Hey guys, Jay here with part 2 of an Intro to Dust Warfare. (Click here to see Part One) Today we are going to talk about the phases of each round and the basic game mechanics. I am also going to share with you some pics of some of the cool models for Dust Warfare that I own. In the future I will be posting articles introducing models and units from all 3 of the factions (Yeah I own armies for all 3). These articles will include pics of the models (sometime including pre-paint, work in progress, and/or finished paint jobs) in my collection. I will also try to include some battle reports for both Dust Tactics (I will be playing in a 6 week league starting in late January) and Dust Warfare. Now lets get on with the good stuff.
How do I play Dust Warfare?
After the first player finished all of his or her orders, then the player that rolled the next least amount of successes at the beginning of the round takes their turn during the Command Phase, and so on until everyone has issued their orders. Then following the same order as was used in the Command Phase, players take turns activating their models and units during the Action Phase. The big difference between the Command and Action Phases is that enemy models can react to what you do during your turn. Your models must either begin or end their movement, or be attacking from 12 inches or closer (you can always pre-measure in Dust) away from the reacting enemy model or unit, and the reacting unit cannot have a Reaction or Suppression Marker on it in order to react. Assuming all of those conditions are met; the reacting unit can choose to move towards, away from, or attack your active unit. Once your opponent has completed the reaction the reacting unit receives a Reaction Marker and your unit's activation continues as normal.
It is important to know that at the beginning of each model or unit's action phase they have 2 actions. The first thing that you do is check to see if the activating model or unit has any Suppression Markers on it. If they do, then you first roll one D6 for each Suppression Marker on the model or unit. For each success rolled, remove one Suppression Marker. Now you compare the total number of Suppression Markers to the total number of models left alive on the model or squad. If there are more Suppression Markers then models, the unit must flee as far as way from the enemy as possible. If the number of Suppression Markers on the unit does not out number the number of models, then the unit does not break. If any number of Suppression Markers remain the unit loses one action that activation.
If the unit also has a Reaction Marker, either from receiving an order during the Command Phase or reacting to an enemy unit, it also loses an action for the Reaction Marker. This would mean that the model or unit would lose both their actions for the turn. If a model or unit starts their Activation without any Reaction Markers and does not have any Suppression Markers after rolling to remove any they might have started with, then that model or unit received both their actions this round, even if their first action cause them to receive a Suppression Marker.
Once all three players have completed their Action phases the turn moves into the the End Phase. In the End phase one Reaction Marker and one Suppression Marker is removed from each unit that has one or more of either on the table. This is also when any effects determined by the mission to happen during the end phase also take effect. Once the End phase has been completed players count up the number of units, heroes, vehicles, and flyers they have and roll for initiative for the next round.
A level 1 Infantry model would be a peasant or untrained militiaman, level 2 would be you standard trained infantrymen, level 3 would be your elite troops, and level 4 is for extremely powerful models. Currently the only level 4 Infantry mini available in the game is an SSU Hero called Winter Child. Think of Winter Child as a Russian Superman wearing Ironman Armor. He flies, has super strength, is hard to kill, and can shoot laser beams from his eyes.
Level 1 and 2 vehicles are things like jeeps and motorcycles, level 3 vehicles are armored light vehicles and light walkers. Level 4 and 5 are for medium walkers, armored personal carriers, and light tanks. Level 6 and 7 are for heavy tanks and walkers. Flyers at level 1 are for unarmored gliders and non military flying vehicles. Level 2 is for military flyers including helicopters and fighter/bombers. Level 3 flyers are things like heavy bomber or flying fortresses.
Not every level of Infantry, Vehicle, and Flyer have available models; and while their are rules for walker, tracked, and wheeled vehicles in the main rulebook, only the SSU has tanks and no one as wheeled vehicles yet. The majority of vehicles available are walkers.
Currently all armies have level 2 and 3 infantry, with the SSU being the only one with a level 4 infantry model. Axis and Allies both have three different level 3 walkers each. The Axis also has four level 4 walkers, a level 5 walker, a walker that can be configures as level 5 or level 6, and one level 7 heavy walker. The allies have six level 4 medium walker variants and one level 7 heavy walker. The SSU have two variant level 4 walker designs, each with 3 different weapon configurations. SSU is also the first to have a character walker (called Grand'Ma), heavy tanks (level 7), and helicopters (level 2).
When rolling to attack first you check range to see if all the weapons in the squad are in range of your target. Then you look at the stat line of each weapon (See Below) and find the section for the type of model or squad you are shooting at. Then you look at the level of the target model or squad you are shooting at. The First number is how many D6 rolled per guy against that type of model. The second number is the number of points of damage you do to the target for each success you roll.
It is important to note that some models have special abilities that allow them to re-roll missed attacks, roll additional attacks for each success rolled, and even some that let you succeed when rolling blanks instead of successes. After the total number of success are calculated, the player controlling the model or squad that was targeted needs to roll armor saves and check for hard or soft cover. Soft cover (things like bushes, trees, and shallow craters) subtract one success from the total number of success rolled to hit the target model or squad. Heavy cover (things like buildings, stone walls, trenches, and wrecked vehicles) subtract two successes from the total number of successes rolled to hit the target model or unit. Models cannot have both soft and heavy cover.
For armor saves, a number of dice is rolled equal to the level of quality of the target Infantry, Vehicle, or Aircraft model or unit. The number of successes rolled is subtracted from the total number of success rolled to hit the target model or squad.
Any remaining successes are now applied to the target model or unit as points of damage. Most Infantry models have just one wound so you would remove one model for each remaining success until all the models in the unit are removed. For models with multiple wounds and vehicles, each success causes one wound. If the total number of success cause the model to reach its maximum amount of wounds possible, then that models is removed. Infantry models and/or units that are not destroyed receive a Suppression Marker. Suppression Markers can be both good and bad for a unit. Units with one or more Suppression Markers always have soft cover (to represent the unit going to ground and finding cover) but cannot react to enemy units in return.
I have found Dust Warfare to be a fun and fast tactical game that excels at keeping both players involved in the action as the game goes one. Also it allows me to scratch both the science fiction and historical itches as the game is full of historic World War 2 designs mixed with a classic science fiction feel. Oh and did I mention that you also get to play with lasers, phasers, tesla coils, super smart gorillas, and zombies?
Jay Powell is a long time Hobbiest, Gamer, and occasional Podcaster that has over 20+ years of experience in the hobby. Jay has worked for Games Workshop and Hobbytown USA in the past, and has run many leagues, campaigns, and tournaments over the years as a Privateer Pressganger, GW Outrider, and game clubs member. Jay was the original co-host of The Gamers Lounge Podcast and has appeared on many podcasts as a guest host from around the world. You can current find Jay, when not writing new articles for the WWPD Network, playing games at Huzzah Hobbies in Ashburn, VA or on his personal blog 24 Hour Gamer Geek.