DC: An interesting matchup at GenCon

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My band, "Nowhere to Run" -

Commander - Rhynseera the Alarphon

Creatures (14)
1x Umber Hulk (L5 STR/DEX)
1x Dragon Knight (L5 STR/CON, Adventurer)
1x Drider (L4 DEX)
1x Earth Guardian (L4 STR)
2x Half-Orc Thug (L3 STR/DEX, Adventurer)
2x Human Ranger (L2 (STR/DEX, Adventurer)
2x Demonweb Spider (L1 DEX)
4x Elf Archer (L1 DEX)

Orders (32)
1x Sneak Attack (L6 DEX)
1x Killing Strike (L5 STR)
1x Invigorating Smash (L4 STR)
1x Battle Ready (L4 STR)
1x Forceful Strike (L3 STR)
2x Shadowy Ambush (L3 DEX)
2x Spring Attack (L2 DEX)
2x Stealth (L2 DEX)
2x Feint (L1 DEX)
2x Quick Shot (L1 DEX)
2x Shove Aside (L1 STR)
2x Sacrifice (L1 any)
2x Into the Fray (L1 Any)
2x Secret Passage (L1 Any)
1x Recoil (L1 Any)
2x Healing Potion(L1 Any)
2x Web (L1 INT - Spider affinity)
2x Heroic Surge (L1 Any - Adventurer)
2x Behind Enemy Lines (L1 Any , + Adventurer)


Cashtool's band, "The Swarm"

Leader

Kalteros the Sellsword


Creatures (12)

4x Halfling Sneak
4x Demonweb Spider
4x Elf Archer


Order Cards (30) (note: there are Sneak Attacks in the Order Cards as well, this list is not entirely accurate)

4x Quick Shot -- lvl1 min dex
4x Quick Jab -- lvl1 min dex
4x Recoil -- lvl1 imm any
4x Sacrifice -- lvl1 sta any
4x Deep Wound -- lvl1 sta dex
4x Piercing Strike -- lvl1 sta dex
4x Web -- lvl2 min int (spider affinity)
2x Feint -- lvl1 min dex

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"The Swarm" WON. Cashtool is an excellent player, I still need some practice, and "Nowhere to Run" is clearly designed for surgical strikes against larger targets... but I think this demonstrates a viability of strategies that we haven't seen before.


How the Swarm was piloted:
- Pieces were very spread out to avoid AoE attacks
- Gathered a tremendous amount of treasure, making cowering through attacks fairly easy when needed... and if a piece dies, its not a significant loss.
- Halfling Sneaks deal a lot of damage in this setup....
- Elf Archers provide a lot of damage coverage across the board
- Even if I had damage prevention cards, they wouldn't save much.

There are certainly better matchups for my band and worse matchups for his (a pair of leveled up dwarven defenders backing a War Wizard would ruin his day)... the basic point is, its not just about big piece vs big piece anymore. You can make bands that draw their strength from numbers and make good use of order cards to completely overwhelm high value targets. Its not without risk, but a L1 piece in Dungeon Command can accomplish a lot more than you'd think.
Very cool, thanks for the report.


Was this game part of a tournament?  I considered going to Gencon at the last minute and crashing in a friend's room, but didn't see any DC games listed; on the other hand, I think I only looked for 5-10 minutes, and it's likely I wouldn't have gone anyway.

If there is a tournament, I hope someone keeps track (as much as possible) of how various types of warbands do.      
In the Swarm band, I don't get the usage of Demonweb Spider over, say, Drow House Guard. Halfling Sneak and Elf Archer are self evident: the Sneak is the only creature that can produce more than 10 damage per level on its basic attack, the archers are the most efficient (damage to level ratio) ranged unit in the game. Drow House Guard would allow you to replace Web with Faerie Fire, which would be awesome in this band. It has 20 damage for 2 level, so the same damage ratio as the spider. The HP ratio is also similar. It gets a free ranged attack. And it synergizes better with Kalteros (you won't run out of creature cards even if you let the opponent kill some of your guys, and you get to occasionally draw Order cards from treasures).
One interesting thing about your opponent's warband: if you kill every creature in it, that's still only 12 morale loss.  Given that he's going to get treasure, he's probably going to have at least 20 morale.  So he should be able to very easily calculate fairly early in the game exactly how much cowering he can do to ensure that you need to kill every single one of his creatures in order to leave him with 1 morale left, triggering the "out of creatures" end game condition.

To extend this idea further, once the next set comes out and there are more level 1 chreatures, there's no reason he couldn't take, say, 4 each of 5 level 1 creatures, and make you kill every one of 20 creatures in order to run him out of morale.   


[edit for obvious blatant disregard of rules]
In the Swarm band, I don't get the usage of Demonweb Spider over, say, Drow House Guard. Halfling Sneak and Elf Archer are self evident: the Sneak is the only creature that can produce more than 10 damage per level on its basic attack, the archers are the most efficient (damage to level ratio) ranged unit in the game. Drow House Guard would allow you to replace Web with Faerie Fire, which would be awesome in this band. It has 20 damage for 2 level, so the same damage ratio as the spider. The HP ratio is also similar. It gets a free ranged attack. And it synergizes better with Kalteros (you won't run out of creature cards even if you let the opponent kill some of your guys, and you get to occasionally draw Order cards from treasures).

The Swarm started as "I just want to drop all the creatures in my deck by turn 3" as a concept. He wasn't taking it seriously til I talked to him about it. Sure, tweaking this or that can improve on it significantly.... the point is, low level pieces, even as 100% of your band, are quite viable.

Man, this warband makes me appreciate Cleave and the Human Ranger ability much more, heh.

Man, this warband makes me appreciate Cleave and the Human Ranger ability much more, heh.



Yeah. I think the DC team has worked hard on making sure there was a decent amount of metagamey interaction even within just the first two sets, which is awesome.

I was drafting up a list of resources and economies in the game and the first thing I noticed was how increased damage is 'overcosted' in terms of levels compared to HPs. That is, with the same amount of Leadership, the best way to max out your damage output is to play a lot of low level creatures. Whereas with HPs you usually get a set amount per level spent.

Of course there comes the issue that these die rather easy so that if you lose enough activations from creatures dying off then you're not actually dealing more damage because of all your lost actions.
There's no "sure win" in the game. Everything you put in your deck has weaknesses, and a lot of the game will come down to careful piloting. Cashtool kept all his pieces spread out pretty well to avoid clumps that could be wiped in an AoE attack, and then surged in on high value targets when they came in range.

I could have piloted my band differently too... instead of rushing in, I could have tanked with my dragon knight and backed him with my half-orc thug, controlled the middle zone on my tiles to threaten punishment on treasure grabbers, accumulated order cards and controlled critical LOS zones with my archers. Gone for the long game, basically.... once my full force hit the field, there wouldn't be much he could do about it. Seeing that now.

Still, really good demonstration of the depth of tactics. In DDM skirmish, your 3 to 5 point piece was there as a speed bump and activation controller... not much more. In DC, a L1 piece is a far greater resource when you take it into account during your build.
The brilliance of the low level troops, IMHO, come from the "one-two punch" combinations they're capable of, with or without order cards. If you can keep your opponent guessing on what character/order combo you have cooking next, you have the game half-won.
For this reason, I dont ever think Id build a warband with 4 of each character or order... too much chance for the oppoment to guess my combo patters and lock me down.
The brilliance of the low level troops, IMHO, come from the "one-two punch" combinations they're capable of, with or without order cards. If you can keep your opponent guessing on what character/order combo you have cooking next, you have the game half-won. For this reason, I dont ever think Id build a warband with 4 of each character or order... too much chance for the oppoment to guess my combo patters and lock me down.



Actually, I think its the flexibility of the damage. When a Dragon Knight does damage, its a single action dropping 40. 4 level 1 creatures can do 30 to one creature and 10 to the next.

That said, the second band Cashtool played would have crushed his first band... and my "Nowhere to Run" band would have been a bad matchup for him too.
The warband started as a joke after I realized with Kalteros that I could get all 12 creatures on the board by turn 3. Not even enough tokens in the game to identify each creature.

Turn -- Creatures Played -- Net Creatures -- Leadership (Kalteros)
Initial Deployment -- 3 -- 3 -- 9
1st Turn -- 3 -- 6 -- 10
2nd Turn -- 3 -- 9 -- 11
3rd Turn -- 3 -- 12 -- 12


After chatting with RPGChicago, I made a few changes before we played. Most notably, I added Sneak Attack to the deck. It was both viable and hilarious to see 5 creatures tap to assist a tiny spirder/elf/halfling in a 100 point melee attack.


Had RPGChicago kept his creatures back and waited, he would have probably won the game. He moved forward to use Secret Passage on his knight and Stealth on his Thug to move the game along. We were "labbing" after all.  "The Swarm" works by "swarming" a single enemy and cowering when needed. Too many activations from an opponent equals death, even with the extra Morale I gain from taking so much treasure. Also, this band gets demolished by a band with ranged attackers.


There will be two addtional level 1 creatures in the next set: Goblin Cutter and Goblin Archer. I will likely run 20 creatures with the new Goblin leader, Tarkon Draal. The deck is still for fun; the tournament warband I have for this Saturday is much more balanced between offense and defense. I am really enjoying the warband possibilities with just two sets.

i would enjoy seeing a website dedicated to dungeon command. i picked up 2 or each set and am rly enjoying it. growth of this gaming community can only mean good thigs for deck customization and additional factions.
i would enjoy seeing a website dedicated to dungeon command. i picked up 2 or each set and am rly enjoying it. growth of this gaming community can only mean good thigs for deck customization and additional factions.



There were some dedicated sites in the heyday of DDM Skirmish, and they still exist... just somewhat less vibrant as communities.

Hordelings
PlastiCrypt
MaxMinis

As this game grows, one or more of these sites may reactivate... or someone will build something better.
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