Start of battle 1.
Hello dear readers! I haven't been all that active on the blog in the last few months. Sorry about that. I'll blame the summer weather and going outsideness. Hehe!
I have been able to get some gaming done though! I've tried Eclipse and Elder Sign (enjoyed both!) and we've seen somewhat of a resurrection of Arkham Horror which we've played a couple of times. I even got to play Lords of Waterdeep with my six year old niece and she actually took to it surprisingly well, I only had to help her with the English. What I'll be writing about today though is none of those games, but rather Dust Warfare and my latest two battles.
I met up with my old friend Anders and my new friend Kosta, who I know from twitter and his own gaming blog, Irrfärder Utan Slut (Swedish. Mostly). Kosta have been collecting a whole bunch of Allied and Axis models just because of how they looked and he hadn't actually played Dust Tactics or Warfare but was happy to get together and finally try it out.
This time I took control of the Germans and Kosta took Anders Yanks, with the additional models from his own collection, while Anders acted as arbitrator and rules guru. It was interesting being on the other side of the battle line and be in control of the Axis troops this time around. The force I put together was similar to what Anders threw at me the last time we played: Heavy Flak Grenadiers, Apes led by Markus, a Sniper Team, some Recon Grenadiers, a Ludwig medium walker and a Hans light walker. Basically the stuff that I found scariest when I played as the Allies.
Kosta fielded some Combat Rangers, Grim Reapers led by Ozz 117, Tank Busters, an Observer Team, a Sniper Team and a Steel Rain medium walker. Generally stuff he liked the looks of, but I think it makes for a decent force. Perhaps a bit light on generalists but perfectly workable. I was especially worried about the artillery walker as I hadn't really faced that before and it seemed scary!
The Steel Rain opening up on the Ludwig!
Using the battle builder we ended up with Force Collision, Destroy the Enemy and Off-Target Shelling meaning we started in opposite corners, needed to simply kill as much as possible and didn't get to remove an automatic blast marker at the end of the turn. Generally good stuff for me I think.
Kosta got the initative during the first couple of turns and concentrated his fire on my Ludwig and apes. Some poor dice rolling only resulted in one hit on the walker and a three or four on Markus. I followed that up by assaulting his Grim Reapers with my apes and killed all but the hero. I sent my light walker forward but it didn't manage to do all that much before his Tank Busters blew it to bits. They in turn came under fire from my Heavy Flak Grenadiers, using the burst fire mode of their weapons.
The Yanks trying hard to gun down the gorillas before they hit theire lines.
The two medium walkers exchanged some more fire and I had to call in my mechanic to help. In the end the Ludwig won out though and blew up the Steel Rain. Around that time the apes had killed Ozz and the Combat Rangers. However only Markus was left and with only on hit. He charged the lone remaining Tank Buster but actually failed to kill him and was knocked out in return!
The Tank Busters did short work of the Hans light walker.
I started advancing with my Command Squad and Recon Grenadiers while my Sniper provided covering fire (killing the opposite sniper team). I think this was turn three or four and we decided to call it quits as Kosta didn't have much left. Although he ended up loosing he really enjoyed Dust Warfare and was eager to play again. Good man!
End of the game. The Americans are hard pressed indeed.
A few days later we managed to get together again. Only this time I had got my hands on the new Zverograd book and I was able to finally get to try my Russians! Woo! Kosta decided to try the Germans and planned to include a Sturmkönig to deal with my inevitable helicopter. We were aiming for a larger 300 point game this time around as I had ordered some additional stuff, but since it didn't arrive in time we had to settle for 200 points (and a smaller table) again. At this level I adviced against using an expensive heavy walker and instead get AA weapons through other means.
My force consisted of two defense platoons: Two Medvedi, a Frontoviki squad, a Fakyeli squad, a squad of Chinese Volunteers, a transport chopper and Koshka in her special Babushka medium walker. Basically all the stuff I could pull together. I would have liked another walker and some commissars but still, it felt like this force could do some damage if it got in close enough. I really didn't have high hopes for the helicopter with all the flak in the air, but knew the Fakyeli could do a LOT of damage if they made it to the enemy lines.
Kosta brought some Heavy Flak Grenadiers, apes (without Markus), Laser Grenadiers, Battle Grenadiers with an extra Panzerschreck, a sniper team, an observer team, a Heinrich light walker and a Lothar medium walker. Again a little bit of everything but a decent for overall. I know Laser Grenadiers are generally considered weak/too expensive but it's the best looking Axis unit I think. The Lothar worried me and the Battle Grenadiers posed a serious threat to Koshka and her walker.
The scenario we came up with was Close Engagement, Destroy the Enemy and Nothing. Meaning we started really close to each other and simply needed to kill as much as possible. I would have preferred assassination as I had two command squads, but there weren't enough points. The close engagement generally favoured the SSU as they lack long range firepower.
Start of the battle. Notice the large concentration of forces at the far side of the table.
The Axis deployed in a refused flank and the SSU followed suit. I would have prefered to keep my chopper away from his flak units, but he had more units than me so I didn't have much choice in the matter. Overall I felt my units covered each other well though, and Babushka looked awesome in the middle!
Kosta won the initiative for the first turn and tried to bring down my helicopter. He came very close, with it only having two hits left and a wonky weapon system. His apes advanced a bit and his sniper took out a Frontoviki soldier. The Lothar fired at my walker but actually failed to do any damage. In my turn Babushka killed two Laser Grenadiers and one of my Medvedi opened up on the Battle Grenadiers. The russians can roll a LOT of dice when they get in close! Still, I didn't manage to kill any of them. The chinese advanced to try and grenade the gorillas to death, but they retreated out of range.
The Battle Grenadiers and the Medvedi exchanged fire throughout the game.
The Medvedi came out on top though.
Now was the question of what to do with my helicopter. Should I try to fly away and perhaps survive another turn, or should I charge full steam ahead and hope it holds together long enough to drop the Fakyeli where they needed to be? In the end I opted for the latter as it seemed more cinematic! It simply flew straight ahead and managed to get in behind Kostas two walkers. The Flak Grenadiers could fire in reaction to this and I held my breath as the dice came up with... one hit! My helicopter was still alive... barely! This allowed my Fakyeli to jump out and wreak all kinds of havoc; with shotguns, a sulfur thrower and a rain of Molotovs they damaged both walkers and killed a heavy Flak Grenadier. Extremely destructive up close!
The sturdy Russian helicopter managed to get through the heavy Axis flak (barely as you can see by the markers) and dropped the Fakyeli in a perfect position behind their targets.
Unfortunately for the Axis the SSU won the initiative roll the second turn and I ordered the Fakyeli to attack again before the Germans could react. This resulted in two destroyed walkers and a dead sniper team. Whoa! The rest of my turn resulted in Babushka and the Medvedi wiping out the Laser Grenadiers and the other Medvedi killing two Battle Grenadiers. As Kosta't turn rolled around he tried a desperate attack with his apes but they were gunned down by the Chinese Volunteers and the Frontoviki. He tried bringing the helicopter down with the MG-48 in his command squad but failed. With this we shook hands and called it as it was fairly clear what would happen in the coming turns.
The final gorilla doing a last desperate charge into the guns of the SSU.
Just as the devastating charge of the gorillas in our last battle proved a game winner then, the devastasting air drop of the Fakyeli proved a game winner this time. I think this time around it was mostly down to bad luck on Kosta's part in failing to destroy the helicopter on the first turn. The odds were in his favour, but not the dice. It would have been a very different game if the Fakyeli had suddenly been left in the open right in front of the Axis guns.
As for the SSU I have to say I really enjoyed playing with them! They are overall shorter ranged and don't have as many neat toys, but if they do manage to get up close they're absolutely brutal. Even the lowly Chinese can roll 15 dice and deny cover against any infantry 2 troops, and have decent chances against walkers and tanks thanks to their grenades. The helicopter is very powerful if used correctly but also quite fragile so you need to protect and support it. The KV-47 walker is just plain awesome. I love the looks of them and have actually ordered two.
I'm looking forward to our next battle which I think will either be Kosta's Yankees against Anders' Axis at 300 points or a three way battle using the new rules in Zverograd. I'm still worried about the importance of the initiative roll, but since we're enjoying ourselves I suppose it's not really a problem. For us at least. :)
Now, I do need to start painting these guys and I have some plans on how to do it quickly. I'm especially eager to get started on the walkers, although I'd like to change the poses of one or two of them first. Watch this space...