Monday, December 19, 2011

Dystopian Wars; By land, as sea

A good 10 months ago I had a play of Dystopian Wars, but I don't think it made it to the blog due to only going on mobile phone photo's and timing to a point where my laptop was broken.

The rules were very like, by which I mean essentially identical to, Uncharted Seas which I played a few times when it was first released.  I wondered how the system may translated to the land battles promised in the rules.  As it happens I got the chance to find out.

Basically the core rules are unchanged.  what is added is minimal, basically small tanks that come below the level of the smallest ships in the naval version, and aircraft that in many respects operate just like flying ships.  Terrain can effect tanks, but they are basically so massive that only things like cliffs or lakes would impede them.  They are also more manoeuvrable.

Above is an example of one of the biggest land ships, with the details of its' stat card.  The provision of these cards with models makes life a lot easier reducing recourse to the rules.  For those who don't know the combat mechanic is rolling a number of dice based on the range band, looking for '4+' to hit as a basic.  Scores of six are worth double and get you a reroll, so are the way a lucky hit can become catastrophic!  Score damage equal to the DR and reduce the unit by a hit point, Score equal to the CR for a random critical and double hits.  Once all the HP are gone a unit will be destroyed.

As for my game, it was a small affair played on a 4 foot by 3 foot table with whatever terrain was to hand.  I played the Federated States of America, whilst my Opponent and guide Paul played the Empire of her Britannic Majesty.

The American forces were blessed with longer range firepower, but less of it.  Initially the small square based of British tanks out shot my own, but the big American guns were telling.  The system being by unit activation allowed for the sort of simple tactical decisions of refusing options to the enemy, and rushing to act with key or opportunity forces.

Air power added another element to the battle as it cruised lazily around the battle (the aircraft themselves being reminiscent of Miyazaki designs).  The painting of the models did cause a rarity of wargiming reality, where I indulged in a friendly fire incident in which I shot down one of my own fighter planes.  We realised what had happened, but I insisted the result stood!

By this stage the British were clearly beaten, their multiple weak shots being no match for my hard hitting guns and luck.  Overall it was a simple, but enjoyable game.  I think I would still prefer the naval version, but it is an entertaining little game in it's own right.

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