So, you have the two-player starter for Dropfleet Commander and now you want to add some models to your list and grow your game? Well, I don’t know the right answers to this question, but here’s where I am taking both the UCM and Scourge starters from the recommended ships to the next points level. The goal is to add a single carrier and frigate sprue to the list while trying to fill some of the holes we were left wanting with the starter game.
The UCM starter is pretty strong but has some struggles that I wanted to try to fill the holes on. First of all, by itself a single Seattle class fleet carrier is a threat it seems to Frigates, but late in the game was really not an offensive threat. The defense of the fighters for point defense boosts on critical ships is really nice, but I wanted to really increase the threat from bombers. To that end, I am adding a second Seattle to the list. This should give the fleet some great support. I can use the bombers early to go after frigates and mid/late can use them either combined to go after a carrier with weaker point defense or boost my own point defense on a ship like the Moscow that is going to be in the thick of it.
With the frigates, Dustin and I both agree that the importance of strike carriers is huge and so I wanted to add another pair of New Orleans strike carriers to the list. I know that the Scourge is going to answer with some better tools for going after the strike carriers, so having a few more to help go after those valuable sectors and establish a presence early and often.
Then, with two more ships available with the frigate sprue there are some choices to be made. However, I wanted to be able to defend my strike carriers in the atmosphere, but I also want to be able to have some better tools to go after enemy strike carriers as well. To that end, I added a pair of Santiago’s. With the rule air-to-air on its Stingray Missile Bays, it will be able to effectively shoot within the atmosphere. After all, there was a large amount of frustration about those strike carriers needing to be hit on 6’s constantly when they were within the atmosphere. That should help give me real presence over at least one cluster in the mid/late game.
I honestly had an easier time adding ships to the Scourge. I think their starter is a little closer to what I want to play, at least after seeing one game played out. The first thing that was obvious watching the Scourge be played in the first game, was that the Scourge need ways to put more assets on the ground. Looking at the list, it seemed obvious that I wanted to add a Chimera troopship to the list. This troopship is capable of dropping bulk landers which can be dropped from the low atmosphere which means I can use the speed of this ship to put it over a couple of different clusters and get it where I need it late in the game. The problem will need to be keeping it protected from enemy ships, but that’s the job of all of the firepower of the cruisers that come in the starter after all!
For the frigates, again, I am taking the approach of the air-to-air ship for hunting those pesky enemy strike carriers. For the Scourge, that means two of the Nickar hunter-killer frigates. These ships have a small signature with only a close-action gun called the plasma squal. It’s a little random with D6 shots, but it should really help a pair of them gain the upper hand over a cluster that may otherwise be highly contested.
With two more frigates to go, I couldn’t resist the look of the Charypdis with its tentacle-like guns on the underside of the ship. It’s pretty crazy looking, but the more I looked at this, the more I thought that this is a great buy for this list! It brings the bombardment special rule which means it can target ground assets without penalty from either low orbit or the atmosphere. This means that I can sweep in with these over a cluster that I want to ensure I control, but can’t get the assets dropped to the ground and pummel those assets from the safety from above. After all, the modern war is won from the air and not the ground anyways!
I don’t know if these are the right choices to add to the list yet, but I am excited to give them a try. Going this slower approach should give us time to learn the rules more and experiment with tactics as I continue to add models from the Kickstarter. It’s likely going to be a while before that next game, so more updates will be coming after that game for sure.