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Friday, 4 November 2016

Dropfleet Commander 2-Player set unboxing

This is a companion to the live unboxing we covered on Episode 28 on The Hub Systems podcast, which you can find on our "The Hub Systems Podcast" section under the Pages insert at the top right of the screen, or subscribe through iTunes etc.

on Wednesday, a large 2.2kg package arrived from ChaosCards...


...and inside lay the Dropfleet commander 2-player starter box, which was shrink wrapped and lovely, with great artwork on the front and a description and painted ships displayed on the back



Opening this up, the box is full to the brim, so let's have a look at what you get. first is a small bag containing Hawk widgets, a tiny tape measure, dice and flight stands;


There are then two bags containing each of the fleets sprues. We tackled the UCM first, but in both is a black sprue covering the flight base dials


 Then we have the main event - plastic models! First we looked over the UCM Cruiser sprues, there being three of these identical sprues allowing you to make three of any of the cruiser variants. detail is crisp and well cast, no defects and zero flash;



After this it's the Frigate sprue, which allows you to build four UCM frigates;



We then move onto the next bag and the Scourge cruisers - these particularly show the fine casting of the flowing shapes of the Scourge.



And the final sprue is that for the frigates, again allowing four of these to be built



Along with these you get a couple of sheets for the bases, giving dial readouts and names for your ships...

...and then we have the construction guides, which are well laid out and very comprehensive;



Moving on to the stat?quick play sheets, these have pictures of actual models together with all the variants stats;

as well as a handy quick reference sheet on the rear;



Moving on to other playing aids, we have the objective marker punch-outs;


Then the various tokens for the game, which are clear and brightly coloured (including the "No wifi" symbol Oscar refers to in the podcast!)


As a supplement, you also get a really nice glossy product catalogue for Dropzone Commander, which is a clever tie-in;


These are the cards for fleet building, with pre-built suggested options and blanks.  These ones are glossy paper and felt a little flimsy, but are perfectly serviceable.


A guide to the game turn sequence is also a handy addition, which includes scenario setup on its reverse.

Before coming to the rulebook, there are two fold-out orbital maps for you to play over, which are nicely printed on decent stock...


 ...but if you already have a suitable playing surface, they are also posters with really nice artwork on their reverse, which is a great feature.


Now, onto the rulebook. This is contained in its own box;



After sliding this out, it really is a very well thought-out and produced item - matt cover with gloss call-outs for the lettering.


The first impression is consistent throughout the book - great artwork, glossy high-quality pages and slick layout.

Artwork is present throughout the book, as the first 30 pages or so go through a general introduction to the universe - note the colour-coded tabs on both edges of the pages - very useful for quickly getting to where you need to be in the book.



The rules section is surprisingly slim at only around 35 pages or so, but is beautifully illustrated with photos...

 ...and clear diagrams for mechanics.


you then have eight standard scenarios, again clearly laid out.


And more pictures of shiny things to buy! The space station set I think is a must-buy for ANY space game player.


The rulebook also has a guide to building campaigns and tournaments, and its fantastic to see this kind of thought to the wider game structure in the core book.


You also have some simply stunning material in here to support your immersion into the game. like this two-page spread blueprint cross-section


This leads into the fleet sections, giving you background on factions....


...and ships


 The Scourge



Post Human Republic




Shaltari




Now as everyone knows by now I'm a huge fan of Firestorm Armada, and was somewhat reluctant to dip my toe into another space fleet game. Having said that, the price-point, quality of the plastic models and sheer production gloss has swayed me - the core rulebook alone is a masterpiece of visuals and layout, and can't fail to impress. We still need to actually get into the game, build models and read the book, but everything about this set draws you into wanting to do that, so it's a rock-solid hit with us.

Considering you get everything you need to jump into the game, any small niggles about some of the minor components (like the cards) is easily set aside, especially at a very competitive price. As far as I can see, there's not a lot more Hawk could have done here to make the set much better, other than adding more ships! The downside is that at a time when Spartan have been struggling to reach their fanbase, Dropfleet's quality and obvious engagement support from the off could easily damage SGs fleet game considerably (which is a positive from hawk's perspective, I guess!).

10/10 for Hawk - well done guys!