Been awhile since I put spaceships on the table, but Adam and I managed to sneak a game in at on game night at Portland Game Store. I’ve been so focused on Infinity models in my hobby queue that I totally forgot to pack a new DFC list, so I’m reusing the one from Silent Running. Adam brought some new monstrosity for me to fight against. Hey, trying the same list again at least lets me practice more, right?
- Mission: Take and Hold
- Forces: PHR versus UCM – Skirmish (999)
- Deployment: Column
PHR – 0 launch assets
SR7 Line battlegroup (190pts)
1 x Orpheus – 130pts – M
2 x Echo – 60pts – L
SR7 Line battlegroup (195pts)
1 x Ganymede – 135pts – M
+ Fleet Vizier (20pts, 2AV)
2 x Echo – 60pts – L
SR6 Pathfinder battlegroup (234pts)
2 x Medea – 78pts – L
2 x Medea – 78pts – L
2 x Medea – 78pts – L
SR8 Pathfinder battlegroup (360pts)
4 x Europa – 160pts – L
4 x Pandora – 200pts – L
Test Fleet 2 – 999pts
UCM – 3 launch assets
SR12 Vanguard battlegroup (237pts)
1 x Moscow – 163pts – H
+ UCM Commodore (20pts, 3AV)
2 x Lima – 74pts – L
SR11 Line battlegroup (275pts)
1 x Seattle – 132pts – M
1 x San Francisco – 111pts – M
1 x Jakarta – 32pts – L
SR7 Pathfinder battlegroup (273pts)
4 x Taipei – 156pts – L
3 x Taipei – 117pts – L
SR7 Pathfinder battlegroup (194pts)
2 x New Orleans – 64pts – L
2 x New Orleans – 64pts – L
3 x Santiago – 66pts – L
Taipei Spam – 999pts
The first turn for both of us was pretty quick, like most first turns of Dropfleet. Adam’s Seattle and San Francisco come trundling onto the board, supported by a Jakarta. I responded with my Europa/Pandora battlegroup, then Adam brought on his Moscow and I brought on my Orpheus and some Echos.Basically everyone was Silent Running except for Adam’s two Limas, who managed to put a minor spike on one of my Pandoras.
I figure if I can take out his San Francisco and New Orleans (which I know are coming) I can win the drop game. Adam’s first card is to activate his Moscow. It doesn’t have any targets, so it just moves up under silent running. I bring on my Ganymede and another pair of Echos and successfully Active Scan the San Francisco, putting a major spike on it.
I throw the Pandoras and Europas at the San Francisco, racking up a few hull points of damage.My Europas are way more reliable–Pandoras are so inconsistent! I use one of the Europa’s other broadsides to throw some dice at a Lima with the Europas but whiff badly.Adam responds by bringing on a battle group of SEVEN Taipeis, double-moving them into strike range of my Europas and a pair of Echos. I nearly drop my tape measure.We finish the turn by bringing on some strike carriers–Adam brings in two behind his Taipei and two behind his Seattle (the middle and center clusters, from my perspective). The Santiagos move to intercept my three Medeas on my left, but the three Medeas on my right are unmolested.
I activate my Europa/Pandora group first, hoping Adam didn’t choose his SR7 group of Taipei first… I am disappointed!Their volley of main gun shots finish off my Echos and one of my Europas, which just vanishes off the table in a otherwise harmless fireball… However, the Europa on the left of the frigate group takes an obscene number of missiles to the face, suffers a drive detonation, and deals two damage to everything within 6″, which is my two remaining Europas and four of Adam’s Taipeis…The resulting chain explosion cataclysm erases all but two Taipei from the board! Success! Hooray for PHR Frigate resistance to chain reactions!My counterstroke, while greatly diminished, is enough to core the San Francisco with my burnthrough lasers and broadside fire, taking it off the table.I lose one of the Pandoras to the Seattle’s bombers, but this is totally worth it. The Europas manage to take out one of the Taipeis, leaving only one on the board.Adam’s Moscow goes weapons free but fails to hurt my Ganymede, only doing a single hull point.My Orpheus tries to finish off the last Taipei… but when you only roll one success on 12 dice… that’s not gonna happen. I start complaining but Adam just points at my Ganymede and gives me an exaggerated frown, so I shut the hell up.My Medeas move up, as do Adam’s strike carriers and corvettes, and I lose another Pandora, this time to the Moscow’s gun batteries.
Adam has chosen to strong-side his right, giving me my right basically uncontested.
I activate my Ganymede/Echo group. My Echos take out one of the Santiagos to help defend my leftmost Medeas, and my Ganymede finishes off the last Taipei.I activate my Pandoras and Europas, trying to put more damage on the Moscow, but fail to do much.His Moscow turns my Ganymede (which took some damage from bombers last turn) into a shattered hulk, barely limping along. One of my Pandoras takes some fire too, but that ridiculous 3+ ARM saves me.Adam’s corvettes sink their teeth into my Medea, but I shrug off the blows and bombard one of his tanks off the table.The score is now 6-4 me or something? Not sure. The space game feels pretty disconnected from the ground game at times.
I need to finish de-fanging Adam’s list so I bring in my Echos and remove the Santiagos altogether. I’m now free to win the attrition war on the left.
Notes for Me
- Dropfleet games are LONG. Adam and I are known for being able to truck through a 300 point game of Infinity in 90 minutes, including terrain setup, deployment, and clean up.
- We’re still new, so we did some rules lookup, but no more than 2-3 times this game.
- We’re still struggling with the ranges, but I don’t think that took very long…
- I think the actual problem is it takes more time to set up the damn models and manage your tokens than it does to play the first two turns of the game. I ended up using Infinity tokens to mark things, because I really really hate the dials. They take freaking forever to set.
- I made much better use of my Europas/Pandoras this game. Driving the Europas blindly up the center of the board seems to be the thing that PHR is meant to do.
- I’m not a fan of Pandoras. They do kill stuff but rolling 3 ones suucks. The fact that the Orpheus has the same gun also sucks. I think that I just don’t like d6 systems anymore, after playing so much Infinity.
- Pandoras aren’t bad, but I don’t think they can be relied on as a workhorse unit. Perhaps if you take a giant pile of them. That may be the way to use them?
- I’m really enjoying PHR Frigate spam. The 5 hull and 3+ really makes them pretty survivable, and I’m immune to cascading explosions (assuming only one thing blew up). It’s also target saturation, there’s too many things to shoot at!
- Medeas rock! Bombardment on a Strike Carrier is awesome.
- I need to put together my new destroyers still, but I’m excited about the prospect of having two bulk landers for the price of one. Less hull, but 12 troops a turn and something the enemy cannot ignore sounds sweet. Maybe pairing them with a Calypso would be appropriate.
- The Orpheus and Ganymede are really constrained with their maneuverability. Perhaps I can get rid of one of them, replace them with the destroyers, then take some more shooty stuff. They are very tanky though… I’m not sure what the right plan is. Clearly I need to play against more people. Adam’s figured out that he needs to kill my troop ships immediately, but has had a hard time doing it. I wonder if this is true for everyone.
- I need to take some launch assets, primarily just to provide fighter cover.
- This was the first game that I felt in control of positioning. I think that was primarily because Adam lost 5 Taipei just for shooting my Europa. That was a huge swing for me.
- I like column deployment. It adds a new layer of strategy. I think that most of Dropfleet, like Infinity, is won and lost in deployment, and having alternating deployment and very little terrain makes the deployment mistakes a little more forgiving but still very challenging.
- Perhaps I should run my troopships up the center of the board… but I don’t ever really want to put them together… although supposedly they don’t have linked broadsides anymore?
Notes for Adam
- 7 Taipei is too much, ya big jerk! =)
- Doing that trick where you stagger orbital layers between adjacent Taipei can help avoid cascading explosions, apparently.
- More corvettes to take out my Medea is probably warranted, but this seems to be falling into the “more strike carriers->more corvettes” arms race that is running rampant in the forums/facebook groups… there’s gotta be a better way.
- I can’t really blow up your ships aside from Strike Carriers, so maybe take more troopships and bombardment ships? That may be the way to deal with my “drop spam.”
- I don’t feel like my list was particularly spammy, I was just following the rule of thumb of 1 troopship + 2 strikc carriers per 500 points. I had a few extra points that became another pair of Medea, I guess.
- Murdering me doesn’t seem to help, my troopships are survivable enough to dump 6 infantry on the table before dying, which means you need to get enough tanks there… I guess you spent too much time going after my combat frigates, who knows.