the next update is out and the designs for the PHR Cruiser are public. Time for some pics and thoughts on Hawk Wargames design line. I have been following the general progress of the company for years now, even though it took me some time and money to finally kick off with Scourge and later on UCM in Dropzone Commander. I do like the philosophy of Hawk to provide easy and streamlined core rules with tactical flexibility and how the models actually interact with these rules. As much as I appreciated the core concept, some things about DZC, which I do love, felt always a bit wacky. Having a highly mobile game, the guess ranges and generally short ranges of weapons with countermeasures always felt a bit misplaced. Hold on you might say – you announced an article about design… well I am coming back on that in a second. As for the core mechanics, I always found some design elements a bit strange. Whereas the UCM is fairly streamlined, the PHR Erebos for instance look somewhat odd, as their shields break with the overall design and form philosophy of the PHR. The same is true for the Nemesis command walkers main weapon, which abandons the fluent, cybernetic theme and adds weird angles, which do not appear anywhere on the model again. The same is true for Scourge antigrav tanks, which have some odd angeles, or the Screamer, which just break with the initial implemented, organic and streamlined design philosophy. The majority of the models work exceptionally well though, which results in five very distinct and unique races.
Looking at Dropfleet Commander, I have to say that the overall design philosophy developed quite a bit for all the races. except for the UCM heavy cruiser, which just looks ridiculously overweighted on its main gun deck, and the chunky Shaltari voidgates, all other ships work just well. Without knowing too many details about the rules, I do expect them to be an essence of the best of Dropzone Commander, Battlefleet Gothic and tons of innovative new stuff, merged into a slim core ruleset, with lots of tactical possibilities. Who knows if I am right about it, but time will tell. What we have seen so far looks very promising. Coming back to the design, one should also mention the new bases, which seem to make a lot of things easier. I am just wondering how the usability will be, if dozens of ships are cluttered up and you need to change the orbital layer indicator for the ship in the very midst etc. … could be difficult to do without lifting the model from the tabletop (which would be a no go for tournament play). Also model wise, I do love the way the Scourge turned out and would wish to find some of the new design elements in the second iteration of the DZC models as well. Of course, Hawk is a young company and it will take some time, till the second edition and the first revised models will get published. Never the less I am looking forward to see, how the overall design philosophy will evolve.
For instance, the Scourge cruiser wing structure would be interesting to see in combination with the somehow odd and foreseeable corpus of their antigrav tanks. The same for the wings of the new PHR cruiser and the command walker. I am curious to see how the two product lines will influence each other. So far, Hawk has released a stunning universe with a huge range of models, especially considering its just a few years lasting history. Keep on working guys and amaze us.