Tag Archives: Shaltari

Dropzone Commander; My First Game


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Yesterday saw the get-together of us gamers here at the floating citadel and my first real game of the much talked about Dropzone Commander.  I had heard some good reports of DZC from my fellows; notably Zombiepirate and Cerebus and after playing a demo game at Salute last month I decided to dish out the cash and go with the Shaltari.  I’ve spent the past few weeks devouring the rules, assembling models and I have now started to paint a few.  Above are the ones I’ve finished.  Yesterday’s game was a bit of an eye-opener, as none of us have seen the Shaltari in action, so I’d like to share my thoughts on the game as a whole and the Shaltari in particular.

First off is my army list.  We had decided to play a 1500pts game (about average size).  For those who are unaware, DZC has a slightly different army selection to other games.  The army is divided into battlegroups (at 1500pts a maximum of 6), and each battlegroup is divided into units (at 1500pts between 1-3).  These battlegroups activate at the same time, though they don’t have to work together.  The battlegroups have different names and compositions depending on the army but are essentially; HQ, Armour, Infantry, Special (choice of heavy support or fast scout) and Air support (Fleet).  For my army I decided to max out on Battlegroups to give me some flexibility.  I also ended up with at least one unit of everything (part be chance, part because I wanted to see what they could all do).  I have not included the two new units.  So here is the list:

  • HQ Battlegroup; 1 Coyote Warstrider with a Shaltari Warchief upgrade
  • Armour Battlegroup; 1 unit of 5 Tomahawk tanks, 1 unit of 3 Kukri AA tanks
  • Infantry Battlegroup; 2 units of 2 bases of Braves, 1 unit of 2 Thunderbird Gunships
  • Special Battlegroup 1; 1 Jaguar Warstrider, 1 Ocelot Warstrider
  • Special Battlegroup 2; 1 unit of 2 bases of Firstborns, 1 unit of Yari light tanks with AA guns
  • Fleet Battlegroup; 1 Warspear Heavy Fighter
  • Gates; 1 Gaia Heavy Gate, 2 Eden Medium Gates, 2 Spirit Light Gates, 1 Haven Terragate

In one of those rarities in gaming the army actually comes to bang on 1500pts.  The Shaltari are different from the other armies in that their transports (the teleportation gates) are not attached to specific units, but instead form a pool from which you activate the chosen gate with any battlegroup you like as the game progresses.  Each one can only be activated once though.

So how did the battle go?  My opponent was Zombiepirate with his UCM army, and then came my first surprise.  In an event that almost led to a collapse in the space-time continuum and the end of the universe as we know it…Zombiepirate had more stuff painted than me!  To be fair to my long time friend and gaming opponent, he has been putting in some work on his DZC models.  We had decided on the basic scenario of a cityscape with 5 objectives to capture and take off the table (you get one victory point if you control an objective and 2 if you get it off the table).

The game began with me being lucky, getting both the initiative and having my reserve fighter turning up to perform strafing runs (more about this brave pilot later).  All of the units are kept in readiness off the table and arrive via transports when the battlegroup becomes available.  As units cannot shoot on a turn they disembark (or dematerialize in my case) the only shots came from my fighter who swooped in and took out a light transport carrying the Wolverine scouts.  Sadly both buggies survived the crash.  Zombiepirate advanced on the two objectives nearest to him on my right flank and also to the one in the centre.  I also went for the centre and an objective on my left.  This is I think, one of the biggest differences with DZC over other gaming systems; it is designed around objective grabs, not destruction of the enemy.  DZC is more like modern warfare’s surgical strikes and rapid insertion and extraction as opposed to a more World War I style annihilation found in other games such as 40K.  This I found to be a big difference in gaming style.  As a long time Tyranid player, I am use to just throwing my troops at stuff.  With this game I really had to think and there were moments where I took a few minutes to decide which battlegroup to activate, nevermind where & what they were going to do.

As the game progressed, there were units blowing up a plenty.  The first big casualty was my Coyote Command Warstrider, which got taken out by the UCM tanks and some excellent shooting on the part of Zombiepirate.  My shield rolls failed me, but luckily the escape module worked and my commander survived the game (unlike the UCM commander), allowing me to still use the command cards.  Casualties on my side were fairly light.  It may only be a 5+ save those shields give me, but I made some fantastic rolls.  My fighter pilot gained a promotion when he flew threw the entire UCM AA fire to strike the heavy dropship and come out the other end without so much as the paint being scratched.  The centre witnessed the biggest rumble of the game with opposing infantry fighting room-to-room for the objective and my Firstborns showing why they are elite infantry and cutting apart the UCM infantry.  The game eventually ended up with Zombiepirate scoring 4 VP to my 3.  So victory to the UCM.  This I put down mostly to lack of experience on my part.  As Cerebus can attest, I left an infantry unit out of most of the game instead of sending it to the final objective earlier in the game…I just thought too much about destroying my enemy instead of objectives… oh well learning curve.

Shaltari army thoughts and the things I learnt.  They make a very different army.  Not having dedicated transports means you can do what I did a few times and relocate units across the battlefield in seconds, so long as the gates are there.  Such shannigans can be really good when timed well.  The disadvantage to this, any unit that dematerializes cannot shoot that turn.  The fact that Shaltari gates continue to carry objectives when a unit passes through it, means that the gate can get the objective off the field whilst your unit searches for another.  The 30″ movement of the light gate is scarily fast in a game where most ground units move 4″ or less.  The tanks have some awesome firepower (though I do hate the armour 10 on the UCM…it makes them so hard to destroy).  I would recommend always moving 6″ to give the enemy the to hit penalty and help make the most of your armour 7 and 5+ save tanks.  AA vehicles are  a MUST in this game.  Having my fighter flying up and down the UCM lines, picking out targets was a great advantage…though after my game I’d recommend attack small-medium transports as they will carry the infantry & objectives off the table…and not the big transports which deliver the tanks (once they’ve dropped the armour they really don’t do much else).  Without a save aircraft go down easily to AA fire and having good flak cover means your enemy really has to think about where to put their air support and “do I risk it?” moments are common.  The warstriders…mixed feelings about these.  My commander was unlucky getting one-shotted in the second turn.  The Jaguar performed well, taking out tanks and coming with its own AA guns extends your flak shield.  The Ocelot however I’m not sure about.  It is one of my favorite looking Shaltari models, but I found that its one-shot particle cannon not much use.  The problem is that it cannot move & fire, which restricts it somewhat and although the gun is epic in its power, it’s still only 1 shot.  The best use I can see for it is when your enemy brings their own heavy armour which will have multiple hit points, then the high chance of doing double damage will really pay off.  The Thunderbird Gunships are my other favorite Shaltari model, but they need to be kept out of AA range as they are vulnerable to it.  I’d still keep them in the army as if there is no AA guns, these units can roam free around the table.  After playing the game, I have realised what my fellow gamers have; Infantry is key.  You really need to get as much Infantry as possible…somewhat a weakness of the Shaltari as their Infantry only come in units of 2 bases (opposed to 3 for most armies) and they only have 3 hit points (unlike the 5 of most armies).  This being said they are very dangerous in combat.  With an Armour of 4 they can only be wounded on 6s in close combat, so get them into a building and they will be almost impossible to take out.  The Firstborns are even tougher having 12 attacks per base and a 4+ save in combat.  It was they who won me the combat in the centre and killed 3 bases on UCM infantry in a single combat with only 1 hit in return.  Another unit that will be a must I think.

Conclusions of the Shaltari;  Use your speed as much as you can: your skimmers are harder to hit if they move 6″ or more, the ability to move your infantry from objective holding in a building, to gate, to inside another building to find another objective is fantastic.  The gates holding the objectives frees up your limited supply of infantry to look for another.  This is perhaps their biggest tactical advantage.  The 5+ save is good, but don’t rely on it all the time.  My fighter pilot go lucky, my commander less so.  As for the game itself, different and fantastic.  It is very different to anything else I have played and really makes you think about your army choices and how you are playing.  You can’t go into autopilot gaming mode, you need to think.  Great game, look forward to more.

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Shaltari, Salute and my first painted model


DSCF3831Well, it’s been a week since those of us here at the floating citadel went on our outing to Salute.  As had already been stated we all enjoyed the show and (some of us anyway) spent more money than intended.  My own bank account was somewhat lighter by the end of the day.  There was the usual displays and shopping opportunities, participation games and people dressed up as Imperial Storm Troopers.

For me the most influential event of the day was a participation game of Dropzone Commander.  Our regular readers will remember the excitement that this game created after last years Salute.  Despite two of my co-writers buying into the game when it was first released, I decided to wait until I’d played a demo game.  Unfortunately due to one thing or another one hadn’t happened, so last Saturday was the first time I got to see the game in action.  My overall impression…I see why so many people have been raving about it.  It is game unlike anything I have played before, being based on a 10mm scale sci-fi world with the emphasis on dropships, battlegroups and rapid insertion & extraction.  The game is fast pace, easy to pick up and yet very tactical.  Myself and nBreaker were playing the Scourge, and enjoyed the sheer destruction (between us and the UCM we took down 3 rather large builds, not bad for a beginner game), eventually wining by a single tank and dropship.

The game was fun enough for me to part with some money, and I bought the Shaltari Large Army deal with case.  Being Salute and a special event day the rulebook was included for free with any Large or Mega army so woohoo!  Then came lunch, and looking over my purchase whilst eating a sandwich I noticed that there was too much in the box…I been given a Mega deal by mistake.  Being a nice guy I went back to them and told the folks at Hawk Wargames.  The situation was resolved to our mutual satisfaction and I am the proud owner of a Shaltari Mega Army, so a big thumbs up to the guys at Hawk Wargames for their customer service!  I will be buying more in the future…just give me time to paint everything else first.

One and off this week I have started painting the miniatures, and above is the first one that is finished; a Shaltari Warspear fighter.  I look forward to my first game with my associates here at 6 Inch Move.

Dropzone Commander Army Deals Part 2


It’s another day here at the 6 Inch Move floating citadel and once more the halls ring to the sound of various things all Dropzone Commander. I’ve not seen this level of excitement grip people for quite a while, even with the prospect of a new version of 40k on the horizon.

I am not seeing the attraction to new 40k when for the expected cost of the new rulebook and a codex I could get a starter army and rules for DzC, everything you need to actually be able to play the game.

Anyway, I digress, we’re here to dissect the next in the army deal sets, we know they’re balanced around models rather than points values so things should be broadly similar but after Carabus begged and then threatened me that I needed to do the PHR deals next….

I bring you…… the UCM deals!

In the UCM Starter Army set you get the following;

3x Condor Medium Dropships

3x Sabre Main Battle Tanks

3x Rapier AA Tanks

2x Bear APC’s

6x Colonial Legionnaires stands

1x 40 card full colour Command Card deck

I must say that I actually really like this set, my fickle genes are a tingle right now. If you wanted to grab all these things on their own it would cost you £82.50 so the deal represents a really decent 17.5% saving, not bad for the lowest level box set, considering the saving getting the Premium version of this would seem like an absolute no-brainer to me.
The next set if the first of the web only exclusives and nets you some of the larger models as well as more variety in what you can put on the field of battle.

Then we have the UCM Large Army;

1x Albatross Heavy Dropship

3x Condor Medium Dropships

2x Raven Type B Light Dropships

6x Sabre Main Battle Tanks

3x Rapier AA Tanks

4x Bear APC’s

4x Wolverine Scout Buggies

1x Kodiak Command Vehicle

12x Colonial Legionnaires stands

2x Archangel Interceptors

1x 40 card full colour Command Card deck

That really is quite a large amount of models and really pads out the range with some of the really juicy models like the Albatross. This version of the army equates to £177.50 although the Scout cars are missing from the site on their own so I’ve had to make a call on how expensive they are going to be. I don’t see this massively altering the calculation though. The cost of £140 for the set is a 21% saving, such a substantial saving for the Shaltari was only available when you got up to the Mega Army level so the UCM are saving you more money, however, the way I see it it’s likely that the UCM have cheaper stuff in game terms so you’d be needing more on the table which may swing things on what you choose to take. It’d be nice to try and get the points costs for each force so you know how much you might need to supplement each army dependant on which one you get.

Finally there is the amazing UCM Mega Army, these forces contain so much stuff I’m very impressed with them, even if they do come in rather pricey.

2x Albatross Heavy Dropships

4xCondor Medium Dropships

2x Raven Type A Light Dropships

2x Raven Type B Light Dropships

6x Sabre Main Battle Tanks

6x Rapier AA Tanks

4x Bear APC’s

4x Gladius Heavy Tanks

2x Scimitar Tank Destroyers

4x Wolverine Scout Buggies

1x Kodiak Command Vehicle

12x Legionnaires stands

4x Praetorians stands

2x Falcon Gunships

1x Seraphim Strike Fighter

2x Archangel Interceptors

1x 40 card full colour Command Card deck

That really is a massive amount of models you’re getting if you stump up the cash for it. Separate purchases would be a wallet crunching £291.50 again working on a guesstimate of £10 for the 4 Scout cars. My maths says that this is almost a 25% saving if you grab the set, if you bought the Premium version for the case you’d still be saving over £40 on the models alone! I’ll have to admit that I am really impressed with this set and while I love me some Shaltari walkers the savings here and the awesome models are tempting me back to my original first choice…. curse you Mr. Lewis! Th addition of the excellent Gladius Heavy Tanks is what also tempts me towards this set. I’m allowed to sell my firstborn to finance this right?

Dropzone Commander Army Deals


The long wait is over, the 6 inch move floating citadel is abuzz with excitement and Friday was spent with Carabus and myself sitting at our respective desks tapping F5 like men possessed. Lacking the stamina of the elder of us I retired to bed at 11.30PM while the more stalwart Carabus partied on Facebook until the site came live at 1am.

Saturday was a day of fevered phone calls as we discussed the various deals on offer, the details shown on the site and anything else that we could chat about regarding DzC.

Having had the weekend to peruse things I thought I’d cast my appraising glance over the various deals and the pricing. While things are a little more expensive than I’d have liked (nothing is free though eh?) things are priced slap bang in the industry standard range. Things are approximately £10 for a unit whether that is stands of infantry, a few vehicles or the various fliers. Only the truly large dropships cost up near the £20 mark. The rulebook is also nice and cheap too, meaning that if you wanted to check out the full rules before taking the plunge of buying miniatures then the initial outlay isn’t that massive.

Anyway, on to the army deals. To avoid the obvious PHR bias of a lot of the previous postings by Carabus I thought I’d start with my new favourite the Shaltari.  These are looking like what I’ll be going with if the rules turn out to be as interesting in the flesh as they are sounding. All of the various deal sizes come in two flavours, a normal version containing the models and the card deck and a Premium version that expands the offering with a case of hold it all. I have to say that I am VERY impressed by this. Dave has obviously done his homework; I am sure I am not in the minority of gamers, I have three cases for my miniatures and yet they’re not big enough to house my collection, not by a long way. Offering a new game with a case for your army is a real stroke of genius, wives everywhere can rejoice as new additions arrive with their own method of keeping everything tidy. Custom-cut foam means you won’t need to change it at all, I am just super-impressed with the fore-thought that has gone into this and I’m more than likely going to be grabbing the Premium version of whichever set that I can actually afford.

Let’s start with the cheapest options and work from there. The Shaltari Starter Army is as follows;

3x Eden Medium Gates

3x Tomahawk Main Grav-Tanks

3x Kukri AA Grav-Tanks

2x Haven Terragates

4x Braves stands

1x 40 card full colour Command Card deck

The set comes in at £68 for the normal and £88 for the Premium. The models independently cost £77.50 so you’re effectively getting the Braves for free, obviously with the Premium you are paying for the case. So you’re getting a roughly 12% discount off the various parts.

Onto the Large Army deal, in this one you get;

1x Gaia Heavy Gate

3x Eden Medium Gates

2x Spirit Light Gates

6x Tomahawk Main Grav-Tanks

3x Kukri AA Grav-Tanks

4x Haven Terragates

4x Yari Light Grav-Tanks

1x Coyote Command Warstrider

8x Braves stands

1x Warspear Heavy Fighter

1x 40 card full colour Command Card deck

That’s quite the haul and is the first army set in which you get a version of the excellent Walker, this is the command variant. Separately this lot would command a princely £165, so you save £25 if you pick this option, a saving of roughly 15%. The £170 Premium version starts to get a little more expensive but that’s quite a case of fit in all the stuff you are getting.

Finally we have the Shaltari Mega Army deal which has;

2x Gaia Heavy Gates

4x Eden Medium Gates

4x Spirit Light Gates

6x Tomahawk Main Grav-Tanks

6x Kukri AA Grav-Tanks

4x Haven Terragates

2x Jaguar Warstriders

1x Ocelot Warstrider

4x Yari Light Grav Tanks

1x Coyote Command Warstrider

8x Braves stands

4x Firstborns stands

2x Thunderbird Gunships

2x Warspear Heavy Fighters

1x 40 card full colour Command Card deck

This whopping £220 set contains probably everything that you’d ever want. If you are looking at getting this lot I’d suggest the Premium as being the only way to go so you keep all this lot safe and sound. I imagine if you’re willing to lay down this much cash that it isn’t a stretch to drop the bag in too. This really is the ultimate way to dive in and will give you enough to keep you painting for a while. To buy the units on their own would be a staggering £278 so the set nets you a decent 21% saving. You’re also unlikely to want to add anything to this lot for a very long time.

It’s worth noting that the Large and Mega armies are web exclusives too so you won’t find them anywhere else. Also, none of these deals includes the rules so you’ll have to chuck another £15 at it in order to actually be able to play.

I’m sure you’re all wondering where I sit? I love me some walkers so therefore I’d be looking ideally at the Large or Mega armies. I’ve got some fundraising to do if I want either though and if this is a game we do plump for I want to be on board well before July 9th to make sure I get my goodies in the first wave of releases. Time to hunt through my gaming den and seeing what I can hawk on the Internet to pay for the new hotness.

If you can afford it I’d humbly suggest most people would be better off with the Large army! Now, I’m not getting paid to punt it but it does seem to have the nicest selection of stuff to give variety to your games, as well as some of the larger models you’d otherwise have to pick up individually. If I did grab the Starter version then I’d probably be throwing money at a couple of walkers anyway which punts me up towards the normal Large army. I’ll be giving the other races the once over too so stay tuned for more!