Dropzone Commander: Reconquest Phase II
It took a little longer than I intended, but I finally pulled down a copy of Reconquest: Phase II. We have been in a 40k sprint at the Maelstrom lately, with all of the campaign action at Dicehead Games. A week back we decided to dust off the Dropzone Commander stuff again, and that one game was enough to get me hooked once more. As a result, I put in for some of the additional units I never got around to purchasing, and I picked up the second Reconquest book while I was at it.
WARNING! SPOILERS AHEAD!
Reconquest: Phase II picks up at D+600, nearly two years after the invasion to retake humanity’s initial worlds. In some systems there plans for invasion are nearly complete, leaving the Scourge with little presence in those systems. Almost invariably, this had led to the Scourge committing themselves to a last stand, defiant to the last. In other systems, these early invasions have come short of their goals, in some instances even failing miserably to achieve their ends. This mixed bag has added some very interesting depth to the plotline, creating some difficulties for the UCM in determining how they will move forward.
The involvement of the PHR and the Shaltari has escalated, but their motives are still mostly unknown. Some kind of tribal alliance has become known among the Shaltari, but the UCM still hasn’t been able to fathom what it means, and what the aims of the opposing factions really are. The PHR have also committed to a full-scale invasion on the Tlalocan Moons, and are currently in the process of establishing some kind of base there while eradicating the Scourge in-system. The UCM are avoiding a conflict there, as setbacks in other systems haven’t left them with the reserves for a new front against another enemy.
The coolest part of the story came in the end of Phase II, when the Scourge contacted the UCM to speak with them. Up to this point in the story we haven’t really known what level of communication the Scourge were capable of, so it was interesting to learn that at least their leadership has the capacity to treat with mankind. They came with a very interesting story of how the Shaltari had engineered the war between mankind and the Scourge, in an attempt to stop the Scourge. The UCM leadership refused to believe this, coming from the enemy that had taken their homes from them, and rejected the ceasefire proposed by their foe out of hand.
The Scourge then threw in one of the biggest curve balls of the story so far, and proved that they knew exactly where the UCM homeworlds were. They launched a devastating attack against Ferrum, beginning a counteroffensive that is sure to cost the UCM dearly.
Overall this book is a massive improvement over the quality we have seen in Phase I and the Dropzone Commander rulebook. While it could still use better editing for typographical errors and incorrect word usage, the quality is much higher than before. Even the printed quality of the book is dramatically improved, giving something that is more visually appealing and much more rugged than previous releases. The artwork is fantastic throughout, and there is a lot of fluff to grind your teeth on.
The additional rules also show a polish to the experimental rules that have been available for the new units for some time now. They have balanced some units that needed balancing from their trial rule sets. I’m speaking most directly about the Pungari Auxiliaries here. They were completely bland and brought nothing new to the Shaltari with their initial release. With the addition of better capacity for searching they have become an excellent option for Shaltari armies, so much so that I ordered two blisters for myself after reading the book!
The new missions also work to bring something new to the table. I am not a fan of the missions based around fauna interacting with the armies, as this is a bit too space opera for what I have come to expect from Hawk Wargames. With that said, their missions regarding different environments and orbital stations are just what the doctor ordered. With the addition of Dropfleet Commander, I think this will make the game very fun for narrative-driven approaches. We are already planning to do some truly massive Dropfleet/Dropzone stuff in the near future, once we have time to muster the necessary forces.
If you are already involved with Dropzone Commander, Reconquest: Phase II is a no brainer. Pick it up for the updated rules and the new missions, but be prepared for some much-needed narrative meat that has been added to this universe.