Dystopian Wars, anyone?

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Dystopian Wars, anyone?

#1  Postby lobawad » Aug 17, 2012 3:42 pm

My 8-year old and I were thinking about getting into this:

http://www.spartangames.co.uk/games/dystopian-wars

anyone here familiar with it?
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Re: Dystopian Wars, anyone?

#2  Postby susu.exp » Aug 17, 2012 8:28 pm

I´ve got an Empire of the Rising Sun fleet. I´m still painting up (and I don´t put unpainted models on the table), but I´m familiar with the other Spartan Systems.
I´m not sure it´s age appropriate though, because the models are Resin, which isn´t the most health material.

Apart from that: Getting a starter fleet (ground combat can wait, IMHO and there are other systems that handle it better) each is a good idea, because these include counters and turn templates and an imperial measuring tape is a must, as is a bucket of D6.
The Spartan system uses range bands of 6", and all the ships have verious weapon systems with an AD value for different directions. You can combine several systems, by adding half the AD of any additional system to the primary one. When shooting at other ships you generally score hits on 4 or higher and every roll of 6 counts as two hits and grants you an additional die roll. If the number of hits beats the Damage Rating of the target it takes a point of Damage (sinks when it takes as much as the HP value) and if it beats the Critical Rating the target takes a point of damage and you roll on a table to see what happens.
Things like ramming and boarding work pretty much the same way.
The fractions are decently balanced, though the Prussians are a bit tougher to play than others (they excell at close range fighting and boarding and some of the long range fleets can shoot them up pretty badly if they advance to recklessly).
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Re: Dystopian Wars, anyone?

#3  Postby lobawad » Aug 17, 2012 8:50 pm

susu.exp wrote:I´ve got an Empire of the Rising Sun fleet. I´m still painting up (and I don´t put unpainted models on the table), but I´m familiar with the other Spartan Systems.
I´m not sure it´s age appropriate though, because the models are Resin, which isn´t the most health material.

Apart from that: Getting a starter fleet (ground combat can wait, IMHO and there are other systems that handle it better) each is a good idea, because these include counters and turn templates and an imperial measuring tape is a must, as is a bucket of D6.
The Spartan system uses range bands of 6", and all the ships have verious weapon systems with an AD value for different directions. You can combine several systems, by adding half the AD of any additional system to the primary one. When shooting at other ships you generally score hits on 4 or higher and every roll of 6 counts as two hits and grants you an additional die roll. If the number of hits beats the Damage Rating of the target it takes a point of Damage (sinks when it takes as much as the HP value) and if it beats the Critical Rating the target takes a point of damage and you roll on a table to see what happens.
Things like ramming and boarding work pretty much the same way.
The fractions are decently balanced, though the Prussians are a bit tougher to play than others (they excell at close range fighting and boarding and some of the long range fleets can shoot them up pretty badly if they advance to recklessly).


Hey, that's great, thanks! I looked over the rules on Scribd, the book looks very fun and worth getting. The system seems oriented toward fun play and the aesthetic is fantastic. The 1/1200 scale should work well on our dining room table, 180x78.

I prefer metal miniatures as much as possible. What's the difference between "resin" and the usual plastics used in miniatures?

We've been playing Warhammer 40k for a year or so now. It's fun enough, I guess, but the mechanics suck and the style is too cartoonish for both of us. Plus it it too expensive. Really the only thing good about it is availability and large gaming community, everywhere in Europe.

We're making our own game for tactical 28mm. It's working out much better and far more skill-oriented than 40k. So we're covered there, it's only a matter of finding good figures. I make the mechs, tanks and so on out of bric-a-brac. My son and I build scenery and terrain.
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Re: Dystopian Wars, anyone?

#4  Postby susu.exp » Aug 17, 2012 9:47 pm

lobawad wrote:Hey, that's great, thanks! I looked over the rules on Scribd, the book looks very fun and worth getting. The system seems oriented toward fun play and the aesthetic is fantastic. The 1/1200 scale should work well on our dining room table, 180x78.


Yup. That seems to fit well.

lobawad wrote:I prefer metal miniatures as much as possible. What's the difference between "resin" and the usual plastics used in miniatures?


Usually the plastics are polystyrene - which can be glued with plastic glue. There´s a wide variety of resins and a big difference is that they don´t have those long polymer chains, which results in smaller particles when you file of flash for instance. This can be breathed in more easily and it´s recommended to use some sort of protective gear. But the DW ships have very little flash and once they are primed that should be an issue anymore. It´s also worth noting that before you prime the resin you should wash it. There´s some release agent in the moulds which leads to paint and primer flaking off, but it can be removed by simply using some soaped water.

lobawad wrote:We've been playing Warhammer 40k for a year or so now. It's fun enough, I guess, but the mechanics suck and the style is too cartoonish for both of us. Plus it it too expensive. Really the only thing good about it is availability and large gaming community, everywhere in Europe.


I think 6th Ed. has changed the mechanics for the better and while I agree that other systems beat it (Epic:Armageddon remains my personal favorite) one thing it does do well is to allow for big games. Most 28mm systems are Skirmish, and Warpath doesn´t have that much of a range so far. It´s also a system that really needs a lot of terrain - the rulebook stated that at least 25% of the table should be covered, but I found that that rule is usually neglected. I also enjoy the 40k background - it´s humorously bleak, everybody is evil and it´s all applicable in the sense of Tolkien. And yea, 40k has a steep price tag, in particular if you have Hordes (Nids, Orks, IG) - All those Skirmish systems are less pricy, but they can´t be expanded that much.

lobawad wrote:We're making our own game for tactical 28mm. It's working out much better and far more skill-oriented than 40k. So we're covered there, it's only a matter of finding good figures. I make the mechs, tanks and so on out of bric-a-brac. My son and I build scenery and terrain.


I´m generally a fan of smaller scale stuff - 6mm, 1:600, 1:1250... 28mm has some nice scope for minis to look good, but once you introduce tanks and war engines it starts crowding the table (I still can field something like 2000 points of Orks made from Plasticard).
If you need playtesters, I think I can find some people willing to give it a whirl.
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Re: Dystopian Wars, anyone?

#5  Postby DougC » Aug 18, 2012 12:46 am

A club had a display table at the SALUTE show in London this year. The models looked amazing and there was a lot of interest shown.
Resin needs either superglue or two part epoxy to stick together. I would recomend superglue and you doing the sticking, unless you want to explain to the wife why there is a little turret on your 8yo's forehead.
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Re: Dystopian Wars, anyone?

#6  Postby lobawad » Aug 18, 2012 7:43 am

sorry- wtf? internet weirdness, back in a bit....
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Re: Dystopian Wars, anyone?

#7  Postby lobawad » Aug 18, 2012 9:49 am

susu.exp wrote:
lobawad wrote:Hey, that's great, thanks! I looked over the rules on Scribd, the book looks very fun and worth getting. The system seems oriented toward fun play and the aesthetic is fantastic. The 1/1200 scale should work well on our dining room table, 180x78.


Yup. That seems to fit well.

lobawad wrote:I prefer metal miniatures as much as possible. What's the difference between "resin" and the usual plastics used in miniatures?


Usually the plastics are polystyrene - which can be glued with plastic glue. There´s a wide variety of resins and a big difference is that they don´t have those long polymer chains, which results in smaller particles when you file of flash for instance. This can be breathed in more easily and it´s recommended to use some sort of protective gear. But the DW ships have very little flash and once they are primed that should be an issue anymore. It´s also worth noting that before you prime the resin you should wash it. There´s some release agent in the moulds which leads to paint and primer flaking off, but it can be removed by simply using some soaped water.


That's good to know. The metal Infinity figures seem to be "greasy", too- don't know if that's the alloy or a residue from the casting process. I'll try soapy water next time. We don't have any GW Finecast figures- the plastic seems to have its own advantages and disadvantages over the old GW plastic, according to a friend of mine with quite a few.

susu.exp wrote:
lobawad wrote:We've been playing Warhammer 40k for a year or so now. It's fun enough, I guess, but the mechanics suck and the style is too cartoonish for both of us. Plus it it too expensive. Really the only thing good about it is availability and large gaming community, everywhere in Europe.


I think 6th Ed. has changed the mechanics for the better and while I agree that other systems beat it (Epic:Armageddon remains my personal favorite) one thing it does do well is to allow for big games. Most 28mm systems are Skirmish, and Warpath doesn´t have that much of a range so far. It´s also a system that really needs a lot of terrain - the rulebook stated that at least 25% of the table should be covered, but I found that that rule is usually neglected. I also enjoy the 40k background - it´s humorously bleak, everybody is evil and it´s all applicable in the sense of Tolkien. And yea, 40k has a steep price tag, in particular if you have Hordes (Nids, Orks, IG) - All those Skirmish systems are less pricy, but they can´t be expanded that much.


I just watched some "intro to 6th edition" videos on Youtube. It looks like a big improvement- right off the bat I see that at least two of the changes are the same as my son and I made for our own 40k play!

I agree about terrain. A couple of symbolic ruins here and there doesn't cut it at all. The Blackreach introductory set is hopeless without a great deal of covering terrain, because the Space Marines will simply mow the exposed Orks down before the Orks get near enough to do what they are good at.

The 40k background is very funny. The social commentary is great- I like how the British football hooligans Orks use their own teeth for money. But as my son pointed out, and I've seen others point out in forums, all the 40k characters are basically rotten bastards. My son also despises cartoons, films etc. which go to the other extreme, B&W good vs. evil- his cheif complaint with LOTR is that there are no orc good-guys.

lobawad wrote:We're making our own game for tactical 28mm. It's working out much better and far more skill-oriented than 40k. So we're covered there, it's only a matter of finding good figures. I make the mechs, tanks and so on out of bric-a-brac. My son and I build scenery and terrain.


susu.exp wrote:
I´m generally a fan of smaller scale stuff - 6mm, 1:600, 1:1250... 28mm has some nice scope for minis to look good, but once you introduce tanks and war engines it starts crowding the table (I still can field something like 2000 points of Orks made from Plasticard).



Yeah, 28mm is visually very nice, and just right for making buildings and so on, but we're looking forward to playing with smaller scales as well.

I noticed some odd things about size of armies and expansion of games, and the differences between tactical and skirmish games. In, say, Infinity, you can field as few as six miniatures, obviously a skirmish. If you look at a 40k 500 pt force, such as the found the Blackreach starter set, you theoretically have 29 Orks.

But in Warhammer you have mandatory unit coherence and homogeneous targeting and close combat. This is the first rule we rejected in writing rules for our own game. Because of mandatory unit coherence in 40k, the 29 Orks in the starter set effectively amount to 5 oversized figures. The multiple figures on the table are pretty much a visually pleasing way to keep track of "hit points" on what more or less is one figure as far as tactics, much as in WH Fantasy. As far as effective separate units for skilled game play, the Warhammer system is quite illusory as to extent.

OTOH giving a game a lot of effectively distinct units and avoiding the cartoonish group attacks and defenses, you can wind up close to an RPG game, which doesn't interest us at all. An ideal balance is hard to strike.

susu.exp wrote:
If you need playtesters, I think I can find some people willing to give it a whirl.


Wow, thanks, that would be fantastic! I should have a beta rulebook in a week or two.
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Re: Dystopian Wars, anyone?

#8  Postby susu.exp » Aug 18, 2012 10:56 pm

lobawad wrote:That's good to know. The metal Infinity figures seem to be "greasy", too- don't know if that's the alloy or a residue from the casting process. I'll try soapy water next time. We don't have any GW Finecast figures- the plastic seems to have its own advantages and disadvantages over the old GW plastic, according to a friend of mine with quite a few.


It likely is residue. With metal less of this is generally used and my Infinity models didn´t need a scrub, but all resin I´ve worked with did need it.

lobawad wrote:I just watched some "intro to 6th edition" videos on Youtube. It looks like a big improvement- right off the bat I see that at least two of the changes are the same as my son and I made for our own 40k play!


I think the real big change is wound allocation, which makes positioning more important.

lobawad wrote:I agree about terrain. A couple of symbolic ruins here and there doesn't cut it at all. The Blackreach introductory set is hopeless without a great deal of covering terrain, because the Space Marines will simply mow the exposed Orks down before the Orks get near enough to do what they are good at.


Not only that, but the two forces aren´t matched evenly for points(Orks 485, Marines 610). The main idea behind the forces was not a balanced game, but showcasing the different model types (1 Walker, a Unit of Jetbikes, Terminators for a unit that can Teleport, and then some basic grunts for either side). The Orks don´t even have Klaws on the Nobs (which makes a huge difference - especially against anything Marine).

lobawad wrote:The 40k background is very funny. The social commentary is great- I like how the British football hooligans Orks use their own teeth for money. But as my son pointed out, and I've seen others point out in forums, all the 40k characters are basically rotten bastards. My son also despises cartoons, films etc. which go to the other extreme, B&W good vs. evil- his cheif complaint with LOTR is that there are no orc good-guys.


I think someone once put it this way "some settings are black and white, some settings are shades of grey, 40k is all shades of black". I´ve always seen Orks less as hooligans than as kids about 14-17 years old. The clans are basically highschool stereotypes (Jock Goffs, Snakebite Stoners, Evil Sunz Skaters, etc.). This also explains the humor of the violent beings: What is puberty if not scary up close and hillarious when viewed from a distance...

lobawad wrote:I noticed some odd things about size of armies and expansion of games, and the differences between tactical and skirmish games. In, say, Infinity, you can field as few as six miniatures, obviously a skirmish. If you look at a 40k 500 pt force, such as the found the Blackreach starter set, you theoretically have 29 Orks.


I think you can fit in more Orks - A Big Mek with Kustom Force field, along with 2 Units of Shoota boys (2 Rokkits each, Led by a Nob with Trophy and Klaw, with Stickbomz) is 499 points and 43 Orks.

lobawad wrote:But in Warhammer you have mandatory unit coherence and homogeneous targeting and close combat. This is the first rule we rejected in writing rules for our own game. Because of mandatory unit coherence in 40k, the 29 Orks in the starter set effectively amount to 5 oversized figures. The multiple figures on the table are pretty much a visually pleasing way to keep track of "hit points" on what more or less is one figure as far as tactics, much as in WH Fantasy. As far as effective separate units for skilled game play, the Warhammer system is quite illusory as to extent.


Well, there are some clever things with how you place models and particularly in Close Combat you rarely get a 30 Strong Mob of Orks in range, whereas a 5 Strong Unit of Marines will usually get all models in. The wound allocation rules in 6th now mean you have to think more about where in the unit to place specialists.
But generally that´s how to tell a Skirmish from non-Skirmish Systems: When your models act independently you have a Skirmish. Despite the scale, Battletech is a Skirmish system (there´s only one model representing a 30 strong unit of infantry and you mark them off as hit points). At higher model counts Skirmish systems tend to have issues with excessive micromanagement. There is a skirmish modification for 40k (combat patrol) and it restricts unit choices and limits the maximum point size and it just becomes unwieldy above 750 points or so.

lobawad wrote:OTOH giving a game a lot of effectively distinct units and avoiding the cartoonish group attacks and defenses, you can wind up close to an RPG game, which doesn't interest us at all. An ideal balance is hard to strike.


I´ve actually used one of the 40k RPGs (Dark Heresy) for Skirmish Battles. It´s fun, but hard to balance as is (because there are all those non-combat related skill types).
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Re: Dystopian Wars, anyone?

#9  Postby lobawad » Aug 19, 2012 7:43 am

susu.exp wrote:
lobawad wrote:That's good to know. The metal Infinity figures seem to be "greasy", too- don't know if that's the alloy or a residue from the casting process. I'll try soapy water next time. We don't have any GW Finecast figures- the plastic seems to have its own advantages and disadvantages over the old GW plastic, according to a friend of mine with quite a few.


It likely is residue. With metal less of this is generally used and my Infinity models didn´t need a scrub, but all resin I´ve worked with did need it.


The local art/culture institute which hosts Warhammer and related games, workshops etc. just got a 3-d printer the other day, I'm looking forward to using it for making my own minitatures. How the plastic it uses paints up, files, etc. is yet to be tested.

susu.exp wrote:
lobawad wrote:I just watched some "intro to 6th edition" videos on Youtube. It looks like a big improvement- right off the bat I see that at least two of the changes are the same as my son and I made for our own 40k play!


I think the real big change is wound allocation, which makes positioning more important.


Our "home rules" changed cover to individuals rather than units. The 6ed change which allows a unit to move (if maintaining coherence) while its heavy weapon doesn't move (so that it can fire) is one of the same changes my son and I made right off the bat, as he likes to move his Marines in a "Slinky" or "inchworm" kind of way.

As I scope the 6th edition, it looks eerily similar to how we've been playing at home, which is great because now we can play with others.


susu.exp wrote:
lobawad wrote:I agree about terrain. A couple of symbolic ruins here and there doesn't cut it at all. The Blackreach introductory set is hopeless without a great deal of covering terrain, because the Space Marines will simply mow the exposed Orks down before the Orks get near enough to do what they are good at.


Not only that, but the two forces aren´t matched evenly for points(Orks 485, Marines 610). The main idea behind the forces was not a balanced game, but showcasing the different model types (1 Walker, a Unit of Jetbikes, Terminators for a unit that can Teleport, and then some basic grunts for either side). The Orks don´t even have Klaws on the Nobs (which makes a huge difference - especially against anything Marine).


Dense terrain, upgrading the Nobs to Meganobs, a couple of Trukks (just army trucks from the toy store), etc. will make for a fair fight with a lightly augmented Blackreach set, we've found- we're playing at 750-1000 points.

susu.exp wrote:
But generally that´s how to tell a Skirmish from non-Skirmish Systems: When your models act independently you have a Skirmish. Despite the scale, Battletech is a Skirmish system (there´s only one model representing a 30 strong unit of infantry and you mark them off as hit points). At higher model counts Skirmish systems tend to have issues with excessive micromanagement. There is a skirmish modification for 40k (combat patrol) and it restricts unit choices and limits the maximum point size and it just becomes unwieldy above 750 points or so.


Too much bookkeeping is wet blanket, that's for sure. Some people might love it, though. We visited a big club in Vienna and watched a Warmachine competition. I was disappointed in the game- 10 minutes moving, 50 minutes rolling dice seemed to be the standard- but impressed by the bookkeeping system. The figures have stat cards which are laminated with clear plastic, and bookkeeping is done on the cards themselves, which are then wiped off for the next game.
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