Tuesday, 8 January 2013

Dropzone Commander Rulebook from Hawk Wargames

Hawk Wargames have given me the chance to have a look over some Dropzone Commander goodies over the next couple of weeks.
What is Dropzone Commander (DzC) you ask? I think the official description tells you all you need to know!
(well it would wouldn't it)

It is the Year 2670

A Golden Age of humanity has passed into history. A time when mankind
advanced implacably and unopposed through the stars has gone beyond living memory.

Planet Earth and the original Cradle Worlds are lost to the great foe, the Scourge.
The shattering invasion of this terrible enemy has torn the domains of man asunder.

The remnants of human civilisation now exist in a collection of frontier planets.
Thinly spread and underdeveloped, they are pale shadows of mankind's former glories.

However, this is not an age without hope.
Humanity has found new strength, unity and purpose in these times of dire fortune. 
The colonies are undertaking a period of vigorous, dynamic expansion,
unrivalled in the history of our race, united by a common purpose - Reconquest.

The armies of the United Colonies of Mankind march towards humanities' former heartland,
battling the dreaded Scourge one world at a time. Many enemies and allies await on this journey;
an odyssey through the stars towards a distant and glittering goal - Earth.

The Game

You join this universe in the earliest days of mankind's ambitious invasion to retake the central planets from the Scourge. Bloody battles and epic conflict awaits as races, generals and individuals take sides. Whether you're fighting for humanity, the Scourge or for your own ends is up to you!

Dropzone Commander (DzC) is a 10mm scale sci-fi tabletop wargame, devised for mass battles between two or more players. The rules are designed for efficient and dynamic games which can be played on a standard 4'x4' table (although larger tables work well also!).

The rules are based on an alternate activation system, which keeps the action constant and involving. They are also scalable, and will cater for tactical skirmishes as well as titanic clashes of metal and firepower. This is accomplished whilst never sacrificing the character of individual units, and indeed all the colour and eventfulness of battle.

A vast array of war machines will be at your disposal, but this does not belittle the importance of the humble infantryman.

The game is built around the concept of rapid deployment and redeployment of your forces by airborne dropships, exemplifying the pace of combat on the battlefields of the future. This makes for a tactical and fast paced experience, where quick thinking and strokes of genius often bring victory.

To begin this coverage I am going to take a look at the DzC Rulebook, showing what it contains section by section.
A look at the actual rules themselves will come later on once I have played some games and have a better understanding of how they work.

To put it bluntly, the DzC Rulebook is a softback 152 pages of full colour shiny greatness! You will see from the pictures in this post that there are photos of painted models scattered all the way through the book.

The book starts with 9 pages of general background. This sets the scene for the game and explains the events leading up to the time the game is set.

Next is the bit you need. The rules! 35 pages of them in fact. I have read over them and like the way they look but want to get some games in first before I comment any more on the way they play so lets just look over what this section includes.

There are some very nice diagrams showing force builds and the way they are set out. Above is a USM Strikeforce. This sections lays out the way you run and create a force.

The Stat Sheet basics are also in the same section. This is VERY helpful as it describes what each section of the models rules mean.

As well as painted pictures in he book, it is also filled with great diagrams that help explain some of the more complicated sections of the rules. They really are helpful as well!

A sample of the general page layouts. This is roughly how then entire rules section is set out.

Another of the rules diagrams. This is showing how to work out your shooting when cover and LOS are involved.

The next section is Scenarios. There are 18 pages worth!
The first part covers how to score scenarios and table layouts including objectives. The best bit though is that they want you to experiment with everything here! Change it, swap bits over, mix things up a little.
Or, if you want to use exact set out rules, there are 12 preset games. Like the picture above they give you a table layout, deployment, army sizes, game duration, victory conditions and even variants. You could easily get at least 24 different games sticking to these alone!

After the main rules you get into the Forces section of the book. This adds more background to each of the main forces and even include a selection of stunning alternate colour schemes like the UCM above.

When you start to look at the different forces you will find that they begin with around 5 pages of force specific background including pictures of different weapon systems with explanations on what they are and how they work.

After that are the model stats sheets.
Each type has a painted image, a couple of paragraphs on what it is, model stats, weapon stats and then any special rules that apply to this model only. Models that can transport other or that can be transported also list the unit sizes and types that can be on which ship together.

The Scourge have some awesome alternate colour schemes. Even if you don't end up playing the game, I recommend taking a look just for painting ideas. Overall, each force section is around 18 pages. That's a lot of info!

The Post Human Republic (PHR) have a larger selection of weapon and equipment descriptions as they are on of the more technologically advanced forces

At the back of each forces section is a full force and army building lists. This is easy reference for different game sizes and forces types. It even includes the different Commanders stats.

Some more pretty alternate schemes. I am in LOVE with the bare metal one. Like something from the Terminator!

The Shaltari have some different goodies to the others. The main differences are their Teleport Gates.
Because they play so differently to the other 3 forces, Hawk have added in an extra section to the Shaltari force rules to explain how this work step  by step. Again with some extremely helpful diagrams.

The end of the forces section has, in my opinion, some of the best colour schemes in the entire book. So much you can do wit these model.

Right at the end of the book you have you 'play aids'. Tokens, counters and markers you will need to play. These are printed on pages that only have photos on the other sides so can be cut out to use instead of the usual awkward photocopying you need to do with other games.

Price - Hawk Wargames sent me this book to review so I cant comment on the price I paid, because I didnt. But then I looked at the price on the website and my jaw dropped.
£15! Seriously? Is that it? That's crazy! I cant think of any other game I have ever played that gives you an book of such high quality and in full colour for £15!

Overall - Although I will look at the way the rules play at a later date, I can still comment on the actual book itself.
If you couldn't tell by my comments above I an VERY impressed with it. A big book, high quality, full colour, contains everything you need and all of that for half the price you can find similar books from the big companies.
I can honestly say that this is one of the BEST rulebooks I have seen in a very long time.
If they offered a Hardback version I would pick that up without a thought.

9 out of 10 Badger Points!
If it was a hardback it would have been a perfect 10!

Watch out over the next couple of weeks for a closer look at the Post Human Republic ans Scourge starter sets.

Hendybadger awaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!


  1. Thanks Ian perfect post for my traitor thought today

  2. Dropzone is a really good game. I have started a scourge army but have done my own colour scheme as I didn't like the purple. I recomend it to anyone.

    1. Do you have any pics of your Scourge scheme?
      Doing a review of the starter in a few days


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