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Tabletop Game / Dropzone Commander

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A miniatures game by Hawk Wargames.

The story follows the United Colonies of Mankind as they are launching a massive campaign to reconquer their lost home systems, 160 years after these were taken from mankind by the Scourge. Other factions include the Post Human Republic, an offshoot of mankind which fled before the attack on the cradle worlds, and the hyper-advanced aliens of the Shaltari Tribes. These two have mysterious reasons for taking part in the war between the UCM and the Scourge. Also involved in the battle for the cradle worlds are the Resistance, which have been fighting a guerilla war against the Scourge all these years.

It also has the sister games:

  • Dropfleet Commander which has players taking control of fleet of spaceships to take control of a section of orbital space and drop troops down onto the planet.
  • Striketeam Commander, a 32mm skirmish game.

This game exhibits the following tropes:

  • Abnormal Ammo: For those Resistance members that didn't get access to stolen plasma weapons, they have developed heavily armoured cannon shells to get better results against the Missile Halo.
  • Agony Beam: A critical piece of kit for Shaltari Firstborn, who use handheld microwave guns to incapacitate opponents with debilitating pain before charging in and finishing them off with their Energy Blades.
  • BFG: While all the races have vehicles with big guns, the Shaltari take the cake with one particular walker carrying the dreaded particle beam cannon. The particle beam cannon is almost as big as the walker and it has the hitting power to match.
  • Category Traitor: The UCM considers the PHR traitors to humanity because the PHR’s founders fled Human space when the Sphere told them the Scourge were coming. This doesn’t quite hold water due to the fact that Humanity’s government didn’t believe the Sphere and this didn’t prepare for the Scourge invasion, so it decided to leave peacefully and with the people who did believe it and chose to follow. The government sent a fleet to stop them leaving for no discernible reason and the Sphere’s followers fired on them to make good their escape, which wrecked the fleet, making the Scourge’s invasion two days later considerably easier for the parasites.
  • Dropship: It's even part of the title. Every faction makes extensive use of some kind of dropship to transport infantry and even tanks. This even carries over into Dropfleet Commander, where most battles are focused around getting troopships into position to unload fleets of dropships for planetside combat.
  • Expy: The Resistance is based quite heavily on the, uh, Resistance from the Terminator franchise, right down to contending with hostile infiltrators and scavenging technology from their genocidal opponents.
  • Eye Beams: Scourge shipborne laser weapons look like eyes (and are called "oculus beams"), to make their ships look even more alien.
  • Had to Be Sharp: Resistance fighters have spent generations surviving on Scourge occupied worlds, fighting back with whatever they can get their hands on in a war where survival is a prize won hour by hour against a genocidal horde of nightmarish monsters. Consequently, they boast some of the toughest infantry in the game, and their veterans are truly frightening.
  • Higher-Tech Species: The PHR are far more advanced than the UCM despite starting at the same tech level 160 years ago. The Shaltari fit this category even more.
  • Hover Tank: All Scourge tanks hover, which makes them much faster then treaded vehicles. The PHR and Shaltari also have some hover tanks.
  • Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better: The UCM certainly think so, with railguns being their national weapons. Justified for the UCM as they're one of the least advanced factions and only started developing laser cannons.
  • Macross Missile Massacre: The entire stock in trade of the UCM's Taipei-class Missile Destroyers, which must be conducted at short ranges and in immense volleys in order to overcome the Missile Halo. When they connect, however, the "Massacre" part of the trope is put into full effect, as they can easily blow away capital ships or huge numbers of smaller vessels.
  • Manipulative Bastard: The Shaltari, to a T. They introduced Mankind to the Cradle Worlds, with the intended goal of using them as pawns in their own internal squabbles, and then lured the Scourge into the same region in the hopes the two species would cripple each other. Suffice to say, this has pissed off both the UCM and the PHR.
  • Mini-Mecha: Shaltari infantry never enters the battlefield without these.
  • Names to Run Away from Really Fast: Scourge vehicles have sinister names like Slayer, Tormentor, Invader.
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: The Shaltari, to the point where those among them who have not yet seen battle are afforded no worth or consideration in the slightest and they refuse to have dealings with anyone among the humans who are not soldiers.
  • Puppeteer Parasite: The Scourge do this to captured enemy soldiers.
  • Point Defenseless: Averted, missiles have greatly reduced value in this particular game. This is due to all the races having the Missile Halo defense system which is a combination of satellite and ground-based lasers that take out missiles that aren't shot at close range. Even artillery shells have a good chance of getting shot down by the Missile Halo.
  • Retractable Weapon: A particular specialization of the UCM's tanks, which are slung low to the ground, but feature telescoping turrets that allow them fight without exposing themselves to return fire.
  • Roaring Rampage of Revenge: The UCM's entire foreign policy: reclaim the Cradle Worlds from the Scourge, punish the PHR traitors and make the Shaltari pay for their duplicity. It's so all consuming a sentiment that their national motto is "Ad Vindictam" (To Vengeance).
  • Scavenged Punk: This is the basis of the Resistance's technology, on the low end they outfit civilian vehicles with guns. For mightier Resistance groups, they've had dealings with the UCM and had also managed to get their hands on old supply depots. The result is the most devastating ground attack aircraft in the game. For dealing with the Missile Halo, the Resistance also has access to stolen plasma cannons.
  • Subsystem Damage: Behemoths are so large that they do not have one single Damage meter. Instead, each is split into three components (Hull, Legs, Weapons), which may be targeted and damaged individually. A zone loses damage points as any other unit; once a zone goes below a Damage Threshold, it is Crippled (with the effects varying on the individual Behemoth unit). A Behemoth may have parts blown off it, but will still be active at severely reduced efficiency. Once two zones are completely destroyed, the Behemoth is destroyed.
  • Tactical Superweapon Unit: Behemoths are the largest land-based fighting vehicles in the 27th century, towering over even super-heavy tanks. They feature exceedingly thick armour and are capable of laying waste to entire formations single-handedly, but are also far more expensive than any other units in the game and can only be fielded as part of War Engine battlegroups (and thus limited to one plus one per 1000 points in an army). To reflect their extreme size and power, Behemoths have a unique set of in-depth rules.
  • Tank Goodness: Every faction has quite a selection of tanks.
  • Teleportation: Shaltari teleport their units onto the battlefield through Gates instead of using normal dropships.
  • Time Abyss: Shaltari have gained immortality through cloning, and can live for thousands of years. If they don't die in battle.
  • Transhuman Treachery: This is why the UCM dislikes the PHR, they feel that since they were betrayed once they can't trust them now. The early PHR ran when they discovered that Scourge was entering the human system, leaving the surviving refugees to leave for outer rim mining colonies and these would become the UCM.
  • Upgrade Artifact: The PHR were originally a faction of normal humans. What set them apart was the discovery of the Sphere, an alien artifact that warned the PHR of the Scourge and also gave them the technology to uplift themselves with bionics.
  • Walking Tank: The Scourge, PHR and Shaltari have them.
  • We Will Use Lasers in the Future: Only the Shaltari and Scourge have the technology for man-portable energy weapons, but all races have developed vehicular energy weapons. Besides packing a fierce punch, energy weapons are one of the few things that aren't hindered by the Missile Halo defense system. Any race that doesn't use at least a laser cannon won't last very long.