OK, the more I play this game the more fun it is. Last night we were playtesting the game again, and we not only bumped it up to 1500pts but introduced the Shaltari!

First off, Dropfleet Commander is not out yet, and is in the last stages of the Admiral Beta Testing. Because of that we will not be posting up up details how the game is played, and not even really any good pics.... after all we were using dropships from Dropzone as model proxies for testing.

Here is an example on how we were proxying... We were using a couple posters from the Admiral Day event as the playmat. Below is a Battlegroup with Two Atlantis Class Battlecruisers, and a squad of Jakarta Aegis Class Frigates for heavy point defense.

Here is what I was fielding......

UCM 1500pts Beta Test
Flag Battlegroup
New York Class Battleship
Jakarta Class Frigates (2)
Seattle Class Fleet Carrier

Vanguard Battlegroup
Atlantis Class Battlecruiser
Atlantis Class Battlecruiser
Jakarta Class Frigates (2)

Pathfinder Battlegroup
Toulon  Class Frigate (4)

Line Battlegroup
New Orleans Class Strike Carrier (2)

Line Battlegroup
New Orleans Class Strike Carrier (2)
Lima Class Detector Frigate

Line Battlegroup
New Cairo Class Light Cruiser (3)
Lima Class Detector Frigate (2)

Shaltari 1500pt Beta Test
Flag Battlegroup
Diamond Class Battleship
Voidgates (2)
Opal Class Frigate

Vanguard Battlegroup
Onyx Class Battlecruiser
Topaz Class Frigates (2)

Vanguard Battlegroup
Obsidian Class heavy Cruiser
Jade Class Frigates (2)
Jade Class Frigates (2)

Pathfinder Battlegroup
Granite Class Cruiser (2)
Jade Class Cruiser (2)

Pathfinder Battlegroup
Jade Class Cruiser (2)
Jade Class Cruiser (2)

Line Battlegroup
Emerald Class Mothership
Voidgates (3)

1500pts really got us a lot of ships out onto the game board. We made sure that we were playing on a 4x4 for the game, and it was a crazy hair raising battle, that we had to take a coffee/tea break from, just to discuss how tense it felt on the table. A game where terrain is not used, just felt crazy, and unnerving with lots of ships out there. However, with multiple levels of orbit, running silent, running moving your ships out of front narrow arcs, there is a ton of tactics and movement out there on the table. 

Lets talk briefly about what happened on the table.... Those Shaltari are fun. 
Round one..... 
Both sides came onto the board with most ships coming in on silent running.  However, ships that needed to drop into low orbit or get out there fast, did not. After all you can collect victory points every round, and getting to the center clusters (planetary objectives)with your ships  is important. 

We had 7 total clusters on the map. These are areas where controlling them at the end of the game gives lots of victory points, and where lots of ground battles will occur. You can even nuke these clusters, although you take a victory point penalty for doing so. 

Round 2
I may have started this battle..... I brought 3 Detector Frigates, although he did destroy one of my Toulon Frigates with his own right off the bat,  it was time to light up his ships with some active scanning. and Detector Frigates excel at this. This makes them easier to target, and possible to shoot from some distance away. 

Countering this though..... The Shaltari have amazingly small signatures until they shield up. All I was able to ping was his frigates in order to return fire, and several blew up.

Round 3
As we approached the center of the board weapons flew... Yea, both of us flew almost straight in (which will happen a lot less as we get a little experience behind us. He active scanned and hit my battleship with his own battleship, and just about everything else that could range it. It was severely damaged and crippled, but not losing any altitude by the end of the round. 

A couple cruisers were destroyed, and in one huge failure....... my vanguard battlecruisers unloaded with weapons free doing a total of 3 hull points to single shaltari battlecruiser. Massive failure, but shaltari shields and a Opal Frigate for shield boosting can really make a difference against heavy firepower. 

One word of advice for future Admirals fighting the Shaltari..... whatever the Opal Frigates are protecting.... Send in some hard hitting frigates to overwhelm the opals shield boosting and more shots off against the target (the shield boosting only helps against single ships incoming fire), or kill the opal!

Shaltari Voidgates
During the game, the Shaltari were using voidgates to not only stop me from landing on the planets unhindered, but to gate in their own troops to the ground to take the planetary clusters. This was being done from the Emerald Class Mothership that was in the backfield and allowed him to get troops to many of the clusters quickly

Meanwhile I had New Orleans Strike Carriers racing down into the atmosphere to land troops.

Round 4 and 5
The death of my New York Battleship. It was clean and quick, as not much was left heading into round 4. I did however make him pay, and a second round of my battlecruisers going weapons free tore apart his battlecruiser. At the end of my previous round, I had launched massive numbers of bombers and they now were about to reach their targets. They did moderate damage to the enemy, but really helped take out a good number of frigates. Shaltari have great Point Defense.

These two rounds were quite deadly and think most everything that died during the game did here. I lost a Battlecruiser, a couple light cruisers, and in return I finally destroyed that Shaltari battle ship. 

It was late, and to be honest, we had a massive number of ships sitting right on top of each other going weapons free. Ships blew up taking out nearby ships with them, and the two fleets really were very close pounding the crap out of each and trying to maneuver ever so slightly to get the best shots in, and get around and behind the enemy ships. 

I will have to say this about the shaltari..... They are fast and have extremely low signatures making them hard to target unless they activate their shields. Not only that, but their scan ranges are nuts. Literally double mine, meaning that they can bring their Close Action shots to bear much easier than other armies. 

Shaltari Particle Lances- Wow, these things hurt. These are devastating weapons that do critical hits everytime they hit. Their downside though... and it mattered.... was the front narrow firing arc. However, these did negate my good armor saves, and when they unleashed my ships paid the price for being in front of them. 

Round 6
The last round of the game. During the game we were collecting victory points each round, which had me ahead by 1vp (The score was 10-9 going into the last round). This was for having the most tonnage of ships closest to the planetary clusters we were fighting for. 

The ground battles had been raging, and going back and forth on who was winning. The Shaltari voidgates however, were a constant threat do my dropships bringing reinforcements down. The produce "charged air" over the landing zones, and ripped apart a couple of my dropships trying to land. 

While the fighting was close, it was during round 6 that I took down the Shaltari Mothership, which stopped the flow of troops to the ground to a grinding halt. 

Quite literally even though the ship battle was calming down, the ground battles were going to be the key to final victory. The score was just too close. In the center clusters were the ground fighting was taking place, (and atmospheric ships fighting above), the UCM finally were able to hold more sectors of the ground targets, and claim the two clusters being fought for. 

With the Mothership being taken down, and no additional reinforcements in the last round, the UCM won with a score of 23-19. 

Here are the images of the ships that we were using...... 

I had to repost this article, simply because I made a mistake on the original posting that referred to actual address of the article that could not be corrected. Sorry. Here are some comments and responses I have given. 

Is there anything the Shaltari aren't great at? Other than narrow fire arc on a couple weapons I haven't heard of anyone mention Shaltari weaknesses.

Their weakness is the size of their signature when they activate shields. The ships also Tend to have smaller hull pts. Even though we have only played one game with them, I found them rather balanced during the game.

They are just different, as in that they play differently than the UCM and Scourge that I was used to after playing starter set level games.

The game was close and went back and forth several times, and really was not decided until the game was over and we were calculating who was controlling the planetary clusters.

Kaptin Blakjaw
Hey there Natfka, 
Does this game have any concept of armor facing? Or is facing only relevant to gun placement? Also how exactly is the arc narrow for shaltari? Would it be marked on the base or is it just like a straight line from the prow protrusions?

Only one example of the bases was at the beta test. My understanding is that they are on the base though.

We were using my acrylic dropzone bases to define the arcs.

As far as facing, I don't see anything regarding extra armor at the different angles. Firing arcs for guns is the primary issue with facing, and those are clearly defined in the ships characteristics.

When taken in conjunction with orders, like Weapons Free, facing becomes very important from round to round. Getting your ships out of a front narrow arc can be vital to a ships survival depending on what ship is coming at you.
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