Friday, October 12, 2012

Dropzone Commander Review

With about a dozen games under my belt I felt it was time to write up a review and some of my thoughts on the game.

The Rule Book:  When I first purchased the rule book I was impressed with the quality of the book and its layout.  Since then my first impression have changed.  There were some very important rules that required an errata to correct.  The rule book does not have an index or a glossary and should.  The quality of the book is still great but too many important corrections needed so that you can play the game.  I hope they can get these corrected in the next print rule or next edition.  For me these issues were frustrating and wasted a lot of my time correcting my rule book so I could play the game. 

The Rules:  So far my experiences playing this game has not been that much fun.  With any new game there is a learning curve that takes some time to get over.  I feel that I am over that learning curve however my dice have not caught up to me.  For some reason my dice have gone South and it is pissing me off.  It has been so bad my buddies and I can't tell if the UCM are a good army or not because of my dice rolling.   

I did find one of the rules to be a little over powered.  The Skimmer rule gives all Skimmers a +2 to hit when they move 6 inches or more.  All the Skimmer has to do is spin in a small 1 inch circle six times and they get the modifier.  Normally if someone would do that I would call it cheesy and the person was not playing with the intention of the rule however in this case the rule book says they can do that.  So I call this the "Sit and Spin" rule. 

Shooting allocation is a very important rule in this game and I like it.  This is tank to tank and not battle group to battle group.  This is important when tanks have multiple shots, they can only shoot at one tank and if they do two wounds it only goes to one tank.  So if tank A gets two shoots from its weapons at my tank company with tree tanks and gets two wounds.  I only remove one tank.  This comes up a lot when playing against the PHR.  Another shooting rule that is interesting is the fact that I can slit up different types of weapons on one vehicle.  So if I have AA and some type of other gun.  I can shoot each gun at different battle groups or units.  This comes up with the Shaltari.  Coming from the GW world of gaming these concepts took some time to remember.

The drop ships and their rules work fine in this game.  The drop ship moves half and the models disembark 3 inches.  Then the models can move up to half their movement value.  The one thing I have noticed playing at the Skirmish level once I drop my tanks the drop ship just goes into the background and does nothing else.  The UCM have to buy Missile Pods for all their transports.  They are not cheap and I need those points for other things.  I am optimistic that once we start playing larger games that the drop ships will become more important to the game.  For skirmish level games and the UCM, drop ships are not that exciting.  I am toying around with my next list not having any drop ships.  That would give me over a 100 points to play with.       

The Command Cards:  The cards do add some flavor to the game.  The decks all have a lot of the same cards however they do have some to make each deck unique.  In a few games that I played the cards were game changers.  I feel that the Scourge have the best deck in the game.  I like the card aspect and it will be interesting to see what is done with the cards in the future.

The Models:  The models and scale are what really got me interested in this game.  I like the way the models look and the amount of detail on them.  I am just not totally sold on the material being used to make them.  If you need to strip a model you have to use a Dawn product and is not that easy to find locally.  I went to 5 stores today looking for this Dawn Powerscrub.  I could not find it at any of the stores in my area.  I was told about some other stores to check out.  This is frustrating to me because I like to experiment with patterns and colors.  I already destroyed a model because I did not use the Dawn Powerscrub and the resin got soft.  Very disappointing and I will never purchased a painted used army.  I guess this is one way to keep people buying new stuff.  

The other concern I have with the models is specific to the UCM army.  The drop ships have these side pieces that go on the wings to represent thrusters.  They all have round pegs that go in holes on the wings.  You have to be real careful when assembling them to make sure they are straight.  I would have like to seen either two pegs per side piece or square pegs.  A few of my drop ships are not straight and with this soft resin you can't fix it once the glue has dried.

Over All:  Reading everything I have written so far you might thing I am not happy with the game.  You would be wrong.  Just like any new game that comes out it takes time to really learn how to play it.  I can learn how to adjust to the one rule I don't like and deal with the material the models are made out of.  My buddies and I have only been playing Skirmish games so we have not included Air yet.  I am sure once we start playing larger games I will get a better feel for how all the rules work.  My only real disappointment is with the rule book.  To many important rules needing to be corrected with an errata.  Once my dice start to roll average I am sure my army will play better on the table.  I must have done something to upset the Dice Gods and they are getting back at me.  That is my review of the game and below are some models I test painted to see if I liked the color pattern.   


Erik said...

I have about the same amount of gaming experience (although only skirmish-starter-box-level) and also think that the rulebook's mistakes should be handles as soon as possible but with an errata out I think it is still ok.

With the skimmer rule (I'm a scourge-player) kind of strange I still think there has been some thought put into it as Scourges skimmers only has a limited range and usually need to move much further to really be effective. Also, in UCM Vs Scourges games with the starter box the Sabre and Rapier is about the same in taking out Scourges tanks while only the hunter can take out UCM tanks among the Scourges starter tanks. Also, I wonder if you actually can move exactly 6" (which is physically impossible as you either move a bit less or too much) in which case the Shaltari will have a problem as they have a MF of 6 on their skimmers.

Either way I have found that Scourges have a problem when UCM ignores their Hunters and destroys the reapers instead. In my games, having the reapers taking out opponent's dropships have proven to invaluable.

Also, UCM's Condor dropship shoul always have a missile pod upgrade otherwise they are useless after dropping off the Sabres and Rapiers and you have 60 points useless on the field. My opponent have had some use for them as suicide attackers instead.

But then again. If the dices fail all the time there is no chance at all.

Da Green Skins said...


You are correct when it comes to taking on the Scourge. Your army has to get up close and take on my tanks with armour 10. I think the rule helps the skimmers however it is the "Sit and Spin" concept I just don't like. I feel it should have been the plus 2 when moving over 6 inches and plus 1 moving under 6 inches. However, I am sure once my dice start to roll average this rule will not be an issue for me. It is good to hear your thoughts on this since you are a Scourge player.

With the Condors you have to take the missile pods if your playing the starter boxes. Its the only say to balance the points. Once you start playing bigger games the points for the missile pods can hurt. I started running the Albatross just to get more units in my army.

Thanks for your comments.

Thanks for your comments

Erik said...

I see your point and understand how you feel about that specific rule. I'm divided. On one part I like the fact that skimmers can actually be so mobile they can move forward and backward in a cool maneuver and end up in the same spot, game table wize. On the other side I also like it when you can see on the gaming table that a unit has actually moved fast.

My main issue with the rules are that there are a lot of things to keep track of. Which units has acted, which transport belongs to which units, who are damaged, who belongs to which battlegroup, where are the infantry in the building and more and I think (which tip the skimmer rule to a more "Ok-rule" feeling) that we will most likely see that when we play we all assume that skimmers that can move 6" and still fire always will count as having moved 6" and so making it a bit easier to remember.

I'm also a bit worried about slower dropships. Getting into buildings fast is a huge advantage in the games I have played so far. The infantry first in can search for objectives while the aggressor must wait a turn after they have cleared the building. Have the albatross worked for you? I'm thinking it is ok to deploy your main Sabres as they have an awesome range even when countered but I can't see it being used for Rapiers. Perhaps it is ideal for Gladius tanks, though.

As a Scourge player I really hate missile pods on Condors. IT basically means that anything in the UCM starter can kill anything on the ground among the scourge main tanks - which is kind of cool at the same time.

You have played a few more games than me, I'm worried that the basic missions get kind of old pretty fast. Have you experienced something like that, yet?


Tim Kulinski said...


I do not have the rules, but your "Sit and Spin" rule sounds F-ing stupid man. From what I would say is that skimmers only get the +2 if they moved 6" or greater, not sitting in one place and spinning. That sounds like typical BS some of your regular players do. Sorry man but I would say that rule is being done wrong, but then again I do not have the rules so I could be wrong too.

Da Green Skins said...

Erik you bring up some great points. Let me share with you how I am dealing with your concerns.

You need to find some plastic rings. I found mine at a craft store. They are about 1/4 round rings. For ships with multiple wounds just put a ring on the stem of the base. If it is infantry you can place the ring around one of the models. With the smaller games we have just been using different color dice. As far as infantry in a building, they are either in the building or on a wall. It is abstract and you don't put the models on different floors. Just keep in mind buildings are not safe. I shoot them up and they fall killing everybody inside. It is a great rule however it is some additional record keeping.

The Albatross has worked out great for me, its my Deathstarr. I use it to drop 9 tanks in the middle of the table turn one. What tanks I run depends on who I am playing. If I was playing you I would have a lot of AA on the table. For running my heavy tanks, I'm not impressed with them at smaller games. Maybe when I start playing bigger games they will come into play. Just cost too much for small games.

You should not fear the missile pods from the Condors. Hitting on 5s and wounding on 5s. They are also only one shoot.

We are still enjoying the missions in the rule book. I really feel that the missions make the game fun instead of just trying to wipe out the other guy. I will create missions to keep the game interesting.

To finish my issue with the Skimmers rule. I am finding that maybe its not the rule itself but more of how it is written. They took two paragraphs to talk about the rule and make it very clear. Then there is a footnote that says the Skimmers can "Sit and Spin". Why not just write the rule, All Skimmers are +2 to hit.

End of the day, still like the game and they have created some great models and a good little game.

Erik said...

I'm planning to actually magnetize some infantry models in each unit just to skip the rings/dices on them. I think that should work well for keeping track on their damage.

I'm a 40k player so keeping track of stupid things is my normal game. But I feel that keeping track of so many things in DZC will make getting used to the game a bit harder in larger games than I initially though. But it is a small thing.

Regarding the Condor, I fear the missile pod because it changes the condor from just a transport and if it has nothing to transport it is not effective on the field without the pods. So I think those upgrades are a no-brainer. At least against Scourges.

I agree on the skimmer-rule. Writing something awkward is irritating if unnecessary.

BTW good to see some more desert-camme UCM instead of all the dark ones everybody seem to like.

Da Green Skins said...

Erik if you can magnetize the infantry on the bases that would be cool. I would like to see them when your done.

Thanks for mentioning my painting. If you notice the blue one the wings and the red on the tanks. I am using those colors to keep track of which units belong to which transport. In small games keeping track is easy however I want to play large games. I hope more of the rules shine in bigger games.

Inhir said...

While i understand why you guys think that the skimmer rule is strong but you have to understand that the armor is verry light. Staticsticly there is no difference between hitting on a 4+ and wounding on a 2+ vs hiting on a 2+ and wounding on a 4+....

Da Green Skins said...

Inhir you are right. Its just a trade off, I get it. However, the way the rule was written is what I don't like. Outside of that I like the rules and feel its a great game. I just can't wait for my dice to start rolling average again.

Anonymous said...

dont forget aa units ignore the skimmer rule. playing shaltari I find rapier aa tanks far more dangerous to my skimmers than anti-tank tanks. the multiple shots at 3+ and then wounding on 5's is horrendous!