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Balancing Faction Lists

Discuss tactics and general army concepts not specific to a faction
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BwanaJoe

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Balancing Faction Lists

PostFri Sep 30, 2016 1:23 pm

Hello to all,

I'm a fairly new player with only a handful of games under my belt. The area I live in doesn't have Talons nor does it have a FLGS that sells DZC. The local Historical Gaming Club isn't much into SciFi outside of the very occasional Star Fleet Battles and 1st Ed Space Hulk games. That pretty much leaves myself and my two sons to play the game between just us (sometimes one son's friends, but rarely). I've bought the starter set and the Resistance starter box. One son bought the Shaltari set and the other is going PHR soon. We'd like to scale up to Clash size events in the future. Given a limited amount of cash and time this begs the question, what "lists" will give a balanced 50/50 win ratio for each of the factions over a broad range of scenarios? We could each just buy models to a set amount of points but that doesn't really create a balanced playing field if you don't know what you are doing. And if the field isn't level between us (<cough> Shaltari <cough>) then the game becomes frustrating and we will not play any more. I've seen the Blog with what to buy next and I believe there was a similar post a bit back about UCM/Scourge but I'm asking the community's opinion for good solid FUN lists for all the factions. Crushing opponents doesn't come into the equation; we play to have fun. Thanks for any and all help.

Joe
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BwanaJoe

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Re: Balancing Faction Lists

PostFri Sep 30, 2016 2:34 pm

Something I hadn't considered, how balanced are those 1500 point army deals on the Hawk website? Do they really stand up well as balanced armies against all factions considering the recent rule changes?
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J.D. Welch

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Re: Balancing Faction Lists

PostFri Sep 30, 2016 8:11 pm

BwanaJoe wrote:Something I hadn't considered, how balanced are those 1500 point army deals on the Hawk website? Do they really stand up well as balanced armies against all factions considering the recent rule changes?

Those sets are very outdated, unless they've updated them recently, which I doubt. I haven't looked at them since they came out about 2+ years ago, so would need to take another glance to see what's in them. On the one hand, if you all got just those, they should be pretty balanced between each other, but you wouldn't have many of the newer Units. On the other hand, if you're just playing amongst yourselves, and you stuck to those deal sets, it might be pretty balanced. I'll take a look at them later and get back to you.

Now, about your lists. "Fun" is what the game should be. The "problem" is (it's not really a problem, but it is both a blessing and a curse) is that there are really very few "never used" Units in Dropzone Commander. There are some, but very few. On the other hand, there are a lot of different options that you can take in various combinations, all of which are good, and none of which are "standard" or a "netlist" of any kind. With the exception of Scourge in the most recent Invasion, we've never really seen any "netlists" turning up (and even with the Scourge lately there was a good deal of variety within the different lists, so not really "netlists", just a lot of similarities, which was unusual). Everything has its weakness, whether it's an obvious weakness or the fact that the Unit costs a lot of points and therefore restricts what else you take in your 1,500 point lists, there is a weakness to everything. The trick, I think, is finding the balance of strengths that you want to take in your list.

Have you read DZCommenter's article on Gamerati.com about "What To Buy Next"? It's very helpful to go from the Starter Sets to 1,500 points. That would be a good guideline to follow. I don't have the link handy, but you can look him up here and look for his posts, which will take you to his articles.

Otherwise, what you need to do is answer the questions:
  • What is your particular play style? Are you aggressive, defensive, do you like to get in your opponent's face, or do you tend to sit back and castle up?
  • Do you have a "need for speed"?
  • Do you want to employ a lot of demo capabilities? (Not necessarily Demo-X models, but models that can affect decent demo inherently.)
  • Which models do you like the looks of? Seriously, if you don't like how the model looks, it will affect your desire to take it. On the other hand, if a model really knocks your socks off, you might need to build the rest of your list around taking that one.
Other than that, what everyone needs is:
  • A Commander and Command Cards.
  • At least 4 squads of Infantry, including both Troops and Exotics (although some factions, like Resistance, really need more than the "typical" 4 squads based on how they can transport their Infantry).
  • Light dropships for your Infantry. The APCs and medium dropships that come in the Starter Sets are OK, but really only for one battlegroup, at the most; you will need at least one blister of light dropships (or Spirit gates) for your Infantry squads to get around efficiently.
  • At least twice as much AA as you get in the Starter Sets, but not necessarily the same AA models that come in the Starter Sets. (Although, with the possible exception of Shaltari, getting a second Starter Set for each faction is not a bad way to add to your AA (and AT) capabilities, it's just not the only way...)
  • At least twice as much AT as you get in the Starter Sets, but not necessarily the same AT models that come in the Starter Sets. Here you could start going Heavy as opposed to more Standard or Support Units.
  • Enough dropships to transport everything you will need to move onto and around the table. With Critical Locations now being a very big thing in the latest missions, dropships have become more important than ever, and walk-on squads just aren't as viable, with a few notable exceptions.
  • Either a Cityscape or a Ruinscape scenery set from Hawk. You'll need the buildings, and with a 2-Player Starter Set combined with one of these sets you'll have plenty of buildings of various sizes, and can set up a 4'x4' board, or a 4'x6' board. I've even done 4'x5' for 2,000 point games, just to keep things "snug", but if you go over that, definitely 4'x6'.
If these guidelines aren't helpful and you're really just like, "OK, but just tell me what to buy, give me a freaking list already!", just let us know, and I'm sure you'll get opinions. I'm at work right now, so don't have access to FFoR, which is the best tool to throw lists together and eyeball whether you've got the right mix of all the components you need for your 1,500 point lists and 6 battlegroups in them. But if you want specific lists, just say so, and I can work on them over the weekend or on an evening, and I'm sure others will be happy to give you their favorite ideas.

Also, it's a really good idea to use the missions in Reconquest: Phase 2, and Phase 1, and to stay away from some of the missions in the v1.1 Core Rulebook, such as Recon and Search. Some notable folks will vocally disagree with me on these two missions, but most wont -- unless you modify Recon and Search, they can be way too random, and that has put people off the game. There is a new version of "Recon" in R:P2 (can't remember what it's called). Most of the missions in the v1.1 Core Rulebook are fine, but Recon and Ground Control have gotten a makeover in R:P2, which they needed, and Search can just be very frustrating for some people.

Also, if you're going to play 3-ways or 4-way missions, which are great, and want to stick with 1,500 points, be sure to play on a 4'x6' board. Most of us play 1,500 points on a 4'x4' board, which is what they do at tournaments, but there are some notable exceptions who may opine here. If it's just you guys, you can do whatever you like, so if you like the openness of a 4'x6' at 1,500 points, and take plenty of dropships for everything, you might never know the difference. Personally, I feel like 4'x4' is the correct size to play 1,500 points on (some disagree), but if you get up to 2,000 points 1-on-1, or if you add a 3rd and/or 4th player, you should consider either dropping down to 1,000 points for that game, or going to a 4'x6' table.

Hope that helps!
I love my job (well, I love having a job), but a bad day of gaming beats a good day of work every time!

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BwanaJoe

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Re: Balancing Faction Lists

PostSat Oct 01, 2016 12:08 am

Thanks for all the info; great stuff in there. Yes, the game should be fun but I've run into enough players in the Historical Miniature Gaming Society that take every game as life or death that I just wanted to let everyone know we only want to have a good time. None of us was out to crush the other during game play. So, no need for the perfect killer list! Also, I figure after we set up some balanced armies we can go after the cool looking models to mix things up. (I really want to get some Barrel Bombers and Archangels.)

Thanks for the advice on buildings. The MDF stuff looks great as well as Hawk's Ruins. My boys and I have been printing out the freebies online for now. Plus I've been looking at 4x6 mats for larger games. More research is needed on that score to see who has the best bang for the buck.

I've read the "What to buy next post" online and it is a great write up. The problem is, much like play style, we don't have enough experience playing the game to know what to buy and field and what not to buy and field.

J.D. Welch wrote:"OK, but just tell me what to buy, give me a freaking list already!", just let us know,
LOL! Well, that about sums it up! I'm more than willing to take army advice since I've no clue what I'm doing!

Thanks again for the help. Funny that your from Gilbert. I used to live there years ago when I was stationed at Willie.
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J.D. Welch

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Re: Balancing Faction Lists

PostSat Oct 01, 2016 7:25 am

Too late to reply... Just got home from the only LGS left in Phoenix, Imperial Outpost in Glendale. I live almost in Queen Creek, so it's quite the haul. Great store, tho. Was able to get a game in tonight, might be the last time I can play for a month, maybe, maybe not. I've saved the notification email, and will try to put some stuff together over the weekend...

You know that you can't run Barrel Bombers and Archangels in the same list, right? But they're both awesome, it's just that one is Feral and the other is Allied... Both have their pluses, but Allied have much better cards, and I think stronger special Units. Are you more interested in going Feral or Allied? Do you like the look/idea of the Hellhog? Would you rather go more heavy on the former-military stuff, or more into the realm of Technicals and Wagons (the more "Mad Max" stuff)? They're all fun, just need to know which direction you want to lean...

Question for your Shaltari player: Is he interested at all in any of the walkers (Jaguars, Ocelots, Coyote, Panther, Dreamsnare) or is he more interested in skimmers (Tomahawks, Kukris, Gharial, Caiman)?

OK, more than I'd intended to write, but if you can answer those questions, that will help...
I love my job (well, I love having a job), but a bad day of gaming beats a good day of work every time!

http://www.theroadtovalhalla.blogspot.com
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BwanaJoe

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Re: Balancing Faction Lists

PostSat Oct 01, 2016 1:24 pm

I didn't know the units were split for resistance. Of course since we inly play locally I can fudge that! :D If I had to choose I'd run allied. Hellhog is cool looking and I'd probably run former Mil stuff with a smattering of homegrown.

The Shaltari son said both. He only has the starter set so he really doesn't know which he'd like to play. That still hasn't stopped him from winning with those stupid little porcupines though.
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J.D. Welch

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Re: Balancing Faction Lists

PostSun Oct 02, 2016 5:21 am

BwanaJoe wrote:I didn't know the units were split for resistance. Of course since we inly play locally I can fudge that! :D If I had to choose I'd run allied. Hellhog is cool looking and I'd probably run former Mil stuff with a smattering of homegrown.

The Shaltari son said both. He only has the starter set so he really doesn't know which he'd like to play. That still hasn't stopped him from winning with those stupid little porcupines though.

Cool, cool...

Had an unexpected "Honey-Do" day today, so no time to work on this. I'll get to it, just not sure when, exactly. :? But soon... :)
I love my job (well, I love having a job), but a bad day of gaming beats a good day of work every time!

http://www.theroadtovalhalla.blogspot.com
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BwanaJoe

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Re: Balancing Faction Lists

PostSat Oct 15, 2016 6:49 pm

So getting back from hurricane clean-up and checking in to the forum. I ran across a post from last year that I'd missed on the first two run throughs of looking through the posts: http://www.hawkforum.co.uk/viewtopic.php?f=15&t=7447. With the new rule updates and changes does this post still hold true? (Althouh there doesn't seem to be enough AA for the UCM!). An input would be appreciated. Thanks.
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I didn't do it

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Re: Balancing Faction Lists

PostSat Oct 15, 2016 9:43 pm

We're actually in a similar situation, running an escalation of multiple armies.

The starter sets vary a bit in value, so I came up with some quick lists based on the starters to get each faction up to speed. Apologies in advance, this'll be a long post.

The shaltari are the biggest starter set by points.
Starter Shaltari
Skirmish: 579/600 points
Standard Army
  • Standard Roster [579/600 pts]
    • Gate Group [190 pts]
      • Eden Gates: 3x Eden [150 pts]
      • Haven: Haven [20 pts]
      • Haven: Haven [20 pts]
    • Swordpoint [114 pts]
      • Tomahawk Squad: 3x Tomahawk [114 pts]
    • Warrior Clan [140 pts]
      • Braves: 2x Braves [70 pts]
      • Braves: 2x Braves [70 pts]
    • Warfist [135 pts]
      • Kukri Squad: 3x Kukri [135 pts]

Scourge simply need one unit "upgraded" to ancient ones.
Starter Scourge
Skirmish: 586/600 points
Standard Army
  • Standard Roster [586/600 pts]
    • Vanguard [146 pts]
      • Hunter Squad: 3x Hunter, Marauder [146 pts]
    • Warriors [282 pts]
      • Aged Ones: 3x Aged Ones, Marauder, 2x Invader [201 pts]
      • ^ Sharing ^ Warrior Horde: 3x Warriors [81 pts]
    • Invasion Host [158 pts]
      • Reaper Squad: 3x Reaper, Marauder [158 pts]

Add two apollos to the PHR.
Starter PHR
Skirmish: 582/600 points
Standard Army
  • PHR Standard Roster [582/600 pts]
    • Battle Pantheon [204 pts]
      • Battle Squad: 2x Ares, Neptune [124 pts]
      • Apollo Squad: 2x Apollo-A [80 pts]
    • Battle Pantheon [166 pts]
      • Battle Squad: 2x Phobos, Neptune [166 pts]
    • Immortals [212 pts]
      • Immortals: 2x Immortals, Neptune, 2x Juno A2 [140 pts]
      • ^ Sharing ^ Immortals: 2x Immortals [72 pts]

and a falcon (I proxy a raven) for UCM.
Starter UCM
Skirmish: 587/600 points
Standard Army
  • Standard Roster [587/600 pts]
    • Armored Formation [192 pts]
      • Sabre Squad: 3x Sabre, Condor(+Missile Pods) [152 pts]
      • Falcon Squad: Falcon [40 pts]
    • Legionnaire Corps [229 pts]
      • Legionnaires: 3x Legionnaires, Condor(+Missile Pods), 2x Bear [151 pts]
      • ^ Sharing ^ Legionnaires: 3x Legionnaires [78 pts]
    • Special Ordnance [166 pts]
      • Rapier Squad: 3x Rapier, Condor [166 pts]

Lastly, resistance get a unit of technicals.
Starter Resistance
Skirmish: 567/600 points
Standard Army
  • Resistance Standard [567/600 pts]
    • Vehicle Detachment [173 pts]
      • Gun Wagons: 3x Gun Wagon, NT-1 Kraken [113 pts]
      • Rocket Technicals: 6x Rocket Technical [60 pts]
    • Resistance Band [259 pts]
      • Fighters: 2x Resistance Fighters, AT-77 Lifthawk(+AA Cannon), 3x MT-90 Jackson [163 pts]
      • ^ Sharing ^ Fighters: 2x Resistance Fighters [48 pts]
      • ^ Sharing ^ Fighters: 2x Resistance Fighters [48 pts]
    • Rusted Fist [135 pts]
      • Hannibals: 2x M9 Hannibal, AT-77 Lifthawk [135 pts]

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