Dropzone Commander – has Hawk Wargames jumped the shark?

Rulebook_IMG1_1024x1024If you listened to episode 97 of the podcast, you will have heard Mike & I giving Dropzone Commander a reasonably positive review – the rules are pretty good, but I have some reservations on figure pricing.

And indeed, it’s about pricing that I wanted to write about in this post.

After the initial product launch, there has not been a great deal of new material released from Hawk Wargames until a few weeks ago, when they finally released the resin buildings that they had been promising for several months. I first heard about this on the Shell Case blog when they posted a new item on the new buildings.

I read it and was flabbergasted. I went to the Hawk Wargames website and was doubly flabbergasted.

The prices of Hawk’s resin buildings almost defy belief. They start at £35 for the cheapest building, which is a 95 piece kit, and this is for a building that is 5″ x 3 1/2″ x 4″, so pretty small. The prices then rise steadily, with many building being between £50-£70. The most expensive is a whopping £145 (which is a building with 211 parts!)

Not only that, but they offer 3 different packs or multiple buildings, which offer a town (5 buildings) a city (10 buildings) or a metropolis (15 buildings) – but the prices of these become incredibly high: £220, £460 and a whopping £740 respectively.

The biggest terrain pack contain just under 2000 pieces, and will probably cover an area 3′ x 3′, which is still not a full table’s worth. Now, the blog post on the Shell Case give a full and involved argument on this, and I would advise you to take a look.

For my own part, the main reason I would see to use a small-scale is to play bigger battles, and generally the terrain tends to be cheaper. Also, it also tends to come complete. What I see from Hawk Wargames is that not only are their resin buildings far more expensive than their figures, but each one is a major modelling project in itself.

I cannot even contemplate spending £740 on a set of buildings, and it leaves me wondering what Hawk Wargames were thinking when they put all these together? Whilst I’m sure there will be someone who will buy these (there always is) I also see them priced so far above the average wargamers budget that I can’t ever see them being a big seller, despite the huge amount of work that must have gone into sculpting all the separate bits.

Dropzone Commander is a game which relies on a table which has a large number of buildings, so I would imagine that they are expecting gamers to purchase many of these.

At these prices, I simply cannot see that happening.

17 Comments on Dropzone Commander – has Hawk Wargames jumped the shark?

  1. Reblogged this on The Shell Case and commented:
    Meeples and Miniatures talks a little DzC

  2. I commented on this at Tabletopgamingnews.com – the prices are LUDICROUS.
    Who do they think they are? Games Workshop? Even those robbers wouldn’t price things that crazy. Well, maybe they would.

  3. Reblogged this on The Grinning Skull and commented:
    The thing that had attracted me to Hawk Wargames “Dropship Commander” in the first place were the excellent looking buildings, but it seems the resin scenics crazy prices are another step too far for sensible wargamers. I think I’ll pass….

  4. Or perhaps so few will buy them, that they need all that money to pay for them. Kind of like the Last GW Gamer Standing who has to pay $1,000,000 for a box of Space Marines …

  5. Phew! Those are eye-watering, buttock-clenching prices.
    Having listened to episode 97 I ordered a copy of the rules to read; a nice production with some inspiring photos that include some good-looking buildings. I think that these must be the buildings you can download from the Hawk website and print for yourself. These are free downloads and all you need is to pay for the card and ink.
    The results are very acceptable ( but I am fortunate that I have a SRA3 digital printing press) and a lot cheaper than resin buildings. I am putting foam fillers in my card buildings to make them more robust.
    £740!!!! I doubt I’ll get back to sleep now.

  6. After the last Episode of M&M I was thinking about giving DZC a try, but I have to agree the prices for these buildings are insane – and, despite my recent attempts at rationalisation, the reality is the prices for the minis aren’t a lot better. I am generally willing to pay a fair bit for my minis because I want the industry to be healthy and attractive for companies, but Hawk’s pricing is not credible by any standard. I have to give them points for at least offering a free alternative, but I can’t see how this business model can possibly be viable. It is a real shame – if (probably when) it all goes south for Hawk, I will be snapping up any and all DZC minis in the discontinued bin.

    • commander roj // December 4, 2012 at 10:45 // Reply

      These prices for the major terrain items are beyond ludicrous. However, while i dont envisage buying into the game, i dont think the prices of some of the smaller models are too excessive eg. Shaltiri light tanks. I might well pick up some of those. I also like building my own terrain and the detailing packs compare quite well with others on the market (vents etc). They are non scale specific enough to be used for 6mm or 15mm it would appear (my favouite scales. I also find it odd that the terrain/buildings dont really have a very sci-fi feel about them to my way of thinking. They look quite modern/retro.

      • Actually, you make a very good point about the look/feel of the buildings.
        DZC is set in the year 2670. Given how much architecture has changed in the last 700 years, would it not be fair to assume that it would move forward again? Especially if there is a quantum leap in technology?
        More than anything else, the buildings remind me of the tower blocks in Epic 40K – perhaps mankind has simply run out of ideas about buildings by this point?

        Actually, I think the use of tower blocks is designed to help break up line of sight for flyers in the game – as everything has a ceiling of 6″, you still have to fly around the taller buildings – give these sort of restrictions, suddenly the game starts taking on some of the aspects of the final battle scene from ‘The Avengers’.

  7. However, while I agree that the buildings are expensive one doesn’t have to buy them. I also imagine that the buildings are very expensive to produce and are probably being produced as studio models for generating artwork for the game.

    I would recommend either Fieldworks resin buildings, or using plastic building kits for N Gauge railways. As for the general pricing n the Hawk miniatures I think that all things considered they are pretty reasonable, as what you are paying for is the designs, and the designs are beautiful. YMMV.

  8. As a postscript after reading the rantings on other blogs about the prices.

    Think of them as a Ferrari. I can’t afford one. Don’t even want one, but at the end of the day when compared to my VW Polo a Ferrari is stupidly over priced. Hawk have release free print your own buildings, these resin building are for those who can afford them. If you can’t, remember you also can’t afford a Ferrari.

    • That maybe the case but Hawk still has to recover their investment costs on those buildings and if they can’t sell them then that is a lost investment which in turn will directly impact their business and we may see them disappear very quickly.

    • I used the same analogy yesterday when we recorded a piece on this very subject for the next podcast.

      BTW I still think the figures are worth it and enjoy the rules, I’ll just make my own buildings now

  9. I’m a couple of days late on this, but isn’t the point that you DON’T outfit your whole damn table in expensive resin buildings, you populate it with the free ones on the Hawk website (which they didn’t have to provide) and use these kits for a couple of objective-holding buildings?

  10. I agree Hawk should get kudos for offering very nice free paper buildings – but as nice as they are they are paper. The problem for DZC is that the buildings are a core part of the game and you must use a lot of them. Sure some people are happy to use paper, but most gamers (if they use it at all) tend to use paper terrian as a temporary measure. The idea that gamers are going to be willing to use a hoard of paper buildings long-term, particularly next to such beautiful resin minis, seem unrealistic to me. Given the price people are paying for the minis – this doesn’t strike me a crowd who are going to be happy with paper. While paper buildings offer a perfectly viable way to play the game, longer-tem they will tend to limit enthusiasm of players and potential recruits. It also adds to my sense that the is a company that just doesn’t get it.

  11. There is no need to pay stupid amounts of money for resin buildings when there are plenty of 10mm or N gauge railway modeling buildings available.

    The companies i recommend you look for are Greenmax and Tomix. There are also more pricey Kato buildings, I used to think they were too expensive, superb prebuilt models the were, yet they cost under half what Hawk charges for resin block pieces by size.

    I see Hawk Wargames terrain prices as an economic IQ test. Will you pass?

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