Saturday, 13 January 2018

Hello 2018 ~ A Game of Dropfleet Commander

After being aborted three times in the last months of 2017, we finally got to play another game of Dropfleet Comander. My opponent Peter and I decided after our last game, to play some consecutive games in order to cement the rules firmly in our collective craniums. Alas, this was not to be, due to family issues that cropped up, one after the other.

I was beginning to think our game was cursed.

But the first week back at the club (NWA) for 2018 and we finally got the game played.

I decided to try my Shaltari for the second time. They proved to be a pretty tough opponent first time around but could they do it again or would the UCM see them off?

We just played a standard scenario again using the starter sets.

The UCM (United Colonies of Mankind) got the initiative on all the card draws and chose to make my Shaltari deploy first.



 My cunning plan was for my eastern (right) battle group to clear the way and swing around to the center. My center battle group would fight in that area and support the Mothership & void gates.



Meanwhile, the Mothership and voidgates would to go for the center and the western (left) clusters and then reach out to the east (right) and drop some ground assets there in the final turn of the game.


There was no fighting during the first turn and the only shooting in the second turn came from my Topaz Frigates in the center after they active scanned the Berlin Cruiser and managed to inflict a single hit.


The UCM carrier launched some bombers at the Shaltari mothership but due to the distance they didn't strike in this turn.


In the eastern skies the Shaltari battle group led by an Amber class cruiser came up against the mighty UCM heavy cruiser Moscow at the start of turn 3. Shots were exchanged with the Moscow receiving minor damage.



The Moscow, then forced it's way past the frigates and took aim at my Amber cruiser inflicting several hits resulting in three damage points.


By the end of turn two I had landed troops in the western cluster, and with no UCM present I felt I would be able to claim the cluster when the time came. In the center both sides were now contesting the that cluster but I was coming off second best after the UCM ground forces destroyed one of my assets.

In the previous turn, because I needed to stop my mother ship, I had to call a Station Holding special order. This caused a minor energy spike making it easier to target. The two UCM Toulouse frigates took advantage of this and zoomed into the attack. The mother ship took some minor damage but was otherwise okay.

In it's turn the mothership destroyed one of the frigates after the Berlin took out one of the Topaz frigates. The bombing run on the mothership also inflicted a hit and the damage was beginning to mount.


As I planned the Amber led battle group made a course change and by-passing the Moscow, made for the center. The Amber also let loose a broadside and added further damage to the UCM heavy ship.


The Shaltari mothership was now under heavy attack from the remaining Toulouse frigate and the  Berlin, which was itself under attack from my Obsidian heavy cruiser. The damage on the mothership was over half and a roll on the Critical Systems chart was insignificant - Loss of comms. But is still had a minor energy spike.

In the previous turn, thinking to get my void gates moving, I made a silly mistake and moved them far less than they were able and now they were bogged down in the atmosphere. The UCM New Orleans dropships, on the other hand, did exactly what I intended to do. But they did the maneuver properly and headed to the eastern cluster.


Having been out maneuvered the Moscow moved straight ahead and seeing the mothership all lit up like a Christmas tree called a Weapons Free special order and opened fire. The result being two normal hits (both saved) and 6 critical hits.

The mothership was doomed and a roll on the Critical hit table (I can't remember the right name) resulted in a Disruption Vortex (I think that's what it's called). The worst result.

The table before the mothership exploded...

And after the mothership exploded...

The mothership was vaporized. The remaining Toulouse frigate was vaporized, the Berlin was destroyed. A voidgate was obliterated and the Obsidian heavy cruiser was badly damaged.


The last turn and the UCM dropships moved into position over the eastern cluster ready to drop their troops at the end of the turn. The rest of their battle group was gone so little else happened.


The Amber battle group moved and the Jade class frigates took some shots at the UCM carrier with little effect. The Amber, again took aim at the Moscow and inflicted enough damage to take it below half it's hull points. The resulting rolls on the Critical Systems chart resulted in a fire on board. Not enough to take it down.

Alas...

The Moscow again called Weapons Free and took aim at the Obsidian. The result was identical to the previous one two hits and 6 critical hits, and the heavy cruiser fell into the atmosphere as total wreck.

There was nothing more the Shaltari could do with two little void gates and no troops available now that the mothership was gone.



So the game was lost but out of the chaos the one positive light was that my fast maneuvering Amber battle group remained on the table in its entirety with only minimal damage.


And the hero of the game was undoubtedly Peter's Moscow Heavy Cruiser. It achieved, in one single broadside what the Berlin and its frigates had been trying for three turns. And even when it was burning, "like an attack ship off the shoulder of Orion," it managed to pulverize a heavy cruiser.


Conclusion...

A great game with some overly dramatic results. For most of the game the damage and casualties were pretty minimal until the big UCM heavy got it's weapon systems firing on all cylinders.

We really need to play more games and start to use larger fleets to get some more tactical options working. Hopefully the "Curse of 2017" is over and we can get more games in this year and really sink our teeth into it.


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