The original DZC rulebook have some hidden gems in my opinion. As a tournament player I do find that playing massive and not-so-balanced-mission can be fun as long as there correct expectations are there. Therefor me and Snolb talked about the missions in the rulebook that doesn’t get as much action as the rest. There are very few actually getting used out there. Mostly we have been thinking the Attacker-Defender missions in the rulebook. That means
- Strongpoint raid
- The hunt
These are six of the available 12 missions which actually hint that DZC had a original purpose of being about 50-50 casual gaming with cool models and 50-50 balanced play. Later on this changed and from the rulebook Hawk have with their tournament pack basically said that only four missions are worth playing in any kind of balanced setting and in their own tournament they are only consider 2 of them worthwhile.
But the variation of the missions is what caught my eye in the beginning. Not playing pitched battle (focal point of objective missions) or a small variation of that was one of the main drivers for me. So me and Snolb decided for the following thing;
We are going to test all Attacker and Defender missions in the rulebook and blog about it. At least each mission will be played twice.
And film it.
The goal isn’t to film poorly but we will take this as learning to get the hang of making small films. The set-up of these blogs will basically always be a 2 parter:
- The first will be a trial game. This is where no player really have full understanding of the missions and the balance and so on. we will make a small film, show the result and then have a small discussion if this is a mission with some sense and if it is fun. We have a suspicion that some of these missions need to be slightly tweaked to work at their best and we will give our opinions on that to.
- The second part will be a little more detailed film on basically the same set-up but with armies more tailored for the mission. This does not need we have made the best armies but more focus on more fun armies. We will then give our closing thoughts on the mission and suggestions on what You should consider when playing these missions to make them as fun as possible. We will not try to get these into a tournament setting (although some parts could be inspiring to a tournament mission) as we don’t see them being there but we will try to find a way to player them and evaluate them and basically either suggest you try them out (and what you then should consider) or give the feedback on what changes you need to make to make the mission fun enough to use.
So let’s start
Strongpoint Raid Game 1
So the movie below is rather weak. But it will get you to understand the mission. I think it says it all, actually. But if you’d like to read instead (as the film is poor) Strongpoint Raid is the first Attacker-Defender mission in the DZC original rulebook and in this mission the Defender starts with a small force and the rest of it in reserve. The Defender need to hold and stop the Attacker from finding and extracting the objectives.
Some way we played the game will most likely influence the result;
- We had few buildings.
- Destroying a building stopped the Defender from getting any points from the objective. We felt it should be like that because the Defender should want to have the objectives still on table. If not the game would be very different as the Defender would be able to just take demolish units and have it over with.
- We used 40DP buildings as the mission is a basic rulebook mission.
- We allowed the Defender to start with infantry manning the walls.
- We only had 1500 points.
Take a look at the amazing video:
So in the end we learned many different strategies. The mission was very fun and allowed for some interesting variation on the game. Our main conlcusion is that the mission works rather well even though the VP available for the players are not of the same exact kind. it was rather cool.
There are some note you should remember though;
- Both players need to be very clear about the objectives.
- If one player have more experience of the mission it can turn out horribly one sided.
- There are many units you should consider to restrict here;
- Destroyers as Attacker. If they can just crush though a building well…One squad is ok but more becomes a bit boring.
- Movable flame units like the new Scourge Screamer-transport might disrupt a bit.
- ATV with their bloody chem weapons could potentially ruin the game.
- Spam of stuff should be kept to a minimum.
- Attacker with three table edges and the Defender with only makes the game extremely hard to predict which is, when you are prepared for it, really fun.
Defender’s strategic choices.
The Defender need to decide if the starting force should be defending all buildings. While the “destroy buildings” are problematic there are some points in having infantry starting only in two buildings and destroy the third. Two buildings are a bit closer and it is hard to have all three. Another tactic is to have an infantry squad in the building furthest away from the Defenders one table edge (the Attacker get three table edges) and then let the Attacker enter and then search the building and escape. The Defender finds the objectives automatically and this forces the opponent to move forward and pick up the objectives. The Defender can for instance leave the objective to the command starting on table. For the Resistance Vs Scourge that can really delay the VP for the attacker.
Also remember that the defender can have several AA units starting on board. That will scare the attacker but your amount of activations will be lacking.
The reserves should contain Fast movers as this causes the Attacker to be forced to deploy their AA defending dropships instead of skulking along the Defender’s table edge. The player should have a few drive on units although to many becomes problematic very fast. Good balance is needed. The reserves need to be pretty fast otherwise as your starting force may not contain flyers.
One card that is the Defender’s friend are the cards where they can escape with objectives. As the Defender can find objectives automatically, in a CQB where they know they will loose eventually the player can do this to escape and delay the Attacker’s progress. Elite infantry in light dropships are a dream here. They really need to be in the army to further delay the opponent.
Defending the objectives can in the end be done many different way. You have some selection in strategy that will be pretty hard to do.
Short notes for the Defender:
- Expect HQ to die or be very careful.
- Start with infantry against the walls.
- Have some walk on units AT.
- Have some AA units starting on table.
- Reserve force need to be fast besides the walk on AT units.
- Remember you can escape with infantry as you always find objectives if you search for them.
- Fast movers are really nice.
Attacker’s strategic choices.
As the Attacker it will feel as you have the upper hand but you still need to find the objectives and that means several searches. If you have two squads in a building it should take them 2 turns of searching to discover an objective. If you have only one squad you find first one on 16% and the second time it is a 44% chance of finding it. The third time you should have found the objective but still it is not reliable. You need the extra squads to find objectives. That means many squads of infantry to search. Still you need to keep the tidal wave of Defenders coming forward as well. But you need to dig out the enemy first.
A few squads of AT walk on units will be nice. With three table edges you have the possibility to attack from any of your three table edges. Flanking is nice in such circumstances. Flame units might be very interesting for you. Dropships are overall very important. Even if your infantry’s dropships are destroyed you can hand the objective over to the normal units that can take the objectives off table.
You really need to focus on getting into buildings and being the one that dominate the infantry game. The defender can also enter a building where a CQB is going and this will delay the Attacker a lot just by having a squad entering each turn as the new infantry squad will not participate in the CQB but will still be the Occupier next turn. A few such turns and the Attacker have a problem.
The main issue for the Defender is that the starting force is very weak. Attack their weakest point. The Defender also seems to have some issues keeping their HQ alive as it start on table with no real maneuverability. If they have their Commander inside the HQ vehicle chance are that they will die turn 3 or 4 by the Attacker’s hand and thus removing the cards that are very important for the Defender. This is a real advantage for the Attacker to use.
As with the Defender the Attacker can use fast movers effectively to kill off dropships that are to aggressive. You can also place AA along the Defender’s table edge to get good reactive fire on any light dropships coming through.
Short notes for the Attacker:
- Much infantry.
- Remember that normal units can get objectives off as well. Cheap scout units are nice for this.
- Have a plan to enter the buildings in turn 1 and 2.
- Balance in the list is essential.
Conclusion from the first game
Well it was really fun. Both me and Snolb enjoyed it immensely. I think the players need to be rather not caring on balance and just take what’s cool for this mission or both have some experience. It is a mission that is cool the first time but really fun to tailor a list towards. Still – I think most people will find it fun to play.
The mission feels it can feel very unbalanced. Especially if one player have more experience in this mission. But if both players put their minds to do fun armies and play the mission I think they will find a challenging and fun one at that. I have one major point with this mission I would like to comment on next time but that will be for the final conclusion on the mission.
That was it for this time. Feel free to give feedback on the film but as you know we are in a learning process. We thought first to not load up the film but thought it better to do it and learn. Next time we will have played the game again, with new armies where we discuss and make them as fitting to how we feel this mission should be played to be as enjoyable as possible. We will also try to make a more detailed battlereport showing activation by activation.