Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Dust is pretty cool.

Last night down at Ye Olde Game Shoppe (Stormcrow) I played and watched some Dust Tactics from Fantasy Flight. This is basically a wargame/ board game hybrid. It's a nice way to do it. The game is played on "terrain" of 2x2 squares of different tiles and features.

The mechanics are actually very simple and easy to use, and a lot of fun. Every unit has a card with all their stats except for a pretty diverse and fun set of universal special rules and special weapons. Such special rules include artillery weapons, and rules for units and characters like "Bad Ass" and "Black Ops".

The newly revised rules can be found free online HERE.

Besides having movement speed, armor, and health on the card, each unit has a weapons block. Each weapon has a range in squares, from 1 being adjacent, to U being unlimited. Each weapon compares unit type and armor, to give a certain number of dice to roll and a certain amount of damage per hit.

Here is an example, these are US armored jump troops. How cool is that? They have a Dual Victory MG as a weapon, it has a range of 4, and can mow down normal infantry. Going to that weapon, go over to the 2 under the infantry section, this is the average toughness for foot soldiers. Each model rolls 5 dice and scores one damage for each hit. Brutal. But they really can't do much to a tank at range. This is where the Rocket Punch comes in. It only rolls 1 die for each model, and only scores 1 damage per hit, but it can hurt even the hardest armor in the game. The MGs are also good against aircraft( these have no been introduced yet, it's just a tease). Also the "Jump" rule allows them to jump over cover and  buildings.

The core mechanic is rolling a number of special hit dice, essentially the game is played looking for a hit symbol (5+ on a d6), though some units like snipers reverse this and look for blank dice ( a 2+ on d6). A hit symbol does a listed amount of damage, each damage takes out a model in a unit, or a hit box on a vehicle or character.
Like I said pretty easy to use.

Each turn starts off with players rolling 3 dice for initiative, or 4 if you have a character with "Black Ops". The winner choosing who goes first. Players then alternate activating units until all units have be activated. A unit can perform 2 actions on it's turn, move, shoot, and use a skill. They can take any action twice except attack, however a unit can "Sustain Fire" by using both actions to shoot, this allows the unit re-roll any non hits that they get.

Here is the start of the demo game I played, I was the US, he played zee Germans.
 I started off well, killing his walker on the far left with 1 shot from my napalm tank, on my far left. The napalm is short range, 2, and gets 1 die against tanks up to 4 or 5 armor, and if you roll a hit, they die. But this was basically the highlight of my game and he stomped me thoroughly. It was a lot of fun.

Here is a picture from the first game I watched, basically I was able to pick most of up from watching that one game.


  1. Thanks for the review. I've actually always wanted to try out this game but never took the plunge. Does the game move fast? I would like to know about how long each game would last. Also, how detailed are the minis? Are they good quality?

  2. Yes, it moves very fast, the rules themselves are very quick. It's back and forth constantly, they also have a reactive fire option similar to overwatch where you give up your chance to act that turn to interrupt an opponent's move.

    I've not played with this rule yet, but it could slow it down. The only thing that slows down play is people agonizing over being out of cover. If you get fired on, you are likely dead or very close to it, the game is very deadly.

    I've only played the intro scenario several times, with almost all of the rules so far. We each had between 3-5 units, and learning the game and getting a game over with took less than an hour.

    If you are talking appearance wise about the miniatures, just check out Fantasy Flight's site. If you mean production value and durability, then they are very well made. The normal troops are all solid pieces, and really only some parts on the tanks would I be worried about breaking from very poor handling or dropping.

    My only real complaint is how deadly the game is, if you get shot that unit or tank is probably gone. It makes the game more cautious than I would like. Tanks also die much easier than I feel they should. But that is what other tanks and anti tank weapons are for, so that might be the issue.

  3. Thanks so much for responding. I'll definitely get this at some point. I love the look if it and I'm glad the minis are solid. I currently play 40K, WH Fantasy and Warmahordes. I'm hoping to add this game to the list soon.

  4. Also, I like that the game moves fast, but I can understand your concern with how fast stuff dies. I like the overwatch idea. The games seems to be a good value for your money too.

  5. Thanks for commenting. We get a lot of readers, but very few comments.

    The game is really fast, and a good deal money wise, especially if you split it with a friend.

    I would try to get the old boxed set(it's an even better deal with more "core" style units) and the new one for the updated rules( it has more elite units).

    I am just used to 40k on the stuff dying quickly part. This is actually a semi "realistic" game, if you don't use cover or get caught out in the open, not paying attention, you get your shit blown off.

    But with proper maneuvering and cover usage you can keep a unit alive through several rounds of shooting.

    Though it is all square based at the moment, having a real thin clear plastic rule would be a great help for line of sight.

  6. I agree, it is a great little game, fast and bloody, especially using the grid system. Dust Warfare is due out 4Q this year and that is the tabletop version. Pretty much multiply everything by 6" (Move 1 doing double MOVE gets 12" movement, range X weapons are 6X", etc.).

    Also it goes from the chess style alternating units each turn to a more conventional IGO-UGO type of play, but evidently Andy Chambers is reworking some of the reaction fire rules (maybe with overwatch) to allow for the "passive" player to interrupt the "active" player's turn to take shots.