Welcome to the first in a small series of articles about Dropzone Commander. This first post is an introduction to the game.
What is Dropzone Commander?
Dropzone Commander is a 10mm scale game set in the far future, where humanity had to abandon earth against a sudden invasion from parasitic aliens, and are now returning to take back what is theirs.
Dropships fly into warzones where they drop tanks, which have to secure areas so that the humble but ever important foot soldier can find and secure intel and objectives.
While Dropzone Commander may be labeled a wargame, it has much more in common with skirmish games. The model count is low and the action really zooms in.
Dropzone Commander is a 10mm scale game. Most of the units you will field are dropships filled with tanks. But the soldiers may well be the most important units in the game, for they play a decisive role when it comes to securing objectives.
There are currently five factions.
The United Colonies of Mankind (UCM) are the humans who fought and ultimately had to flee from the alien invasion, some 150 years ago. Only now have they started their Reconquest to take back the worlds the Scourge have taken from them.
They are a well-rounded force with good armour, good firepower and a wealth of options to choose from.
The Scourge are parasitic aliens who have invaded the planets the UCM used to inhabit. They possess the bodies of their victims, and they zoom around the battlefield in their insectile vehicles.
They are extremely fast, their weapons are extremely strong, but they need to close in and have very low armour.
The Post-Human Republic (PHR) are the humans who fled right before the Scourge invasion began, led by an enigmatic entity known as the White Sphere. Now part cyborg, part human, they have their own agenda in things, sometimes allying with the UCM, sometimes hostile towards them.
They are extremely tough but very slow. Much of their arsenal is mounted on walkers instead of tanks.
The Shaltari are a mysterious alien race who gave the humans much of the technology they needed to inhabit new planets, but it turned out they used the human race for their own political schemes. Tribal in nature, not all Shaltari Tribes work together.
Some of these tribes seemingly work together with the UCM, where others do not. They employ sophisticated warp gate technology to dart around the battlefield. They are very much a specialist army.
The Resistance are the latest faction to join in the war. They are the men and women left behind when the UCM had to flee from the Scourge, and have fought the Scourge for well over 160 years.
While some of the Resistance can be considered allies to the UCM, others have long turned feral. The PHR seem to aid those who have turned barbaric so they can push their own, secretive agenda.
They are a mixture of now ancient military technology and looted civilian vehicles refitted for war.
Gameplay is very much focused on securing objectives. Only one scenario in the rulebook is focused on completely annihilating your opponent. Battles are not won by blasting your opponent to pieces, but by securing and retrieving vital pieces of information or technology. This gives the game a very cinematic and narrative feel.
However, that doesn’t mean that balance is thrown out of the window. Dropzone Commander is one of the most balanced games I know, and Hawk Wargames strive to keep the game fair. This means they sometimes release errata to the existing rules, but these are always fair. There are also hardly any auto-include models or models that see little use. And when there are, they are tweaked a little.
Players take turns activating battlegroups, moving them into position, and firing at the opponent. Since you only activate one battlegroup before your opponent gets to do the same, you are never waiting long. The action shifts constantly from player to player, and activating the right battlegroup at the right time gives the game a very tense feeling, even when it is not your turn.
Most of the battles take place in urban areas, something that is quite unique in the wargaming scene. Hawk Wargames sells cardboard cityscape scenery for a very reasonable price, with which you can build a very nice city to fight over.
Getting into Dropzone Commander
Models for this game are in resin, but recently Hawk Wargames released plastic starter sets for the first four factions. This means that you can get yourself a starter army for £35.00. A 2-player starter set has also been released for £60.00, which has the starter armies for UCM and Scourge, the rulebook, cardboard scenery and the accessories you need to get started.
Additional models may seem expensive at first glance, but you only need several, and the detail these little models hold is pretty amazing.
You can find more information on the Hawk Wargames website.
What’s more, a very friendly Dropzone Commander fan decided to release an Army Builder program for free. Once you get the hang of it, creating an army literally takes a couple of minutes. You can manage your collection in it, it prints your army list for you and even has all the statistics for you to print out, should you need them on a seperate sheet of paper.
Drop a message here if you are interested and want to know more about it. In a following article I will focus a little on each of the armies, and how they play on the battlefield.
Let the Reconquest begin!
All images are © Copyright Hawk Wargames Ltd
Images used with permission of Hawk Wargames Ltd