Friday, September 27, 2013

Dropzone Commander 1.1 Rulebook Review

I wanted to follow my 2 Player set review with a review of the rulebook.  It’s included in the 2 player set and can be purchased separately. I’m not going to delve too deeply into the mechanics at this point since I haven’t yet actually played the game.

So the rulebook is in A4 (Hawk Wargames is an English company) and weighs in at around 155 pages.  It’s heavy!  Each page is a thicker, glossy, full color experience and this book is chock full of eye candy.  It’s broken down into sections with the right side edge of each section in a specific color.

This book is almost worth buying just for the pictures of models and terrain!
The book starts out as most do with a section of background followed by the rules. Pages 3-11 (dark blue edge) cover the “fluff” discussing the human expansion, encountering alien races and the exodus of some of the human race (later to become the PHR), not necessarily in that order.  It’s good stuff that sets up a universe ripe with conflict – it is after all a wargame!

This is one of my favorite diagrams - reminds me of Gamma World 2nd Ed!

Pretty basic stuff most of it, but they include diagrams for those of us new to the game or gaming.


Dropships are key, hence Dropship Commander!
The rules themselves are covered in pages 13-49 (still dark blue).  This section starts out with a discussion on organization.  Much like Epic 40K if you’ve ever played, units are organized into battlegroups, and most games will consist of multiple battlegroups.  
It moves on to deployment, movement, shooting and damage resolution and finally CQB.  One thing to keep in mind about DZC is that the game revolves around combined arms groups with infantry playing a pivotal and important role – able to enter and clear as well as search buildings/objectives.  CQB becomes important when two opposing forces of infantry encounter each other, especially in the tight confines of an urban environment.
One thing I enjoyed about this section is the discussion on terrain.  Terrain is crucial in DZC and so there are a couple of pages with guidelines on how to define all kinds of terrain, and how to use them in game.  It’ll be important for players to determine what kinds of terrain they are dealing with before they play a game.  The other thing I really like about this book is the copious amount of examples and pictures designed to guide players through certain situations.  While they can’t cover everything, they do a good job of covering a high percentage of situations encountered in the game.
The final part of the rules deals with “Special Rules”.  These aren’t optional rules so much as things like command and morale, flyers, artillery and different types of weapons.

Starting on page 51 you find scenarios.  From pg 51 to 67 (light blue) this section covers 12 different scenarios with a couple of pages prior discussing things such as game length, morale, terrain and so on.  I can’t get into too many details except to say that deployment zones change quite a bit from scenario to scenario.  Most scenarios consist of more than just destroying your opponent and this is key.  One thing I like about this game is that it appears to be difficult to try to win a scenario through the destruction of your enemy.  In some games, you can ignore a scenario and just attempt to wipe your opponent off the table, however in this game units move too quickly and it’s too easy to achieve VP’s through maneuver for this to be the best answer in most scenarios.  This also lends itself well to competitive play.  Each scenario also has a little ‘designers notes’ section explaining the concepts behind each scenario.

From page 68 on, the book goes into the 4 current factions of the game.  Each is color coded – UCM = green, Scourge = purple, PHR = gold and red = Shaltari.   Each section is laid out in the same format.  This includes a few pages of fluff discussing the faction as a whole and delves into some details on different factions within each.  From here it moves into a section on the technology of each faction – I really like these sections as it explains some of the details on the models that might seem strange or interesting to gamers.  Each section moves onto a breakdown of each unit – a short description with picture, the game stats for the unit plus special rules.  It ends with a page or two of example armies and examples of sub faction battlegroup layouts.  Finally each section ends with a couple of pages of paint schemes.

The book ends with a couple of pages of ‘guest artists’ models, 2 pages of printable counters (included in the 2 player starter) and an index.


They say first impressions are key and I imagine any gamer picking this book up off a shelf and perusing its contents will be impressed.  Hawk Wargames did not skimp on the artistic side of the hobby.  Each picture is chock full of amazing detail.  Each faction is represented in several color schemes throughout the book.  I think what really sticks out however are the battle scenes.  The terrain is off the charts and combined with the excellent painted models can be breathtaking.

Skimming it I have noticed a few editorial errors and time will tell how much errata is produced.  Since this is essentially a revised rulebook the hope and belief is that the rules have been tightened since the games been released and most of those have been covered.

If I were to rate this book on a scale of 1-10, I’d have to give it a 9.  I’d go as far as 9.5 but I haven’t yet had to use it as a reference during a game, however I get the feeling it will be easy to use if needed.
EDIT:  Some of the pictures are upside down or whatnot, sorry, can't figure out why it's doing that lol.


  1. Thanks Ferb! It was quick but I haven't been this excited about a gaming product in a long time and wanted to share my joy as much as possible.....ewwwwwwww