.
- Note that it blocks LOS as normal buildings. Not as the area terrain type of rules in the rule book.
- If destroyed objectives inside are removed but all units inside may directly make an “abandon the building” move starting with the player who’s activation it currently is.
This type of terrain is the base for the Rural tables. It can be used straight off with any mission. Having a variation of them when it comes to height and size and you will suddenly have a table with lots of LOS blocking terrain but a very workable table with the Rural feeling without screwing up the balance of the game.
These type of terrains should be fairly dense to give the right impression. Having small bases with a mix of high and low rocks will give the idea that infantry have the possibility to move inside fairly safe from enemy vehicles and have the advantage of height against entering infantry. It is highly resistance against weapons.
Rules besides normal building rules;
- Armour 10.
- Falling masonry damage on one point better (down to 2+) than normal. Even on “tough” units.
- Infantry can man the walls as normal but does not stop enemy infantry entering.
- Dropships can always fire at infantry inside (measure to the terrain piece base) but the infantry counts as having evasive 3. If you miss with a blast template against them the blast misses completely no matter the size or final placement of the template.
This type of terrain enable you to use desert terrain, fighting in mountains and works good in combination for a city near mountains or in a forest.
Ruins are generally low but can be high. They are normally armored but risky for infantry and it is hard to destroy them to the point they fall completely again.
- It can be entered by infantry like normal buildings.
- They have an DP of double the intact building would have had (so if it had been a 10 DP building if intact it now has 20 points.
- It has an armour of 6.
- When rolling for falling masonry damage the infantry inside the dice get +1 to damage unless you damage on 2+ already and then there is no difference. So Tough models are damaged on 4+.
A Industry building is generally a worn down building. It will have lots of openings and places for infantry to hide but also to insert vehicles for hiding and short cuts. It can be pretty central in a city as well as clean energy and environmental issues have been basically solved in the DZC universe. Thus factories can be in central parts of cities if it is colonized and then expanded upon. It is not unusual that the Scourge restore factories in central cities to use for their means. It can thus be placed anywhere on any field. It can be on the country side overgrown or deep in a forest forgotten as well center within a city.
- It can be entered by any vehicle unit that have a maximum of 2DP so you could hide Hannibals inside. Entering and abandoning count as embark or disembarks. Infantry enter as normal.
- It has an armour of 8 as they are usually hard to get down and are more reinforced than normal buildings.
- Height of the Industry as normal buildings.
- Infantry can man the walls as normal but can’t stop any other unit than infantry from entering.
- Only infantry can search for objectives in the Industry.
- As vehicles can enter they can’t leave the same turn. They are included to see who are the occupier and who are the aggressor though.
- If units from both sides are inside and not in CQB they may fire at enemy unit that is not in CQB yet. All enemy infantry have the evasive 3 rule from enemy units inside the building.
- Vehicles inside the building can be targeted by enemy units from the outside but they have soft cover and damage rolls are made at a -1 (so it is harder to damage as well).
- A factory gettting destroyed kill their units inside on a roll of a 2+ for each unit. Surviving models are placed as they have just made an “abandon a building”-move. Objectives can always be given before so if you have 2 infantry units (with an objective) and 1 vehicle inside, the infantry dies and the vehicle survive, the infantry can give the objective to the vehicle before it leaves the building and the infantry dies.
The Industry add a interesting aspect of having normal tanks being able to enter and hide. Most of them are not going to take damage from the Energy 6 falling masonry but it represents that many factories can be driven through by tanks and getting out on the other side. It also have a really fun rule that units inside survive on a 2+.
Adding this type of terrain to tournaments
The tournament organizer should take heed of having three area terrains on the side of the table different from the main idea of the table. So a rural table with lots of Dense forests have at the side 3 of the normal buildings, bunkers, rock spires, ruins or factories depending on the preference of the organizer. As you notice we can add bunkers as well. As a matter of fact, you could have all the Special terrain Hawk has and add that to the table with some extra rules. The main idea is the potential to have three different types than the general on the table when it comes to the terrain that have objectives, focal points or similar, or are the closest to the above mentioned. In most cases this means you will have a selection of three of the following; Bunkers, Dense forest, Rock spires, Ruins or factories as you most likely have the normal buildings as standard. There is no reason to why a TO can’t take three of one type if he prefers that. For instance in one table the organizer have placed some insubstantial features and think that up to three buildings can be replaced with Dense forest.
- The players at the table check where the objectives and focal points are.
- One player then roll a die, on a 2+ one random player pick one of the three side pieces and replace a random building with either a mission point inside or is closest to.
- Then the players roll a 2+ again and the other player pick a terrain piece and do the same again – it can even replace the already placed terrain piece.
- Finally the last piece will be placed on a roll of 2+. At any of the three times available a roll of a 1 happens no more terrain piece is placed.
- If a 1 is rolled stop rolling. No more terrain feature are rolled for.
With this simple rule you should be able to vary the terrain greatly and make all games much more interesting. The chance to get at least one terrain piece out is 83%, at least two 69% and at least three 57%. But as they can replace old terrain as well. The chance to get one unique terrain piece out in Target’s of opportunity is 83%, 55% of having 2 unique features and three unique features are down to 22%.
I think it could work wonderful. Although I think it would be best if the TO does this from the start this does give lots and lots of variation on the tables, you can have rural tables, rocky tables and a mix as well without relevant changing the balance. It will be something the players have to be prepared for.
This could also be a way for a TO to vary the table from round to round without making so much changes. If one building is replaced then the next round the players can use those buildings to replace the old terrain and thus making all the tables living.
The Main Issue
I think that many people (like we) are stuck in the way DZC is supposed to be played. I have read several comments on hawk’s forum stating that they basically have the same set-up on the terrain, the same DP for all buildings and have this basically for all tables. Meaning that in a tournament the terrain looks basically the same on all tables. With this, they will not. At least not always. In 40k (when it was good) the objectives were very often the same places but the terrain varied greatly and there was little to no nag if there was LOS blockers or woodland scenery or ruins although they had quite an impact on the game. I think we should get to that point in DZC without a TO have to switch all terrain on the table. Making small changes to the terrain types and keep the main idea of Buildings would help keep the balance while adding the possibility to have any type of themed table you have at your disposal. On one table you can fight on a city, in the next amount mountains and in the third in a wood without a single building.
So what do you think? Is DZC ready for it or do we have to stick to the paper buildings because otherwise it will become unfair?
Is it possible to have tournaments without buildings in some and with on others while playing Targets of Opportunities on both?
Would it be to complicated to have different type of buildings on the table or are we able to handle that? We are using different sizes today.
I hope you enjoyed it.