How quickly we are here again. Do remember the excitement at the beginning of the year regarding all the new models? The pictures on the walls and models in the cabinet. Well ladies and gentlemen all those models are now in our grubby little hands and hordes (not hoards) of gamers are ready to rock and roll at the UK's biggest DZC tournament. Whoop. Whoop.
Above: Let the fun commence.
I had a number of hopes for the weekend:
- To have an excellent time.
- To meet old friends and to make new ones
- To not spend too much money.
And the biggest hope,
- To do well at my games, and not embarrass the good name of Orbital Bombardment. (Tricky, if past performances are to go on, very tricky).
This was the biggest Invasion yet with 65+ players. The earliest oddity was learning that Hawk Simon, is now ex-Hawk Simon, having recently decided to leave Hawk Towers to try something new in the wargaming world. I met Simon walking to the venue, as he was here to take part in the weekend's event as a player, not the master of ceremonies. Drop Zone apparently runs thick in his blood.
The second surprise was in the bag given to each participant, for it contained a space station sprue from the soon (fingers crossed) to arrive Drop Fleet Commander game.
Above: In the display cabinet, some examples of what the space station sprue can do.
Darkops Steve was also there taking part as a player (Scourge - Good man), and not a seller of lovely buildings. However, there were still some nice items you could purchase from his fair hand on Hawk Louie's Stall of Lovely Things. Darkops have just released some very useful coloured discs which can click onto a model's flight peg to identify particular battle groups, and some smaller versions, which can indicate wounds taken.
But nicer than those were some race specific flight stand bases which were super duper. Not for sale yet, but very pretty.
Above: Darkops goodies with some of Steve's Scourge in the background.
Above: The lovely Darkops table all lit up.
This was also truly a world event with participants from Germany, Denmark, Holland, Sweden, Canada and the USA. Our Chessington club was very well represented. From the club were, Tim, Stephen, Amit, John H and Kannan. And Obital Bombardment had a full complement, Dan, Mike, Ed, Joe, Pete and myself.
Above: Participants with the air of expectation.
Game One - Targets of Opportunity - Opponent: Paul, playing UCM
A very simple problem for game one - can the objectives be removed, before the buildings come down. The UCM always appear to me as very good at demolition. My Warriors got a couple of searches before my home building was reduced to 4Dps. Time to leave.
Paul found his home objective on turn two, which left things not looking too clever for my chances of even a draw.
However, things were not all lost. In the following turn Paul left my badly damaged home building standing, so I saw an opportunity and activated my warrior battlegroup last in the turn, and sneaked the warriors back in. I succeeded with the next initiative roll-off, and the immediate objective search was also successful, and suddenly the score was two all, and I was back in the game.
Focus was now on the three central buildings. Two contained my Eviserators and Destroyers, and Paul threw some of his infantry into the third. My Hunters, buffed by the Overseer, brought that building down before Paul's infantry could find him a second objective.
Attention moved over to my heavy troops. The Eviserators, having lost their transport early on, pointlessly wandered around their objective building bumping into furniture until the structure finally gave way to UCM attention.
Above: Two of the three central buildings down.
In the other building my Destroyers took on all comers in close combat and were eventually victorious. And to cap it all off, on turn five, they blundered into the objective. And with the aid of an underground monorail moved into a more stable 20 point building and put their faith in the rest of my army keeping them safe.........which they did. A narrow 11 to 9 victory was the final result.
Above: End of turn six and the Destroyers get me the victory.
Game Two - Secure the Flanks - Mark with Shaltari
Mark knew how to wield his army. He had a Panther and its threat brought about my demise. As far as I can work out there are two options when facing the Panther, fly low and risk the 36 to 1 chance of crashing into the ground , or, ignoring the threat, and trusting that three dice rolls, looking for fives, will not ruin you day.
I took the first option, and paid massively for it. My fifth flying low roll was a double one. And it just happened to be the Overseer. Bugger. Shortly after that, the Corruptor suffered a similar result. Bugger, bugger. Mark used his two Totems expertly to take the rest of my leaderless army apart.
Above: Before disaster claimed the Overseer and Corruptor.
The game ended fairly quickly after all that, with Mark securing a 18 to 2 win. With half an hour left on the round, we retired to the bar. We chatted, and the subject of blogging and podcasts. He knew about the Orbital Bombardment blog, and the podcast, and then said something that would be my favourite moment of the weekend, 'oh, are you Bethany?'
(I appreciate that this will only mean something if you listen to the OB podcast. I am not sure how comfortable I am with my internet identity being Bethany. Anyway, I am sure the guys will not make a thing of it at our next recording).
Game Three - Mattias - Crucible - Shaltari
Mattias was one of the Swedish contingent, and a nicer bloke you will have struggled to find. He explained that he has a very small playing group, which doesn't contain Scourge, so this was going to be tricky for him.
Not knowing about the Scourge threat range lead to the mistake he made on turn one. Still shocked by my double one blunders from the previous game I was recounting them to Mattias. 'Oh', he said 'I have never seen that happen before', and without a moments hesitation decided to fly his Firedrake low. (Yes, what you think happened, happened - double one). [enter here the Swedish word equivalent to bugger].
Mattias played the game quite conservatively. I risked my Corruptor to fly past his Panther. But the Panther was having nothing of it, and destroyed the flyer in quick time. It had managed to only release one base of worms before its demise, but it was this worm base which found me my first objective.
Above: The critical location in the centre of the board gains lots of attention.
I did very well with finding objectives, and with the critical location points, and even a small kill point bonus (very rare for me) I finished the game with an 18-2 win. Mattias took it all very well and he had a brilliantly dry sense of humour throughout our game.
My Invasion, day one, came to an end with two victories and a loss. Not bad at all.
As always, happy wargaming to you all.