Dropzone Commander

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Review: Excellent Game

June 6, 2018 by seldon9

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Dropzone Commander - DzC - is a superb game. It didn't immediately appeal to me when I first saw it but after getting a demo I was hooked.

DzC is a 10mm wargame using rapid deployment vehicles and troops. Forces are arranged into groups of vehicles along with support. The game takes place on a 4x4 playing surface covered in buildings of varying sizes. Missions place their emphasis to varying degrees on finding objectives and achieving goals. They're rarely just about killing your opponent. Blowing up buildings can help as well! If your opponent is near a building destroyed so much the better.

The game takes place several hundred years in the future. Humankind achieved space travel and set up several colonies, with the help of a mysterious and ancient alien race, before a parasitic foe named the Scourge arrived and took over most of the planets and populations. A fraction of the human population escaped to the outer colonies. There they rebuilt for many years always nurturing a desire to return, destroy their hated foes and reclaim their cradle worlds.

The factions all have their own unique look and style of play.

The United Colonies of Mankind are the humans who escaped the Scourge attack. They rebuilt on the harsh, outer colony worlds and developed a new army capable of taking on the Scourge. The UCM have a range of tanks and a lot of airpower.

The Scourge, parasitic creatures that possess a host body. The Scourge built their war machine using organic technology. Many Scourge vehicles hover while others are creatures bred to be controlled war machines.

The Post Human Republic are humans who left before the Scourge invasion following the advice of a strange technological device that appeared on Earth. In leaving there was a confrontation with the rest of the human fleet leaving both damaged. The UCM believe this confrontation left humanity's defences dangerously weak before the Scourge attacked. Now the PHR are cyborgs employing walkers as part of their battleforce.

The Shaltari are a mysterious alien race who appeared to help humanity but were found to have ulterior motives. Few in number, Shaltari have the best technology and can employ forcefields throughout their forces.

The Resistance are the humans stuck on the Scourge occupied colony worlds. Hiding underground they venture out in old army vehicles and modified, regular transportation such as buses.

I love the fluff in this game. Each new book sees the plot move forward so the game lore never feels static.

Each faction has a distinctive theme and great depth to it's tactics. The miniatures are beautifully sculpted with plenty of small details. e.g. UCM tanks are mainly built from two chassis' with varying weapons on top depending on the exact type. The tanks are flown in on dropships and sized to fit in if you wish to magnetise them. While the units likely sound prosaic there are plenty of strange and original units unique to DzC.

The game rules require some practise but aren't that hard. Some games can be very cagey while others are carnage from the first roll. Countermeasures are dealt with elegantly by simply assigning a range band at which weapons have a chance of hitting. Player armies are split into 5-7 groups of vehicles / units and their support. Players then alternate activating a group one at a time. Initiative is important and players can pay more army points for a better commander to improve their odds.

Objectives are normally grabbed troops. Typically you'll fly / drive your troops to the correct building so they can go inside and search. Enemy soldiers can enter a building to fight or it may be easier to just blow up the building!

Dropzone has a terrific cardstock terrain pack. I liked it so much I haven't given any thought to a dedicated board. It folds down easily for storage and does the job perfectly on the game table.

The game scales very well. I've played games at 500pts, 1000pts and 1500pts. I can't think of many others that scale so well.

The only gripe I have is I don't like wading through books for rules. Pdfs would be much better for me.

I love DzC. From the fluff to the factions to the gameplay it's terrific. I hope you'll get the chance to give it a try soon.

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