The Old Giant

Home » Dropzone Commander

Category Archives: Dropzone Commander


DZC – photo AAR – PHR v Shaltari in Encroachment – 1500pt

My third game of DZC saw Dan’s Shaltari versus my PHR. Dan setup wild and rocky table with a few woods. No buildings. I selected the “Encroachment” mission. Basically it involves getting as much of your force into the enemy half of the table for the end of Turn 6 as you can.  At the same time you need to kill as much of the enemy’s force as you can. I expected it would be bloody!

The armies… red Shaltari…

DZC g3 (1)

and the part-painted blue PHR…

DZC g3 (2)

The table:

DZC g3 (4)

Turn 1:

The PHR took the initiative (i think) and started moving in the Command and Janus scouts….

I had not experienced a Fighter until the Shaltari sent one screaming in and shooting down one Janus scout. As there was no AA on the table to counter it, it died.

DZC g3 (5)

The rest of the Shaltari kept back…

DZC g3 (8)

The two Phobos were flown in low to go up the hill.

The Four Hyperions were flown in low to the far right to keep away from lucky shots.

DZC g3 (6)

The rest of the PHR kept to the left of the table and in as much cover as they could.

The two Phobos on the left pretty much kept covering that area and warding off air strikes.

DZC g3 (7)

End of turn…

DZC g3 (10)

Turn 2:

Shaltari get the edge and their fighter screams in – now I know why you need to push some ground based AA forward at the start of the game!

PHR infantry on the far left head to the big hill with the crater (the crater was deemed smooth but giving cover for its height).

DZC g3 (12)

and … “phoom”! the PHR Neptune crashes and BOTH Phobos are destroyed. The AA for the right side of the table is gone.

DZC g3 (13)

PHR infantry are dropped into a position behind the hill to the right of centre of the table. The dropships are all flying low to avoid the obvious problems from ground based AA units.

DZC g3 (14)

The Shaltari Dragon doo-dad is activated, moved and then chews up the PHR infantry with one of its terrifying weapons…

DZC g3 (16)

Aaagh – ten PHR infantrymen are wiped out – microwaved I think!

DZC g3 (17)

Turn 3:

Shaltari infantry are dropped on the rocks – the second PHR infantry group make it onto the hill on the left middle, just an inch across the halfway line.

DZC g3 (19)

A ranged gun battle ensues. The PHR lose a few men, the Shaltari more (the Juno’s add their gunfire)…

DZC g3 (21)

PHR lose more infantry to the “Dragon”….

DZC g3 (20)

PHR Juno’s take out one Shaltari skimmer…

DZC g3 (22)

The Shaltari fighter takes full advantage of the lack of AA firepower on the PHR right and scream in. The Neptune is destroyed and one Hyperion with it….

DZC g3 (23)

The Shaltari commander lands some more damage on the left-side PHR – one Juno is killed…

DZC g3 (25)

Shaltari try and take out the Juno’s – and fail…

DZC g3 (26)

Shaltari position at the end of the turn….

DZC g3 (27)

Turn 4:

Shaltari fighter goes for a Taranis MLRs …. it kills one, passes within range of a Janus scout AA system…. but survives with its ECM package of tricks.

DZC g3 (29)

The PHR pull the remaining Juno’s and infantry off the little hill as they Shaltari are about to advance into their faces.

The PHR Hyperion has a slim chance of a kill but fails….

DZC g3 (30)

The Shaltari commander puts a point of damage onto the Juno…

The Shaltari infantry at the back have already been pulled off to live to fight another day….

DZC g3 (31)

Turn 5:

Shaltari big boys(heavies)  push forward – they didn’t seem to do much in this game…

DZC g3 (33)

The infantry Neptune is hit by some AA fire but survives with 1 point left….

DZC g3 (35)

This is short-lived as the fighter roars over and finishes it off…

DZC g3 (36)

The two Hyperion’s have been working their way over to the left flank in a Neptune. They are dropped in Turn 4 and now fire on a Shaltari AA unit. They both roll 6’s to hit and do 4 points of damage from their highly accurate weapons systems. A real ‘Death Star’ moment – shame it wasn’t on the Commander! Probably the highlight of the PHR game.

DZC g3 (37)

The other Hyperion is hit and wounded…. despite it’s shields….

DZC g3 (38)

That damned ‘Dragon’ again – rushes in and finishes off the Hyperion….

DZC g3 (39)

Turn 6:

The Shaltari creep across the centre line.

They have a lot of kills and now are getting VP’s for being in the PHR table half…..

DZC g3 (42)

The PHR are pretty much just what you see above. The last Janus scout was destroyed by a Shaltari ‘heavy’… overkill?

DZC g3 (43)

Shaltari infantry “beam” to the far side of the table – damn Gates! They are over the halfway line as well!

DZC g3 (44)

Shaltari move away from the Hyperion reach!

DZC g3 (45)

End positions….

DZC g3 (48)

Here are the Shaltari kills…

DZC g3 (47)

And here the PHR kills….

DZC g3 (46)


A clear win to the Shaltari! Thanks and well done to Dan. I am learning though! Get an AA “bubble” onto the table to protect your men at the start!



DZC – photo AAR – PHR v UCM in Recon – 1500 points

I fought my second battle of DZC this time at 1500 points versus the UCM.

We played the Recon mission – each building had a potential objective to find.

Here are some of the pictures from the game… unfortunately I only had my phone camera but did get the “highlights”.





Most buildings had an Intel marker. The UCM had a thicker mass of buildings near their baseline, the PHR less so. The UCM side had less to make up for the larger number of buildings.


The PHR had a greater CV rating of 5 and won most turn activation rolls. The PHR stayed back near the baseline and opted to take on the nearer buildings (to some degree). The Zeus went to the left of the board and the MLRs to the right. Infantry and AA Walkers more central.

The UCM pushed tanks up their left flank and Heavy tanks more centrally. Their infantry was in strike type drop ships and hung back. Their Commander stayed well back out of sight.




UCM found it harder to search buildings at first.

After 2 turns the PHR had 3 VP’s.

UCM were killing infantry and the odd vehicle. PHR struggled to kill one UCM recon element. Ouch.


The UCM had fire lanes on their left and in the centre. They also got lucky and found an ungerground monorail to the central building and their VPs shot up to 6 at the end of turn 4 I think it was.


The PHR were really hiding after losing so much infantry. Their infantry in reserve (they took the first found Objective off-table) struggled to get back into the game.

Stupidly, I had been putting two squads into each building when i should have just gone for maximum search power.

I guess that is a newbie mistake.

DZC AAR (10)

The UCM really had control of the table on this game. The tanks kept my forces at bay while their infantry mopped up ‘unmolested’.

The game fizzled out at 6-3 on Turn 5 as it was getting late and looking bad for the PHR. Thanks to Dan for another good game. I am learning a lot.


A not very optimal list from me for PHR (two Zeus and no heavy walker antitank assets) meant I couldn’t face down the UCM tanks. Where i came into the open i tended to suffer. I lost one Zeus to the Kodiak orbital strike as they were moving in the open and were spotted by UCM recon for a few turns. Even a save of 3+ can be failed sometimes!

Lots of newbie errors. Next time I will have some decent Anti-tanks assets in my list as well as infantry and AA. The extra Zeus and the points spent on a commander and sub-commander reduced the fire in my list (150 points on commanders).

The UCM was a joy to play against – the models looked great and I learned a lot about playing DZC.

DZC: Making rubble bases

I really like the artwork in the Dropzone Commander rulebook. Those images of abandoned cities gradually going back to the wild look really effective.

After ordering some 1:150 scale model cars (cheap ones) on eBay I used my bitz box to come up with some terrain pieces that looked old, rusty and going wild.

DZC bases (23) - Copy

Other than the little cars I used:

some old mini data CD’s

some Renedra 40mm round bases

a hot glue gun (to fix the cars to the bases).

broken cork to make rubble.

fine sand as a way to break up the flat surface of the bases.

PVA glue to hold the cork and sand on the bases.

twisted wire (barricades)

broken BBQ skewers as poles

Rust primer spray can to give the cars, cork and base an undercoat – not too heavy so you can still see the car colour.

grey paint for the bases.

lighter grey paint (as a drybrush) for the rocks.

off-white paint applied as a (very) drybrush for the cars to give a tarnished look to the paintwork and mark the edges a bit more.

green fine flocking material for a layer of plant growth

a matt varnish spray to damp down any leftover shine from the cars.


Here are the results….


DZC – PHR army progress

Here’s where I have got to so far with my PHR 1500 point army for DZC…

Standard Army
PHR Standard Roster [1500/1500 pts]
Hand of the Sphere [268 pts]
Command Squad: Zeus(Councillor) [136 pts]
Janus Squad: 4x Janus, 2x Triton A2 [132 pts]
Battle Pantheon [171 pts]
Battle Squad: 2x Phobos, Neptune [171 pts]
Battle Pantheon [171 pts]
Battle Squad: 2x Phobos, Neptune [171 pts]
Immortals [237 pts]
Neptune [45 pts]
Immortals: 2x Immortals, 1x Juno A1 [96 pts]
Immortals: 2x Immortals, 1x Juno A1 [96 pts]
Immortals [237 pts]
Neptune [45 pts]
Immortals: 2x Immortals, 1x Juno A1 [96 pts]
Immortals: 2x Immortals, 1x Juno A1 [96 pts]
Heavy Pantheon [416 pts]
Heavy Squad: 4x Hyperion, 2x Neptune [326 pts]
Taranis Squad: 2x Taranis [90 pts]

I am going for the “urban camo” look as per the rulebook images. I need to add another lighter blue colour and some silver work to joints, weapons and the like. I have used bases on the Walkers to give more strength.



Dropzone Commander – building a PHR army

I am starting to build my own PHR army for DZC.

It is based on two plastic starter sets, plus some resin and metal command and support options (MLRs and scouts).

The kits assemble fairly quickly, apart from the Juno transports (for the infantry). They were a bit fiddly.

I have about half of the force assembled. Here are some quick snaps…. once done, it will be a matter of undercoating and finding a paint scheme.

DZC – 1st game of DropZone Commander

Having “ummed and ahhd” about this game for the last year I finally got a game of DZC in. I had skimmed my old Version 1 rulebook and wondered how complicated it would be.

When my gaming buddy Dan offered to show me the game I jumped as I really do love the models.

We played at our local NWGC, Stockport. Sadly, I couldn’t quite get the camera to focus properly despite taking a number of shots of Dan’s beautifully painted Shaltari force. I only had my phone camera and I always seem to struggle indoors with these. The Shaltari have an insectoid look to them that when painted really shows the functional yet aesthetically pleasing designs. The designer has done wonders creating the models.

Having seen another army being played (PHR) that were also brilliantly painted (by James I think?) I have to say that the bar is set hight on painting these forces.

So, is this just about nice models or is there a good game?

Dan set up the basic poster mapboard, buildings and starter scenario from the starter set. He used Shaltari not UCM, I took an unpainted Scourge army. The points value for these basic forces is about a 550 point ‘skirmish’. That gave us 3 battlegroups apiece, one infantry plus transport, 1 tank plus transport, 1 AA unit plus transport. the Shaltari were a pretty new force for Dan and the transports (Gates) seem to work a little differently to the standard transports. That aside, we got stuck in.

The missions mean scouting out buildings with objectives and searching them. Once successful, the infantry need to get the objective out of the building and back off their baseline to capture it. As there were three objectives to take, the winner would be the one with most captured and removed from the table.

On Turn 1 Dan won the activation roll and moved one of his units. He got his infantry into the building on Turn 1.  I then moved a unit – tanks I think by dropping them off my dropship in cover. The activation is done alternatively until all battlegroups have moved (the unit and their transports).

He positioned his Gates on the board – it looks like the Shaltari and use the Gates to move around the board instantly. Nice. I need to read up more on these guys!

We then moved alternatively until the turn was ended – I used my infantry to take the central building.

Dan got the initiative again. His infantry searched the building on this turn and got the objective. I spent three more turns trying to get the objective in my building.

Meanwhile I had left my infantry transports in the open (silly me) and got the dropship and an APC blown up.

My forces took it in turns to fire on the building that Dan’s infantry were holed up in. Dan pulled the objective out of his building but couldn’t get the troops out so quickly – the Gates I think have a restriction on how much can pass through them in a turn.

Gradually that building was destroyed before Dan could get his men out. My tanks, infantry and AA kept pounding it and it collapsed, killing the occupants and one unfortunate Shaltari transport that was too close to the building as well.

My infantry were killed off down to two damaged stands but I got the objective and left the building. With only one APC left for them, they had to try to get off the map.

At the end of Turn 6 (end of game), my APC was just 4 inches form the edge of the board. Dan won by 1 objective to nil.  If I had grabbed one, it would go to kill points. Dan had destroyed most of my infantry and a whole unit of my tanks. I had only killed his infantry unit. Well done Dan!

The aim of this game was for me to “learn the ropes”.  Afterwards Dan showed me how a close combat works. Basically it was a fight in a building that took three turns. It was pretty evenly matched. That would have tied up those forces for most of a game!

What did I think? Brilliant. Not only are the models good, the game mechanics are good too. It’s not too difficult to pick up the rules quickly and the game plays quickly too. Units roll on to the table, carry out their missions and support each other. The end result was a close game. Having an alternative unit activation mechanic means that each player is on the alert all the time, not waiting for “their turn” to come. It spices up the game. A unit may not get to move exactly when you thought it would as you may lose initiative.

The contents of the starter box (Scourge and UCM) plus all the buildings, map boards, counters, templates, dice, tape measure and rulebook really are good value.

Now that the starter forces (4 of them) are in plastic, the game has become good value and “do-able” even on a budget. You can build on the core force to build it up to 1000, 1500 or 2000 points.

I am really hooked now and want to get into this game. The system reminds me of the fun of playing the old GW epic space marine (2nd edition) but is a little more complex. There’s a lot more to discover as you can have Commanders and Command Cards. More to take on board! Looking forward to my next game! Big thanks to Dan for taking the time to play my first game through. Thoroughly enjoyable evening.

Apologies for some fuzzy pictures… it gives a flavour even if I couldn’t quite get those lovely Shaltari Gates and vehicles into focus.

Box Opening: Dropzone Commander Starter Set

I recently got a good deal on a box of Hawk Wargame’s Dropzone Commander 2-player Starter Set.

I am still on the fence about this game. I saw the rules over a year ago and was not much interested. I do like the models however! Whether I keep the game or sell off the components, here is a quick overview of the contents and some pictures of the contents.

The box is reasonably hefty and of a sturdy card stock. It has a built-in lid that folds open rather than a separate lid. The box is glossy and attractive and certainly sets the tone for the quality of the contents.

Those are three sprues each of human and alien plastic 10mm scale models. Bases for the infantry and clear plastic stands for the flying vehicles. An A4 rulebook (had expected A5, so that was a surprise). A poster mapboard of an urban area – this is shrunk wrapped with the rulebook. Ten regular dice. A small tape measure on a key fob. Ten card easy-fold buildings.

Overall, this is a quality release that looks enticing to the buyer. Still not sure what to do with it though 🙂

Pictures – take a look at the contents, they speak louder than words. The plastic sprues look clean and detailed!