All posts by carabus03

DropZone Commander – Newsletter & Hobby Information


Well I could make this an unboxing but I don’t have the time, so I will share with you all the latest from Dave over at Hawk Wargames.

Hawk Wargames


Newsletter #2, 24/07/2012

Just a few points missing from the previous Newsletter:

1) Working with Resin guide now available

Our Working with Resin guide is now available to download from the downloads section of our website. In general terms, Hawk Wargames resin follows most of the usual ‘rules’ for working with resin, and experienced modellers will find much of this article familiar. However, it may be slightly different to resins you may have worked with before (there are so many after all!), so I’d advise having a quick read before starting on your models.

Working with resin
Working with resin

2) Where’s the Hobby Section?

When producing the rulebook, we made the difficult but necessary decision to omit the Hobby Section (although the colour schemes sections are still in place). This was done for the following reasons:

1) Space: As you’ll see, the book is crammed full! We were always working with a 152 page format, and had to prioritise rules and background over hobby tips and weren’t prepared to use a tiny font size or to cut back on imagery.

2) Dropzone Commander specific content took priority: There are a lot of hobby guides already out there, and we thought it wrong to sacrifice content that people had never seen before in favour of articles which may have existed in similar forms elsewhere – you’ve probably already paid for a hobby guide at some point!

3) We wouldn’t have been able to do it justice in the space we may have had: To fully cover all the aspects that I wanted to cover, it would have taken half the book!

However, we will be getting all the painting and hobby information to you! We promised to shed light on how our models are painted and we will not disappoint!

I’ll be writing and publishing a whole series of hobby articles for free on the website, which will be able to go into a lot more detail than would have been possible in the book. These will take you step-by-step through the process of painting the ‘standard’ schemes for each army, creating overgrown buildings as well as detailing specific tips which work well for different paint scheme styles.
While we can’t promise exact dates for these, we’ll be aiming to publish one every week, starting next week. In the meantime, feel free to ask me hobby questions through email or Facebook and I’ll be more than happy to answer them as soon as I can. The Live Chat that I’ll be hosting on Facebook next week will also be an excellent place to get your hobby questions answered (Thursday, August 2nd, 9am-9pm GMT).

David J Lewis,
Director
Hawk wargames

– End –

Carabus

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DropZone Commander – Newsletter and downloads available


Well i have had confirmation that my order is on the way, I am very excited! Sadly it appears that Zombiepirate will be waiting for his a little longer, which is not only frustrating for him but me as well. As some of you may know I forgot to order the rules with my initial order so Zombiepirate was kind enough to add it to his. (I had to buy him the 40k 6TH Ed rulebook in recompense)

So Dave has put up the first Newsletter from Hawk Wargames and uploaded loads of file from quick reference sheets, tokens and loads and LOADS of buildings to download and print.

Here is the Newsletter

Newsletter #1, 23/07/2012

It’s finally pre-order ship day!

It’s been a long road and a long wait, but at last Dropzone Commander is escaping into the wild! First off, I’d like to thank those who pre-ordered products and all those who’ve been patient with me in particular. It’s been a very tough month which has demanded a whole new level of exertion from all of us!

It’s been 2 years and 8 months since I first put pen to paper and I’m excited to finally be able to let DZC loose. We’ve given it absolutely everything we could and I hope that you’ll feel that our efforts and your patience have been well worth it!

Little bundles of joy
Little bundles of joy ready to leave Hawk wargames

Aside from this, we also have several other pieces of news:

1) Downloadable Buildings now available!

Structures are important in games of DZC and we appreciate that many players don’t have a large stock of buildings already in place, especially in 10mm scale. We felt that for a new game the cost and availability of scenery should not be either a barrier to entry or to playing the game as it was meant to be played. As such, we’ve created a vast selection of self-print buildings available for you to download and build at home which are absolutely free!

Our Downloadable Buildings are totally accurate in scale, and are cross-compatible with all our future scenery lines. This means you’ll be able to add detailed resin accents to these buildings, use resin lobbies and card upper stories – anything you want!

Aside from this, we also have several other pieces of news:

1) Downloadable Buildings now available!

Structures are important in games of DZC and we appreciate that many players don’t have a large stock of buildings already in place, especially in 10mm scale. We felt that for a new game the cost and availability of scenery should not be either a barrier to entry or to playing the game as it was meant to be played. As such, we’ve created a vast selection of self-print buildings available for you to download and build at home which are absolutely free!

Our Downloadable Buildings are totally accurate in scale, and are cross-compatible with all our future scenery lines. This means you’ll be able to add detailed resin accents to these buildings, use resin lobbies and card upper stories – anything you want!

Free printable buildings from Hawk Wargames
Free printable buildings from Hawk Wargames

2) Token sheet downloads now available:

While DZC does not rely heavily on the use of tokens, some are always useful. The general token sheet is available in print form in the back of the rulebook, but has also been made available online to provide an easy print option. We will be producing physical tokens, but in the meantime these should serve you well.

We’ve also included a set of Carriage Tokens for each race except for the Shaltari, who don’t need them. These aren’t mentioned in the book since they’re not officially required. Their purpose is to indicate a dropship’s content easily, making it simple to remember what is carrying what (especially when you’re not yet familiar with your army!). Simply cut them out including the slot running to the centre, which allows them to slide onto the dropship’s flying base.

Quick Reference
Quick Reference

3) Other gaming aid downloads now available:

We’ve produced a quick reference sheet for all the general use tables in the rulebook. We hope you’ll find it useful during games! We’ve also released a quick prompt guide to The Turn Sequence.

4) New product photos

Product photos have now been added to the Hawk Wargames website for the Rulebook, Command Cards and for the Starter Army retail boxes

New product images
New product images

5) Facebook Live Chat 02/08/2012

Since the last Facebook Live Chat was such a success, I’ve decided to run another on Thursday, August 2nd. Just as last time, I will be on Facebook from 9am to 9pm GMT, hopefully giving most people a window in which to chat and ask questions. With a brand new ruleset and range I’m sure there be lots to discuss! In addition to this, I’ll be on Facebook frequently in the next few weeks and will of course be able to answer questions outside the Live Chat.

6) The Hawk Widget

We’ve added an extra component to all our kits which use flying bases! It’s a small, injection moulded, non-brittle clear acrylic part which can be glued to the resin hull (but NOT the flying base) of all our aerial units. This piece tightly holds the main stem of the flying base when in use through friction, preventing the dreaded wobble during games. Once you’ve finished playing, simply remove the flying base and store separately in transit. This makes it much easier to store and transport your models (all our custom cut KR cases feature spaces for detached flying bases).
Please bear in mind that these are small, clear components which are packaged loose inside blisters and bagged with flying bases – be careful not to lose them!

7) Demand and Stock Levels

The response to Dropzone Commander so far has been fantastic, and well beyond our initial estimations. We are working as hard as we can to keep up with demand, and are currently in the process of upgrading our tooling to double the rate of production. In the short term we feel we should make new customers aware that it may take a short while to fulfil new orders in the next few weeks while we undertake this transition. As such, we have updated the product descriptions on our site to state this.

8) In-store availability

We fully intend to make Dropzone Commander widely available in stores as fast as humanly possible. With the pressure of the expansion (not to mention getting everything ready on time!) we simply haven’t had the time to organise and coordinate a formal in-store release date.

Shipments to our distributors will leave us on Friday 27th, and should begin arriving in stores at the start of August. We will be able to deal with stores direct as soon as our production rate increase is complete (we are currently waiting on the arrival of new equipment which is due by the end of the month).
In the meantime, we thank stores for bearing with us, and will be prioritising and covering the needs of those who have already contacted us as soon as we can.

I hope you all enjoy your products!

– David J Lewis,

– ENDS –

All the files can be found in the download section of the website: http://www.hawkwargames.com/pages/downloads

See you all on the Facebook Live Chat 02/08/2012

Enjoy

Carabus

DropZone Commander – A peek inside the rulebook.


DropZone Commander “drops” today 🙂

Found some photos of inside the rulebook for you:

DropZone Commander
DropZone Commander
DropZone Commander
DropZone Commander
DropZone Commander
DropZone Commander
DropZone Commander
DropZone Commander

152 page A4 full colour perfect bound rulebook for Dropzone Commander. Contents include:

Core Rules: All the rules you need to play.

Background: Rich and detailed setting for the DzC game universe, as well as in depth background for all four races and their units. You’ll be in no doubt as to where you’re fighting, why you’re fighting and who you’re fighting with!

Army Lists: The full stats, lists and special rules for all four races.

Scenarios: A wide selection of scenarios to keep your games fresh!

Hobby Section: Plenty of hints and tips for painting and working with Hawk Wargames miniatures – discover how the presentation models were painted, and learn fast paint tips for getting your army onto the field quickly!

Guest Painters Pages: Some inspiring work by keen gamers and painters unaffiliated with Hawk Wargames.

I think the rulebook looks stunning, I can not wait to get my hands on my copy when it arrives, visually the style and quality is what I have come to expect from Dave at Hawk Wargames.

Here are some pictures of the cards:

PHR Cards

PHR Cards
PHR Cards
UCM Cards
UCM Cards
UCM Cards
UCM Cards
Shaltari Cards
Shaltari Cards
Shaltari Cards
Shaltari Cards
Scourge Cards
Scourge Cards
Scourge Cards
Scourge Cards

First impressions, hmm. I know these are just game cards but I think the logos look a little flat and with all the stunning art and photography we have seen, a little disappointed in the cover of them. I guess they are just game cards, but standards have been so high on everything else these just seem flat, maybe a little boring. The PHR logo look lost on the card. I am sure the other side of the card will make up for it though 🙂

Carabus

DropZone Commander – Playtesting


A week later than I intended but my work/life balance has been out of check and this has affected my free time, so better late than never…

So it was, an early 5.30am start, Zombiepirate and I started the long journey to the sunny south of London.Leaving the rain behind us we had the additional excitement of erratic navigation and traffic in the centre of London, always a treat.

We arrived at Hawk Wargames around 10am and were swiftly greeted and escorted into the central hive. It’s quite an experience being surrounded by Dave and all his superb miniatures. What a fantastic start to the day as we got to look through and fondle all of the miniatures as well as getting the chance to once again look over the examples that Dave has painted; were so loved by visitors to Salute and are pictured on the website. We were also treated to painted examples that will be in the rule book, by various excellent painters. I cannot wait to see them again and for you all to enjoy them, there are some interesting colour choices that I would not have thought would work but clearly do. You will have to wait and see…

So with a bit of a chat to Dave and the guys from Shellcase we moved into the game room.

The table was setup with two forces, the United Colonies of Mankind (UCM) and The Scourge. Both of which happened to have been the large armies as available for pre-order from Hawk Wargames; as well as a host of buildings also from Dave. The buildings were lavishly painted and lots of complementary “Ohhhs” and “Ahhhs” were made as we looked over the exquisite design and painting.

UMC v The Scourge - Playtest
UMC v The Scourge – Playtest

Then we looked over the miniatures for the army we would be using for the days games. There was a colour coding system that Dave explained would help us with which units belonged to which command group. These were done with good old round stickers but as ZombiePirate pointed out he would add a trim colour to his units to have the same effect (see he’s bought them already hehe.). Dave spent some time going over each combat group and how they work and the basics of deployment and the game turns, initiative etc. We broke into two groups for the game, a member of 6inchmove and the Shellcase on both sides.

Now I am not going to give you a blow by blow account of the game as we have been asked not to give all the details as of yet as there is still play testing going on and changes and tweaks to be made, in fact some tweaks were made during our game which I hope make it to the final version. Hopefully meaning that we can all have a smug feeling that we made a difference to how the game plays. That would be awesome! So I will cover what I thought was important and what you may want to know, if you have any questions please ask them below and if I can I will answer them. Right… on with the show;

The aim of the game or scenario we were faced with was the capture and retrieval of five key objectives that were located somewhere in 5 buildings spaced on the battlefield, the only method of getting to the objectives was to enter the building and search with the infantry units. Some of the objectives were fairly close to our deployments lines (wide side of the table about 6×4) and the rest were closer to the middle. There was no deployment zone’s, not in our game at least, as you come on via dropship, strange that 🙂

Phil and I ended up on the side of The Scourge and ZombiePirate and Lee were on the UCM side, Phil and I were both looking at getting the PHR force, which sat on the side looking at us all lovingly but these were the sides we started with for this game. ZombiePirate got a chance to play his beloved UCM so he now has an unfair advantage when he plays me, which I shall use as a defence if I lose!

Army Break Down & Game Plan

We had 2 medium dropships each carrying 2 APCs each with 3 units of infantry, human souls converted to work for The Scourge. One large dropship which carried the armour combat group consisting of 6 MBT tanks and 3 AA tanks. Two light dropships that were part of the command combat group that carried the 8 light AA floating blimps, best description and the awesome commander himself in the Desolator! We also had two ground attack fighters.
Dave told us that The Scourge are fast, lightly armoured, with some units with devastating weapons but short range. The UCM were slower, had a better range and heavier armour. Our advantage we decided was to utilize our speed and get to the objectives as fast as possible and get them off table, we would only have to get the three for a win! Sounded simple enough…

Scourge Desolator
Scourge Desolator

The Game

We went first and chose to deploy the dropship carrying the medium infantry, these rushed on a good distance and deployed the APCs which were able to go a little further and so did the infantry and got into the building, the UMC tried the same, our second unit tried the same and fell short. So this is how the first turn went, a scramble to get towards or into the objectives and get the heavy, slower dropships as far forward as possible to protect the force. The lighter AA ones went further to cover the heavy’s etc. This was matched by the UMC which moved less but managed to get to similar points.

The game progressed with the infantry trying to get hold and leave with objectives, armour providing anti-armour and fire support, AA fending off dropships and aircraft and setting up no-go zones. APC’s laden with a precious cargo of infantry and objectives trying to leave the table, we never thought about using our dropships to pick them back up! That is at a guess the crux of the game and my initial thoughts about why dropships and 50% of your army are useless dropships and taking no further part in the game proved that it’s just not true!

Dropships

Dropships unsurprisingly in a game called DropZone Commander are essential. Not only do they allow a flexible deployment, or the ability to move across the table to get to objectives, they allow you to also pick combat groups back up and move them from point to point or even move them off table to return later! This gives you a fantastically flexible game which keeps your opponent constantly assessing where you may or may not plan to strike and almost forces him to deploy forces to setup zones of control with AA and other assets.

Infantry, APC’s & Buildings

Infantry are key to the game; you may think that dropships would be, but infantry are the only units that can capture objectives, protect them at all times! Another point, infantry in the open equals dead infantry! Close combat is devastating, at least it was in our game and Dave explained that it’s meant to be that way, short, brutal engagements. Remember though that I think Dave said 40% or 50% of the cards are for close combat, so watch out for the enemy pulling a card on you that can swing combat their way, this happened to us, we thought we had the upper hand and the opposition played a card to stop them and gave us a good kicking.

APCs move your infantry around quickly and offer your infantry some element of protection from the devastating firepower blasting all over the battlefield. Protect the APCs as best as you can or use a driopship to move them around quickly.

Buildings, at least in our game, were a large part of the game and I really like how they affect the battlefield and can funnel targets into kill zones etc. Infantry hold buildings and they give the infantry some much needed cover in game. Shooting the infantry in the windows is a futile task in my opinion, it’s much better to blow the buildings to pieces; however that is not as easy as it sounds. We used buildings given a medium classification; I guess there is light for urban areas, medium for city blocks etc and heavy for very large, fortified buildings and bunkers. There are specific weapons that do masses of damage to buildings, unless of course your roll pants like I did, hmmm. 🙂

I can see buildings being an important part of the game and as such that is one reason Dave went for 10mm. As previously mentioned N scale is close to 10mm so you can get cheap railway buildings if you shop around, Dave is producing some of the most amazing resin buildings which will be available soon. However if the price of those or the thought of that makes you shiver Dave has thoughts in mind to make them more accessible and cheaper, more than that I cannot say, but stay tuned!

UCM Command
UCM Command

Armour

While our armour died a horrible death, due to great tactics by the UCM players, these are your heavy hitters and if you have not got many targets to hit, buildings can be a good target for them. Remove the enemy armour and then concentrate on the enemy APCs!

AA

Anti-air assets are very important, some units are only AA based and other have a ground attack weapon as well, AA units can ONLY attack air units, I guess this seems like a problem, but there was so much stuff zipping around the board there is always something for them to have a pop at. Their key though is area denial IMO, preventing air strikes and defending against interceptors! Don’t leave home without them.

Interceptors & Aircraft

So you want to make a bombing run or strafing attack, yep not a problem. Draw a line from one point on the table to another, crossing over your objective, sounds familiar and works well. Roll to see if you turn up, HA! Not ours! We rolled ones all day. See what AA assets are in the area and in range before you attack and see the results, make your attack and then see what AA may catch you on the way out! Sounds simple and it is, then add to this interceptors cutting your line of approach and now you have a problem. Not a game problem or rules, but watching your carefully planned ground strike unfurl before your eyes.

Command and Scouts

In our game we used the army commanders that came with the large army deals. The UCM have the Kodiak ACV and The Scourge have the awesome Desolator. The Kodiak has a nice little strike package that UCM players will love and the Desolator is an incredible war chariot for the Scourge commander who can shoot a direct weapon at short range and a devastating electrical weapon with a huge template! I would recommend every army fear this weapon, nothing could be worse than fighting two of these beasts; thankfully there is only one in the army and that includes the Mega army. There are no scouts for The Scourge that we used (they are available) but the UCM scouts we thought would be useless proved to be a right thorn in our side, sniping away and directing the UCM army commander’s strikes.

Never underestimate these scouts, they maybe lightly armoured and easy to kill but if you don’t have the assets to deal with them they can cause you all sorts of issues, their AA guns took down one of our drop ships and AA cover. Little pain in the arses!

Scourge - Dropship attack!
Scourge – Dropship attack!

Cards

I did worry about the addition of the cards. Cards can be a good thing but, it seems mostly they allow players to over stack a situation or break rules (Spartan anyone?) gladly these didn’t. We sat around while Dave put some dinner in the oven (nice bloke Dave) and read through them, there are humorous quips on the cards but over all as we read some of them out to each other there seemed to be a balance to them all and nothing stood out as being too powerful.

I would like to point out though, I/we did not read them all and you don’t get their game implications by just reading them, Dave told us that he spent a lot of time working on them and hates games with cards that affect the overall balance of the game, which was good to hear. I can see them being a handy addition to the game but not a dreaded game changer.

Rules

Well, worried would be a word I used a lot prior to the play test, worried that these amazing miniatures could be let down by mediocre or even bad rules and I would have to hunt down a suitable set as a replacement. Let me just say right now, I personally have no worries about the game or the rules. Yes there are a few tweaks to be made prior to release, as there always are, but I think Dave hit the last coffin in the whole rules doubt when we talked at length about how rules sometimes need changes or to address un-foreseen issues after or prior to release, Dave explained that was one of his biggest bugbears about systems. The fact you bought a game or rule set and it was not supported by the designer/writer or if it was it would take a long time for them to be addressed. I get the impression that Dave would use his site not only for the growing FAQ’s and rule changes but spend a day with his many customers like he did on Facebook helping the gaming community understand and address any issues. Couple with that his support he offers to us mere bloggers and what he allows us publish.

United Colonies of Mankind (UCM) - Army Advances
United Colonies of Mankind (UCM) – Army Advances

Conclusion

The game is a true combined wargame, your army and its composition will only be as good as the forces you’re using in combinations with each other. Getting an effective balance of ground units, AA and infantry for objectives is essential. Moving those assets around and getting them setup in time to provide cover, attack or defence is the key. Throwing all your forces into a meat grinder will throw them away against an opponent who utilises the correct force on force. Add in the great way interceptors add a new dimension and unknown factor to the developing game and strategy coupled with the very well thought out command cards can help to give you an edge but it is a double edged sword, as your opponent can pull these same things against you.

I consider myself very fortunate to have been invited to Hawk Wargame, meet Dave and play this fantastic game, I cannot wait until it’s out and I can get my miniatures on the table! I ordered the Premium mega deal and made my payment so now I sit back and wait for my beloved PHR goodies to arrive on or after 23rd July, time goes so, so slowly…

Thank you Dave.

Carabus