Thursday, March 21, 2013

An introduction to Dropzone Commander

Last year, while I perused my usual forums for Wargming news, I stumbled upon a game that was causing quite a stir in the community.  The company, Hawk Wargames, had just attended Salute 2012 and pretty much stolen the show with a new game called Dropzone Commander.  Here is a video covering their huge impact.

As I learned more about the game, and the company behind it, I became more and more excited.  Unfortunately delays in the initial release caused some of that steam to lose power, and when it finally hit the market of the eight people I knew that wanted to get in, only I bought the book.  Most of us wanted to see if this new company could actually meet the market's demand.  Well a year later, they are still here, so I thought I'd tell you why you should care.

First of all, Dropzone Commander is a 10mm scale game as opposed to 40k, which is 28mm, or Dark Age, which is 32mm.  This smaller scale allows for truly epic scale conflicts, as armies aren't fighting for a couple city blocks, but are fighting over areas the size of downtown Philadelphia.  The vastness of the conflict is truly of great appeal.  Most games on the market could really be described as skirmishes, but don't you ever want to command whole battle groups of tank companies, and drop ships in the air.  I know I do.

For those you who care more about mechanics, Dropzone Commander has "tactical" built in at every level.  Force building allows for all kinds of configurations, forcing you to make hard choices from the start.  An alternating activation of whole battle groups means every move you make has to take into account your opponent might respond.  No "Point an Click" here.  Add to this the ability to effect the game through command cards, and the level of thought and tactics needed to win are extremely solid.

Now for my favorite part, the story.  Hawk Wargames has fully developed a history and timeline for the events that have lead to the place where the game happens.  There are four factions: United Colonies of Mankind (the remnants of humanity), the Post-Human Republic (a splinter faction of humanity, that have become something more), the Shaltari (the first alien race humanity meets in space), and the Scourge (humanity's newest and greatest enemy).  Each has their own goals, be it the UCM to retake the worlds lost the the Scourge, or the PHR's goal to try to stop humanities headlong rush to suicide.  Story abounds in the conflict of these diverse alien races, and there should be something here for us story lovers to hook unto.

Finally the models.  Oh my lord, the models!  At 10mm scale you would expect the details to be less, but no!  Oh no! these models are some of the most detailed and high quality I've seen.  Take a look at this guy:

Or this one:

I'm sorry as a painter all I can say is: "WANT!"

So I hope you enjoyed this intro, look for a follow up on Saturday, where I will give a much more in depth review of the rule book itself and some of the more unique game mechanics.  Till then...



  1. I remember this getting a ton of play on the forums... then it just died out. Glad to hear this is still around. My principle issue with getting into it was a lack of futuristic 15mm terrain, and even Hawk didn't have terrain ready to go last time I looked.

    1. Oh he does now, take a look.

    2. Make sure you follow up on that, too! I know a lot of people had "that'll look great fighting between library book buildings" syndrome.