DZC is in my experience and opinion one of the best and most versatile objective system. From the basic missions to the more advanced and combined objectives Tournament missions they all possess a certain challenge. I have written before about how tournament organizers should put killing-missions and objective-missions where they want with a idea of how the swiss system will sort the players. This time I thought to present the mission-objectives existing for players but also how an organizer can think as all combinations are not yet done. Mostly this is just me mumbling random stuff. I’m gonna discuss the mission objectives in how they were, how thy are and how they could be in the future.
This is the main selling point for me in DZC. For me the Targets of Opportunities-mission was the starting point for a great journey. As an old 40k player I had always played a “I go – U go” for the entire armies as well as having most objectives to hold at the end of the game. That was a game of 4-5 turns of killing spree and the player with the first turn had a good advantage and then turn 5-6 was moving to the objectives. In comes Target’s of Opportunities and DZC’s objectives! Wow! It was amazing and cool. The infantry could go into the buildings, they needed a transport for that, to kill enemy transports you needed AA guns and to kill enemy AA guns you needed AT guns. It was cool, balanced and well thought out.
Since the start it has changed some. Now the main tournament mission is more likely “Military complex” with it’s Armour 8 buildings. We swedes have had some missions where you have the center building as completely indestructible making sure there will be a CQB over the objective. But the issues DZC got with drive on demo made the normal Targets of Opportunities a much worse mission. It basically all started with the Wolverine that was to cheap for it’s drive on demo ability. In came Military complex (as well as a nerf to the Wolverine).
DZC developed further and people thought Intel, Possible objectives and Encroachment wasn’t good enough for balanced play so in came Focal points as more focus. But after a while with Focal points dominating the Invasion tournaments we went back a little to Objectives. The missions became mixed so we got several interesting missions with both Focal points and Objectives. In Phase 2 we also got a better Recon mission (Intel) so we got more use of Objectives and we also got missions with Critical locations mixed with Objectives.
Today Objectives are on second place among missions. You will always need infantry to enter buildings to grab those objectives. It is, however, the signature mission type for DZC as most initial demonstration games are played with this mission.
For the future of this type of mission I would think that we can see some missions with Objectives in indestructible buildings. There is also the possibility that in some missions the objectives can not be taken off table and thus you have another type of game completely. We could also see new objective search rules because there have been som opinions raised that three-unit infantry squads are not better at finding objectives than a two man squad.
OB had a great idea with having the searching mechanic being slightly different. The base, if I remember it correctly, was that each unit generate a search die and each roll of a 4+ was a success. For small buildings you needed 2 successes. For medium 3 and for large 4 or 5. So a large squad was faster in finding the objectives. At least I suspect we will soon get rules that makes the 3 man squads better (or it could be that APC’s just makes the rolls easier.
The second type of mission I played was Recon where infantry jumps between buildings to see if they find a bomb, a VP (intel, that is) or a objective. Many people complained on this after a while. Because some player felt it was to random. In retrospect we swedes played it wrong as you have 2 intel in each building, one for you and one for the opponent (we only used one – stupid swedes). And after that “change” ( i e started to play it right) we thought it to be alright. Yet people complained. People took up incidental evidence where it was unbalanced, I tried to note the unbalance of finding two objectives on double 6 in Targets of Opportunities was higher, there was no data suggesting awkward results. Mission that were considered (by me) Killy had greater variance than Recon which is very strange for an unbalance mission to have. I also checked tournament results and could not find any data showing the player that searched more was loosing.
So a new type of mission came out. One where you got a VP even if you roll a 1 and if you rolled a six you got a focal point instead. We swedes went with this as it made sense and did actually little to change the mission. Except that units that was prone to roll a one (mostly Berserkers and Eviscerators as they get -1 to the roll) got a little better. We swedes really like the objectives and we had a lot of internal discussions on which was the best.
Some argued focal points was better but if you find a focal point on your side and the opponent have little walk on demo it becomes unfair very fast. Also the last turn a player find a focal point and get an automatic 2 points.
I argued for objectives. The main argument against objectives I got was that if you got a objective early you could get it off directly. But that argument is basically wrong. Well it is right but the consequence that the mission is thus is unbalanced is wrong. Finding an objective and taking it off directly is 2 points. Then your infantry are in reserve. Had you found a Intel or bomb and gotten 1 VP you would have moved over to the next building and gotten a another VP most likely. Then moved on from there. So what people did was to think only in 2 turns:
Turn 1: You enter a building.
Turn 2 you find an objective and get off. 2VP. Here people stopped thinking but the rest is interesting:
Turn 3 you might enter again (let’s say you do). And you enter the table. Now you are to far away to enter a building and need to move forward.
Turn 4 you enter a building.
Turn 5 a VP.
Turn 6 another VP. Assuming you have no contact with the enemy.
So getting off the table in turn 2 award you at best 4 VP. But in truth if you do not go off you can:
Turn 1 Enter a building.
Turn 2 you find a VP.
Turn 3 you find a VP.
Turn 4 you find a VP.
Turn 5 you find a VP.
Turn 6 you find a VP.
So you have more possible points. Also, if you find an objective the best case scenario is to keep it and then in turn 5 start to move off and turn 6 get off for a total of 6VP. But then you need to risk the objective falling into enemy hands. Whereas the Focal points can change the game to a much greater degree than the initial Recon could.
I don’t see any new changes to this mission. Again Objectives not possible to take off would be very interesting. 1 point for finding (as intel) and 1 point for holding them but not possible to take them off table would be cool. Also you could have markers on table where you roll and flip at the start of each turn instead of just in buildings could spice it up.
Combining this mission is possible. Orbital Bombardment had a nice little mission where you had to find intel first and then could enter a building to find objectives. A cool idea and I think it seemed to work rather well. You could do this further and mix with other missions. Or have a few indestructible buildings.
The base idea for Search. You have a lot of markers and it might be a objective underneath. There are battlereports on the net for this mission but sadly the mission is a bit lacking. It is a really cool idea but not balanced enough to work. Initially I thought it to be cool and balanced but after several battles it just went bonkers and we started to change it. Swedish Search 2.0 was a massive improvement and well worth testing but we feel now that version 3.0 (which is now named “Search and destroy”) is a really tight and exciting mission.
Now there are other things you could do with possible objectives: again this with not being able to get off the table could be interesting. You could also say you score once in turn 4 for holding and once in turn 6 if you are 10″ away from the table edges and not in your own quarter. The second you remove the possibility to get off the table you find the mission becomes much more balanced.
The key for us was slowing the flipping part down. In our mission units need to prepare the objectives and markers are flipped only at the start of the turn. You also stop flipping after finding an objective and the rest of the markers you currently occupy are removed. With 5 objectives the earliest possible turn to have found all objectives is turn 4.
The basic mission could work a bit better in combination with other missions. For instance you could say you get a point for each marker flipped but can only flip markers on your enemy’s table half turn 1-5 and then combine it with Encroachment. Having lots of markers and 2 focal points to find in combination with 3 objectives in buildings could also work.
That was my part 1. Part 2 is posted in a few days.