Monday, 6 February 2017

Winter Invasion 2017 - Day One

And here we are again, to immerse ourselves in All things Drop Zone Commander. With the main focus being on Drop Fleet recently, we now have the opportunity to reinvigorate our love for Hawk's first born, at their two day, five game, winter tournament. I appreciate that other quicker bloggers have given you news and views, and more importantly, results. So, unlike most things appearing on the internet nowadays, I can promise you no spoiler alerts (you can read this without any fear of ruining the viewing of a future movies, TV programmes, box sets etc.)

Above: The gang's all here. From left to right, Joe, Dan (kneeling), myself, Mike, Pete and Ed.

All of Orbital Bombardment crew were attending the event on the Saturday, however, only five of us were taking part. Dan came along on day one to enjoy the atmosphere and chat, at his leisure, to the many Hawk employees that abound (something he doesn't normally get to do when playing). 

As mentioned in the last post, I took along a Resistance army, for which I had not really played very much running up to the event (infinity N3, this is all your fault). With so little practice, what could possibly go wrong?

I had a quick chance to wander around the venue to say hello to some old friends and to see if there was anything new to note, which there was. Thanks to the good people at Plascraftgames, there is now* another supplier of Drop Zone compatible buildings, these ones pre-coloured. *(I say 'now', but apart from the kits on sale over the weekend, I have not been able to find them for sale anywhere else. No doubt, they will be appearing in a store near you soon).

Above: The buildings in boxes.

Above: The buildings, as the wargaming gods intended.

Game One - Mission: Bunker Assault - David Bonner - Shaltari.

My first game pitted me against the familiar face of David Bonner. His Shaltari regularly appear on the top tables, so this was not going to be an easy start. The mission needs your forces to be around at the finale of the game to contest one or more of the five bunkers, with troops scoring double, if they are inside the structure. I know exactly what I did wrong in this game; I held back, when I should have pushed heavily into the centre and attempted to thin out the Shaltari forces.

Not much in the way of close combat took place as we tried to best position our infantry for the final turn bunker rush. During the game however, my dice did reminded me that my destiny was in their hands as well; my first flying low roll brought a double one result. Both Mehmeds survived being dropped out of the crashing Lifthawk, but were to far away from bunkers to make an impact on the scoring in the last turn.

Above: Shaltari big guns.

My nervousness allowed David to use his gates effectively to manoeuvre his points around the table, and he achieved a 9 to 5 win as a result, and with victory points taken into account, he came out ahead 16 to 4. David played well, but I handled my guys badly. Summary - I had to be much more aggressive when playing to give my opponent much more to think about. Oh, and I needed more than one practice game before playing. 

Above: Shaltari gates using every inch of the board to avoid the attentions of my Zhukovs.

Game Two - Mission: Ground Control - Lewis Hanney- Resistance

Lewis was a friend of Mark, whose UCM I had played at last November's Warfare tournament in Reading. Lewis had a good old fashioned Resi list with an Alexander as his HQ (a Thunderstorm will be along soon no doubt). Ground Control is another mission that requires movement late game to achieve success. 

My focus became the removal of Lewis' Lifthawks. Using a Brave Gamble command card (almost the same thing as a Quick Thinking card for other factions), one unit of my Gunwagons removed Lewis' Zhukovs Drop ship. Then, I got lucky with my Thunderstorm, manoeuvring in the tight spaces between buildings, and destroyed the already wounded Alexander. 

Above: Mid game. My Thunderstorm 'sneaking up' on Lewis' Alexander.

Above: Turn six, and Lewis has deployed his troops in the building, middle top of picture.

Above: Despite having Typhoons, Mehmeds and the Thunderstorm, it was the final shot from a Lifthawk that brought the building down, and luckily for me, turning a probable draw into a victory.

My more aggressive approach in the game scored me 635 victory points to Lewis' 313, and by the end, I controlled three of the table quarters. A 14 to 6 victory was my prize. I look forward to playing Lewis and/or Mark at future events.

Above: Hawk James and OB Dan overjoyed at my victory in game two.

Above: OB doing very well, occupying the top four tables at the beginning of round three.

Game Three - Mission: Command and Control - David Ray - PHR

Oh dear, did I run into a brick wall in this game. David started knocking chunks out of my army early on. I tried to make David's life difficult by reducing two of the objective holding buildings to quivering wrecks. I managed to secure one of the objectives, but the Lifthawk was not fast enough to get off the table before fire from Helios and Phobos brought it down. The remaining fighters suffered an equally deadly fate and gave up their prize before the bloody end.

Above: David's PHR list.

Above: PHR muscling in.

Above: One of the three Typhoons is about to be caught off guard by a weapon hack.

Above: We're doing the PHR conger.

Above: The Thunderstorm being systematically taken apart.

Above: Very little green on the table. Very conspicuous PHR models.

When the dust had settled the 16 to 4 result was turned into a 20 to nil by a difference of 800+ kill points. A lesson on how to choose your targets well. Well done David.

At the end of day one, I had a really fun day with three good games. I had met, and chatted, to tonnes of people, not spent too much money on new models, and had one victory and two losses. Mike challenged me to win both my remaining games on day two. Simples.

Happy wargaming to all.



  1. Just so you know, a model may never leave the table space so Davy B was cheating on that pic. Measurements are made from an aircraft stem byt the actual model may not leave the table (a single bonus to the Condor being so slim I suppose). Good write up buddy x

    1. Thank you DC. Re: base placing, no real damage done game wise, but a helpful piece of knowledge.

    2. I don't follow/ understand what you mean by model may never leave the table space.

    3. Models, or their bases, cannot hang off the edge of the table, like they are in one of the pictures above.

  2. Nice to finally see you in one of the photos, although you like you looking to heaven for some inspiration. Well done on your win.

    1. Thank you CGL. It was a very rare thing to get all of us together on one picture.

  3. Good write up. When you cross paths with someone at a tournament it's nice to see how they'd come to be in that position.

    Looks like you had three interesting games too.

    1. It's true. I have yet to get to the top tables where perhaps focus is on the game rather than just having a nice chat about all things gaming. For which I am glad.

    2. Ha ha, that's a good point. Your write up makes the games sound a wee bit less tense than Mike's!

      I have to say that I really like the mix though. It's fun playing in the same tournament as really good players, but also fun when you 'find your level' and are up against players not too much better than you.

  4. Great writeup, Alex! Looking forward to hearing about Day 2, and congrats on the win!

    1. Thank you JW. Next instalment to come soon.