Croydon beckoned, and Drop Zoners from around Europe answered the call.
OB took six along, Mike, Dan, Ed, Joe, Pete and myself. We drew up two teams, Dan, Ed and Joe on one, with Mike, Pete joined by me. In-jokes supplied us with the two team names. If the guys can remember to mention it, and Ed doesn't edit it out, you will be told in the Podcast why we chose, Team One: OB: Pete's the only way is Alex, and Team Two: OB: I've got a KitKat. On reflection, I don't think your missing anything by not knowing.
When we arrived at the venue we quickly noticed some new variations on current DZC models on display (OB Blog and Podcast will give you all the information you need in pictures and descriptions).
Another interesting diversion was a display of futuristic model buildings suitable for the game. I got chatting to Pezzer who directed me to his website (www.darkops.co.uk) for more info. I recommend you go and give it a look.
Game One - Charles - Shaltari - Military Complex
Considering this was Charles' second ever game of Drop Zone, and he was playing one of the more difficult armies to master, Shaltari, he played extremely well.
This game was the precursor for what was follow. Lower than average luck on my part. We both found an objective in the buildings on our table side. My Warriors found it on turn two, but somehow avoided coming back until turn six, which was no use to anyone. First Borns are tough nuts to crack, something my Destroyers were not able to do. I also had my first experience of facing Ronin, but I was not sure what to make of them.
Bravely, Charlie put his two Tarantulas on top of the central building. I guess, when you can climb, you climb! The building didn't have much in the way of damage points left, but despite my best efforts I couldn't bring the sturdy structure down.
The game ended in a 10 all draw, which considering that Charles eventually finished high up the standings was good for me.
Game Two - Barry - Scourge - Survey and Control (The new name for the new version of Recon+)
This is no criticism of my opponent Barry, but game two ranks as being one of my most disappointing and annoying games of DZC ever. This was due a combination of my bad luck, Barry's good luck, and a mechanic with the mission.
I searched for Intel six times in the game and rolled sixes for four of them! So they turned into Focal Points and I didn't score a point for them. By the end of turn five Barry had collected five objectives to my two. Unfortunately, I just didn't have sufficient ground units to contest all the focal points, (Apart from my troops, I only had my Oppressor and a lone Hunter left as ground units by the end. We had only been able to complete five turns when time was called, so I was probably fortunate to have anything left). The result, with kill points taken into account, a 17 to 3 loss. I was very deflated by this game. Luck can be a real bugger sometimes. [I understand that Dan had similar experience in his game two].
As a result of this disappointment, I made a mistake in completing my results sheet, which was not picked up until after finish of my next game, and subsequently, this put me higher up the order than I should have been for game three. A heavy price would be paid for this mistake.
Game Three - Erik - Scourge - Ground Control
Erik is one of the Swedish team, and a nicer chap you would struggle to find, and he really knows his stuff when wielding his Scourge army. It became very clear, very early on, that the mistake on my result sheet was a big error, a real biggy. I was higher up the tables than I should have been and seriously out of my depth.
When the dust had settled, after 45 minutes! I had lost by a country mile, 20 to nil. We shall a draw a veil over this game. Who knew that a core overload on a Prowler can kill two Hunters!
End of the day one and I had two losses, a draw and a unhappy face.
Game Four - Karl - Scourge - Bunker Complex
Day two, and the first game is versus Karl and his Scourge. His list only has three troops (one unit of Destroyers and two of Warriors), but has many ground units (1 unit of 6 Hunters, 2 units of 3 Reapers, and 3 Ravagers) which I am going have to deal otherwise they will contest the five focal points at the end.
I cannot say the dice did me any favours in this game (One unit of my Destroyers entered a Bunker held by Karl's Destroyers. In the ensuing three rounds of combat. Karl passed all of his 4+ saves, and I passed none of mine). However, Karl also played well, and focused his attention on bringing down my high points cost Oppressor with his Hunter swarm. Although, my remaining Destroyers and two units of Warriors occupied bunkers, Karl's tanks, Ravengers, Prowlers and Oppressor scored enough to win four of the five bunkers.
Game Five - Robert - Resistance - Secure the Flanks
When the mission was announced and I saw Robert's army, I thought, oh no, not again. Focal Points and an army with lots of ground vehicles. I suspected the worst.
Robert had an Alexander for his HQ and I decided that was to be the target of my Reavers, and with some better than average luck over two turns, a lone Reaver did a victory roll as it left the scene of the destroyed tank. We both claimed, and removed, the objectives in our buildings. But, in the central building a big fight was brewing. Three units of resistance fighters, and a turn later, two units of Occupational Veterans, joined two units of my Destroyers, supported by the Screamer. The Destroyers, worked their way through the Fighters, but the Vets were a greater challenge with their save. The combat was still going on at the conclusion of the game.
The rest of my army spent its time trying to stay alive until the end. A when we worked out the scores I had managed a 13 to 7 win.
Above: Hawk Simon number crunching.
The overall scores were worked out. Mike had taken his UCM to the house and won. Joe had come second, Ed, fourth, Dan, sixth, Pete, 29th. Joe, Ed and Dan had won the team prize, and very pleasingly, I had won the painted army raffle. A very smart Hawk Wargames Shoulder Bag was my prize. As Dan said, my raffle win was a pay back for the bad luck I had suffered during the event.
Due to my last game win, I had managed to avoid coming last by two points. Finishing 49th out of 50 participants, was disappointing, but considering how my games went, not surprising. Dan has played this Scourge army very well in the past, but my ability, and playing style, does not currently get the best out of it. The lack of ground units had hampered me in three of the five games. Back to the army list drawing board.
Considering that OB took 6 players along, it was pretty damn cool that 5 of us had brought back prizes.
End of the weekend phase
It was an excellent tournament and I played five very nice opponents. The guys at Hawk were their usual very friendly selves. But the Sunday was not yet over.
Whilst Hawk Louie boxed up the few pieces of stock not purchased over the two days,
Dan interview Hawk Dave regarding the new DZC sculpts their probable rules. This you will now find on the OB site.
Good wargaming to you all.