Friday, 25 November 2016

Deadzone Session Report

I played my first games of Deadzone last week. Deadzone is Mantic's Sci Fi skirmish game (like Necromunda, but heaps different). It was a lot of fun. The rules did not take long to pick up, and I was confident enough to write my own list. Rounds take between 30-60 minutes, you could easily slot 3 games in an evening. Not a lot to argue over in the rules, and the lists are all in the one book so it won't take long to get familiar with whatever you might be facing.

I really like this game, and I think it will be my next project after the big Kings of War tournament I'm attending at the end of January. If you are after a miniatures skirmish game with a low barrier to entry, quick, entertaining matches, but with enough depth to keep things interesting, check it out. Decent sculpts too. The Forge Fathers and Veer-Myn especially look great.

Anyway, on to my report.

My list: Veer-Myn 150 points
Progenitor with Chem Thrower. My leader unit with a quite rubbish flame-thrower. The plan was to keep this guy as safe as possible, I hate that such a fragile unit is worth so many points. Next time I'll definitely change this guy up. His Chem thrower is fine when he uses it, but if I'm that close to the enemy I'm fighting them in melee. I'll try and give him the Grenade thrower next time. The Broodmother is a cool model but she seems to have an absolutely useless special rule and just not fit well with the rest of the army.

2 x Crawlers with Frag Grenades. Very rubbish marksmen with crappy rifles and very useful grenades. The idea of these guys was to use Fire for Effect to pin enemies, so I could get the extra dice in melee. But they are rubbish at shooting! It was nice having them as slightly-more-reliable Grenade chuckers. But next time I'll swap them out for Malignusi with rifles. If my progenitor has the grenade thrower I can afford to drop the frags from these guys and just use them to Fire for Effect.

8 x Stalkers. Fast moving rats with knives. These guys are the bomb. Fast and cheap. A couple of them can take down most enemies if given enough support. They melt to ranged fire though, so expect to lose most of them each battle. I ran them in two packs of 4. It's very important to keep them out of enemy LOS at all times.

Team tactics: Use Fire for Effect or grenades to pin enemies then charge them in melee. Repeat until enemy is dead or I run out of grenades/bodies to throw into melee. In practice the grenades were great, but Fire for Effect was less so (from the Crawlers anyway). 6+ shooting just isn't reliable enough. Will try the tactic with the 5+ Malignusi before I make a call on it.

Game 1 vs Enforcers
His list was like 6 enforcers, a couple with rocket launchers, one with the combat blade thingy.

Scenario: Breakout

The scenario suited me to a tee. His list had a lot of points sunk in AP weapons, while none of his units had any more than 1 Armour. 

He took up firing positions along the buildings just outside his deployment zone. I moved up as far as I could, taking some risks as I did so. The first couple of activations went rough for me, with his superior shooting picking off the rats that were foolish enough to not be completely out of LOS. 

But my plan began to work in the mid game as my stalkers were able to sprint and catch some of his Enforcers who were uncovered by allies. If I make sure the enemy is pinned before I charge, it's my 5 dice hitting on 4s vs his 3 dice hitting on 4s (if he attempts to Survive rather than Fight). Them's good odds. If he survives the first charge, I almost always had another Stalker ready to go in to the same combat, same odds.

But the key turning point of the game came down to sheer luck. He had moved two of his Heavies on top of a platform with an almost crippling field of fire. I couldn't close on them without losing at least 4 rats in the process, and I had already lost 4. You can see them in the picture above, up the top left.

But one of my rats managed to pop a crate and find a smoke grenade inside. He pegged it at the heavies and covered them in smoke. Then they had the choice of staying where they were but being unable to fire, or moving and still being unable to fire.

Losing ~half of his firepower at that point was crippling for him, and I was able to safely flood across the gap and mix it up in melee. I had a hard time with his combat  enforcer, but the rest I was able to gang up on and stab stab, and then run off the board.

Luck played a large role in the outcome of this game, but I think my opponent's critical mistake was placing units in positions where they were isolated, not covered by friendlies. This meant I was able to charge 2-3 stalkers into melee and take down the isolated unit, and then skitter off into cover before the counter-attack came. In the situations where his forward elements were covered, I had a much harder time of it. I took down the exposed unit, sure, but then the stalkers themselves were killed in turn. I can afford to lose ~1.5 rats per enemy killed. I can't have too many fights that cost me 2-3 rats.

Game 2 vs Rebels

His List:

Yndij Infiltrator Commander
3 x Rebel Trooper
Rebel Yndij
Sphyr Loader
Judwan Medic
Rebel Grogan
Rebel Teraton
Rin Nomad
Rebel Specialist with Missile Launcher

Second game was against an interesting Rebel list. A mix of all sorts of stuff. I was immediately worried about his Teraton. I had ~no~ idea how I was going to get through its armour, with no AP at all. 

We played the scenario with the VP tokens. The 2VP token was in the open, in the middle of the board in an open square with very little cover. He chose his side, and deployed all along his edge, clearly aiming to take advantage of the high ground and cover just outside.

I deployed in tight packs, crammed into the squares that he had no LOS to.

Early on he used command dice to charge his Teraton forward, sitting him on the 2 VP token. His plan obviously was to take control of the important centre location early, and move the rest of his squad up behind. 

I had one plan to beat the Teraton, and I had to try it before any of his support arrived. I ran one of my shooter rats up a building and had him peg his grenade at the teraton. Fortunately the blast threw the Teraton towards my side of the map. This put the pinned Teraton within charge range of my 8 stalkers. My progenitor moved next, hitting the teraton with his chem-thrower. The 1 AP and a good roll were critical in doing 1 wound to the Teraton. Then one by one I sent stalkers charging into the square. They got extra dice for charging, for having allies in the same square, and for the victim being wounded. He got extra dice for being huge and he was a good fighter. It took a round of shooting, 4 charges and one extra fight dice but the teraton eventually fell to the knives of the stalkers. 

That was huge. I was also able to get 2 of the 4 stalkers out of the square alive, as Glen had no way to bring his serious guns to bear on it. They mostly fled into the long building, or the basement of that central tower. In those rooms they were safe from all ranged attacks (no LOS with the holes in the walls being so high up), and Glen did not have any weapons that would have really helped (like grenades, flamers, or blasters). He tried sending a couple of guys on suicide missions, charging into melee in the dark rooms full of rats with knives. Yikes. 

From there it was just a matter of waiting patiently for him to move his units into vulnerable positions and then striking with the stalkers I had stashed in the central buildings. I was tempted to try and park units on the VP tokens, but they were all exposed to the Rebels' fire, so I just waited. I had my remaining Crawler on top of the central tower taking a couple of pot-shots at his dudes each turn, so I could afford to sit tight. He had no choice but to move up and try and counterattack, and I was able to just pick him off one by one. I got very lucky with my survive rolls in the later phase of the game, with one of my stalkers managing to survive being shot at from above, while completely in the open. But even if all my rats who were shot at had died, I had so many I could afford the losses.

The key turning point of the game was Glen moving his Teraton up early, without adequate fire cover or support. If his Grogan had a decent fire lane down that centre alley, or if the Medic had been close enough to do her thing, things would have been very different. If Glen had taken another big gribbly, or my grenade had thrown the teraton the other direction, the game would have gone very differently (although I did have 2 grenades).

But overall I'm really happy with the way the Veer-Myn played. I reckon they will be my primary faction, although I'll be painting up a squad of Forge Father Steel Warriors first.

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