Starting All Over Again!

January 23, 2014 in Dropzone Commander, Featured, SCI FI Wargaming, SciFi by warzan

Myself and @lloyd have embarked on a journey together into the world of Dropzone Commander. We will be attending the Hawk Open Day at the beginning of February, and I’ll even be competing in the tournament taking place that weekend.

Starting a new game within our hobby for me is always daunting and exciting in equal measure, and so often I hear newcomers to the hobby asking ‘How do I know which army to pick??!’ anyone of us who have been in the hobby for even a short while will know there is no right or wrong answer to this, it’s just a matter of picking the one you like.

Easier said than done sometimes, so here is how we picked each of our Dropzone Commander armies…

Like any game out there, picking your first faction is always a tricky but intensely satisfying experience, many of us just pick a faction we like the look of and in many games this is a fairly straight forward experience, but for others (and for me Dropzone Commander falls into this bracket) its not so easy, when all the factions are so cool it’s difficult to pick one in particular that appeals to you more than the others.

How do they look?

Looking at the pictures below you will see what I mean about all being so good that it’s very hard to make a choice based on looks alone!

It’s worth bearing in mind your own hobby skills, as sometimes a very sexy looking army might just be out of reach due to the skills, time, equipment and materials you have at your disposal.

How do they play?

Most armies in any wargame are designed to play differently, to maximize the variety and tactical depth of the overall game, Dropzone Commander is no different, so before choosing our armies, we picked a few brains in Hawk to get a little checklist of how each faction plays (please bear in mind that this is just a very basic list and play style is as much down to the player as it is the game designer!)

UCM

A good all rounder army, particularly good in the air, the standard core choices are quite tough, this army would likely be the most forgiving to a new player of the game.

PHR

Very tough army, but is also the slowest faction, a good range of weapon types but specialize in building destruction (important in DZC), would suit more castling type tactics. Second most forgiving in terms of new players to the game.

Shaltari

The tricksy army, very maneuverable but via teleportation gates etc, experience would be a bonus when playing this army, they are good at long range but fragile up close. If it goes wrong with these guys, its going to be difficult to recover.

Scourge

A very fast and aggressive army that is the fastest of all the armies in a straight line, a little weaker than the UCM but tactical movement is key as it will all start to unravel if you are badly out of position.

What’s their story?

For me the joy is ‘Gaming in the Gaps’ so when I look at an army I’m looking for a story that acts as a framework on which I can build my own story. This helps me relate to my army and gives me huge satisfaction when I’m adding more units and models, as I play out in my head the impact that will have on my army and its background story.

Here are the basics of what motivates each force in Dropzone Commander

UCM

This is what was left of humanity two hundred years after a short civil war (with what became the PHR) and then being decimated by the invading scourge. But the planets they retreated to were very resource rich and now they have spent two centuries building and planning revenge. Each of the outer worlds would have created its own legions and the abundance of various materials and social structures means a wide potential for differences in the look and feel for those legions.

PHR

These are the descendants of the humans that opted to follow a mysterious alien broadcast warning of impending doom. They gathered round a jump portal, and had a short but devastating battle with the rest of the humans (who became the UCM) before jumping away from the scourge assault. Now they have returned and have some bad ass technology. But for obvious reasons are not well liked by the UCM. (Splitters!)

Shaltari

A straight up ancient alien race that is split into countless tribes. “Their swiftness is unmatched, their firepower unequaled, their bravery undeniable. The beauty of their constructs bellies their true nature; engines of death, honed to lethal perfection long before humanity learned to throw stones. They are peerless masters of technology.”

Scourge

These guys are parasites, that gobble up entire systems and take over the bodies of those who occupied the systems. The UCM have found themselves fighting the two hundred year old corpses of those who were left behind. Disgusting, terrifying and simply awesome…

Convenience

Each army has the vast bulk of its units available in resin and they are exquisite models, and the casts I have seen so far have been practically flawless. However there is a starter box that contains the UCM and the Scourge in hard plastic.

This also played a part in our decision, after looking at the above for both myself and @lloyd it was coming down the the UCM and the Scourge.

For me it was the UCM, as I liked the ‘framework’ of their back story for creating my own army with its own back-story, they also looked like an easier prospect to paint based upon the skill level and the fact that I don’t have access to a lot of hobby materials or tools at the moment as a result of the recent studio move.

For Lloyd, the aggressive play style of the Scourge appealed to him, and once again they looked a more simple proposition to paint and work with given our limited access to ‘stuff’ at the moment.

The fact that they both were available in the starter box was what tipped it over the edge for us, as that way we could get a starter force each from the one box and get playing with terrain!

In the next article…

Assembly of the armies and our hopes for their back-stories and gaming in the gaps.

Which DZC Faction Would You Pick?

  • Scourge (9%, 14 Votes)
  • UCM (31%, 47 Votes)
  • Shaltari (13%, 20 Votes)
  • PHR (39%, 59 Votes)
  • I'm holding out for the Human Resistance! (8%, 12 Votes)

Total Voters: 152 (Log In to Vote Now!)

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"Most armies in any wargame are designed to play differently, to maximise the variety and tactical depth of the overall game, Dropzone Commander is no different"

"For me the joy is ‘Gaming in the Gaps’ so when I look at an army I’m looking for a story that acts as a framework on which I can build my own story"