Monday, 2 January 2017

Drop Fleet Tournament - In space no one can hear you consult the rules.

As I type this post, due to my failure to visit and update the pledge manager, I have not yet received my Drop Fleet Commander Kickstarter pledge (no one to blame other than myself). However, has that stopped me from playing the game? The answer: no. I bought two of the UCM starter boxes (and a stand alone set of rules) so that I could give the game a go. Also, just before Christmas, there was a DFC tournament taking place in Woking, and with the other Orbital Bombardment crew going along, how could I not respond to peer pressure?

Above: Venue and participants.

Before the tourney I played two-thirds of a practice game around at Mike's. I was able to pick up some of the basic rules regarding ship movement, but ground combat, remained a mystery.

Above: Stuff happening during my practice game. Only 27% of which I understood.

Something that did strike me during the game was the fiddlyness of the card tokens and the much vaunted flying bases, with their various dials and widgets. Being a clumsy oaf I decided to do something about this before I played my tournament games.

I give you, big circular atmosphere markers (black, white and zebra stripes) which I place behind each ship in my fleet.....

......and once my ships beginning picking up damage I just place a dice on top to record the ship's damage. 

Also from that photograph, you will see that I bought the UCM starter box from Drop Zone Commander and constructed infantry bases for ground combat. And using some of the UCM vehicle parts and bits left over from building my UCM fleet, I put together some tanks and ground defence lasers. 

Following the practice game, it was clear that I needed more ships to deliver ground assets to the cities planet side, and so I added a second San Francisco. I was also able to build some space stations with the free sprue given to us all that attended the most recent Invasion event.

With regard the 3 tournament games I fear that notable points were my complete inability to kill any enemy ships until my third game. And unsurprisingly, with so little practice, I lost all three games, the first ten to zilch, the second nine to nil, and the third and final game, six to nil. Well, I guess, on the positive side, My margin of defeat was less as the games went along. Here are a few photographs from the day.

Above: Mike - Apparently, disappointed with the current length of his beard, measures it again.

Above: Busy.

Above: Stuff happening around a space station.

Above: Mike and Michael's game comes to moment of uncertainty.

Above: We were all envious of Ed's proxy space station (he found the Red Dwarf model in a toy shop). It's all too much for Dan as he sheds a tear.

Above: Embarrassing moment at the UCM fleet party as they all arrive wearing the same outfits.

I have not played with the fleet since the tournament, and, as you can see, I still need to paint my ground assets. I have now bought a box of fighters and bombers to build. I imagine that the eventual arrival of my pledge will inspire me to finish the remaining bits and pieces. I then have the decision to make, battleship or no battleship? They certainly look like a great centre piece for the fleet.

Happy New Year and happy wargaming.



  1. Nice!

    Sorry I didn't catch this sooner.

    The event was 999 points, right? Or was it 1,000? Makes a difference...

    Thank goodness you've posted here -- absolute radio silence (in terms of posts) on the OB blog for over three weeks! I was getting worried! At least Dan has replied to my comments... But where's Mike been?

    Hope you had a joyous Christmas, and a Jolly New Year!


    1. Good to hear from you Mr W. Christmas was nice and quite thank you, and a Happy New Year to you also. Yes, the tournament was 999 points. Although I cannot speak for the guys, I guess there has not been that much to post about in the Drop Zone world recently. I shall let them know that concern was raised from across the pond. Perhaps that will cause them to put finger to keyboard again :-).

    2. Thanks!

      True, not much in terms of new in Dropzone, but Invasion is looming, I thought I'd see some posts about it. But it seems Dan is not going. Alas. Are you going?

    3. Apart from Dan, I think we are all going along.

  2. Love your altitude tokens, BTW! 8^D

    1. Thank you. I was really surprised just how much it helped me visualise what the hell was going on,height wise, on the battlefield. With all the Infinity going on recently, I haven't played Drop Fleet since, but Hawk tell me that my pledge will be with me very soon, so that might inspire me to play some more games.

    2. It's really an amazing game (Dropfleet) that has grown on me significantly since my first few games. Back then I was a wee bit "meh" about it, but I've since played more games, about a dozen or more so far, and I really, really enjoy it! I encourage you to get more games in when you get your pledge. My last few games have been my best gaming experiences in a long time, and I've had some pretty epic Dropzone games!

      Some hints for UCM (I'm assuming you'll be building more UCM when your pledge arrives):

      -- BTLs are UCM's strength. Three New Cairos with a lone Lima is a Murder Kill Squad with Li'l Pinger, and affordable enough to take two such battlegroups at 1,500. The Avalon, which you should be getting, is a great complimentary ship to take in a Vanguard BG with the three Cairo's and one Lima.

      If you already have two San Franciscos, don't build any more! Two is plenty, and expect them to die like hookers. But make as many New Orleans as you're able, at least 6, and with only two Troopships, I'd try to make at least two more than that, if you can. The ground game is what wins you games.

      Having said that, Critical Locations can't be ignored, so be cautious about taking too many frigates. UCM have some dandy frigates, tis true, but you want to bring the right number of cruisers (light, medium and heavy) to survive to score on CLs.

      Watch out for ships that HAVE to go Weapons Free in order to be effective. If you have to go WF in order to get the points back from a ship, there probably are better choices for those points.

      Course Change is a great Special Order! The New Cairo's love it to get pretty much whatever they want into their F(N) arcs, and everything loves it to shake off Bombers. Best Order in the game!

      The Tokyo is probably UCM's best battleship, as its OB is best in the game, and you can take two at 1,500. Still, I like the idea on the New York, but we don't think too highly about torpedoes in these parts -- they're not the super weapon you might think, and generally don't do anything until late game in terms of damage output. Still, Launch, of Bombers and Fighters, is a thing, although UCM isn't the best at if. On the other hand, the Seattle is a helluva ship that punches above its weight, I think, but that could just be anecdotal...

      Hope that helps!

    3. Wow. Thank you for all the advice. I will certainly take note when putting my pledge models together, hopefully.........this weekend.......fingers crossed.

  3. Hey if you guys fancy another tournament soon, we've good one brewing up in the Midlands!