Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Expanding the Fleet

Since the last time I discussed Dropfleet Commander on the blog I've managed to get in several games. After the narrow loss to Matt's Shaltari in my first game, I handily beat Mike's Scourge (it was his first game...people lose their first games, it seems), forged a decent win against Wes' tough PHR fleet, and received a comprehensive thrashing in my second run in with Matt's Shaltari.

This left just Pete's UCM to play using the starter fleets, but Pete, being Pete, has painted his entire pledge and wanted to up the ante a little to 750 points. This meant adding a battlegroup and painting a few more ships.

The ships I've added are two more Gargoyle Strike Carriers, as they increase my ability to drop troops, which is the actual point of the game, and a Hydra Fleet Carrier, which although lacking guns, does have the ability to dispatch bombers to wreak havoc on enemy ships or deploy fighters to protect my own. This is a nice ability as it give my fleet a little bit more of a ranged threat that I've been 'enjoying' so far.

Rather than messing about with the organisation of the fleet, I decided to simply add the new ships as a new battlegroup, meaning that my fleet for the game was as follows:

Vanguard Battlegroup - Strategy Rating 12
  • Shenlong Heavy Cruiser
  • 2 Gargoyle Strike Carriers

Pathfinder Battlegroup - Strategy Rating 7
  • Ifrit Attack Cruiser
  • 2 Harpy Frigates

Line Battlegroup - Strategy Rating 7

  • Hydra Fleet Carrier
  • 2 Gargoyle Strike Carriers

Line Battlegroup - Strategy Rating 5

  • Wyvern Cruiser

Pete, having more to choose from, decided to experiment with a different set up that relied more heavily on his light frigates:

Vanguard Battlegroup - Strategy Rating 10
  • Moscow Heavy Cruiser

Pathfinder Battlegroup - Strategy Rating 6
  • 4 Toulon Frigates
  • 2 New Orleans Strike Carriers

Line Battlegroup - Strategy Rating 7

  • Seattle Fleet Carrier
  • 2 New Orleans Strike Carriers

Line Battlegroup - Strategy Rating 7

  • Rio Cruiser
  • 2 Taipei Frigates
The game itself was a very even affair. We battled over three clusters, and played the scanning and critical location rules properly for the first time. Apologies for the lack of photos, I forgot to take any during the game.

At the cluster to my right, my Wyvern failed to make an impact on the two strike carriers that Pete dispatched to take it, but it did succeed in drawing the Rio away from the centre.No critical location was found, and although my Gargoyle survived to drop troops all the way through the game Pete grabbed the lion's share of the VP's from this cluster.

In the centre, things went my way. My two Gargoyles powered forward to grab the military sectors early and add their guns to my force. An active scan lit up Pete's Seattle for my Ifrit and Harpies to take out, giving my Hydra 'air' supremacy for the rest of the game, and the Taipei's were also brought down quickly. The Moscow fluffed it's big moment, and failed to make an impact, and was taken out by weight of fire over several turns. By the end of the game, Pete had no ships in the centre of the board and I picked up most of the VP's, of which there were more as I successfully scanned to find a critical location.

On my left, things began poorly. Pete's Toulon swarm blasted my Gargoyle out of the sky, preventing me from contesting the cluster at all. They then went on to almost obliterate my Shenlong in one attack, and then almost did the same to my Hydra. They suffered from attrition though and only the Hydra flew away from the fight (with only 2 hull points remaining), but it was able to find a critical location and at least pull some points away from the cluster.

By the end of the game, we tallied the score to 22-18 to the Scourge, but we think we were playing contesting clusters wrong, so it could easily have been 16-16, however, if we'd know that, we both might have done things differently, so I'm taking that as a win.

Overall, I think I'm beginning to get the hang of the game, but I picked up the following gems of wisdom from this encounter:
  1. Swarms of frigates are powerful, but are fragile and reduce your chance to scan for critical locations.
  2. It's better to send groups of Strike Carriers to fewer clusters, than send a single one to each.
  3. I still don't have the ability to threaten ships in atmosphere.
  4. The Shenlong Heavy Cruiser, just doesn't pull it's weight. It's firepower and special abilities seem to work against each other.
  5. The Hydra Fleet Carrier is a powerful threat in the centre of the board.
  6. The Ifrit and Harpies can combine to take out enemy cruisers in a single round.

Next up is Matt's Shaltari, again. Their combination of range, swarms of Voidgates in atmosphere and Motherships that can sit back away from the fight seem to play to Scourge weaknesses. Therefore, I might need to shake things up a little before the weekend...


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks. I've just stuck together my Kickstarter exclusive Battlecruiser, and it's pretty.

  2. Yep, they look simple yet beautiful.

  3. Very nice they turned out fabulous!