With Lighters on the way, let’s find out a bit more!
This Friday sees the release of a new class of ship for each faction! The Lighters are small vessels, just a little larger than a Corvette. Each of them is pretty unique though, and fill very different roles in your fleets.
Today we’re going to have a sneak peek at some rules for the UCM Lysander and the Scourge Hiruko, and find out a little more about the design process from Dropfleet master David Lewis!
UCM Lysander Stealth Lighter
The Lysander should be familiar to Dropzone and Dropfleet veteran players, and Hope’s Spark plays a prominent role in Battle for Earth! For more information, over to Dave!
The UCM’s Lysander has been a crucial element of their background since early on – it was the very first named ship class, way back in Reconquest: Phase One. The class was instrumental in the emerging Reconquest and allowed the UCM to explore without immediately getting vaporised, not to mention a hook for good old subterfuge. I’d always pictured them having a place in Dropfleet and this spurred me on to design sub-frigate tonnage ships for every faction that fought differently from corvettes, which already covered their niche.
Intended role in-game always informs my sculpting (and leads most projects), so stealthy capability would be central to the design, though it had to belong with the UCM’s regular ships. I’d always pictured the Lysander as a sleeker strike carrier, so I went for a dagger-like feel. It carries much the same payload as a New Orleans, so needed the familiar in-scale doors to tie those two classes together (I’m regrettably familiar with those, after making and painting 100 of them in 10mm for the Avenger project!) As an infiltration ship, it forgoes the turret amidships – if you’re firing weapons with this, things have probably gone awry!
I usually sculpt the UCM ship first in any new line, creating a scale reference. Lighters needed to be smaller than frigates (generally), but larger than corvettes, with a standard 2 Hull Points (since they can’t be crippled, ships with 3 HP are often tougher than those with 4!) I went for something slightly more substantial than 2HP would suggest to make the miniature more satisfying and to give me space to work detail – their fragility in-game and background comes from light armour and superstructure, not just from small size.
Thanks Dave! Honestly, he’s been asking to make the Lysander for going on three years now.
But what does it do? Well as a Stealth Lighter, that should be pretty obvious.
Actually, what it doesn’t do is have Stealth! Surprise!
The Lysander indeed doesn’t have the Stealth special rule, but it does have a Signature of 0″ and Full Cloak. That means it’s never getting any Spikes and with 0″ Sig will never need to go on Silent Running. It’s basically always Silent Running!
It’s pretty fast, and as Dave mentioned, comes with 2 Hull. Although as one of the more esoteric ships in the UCMF, it is indeed Rare.
That’s a pretty decent statline for a little ship! It’s got weapons of course, and Dropships too. Plus a little extra that I’m not spoiling for you right now.
Scourge Hiruko Boarding Cutter
This little leech is a real departure for Dropfleet, doing something only really done on a tiny counter basis before: boarding! And it doesn’t take no for an answer. Dave?
We’ve always had a ‘conflicted’ relationship with ramming in Dropfleet – being Sci-fi nuts we love the imagery while knowing in our cold brains how bonkers it is from a physics and accuracy perspective. Every gamer who’s every played with ships wants to shout ‘GIVE ME RAMMING SPEED!’ at some point, even just to purge it (temporarily) from the psyche. As such, we built ramming into the rules late in Dropfleet’s writing, but with a caveat: it isn’t really ramming, but getting close enough for a drive detonation or point-blank fire to do disproportionate damage. Being certifiably insane, it’s restricted to a last-ditch play for a doomed ship wanting to go down in a blaze of glory.
Still, if any faction might design a perfectly healthy ship around the concept, it would have to be the Scourge. The notion wormed its way into my brain (there’s the right metaphor) and refused to crawl out. As a faction with hordes of living killing machines (that aren’t afraid to die for the race), it fits their ethos while conjuring all kinds of Xenomorphically nasty visuals aboard the suddenly treacherous corridors of the doomed victim. So, how would this work? Point defence and hulls meters thick made small boarding craft less likely to make it, and what could be more cinematic that a octopus-like monstrosity latching on and injecting its living payload? With that and the faction’s usual style in mind, an aggressively brutal, unsubtle, front-heavy design quickly fell into place. Looking at it, there’s little doubt on how it does its killing!
Alright, that’s enough from him. Back in the box, Dave! Shoo!
So how exactly does a ship like that attack the enemy?
The Hiruko has a Plasma Torch, which although only Close Action, is always going to get through Point Defence thanks to the Beam special rule. With D3 shots (oh and they come in squads of 1-3 by the way) and a 4+ lock, a squad of these can do a fair amount of damage before they collide.
And the Ramming Ship special rule makes that collision a worthy attack! Acting as a much larger ship for ramming, your opponent will struggle to prioritise targets, especially considering just how many of these little leeches you can afford in your fleet. Disgorging a whole cargo bay full of Eviscerators and other such nasty opponents comes with its own problems too, as all the ramming hits have Corruptor. You can’t fight off those invaders easily! Yes, it’s a one-way trip, but to deal a bunch of damage and rack up those Corruptor hits it’s definitely worth the sacrifice.
So that’s a little info about the brand new Lighters for the UCM and Scourge -we’ll be back with more info on the rest later in the week, and of course all of these rules will be free to access on Friday in the Dropfleet list builder (we’ll also have some fancy looking stat sheets for download too).