Friday, 8 July 2016

Critty E This Weekend And Our New Missions

It's here! It's here! It's finally here! We can finally stop banging on about selling tickets, and actually enjoy the event!

Critical Engagement 2016 is taking place tomorrow and we will be infrequently posting updates to our Twitter (@OBDZC) and the Dropzone Commander Community page over the day. If you haven't followed us or joined the page, what are you doing? Leave, go and do it now! All done? Good. Those of you still resisting the bright lights and indecent proposals of social media will unfortunately miss out on this content on the day, as we will not be posting pictures on the forum due to the awkwardness of it. We are sure to stick up a follow up post some time soon however, so you won't completely miss out.

As the tourney is on Saturday we may not have a post ready for Monday, but will back to normal on Friday. If Tech Boy manages to find the time we may even have a scrapbook of the event ready for your visual entertainment next week!

With this tournament we have attempted to be a little different in order to make it a little more accessible for new players with 1000 point list limits, but also by mixing the standard mission format up a bit. You can find our new mission set here.

Why bother changing the missions? Well let's have a little goosey gander at them and we can tell you why...

The Change; The addition of a single objective in a hardened building in the centre of the table, and quarter scoring on turns 3 and 6.

Why?; Ground Control is a staple tournament mission, and although there is not strictly anything wrong with it the nature of the mission dictates a certain play style. The most typical way this mission is played is to keep your troops off the table until turn 4, 5 or even 6, and then jettison them towards buildings to earn those delicious double points and tilt the balance of the game. By the very nature of this manoeuvre some races will be better than others at this mission. PHR for example, now host the most manoeuvrable, expensive and durable infantry in the game. The Valkyries and Medusa give an enormous boost to the Tin-Heads! Resistance also have numerous and survivable infantry units and excel in Ground Control. By adding an objective players are now forced to deploy at least some of their Infantry at the beginning of the turn, which opens up late game manoeuvres and makes the whole affair more exciting!

Talking about excitement, normal GC is a little guilty of having very little as games can turn into a cat and mouse affair, and then boil down into a game of Countdown. By introducing scoring on turns 3 and 6 you are again forced to be a little more open with your deployment and contest all quarters early on. I can see this perhaps favouring some armies over others, but some races just prefer focal point games, and that can't be helped.

The Change; Armour 8 buildings all around, and a focal point which scores in turns 2, 4 and 6.

Why?; Normal Take and Extract is a garbage mission, which heavily favours armies like the Resistance and Shaltari who have a lot of points on the ground. The single focal point meant you could hide everything, dump it on the objective in turn 6 and win. Also each player had two objective buildings, so if you played against a demo list with a little bad luck you could end up with no objectives and only contesting the FP, resulting in a 1 - 6 loss. Garbage.

We've kept the same number of objectives but moved two to mid-table. This means each player has access to three objectives, and even better than that will have to combat their opponent in order to get hold of 2 of them! True, you could destroy one or both of the buildings, but it's not that easy to fell A8 buildings and especially with 1000 point lists. Troops deployed mid-table means there is a reason for the rest of your forces to deploy to counter your opponents deployment, as you need to preserve your most precious of resources; your infantry.

Oh, and of course there's a focal point that gives out more points than a arrow manufacturer. Rather than huddle back and wait for turn 6, you will likely need to be at that focal point for at least 2 of the 3 scoring turns in order to win the game. I'm really looking forward to seeing how this mission pans out!

The change; Placing two of the focal points in buildings, and having only one score more points on your opponents board side. Also I think this was full length board deployment originally too? I think.

Why?; Although this isn't a terrible mission it's far from perfect. Well, far from being good really. Having the 2 focal points on your opponents board half score in the original made the Shaltari the kings of Surging Strike! Move up a couple of gates and spew out a couple of Jags in turn 5, and you're laughing. By reducing this to one it gives a more specific focus area for all army types to aim for. Does this still seem a little slanted towards 'faster' armies? Well, remember it is still next to the L-shaped deployment area of your enemy so it will be a very dangerous place to deploy indeed!

The 2 focal points in buildings is very interesting. Very interesting indeed. Before if you saw an opponent would be winning a FP and you couldn't get units to it, there was nothing you could do about it. Now you have the option of allocating resources to just getting rid of it! Again, remember we are using 1000 point lists so a 30 point building will take most to all of your armies resources in a turn, so you will really have to commit to the destruction of FP.

The Change; The addition of a special 'WMD objective' in the central building, which if held is worth 1 point, and if extracted from your opponents deployment zone is worth 3. It cannot be extracted from your deployment zone.

Why?; The mission balance is pretty fine in standard Military Complex to be honest, and this mechanic has been included to add a little spice to a mission that is, let's be honest, a little vanilla. It adds gambling to the mission; if you get the WMD do you hold it for a solitary, pathetic, single point, or risk the gauntlet for a massive 3? It's a good dilemma to present to gamers! This mission harks back from our first Critty E, so we know it works.

And there we have it! All our missions. Tell us what you think, and if you decide to play any (and you should, they're great) feedback is always welcome!


  1. I like that you guys are using A8 buildings.

  2. Oh! Must test these out sometime! Just a question. In the first mission you say that units inside transports don't contribute to the quarter. Do you mean that or do you actually mean aerial transports..?

    1. No, all units in transports. Infantry in APC's, anything in a Kraken, etc. Got to be on the table to count. How can you help contest an onbjective if you are tucked away inside your transport?

    2. I don't know! Ask Hawk! ;)

      But yeah, I can agree on that.

  3. Like them all. I feels I have seen versions of them somewhere :-).

    For ground control I still think it is slightly better with full scoring in turn 3 and 6 otherwise you get the time where it isn't any point to commit to a quarter. With contesting you have to contest even if you are outpowered and might even be forced to sacrifice units to succeed. But this might be better for 1000pts though.

    Take and extract is a very nice version. Forcing people to get into the center early. When we have played it +style like you we have found it is very easy the center get way to clear from obstacles. Make sure you place some buildings close to the center.

    Mission 3 would work well in a 1500pts game as well. The neutral buildings with focal points are something both player can destroy during the game anyhow so I think it is a good way to make sure players have the option to kill off points as well.

    Mission 4. I think the center objective should be in a bunker. Just to make absolutely sure you can't just destroy the key cool thing with the mission. But it is a good variation on the military complex.

    All interesting and fun ideas and variations! Well done.

    1. The scale up to 1500 would require a tweak here and there for sure. Having the WMD in a bunker would work, and would also be pretty thematic too!

  4. They look fun.

    Since LVO I've thought Critical Location in Take and Extract would be good, and you nearly have it (CL scores every turn after the first, Yours is even numbered turns). Have you guys experimented with the Critical Locations?

    My last game was Surging Strike out of the book w/ 2 of the FPs in buildings. Both buildings survived as you are compelled to try and seize it for the bonus point rather than destroy it.

    The WMD gives me ideas.

    1. I haven't played with CL since the alpha rules for them, so am not sure if they've changed or not since then. At the time they were fun to play with though. The surging strike game was very interesting at 1000pts, one of our buildings did actually get destroyed.

  5. I ran all of these except Surging Strike in our last tournament a few weeks ago, but at 1,500 points. I used your rules from an earlier post, which are slightly different than these, but I think it worked out very well.

    A couple of our veteran guys are very much opposed to A8 buildings in so many missions in the same tournament, as it c-a-n favor certain armies over others. Notably, UCM was mentioned (although, having played a demo-capable UCM list a few times recently, I disagreed), and Scourge, as being a bit unfair to, and favoring Shaltari (we like our Ocelots, we do!) a bit too much. The consensus is, in general, that more bunkers might be better. We're working on this...

    I like Egge's suggestion that the MWD building be a bunker. That does make sense, and preserves the intent of that variation, I think.

    You mentioned them needing a few tweaks to be better at 1,500 points. What tweaks were you thinking of?

    I really like Tech Boy's Scrapbooks, so looking forward to that!

    And, yes, I've taken the bait and allowed myself to be sucked into the La Brea Tar Pit of the Internet: Facebook! Spending more time there these days, but trying to ration myself. Got your updates, tho, so thanks for those!

    Hope everyone had fun! Ta!, as you say... 8^D

    1. I think everyone had fun, but I know I did so that's all that matters really ;)

      In regards to tweaks, I like the bunker idea for the WMD. Although only a few got extracted in the end, it is still very valuable. Some people would have liked to seen Ground Control score 2-1 instead of 1-0 on turn 3, although that might have been personal preference.

    2. I can see that, and to Egge's point, if it's 2-1 it encourages folks to make sure they have *something* in each quarter...

      I've always liked Surging Strike, or at least the concept of it, but I can see the bum-rush tactics that could be employed (not sure I ever played vs a Shaltari army in that scenario), so I like what you've done with it here. Normally I'm not a fan of putting a focal point in a building, either, but I can see the logic of doing it at 1,000 points. Just not sure whether that would work at 1,500 or if it would once again favor certain armies; not certain builds, because the other scenarios in a tournament should offset those, but just certain armies in particular are inherently better at general demo, while it challenges others a bit too much...