Wednesday, 21 June 2017

The Right Expo-sure.

Well hello there my spaceship loving fans, I am back.

The UK Games Expo 2017 is over and we are all hibernating as the four days of gaming, drinking, and generally being a bit silly has come to end. Also the weather here is like a normal English summer... RAIN!!!

I have rested up and have poured my feelings into this post for your perusal.
Some of which could be controversial, but it is for a good cause.

Reminder of my list:

SR15 Flag battlegroup (260pts)
1 x New York - 260pts - S
   + UCM Admiral (40pts, (5AV equivalent) with battleship bonus

SR7 Line battlegroup (175pts)
1 x San Francisco - 111pts - M
1 x New Orleans - 32pts - L
1 x Jakarta - 32pts - L

SR12 Line battlegroup (250pts)
2 x Lima - 74pts - L
2 x New Cairo - 176pts - M

SR5 Line battlegroup (132pts)
1 x Seattle - 132pts - M

SR7 Pathfinder battlegroup (194pts)
3 x Santiago - 66pts - L
2 x New Orleans - 64pts - L
2 x New Orleans - 64pts - L

SR7 Pathfinder battlegroup (194pts)
2 x New Orleans - 64pts - L
2 x New Orleans - 64pts - L
3 x Santiago - 66pts - L

The missions we played:

Game 1 - Station Assault with Battleline deployment
Game 2 - Mixed Engagement with Distant
Game 3 - Moonshot with Column

I was quite happy with my list overall. I feel having my Admiral in the Battleship had the most substantial impact to the games. Not having my command deck for potentially 3 turns out of 2 of the games. (1 of which ended on turn 4).

This meant I had no defence against opponents cards with no chance of espionage's. One of my games I got played the Shalatri card that's stop me from playing any cards this turn. This was quite luckily for them the only turn I had just got a full hand of cards.

I really enjoyed using the Seattle, the front turrets being on one profile is very handy. I was thinking about dropping the battleship and adding 2 more Seattle's but this would leave me short on points towards an Admiral.

Lets talk drop capacity 

All of my opponents had a high amount of drop capability, probably even more than me.

Game 1 was against a nice chap called Daniel, who was fielding PHR. He had 10 x Medea strike carriers and 3 x Orpheus. The Orpheus's were amazing, those 12 shots per broadside was making small work of my strike carriers. I cant complain as Daniel's dice luck faded away as I managed to harass his troopships without fail. This would have ended a 10/10 draw, but kill points awarded Daniel plus 2 VP and me 5 VP. Making it a 11-9 Win for me.

Game 2 was against Tom, he had brought UCM. Our list's were quite similar. Tom had 7 strike carriers and 2 troopships, 5 corvettes to my 6. We both had battleships but of a different class.

This was the game that me, Tom and our surrounding tables (Daniel was there from game 1). That corvettes (generally UCM ones) are not worth their weight in gold or space points.
The first match with Daniel all 6 of my corvettes was chasing his strike carriers, did I do much?.. nope. You would have thought that the ship designed to kill strike carriers actually could an average amount of damage.

Match up two with Tom both our corvettes went for each others strike carriers. In the whole game I think we killed one each, with both of us still having next to a full squad left at the end of the game.

UCM Corvettes, are Anti Corvette, Corvettes. -I just tried to get as many of the same word in one sentence.

I would rather spend the points on 4 more strike carriers, they have much more of a chance to survive an attack then me trying to kill my opponents strike carriers.

Don't even think about trying to wound void gates. They have so much point defence you have to focus all shots at one gate at a time. Problem is they have there own corvettes taking you down while u are trying to do this. One thing the Santiago's are good at, is killing Shalatri cloud-fliers.

when you thought you brought all the strike carriers

Ok while we are on Shalatri, is anyone else not having fun playing against them?.
Game 3 for me was against Shalatri, and every game I have played against them I have wanted to never play dropfleet again. The UK Games Expo was my second tournament, I was hoping I could put it down to a bad first tournament or maybe even getting to know the meta game. But I was wrong all my training games against Shaltari had the same impact and the last game of the day has left this heavy burden over me not wanting to play again.

I just would not like to play against any Shaltari in a competitive situation. I may play again in another more local tournament but I would rather just concede my game if I get matched to the hogs.

Strong words I know. I am an experienced gamer and play many systems I can tell when something is just not right.
I will back my last opponent up, in that he played a great game and if he wasn't a nice guy to play against I may have just walked away from it.

I love the game and think it is a very good game it just needs balancing and a better flow of play is needed. The launch asset phase seems to put a heavy break on the flow of battle.

someone make this for me

I am going to try and run through a few things that have had me pulling my teeth out. I welcome you all for your opinions in regards to these points, as these are just my feelings. Very strong, educated feelings.

Why do Shalatri have to break all the rules in the Drop Zone/Fleet Commander universe??? In Dropzone the hogs are now spot on, and I think they are the army that they were meant to be. But this wasn't always the case.
Is the faction trait to be able to break rules??. Unbalanced/ bending rules is not Shenanigans, and trickery. Why do Shaltari need to deploy completely different to everyone else. I'm sure we could make some rules to make it mesh with the main system of deployment . I'll admit that I like that its different and enjoy the teleporting gate system fluff and idea. Just don't make it benefit this faction over all overs.

In Dropzone Hawk raised gate points to accommodate for the fact that any unit could use the gate. This worked side by side with the fact that if you lost all of your gates you couldn't redeploy or bring the units off the table back on.

Very similar to if you kill a mother-ship, no more troops. Problem is mother-ships do not need to get in harms way, compared to normal troopships. If you did work your way to your opponents half to kill one, you wouldn't stay long. The full might of the rest of the fleet would be lighting you up from all over. They can also use other void gates to be within the area of affect, chaining themselves all over the place. Do they need to make the gates more expensive? or do we need to make other more damage dealing units cost more?

The Void gates charged air abilities; every other race has to take troopships which die very easily to be able to take a defence battery. These chaps can get one for 15 points, along with a weapon that hits on 5+. Kill the void gates you say? have you tried to kill them in atmosphere when most lists are fielding around 10? Most troopships are only going to get to a central location or a non home quarter cluster if they are lucky, and if they do they probably wouldn't last a turn. That's 1 or 2 turns of trying to drop a battery. I say trying because you know the Shaltari gates got to the cluster way before your troopship, and is now shooting down every drop ship in sight. The other thing to take into account is that it is very costly to say have 5/6 troopships to try and get a defence battery to every cluster.

Infantry and tank markers 

Add up all the variables and you can see your potential for getting any troops to the ground is very low.

Couple that with Beam close action weapons of the Turquoise and the guaranteed damage of the Particle lances. The rest of your fleet is going to have a hard time as you cannot do anything to defend against them.

Point Defence (PD) on Shaltari ships is really high, they were designed like this, because... I have no idea. They have lower armour yeah true, but once you are in their normal scan-signature range they will shields up and protect against critical hits anyway.

I haven't yet seen any Shaltari army with fighters or bombers in, is this due to other weapons being better and the high PD to counter bombers?  

I think that troopships in general need to be more resilient, that Void Gates should have to choose between firing and deploying troops, you are going to loose 1 per cluster so not that much of a change. And maybe increase the to hit roll. I don't know really, I'd rather not say how I would fix anything, it just needs changing. It is not fun playing against them, so I just wont play. I just want to have fun while it's a fair fight.

low, atmosphere, minor and major spike markers

I'm thinking some soft changes and this could be the awesome game we want. Other members of the team have an issue with the flow of the game. With problems with the activation cards slowing the pace down, to the launch asset phase. I think a lot of it comes down to all the book keeping.

People are getting quicker though, I think it takes a good few games under your belt before you are ready for a tournament scene. Also to know your ships well, quick reference sheets will do the same trick.

In low orbit with minor spike
What I've been doing personally is marking a group with a spike or layer if the whole group has the same. Only changing to individually once I needed to. Also ending my turn and letting your opponent start their turn while you add markers to you ships, this helps speed up the process.    

That all from me for now, but let me know what you think.


  1. I, too, have been a little annoyed with the Shaltari as a game mechanic for quite a while. And it took a loooong time to reign them in within Dropzone. I've only played against them once in Fleet. I agree, that was not nearly as fun a game as I've had versus any of the other factions. That game was very early in Shaltari so the meta wasn't worked out yet. Shaltari can tend to make one feel helpless nowdays, I imagine.

  2. It takes quite a lot for me to get annoyed/vocal or generally cheesed off. Im normally one of the most mellow gamers with thick skin.

    Bearing in mind I only lost by 1 point in my last game against them in the tourney. If my opponent was a bit more ruffless it would have been a massive points swing to him. Im not sure if he new he was winning or not.

    Ps sorry i cannot remeber your name chap

  3. I feel like I should actually build my Dropfleet now besides playing with other people's armies. Any event pictures of the 3rd game? - Stevefamine

  4. My main beef with Shaltari is definitely their deployment system. Voidgates are still too tough with that PD and the permanent defence battery is some real bullshit. But even with lower PD and further limitations placed on charged air (I'm a fan of only allowing it for gates that haven't shifted troops or moved in the turn), Voidgate chains would still be a problem.

    I can deal with all the other stuff. Beam CA is nasty but hardly unstoppable. With the Diamond nerf no particle weapons are feeling particularly OP (and the smaller ones are pure shite). The shield system is very nice and opens up mindgames for both sides, though it admittedly could use some tweaks. Even the nutty scan and sig numbers can be countered with the right tactics.

    But those Voidgates and motherships are just straight up bullshit. They don't break the game completely and turn Shaltari into the easy win button I once feared they'd be, but they're still a very real problem.

    And as a side note I agree about troopships. Aside from the criminally undercosted PHR ones they're not at all tough enough to take on the firepower that will regularly get thrown at them. They don't even get cruiser-tier CAW for seemingly no reason at all.

  5. Shaltari are definately a tough faction to play against and I always go into a game expecting to lose. They are a faction that can be quickly broken if you can take apart the Emerald. Trouble is getting to them and bringing on down by turn 3 or 4 is extremely difficult given their low signature. One way to get round this though, may be to reduce the teleportation distance between gates to 9". This should reduce the chain and mean other factions have some hope of bringing the pain on the Emeralds by mid-game

  6. Its always interesting to hear Shaltari complaints. In my local meta, 10 gates is low for 1250/1500 points, its generally for every 100 points you have a gate. As for dealing with gates, corvettes are your best friend, sure gates have high PD, but they only have 2 hullpoints, so it takes about the same amount of effort to kill a gate as anything else other than a Medea. Once Corrvetts start killing gates, and you should be killing the linking gates from Mothership to sector not the 6 sitting around the sector, the Shaltari player will quickly find out if they have enough gates or not. If they are playing 1 gate for every 100 points, your corvettes should be killing the linking gates than hunting the Emeralds as at that point they just simply have to many gate.

    As for Beam weapons, imo its all how you look at it, to me a Beam close action weapon is just a terrible normal gun, rather than an improved close action weapon. Beam the rule itself is not even really that great, unless you are playing heavy Jakarta list PD really does not do much, on AVERAGE (we have to look at averages because yes, someone could roll 7 5/6 or 4s if you have command cards) it stops 1 hit maybe 1 crit for most ships. When Djinn and Toulons are pumping out double digit hits unless the target is a battleship it is probably dead.

    As for particle weapons, they are all front narrow and most of them are on ships that are looking to go weapons free. Just move out of front narrows and the Shaltari player will be hating life, yes they they ignore armour saves, but you know what else ignores saves, crits, that everyone can do. particle weapons are generally on over priced ships to the point where an other faction's ship of the same class generally does more, unless we are taking about the Diamond and even then other races ships preform about the same as the Diamond now.

    In general i don't think there is anything wrong with Shaltari, they are probably one of the weaker races now that each gate can only transfer one ground asset. Shaltari are just different, and difference while hard to balance is good.

    (p.s) If you think facing 10 gates is ruff, wait till you have 10 Medea on the other side of the table