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Sunday, 22 January 2012

To Dust or not to Dust?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

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I've had en eye on Dust Tactics ever since I saw the first miniatures two years ago, I liked Paolo Parentes designs for AT-43 and having them brought back into their 'true' weird-war setting seemed like just the right thing to do. I never did get the old core set though, for two reason: the Allies didn't really do it for me (mainly due to their so-so medium walkers) and I wasn't sure the rules themselves would keep me interested. Simplicity  can certainly be a good thing, but it seems like it might be a bit too shallow. The judge is still out though. Need to play it more...

Anyway, the Axis troops and walkers looks great and I was thinking about buying some anyway to paint at least, and then perhaps get into the game later. While I mulled it over my friend Anders bought the core set and since he's the kind of guy who always go for the German faction if there is one I shelved my idea. Simply because it felt boring for both of us to build the same factions. Instead I turned my attention to Infinity (and I'm glad I did!).

However, Dust has stayed in my mind and it has been interesting to see the new models FFG has produced. I'm still not very keen on the Allied medium walkers, but the rest of the range looks great. And I might be in the minority here, but I really like the Allied heavy walker! Hehe! The light walkers look cool as well and the addition of command squads and heavy infantry seems to help diversify the game. But again... with only two factions I hesitated.

There has been talk of the Russians for a long time and now they have finally been announced! Or rather, the Sino-Soviet Union, so expect some Chinese as well. Even more than the other Dust Tactics miniatures the Russians really channel the old Red Blok faction of AT-43. Obviously this shouldn't come as a surprise, but I'm happy since I liked those old minis.



Obviously the star of he show is the KV47 medium walker. We've seen it before in different collectible model kits from DustGame.com but now they're available for gaming (and a more affordable price). It kind of looks like someone took a Scopedog from VOMOTS and hit it over the head with a huge mallet! And since the Scopedog is one of my all time favourite mecha it might explain me instantly taking to the KV47. It comes in three different configurations; twin cannons, twin flamethrowers or twin combat saws. And then there's the special character walker as well, Grandma, piloted by Koshka Rudinova (seen up top) which is armed with a cannon and a flamethrower.


Then there's the core troop choices:



 NKVD Close Combat Squad armed with shotguns, Molotov cocktails and a flamethrower. Really like the guy throwing the molotov!






NKVD Battle Squad armed with rifles and two machineguns. The true backbone of the army I suppose. Perhaps not as nice looking as the close combat guys, but very Russian! :)



And then we have the Command Squad that in addition to the regular officer/medic/radio operator combo includes a machine gun and a power tool - supposedly to dismantle those pesky walkers in close combat. Great looking squad! The medic is probably my favourite but the mustachioed officer looks the part as well.



And then we have... er... the chopper (or is it an autogyro? I'm not sure). Until now the minis have been really nice so seeing this thing made me a little sad. It just doesn't look very good, it reminds me of a bathtub toy for toddlers! Now, they obviously modelled it on the Kamov Ka-25 and the Mil Mi-4 but they messed it up somewhere along the way. While both of those choppers could be considered 'ugly' they still look real (as in, not like toys) whereas this SSU chopper is just too squashed up and weird looking. I'm hoping it's the angle but something tells me it's more than that. Now if only there were 1:48 scale models of any of the real choppers I wouldn't have to bother with this thing!




However, it comes with one redeeming feature: a squad of Chinese volunteers! Sure it's basically just a headswap but for some reason I really like these guys! Might be the paintjob. So unless the volunteers are released on their own later I guess I might have to add a chopper to my collection.

So, thos are the models, but what about the game? While I would like to play it a bit more, especially using command squads, I'm far from convinced that it is the kind of game that will keep my attention for long. There's of course the upcoming tabletop version of the game (instead of board game) that is being written by Andy Chambers, but since it's written with the intent for all the unit cards to be compatible I fear it might have too much baggage from its board game sister. I'll give it a look for certain, but I think the answer lies in looking at different rules systems.

My first instinct is to go with Secrets of the Third Reich. I don't know much more about it than what I read in this review, but I've heard several people speaking well of it and the setting fits like a glove. There wouldn't be any need to make up rules for walkers or Nazi zombies - they're already there! Then there's AE-WWII but it doesn't seem to enjoy as big a following as SotTR. Company B is working a 28mm version of DP9's Gear Krieg, called Gears and Guts, which might also fit the bill. Don't know much about how it will work though.


Looking beyond the Weird WWII stuff there's Tomorrow's War (which I'm going to get anyway), although it might be a bit too gritty and realistic for the semi-fantastic minis of Dust Tactics. Also, I'm not sure how well it handles larger games, which is something I would like to be able to play - kind of like a counterweight to skirmish games like Infinity and Heavy Gear.

Any other suggestions for 28mm miniature game rulesets that can handle infantry and walkers well? Or do you think there's more do Dust Tactics/Warfare than meets the eye? Let me know. :)

EDIT: Well, I tried out the new Dust Warfare rules and must say I like them quite a bit! You can read about my first impressions here.

12 kommentarer :

  1. Tomorrow's War has just been introduced at my gamesclub and it is gathering a lot of devotees! Might try it myself sometime.

    If you like skirmish style games you can use Where Heroes Dare! or SuperSystem to mix walkers, infantry, vehicles, you name it and you can use it. You can even use Future War Commander and create your own stat lines for whatever you feel like using!

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  2. Those medium walkers look downright cool. Kinda 'meh' on the troopers, but I'd like to pick up some walkers perhaps. The helicopter is almost too 'Fisher Price' for me though. As for rules, ugh, I've got too many already that are neglected!

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  3. @Andy - Yes, I quite like what I've seen so far of TW. A spiritual successor of Jon Tuffley's StarGrunt II (he even wrote the foreword). It's quite detail and involved though, but sometimes that's just what you want!
    A flexible system where you can stat your own units is good of course. I've been thinking of Gruntz! as well.

    @Mik - Fisher Price!! Exactly! I hope I can cobble my own version together (if I decide to start this venture at all that is). The walkers are certainly the main attraction and I will get a couple whatever I do. The troops so far are rather basic but I like them well enough. Looking forward to seeing their heavy infantry though.

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  4. Why not use the AT-43 rules? I've played some great games (and I bought just about everything they released for it). Dust Tactics is surprisingly fun given its simplicity but it's sort of more like tactical chess than a miniatures wargame; though who knows what the Warfare rules will be like.

    I'm sure I'll be able to use AT-43 figures for Dust Warfare if it's a better ruleset - at the moment I feel I'm repeating myself by getting too many Dust models on top of all my AT-43 stuff.

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  5. @Universal Head - That is what first popped into my mind when I heard about Dust Tactics! I never actually got to play a game of AT-43 although I really tried to get my friend Anders (who owns all the minis) to go for it. It was a weird situation as he talked me into AT-43 and then when I finally wanted to play he didn't and then it all died. I'm still sad that I didn't get my Dotch-Yaga. :(

    But yes, the rules are still there and I would love to try them out!

    Also: tactical chess! Excellent summary of my feelings towards Dust Tactics. I certainly want to play it more but a miniature game it ain't.

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  6. Im right on the fence leaning over to buy the starter of this game as well. I like the American tanks because they remind me of Metalslug abit. The preview of the Russians is pretty much the clincher. Anyway ive been following your blog for a while now and have enjoyed your updates and reviews. I even picked up the complete Votoms set because I was looking for some old school anime that I havent seen before and it sounded like a safe bet from your posts about Heavy Gear. I havent got to it yet due to having about three episodes of Robotech left but its in queue. Anyway keep up the good work. Check out my blogspot if you get a chance. http://dungeonslinger.blogspot.com/

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  7. @Dungeonslinger - In a way I don't want to get drawn into yet another miniature game, but then again... those Russians do look cool! Haha!

    Congrats on getting VOTOMS! It's certainly old school, but in a good way. There are no angsty teenagers in sight and plenty of mecha action! I haven't watched Robotech since I was a kid, but certainly have fond memories of it. Hmm... I should look it up.

    Nice blog you've got started there! An omnivour like myself it seems. :)

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  8. Omnivore pretty much sums it up! My attention towards new and shiny is full tilt. Robotech is pretty solid for old school anime. I like the 1st and 3rd sagas alot real 80s space fun.

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  9. Ohmygaaawwwrrrsh these are gorgeous! I foresee integration of their infantry into my (largely jack-heavy) Warmachine Khador army!

    If yer lookin' fer a fun game with infantry and walkers i highly recommend Warmachine.

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  10. @Squee - They are indeed pretty neat looking minis! And it seems like the helicopters might not be as bad as they seem at first. Seeing them from different angles has made me more favourable towards them.

    Warmachine is a game I've looked at several times, but for some reason it doesn't really appeal to me. While I like the design and the sculpts in general I think I've become too accustomed to true scale minis. Hmm... wouldn't mind trying it out sometime though.

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  11. If you would like another rules set for 28 MM scifi that can handle walkers try Stargrunt from ground zero games. Great set of rules!

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  12. @Anon - Hi! Stargrunt is a great system for sure and the one that first got me interested in 15mm gaming. However, I think I'm leaning more towards using its "spiritual successor" Tomorrow's War instead.

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