Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Dust Warfare Review: Part 2

Welcome back, readers,
 I have really been enjoying reading over the rules of this game.  I haven't had the chance to try it out with another person, but I think this game will catch on with those who want the flexibility of a miniatures game without the hardcore rules of most games currently on the market.  I noticed when I read over my previous post that I had only just scratched the surface of what the game is like.  Here is a bit more detail on what goes into a game turn. This is part 2 of my review of the core rulebook.

Chapter 2- Continued...

Most everything in the game is based on rolling the dice and obtaining successes or misses.  A bulls-eye is a success and a blank is a miss.  Each die has 2/3 chance of missing and 1/3 chance of succeeding.  For example: initiative is based on each side rolling dice and counting up successes.  Each side gets a number of orders, in the command phase, based on the successes rolled with the low roller activating first.  The high roller goes second, but does get more orders.  The difference between the Command Phase and Unit Phase is that units may be given only one of two orders: Take Action! and Regroup!
The key is that a miniature in the unit must be within command range of the command unit or a hero acting as a command unit.  An opponent may not react during the Command Phase.

The Unit Phase

In the Unit Phase, the player may activate all units.  Each unit typically gets two orders.  This can be modified by the number of suppression tokens.  There is an order to each activation and enemy units can react.  Units with no suppression or reaction tokens can take double actions.  These are basically stronger versions of movement and attack.  There are also special actions some units can take depending on their own rules.  During these actions, the enemy may react.  In order to react the unit must make a move action that begins or ends within 12" of the enemy unit(s) or targets an enemy unit that is within 12".  The unit reacting may make one move order or one fire order.  A third kind of reaction is not based on range.  The HIT THE DIRT! order is available to all soldier units.  They do take a suppression marker as well as a reaction token, but they get better cover saves.

The End Phase

The End Phase is just a clean up phase.  Basically it's for any special scenario rules, time marking, and removing suppression and reaction markers.

The rules for moving and combat are very clear.  Even my addled brain got a hold of the concepts without much difficulty (which is saying a lot!)  I will not go into much detail here because that really is what buying the book is for.  I will highlight some of the points that I was most interested in before I bought the book.
1.  Cover is based on line of sight from the attacking miniature to a miniature in the opposing unit.
2.  Hits are distributed by the defender, and if no miniatures are in LOS then the rest of the hits are lost.
3.  Range can be measured at any time.
4.  Two types of LOS: obscured and blocked.
5.  Two types of cover: hard and soft.  Soft cover stacks to make hard cover.
6.  You can split fire.
7.  Vehicles take damage and make rolls on rudimentary damage table.
8.  There is suppression and retreat.
9.  Vehicles have a turn radius and a firing arc.

Lots of goodness here.  Can't wait to try all this out!

Chapter 3- Spec Ops

This chapter is a listing of all the special abilities that units and heroes have.  There is a comprehensive list based on all the units and heroes up to April 2012.  The next book, Zverograd, will add stats and rules for the SSU (Russians and Chinese) as well as new weapons of war for the Axis and Allies.

Chapter 4- Battles

DW has a great system called the Battle Builder.  For one off and tournament battles, the players get a certain number of scenario points with which to influence the encounter.  They can use their points to affect the objectives, deployment, or conditions of the battle.  What's more, they can use their army points to buy fortifications, obstacles, camouflage, etc.  There are also rules for campaign battles, similar to the game's older sister Dust Tactics.

Chapters 5 & 6 - Army Lists

The final two chapters contain the rules for building platoons as well as listing each unit, weapons, special abilities, costs, etc.  There is also more fluff regarding the heroes.  Some cool parts are: each platoon comes with a special ability, each platoon has a limited range of units to draw from, and each platoon seems suited for a particular type of play style.  I have built two different army lists and the procedure is very intuitive and clear.  All in all, it rounds out the book nicely.


OK.  I love the book!  But that doesn't mean I don't have a few minor gripes.
1.  Why is all the information about weapons spread out all over the place, or in one super long list that takes a magnifying glass to comb through?  As an example, vehicles are listed by chassis rather than each individual type.  Then, all weapons currently in use by every version of that chassis are listed.  This is needless confusion.  How hard would it have been to release unit and vehicle cards the same way they did with Dust Tactics?  They are so similar, it would only have taken a few minutes per card to change the data to correspond to DW.  Not having easy to access information, without flipping through pages of a rulebook, is a hindrance to enjoying the game.
2.  Pages of markers.  Really?  Like I am going to photocopy these from the book that won't lie flat because of the binding?  OK, they did put up the markers as a downloadable PDF, but it just made the book look a bit cheesy.
3.  FFG- I love your products.  I am not happy with buying a hard copy of the book for full value, being told through the boards that it wouldn't be available electronically, and they three weeks later having it available via download for $20 less than I paid hardback.  That was just treating your customers poorly.  At the least, you should have offered the download version for a modest fee.  I have used several rulebooks on my ipad and once you get used to it, it works really well.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Dust Warfare Core Rulebook Review Part 1

D-Day is here.  Dust Warfare has finally arrived.  And I can honestly say, not a moment too soon.  I was chomping at the bit for this to make it into print.  Well here it is, and I am suitably impressed.  The rules retain the simplicity of its progenitor but adds just enough flexibility to make it a cool minis game.  It won't make you search the rulebook for hours looking to see how rule X interacts with rule Y.  The goal of the game is to provide fun in a fast and furious environment.  And who doesn't like Axis genetically engineered apes, Zombie Stormtroopers, and girls named Rosie who can hot shot your mech?  This post is a review of the first few chapters in the new Dust Warfare book.
Ingrid and Markus

Axis Zombies


A bit of background for those who don't know the game.  Dust is a universe created by Paolo Parente.  It is a universe that mirrors ours up until the outbreak of WWII.  In this universe, the Nazi war machine discovers a huge alien crash site in Antarctica.  Amongst the debris was one surviving alien.  The axis manipulate him and he divulges military applications to a new source of energy called VK.  While it takes time to develop, by 1944, the Axis are pumping out manned robots, lasers, and other experimental weapons.  The world is torn asunder and forms three camps: the Axis, the Allies, and the Sino-Soviet Union (SSU).  It is now 1947 and the World is still at war.

The Physical

The hardbound book is laid out in 6 sections.  It has healthy doses of illustrations and photographs that illustrate game content as well as providing flavor to the text.  There are many diagrams and charts that clarify written examples and overall it succeeds in immersing you into the milieu.  I really appreciate it when companies remember that the game and rules come first and all else is just icing on the cake.  In this, FFG has done an outstanding job.  There is a healthy index, and the "appendices" contain charts for Axis and Allied weapons as well as counters that one can photocopy for their own use.  FFG has also made these available on their site devoted to the game.Link to resources

Introduction - The Fluff

 The introduction describes the conflict between the Allies, Axis, and SSU from 1938 to 1947.  It has a broad brush appeal and frankly was the only part of the book that I thought needed more time to develop.  It read like a cliff notes version.  In their previous iteration (Dust Tactics) each book provided lots of detail about the world and the conflict.  I think this section needed a bit of that flavor.  The one glaring omission was how the VK weapons were developed and how the Axis came to know about them in the first place.  It is a quick read and it does provide just enough background to get the reader interested in fighting these battles.  I thought it was clever of them, and Paolo Parente, to have Hitler assassinated in 1944 so that they can avoid the whole glorifying Nazis problem.  At least now they will be able to sell the game in Germany.

Chapter 1 - Basic Training

The first chapter is a primer on the fundamental mechanics of the game.  Anyone who has ever played a miniatures game will find this a quick read as most of it follows the standard rules for miniatures.  One rule of note is measuring which can be done at any time.  No guessing how far things are from you...just measure it.  I for one find that a breath of fresh air.  I am majorly challenged in the measurement department.  (OK, get your mind out of the gutter.  I am talking tabletop games here!)  There are also rules describing the firing arcs of vehicles and units.  Lastly, the text describes the characteristics of units and weapons.  The section is brief, but necessary and well done.  Everything is presented in a clear and concise way.

Chapter 2 - The Game

This chapter is the heart of the text.  This is how the game is played.  There is an overview/summary of the game turn and then an in-depth description of each phase.  A turn in Dust Warfare looks like this:
  • Initiative Phase
  • Initiating Player's Command Phase
  • Responding Player's Command Phase
  • Initiating Player's unit phase
  • Responding Player's unit phase
  • End Phase
Each phase has various actions that can be taken to gain the high ground during the battle.  There are rules for suppression, reaction, command range, leader replacement, special actions, and activations.  I really like the toolbox approach that FFG has taken.  Each phase has a purpose, but acting in one phase might preclude you from acting in another.  It is a chess-like feeling where each player can feint, attack, reposition, and maneuver.

There are rules for terrain and cover.  There is also a section clarifying line of sight for shooting.  The largest part details the actions a unit/vehicle can take while moving and the actions a unit/vehicle can take when attacking.  Everything comes with diagrams and charts that clarify each concept.  FFG did an excellent job making these rules reader friendly.  The last few pages of this chapter explain the special rules for heavy walkers and diagrams a battle in progress.  I am looking forward to getting into some games to see how it plays out.  In the next post, I will finish out the review and maybe have a battle report!

  Happy Gaming!        

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Pics From the Store

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Dust Tactics in Sin City

After Christmas, Pete and I usually plan a trip. This year we decided to head out to one of our favorite places... Las Vegas. Now I love to play slots, but after this Christmas I decided I wanted to save a little money. Pete looked for game stores for me to visit and he found one that was having a Dust Tactics tournament. I went to the store and hung out for a while and played a game of D.T.
The name of the store was Little Shop of Magic. 4160 S. Durango Dr. The owner was super nice and helpful. The store had a wide variety of miniatures and boardgames. They were heavy on GW stock and flames of war. They also had a healthy invetory of Malifaux and warmachine minis.
There were usually 5-7 players that show up for DT. Due to the holidays only three people showed up and one couldn't stay, but i got to sit in and play a game. I played the allies and had a great time trying out some crazy tactics with flamethrowers and phasers. All in all, it was a cool time. Below are some pics from the shop and game.

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Location:Las Vegas

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Just Had To Share

So this is has nothing to do with anything, but I wanted to share. I love monkey movies. Planet of the Apes is my favorite. As a kid I grew up with Lancelot Link Secret Chimp and my fantasy football team is the Evolution Revolution. So here they are.. found again... from Youtube...

It's a really big shooo woooo woooo

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Day 2 - First three games

We just finshed our first round of gaming. We started with Combat Commander. I was the Russians and Steve was the Germans. it was a very close battle. Steve won with 2 victory points. We are going to play some of the Stalingrad campaigns this weekend, so this was a relearning of the game. I am really excited to revisit this game because it has some really cool elements that I am finally getting the hang of. It pissed us both off at different times, but we had fun.
Next up was an Ameritrash game from Zman games called Earth Reborn. It has tons of bits and some cool mechanics. We played the first scenario twice switching sides. Steve was not as enamored with the game as I was. He felt parts were a bit gimmicky, especially the activation chits. I really liked it. We both won as the Salemites. That may be due to the fact we didn't know what we were doing, or it may be the scenario is not balanced, but I hardly think it fair to judge based on only two plays.
We have stopped for lunch. It is 4:52 and people are beginning to roll in. Looking forward to some more games after a delicious salad. Yeah, even gamers need to watch what they sludge up their arteries with.

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