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.