Friday, 9 September 2016

Guest Review: Coastal Assault

One of the bonuses of being a circus of four bloggers is that normally at least one of us can get to a Dropzone Commander event anywhere across the country! Unfortunately our intel somewhat let us down this time, and it turned out that we were either indisposed, at a different tournament, or on a boat in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea.

With Coastal Assault storming towards us like a surprise tsunami, what we needed was an elite agent to infiltrate and document the events that transpired. Enter our first ever OBFR Agent (OB False Recon), Michael Russell! As the organiser of the event he seemed the perfect fit to report on his tournament, so without further ado, I hand you over to Micky R;

When today started I must admit I was enjoying the blissful ignorance of what lay in store for me, and there was nothing really out of the ordinary until that fateful lunchtime when my phone popped up with a message from everyone’s favourite Orbital Bombardment Scourge host, Dan Cates. What could possibly cause those who occupy the lofty heights of Dropzone blogging to cast their gaze upon such a lowly Talon as I? If you haven’t worked that bit out already you might want to take a moment to think about what you’re reading.

So yes, I’ve been asked to write a post about my recent tournament; Coastal Assault. More excitingly Dan has retained editing rights... Hmm. Hopefully this report will just be covered in more Jelly propaganda after he’s finished with it... [Dan; I've just added some pictures of darling Scourge holiday spots, that the nasty cattle are depriving us of! #hostsb4humans]

Firstly however, who am I? Well, I’m Michael, PHR-toting Talon of Sussex Extraordinaire (more commonly known as Ravanar on the forums)! With two weeks to go before Invasion and an indeterminate amount of time before Dropfleet lands, I organised a tournament at Dice Saloon in Brighton for 16 players. Running a tournament is always one of those unique learning experiences, where you mostly forget the lesson learned the year before of not leaving everything to the last minute, and leave everything until the last minute.

This time however I learnt something new; make sure you have a spot player / odd man / ringer to hand. That’s right, I had the unfortunate pleasure of both running and playing in the tournament at the same time! Given the commitments required by both tasks on the day, all eight tables were set up the night before the tourney. I had made some overindulgent purchases from Dark Ops in the weeks running up to the tourney and using these buildings, some Blotz structures and donations from a few of the local players, we had our theatres of war. I also included some lesser-spotted trees on a couple of tables for some variation from the standard.

Coastal Assault was set up to be three rounds long, played over the course of one day. As a standard 1500 point tournament I needed to apply no comps, although the release of Reconquest Phase 2 did provide some new flavours to our beloved, existing forces. For my part I had taken a list using units exclusively from the core rulebook,which when using PHR is a bold set these days it seems. That said, the only thing I felt the absence of throughout the day was my Nemesis.

Game 1: Military Complex 
Would you deprive an adorable
Scourge a paradise like this?
The first round was the staple objective grab, Military Complex. The pairings were randomised with myself being drawn against one of the Brighton locals, Aron and his Scourge. Aron had opted for a large squad of nine drive-on Hunters to maximise the bonuses from his Overseer. His list also boasted an Oppressor, and had some token infantry and Destroyers backed up by Minders and Monitors. Being faced with a list capable of mighty feats of demolition was daunting to say the least, but getting a lucky break by downing the Destroyer transport (and killing everyone on board when it crashed) made me feel a bit more confident about the mess. 

A bit of back and forth play followed between my Ares and the Hunters which eventually lead to my taking the lead. A last turn gambit from the Overseer changed that unfortunately when my Triton carrying the remaining objective was gunned down, leaving the objective unsecured on the table. Aron, being ever the opportunist, swept in with his remaining Hunters which had been proceeding up the board and took possession, leaving the final score at 11-9 to me after kill points were added (which I’ll admit, after losing about 1000 points of models I wasn’t coming ahead on)

Game 2: Surging Strike 
After a brief lunch (the venue sold food, so eating whilst playing was an option) and some frantic inputting on the laptop we were ready for round 2. I was paired against Paul Brook and his Phoneix lead, tank heavy UCM. For the first few turns my Janus and Sirens stormed up the right flank, followed by my Immortals, and some Ares and Phobos. Paul had opted to mostly focus on the left flank, so save for a token defence from a unit of Katanas those forces had little to do for the early parts of the game. An early drawing of Black project saw the Phoenix cavalierly jumping from building to building in a successful effort to avoid my AA, while it got into position for the final push onto my home focal point. Paul's Sabres being of a bolder state of mind pushed forward and engaged my walkers in a stand up fight, which didn’t go too well for them to start with... One Sabre however appeared to be made of solid diamond, and took the combined fire of two Ares, an Odin and a Zeus for three turns before succumbing to the inevitable! The latter stages of the game were the usual frantic scrambles to secure points, deny them to the opposing force and curse bad dice rolls. When the dust settled I was controlling three points and contesting one, with Paul contesting three and controlling two which equalled out to a draw.

These Humans, invading and ruining our illustrious cities.
Game 3: Careful Advance
The final game was one of the newer scenarios from Reconquest Phase 2 and my first time playing it against Marco and his UCM. With two Critical Points and three Objectives in play I opted for a more aggressive play and surged forwards to capture the points early on with my walkers, while my Sirens stormed towards the central objective. Marco opted for a slower play which cost him in this scenario, and allowed me to take an early lead before pushing the Critical Points in the latter turns. After finding my home objective the APC carrying it was annihilated in spectacular style by the only competent shot from Marco's Kodiak, leaving the objective in the crater tantalisingly close to my deployment zone. My Sirens, after finding the central objective, swooped in to retrieve the fallen prize only to have their dropship shot out from under them by Marco's relentlessly advancing Rapiers (which avoided being Weapon Hacked through a cheeky Espionage)! This meant frustratingly I was only able to hold both objectives rather than extracting them. This was enough to keep me ahead though, and after killpoints were added the final score was 15-5 in my favour. 

After a hard days gaming came the award ceremony. The podium was;
  1. Tim Jones - Scourge 
  2. Dave Clark - Shaltari 
  3. Adam Cox - PHR. 
All factions were represented, with Scourge being the most numerous with five players and Shaltari the least with only one. With regards to any major changes to lists following the new book, the most noticeable was the increased number of Scourge tanks present due to the presence of the Overseer. The new scenarios and Critical Locations added some much needed variety to the games available and I’ll be eager to include them in the future at my next event. 
Visit Parasite Palms, our hosts will make you feel right at home
In parting then, after three rounds of gaming, organising and being collared for a blog post of all things (incidentally my first ever), I’m eager for a moment to catch my breath before deciding what to bring to Invasion; I think I’ll be looking at the older units more fondly and trying them out. While it hasn't necessarily caused the largest of impacts, I’m happy with what Reconquest Phase 2 has brought to the gaming table for organising events (although the boundaries on the kill point bonuses changing caught a few people by surprise). Thanks for reading, and I hope to see as many of you as I can at Invasion!


  1. Looks like it was really good fun - and the tables look good too. I was really sorry not to have been able to make it. Really hope I can make the next one!

    Also, I'll have to get an Overseer too...

  2. Great writeup, Michael, thank you!

    Nice showing with only Core PHR Units!

    Nice tables, too!

    And 16 players! Impressive! I'm hoping we can swell our ranks with bleed over from any excitement raised by Dropfleet, and a new FLGS opening in (hopefully) early November. Our current FLGS has, unfortunately, had to close its doors, at least temporarily. We're all hoping that they will open again, soon, but in the meantime I'm going to have to venture over to the West Valley to a very nice LGS over there -- it's an hour away at this time of night, midnight in a Saturday night, but the trek runs thru the heart of downtown Phoenix, which adds at least a half an hour to the trip during the day on pretty much any day, and that's being optimistic. But, the owner has stocked Dropzone in the past, so it's a good excuse to "have to" go all that way to try to rekindle some interest in DzC on that side of The Valley of the Sun. ("Sorry, Honey, but I HAVE to spend the gas to get there -- it's for The Cause, and all!" LOL.)

    Only one Shaltari player, and yet he came in Second Place? Still strong... Did he bring a Panther? If so, do you know how it did?

    Sometimes I like to play in the events I run, when I have to be the ringer, and sometimes I'm very grateful when we get an even number of players and I can wander from table to table, and post status updates on the Hawk forum, and just concentrate on running the event. Interestingly enough, people do read what I post during the event -- not many, but enough to make it worthwhile for me to take the time to do it.

    When is your next event? Don't wait a year to hold another one! 8^D

    Thanks again!

  3. Hi JD we usually have two tournaments a year two weeks before invasions and I was the only shaltari player there, I had one Panther and to be honest in two games in didn't do much but make my opponent play cautiously and In the other game where my opponent didn't hide
    turn 1 he killed a typhoon
    turn 2 he killed a lift hawk which rolled a 6 to kill the Alex on board too
    Turn 3 he killed typhoon
    Turn 4 he killed a barrel bomber
    Turn 5 he killed a barrel bomber
    Turn 6 he shot a building
    That game was still very close though
    So in summary if your playing against a Panther and you should play cautiously try to force it to reaction fire instead of being able to shoot on 2's I also took 2 caimen and an ocalot to flatten los blocking buildings which helps

    1. Thanks, Dave.

      Yeah, I figured that letting the Panther get a clean shot off was just asking for that unit to get splashed.

      So you just do the two tournaments a year, one two weeks before each Invasion (Fall and Winter)? Why not run a few more? Just curious. I love running events, and my guys love playing in them. But we don't have a very diverse pond any more, as we've had players drift off for various reasons, and had some trouble maintaining a regular FLGS of late...

  4. Good question ask Micheal haha I don't mind if we run more I do travel around to other tournaments though too

  5. It's normally actually 3 tournaments a year originally intended to be 4 but the summer months have proven awkward to get running at this point.

    If I can get a working schedule up then I shall but it's proven fiddly for the moment.

    If I'm involved in an event I prefer to be doing one type of role so I can focus. Especially with some larger ones. At the least though we're fortunate that the DZC community in south england are quite involved and travel a bit to support events. Not the largest distances by US standards I'm sure but it counts.

    1. It certainly does count! And you're fortunate that you have a transportation system that can support it (trains), although I always see the OB guys driving to events, but as you say, the distances aren't as significant as the ones we have to overcome to get to a "neighboring" event...

      If I were running a 16 player event, I wouldn't want to play in it, either. Hats off to you for doing so!


  6. I think if you have too many tournaments then they become a bit less 'special'. And if people are travelling quite some distance (as plenty are) then it's harder get people to come regularly. When it's an occasional event, people will make the effort. If it's a regular event, people will think 'I'll skip it this time', and the DZC still doesn't have the numbers I don't think to be able to make tournaments work with a bunch of 'regulars' dropping out.

    1. Good point, and I've thought of that, which is why we've gone to a 6-8 week interval between events. But I wonder, how do your guys get enough practice in for the really big events you do have there, i.e. Invasion? Are weekly club nights enough?

      Our tournament situation is a bit problematic right now, as I had an event scheduled for 24 September, but the venue closed unexpectedly, and we don't know if it will open again in time. So now I'm not sure when our next one will be, or where... :-(

      Our last event was 6 August, and the first one at 6 players in a few. The one before that was 11 June, and I think we had one in May, too. Prior to that it was late February, but in between I was swamped traveling for work. Not a problem at the moment, LOL, but now I've got to see if the venue on the other side of Phoenix can accommodate us, and when... The Holidays are looming on the horizon, and while y'all don't have to deal with it, Thanksgiving really bunges up November for us, plus my daughter is getting married the Saturday before that, and she's visiting the last weekend in October, so I'm starting to feel a bit pinched...

      First World Problems, though, to be sure! 8^D

    2. Yikes!

      Mind you, you're speaking to the wrong person "how do your guys get enough practice in"... I only play at tournaments! And never very well!

      No slight on the OB guys (and others) who know what they're doing, but the scene is still relatively small compared to some games. But still I'd imagine that if your weekly club games are against people who are the best in the country, that's plenty sufficient to hone your skills...

  7. I go to three different clubs to get a bit of practice in including the ob boys club which is about 40mins from me other than that just playing each week locally helps

    1. Three clubs within a 40 minute drive? Heaven! We've got 1 FLGS that's 40 minutes away from me, and it's now closed, hopefully temporarily.

      Our other Talon, James, is going to start having regular demo days at the other LGS in the Valley, which is at least an hour away from me, assuming no traffic, which never happens. But he lives way SE of where I do (I'm SE of Phoenix proper, and the other store he'll be going to us NW of Phoenix), so he's at least an hour away from anywhere, so he's used to it. Plus he's single, and can get days off during the week. Hopefully his activity there, and me doing demo days at the new FLGS that is supposed to be opening in November, combined with any bleed over from Dropfleet will raise our numbers. Plus, Dropfleet itself will need to be supported, so that will eventually double the number of tournaments that we'll need to run (not complaining, I love organizing and running events!). I wouldn't mind traveling to the store in the West Valley a couple of times a month if there was some sort of DzC community there, but at the moment everyone except Major Awesome is over here in the East Valley (and beyond).

      But that sounds like a fair amount of diversity of players for you to go up against, and as Angelic Despot points out, it doesn't hurt to play vs the OB lads on a regular basis. ;) I know I'm a better player because of the caliber of the players that we do have here...

  8. Great post mr Russell,

    We regards to playing at the clubs. Ours is a decent size, and always a good few systems playing each week. We normally have a few weeks off dropzone to try other systems. Last year was bushido, this year has been guildball. Then leading to a tourney its dropzone heavy to try out all the new releases. We have been getting 4/5 tables of games of dropzone nearly every week at our club. I lot of players around us just play at evening clubs/ friend house. LGS we only really go to for tourneys and paints.