Thursday, October 20, 2016

PHR Ship Overview 2: Unleash the Broadsides!

Are you still drinking Tea? Dang that armor is THICK!

Here we are, Part 0b10 of the PHR and we now get to his some of the special ships of the PHR. The PHR have a few nice things, the most cruiser class models, 2 different Troopships, and the only Fleet Carrier that can be in a group bigger than one per slot in a Battlegroup. 

However while the PHR get these cool benefits, they do pay for them and you will see that today's overview.

Light Cruiser:

Theseus-class Light Cruiser:

The Theseus is currently the only Light Cruiser that the PHR gets and is actually one of the recommended ships to build with the Starter Fleet. Some of you may be questioning that since all the other Light Cruisers came in groups of 2-3. Well the Theseus is the only Light Cruiser out there that can be taken in groups of 1-3. In fact it is currently the only ship with a group value of 1-3. There are 1-2, 2-4, 2-6, and 1 all over the place but only the Theseus has the flexibility of 1-3. 

A cool thing about the Theseus is that you are actually getting a UCM cruiser for less points. at 89 points the Theseus can do just about everything. It has a Battery of Light and Medium caliber weapons but no frontal turret. Some may be asking what some of the abilities on the weapons are so lets go over them roughly. 

The first off is Linked. Now if you read my UCM Battleship/Battlecruiser's overview you will remember that the Tokyo has Linked weapons, the same with the Europa from the PHR Frigate overview. Well the Theseus is the first perfect example of what Link was originally meant for. So in this case if you shoot out of the left side you can shoot all Linked-1 weapons for just a normal attack, and for the right side you shoot all Linked-2.

The Next ability is Caliber. Caliber is based off a ship's Tonnage. When shooting at a ship of that Tonnage (L or H&S) you decrease the Lock Value of that weapon by 1. So the Light Caliber Broadsides being shot at a Frigate or a Corvette would need 4+ instead of 5+. 

(I am going on a rant in a bit so have a picture of a Theseus painted!)

Michael Russell did such a great job here

Now while this ability will seem great to some, I have a bit of an issue with it. My issue has to deal with how I list build and how Caliber interacts with that. When I build lists I am looking to have a flexible build that will let me do several things and not lose the advantage or lose the pace I want to set. Light and Heavy Caliber weapons throw a wrench in that for me. Light Caliber's are just not reliable, I know the math involved but 5+ without a chance to crit feels too specialized to me.

Thankfully the Theseus has a mix of weapons and you can have more than 1 in a group. That will help make up for the variance in your dice a bit.


Francis-class Cruiser:

The Francis cruiser is not my favorite out of the lineup. In fact I think I personally rate it at the bottom. Sure it has Linked for both sides like the Europa so you can get 24 dice a turn but in the end it cant crit anything other than Frigates and if you are tossing 12 4+ dice at a frigate you will almost certainly kill it. 

Now the Francis does have a Suprnova Laser but it is a single die on a 3+. If anyone remembers the Nemesis or the Broadsword from Dropzone Commander, they are single die STRONG attacks and they hit on a 2+ but for some silly reason, more 1's are known to be rolled with those weapons than most others. . . . Imagine that on a 3+ weapon.

The Francis is not all bad though. It is durable, scares frigate heavy builds and can even on a good day bring down a Strike Carrier that is in atmosphere while shooting at a different target on the other side. So all in all it will come down to the Meta, but I suspect that Crits (rolling 2+ the Lock value which lets you ignore armor) will be very important. 

Orion-class Cruiser:

We shall name the Orion, the Workhorse of the PHR Cruiser section. It gets 8 shots at 4+ per side which is respectable but has no real special rules. It is even not that expensive when compared to the UCM Rio. A few more words for it I guess. Consistent, Tough, oh and Bland. 

The Orion is such a Basic Cruiser that it has nothing special going on other than its consistency. A strong tanky ship that lacks nothing but the fact that the Medium Caliber Turret is not really a Turret. . . 

Perseus-class Cruiser:

The Perseus is the first ship to show you an equivalent to the UCM's Heavy Mass Drivers (the ones the Seattle, Osaka, and Rio use). You get the Theseus's Light Caliber Battery which is nice, you get a half Turret which is another bonus and you get a Heavy Caliber Battery.

Heavy Caliber Weapons are all 3+  so they crit on 5+ to bypass an armor save and against Heavy and Super Heavy targets (Heavy Cruiser's, Battlecruiser's and Battleships) that is lowered to a 2+. The only downside is the amount of shots. . . you get a grand total of 2 shots per Heavy Battery. So you will just be slowly stripping hull away from an opponent. Every bit helps but if you take this ship, I recommend at least 2 of them.

Fleet Carrier:

Ikarus-class Vanguard Carrier:

We are now onto the ship that may fly too close to the sun. I joke. The Ikarus is a great carrier and is by far the cheapest of the faction's Cruiser sized carriers. It does only have Launch 2 though. It seems a good rule of thumb for the PHR carriers is to count the Hanger Bays. So far for every hanger bay there is, that is how many Launch Assets it can throw out. 

Now the PHR have the absolute weakest Point Defense in the game and so can REALLY! use the boost that even a few fighters can bring to survive the cruel close action weapons in the game.

Now fun fact.You will notice that on the Kickstarter page and even on dread2005's chart that the weapson do not match up to the profile on the actuall ship page. Well, the Ikarus originally had a Light Battery of 6 dice on a 5+ as a way to enforce its roll as a Frigate killer but Hawk got some advice I believe and thought it wise to upgrade to a Medium Caliber Battery.


Orpheus-class Assault Troopship:

Ohhhh baby. . .the PHR specialty is now showing! We start off the show of Assault Troopships with the Orpheus and this little gem will charm you to no end. Now some of you will be wondering why I like the Orpheus more than the Francis, after all, they are just the same ship with a Troop bay added on and no link.

Now that is true, the Orpheus is just a Francis with a Chin, but because of that, you are getting the firepower to shoot at Strike Carriers and drop Infantry while being able to flash targets (hopefully) with its Burnthrough. Remember, I adore flexibility and the Orpheus is only beat out by one other ship in the cruiser section for that.

Ganymede-class Assault Troopship:

The Ganymede is likely the ship that will serve most PHR players their ground Victory. I say this because it is a Cruiser with Bombardment Guns AND a decent Offensive power. It can tackle a variety of jobs.

When flexibility is key, the Ganymede delivers that in spades. Not only a beautiful model it is really only slightly behind the Madrid in bombardment capability but comes out ahead in anti-ship capacity due to the Turret and the Medium Caliber Batteries. This ship can protect itself and lay some hurt on all targets and depending, may just not be afraid of going Weapon's Free.


I feel that the PHR has a nice mix of cruisers but sadly that is not where their power lays. So far the PHR appear too specialized and I get the feeling that they are unable to put out enough shots that count and that is likely due to having their Broadsides.

We shall see what happens in the intervening months when I next do an update on this topic.

All images from the Dropfleet Core Rulebook are owned by Hawk Wargames (C) 2016


  1. Love the effort and haste that you put into this. My thanks.

    1. It is less haste and more that I get a writing burr under my seat and I just churn these out and queue them to come out.

    2. Thank you for your support! I really appreciate it.

    3. This just keeps me in the zone while I wait for my backing. Live in a small town and only play with my wife. She likes dropzone. It's nice to read about sample lists and how they perform. Would kill to get in a tournament. Till then, keep writing. Thanks.

  2. I am trying to get Hawk to approve me to get a vassal module out there for the public. It wont be the greatest thing ever but it would let people play others around the world.

    I appreciate the support! It keeps me going and posting these keeps me grounded as I wait for my pledge.

  3. Great blog you have here sir. Extremely helpful as I plan the assembly of my pledge.

    1. Good! Having played more games I have to say that nothing has really changed. Enjoy!