Hey folks! Welcome to Dropzone Commenter—a column for discussing games set in Hawk Wargames’ Dropzone Commander universe. Unlike many other blogs out there, DZCommenter is written by and for the “serious casual” wargamer, that mostly silent majority that believes our hobby is best enjoyed with a heady adult beverage in one hand and dice in the other, going toe-to-toe with your buddies for bragging rights and tableside glory. We’re not going to be spending time doing mathematical breakdowns or grousing about points costs of units—the hobby, the style of play, and the fun of the game is what we’re interested in talking about.
About the Commenter
First, a bit about our team. My name is Alex Flagg, a two-decade tabletop wargaming addict, game designer, and a co-founder and co-owner of Crafty Games (publisher of many fine tabletop games, with more on the way). I’ve been a professional game designer for thirteen years, but like most of you readers I’ve been a gamer nearly all of my life, starting out with D&D and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Other Strangeness, then playing a lot of Magic: The Gathering competitively before selling my tournament deck for $3,000 in college and taking up wargaming as my primary hobby.
Since 1995 I’ve been playing wargames pretty much nonstop, namely Warhammer 40,000’s second through seventh editions (owning nearly ever army at different points in time), Necromunda, and Blood Bowl, but also a few editions of Warhammer Fantasy Battles, hardcore Warmachine from 2002 (before there were even published rules!) until 2009, Hordes, Flames of War, X-Wing, and a number of smaller skirmish and homebrewed wargames over the years (AK-47 Republic, Confrontation, Epic 40k, and Warhammer Ancients, off the top of my head). I’ve rolled many a d6 in my day, but Dropzone Commander is the first game I really feel compelled to blog about.
My partner in blog-crime, who goes by the handle “Dropzone Casualty,” was also unable to escape the clutches of gaming despite his best (though meager) efforts. Introduced to Warhammer 40,000 first edition by his younger brother, he’s been a slave to the industry for decades. Also having “retired” from Warmachine/Hordes, these days Casualty sticks mostly to board games and his primary interest, poker. The recent standout exception being DZC, of course, into which I coerced him (that’s a story for another time).
Significantly influenced by the preferences of our gaming group, Casualty is aware of the insidious power that those around him have on his gaming activities (and vice versa). Though he sits behind a regular desk during the day, in the past he’s done accessory design work with Privateer Press’ licensed line through Gale Force Nine and, more recently, with products for Litko.
Why are we blogging about DZC?
In nearly 20 years of playing wargames, Casualty and I agree that Dropzone Commander is definitely one of the best-crafted wargames we’ve encountered—a result of fantastic models, excellent game balance, fun scenarios, outstanding game play, and rules that reward strategy at every level of play. That it is able to do so using such familiar tools—a science-fiction setting, six-sided dice, points-based systems, and so on—makes it all the more interesting in our book.
But as we started playing DZC back in 2014, we were surprised to find so little commentary about the game on the web. When we first researched the game, I couldn’t find a single blog that wasn’t either tournament reports or shilling for new products. Nothing on the gameplay, nothing on the hobby, nothing on what makes the game different.
That’s where we come in. Our goal is to see the Dropzone Commander community grow, because this is a game we both love and think is deserving of love from others. In the spirit of strengthening our ranks, we’ve decided to lead off with a series of articles introducing the game, factions, and game play—to help new players understand just what makes DZC so special, but also written with those of you who play other systems already in mind.
See you soon, fellow Commanders!