About a month ago I started listening to the D6 Generation to help kill some down time while I traveled to Kenai, AK to go fishing. The trip takes about two and a half hours from Anchorage when there salmon are not running up river. When the fish are running; it can take up to four hours to get to Kenai due to the mad rush of anglers congesting our simple two lane “dirt” highway. Mix in a generous amount of wildlife, accidents, and road construction and you might as well be flying across the country.
When DUST Tactics first came out I thought the miniatures looked fantastic, but I did not like the 2D tiles used for the game. The one thing I love about miniature war gaming is the 3D elements of game play, so it is hard for me be buy into a war game that has beautiful 3D models, but uses 2D tiles or maps. For example, when Star Wars Miniatures came out I loved the models, but hated the 2D maps, so I built my own terrain for the game. I feel 3D terrain takes gaming to the next level, so if it is not an important part of a war game; I normally pass. Especially on a game that is half board game, half war game like DUST Tactics.
Needless to say, as I listened to D6 Generation, DUST Warfare sounded different from DUST Tactics. DUST Warfare is the miniature war game version of DUST Tactics. You still use the beautiful pre assembled, pre primed figures made for DUST Tactics, but the game has been upgraded to be a full blown miniature war game with proper terrain.
D6 Generation does a great job of giving honest reviews of game; they are not just a sounding board for the industry, so I respect their opinion. When they spoke about DUST Warfare’s elegant game play and simplicity my ear perked up because I want that things in a game.
I am a fan of history and of sci-fi/fantasy, and while I have found plenty of historical games I enjoy playing, I have had a hard time finding sci-fi/fantasy games I enjoy. I don’t particularly care for Warhammer or 40K and my adventures in the land of the Iron Kingdoms (Warmachine/Hordes) was a less than thrilling experience. Other less known sci-fi/fantasy game systems I have played are slow, clunky, unbelievable, broken or just poorly written. That leaves me with the option of writing my own rules, but this idea inevitably results in failure and a waste of a Sunday afternoon.
I am very attracted to the price of DUST Warfare. The rules cost approximately $30-$40 and you can pick up three to five pre assembled, pre primed figures for $12-$18 at the Warstore. Light and Medium walkers are like $20-$30 each. Compare that to GW or PP and it easy to see that DUST does break the bank like they do.
Due to the intriguing review by D6 Generation and the low start up cost I jumped in and have decided to give DUST Warfare a chance. Last Friday, I bought the DUST Warfare rules, at my FLGS, before I went down to Portland, OR for work. Over the weekend, I read and digested the rule book through a couple of times.
DUST Warfare takes place in Paolo Parente’s DUST Universe and is based off his Dust War comic books from Image Comics. Parente’s DUST Universe is an Alternate World War Two universe in which World War Two rages into 1947. During the course of the war German scientists discover alien technology in Antarctica and after successfully assassinating Hitler, new German leadership integrate the new technology into the German Warmachine. This allows the Germans to create new weapons including giant World War Two era battle mechs, advanced small arms, personal body armor, jump packs, jets, war gorillas and of course zombies. One important thing to remember is that the Germans are the Germans not Nazis in the the DUST Universe. Although, they seem to be just as evil looking and mean.
The relationship between the Soviets and Western Allies breaks down and the Germans take control of most of Europe. The Russians and Chinese Communists form a block know as the Sino Soviet Union (SSU) and bring many South American countries into their fold. The Soviets technologically lag behind, as they still employing tanks on the battlefield. The SSU does have limited walker capability and they employ a variety of transport and attack helicopters.
The Allies consist of the traditional Western Allies, but also included a contingency Brazil, which is threatened by communists from South America. The allies capture large amounts of the alien technology and incorporate it into their war efforts, thus giving them similar capabilities to the Germans.
The Germans have landed in Britain and North Africa while the communists have invaded Africa, Alaska, and Florida. Everyone is fighting over iceland. Meanwhile the Western Allies have sent troops to Antarctica to take control of more alien technology controlled by the Germans. Naturally, the Dust Universe is full of a cadre of heroes and villains that take center stage as World War Two rages on. Side Note: I started reading the comics a few nights ago and they are awesome!
Sniper Team Light Assault Walker - Wildfire
Heavy Recon Grenadiers
Medium Panzer Walker - Luther
The miniatures can be used to play both DUST Tactics and DUST Warfare. A Con I have found is that the miniatures come with unit cards so you don't have to constantly reference the rule book. However, these unit cards are designed for DUST Tactics and don't fit perfectly with Dust Warfare. I have read that many people just take pen an update the cards, but this looks tacky. Also the card list the special abilities for the units, but do not spell out what the ability does, this means you have to reference the book during play which can be time consuming and annoying. I am not sure if Fantasy Flight has plans to issue updated card decks for DUST Warfare, but it should be something on their short list of things to do to support the game.This is a newer gamer and one concern I have is if I invest in the game with it be around next year? Fantasy Flight Games has DUST Warfare on a seasonal release schedule, which means new content, rules, campaigns and miniatures will be released each quarter. This last season saw the release of Operation Zverograd, which introduced the SSU. Next season we will see the release of Operation Hades and from what I can tell each faction will get some love in the form of new heroes, mechs, infantry and air support. The Operations also include new rules and missions. For example Zverograd had the rules for aircraft. Fantasy Flight plans on keeping with this season schedule to support the game. Rumor has it sometime next year another faction will likely be released which will likely be Japanese or Aliens.
The Future of the Game:
The Future of the Game:
I addition to supporting DUST Warfare, Fantasy Flight still supports DUST Tactics. In each Dust Tactics expansion there are additional models and terrain pieces which can be used in DUST Warfare. If things continue to go well for the game Fantasy Flight appears to be behind supporting it which means there is a good chance it wont be pulled from the market in a year.
I am pretty excited to get my miniatures and play a game of DUST Warfare. If the game plays anything like the reviews online say it does I will be more than please with my new hobby investment. If the game doesn't work out I am only out a relatively small amount of money when compare to other popular table top games. I personally have faith that this will not be the case. The only worry I have is that we are a relatively small gaming community and others might not be as excited as I am for a new game. Good thing I bought two armies.
DUST Warfare Resources
Beats of War Reviews DUST Warfare
Beats of War Reviews DUST Warfare
Bols of Lost Souls interview with the Dust Team
Fantasy Flight has an active Dust Wargare Forum
DUST Warfare Forum
DUST Warfare Forum
The Game has a well designed website
D6 Generation mentions Dust Warfare in several podcasts
There are a number of blogs out their that produce excellent articles on all things DUST
The War Continues Dust- Blog dedicated to Dust
Anything but Ones- Plays Dust
Fire Broadside- Plays Dust
Dark Future Game- Plays Dust
Last you can check out Paolo Parente's DUST WAR comics from Image comics