Friday, 15 April 2016

Escalation Campaign - OB style

For a while now I've wanted to build the player base at our club. You might think that we have loads already (we do have quite a few regular players), but we have a lot of veterans of the game. This can sometimes be very daunting for new players, and could even put them off - especially with the calibre of veteran we have.

Over Christmas and the early part of the year I thought about and decided to apply to become an official Hawk Talon. We at OB have been rather privileged with a tremendous amount of access to Hawk. Living close by, and being regular, high level players of the Dropzone Commander helps too. But the games still needs to grow. Too often do I see on the Facebook community, players selling models because there is no interest in their area. 
What little I can do to grow the community, I will do. 

Applying to be a Hawk Talon meant I had to do some more painting. Even with all 5 armies, I didn't have 2 fully painted starter sets (who uses Invaders and Tomahawks anyway?!?!?). So I finished up painting some Kukri, and Tomahawks, some Scourge Warriors and Invaders and a Bear and ended up with 3 fully painted starter sets. My application was accepted and I started work on preparing an escalation campaign

The format is very simple and is aimed at getting players from starter box up to 1500 points over a few months. We normally set aside the first Friday of each month as a dedicated campaign night, but players are free to 'catch up' their games during the month. 

2 starter box games on 48” wide x 33” long board against different opponents
Mission 1: Targets of Opportunity (3 medium centre buildings)
Mission 2: Land Grab (3 focal points)

Game Week 1 ready to start

Some tense action

2x 750 point skirmish games 48” x 48” 
Mission 1: Military Complex (3 centre buildings 1 large 2 medium)
Mission 2: Surging Strike (3 focal points)

Game Week 2 - 750 points is tricky

Tech Boy not so happy to be facing 7 Resistance infantry at 750 points!!!

1000 point clash game 48” x 48”
Mission: Encroachment
Contenders? READY! Gladiators? READY!!

TechBoy getting into Shaltari

Guy's PHR looming

Tim's Shaltari in action

1250 point clash game 48” x 48”
Mission: Recon+ (6=Focal Point, 2-5=Intel, 1=Intel and bomb)

1500 point clash game 48” x 48”

Mission: Secure the Flanks

Prizes for everyone
We have got some nice campaign prizes from Hawk (thanks guys) and everyone is really enjoying so far. 

I asked one of the new players to do a little piece about why he started and his first impressions of the game. 
So I present Bryan......  

Starting Dropzone Commander: a letter home from Boot Camp

Hi everyone, Bryan here! I’m one of the regulars at the First Founding Games Club, home of the Orbital Bombardment boys and a newbie to the wonderful world of Dropzone Commander. You may have seen my hands and barely primed UCM in such August articles as “Rediscovering Shenanigans” and Epitude Rusk’s “Drop Zone Commander Kid Part 1”.
I’m having a lot of fun playing in the Escalation League organised by MegaMike, and he suggested I write a few words about my experiences of DZC so far.

So out of all the various game systems available at the moment, why start DZC?  I’d been curious about the game for a while, with a lot of the club regulars obviously getting a lot of enjoyment out the system, heard that the game is balanced for competitive play, and that Hawk are actively involved with the community.  So a well-regarded and supported system and pretty much guaranteed to get a game on club night. All good so far!
Follow that up with a really good value starter set (terrain and play mats, full rules, models), a freebie army builder (FFOR) for mucking about with army lists, an escalation campaign and I got suckered in. (Mike *may* have subtly encouraged me, and the final tick in the box is the opportunity to attend tournaments in the future and listen to Sgt. Slaughter forging his narrative; always a pleasure).
Which faction? Easy peasy; pick the one I like the look of the most. UCM it is then.  Even choosing a colour scheme has been simple. I’d just watched Ant-Man and an army of tiny super-dudes tickled my fancy. Hence I've chosen a garish yellow and black scheme, inspired by Yellow Jacket for my men. 

I’m now 3 months into my DZ journey and have enjoyed all the games so far. I’m usually “Mr. Read the forums and blogs and try to learn everything” for the games I play but I’m taking a different tack for Dropzone; learn by playing.

·      I’ve got a vague handle on the rules and what my units do but I’m really just throwing them out there to see how they perform.
·      I’m reading the missions as they come up in the league and building a list accordingly. Building a 'take all comers' list is going to be a real challenge!
·      As for the other factions I’m discovering rules, units, strengths & weaknesses as I encounter them on the table – it’s making the games a surprise and really enjoyable.
And my thoughts on the game so far?
I’m really enjoying the game play; very tactical but easy for a beginner to pick up.
I love the variety of missions; objectives, focal points, and so on.
I love the ability to interact with the terrain and re-shape the battle field (i.e. demo).
I love the puzzle like approach to list building, trying to balance the AA, AT, infantry, demo and so on. Many happy evenings spent playing with FFOR and spamming Mike on messenger with my noob lists.
The community is great; the league has veterans mixing with raw beginners and all my opponents have been good fun to play against so far. 
What not’s so hot? I’m not convinced that the nebulous “balance” gamers seek is necessarily there; it may be my inexperience with the system but there definitely seems to be a pecking order of units within the UCM faction with some “must takes” and some “don’t takes”. I’d like to see everything get a place on the table top.
And what’s next? Longer term there’s a league to finish up and a tournament at the club to go get a pass for.
More immediately I need to write my shopping list for Salute.

Until next time.

I hope you found that interesting. Bryan is a veteran gamer and his insights into the game are very useful. 
Once all the games have been played I will update with results 

Happy wargaming everyone


  1. Great article! Really interesting to read and it was a good addition inserting a newbie as well. Thanks Mike and Brian.

  2. They finally got the pins out. NIce only 12-18 months late :(