Dropzone Commander is the beautiful epic (10mm) scale miniature battle game from Hawk Wargames, Dropzone Commander burst onto the scene at Salute 2012 to unparalled praise for the exquisite and intricate miniatures that had been crafted for such a small scale war game when traditionally detail levels suffered. Now 4 years on Nerdvana Gaming will take a look at Dropzone Commander and see whether it scratches the 10mm itch for us.
The story of Dropzone Commander centres on the fight of the United Colonies of Mankind or the UCM to retake Earth and the Cradle Worlds back from the Scourge, a race of vicious aliens who invaded Earth and the Cradle Worlds in the 25th Century, this invasion decimated the human race during the golden age of their evolution reducing them to nothing more than a collection of outposts on the frontier planets, Over the next 150 years (taking us to the year 2670) the frontier colonies have expanded and united under the banner of the UCM putting aside historical human differences to fight for a common goal: the annihilation of the Scourge one planet at a time and the reclamation of Earth and the Cradle Worlds. This will not be easy, Mankind has lost much of its advanced tecnology during the time of Scourge’s occupation and there are other that may (or may not) be willing to unite with the UCM to aid them in their mission
The Races of Dropzone Commander are:
The UCM: The United Colonies of Mankind are a force forged out of desperation in the face of The Scourge. Colonial Legionnaires are well trained and equipped, and form the core of UCM forces. They are backed-up by legions of Battle Tanks which join them in huge Dropship deployments, backed-up by air support in the form of their infamous airpower to land decisive blows in their fight against The Scourge.
The Scourge: The Scourge are a horrific race of Neuro-Parasites, that thrive on the conquest of other species. The forces of the Scourge go to war with legions of Puppet Soldiers controlled by their Alien masters, supported by their horrific Grav Tanks and Walkers All of this with the single purpose; to Conquer and enslave the Galaxy.
The PHR: The Post Human Republic turned away from Mankind in the last days of the Golden Age. They follow the guidance of an enigmatic Alien Sphere that fell to Earth before the Scourge Invasion. They have transcended their frail human origins, and become a race of Cyborg warriors. They fight for survival, and forces are composed of heavily armoured infantry, or faster light infantry supported by Bi-pedal Battle walkers and artillery.
The Shaltari: The enigmatic Shaltari Tribes have traversed the stars for millenia. Their advanced technology has enabled them to transcend even the limitations of Death. Their infantry go to war in their impressive battle-suits, secure in the knowledge that should they die, their consciousness will inhabit a new body to continue their existence. backed up by graceful grav-tanks and warstriders. The Shaltari do not use primitive drop-ships like the other races; they use sophisticated Gateways that teleport their forces to the very heart of the battle.
Dropzone Commander uses a familiar D6 (6 sided dice) system to run the core of the game and miniature wargamers of most systems will find playing Dropzone Commander intuitive and familiar from deploying armies before the game start on opposing sides of the battlefield to traditional statlines for individual models and weapons, the main difference with Dropzone Commander is that the unit types you want to take are firstly merged into battle-groups for purposes of activation order and the limitations that the group receives. These battle groups consist of HQ, Armour, Infantry, Special and Fleet, these battle groups have a maximum points value, however no single battle group may be worth over one third of the total army points value helping to avoid the dreaded ‘death star’ unit many other games suffer with. Battle groups also have a minimum model count depending on the point size of your game (i.e: in smaller skirmish level games players are allowed to field a maximum of 5 battle groups, 1 of which must be of the Armour class).
Hawk Wargames’ detemination to not re-write the book of miniature wargaming is what I feel gives Dropzone Commander it’s major strength, the rules are so fluid and intuitive that rather than concentrating on how rule A works with rule B or how a weapon is going to damage your vehicle you can actually immerse yourself in the battle, placing yourself in the shoes of a general commanding his army on the field of battle a major factor helping this is Hawk Wargames’ beautiful minis meaning a painted army of Dropzone Commander really is an impressive sight on even the most basic of games tables. However Dropzone Commander’s biggest strength also helps to create its biggest weakness, I refer to the price point of Dropzone Commander, the beautiful ships and tanks that make Dropzone Commander so epic on the table mean higher production costs which in turn means that they command a higher price point than most of their contemporaries, also many wargamers will not have 10mm scale terrain suitable for a game which can lead to many gamers interested in a casual try of Dropzone Commander will pass it up. Hawk Wargames have listened to these issues and the Dropzone Commander 2 player starter set attempts to address them to a certain extent by creating a bundle that not only includes good sized UCM and Scourge starter armies but also the rulebook, quick reference sheets and a massive number of other goodies including 10 Dropzone Commander scale cardboard buildings of a very good quality.
Overall at Nerdvana Gaming we wish we hadn’t waited so long to try out Dropzone Commander, the simple and intuitive mechanics mean the game offers a great experience with epic visuals once your army is out on the table. For those of you thinking about a flutter we strongly recommend that the 2 player starter set, the contents offers good value for money whilst not scrimping on the model count for some nice sized games which can easily be built on to increase your army size. Dropzone Commander definitely is a game worth playing and with Hawk Wargames now working on producing Dropfleet Commander after a hugely successful Kickstarter here at Nerdvana Gaming we’re waiting for a copy to be available for us to salivate over because if it’s anything like its big brother it’s going to be a blast to play!