DZC Lessons Learned

Had another great game of Dropzone Commander with Stephen Bajza last night. As I get more games under my belt, I’m feeling more confident with the rules and understanding the tactics and flow of the game. It really is a good game that sets up a lot of tense situations. Steve called it ‘structured chaos’ I think was what he said. Because the initiative can shift each turn, and with the alternating turn order, things on the table are constantly changing and you have to stay on your toes, prioritizing your moves and targets.

A few general things I’m getting so far:

  • If you win the first initiative roll, letting your opponent go first allows you to see where the focus of his effort will be, and lets you deploy your infantry last (and hopefully outside his AA envelope). There is something to be said for going first on T1 though, especially if you’re the Scourge, because it is often possible for you to be inside a target building on T1. There’s a lot to be said for making your opponent react to you with an aggressive move that is hard to counter.
  • UCM in general don’t need to close with the enemy. They out-range the Scourge with almost every weapon they have. They are slower though, and need to watch out for fast-moving enemy.
  • Scourge want to do the opposite and close as fast as possible. If you’re going to do this, go in with numbers to present your opponent with multiple targets to spread his fire. Attacking with massed forces in general is a good idea.
  • Don’t forget you do an extra damage point if you roll 2 better than you need on the damage roll!
  • If you find yourself spread out too much, or out of position, call for dustoff, get the dropships in, and move them. You can wrongfoot an opponent that isn’t expecting you to pick up a whole battlegroup and move it. This is one of the main features of DZC in my opinion – the ability to rapidly redirect the direction and focus of your maneuver is powerful and an awesome part of the game!
  • Protect your dropships and transports! You’re utterly crawling without them. That said, once the units they transport are gone, that orphaned dropship can at least put fire on enemy units (unless you need to keep it alive to save kill points). Flying on the deck when you move isn’t as risky as it sounds I think (this coming from the guy who rolls 1’s like a champ), and protects from potential reaction AA fire.
  • Infantry in buildings can be dug in like Alabama ticks. But if they move to the windows to fire at you, fire back! Most infantry have no countermeasures so you’re at full range – even machine guns can do damage in this case, so light ’em up! You’ll need 5’s and 6’s because of soft and body cover, but if you’re volleying a whole squad, that’s a lot of dice.
  • If you’re going to try to take down a building, you’ve got to mean it, since they’re usually pretty tough, so if you haven’t got any better target, hit a structure. They have no countermeasures and so you can shoot at full range and always hit on a 2+. You should have a decent chance of doing Falling Masonry damage to infantry cowering inside. Scourge players! Don’t forget your MBTs have the Demolisher special rule! Nasty!
  • If you’re doing an objective search with infantry, keep your APC and dropship nearby and hidden. Ideally, you don’t want to have to move either the APC or the dropship toward the infantry they’re picking up. The grunts should be able to pile straight out of the building into the APC, which rolls right into the dropship, which punches it and hightails it for the board edge.
  • When it looks like you’re gonna have to engage in CQB, try to outnumber the enemy. This is not new news! One-to-one fights are going to come down to who rolls better. Bring numbers, quality or preferably both.

I’ve only played with the units and the scenario in the starter set so far, so I expect things to change as I expand my familiarity with the game, but these things seem to be decent basic strategies to stand on.

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