Its been a while since I last posted, but thought I’d write up a few bits on what games I’ve been playing over the last few years. I’ll do a bunch of posts about each of them, but to start off, one of my current favourites – Dropzone Commander.
Two years ago, I (and family) attended UK Games Expo and stopped by the Hawk Wargames stall. I had a quick demo game, looked through the displays, and that was that; I was hooked. A small car loan later and we left with the starter box, a PHR army, and a Scourge Army….
If you’ve not come across DzC before, let me briefly explain….
Dropzone Commander is a 10mm Sci-fi Wargame (Epic 40k was 6mm iirc). The game has (at present), 5 major factions:
- UCM (United Colonies of Mankind) – Basically what’s left of humanity – all round generally good force, good armour, good firepower, tad slow but dependable force.
- Scourge – Parasitic, nomadic aliens with bio-based technology; they rocked up, kicked Earth’s ass, and reduced humanity to an enslave race with a few fringe colonies – glass cannons – fastest race in the game, best at dropping buildings, some really heavy firepower, but can’t take a punch.
- PHR (Post Human Republic)- A splinter group of humans who left the core worlds before the scourge appeared. They left with an alien AI and have since re-emerged with cyborg impants, mechs and a bad attitude – slowest faction, some really powerful guns, lots of heavy armour, units usually have multiple hit points.
- Shaltari – Fractured alien race with advanced technology (skimmers and walkers), originally wanted humans for cannon fodder, now just enjoy the odd punch up – unlike other races, these use teleportation and shields for deployment and fast re-deployment of troops. Weak armour, but shield give everything saving throws.
- Resistance – What’s left of humanity on the Scourge occupied Core Worlds (think Mad Max meets Falling Skies) – the newest faction to the game, very eclectic mix of units, usually cheap, hordes but with some surprising punches! Love their hovercraft and drills for deployment mechanisms though.
The mechanics are pretty simple – models have a straight forward stat line including, movement, hit points, armour, and counter measures. They also have weapon profiles which include number of shots, energy, range (countered and full), hit roll, max move/fire and any special rules.
Models belong in squads, which are part of battlegroups. You’ll have command, armour, infantry, heavy, scout and air battlegroups which may or may not contain transports. You and your opponent will take alternating turns to activate battle groups. Activating and resolving all squads in a battlegroup before yielding to the opponent until all battlegroups are done. Then initiative is re-rolled and away you go again. Line of sight, range and intervening models makes a big difference in this game. Additionally, structures are destructible – so have fun removing your opponents cover, or dropping buildings on tanks and infantry alike!
A lot of the games of DzC work around objectives – whether its take and hold missions, intelligence gathering missions or attacker/defender type missions; the mission’s victory conditions do not always mean wiping out your opponent is the best way to play.
The starter box gets you a basic Scourge and UCM army (3 Medium dropships, 2 APCs, 3 tanks, 3 anti-air and 6 infantry bases for each), along with rule books, dice, templates, scenery and reference materials. The basic armies are about 500 points a piece. Games are played at 3 different points levels:
- 1-999 Skirmish
- 1000-1999 Clash
- 2000-3000 Battle
Most games I’ve ever played have been at about 1500 points, which takes about 2-3 hours to play through. The different levels change how many, and what type of battlegroups you can include in your army. In later posts, I’ll go through some of my army compositions to explain how it works and why I chose what.
Cost wise, taking the starters to that level (1500 points), you are looking at about £100-£150 investment (ymmv), but this may include a second starter boxed set (for extra basics like dropships), a command unit, some scouts, some heavy choices, the faction specific command deck (not necessary but adds some nice options to your army), some Exotics and maybe an aircraft.