It’s been a bit too quiet in here for my liking – I think I’ve just been so busy in recent months that I’ve not had a chance to sit down properly and photograph all the things I’ve been painting (yes, despite the blog being quiet, I certainly haven’t been lazy when it comes to painting or gaming)! While I’ve been playing several systems in the intervening months, I’ll focus on just one for this post, and save the other systems for follow-up posts in a few days.
I’ve been playing a fair bit of Dropfleet Commander since my gaming buddies got their Kickstarter stuff at the tail end of last year. I’d initially started by borrowing some of the guys PHR ships, as well as purchasing a few ships off of Darren, which formed the basis of my fleet for a good few months, meaning I had to borrow ships from Jez and Craig until I could afford my own after Christmas. Now that I’ve got them, I’m so much happier – it’s nice to have my own fleet now and not having to borrow models, and be stuck proxying or using a list I’d not have chosen myself. I was also lucky enough to be given the PHR KS exclusive Battlecruiser by another friend, which was really nice of him. I’m looking forward to making some small expansions to the fleet over the course of this year. I’ve already got a pack of corvettes ordered, and I’ll get a retail battlecruiser when those release.
When it came to painting my ships, as I mentioned in my previous post, I was initially going to use a black/purple scheme, but the test models I had looked too dark and didn’t really stand out on the table, so I decided on a grey scheme as it’s a little brighter. I added the stripes to make the ships look a little more visually interesting – as nice as the smooth hulls are, they can look a little plain without decoration on, in my opinion. The grey is Dawnstone, highlighted with Fortress Grey then an edge highlight of 50/50 Fortress Grey/Ceramite White. The black areas are just Tamiya Flat Black drybrushed with Leadbelcher. The orange for the lenses is Trollslayer Orange highlighted with Bestigor Flesh, while the anti-grav plates (or ‘power paddles’, as they’ve been coined by my friend Jez!) are painted with P3 Meridius blue highlighted with Arcane blue.
The centrepiece of this fleet has to be the Battleship, and thankfully the way Hawk have designed it meant that I didn’t need to magnetise it to be able to swap between the two variants. I had originally planned to use magnets, and got so far as having the pieces prepped on my desk, however, as I reached aside to grab a knife out of my box, the magnets somehow disappeared into a hole in the space time continuum, never to be seen again! (I’ve searched high and low for them, and I’m at a complete loss as to how they disappeared WHILE I WAS SAT RIGHT THERE, but there we are! Perhaps in the future I’ll buy some more magnets and magnetise it properly. For those wondering, the fins on the Minos prow were spares from the Battlecruiser, which doesn’t require these parts off of the regular cruiser sprue. Had I not had these to hand, I’d probably have just green-stuffed over the gaps and just left it smooth.
In terms of gaming with them, I’m really enjoying using the PHR. They can be very versatile, despite the predominantly side-facing weapons limiting the initial turns of firepower. I certainly don’t feel as underpowered as some people out there in various communities would have us believe. I’m pleased to say that we’ve got a fairly healthy local meta going on with our 6 players – 3 UCM, 1 Scourge and 1 Shaltari opponent, with small PHR and Scourge contingents with some of the other players. PHR vs PHR is the only match-up I’ve not played yet. I really enjoy the game, and even though it’s not a ‘fast’ game, it’s a fun system to play.
We’re also lucky enough to have a Talon among our group, so we’ve been able to try the Beta version of the Command Cards, which have been a lot of fun to use. While I can’t go into any specifics about the cards themselves, they certainly do add some extra things to consider the game, and have the potential to turn around a hopeless moment into a game-winning one!
A couple of days ago (as I write this) Hawk released some Experimental Rules for Dropfleet, and I’m really looking forward to trying them, especially with the new Calypso buff! I always thought they were pretty handy before and always tried to include a pair in my lists, but now they seem almost too good! I’ll have to try them out and see, along with the additional linked broadsides on some of the other ships.
On to the ships: first up, the Frigates of various classes:
I love the look of this Frigate class, and their rules to help protect other ships were something I was keen to include from the start, and even in their first incarnation, were actually fairly useful, despite various communities saying otherwise. I tried to go for a glowing effect in the panel lines, it’s not quite as effective as I’d hoped, but it’ll suffice!
The Pandoras initially to me looked pretty nasty, although in our local group we’ve always found Burnthrough Lasers to be a little lacklustre. I originally ran these in a group of 4, but this was proving not to be that useful, so I’ve started shifting pairs of them out into seperate groups to accompany my Heavy Cruisers, effectively doubling the number of Burnthrough Laser shots being output by the Cruisers, which seems to have worked slightly better for me.
I love these guys, and I plan to make another 4 of them with my next fleet box! 3 shots per side, and they don’t need to use a Weapons Free order to fire both sides at once – there’s been a few instances where I’ve gotten them in between an enemy group and unleashed lots of firepower at them – the look on my opponents faces has been priceless when I scoop up 24 dice!
The workhorse of the PHR fleet, in my opinion – able to drop Infantry, Tanks as well as lend them support with it’s Bombardment Turret, these things are great – I’ve had them described to me as ‘both rock and paper in a game of rock, paper, scissors’ due to their versatility, as well as having a 3+ armour save and 5 hull, sitting them in Atmosphere where they’re being hit on 6s is such a huge boon. Granted, the rise of Corvettes may change that slightly in the future, but for now these 6 guys have been my real game-winners!
Next up are the cruiser hulls:
The Theseus class Light Cruiser is one of my favourite ships – pretty cheap, points-wise, yet kicks out a fair bit of firepower and is still as tough as most forces standard Cruisers! I like to use a pair of them to good effect in my games, as, like the Europas, these chaps can kick out a heck of a lot of dice per ship.
The Bellerophon is probably one of the PHR’s most-lauded ships, with it’s front Twin-Supernova Laser plus a launch Capacity of 4 means that this ship can kick out a decent amount of firepower from the get-go and can launch bombers at things or put up fighter screens to protect more vulnerable ships! I like it a lot, and will likely build a second at some stage.
The Hector is basically a Bellerophon without the launch capacity, instead replacing aircraft launch bays with guns. 8 dice per side, he’s a bruiser when he gets in close, although I do sometimes I’d wish I’d built this ship and the Bellerophon to be magnetised on the sides so I could configure them between games. Ah well!
Initially I was all about the Ganymede and viewed the Orpheus class as a second-rate Troopship, but as the games have gone one, I’ve discovered that this guy is the real star, while the Ganymede is more of a specialist ship (although it too excels at its role!). I’ll likely build a second one of these as well with my next fleet box.
As mentioned, the Ganymede was originally my favourite of the two Troopships, and to be fair it’s still a brilliant ship, having bombardment AND the capability to drop copious amounts of infantry down onto the surface. It’s literally always in the right place at the right time for what it can do!
I really love the look of this ship, but I’ve not had a chance to use it in a game yet, although I’ll be making sure I fit either this or my battleship into a game very soon! Looks pretty neat though, eh?
And here’s the fleet in its entirety – I’ll be adding Corvettes next, then later in the year I’ll buy another fleet box plus whatever else gets released I suppose!
Being the fluff-nut that I am, I decided to name each of my ships. Greek Mythology seems to be the order of the day for PHR ship classes, so I continued the theme with the ship names. I used lesser-known figures and places for the names, with the reasoning that they’re less-likely to end up being used by Hawk for ship classes in the future.
Off of the back of the Dropfleet stuff landing (hurr hurr), I was gifted a PHR army from a friend in exchange for painting up his copy of Imperial Assault. I’ve been reading up on the DzC rules, which I’m intrigued to try out properly. I’ve had a couple of demos of it but would really like to get my teeth into it. I’ll have to give it a proper go before committing too much to the game (although I’ve ordered an Aegeon from Hawk’s website while they’re available, just because!). Two of my gaming buddies already play semi-regularly, so I’m not stuck for opponents at least.
I’ll snap some shots of these very soon as I work on them more.
That’s all from me for now, but look out for my next post, which will cover all of the Dreadball we’ve been playing recently!