Dropzone Commander – UCM

In my last post I gave a brief overview of the game, the next logical step would be to discuss the factions. So lets start with the United Colonies of Mankind (UCM).

Hawk has published a good blurb on their fluff here: http://www.hawkwargames.com/pages/united-colonies-of-mankind

So I won’t linger on that, but I will discuss the good, the bad and the ugly for the UCM.

The Good:

  • Most balanced faction in terms of – good armour, average/slow mobility, good firepower.
  • Has the most air power of all factions (Ferrum drones, light gunship (Falcon), heavy gunship (Eagle), interceptor (Archangel),  bombers (Seraphim and Retaliator) , Command (Phoenix))
  • Most versatile basic AA unit – the humble Rapier – it has 2 modes of fire, reasonable speed and good armour . It lets you get into someones face and shutdown air corridors and causes havoc for skimmers. Cherish it.
  • Financially, the UCM will cost you less than some factions as its one of the two factions in the starter box.

The Bad:

  • Infantry – whilst they now have more specialised options, (Legionnaires, Praetorians, Snipers, Hazard Suits, Mortar Teams and Flak teams) they have no solid answer to the other races CQB specialists. This means if the UCM troops get caught in a building by the other races CQB specialists, then you can kiss them goodbye in most cases.
  • UCM tanks – whilst they have reasonable speed (4″/6″), good armour (9/10), and reasonable guns (E9/10) they mostly have 1 hit point, this means in battles of attrition against hard to hit skimmer armies such as the Scourge or Shaltari, or against the multi hit-point armies of the PHR, they will suffer more – not disproportionately more, but enough that you will want to make constant use of cover.
  • Drop capacity  – not a massive issue but when you have squads with 3/6/9 options in terms of models per squad you quickly find that to bring blocks of 6, you need 2 medium dropships and a squad of 9 needs a heavy dropship, or you are driving on. This is only really viable for the light tanks in the faction (Fireblade and Katana) otherwise you are limited to a top speed of 6″ on roads and then, with no shooting. Additionally, like other races light drop ships, you can only carry 2 bases of infantry per dropship; unfortunately while you can stick 2 bases of Legionnaires on a Raven, its a poor option compared to what the other races can manage with basic troops in those dropships.

The Ugly:

  • Scout options – you either have to take a Ferrum Drone base (and why wouldn’t you for a great AA/AT unit , downside is that if your oppo has brought good Anti Air, you will lose those drones fast, and if they get the Ferrum itself, you lose all the drones immediately!), Praetorian Snipers (unless you plan to turtle in a building, these guys need a drop ship and a willingness to never shoot to be useful here), or Wolverines. Scouts are important – they extend your command radius for card usage, and they act as spotters for the artillery (Kodiak and Longbows).
  • Heavy options – currently the UCM have only 2 heavy tank options – The Gladius and the Scimitar. Both of them are slow, and compared to the other faction heavy choices both feel quite stilted in comparison. The Scimitar’s laser can shut down a lane but once its on the table, don’t expect it to do much other than sit there and hit a couple of buildings or the odd poorly placed opponent’s tank. The Gladius, again, really slow but with a drop ship, it can at least get forward to do some good. Overall though they are just not filling a niche that the UCM have covered elsewhere.
  • Command Deck – whilst this has improved since the game was first released, I’d still personally argue that it feels like the weakest deck out of all the races. The options they added in, have certainly added more punch (which was badly needed), they will still struggle to find solid situations to deploy them well.

 

First purchases – assuming you have the starter box army, my recommendation is that the first pickups should be:

  • Kodiak – your commander – a reasonable all round choice now – plus it gives you an artillery shot with a blast radius if your have scouts that can spot for it – or a very inaccurate blast if you don’t.
  • A second starter box – this will give you much needed dropships (plus for the cost of 3 dropships bought seperately, this get you those plus much needed extra tanks and infantry!)
  • Then 2 blisters of Katanas (6 of them in total)  – this is a personal choice for me – Katanas are fast, slightly less durable than Sabres but have double the number of shots – also you can drive them on! (Find rules for these in the reconquest book).
  • 1 blister of Falcon gunships – these give you some good fast AT mobility which are also now really hard to hit, ideally you want 2 of them in an army (and you get 2 in a blister iirc)
  • A Ferrum  – its rare to see a UCM list missing one of these since they hit ground and air targets hard, and act as good spotters for the commander thanks to the drones being classed as scouts! (Find rules for these in the reconquest book).
  • Command Deck – not really necessary, but can be sometimes helpful – plus if you don’t have one, your opponents may well moan as you are crippling their armies – plus its necessary for competitve play.

That will generally push you up to about 1500 points with a commander factored in – the usual size of a game (and some left over models – 6 Sabres, 2 Condor Medium Dropships):

For Example:

  • Standard Clash UCM Army
  • Standard Roster [1480/1500 pts]
    • Field Command [368 pts]
      • Kodiak: Kodiak(Captain) [203 pts]
      • Ferrum: Ferrum [165 pts]
    • Armored Formation [287 pts]
      • Katana Squad: 3x Katana [111 pts]
      • Rapier Squad: 3x Rapier, Condor(+Missile Pods) [176 pts]
    • Armored Formation [287 pts]
      • Katana Squad: 3x Katana [111 pts]
      • Rapier Squad: 3x Rapier, Condor(+Missile Pods) [176 pts]
    • Legionnaire Corps [269 pts]
      • Legionnaires: 3x Legionnaires, Condor(+Missile Pods), 2x Bear [151 pts]
      • ^ Sharing ^ Legionnaires: 3x Legionnaires [78 pts]
      • Falcon Squad: Falcon [40 pts]
    • Legionnaire Corps [269 pts]
      • Legionnaires: 3x Legionnaires, Condor(+Missile Pods), 2x Bear [151 pts]
      • ^ Sharing ^ Legionnaires: 3x Legionnaires [78 pts]
      • Falcon Squad: Falcon [40 pts]

The only downside with this is that its only 5 out of a possible 6 battle groups for games of this size, but its a great start.

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