Introducing a player to the “next level” part 1. UCM

I just had a good 1000 point game against a friend who doesn’t play as much. He was reminded of how good the game and will hopefully buy in a little more and join us in our 1500 point tournament the 10th February! As it looks now that tournament will have Swedens finest tournament tables in it.

As me and my buddy was talking about playing I thought about a thing. The starter set are good and all but they lack some deeper tactics coming from larger battles and so we decided for a 1000point game. It made me think even more. How to make the game more interesting for both players? The answer; an underdog army against the newer person’s sightly more effective army.

Bildresultat för motivator funny

So the rules are that the following restrictions apply for a sensible 1000 point army:

  • 1000 points
  • Max 4 battlegroups.
  • Max CV level 3.
  • one underdog army and one overdog.
  • Playing a mixed mission like hold the flanks.
  • Overdog army should contain more units that are sensible for a new player to get hold of when they start to collect.

In reality DZC is pretty balanced and as such without a huge and obvious restriction in specific units it will be pretty hard to make an armylist an automatic win for the Noob. So most likely the more experienced player will win still. But my idea is to have army lists making sure the newer player always feel they are in the game. I am kind of expecting the more experienced player to keep the newer player away from game breaking mistakes. Like loosing infantry in turn 2.

So here goes.

Overdog UCM army list:

Standard ArmyStandard ArmyClash: 999/1000 pointsStandard

Kodiak: Kodiak(Captain), Condor [234 pts]
Praetorians: 2x Praetorians, Raven A(+Missile Pods) [132 pts]

Sabre Squad: 3x Sabre, Condor [142 pts]
Rapier Squad: 3x Rapier, Condor [166 pts]

Legionnaires: 2x Legionnaires, Raven A [80 pts]
Ferrum: Ferrum [165 pts]

Legionnaires: 2x Legionnaires, Raven A [80 pts]

So in this army you have the easy to use exotics units (don’t use exotics for the underdog), the Ferrum (arguable the best unit in the game) and the rest are pretty standard but that Ferrum is pretty easy to use and hard to counter. Now if you want to add a little punch to the army it is very simple to say that the transports all have the missile upgrade but then it is a question of a army over the points.

The underdog

Standard Army Standard Roster [996/1000 pts]

Kodiak: Kodiak (Lieutenant)[168 pts]
Longbow Squad: 2x Longbow, 2x Raven B(+Missile Pods) [90 pts]

Sabre Squad: 3x Sabre, Condor [142 pts]
Rapier Squad: 3x Rapier, Condor [166 pts]

Legionnaires: 3x Legionnaires, Condor, 2x Bear [141 pts] ^ Sharing ^ Legionnaires: 3x Legionnaires [78 pts]
Legionnaires: 2x Legionnaires, Raven A [80 pts]

Scimitar Squad: 2x Scimitar, Condor [131 pts]

As you see the intent is not to kill the game for the underdog but instead make it just harder overall. This player need to compensate for the slow walk on Kodiak (not being able to get to the focal points unless you sacrifice shooting), the slow attacking Scimitars and some Longbows not really happy in this army. Still you got the Sabres, Rapiers and decent amount of infantry. You can do stuff but getting Focal points is a bit tough and the opponent will be able to counter the Scimitars pretty well. Though against a new player they might be able to do something. Still I think a experienced player will find this army challenging to play.

That was the first round. Any suggestions on how to do the over/underdog armies with the restrictions I have mentioned?

5 Responses to Introducing a player to the “next level” part 1. UCM

  1. I really like this idea! In the past I’ve done similar things in other games, although I simply discounted points alltogether and used scenarios where a small defender (the more experienced player) had to survive as long as possible against increasingly tough odds. Actually having armies balanced at the points level and then playing around with build parameters might work better for Dropzone though.

    This being part one, can we expect over/under dog armies for the other factions as well? 😀

    • Thanks for the feedback. Yes – I will post on a regular base the coming weeks. I intend to have ideas for all armies. The general idea will be the same though for the underdog:

      1. One less CV.
      2. No tough CQB units
      3. No “mainstream best” units (like the Ferrum).

  2. Jonathan Brown says:

    Interesting idea…

    My main concern is that by expanding to 1000 points and adding so much variety you’re making it too complicated for new players. It may depend on exactly what you’re going for though.

    The starter sets against each other are a little dull, but the game plays quickly and enables you to focus on getting the rules and the feel of the game right.

    You’re adding a lot of units which a new player would find quite complex. They’ll be trying to remember what the underdog’s stuff does as well as the overdog’s list.

    If you’re aiming this at returning players then perhaps it’s not so important.

    Perhaps an alternative would be to add a single unit of reinforcements (to both sides) in turn 3. By this time, the newbie will know roughly how the rules work, will have seen infantry deploy, might have seen a close combat, will have seen some shooting, etc.

    If an elite unit comes zooming on and blasts something or kicks butt in CQB, that will give them a taste for what else there is to be explored without overwhelming them with options right at the beginning.

    There’s something else to be said for this minimalist approach too. If you start with the basic stuff, you appreciate the ‘better’ stuff as you encounter it. If you start with the best stuff, you’ll probably miss out on all the basic stuff, which is less fun and I think means getting a narrower experience of the game.

    • The idea is that this at a stage you have someone who is either experienced in wargaming or have moved past the demo-starters. i have actually never had anyone saying that they just want to add one squad. Instead they tend to jump a little to some 900-1000points. And I think this is a way for making sure people get a better understanding of all dynamics in the game.

      Thanks for reading!

      • Jonathan Brown says:

        Aha, that makes sense then.

        For me personally, I think I would still prefer two armies which were expanded in ‘neutral’ ways, if that makes sense. E.g. A bit more armour, a bit more fast stuff, a bit of elites… Rather than an army that is designed specifically to be good (or bad).

        The reason is that I think it’s nice to explore and find these things out yourself through trial and error, rather than be told ‘this is a good army’. It’s easy to look online and find out what a ‘good army’ looks like. But it’s more fun to try things for yourself. And then if or when you switch to a really well designed ‘good army’, you’ll really notice it and understand why it’s good.

        But that’s personal preference. What you’re doing makes sense.

        Glad to see you’re still thinking of ways to help grow the game!