Dropzone Commander Army Building
Last time I talked a little about what Dropzone Commander is. This article focuses a little on how army building works.
In Dropzone Commander, your army is divided into battlegroups. You and your opponent take turns activating one of these battlegroups. This means you are never left waiting for very long.
This gives the game a very tense, fast paced feel. Which battlegroup to activate when is very important, so even when it is your opponent’s turn, you are forced to think very hard about your next move. Battlegroups can be one model, but can also be several different tanks being flown in by different dropships.
Do I activate my infantry, so I can get them to safety before they are blasted apart? Or do I set up my anti-air tanks around my commander, so he is safe? Before you know it, your opponent has finished his activation and it is your turn again.
Building an army in Dropzone Commander is somewhat different from most games. It may seem confusing at first, because it is very different from many other games, so here is a quick rundown to help you get to grips.
First off, you have to decide what game size you want to play. You have Skirmish (500-999 pts.), Clash (100-1999 pts.) and Battle (2000-3000 pts.), each with their own maximum allowances of battlegroups, but also different unit types allowed for each battlegroup, depending on the game size.
For example, an Infantry battlegroup has between one and two Troops unit types and no Support in Skirmish, but between one and three Troops unit types and a maximum of one Support in Clash.
A 1000 point PHR army – by Deathbringa (See his army in action)
There are several different types of battlegroups at your disposal, and each battlegroup has its own set of allowed unit types you can field in it. The battlegroup names are different for each army, but they all boil down to the following:
HQ – This is where you will find your commander.
Armour – This battlegroup contains your tank armament.
Infantry – Here your basic infantry are found.
Special – This gives you a choice between your heavy tanks, your scouts and your exotic units.
Fleet – These are your fast moving intercepting aircraft.
Some unit types can be fielded into different battlegroups. For example, Support units can be fielded in HQ, Armour, Infantry and alongside your Heavy Special units.
Exotic units can be fielded in their own battlegroup, or alongside your Command. This means that sometimes you have a choice with which other unit you want to field them.
The amount of battlegroups doesn’t grow much when you go into bigger points values. The battlegroups just get a little bigger. This means that bigger battles still play relatively fast.
There are quite a few things you have to take into account when building an army. Aside from everything I just talked about, there is a points cap to how big your units can be, which varies depending on what type of battle you play.
If it feels confusing to you, don’t worry, you are not alone.
Army builder software
Fortunately, a friendly Dropzone Commander player has created a very easy army builder, that you can download for free here: http://www.dzc-ffor.com/
Once you understand how it works, building an army list can literally take as little as 5 minutes. The program tells you with a little exclamation mark whether or not your list is legal, and after two or three lists, everything makes sense.
It can also be a great tool for planning your next purchases, as you can build your army well in advance and see if it fits into your points total. You can also make a list of your models in your collection, so you can check your army list to see if you have what you need.
As new units become available, the army builder is updated too. Lastly, army lists for the starter sets sold by Hawk Wargames can be installed too, so you can see how many points you can get with them.
Scenarios and objectives
Dropzone Commander is focused on scenarios with specific objectives. The two books currently hold 22 scenarios, only one with the goal of completely annihilating your opponent’s army.
Just to give you some examples, there are scenarios where you have to find and secure intel, there are scenarios where you have to hold focal points and there are scenarios where you have to either hold or destroy key buildings.
Tournaments usually contain more than one scenario, so there are no real killer lists that automatically win your battles for you.
There aren’t even many units that are considerably better or poorer than others, so the chances that you will face a similar army list is actually quite small. A lot comes down to personal preference.
Everything has a place and a use.
Hawk Wargames also listens to the fan base, and units that are considered too powerful or too weak are tweaked sometimes, making sure that everything remains balanced.
Have a go at Dropzone Commander army building!
Interested? You could do worse than download the army builder and play around with it, so you can have a feel of what you would need to start playing.
Artwork used with permission by Hawk Wargames.
All pictures have been used with permission.