We’re taking a look at some entries!
Over on the Dropzone Commander and Dropfleet Commander fan Facebook pages, our good friend Michel has been running a competition. What competition you ask? To design a unit or scenery piece for either DZC, DFC, or both!
There have been a bunch of great entries, with some amazing conversions and fantastic painting. The competition is now closed, and voting is underway. Once it’s all said and done, you know we’ll be sharing some photos here! In fact, if any entrants are reading this and haven’t sent pictures of their entries to firstname.lastname@example.org then this is your invite to do so!
Anyway, in the office (and at home) we’ve been following along with the entries, and Scott, Chris, and I thought we’d each pick one of our favourites to review today. We actually found it tricky to pick just one, so we’ve each done a Dropzone and a Dropfleet entry that tickled us in just the right places. We don’t choose the winners though – get over to the Facebook pages and vote!
As we’re just looking at rules today, we’ve even made up some fancy stat cards for them.
Babylon Assault Gate. Austin Friestman
Chris: As the office Shaltari player I had to pick a Shaltari entry, and I really liked the concept of this one. A great big Shaltari gate of terror and doom, what’s not to like? Certainly brings to mind the aliens of Independence Day, which is a nice change for the usually subtle and devious Shaltari and I’m all for it.
So stats wise, pretty much where it should be. High move makes sense, only P5+ save, so not being tempted into making it too hard to kill with only 9 armour and 7 damage points. Even moderately concentrated AA will bring it down quickly. 12 Transport capacity is sensible. Being a Support choice, you’re slightly limited to what it can carry anyway. Plus being a Support choice means it joins in the Shaltnanigans we all know and love. Giving it a very high Transport Capacity would have been too much. (note from Lewis: personally I’d ditch the Gate entirely – let the big boom gun shine without increasing the points costs a lot)
The big weapon here of course is Gravity Pulse. Got a building you don’t like? Well you won’t need to look at it much longer. Energy 10, Devastator-15 (Scenery) and Cover (All) will help to destroy the building and anything within it. Adding Dev-2 (Vehicle) gives it some flexibility while not losing sight of its main role. Certainly makes the unit expensive at 130 points but I think it’s quite fair.
Special Rules: Has the usual Auxiliary Gate and Teleport rules as standard. However, here is a problem: it has Interference. Which means it is incapable of making shooting actions, so that big weapon can not be fired! Oops! In the office we’re very aware of how difficult it can be to mix up rules on the first release – that’s why we have the balance passes, since no one can get it perfect the first time!
Overall a strong 7/10 from me. Change the wording of Interference, or add it only to Charged Atmosphere, and it’s an 8/10.
Combat Medics. Thore Engel
Lewis: Oh this takes me back! It’s like playing Command & Conquer – which was a big inspiration for Dave when he was making Dropzone.
I love the idea of this unit. It’s got one role, and it’s a non-offensive role, which is quite rare in Dropzone. They’re there to keep your infantry alive, and that’s something I think we could all use when bogged down in CQ by some marauding Eviscerators!
The profile here is a good example of something we’d throw around in the office. When implementing new rules like this there are loads of different ways to go about it. Some of us favour something that broadly sticks within the established boundaries like this squad, and others like doing something new. I think the Combat Medics show the flexibility of the Dropzone rules, applying rules for weapons into something completely different. There’s been a few units we’ve made that have started their lives similar to this, before evolving into unique special rules of their own.
This is one of those units that’s so different it makes you think in a new way, and that’s the sort of thing we’re often looking for when designing. I’m going to request to Dave that we make some and see what he says!
Idea: 10/10, specific rules a bit less, let’s say… 8/10 total.
Air Terrainean Flight 608. John Simpson Wedge
Scott: Ok, so it’s not a unit, but I still really like the concept. John’s gone all out on this terrain feature. A casualty of the Scourge invasion this hypersonic liner is now a forgotten, overgrown wreck.
Each separate terrain section has its own rules and not all plane sections are created equal. While the wings offer plenty of protection they can’t be garrisoned, so best to hide behind rather than in. The Nose, Tail, and Fuselage though can all be garrisoned, albeit by fewer troops than normal.
The best part of this plane has got to be the mystery Cargo Manifest in the Fuselage. Even with the same board setup the random results can make you change your game plan on the fly. My favourite one is the deadly radiation from the Unshielded Reactor result, though I would personally add a bit of damage extending outwards from it each time collateral deals damage to the garrison. Probably the most impactful effect you can get is the second result, adding an Open Mobile Objective to the Fuselage. If you can get out of dodge with this, you’ve got 2 victory points in the bag. The last two effects make your garrisoned troops harder to kill, with one being Prototype Battlegear providing Resilient, and the other being Prototype Nanites that heal infantry inside the garrison.
Perfect 10! I really think this is a fantastic entry.
Sphinx Automated Sentry Ship. Nikita Kuznetsov
Chris: I had to pick this one because it’s so different to everything else, and I really like stuff being ‘different’. I like the idea of a long lost civilization having remnants around the galaxy that still cause trouble to the newer races even at the time of the Drop Universe story. This one being controllable is also quite interesting, rather than being random behaviour, which might also have been interesting to see.
Stats wise, it’s a bit of a beast, and represented with a whopping 22” Sig, everything is going to be able to shoot this thing once it starts doing anything. It’s good it’s got 16 Hull and 2+ armour, it’s going to need it. With a PD of 3, it’s going to be susceptible to Bombers and Torpedos too.
One aspect I liked about this is the weapons. Bombardment, a decent Close Action weapon and a Distortion weapon. A good mix, the special rule Bound is very interesting too. Overall a very interesting weapon profile for the ship.
Finally, the special Phase-Engines add a very interesting tactical choice for the ship. This means you can really give opponents headaches since they can’t predict the ships movement in the same way. How this interacts with orders could be interesting, but nothing that can’t be worked on.
Overall a strong 7/10 from me.
UCM Brighton. Nathan Cooper
Lewis: I’m a big fan of little ships that play very specific roles. The Lighters are the perfect example of that, and it’s always nice to see other people thinking of similar ships! The Brighton has all of that, while still being easy to assemble from a Frigate kit.
Low cost ships that can provide one very specific role really help with fleet building, as you’re able to twist how your fleet plays without too many massive changes.
The Brighton’s Targeting Array does a nice and simple -1 Lock bonus on any weapons systems to shoot at its target. It’s a very simple mechanic that can have great bonuses, especially when you take into consideration that it would also increase the chance of crits! Personally I think the 5+ to hit might be a bit high. I’d maybe suggest losing the turret or the close action and boosting that up to 3+ so that it becomes a bit more specialised.
Also, extra points for the famous ship Hove Actually. Brilliant! 7/10!
Scourge Pestilence. Matt Halliday
Scott: I’m a PHR player so normally I wouldn’t sing the praises of something Scourge built, but I think this little blighter is a great ground control tool. The adorable model is no less than 4 parts from the cruiser kit, a great way of using up those spare bits.
The first thing that strikes me about this dinky little ship is its very low Armour. Its 2 hull is not going to last long with a 6+ Armour, or with 2 PD. Fortunately it’s Atmospheric, something it will definitely need to take advantage of with no stealth capability at all. Being loaded with dropships makes it a touch heavier than a corvette, so having a smaller max speed and slightly higher Sig makes a lot of sense.
Offensively you only get a single weapon in the Plasma Cloud. It’s a bit more swingy than a regular Plasma Cloud, with D3 attacks. That top end seems a little aggressive for this small ship, going with a standard flat 2 should suffice. In keeping with the parts it’s made from, and it’s intent, this little ship’s got a single launch worth of Dropships. Air Superiority is where this ship shines though, for each of these you have, there’s a chance to shoot down opposing Dropships and Bulk Landers. The rule itself isn’t as strong as the Shaltari Voidgate’s charged atmosphere but can still ruin plans all the same. I’ll go out on a limb and say that the orbital layers should probably read Low Orbit and Atmosphere. At the moment the rule stacks with itself, offering multiple dice to intercept ground bound launch assets with multiple ships in range. A slight rewording or caveat would sort this out no problem if it’s not the intended effect.
Overall I really like the cut of this ship’s jib, a solid 8/10.
I know I said we’re not showing the pictures yet, but I couldn’t resist just one from John’s crashed aircraft. It’s truly a work of art!
Time to wrap up here, but don’t forget to head over to the Facebook fan pages and vote for your favourite entry – there are loads more we haven’t been able to look at (in fact we all started writing about more entries than we really have space for – everyone has made something cool).