The surviving space-bound Remnant forces, having lost their chance to get the observational data from the recovered Scourge probe, turn to the local Resistance groups for help. From them, they learn of a still operational radar telescope that has been kept actively scanning the same region the probe was lost in. Making their way to the area, they are intercepted by PHR forces, who insist they back down and end their pursuit. The PHR claim it is for their own benefit, but the Remnant group say they are aware of what is at stake and within their rights to continue. A friendly disagreement ensues.
Reconquest 1 Scenario, Beta 2.4.1 ruleset – Ground Control, 1500 points.
Flightwing Commander game – 210 points.
Determines which faction will be primary focus in next game.
Hera (CV3), Hera, Apollo, Apollo
Triton A2 2x
Rifle Team 2x
Juno A1 2x
Triton A1 2x
Triton A1 2x
Close Call 2x
Gun Wagon 2x
Gun Wagon 2x
Jackson 3x (+Spider Launcher)
Marine Force Recon 2x
Frankly, I’m not sure how qualified I am to do any sort of critical analysis of a wargame ruleset. My perspective and experience is limited; I have never played the big games like those of Games Workshop, and only a handful of others such as Battletech or model agnostic systems like Full Thrust no more than once each. Miniature wargames are something I was interested in for some time because tiny models of big robots and shit stomping around little buildings is neat, but it wasn’t until I came across Hawk that I found model lines I liked enough to dig in. Why not just make dioramas if that’s the attraction to it? It feels a bit hollow by itself; you can add more detail and visual story to an intentionally designed set piece, but having the theoretical possibility of being able to interact with your completed work adds more satisfaction beyond only the act of creation itself. Regardless, I’ll try to go through some thoughts after playing these beta rules.
The impression I get is that many of the choices in 2.0 were an attempt to streamline/speed up the game. CQB being a shooting action like any other, barrage shifted to a straightforward indirect area attack, fast movers becoming more like regular units, templates reduced to a single size, aircraft landing simplified, etc. It feels as if there was an assumption of bloat, and reducing bloat is a perfectly reasonable design goal while updating a game system. Every unit having their own bespoke rules or some other minutely detailed aspects to them isn’t conducive to the larger scale game Dropzone looks intended to be vs a more focused small model count system, after all.
After playing with an older ruleset, I didn’t feel at all as if the game was too complicated. I think it’s important to have a sufficient number of levers by which to tweak how a particular unit interacts with the systems within a game; too few, and everything feels flat. There were delays and rulebook consultations, but it felt clear the intentions and nuances of the rules were purposeful and interesting. We made mistakes of course, and I don’t think it would ever be reasonable to expect someone to memorize something like the barrage table. However, none of the time spent deliberating what to do was because of a lack of clarity or analysis paralysis that would come from having too many moving parts and decision points.
My understanding of the general idea behind the design of Dropzone 1.0 was the trinity of AA/AT/air; keep your opponent from moving and extracting infantry with dropships by AA, shoot down their AA with your AT to keep your dropships alive, destroy opposing AT with your AT to keep your AA alive, and so on. I don’t want to get into the weeds of focusing on a particular unit or archetype, but the core of it is to pin your opponent down to stop them from interacting with objectives while you try and claim yours. Things like demolition or elite infantry add complexity to it, and that’s how the game has expanded and offered options from the beginning. It doesn’t feel as if the game had grown enough that it began straying to the point that systems had to be pared down to refocus.
The thing is, I’m unable to make a claim one way or the other if the intention of speeding up the game was met, and whether or not that was even necessary. Due to the additional time that taking all the photos and notes to make a properly detailed battle report adds, we played this spaced out over the course of three days, and thus have no reference to what a ‘standard’ game would play like. Maybe a similarly sized game of 2.0 vs 1.0 really does play faster, so perhaps the goal of a speedier game was actually accomplished! The worthiness of achieving that is left as an exercise to the reader.