Monday, 7 March 2016

UK Admiral Beta day

Fore note: This post will NOT have any rules, ship points, fleet lists etc. It is my run through of the day and how it went, along with my feelings on the game as we stand.

Being a local Talon (now official since early Feb) I was asked if I wanted to help Hawk out at the UK Admiral Beta test day. Obviously I jumped at the chance.
I am in at Commodore level (and some, with all the extra shineys), but having had a couple of play-tests of the rules (pre-beta) I guess I'm in a decent position to help out.

I arrived early and had the task of assisting the set-up of the tables.......there were 35 of them - that's bigger than any Invasion so far!

I was sent to de-bag and fix the UCM to their flight stands, adding flight stands to Scourge, sorting out activation cards and dumping tokens on tables.
There was a buzz about the Hawk guys, even though they must have been utterly knackered from all the late nights gluing models and getting the rules ready.
The doors flung open to the eagerly awaiting Admirals (and their +1s), all resplendent in their white uniforms ...... hello sailor!

Well ok, no-one actually turned up in their uniform; more's the pity.

The cabinets were full of the wonderfully painted miniatures, including all the PHR.

There were Space Station bits (1 sprues worth, apparently you get 4 sprues per box, and if you've seen the BoW video then it's going to be a fabulous addition to the game).

There was also a painted up Princess cruise liner. Personally my favourite ship model, and it looks gorgeous all painted in a shimmering silver.

Then my favourite bits of gaming accessory ever. The resin cluster packs. These are so, so detailed. I can't wait to get my hands on these, and they are in scale with the ships, that is just insane.

 Below are some other pictures I took of the cabinet

The Adamant (Battle Cruiser)

The Basilisk (Battle Cruiser)
After a brief announcement and catching up with familiar faces, all the Admirals were assigned a random table. Luckily for me there were an odd number of attendees, so I stepped in and played some games.
The tables looked amazing. It is unconfirmed whether the mats we played on are to be the ones in the 2 player starter set, if they are then that is superb.

Tables ready to play on
I'd had a good read thorough of the Beta rules, and then again some crucial bits, plus I had a fair bit of prior knowledge too.

The first game my opponent and I were very free in our discussions about what ships did and how they acted, there was a lot of looking through the rules for what happens when etc but it was really smooth to play. The rules (as they stand) are very clear and simple to pick up and understand. It's really easy to pick up and play.

I was playing Scourge as my opponent wanted to play UCM (perfect for me as Scourge or Shaltari will be my factions for DfC). The mission for the day was 3 medium clusters along the centre line. There were victory points for having the most tonnage of ships within 6" of a cluster at the end of each turn and for owning a cluster with ground assets at the end of the game.

The game ended with a 14-2 win for me and we both learned a lot.

It seemed that the Scourge were taking an early lead over the first game among all the Admirals.

About half way through the game
After lunch (a triple carbs mountain of Chicken burger, curly fries and pasta!) we were told we could free play. I had been chatting with Iron Skies of the Hawk forum and First Wave pod fame so we decided to throw some dice. Adam wanted to play UCM so I happily obliged.

After both learning a lot from our first games it was a tight affair. We knew which ships were useful, and which to remove as early as possible. It ended as a 12-9 win for me but I lost all but 2 frigates. This shares a lot of comparisons with Dropzone, in that you can still win a mission and get your ships slaughtered. Dice weren't with me when I needed it, and launch assests are awesome!

I managed to squeeze in 1 more game before I had to get my arse back home (it doesn't count as baby-sitting when it's your own kids, but essentially it's what I had to do). I played a guy called Steve who I had had some lengthy chats with during the day. I knew him from Dropzone too.

I let Steve choose which faction he wanted to play, he chose UCM, so a hat-trick of Scourge games for me....awesome!! This game was very tight, it seemed as we all played and learned through the day, we all got better at the game. I lost out by 1 victory point 8-9 and it was a very exciting game that could easily have gone either way. It went down to the last ground asset combat in the last activation of the last turn.

I thoroughly enjoyed the day and the games. I don't think anyone went home unhappy. All the Hawk guys and Andy Chambers himself were on hand to answer any queries the players had, I found myself answering a lot of questions too. All the Admirals will be reporting their feedback to Hawk and probably  definitely playing some more over the coming weeks and months.

As I said before I really like the feel of the game, and although we only played starter box level I can see the tactical depth. Hawk are on to a winner here. I think with a little tweek here and there and some fleshing out of the parts that weren't needed for the beta days, it's going to be an exceptional rule set.

It's whet my my appetite even more for June. I CAN NOT wait for my models to arrive!


  1. One thing thats bothering me is, where are the guns on the scourge ships? They are visible on all the other races, so why not the scourge?

    1. They are the eyes, the nodes in the side, things like that. Very organic like.

    2. Once you get a closer look at the models and the weapons (especially the names of the weapons) you understand the design. They are not blatant "in your face" barrels like UCM, PHR and Shaltari.
      I like it a lot, makes them more organic

  2. Nice report! I look forward to trying the game. But I get some small vibes that is might not be (as) suitable for tournament in the same manner as DZC. Is that right?

    1. no, I disagree. I can see it working fine for a tournament. I think there is a lot of tactical flexibility. Especially in fleet list design.

  3. I can't wait till this Saturday for me to go. I am excited!

  4. I was at the Admiral day too and I have to say this is a mighty good game. Still needs a bit of polish, as the rules contradict themselves or need a little more clarification in a few places but that can soon be resolved. The UCM seemed a little more difficult to get to grips with than the Scourge but the games were immensely enjoyable which ever fleet you used. Roll on June!!!

  5. That sounds really nice. I bought in at only Lieutenant level and compensated with a bunch of bolt-ons, but unfortunately that means no beta testing. And I have to admit, without much knowledge of the rules or how the Scourge play in DFC, I'm having a very hard time choosing between them and the PHR.

    1. From what I've seen and played, Scourge are very similar to Dropzone. fast, and deadly at short range. Not so effective at long range.
      PHR will be very positional. They will pump out a lot of damage if they are in the right place

    2. In DZC, I went with Scourge first because they seemed like they needed more tactical thinking than the PHR to get the most out of them. Now, in DFC, it's looking like that will fall more in the PHR's court. Would you agree?

    3. I think that scourge will be difficult as you need them in position to fire effectively, but I think that is true of all factions.
      Probably more so with phr and Scourge

    4. Scourge felt pretty powerful to me at the U.S. Admirals Day. I know that in my first game playing Scourge and my second game playing UCM the Scourge rocked it. Although I probably got too aggressive with the UCM in my second game...

      PHR, I think, you're right, Mike, definitely need to position them properly to get the most out of the broadsides, and after some play experience I think other factions are going to know how to position their ships to try to avoid being caught with a PHR ship between them. But that all remains to be seen, as we didn't get to use the PHR at the Admirals Days....

  6. Thanks for sharing! I was hoping for some pictures of the painted fleets with the play mat and those painted cluster tokens.

    1. I don't have time for your sarcasm ;)

    2. :D Actually, that wasn't sarcasm... I was tired and a bit in a hurry when I wrote this. What I meant was that I had hopes for seeing painted miniatures with the actually content from the starter. Sorry if my ranting ended up on your blog. :P (Just like all the other Swedish ranting)

    3. Yeah, Snolb! Shut up with your ranting, bitching and whining and writing disgusting things! Instead, follow my good example. /Egge

    4. It's ok, but there wasn't a display with painted fleets, clusters and the mat. If you know any Murican Admiral backers, you could ask them (nicely) to set it up and take photos, or ask Hawk to do it
      ....and don't worry, we still love you.

    5. That is a good idea! The DzC-day in US is this Saturday right?

    6. Yeah think so, and euro one in Germainia is the week after as far as I know

  7. Am I the only one that wants to name their Cruise Ship "Fhlostan Paradise?"

  8. So looking forward to the Saturday and the U.S. Admirals Day! I've got the flight from Chicago to Portland to read the beta rules. Brought my dice and tape measure with, so I should be all set. Too bad I couldn't talk anyone into being my +1 -- A lot of folks wanted to, but it's kinda expensive and Portland's not exactly a "central" location (really, Hawk?). The good news for me is that my client is paying for my airfare, cuz they would've paid for me to fly home for the weekend, but this is actually cheaper for them. So I just have to pay for my hotel (the Crowne Plaza? Really, Hawk? You couldn't find a Holiday Inn with a large room???)

    Oh, well, that's nothing compared to how I'm going to have to explain to my wife about the rather large shipment of DfC goodies that will be arriving at my doorstep in June -- between an Admiral pledge and the bolt-ons that I couldn't resist, I think I might get skinned alive! If only I can intercept that shipment when it arrives, but I'm likely to be out of town on business... Pray for me, guys!

    Glad you got to go to the UK Admirals Day, Mike! 8^D

    1. J.D! Can you talk the Hawk guys to take some photos of some painted ships with the map and the painted clusters? I really want to see all that stuff together. :)

    2. Sorry, bud! I didn't see this until just now. It was a crazy busy weekend. I only spent 36 hours in Portland, and that included time at the airport. Lol! I'll try to post about it on my blog, but now I'm back to work and that's crazy busy, too...

      Watch for Narfka (Gary, of Faeit 212 fame) posting on his site. I played him first game, and he took a bunch of pictures.

      The maps are wonderful, and the painted models look fantastic. I took a bunch of pictures of the painted models and will include them in my blog post when (if) I can get it done...