Saturday, 5 March 2016

Dropfleet Commander: Admiral Beta Test Day

Greets fellow commanders! I have just returned from the admiral beta test in sunny Croydon! Was an absolute blast to finally get our hands on Dropfleet Commanders rules, let alone some swiftly cast up resin versions of the minis we're all waiting for.

The event had a huge turnout and the atmosphere was really jovial and excited. The Hawk guys had their swag stand set up as well, and well, in DZC terms, I've sorted out my poor AA coverage issue.

I'm such a tease.

Obviously I can't say much about the specifics of the rules, nor can I post statlines and the like, but I can give my honest impressions.

Click past the jump, and cut yourself a big old slice of hype cake.

The Testing

Dropfleet as it stands now has the feel and vibe of dropzone commander in many ways. This seems like a moot point but really, it's a Hawk game through and through. The thought that goes into the tailoring of each unit, the synergies and rivalries between units, and the urgency of scenario objectives all work as beautifully as they do in Dropzone Commander.

We played a scenario without any sort of LoS blocking terrain, And rather than make the game unplayable, it really emphasised the absolutely brutal mind games and chess game of thinking moves ahead. your actions, (even choosing not to move) have consequences and all of it goes into calculations and out-thinking your opponent. Even choosing which battlegroups to activate is a mind game!

We played with resin sculpts made quickly for the purposes of playtesting, they are not
representative of the high quality plastic the real minis will be in, still, Dat Shenlong doe

DFC is also the farthest thing from a DZC reskin I can think of, the rules really represent space combat well, without being needlessly complicated.
Another mock up testing model. Again quality is not indicative of final hard plastic products.

it's easy to learn, it's tactically rich, and I picked it up fast (which is never a sure thing with me and new games)

I now have a severe need to try the Shaltari out (We proxied the PHR for the last game)

The Miniatures

The miniatures as you all probably know by now are stunning, The case was out today and we got to see the promo painted models for all the factions. And they are incredibly inspiring to a neophyte painter such as myself.

Here's all the pics I took of the cabinet. it's a pig trying to take pics without a tripod or something to brace on at this scale but I did my best, enjoy.


Bonus, the big mama jammin' Beijing class!

Modular Space Station

We were also very lucky to have a prototype 3d print of the modular space station kit. Everyone is very excited for this kit from the recent Beasts of War video, and with good reason. The kit is complex and meticulously detailed, and the possibilities really are sky high. Dave mentioned the guys at hawk are hoping to start a thread on the official forums when the game hits the public for peoples Space station creations. This doesn't surprise me, with kit-bashing in the mix, I think we're going to see some outrageous things!

I managed to snap some pics of the parts that make up the kit, too. along with the renders we saw recently.

Chatting with Dave from Hawk

Nick and I also got a chance to chat to Dave from Hawk too. The guy works crazy hard making all this awesome stuff, and it was really inspiring to hear his insight into the production of the miniatures Hawk produce, as a 3D art undergrad, I gotta say it rekindled the old fire in me. Very interesting to learn Dave uses Solidworks in the modelling process, A very technical/design based software compared to the more art focused sculpting programs like zbrush. I think Dave's design based approach really shines through in the aesthetic present in the games Hawk produce.

Everyone hard at "work" testing the game

Dave also clarified for me something that may have been answered already; The kickstarter exclusive ships. They are uniquely named and sculpted, but will share their statline and abilities point for point and word for word with a standard ship available to everyone when the game hits retail. This makes me very happy as tournament legal exclusives with no equivalent are a thing that has really irked me in miniature games in the past.

We also asked why there were no English city monikers for UCM ships, Dave laughed and said that they would definitely be coming in the future, and that "London" has been reserved for future use, We then suggested the "Croydon"... This has apparently been discussed and dismissed, as it would have to look suitably skeevy, and it'd likely drag down the immaculate splendour of the UCMs other ships.


Closing time. No you 'cant' take the models home guys.

In total Nick and I played three games, the first two being the scheduled UCM vs Scourge match up. The third was an unscheduled Proxy PHR vs Scourge, which I have to say was interesting to say the least (in a good way). Nick certainly got the better of me today, but I can retain the right to say I won my first ever game of Dropfleet (even if he smashed me the other two times.)

Today was an amazing day, food was laid on for us, and I drank a lot of complimentary tea. With new Dropzone Commander units out next month, and Dropfleet on the Horizon, it's very exciting times for Fans of Hawk and their games. The hawk guys were really keen to engage with the testers today, and I'm sure with the enthusiasm and zeal of a large number of us, events like this will certainly shape the game for the better. If you are an Admiral level pledge (or have access to one, Thanks again Nick ;) ) and can make it to a beta test day, I highly, highly recommend doing so, you'll have a blast, and hopefully make a contribution that will lay a strong foundation for Dropfleet before it is unleashed upon the war gaming world.

Until next time, Commanders.


  1. Did you get a feel for roughly what sizes of magnets we can get away with?
    Nice writeup.

    1. Generally I think you'll be ok with 2/3mm, same as Dropzone (the test models were fitted to standard dropzone flight stands.

      Not sure what you'd wanna magnetize otherwise :)

      Thanks for your comment!

    2. Every weapon option. On everything except one carrier basically.

  2. Looks great! Can I have your extra beta rules?

    On a serious note, you can use your DZC pegs and a bit of imagination to test out the Shaltari.

  3. Hey, nice write up. Have you had much chance to play it since release?

  4. Have you had a chance to listen to our podcast Scanners Offline?