I bitch plenty about gaming, I suppose. Less now that I play Dropzone Commander as my primary tabletop fun. That's not to say I'm completely satisfied...
Dropzone is an extremely well balanced game in most areas of play. But due to table layout, the missions consistently favor speedy factions and can become very unbalanced if the table isn't set properly.
These two missions are less free form than most in Dropzone. I think table layout is critical to a fair game for factions like the PHR (slow) and Scourge (short ranged weapons). To that end, these missions include scale layout maps that should be adhered to, if possible. That's not to say the layout is perfect... if you uncover problems during play, please let me know so I can adjust things.
Link to Mission PDF
My favorite missions in Dropzone are the Recon and Search missions. They are the most fun for me due to the challenge of having to carefully balance your firepower against your mobility. Rely on too much firepower and your opponent will run away with all the Intel. Shift more towards mobility/collection and your opponent will destroy your lightweight units before you can collect the Intel. These missions are great juggling acts.
Unfortunately, you never see them in tournament play for two very important reasons: Bombs and Objectives. These Intel-based missions have a large random element in that when you find Intel it could just be Intel (66.66% of the time) or it could be a Bomb (16.66%, which can be very bad) or it can be an Objective (16.66%, which can be very good). Roll up too many Bombs and you will lose. Roll up a few Objectives (EXTRA VICTORY POINTS!) and winning gets much easier. Dice play a larger roll in winning than most tournament players are comfortable with.
Force Recon is my attempt to push these Intel-based missions into tournament play. Bombs and Objectives have been removed as game mechanics in favor of a Vital Intel feature. Scoring boils down to who collects the most Intel (both regular Intel and Vital) with bonus Victory Points (VP) for Vital Intel that has been spirited from the war zone.
A piece of Vital Intel works much like an Objective in that it can be collected and held by only one player at a time. It can be removed from play for extra Victory Points, as well. But, it doesn't contribute VP for just holding it. While it remains on the table and in your possession it only counts towards your Intel collection total.
Forward Listening Posts
Link to Mission PDF
I like Fast Movers. Unfortunately, the standard book missions (i.e. not the Attack/Defend missions) really don't encourage their use. Most of the missions have all the scoring features (Focal Points and Objectives) clustered in the middle 24" between the players. There's no reason to really use a Fast Mover because everything you need to score is near the middle.
This mission, Forward Listening Posts (FLPs), has scoring features deep within enemy territory. These backfield FLPs will be difficult to destroy with a standard, ground only, army list. The FLPs are A6/5DP without countermeasures and are each very well hidden. Due to the layout, FLPs in the open will typically be easier to destroy with Fast Movers and artillery. FLPs in buildings may be destroyed by falling masonry, building demo, or an enemy occupier.
What Do YOU think?
Please, take a look and let me know what you think. I haven't played either of these missions, yet. But, I have had them rattling around my brain for a couple of months, now. Mostly, I just wanted to play Intel in a tournament format without the randomness of surprise Bombs or Objectives. I would also like to see Fast Movers used more. Hopefully, the design of each of these missions encourages those outcomes.