Saturday, 24 January 2015

Duck and Cover, Protect & Survive. Bunkers for Dropzone Commander (1)

I love Dropzone Commander. I love the dynamics, the mainly urban setting, the way each unit has a function. Well, almost. There is usually one unit that sits sad and alone in the box while the rest of the army is out there strutting it's stuff - the flamethrowers. Whether it is Mechits, Tormentors , Flameblades, or FireWagons, the specialist flamethrowers are, well, just too specialist. Yes they are the bees knees at clearing buildings, in fact my Tormentors have yet to fire a shot in anger as the enemy has always abandoned any building when they saw them approaching - pretty much the same effect Churchill Crocodiles were often reported to have had in WW2. The problem is that nine times out of ten the same overall result can be achieved by pounding the target building with standard weapons, or demo capable weapons, until it just collapses. The big advantage of this approach being the units involved can also do their normal stuff. Even against hardened targets, you are usually better off shooting them with tanks rather than including the specialist flamethrowers who are pretty useless at anything else.

Except for the Bunker Assault Mission. One of the missions in the Resistance expansion involves assaulting and holding five key bunkers. The name sometimes confuses players because they think of them as fixed defensive positions that units can fire out from, something like the bunkers on Omaha Beach,  when in reality they are simply the extra hardened entrances to deep underground facilities - think Cheyenne Mountain, MIB HQ or Der Fuhrerbunker. Troops in these cannot be targeted by normal weapons, you either assault them at bayonet point, or use those over-specialised flame units to kill defenders by filling the tunnels with your particular flavour of insidious death - acid, napalm, gas or whatever (Fort Drum Redux).

The Bunker Assault mission is very different from normal missions, and gives a refreshingly different style of game, particularly at tournaments and games days. The problem is you need 5 bunkers. Hawk do a Bunker scenario pack, One of our local players has a set, and I had a good chance to fondle them  and very nice it is too, containing 5 identical bunker entrances.

Like all Hawk products they are exquisitely detailed, but the set is £35. That is a large expenditure on something only used rarely. Worse, if you are organising a games day you need a set of 5 per table, so even a small event with 8 players would require 20 bunkers, or £150 expense. No Tournament Organiser can do that without official support, so the Bunker Assault mission gets rarely played.

I like Bunker Assault, so I have been looking for cheaper ways to allow it to be played on a budget. Next post will show some options.........


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