One of the critiques of DFC is that the land combat takes up too much time. I tend to like it – when you get to know the system it is rather quick I think – but I do find another minor flaw with the system. And that is the final round of dropping.
The issue is that, as the rules are written currently, the last round of dropping troops is either extremely important or irrelevant depending on where they are dropped – and the person on the ground has no way to respond. Let’s examine a couple of situations.
You hold a space station by having the most troops aboard. This means, that the last troops dropped are either irrelevant (if you can’t drop enough to have more troops than your opponent) or determining (if you can drop enough). However, the actual composition of troops is not that important. So an opponent could hold a space stations with 5 tanks but if you can drop 6 infantry in the last turn (2 bulk landers) the tanks are irrelevant even though they stand a good chance of killing the infantry, or at least kill enough to hold it. In short – the final drop is deciding and there is nothing you can do about it.
Sectors and clusters
The problem is pretty much the same. Dropping troops into sectors are irrelevant unless they change who has the most troops in a sector in which case it is deciding. Troop composition again means nothing, so bulk landers are at an huge advantage and can easily conquer a sector or maybe even two in the final round.
Is this really a problem?
On one hand you can argue, that if one player has superior dropping capacity in the last round, that should give an advantage. But all of the above both have extreme positive and negative sides. Since only number of assets are counted an opponent who is hard entrenched is impossible to remove. Hence having superior dropping capacity is somewhat of a gamble it if
To me it seems like we are missing a 7th combat round to fight combat where new drops have been made to give a final chance for the last troops to mean something and for superior troops (tanks) to rule the battlefield. Hence I sugges the following house rule:
The Final Battle
After resolving all bulk landers and dropships in the last round, all sectors and space stations where troops were deployed fights another round of combat. Any command cards that affected the combat round earlier in this round does not influence this combat. It is not possible to do any moves prior to this combat and any sectors and space stations where no new troops deployed, does not get to fight.
In this way, the defenders have one final chance of ousting the newly landed troops and the newly landed troops have a chance to actually conquer where they deployed. It is also stressed, that command cards affecting combat is not going to have an effect again – this is to ensure that command cards affecting close combat does not become too good in the final round.