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!        

1 comment:

  1. Good review man! I'm excited to see the execution of this, myself.

    How easy are the LoS rules? I know that's something some people have difficulties with ;).