This time around at Endgame we had 10 players, which is still one of the largest (if not THE largest) Dropzone tournament in the US. I'll go over the highlights of my games, rather than complete battle reports and talk about the rest of the tournament.
Chris of Crisp Minis volunteered to run this one because the usual folks had to either cover vacation shifts at Endgame, i.e. management, or weren't sure if they were going to be available, i.e. the local Hawk Talon.
Chris published his custom tournament packet two months ago, giving us all fair warning as to what to expect. Two of the missions involved were outside of the standard Hawk pack. Here's a copy of Chris's Tournament Pack. You should give it a read. One was Bunker Strike (a slight change to Bunker Assault) and the other was a completely new mission to Dropzone, Frontline Control.
He also included a sheet on the slight changes he made to the rural terrain rules for Frontline Control. There was nothing that wasn't already spelled out when we arrived, which was great by me!
This was the list I brought...
Disclaimer: please keep in mind that these are only opinions that are based on my tenuous grasp of the days events. Everything I write should be dismissed outright as fantasy based on my extremely shoddy memory. Also, please note that only one of the photos was taken by me and the photos of the tables are examples of the terrain, not pictures of my games. Additional photos by Chris Loomis and Mike Montesa.
The first game of the day was to be the Frontline Control mission. We played on a rural map with three 8" bands across the center that act similarly to Focal Points. Troops count double in these bands and Yyu score bonus points for having the most points worth of units in the bands farthest from you! Aircraft don't score unless they are a Command vehicle or a Mercury drone.
My opponent, Newsun (with UCM) hadn't shown up yet, so after about 20 minutes of waiting Chris (Shaltari) offered to play the ringer. We set up and got into about our second activations when Newsun arrived. Chris asked if I wanted to keep playing or switch over to Newsun. Rather than force Newsun to sit out, I elected to swap players.
I'd played this mission four times since it was published and was very confident that I had the exact right list for a win. Nooooope.
My game started well, I killed Newsun's Ferrum super quick with my Nemesis. I was pushing forward hard on the left with my troop transports, but Newsun rolled very well and splashed half of my troops on the Second Turn with his Rapiers. Either stranding the men in the open or outright killing them! My Taranis couldn't hit the broad side of a barn the entire game. Newsun's single Longbow went to town on my troops! His Rapiers' great shooting and the crazy accuracy of this Longbow were devastating for me.
I think I lost this game because I really screwed up my deployment. I was spread out along a wide front, I didn't set up AA support for my Taranis (they died early on Turn 4, I think, to his remaining Starsprites), and I miscalculated how much Infantry he had. Newsun had it rough, too, because I don't think he had ever played a rural game before, and that can really tweak your play style.
I was annoyed about Newsuns lateness and not being able to finish the game. Opponents being late happens to me a lot (5 times out of the last 6 tournaments I've been a part of) so it has become a major peeve of mine... and I'm likely overly sensitive about it. In all fairness, I don't know what happened and I didn't think it my place to ask. All things considered, I may have been able to mitigate some of the points gap had we been able to go to Turn 6, but any way you sliced it I got my ass beat.
Well done, Newsun!
Newsun:15 ( with 990-ish KP)
Me: 5 (with 550-ish KP)
This time I was up against Keith and his UCM and we were playing the Bunker Strike mission (bunkers count as FPs, too). Keith had a decent all around list but is a very new player to the game. I have to applaud him on diving into a Dropzone tournament like this!
This game was an exact reverse of the first for me. I deployed very well and rolled stupendously for some of my shooting, which is a nice switch! The Nemesis was on fire for a couple of activations, too. Mostly it was just controlling access to both of my Bunkers and the center Bunker. The Medusa did very little until Turn 4 where she hopped out and destroyed 3 Wolverines and a Sabre with Strafing fire.
I think Keith made a few tactical mistakes in that he parked his Kodiak behind (and up against) a 10DP building, he may have over extended his Praetorians while attempting to grab a bunker deep in my territory, and he kept using his HE mortars instead of the Concussive rounds. I did lose half of my snipers to mortar fire but he lost all 4 bases of mortars to my snipers. I think he decided to go deep with the Praetorians on me because my Sirens (4 bases) grabbed the center bunker on Activation 1 of Turn 2 and he didn't want to tangle with them, can't blame him there. I also effectively stranded those Praetorians in a building by destroying their Ravens late in Turn 2 with a pair of Helios. And hiding behind a building with a Kodiak is great, but when the building is 1" from the edge of the table you will likely have a big problem keeping it alive passed Turn 2.
They are all understandable mistakes to make early in a Dropzone career. Thanks for the game, Keith!
Keith: 3 ( with 250-ish KP)
Me: 17 (with 890-ish KP)
For my final game I fought Tenebris and his Resistance force on the Secure The Flanks mission. We've played each other a few times and it's always a tense game.
Frankly, I thought I'd be facing more Resistance armies. That's what I thought at the BAO, too, but I didn't end up playing any there. The main reason I keep the Taranis around is for Freeriders. That infinite range M-area template is murder on them which proved to be the case, here.
Surprisingly, the roughest part about his list is the Archangels. I had a heck of a time shooting them down! They downed all of my transports except the Triton-X! The Freeriders were tough, too, but the Taranis whittled them down pretty quick with some decent shooting, redeeming the mess they made of the first game. Snipers are also surprisingly good at killing Freeriders, by the way.
We both deployed well and didn't make any overt mistakes all game (as far as I can tell). I found the central Objective on Turn 3 with my Sirens but didn't have any way to take it off the table as Tenebris had already killed the Immortals' Triton and the Sirens' Neptune. I had to use my Medusa as a courier to drop it off with my Snipers and hope their transport would survive long enough to get both Objectives (they found theirs on Turn 3) off the map. Well, that Triton died, too. But, not before I was finally able to finish off his Archangels. This left my Medusa free, late game, to act as a courier for a second time and take both Objectives off on Turn 6. Getting hold of 2 of the 3 Objectives on Turn 2 took some of the pressure off me, all I needed to do from that point on is win a Focal Point (points-heavy Nemesis) and contest another (2 quick Helios squads), which I did.
This game was pretty close until the end of Turn 4, when I put my Medusa in a position to accept the Objectives from my Snipers. Half-way through Turn 5 we got the 15-minutes-left announcement so we quickened our pace, which ultimately allowed me to get those Objectives off. Thank you, Tenebris, for letting me push our pace so we could have a natural conclusion to the game!
That said, Turns 5 and 6 were spent dancing around securing FPs and trying to make some kills. Nothing spectacular happened, mostly due to less than stellar rolling on both our parts. He did do some good damage to my Nemesis, but if he stuck around to finish her off, he would have maybe completely lost one of the FPs or his Alexander. But, had he caught fire while rolling this late in the game, the outcome could have been very different.
Great game, Tenebris! Well played!
Tenebris: 5 (with 200-ish KP)
Me: 15 (with 650-ish KP)
(KP quoted is "best guess"... I just remember there being a 440-ish point difference.)
This was one of the most efficiently run game tournaments I've been a part of! That includes a couple of the major 40k ones, too! Chris did a tremendous job! Everything was spelled out ahead of time, the tables were ready to go on time, and he was Johnny-on-the-spot with rulings. There were no surprises in relation to the things he could control.
The custom missions were well thought out, also. Each was play tested by the TO and the players for weeks before the tournament. And Chris listened to all the feedback and made adjustments where necessary. Well done, Chris!
"Every exit is an entrance, somewhere else."
The prize support was pretty cool, too! (And not just because GSI donated, either!) Most notably are the Double-decker Battlebus (a rare, "show-only" model), a pre-release UCM Dropfleet ship, and the PHR starter Tenebris donated!
Paul G brought in some GSI Destroyed Structure markers (below) that he fancied-up with texture paint and some decoupage'd building printouts...
They look and feel like tiny building debris. It's weird.
Full lists, points, and placing can be found HERE on the Rolling Hot blog page! Here's the top three...
- Killionaire – 54 (Resistance)
- Novus – 37 (PHR)
- Newsun – 31 (UCM)