Dropzone Commander is a combined arms epic scale (10mm) sci-fi tabletop miniatures objectives-based wargame with an alternating activation system from Hawk Wargames. How does it really play?
In the future, Earth has been conquered by the ruthless Scourge. Humanity’s pioneers who have colonized fringe worlds now embark on a journey to liberate Earth and its surrounding homeworlds. This effort is known as the Reconquest.
Note: This is a very broad overview of Dropzone Commander – a bird’s eye view if you will. This will be the first of a series of articles that will later “zoom in” to more detailed information, such as the different factions. Furthermore, where appropriate, I will try to give analogies to other wargames that you may have played to enhance understanding.
I was first introduced to tabletop wargaming in high school by playing Games Workshop’s Epic Space Marine. I absolutely loved the operational scale of battles, titans and leveling buildings! Well, Dropzone Commander is the closest thing nowadays to filling that itch!
In keeping with nostalgia, PC armchair generals will appreciate that Dropzone Commander rewards combined arms tactics much like Panzer General. Combat is most easily described as Rock-Paper-Scissors (RPS) mechanic where each unit type (class) of is strong against some units and weak against others. For example, tank units will crush anti-air (AA) units which crush air units which crush tank units. By introducing more diverse units (described in a future article), such as flame tanks which are strong against infantry inside buildings, Dropzone Commander adds complexity with RPS-Lizard-Spock (as popularized by The Big Bang Theory sitcom). Note that Dropzone Commander uses a D6 system for combat resolution.
Army List Philosophy
In a typical game (1500 points is the tournament standard), in my opinion, there are three primary roles to consider in list building:
Infantry – Most scenarios are in an urban environment and only infantry can search/retrieve objectives in structures. In short, without these lowly grunts you cannot win the game!
Board Control – Generally, in a game where speed and mobility is emphasized (e.g., most units are transported by dropships or equivalent), AA units can make “bubbles” to control air space. Similarly, artillery units can deny parts of the tabletop to ground units. Siege/demolition units can destroy buildings changing the battle environment.
Support – Though risky and sometimes unreliable, airpower can instantly strike anywhere on the battlefield and tanks protect the board control elements of your army. Also, units that can help/hinder infantry in completing their mission.
In short, given these roles, the overall tactics of Dropzone Commander plays alot like chess! Furthermore, like chess, it’s easy to learn and play but it’s difficult to master. Initiative, development (deployment/mobility) of your forces, material (It’s possible to be nearly boardwiped and still win the game by completing objectives. Destroying the enemy forces is not the primary goal like 40k.), and board control are the keys to winning!
If you have questions or ideas for future articles, please let me know! For more detailed analysis of Dropzone Commander, please check out www.flightintheshade.blogspot.com. Thanks for reading and Fly Safe!