Thursday, 14 January 2016

A Sudden Invasion

"Admiral Stone sir, we're under attack."
"What?! I've only just finished my G'dam turkey left overs, and you're telling me there's another G'dam invasion already?"
"That's right sir, no rest for the wicked and all that."
"Who you calling G'dam wicked!? I may be a bad G'damn ass, but I'm not G'dam wicked. Tomlinson, fire up the laser!"
"Yes sir..."

Woah, where has the time gone? Is this how pensioners feel? I mean, one minute I'm polishing of the pigs in blankets during Christmas lunch (this isn't 100% true, I have some frozen for emergency consumption) and thinking about playing some alternative systems for a bit (the shame!), and then a second later Croydon is about to be invaded again!

That's right folks, it's tournament time, but of course not just any tournament, the first instalment of 2016's big-daddy Invasion! After battling hard in September we have another weekend of mirth and mire at the end of January, just four months since the last. Too soon? We think so, but Hawk have a busy calendar, so what's a fan-boy to do... Play five awesome games over the 30th and 31st, that's what!

This year I will be taking my Resistance, which sadly due to the short time scale will be mostly shrouded in fog of war (i.e. embarrassingly unpainted resin). Also due to the small time between tourneys I haven't really had a good chance to sink my teeth into and savage my gums on the jagged, rusty exterior, and savour the unique, oily taste of the Resistance as much as I would have liked too. I'll be unveiling my lists with the other OB chaps as is customary on the week of the tournament, but for now let's run through some of the things I've learned in the last four months about our favourite Fury Roaders.

1) Weird Battlegroups
Visually one of more impacting features of the Resistance is the lack of air units, and instead the often lone Lifthawk and numerous hovercraft. As it turns out, these units impact our lists as much as the battlefield! Most non-Resi armies will pack four units of infantry, all in light dropships. With this not being an option for Resistance, you end up with a weird, almost mandatory split of three Infantry in one Lifthawk and two infantry in Battlebusses over two battlegroups (either two troops or a single troops and special choice). Although I've always been used to having Infantry in two battlegroups, both of these groups are so large and unwieldy that I am still unsure where to point which group in missions like Targets of Opportunity.

"This is my side of the board, and I'm coming for yours"
The weirdest BG's are the standard slots though. Although the Resistance have a fair number of standard choices, really the only one you will want to take (consistently at any rate) is the Gun Wagon, and because of the limited number of shots they produce you will need two squads to bring the satutration fire necessary to deal with drones and (to a lesser extent) Minders. You also want your AA spread over the roster, so these squads get split into two battlegroups, becoming lone wolves rather than pack hunters, and generally populating the slot on their own. Nothing wrong with this, it's a survivable unit, it's just weird...

Also scout and exotic squads are everywhere; it's like someone sneezed on BG selections and everywhere snot fell a slot was added.

2) Massed Infantry
Touching on this again, I've literally never run squads in APCs. It's fine and it works, but dear god was it a culture shock. Trying to gauge whether a central building is reachable with your Kraken and Battlebusses 22" deployment for turn 2 can be a real pain in the arse. It does allow for drive-bys with your vets though, so easy come, easy go.

3) My Guns Bring All The Boys To The Yard
I think this is just the host in me talking, but are there enough bullets left in the cradle worlds to fill all the machine guns? They are on everything (I expect most of the fighters have a Sex Machine-esk groinal attachment)!! Which, by the way is awesome, because if you hadn't noticed Freeriders, ATVs and Medussa are rampant these days. It adds an extra spectrum to traditional AT units like the Hannibal and Cyclones, keeping the choices throughout list building fairly tricky to make still, which is as it should be.

4) Cards In Favour Of Humanity
After first reading them on release, I thought we were looking at one of the best decks. In reality though, they're fine, not bad, but fine. I've found that most of the useful cards which populate the deck are very specific or reactionary which can be hard to plan to. Resilience is great to stop a unit dying, but I would prefer a card to stop the necessity for Resilience in the first place... Picking up a handful of cards to find you can't really plan for anything with them is a little frustrating, especially after the alpha edge of the Scourge, and the nimble tinkering of the Shaltari, but I guess it fits the theme well enough.

On a side note, I've found the allies deck far more useful than the Ferral. The extra Infantry in CQBs and occasional cheeky template can be very handy indeed.

5) Dominance
There is no other army that can beat the Reistance for sheer table presence. Having limited air units means everything is on the ground, and boy is it scary. Running into the path of a Thunderstorm is enough to make the most grizzled veteran need to change their khakis.

With the sheer amount of rusty automobiles scattering the table, it'll come as no surprise that the Resistance are great for focal point missions. The chunky units like Thunderstorms, Hannibals and Zhukovs, and at a push two or three Freeriders are excellent for controlling FP, and hard to remove units like Krakens and Busses (yes, the humble bus has 4 DP and are a pain in the arse) contest superbly.

5) The Hells Angels
Of course they get a mention, The wheels of doom and most controversial units on the scene;
Freeriders and Attack/Scout ATVs. Unrealistically quick, unbelievably annoying and unintentionally dangerous. I haven't made a point of not taking many Freeriders, it just suits my lists not too, but the fact people like our very own gimp Joe can spam them speaks volumes. They are just so very useful! Too useful? Yeah, I think so. They're still too fast, to be honest. 16"? I mean, really? How are their faces not all stretched from all the G's, leaving copious amounts of slack cheek flesh.

I've added a squad of Scout ATVs to the list and after a single game I already know they are too much. The jury is still out on the Attack ATVs, although they feel more balanced. I'm not sure that any of these guys will get out of the next errata without a few bullet holes, if I'm being frank. Also the same stands if I'm being Dan too.

All in I'm very happy with my junk town boys and girls, and they are definitely the change I needed after playing with Scourge for so long. I read somewhere the other day that someone (specific, I know) felt they were too 'High Fantasy' in comparison with the other races, and it's true. Why do Gun Wagons hit on a 2+, but Rapiers 3+? It's crazy! On a mechanics level they work great though, and are neither too strong or too soft as the meta stands.

Invasion is sure to be a blast!


  1. I agree about the Scout ATV's. They are too much in their current incarnation. They need toning down. And you are right Free-riders are far too fast. Their max. movement should be 9" and MF of 6"
    And yes, Invasion is too soon after the last one. The dust has barely settled. But as you said Hawk have a busy schedule.

    1. I think one of the main things is that there is no point of having a Kraken to these guys. Decreasing effective range would help. Especially on the Scout ATV's.

      What is so difficult with an early Invasion? If it had been in february the Swedes wouldn't be able to attend. :-)


    2. I'd just prefer it if they were 6 months apart, but as Darios has said, 1 a year would be absolutely fine. GW used to do it with the Grand tournament. Have a pinnacle event

  2. Cant. Wait. See you on the 30th & 31st!

  3. I totally agree on the scout atvs... Range reduction to 9 inch would probably do the deal. As for the attack ones i guess they are okay. Freeriders are the shit (as in unrealistically fast) but that might be needed as a replacement for light ds. Still think every evasion value above 1 is silly

    Oh and as to the invasion timing: way to early... How the hell are we supposed to fly over there so often? And besides i think just one invasion is enough per annum... Because frankly hawk is starting to seriously fall behind in its realeases and timeplan... Tournament pack 2016 anyone?

  4. And that is why Resistance is so darn fun to play!

    Sadly Team Sweden are loosing members so I have to travel alone with Egge this time...

  5. Great article. Agree with all it.

    I think Attack ATVs are the best designed of the new Resistance units, though I have some reservations about the mechanic of gas counters.

    Resistance are the best looking and most varied faction in the game but their rules... oh dear.

    They've become the "fantasy faction" of the game with old civilian buses getting more DPs than heavy tanks, ninja riders who can move faster than aircraft while dodging an entire army firing at them and advanced jamming buggies that put the advanced alien species to shame.

    Hawk could have a product with a unique niche in the market if they kept Dropzone Commander as a plausible, near future, science fiction game.

    If I want "over the top" stuff, I play 40K. I hope Hawk reign all this in and don't let their game turn into 40K in 10mm.

    There's nothing wrong with 40K, it's just another style of game. But why would a company copy 40K instead of offering something new and unique?

    /rant :D

    1. bay area has been losing players due to this. it is disheartening, but i hope the local game store has some scout atv's for las vegas, haha

    2. Do you mean losing players because of the Resistance, or Scout ATVs? Either way it seems a little short sided on their part.

    3. I was referencing the comparison to 40k as new units become staples, replacing old units. It becomes an arms race

    4. I think it's hardly got that bad. True some newer units are strong in the current meta, but rules will catch up.

      Regarding that though, I will say that units should be written to update a meta in a balanced fashion, rather break it a little and then play catch up after.

      The core armies and rules are solid still though, and we are a far cry away from 40k.

    5. I agree that they're being hyperbolic, but perception means a lot. I am just relaying info.

    6. I know, I'm not getting at you bud. Wargamers ehy, whatcha gonna do?

  6. Think the Hawk guys said they wanted to see the Scout ATV's at a tournament first before cracking down on them but yes they're OTT at the moment. Glad to see you've taken that parasite out of your back and joined the true fight as well Dan. Looks like I'll have more than just Joe to beat to get top Resistance back

    1. We'll see, I'm still learning their ways at the mo, so Invasion is going to be interesting for sure!

  7. Great article. I concur on all your points on Resistance.


  8. That was me making the point about Resistance being 'high fantasy' in an otherwise fairly hard-SF game.

    I haven't played much - and am grateful for there being 2 invasions a year as I've been able to come to two Spring ones, competing in my first this year, but not been able to make any of the Autumn ones.

    I find the Resistance much less fun to play against than the other armies, because they just don't feel right to me. I love the background, but unlike the others, for me the rules don't match the background.