You may have already read Mike's report (Orbital Bombardment blog), so there are no spoiler alerts associated with this post. I took the role of designated drive. After picking up Dan we met up with Mike and Ed for our trip to our favourite south coast wargaming retreat, the Dice Saloon in Brighton. Of the 18 participants 8 had come from our club, and between the four of us, we knew pretty much everyone else taking part.
Above: Players preparing for game one.
With the emphasis on Blood Bowl and Infinity recently I had wrongly turned down of Mike's kind offer of a refresher Drop Zone game the week before. How I would pay for my foolishness.
Game One - Liam - UCM - Mission: Military Complex
Liam is someone I knew from the wargaming community as he works for Hawk, but we had never played before. For me, this game will be best remembered for a mistake, but for Liam, it would be more correctly remembered for a series of manoeuvres he made in turn six to win the game.
Above: Tea-phoons. (I have no shame for this pun).
The five objectives scored in the usual way, one point for holding and two points for getting them off table. The central objective scored only one for getting it off your table side, but three points, if you got it off your opponent's side.
Above: Let's play a game of where's Mike. Can you find him hidden somewhere in this picture?
Liam ignored the central objective and so I made a play for it. I retrieved it on turn four, and moved my Lifthawk into Liam's side of the table in turn five. All good so far. But come turn six, much to my immediate despair, we realised the Lifthawk was 16 and half inches away from Liam's board edge. It became immediately clear that in turn five I had not taken care when moving the transport, or even pushed the Lifthawk as far as I could.
There followed a considerable amount of internal swearing on my part, and quite obvious external frustration (my apologies go out to Liam at this point as he had to witness shock, annoyance, despair, and probably quite a few other emotions from his opponent).
We had both retrieved our home objectives and the building holding an objective on my left of the table had been reduced to a scarily low number of damage points, so the rest of our troops had piled into the last remaining objective holding structure on my right. Liam had the jump on me so was searching whilst a mass brawl took place. Turn five arrived and some poor dice from the UCM meant that my Marines were getting the upper hand. However, a well played Call for Extraction command card meant that Liam could get the objective out, and despite my best efforts to intercede, he was able to pass the winning objective between a number of his units to form a perfect relay to victory in the final turn.
Above: The difference between winning and losing: half an inch.
Above: The UCM in the middle of extracting the winning objective.
Very well done to Liam on the well deserved win. I had caused a great many casualties to his army (900+ kill points) but he had correctly focus on the victory conditions and achieved a 11 to 9 victory.
Game Two - Tim - Shaltari - Mission: Bunker Assault
Having only lost game one by two points I knew that I would likely be playing a very able player In game two, and so it was, my next opponent was fellow club mate and previous Coastal Assault winner Tim. He was using his very pretty 'shades of blue' Shaltari.
Above: The awesome Shaltari Firedrake.
Bunker Assault suffers from the problem that some of the older Drop Zone missions have: it becomes a cagey exercise in attempting to keep your forces safe until the final turn and then jumping to where you need to be late game.
Above: The height of round two action.
I managed to get four stands of Fighters into Tim's home bunker and they ruined the day of the Pungari stationed there. My Thunderstorm failed to stay around until the end of the game so Tim secured the central bunker, but I did manage to block some Shaltari skimmers from contesting another. Once the final numbers had been crunched, we had drawn the game, 10 all.
Above: It's a roadblock.
Thanks to Tim for an enjoyable game, which had certainly lightened my mood from the train wreck of game one.
Game Three - Ed - PHR - Mission: Careful Advance
Despite my best efforts, I had still scored 19 tournament points from my first two games. I knew that I was still likely to play a player of note in game three, and so it was, our very own Techboy 2000, Ed, and his Tron-esk PHR was my opponent.
Above: Dan and Dave C fighting it out on table one in the third and final round.
The whole point of critical locations is to get to them quickly, and in force. But, in another example of my inability to focus, I only reached my first critical location turn four! The placement of the buildings didn't help my Thunderstorm's manoeuvring ability, and Ed's 'tough as nails' walkers acted as very effective speed bumps. Once turn six arrived, I had been thoroughly trounced 18 to 2.
Above: Ed's Valkyries about to building hop.
I finished the tourney 15th, but did manage a fairly healthy kill point total of 1700+ for the three games. For our little quartet, Dan took first place, Mike third and Ed fourth, so a very good day was had.
Thanks to all those taking part, Michael for TO'ing and The Dice Saloon for hosting.
Keep enjoying the hobby.