How to Do Dystopian Wars Ships

Here’s a quick guide on how to get your Dystopian Wars ships (or other resin wargaming models) out of their boxes and blisters, assembled, painted, and ready to sink-and-be-sunk on the tabletops in your immediate vicinity!

STEP 0: Remove from packaging.

A sharpened edge might be required.

STEP 1: Remove flash and mold lines.  

I prefer to use an eXacto knife and a pair of hobby clippers for this stage, removing any excess resin or metal from the cast components.  Be sure not to inhale any of the detritus you create.

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STEP 2: Wash the models.

This step is very important for removing the lubricant used to extricate the models from the mold.  I use warm (NOT hot) water and Dawn dish soap.  I let them sit for a moment before scrubbing them with my fingers and rinsing in lukewarm water.  It is important that the water not be too hot or it could deform the resin models.

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STEP 3: Let dry.

Be patient!

STEP 4: Construction.

Using super glue, put any multi-part models together.  It is up to you if you would rather paint some part of the models (sub-assemblies) before the final gluing, but I personally like to glue everything together – even turrets, forever adhered one position – at this stage.  Note: following this step is a good time to set up your new models for thematic photos.

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STEP 5: Undercoat.

In weather that is not too cold and not too hot, and especially not too humid, spray paint your models outside.  I use a matte black spray primer.

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STEP 6: Get to painting.

The fun and/or most tedious step.  Paint those suckers!

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STEP 7: Seal ’em up.

These days, I am quick to seal my models with a matte finish.  I don’t want to doubt myself too long about whether the models are actually finished being painted or not!  Better to move on to the next project.  As with other sprays, avoid humidity when spraying.  Also, don’t forget to take pictures.

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STEP 8: Play.

Get your new models on the table!

Dystopian Wars: Two Battles’ Pictures, including special scenario

This last Saturday I had Seb and Andy over for a day full of Dystopian Wars gaming.  Andy’s a pretty accomplished gamer – we calculated that he’s played approximately 50 games of DW since its release – and Seb and I were counting on him to take us through the changes in the 2.0 rules system.  To that end, we did a quick 2 turns of FSA vs Royal Australians – both Andy’s fleets, which he has not used in a while or at all – and got to see a good number of the major 2.0 changes (e.g., how linking works now with the “rounding up” set-up).  Andy’s Australians in particular looked great on my ocean gaming table.  IMG_4067 IMG_4066

We stopped after two turns because I had created a scenario that I really wanted to gamesmaster for the other two.  I rearranged the terrain and then gave each commander their secret mission briefing:

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These briefings also included suggested fleet lists I had made using my Russian Coalition forces and Andy’s Prussian navy.  They were, however, allowed to create new lists up to 800 points in value.  The Grand Coalition and Imperial Bond sides had differing objectives, as underlined in the briefing letters above.  However, unbeknownst to either player, there was a third briefing letter…

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This letter, addressed to the leader of a combined Covenant-Mercenary naval force, was originally for a third player who couldn’t make the event.  Instead, the gamesmaster would take over the third faction.  The scenario called for their 400 points of Covenant and Jack-O-Lantern Company forces to come in from the side board edge of on Turn 3.  This aspect of the scenario was kept in secret until the time of their entrance arrived…

Here are some shots of the table and the two forces arrayed before deployment:

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All SAWs went down as Dive bombers (with no aces) by player discretion.  Deployment ended up as follows:

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Responding to each other’s placements, both commanders concentrated their forces on the northern half of the table.  It was sure to be a bloody battle…

First Turn

The Russian Coalition won initiative, and began by dive bombing the central fortress.  Prussian corvettes immediately pulled up alongside and unleashed search and rescue teams into the damaged structure.

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The battle lines moved directly at one another.  The Prussian Emperor-class, sailing past derelict tankers, fired a fierce salvo at the Russian cruiser squadron, but failed to crack that heavy ablative armor.

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That would soon change, however.  As medium squadrons on both sides activated and unleashed their might, the fight quickly became marked by fire, smoke, and blood.

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Passing disorder checks left and right, the two fleets continued to close on each other.  Lethal electrical broadsides from the Donnerfaust support cruisers wracked the Russian Tambovs, although not before they savaged the Königsburg battlecruiser.  Frigates clashed in a brutal tug-of-war of boarding actions as they duked it out between and amidst the burning wreckage of the White Navy’s mediums.

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Vessel after vessel was left derelict, while others began to drift beneath the blue waves of the Pacific.  Meanwhile, the mighty Borodino drifted slowly towards the action, slowly but surely destroying the fortress on its way.  It even had the benefit of Sturginium Overload for two turns in a row!

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This is where the game stood at the end of Turn 2:

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By this point, with only the Emperor-class battleship on the Prussian side left to activate, both the Imperial Bond and the Grand Coalition admirals had successfully completed both of their objectives – and the third force had not even been revealed!  It was also growing late, and all three of us were pretty exhausted.  We decided to call the game at the end of Turn 2.

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Reflection

As we packed up the fleets and terrain, the two admirals and the gamesmaster discussed the scenario.  As it had been played, all objectives were completed by the Bond and Coalition forces, but they were wounded and bleeding.  Essentially the game would devolve into a slugging match between the two battleships – both completely unscarred at the beginning of Turn 3 – and a race to see who could re-arm and re-use their dive bombers the fastest would ensue.  By the time the third force entered, it would have been almost equal in points to the remaining Russian and Prussian forces combined.  Despite that, both battleships being at full strength would make the mercenaries and Covenanters hard pressed to destroy both and escape off-board.  Even so, it was certainly possible that all three sides would have completed all their objectives before Turn 4.

In hindsight, I think the following changes to the scenario would be warranted:

• The third force enters the board on Turn 2

• The third force reduced to 300-350 points, or the two main fleets increased to 900-1000 points each

• The fortress both harder to board and harder to destroy

• No tiny fliers, or only fighter squadrons allowed

• Consider deployment requirements (e.g., deployment must commence in size order, from large to small)

• Spell out additional, post-objectives victory conditions (probably by victory points)

I did love the secret mission briefings, though.  They were a simple but fun alteration to the game.

Picture Gallery: Three-player DZC Game

Last Saturday three of us got together and got a couple of games of DZC in at the Hobby Bunker.  I took a fair number of pictures and wanted to post them here to continue coverage of my foray into Dropzone Commander.

Prequel: UCM vs PHR

First up, Seb and Brian played a quick 800 point game, UCM versus PHR.  I only took a few pictures but it is a nice lead in to our three-player battle.

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Main Battle: PHR vs Resistance-UCM force, 1300 points

The main show was the largest DZC game any of us had played.  We united my 800 point Resistance force – finished painted the night before (they do still need touch ups and sealing) – with a small 450-500ish points UCM detachment, and faced off against a sizable 1300ish point PHR army (using some Scourge Destroyers to represent Sirens).  We adopted some simple rules to make the three-player format seem more fair: first, all Resistance units had to deploy/activate before any UCM ones could; second, the allied forces could not use command cards or commander values on each other’s forces; third, play fast (we wanted to get in as much of the game as we could before the store closed for the day).

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My 800 point Resistance army included two stands of Freeriders and a level 3 commander.

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The game revolved around three objectives and two focal points.  It was a fun match up that involved a lot of maneuver – followed by a lot of combat.  PHR lived up to their reputation.

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That Kleenex represents smart smoke fired by the Longbows.

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One of the more memorably moments was a successful use of Weapon Hack to do….no damage (at point blank range!).  Those Hannibals are tough!

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The main show was definitely the huge exotics combat for the central objective.  Two bases of sirens (they might look like Destroyers in the pictures) versus two bases of Praetorians…. then two bases of Legionnaires, then four bases of Resistance fighters!  In the end, we had to wrap up the game before the objective could get off the board with either side – but it was a lot of dice rolling.

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It was a lot of fun.  The main takeaway for me, however, was that I really need another Lifthawk for the Alexander!  It did very little this entire game thanks to its movement value.  The Freeriders performed well, and used their sticky mines to good effect.  Looking forward to the next game!

DZC Battle Report and DW Playtest Game (Pictures)

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Seb and I got together and rehashed our DZC match up from last weekend, Scourge vs Resistance.  We did not end up with access to much terrain however…. so we made some out of Lego.  It worked ok!  It was a small game, using the same armies as the weekend before (700 points, level 2 commanders).  We chose not to use cards in this game.  

We made sure to spread the terrain around, placing objectives in two large structures and three medium in a fairly symmetrical pattern.  Seb’s FAT mat added a lot to the game once again, and is a good material for moving miniatures around.  This battle may have been a precursor to a reconquest campaign on the strategic world of Olympus Prime…

Olympus Prime: Factory World

Olympus Prime is the Cradle World richest in natural resources.  Prior to the Scourge invasion, it was expected to surpass Earth in space/naval construction.  Since the launch of the Reconquest, the Olympus system has been home to the fiercest fleet actions as both the UCM and the Scourge bring in more and more naval assets.  On the surface of the planet, no sizable UCM force has been able to land, but reports of PHR activity have been confirmed.  Contact with human resistance forces planetside has also been recorded, although little information has made its way to UCM command…

The Olympian Resistance

For the past century and a half, the Scourge have been busy exploiting the Olympus system’s immense mineral wealth.  When the EAA command structure collapsed during the initial invasion, Olympus prime was host to underground depots and storage facilities for the multitudinous EAA vehicles being produced on the factory planet.  Buried under the earth, these depots were largely untouched during the rapid defeat of the EAA military at the hands of the Scourge.  Weatherized and sealed, these complex, powerful military machines survived the drastic upheaval on the surface.

By the time of the first wave of the UCM’s Reconquest, Olympus Prime’s surviving human population was split into various tribes, warbands, and resistance societies across the planet’s surface cities, underground storage networks, and mountainous mines.  Although surviving the predations of the increasingly complacent Scourge, these resistance groups were not capable of truly defeating the Enemy in any substantial way.  However, this did not stop the most violent or martial of groups from trying.

The Triumvirate of Latver – really a petty autocracy led by the feared/loved “Viktor” – is one such military- (and revenge-) minded resistance force.  Displaying a strong preference for the preserved EAA weaponry over more easily maintained weaponized civilian vehicles, the “Triumvirate” has established a sizable military presence in the Latverean Depression – an area between Olympus Prime’s second city and a major EAA storage depot.  Perhaps emboldened by the discovery of the United Colonies of Mankind, Viktor seems to be escalating the assaults on any and all Scourge in the area near the Latverean Depression.  How (s)he would react to contact with the UCM, PHR, or Shaltari – potential enemies and potential allies all – is unknown.

One piece of intel about Viktor: (s)he seems to have a mild obsession with fresh coats of hand-painted camouflage.  This indulgence is possible undoubtedly because of the large stores of old EAA tri-tone passive-stealth countermeasure applique left in the thousands of gallons in Olympus’ storage depots.

The Previous Battle

In the last battle, a Triumvirate recon-in-force clashed with a similarly sized Scourge force, both expending significant ammunition before exiting the field.  This battle was fought in a relatively intact sector of the city, but ended without a clear victor.  Still, for the Triumvirate’s forces such battle experience is important for Viktor’s plans.

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Locate and Exfiltrate the Objectives

In a nearby city sector, several square blocks of ruined industrial park surrounding an old monument, whispers of valuable electronic components abound.  Furthermore, Triumvirate scouts discovered a couple of dens of human survivors.  Not one to broker compromise, Viktor sent an identical recon-in-force to locate and retrieve all these objectives.  Unsurprisingly, a significant Scourge presence was also closing in.

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In Deployment, the Scourge won the roll off and chose to deploy second.  First on the board were the Jackson Park Express, rolling up to a large objective-holding building near the table edge.  The squad of 20 Resistance Fighters kept driving down the board, intending to head to a second objective, while the smaller squad of 10 went directly to the large black factory.  

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While the Scourge rushed to a large, cavernous rock formation to search for prey, the Triumvirate recon group’s command element was dropped in by Lifthawk.  Lines of fire for its powerful munitions included possibly Scourge air defense artillery and electronic component workshops (“Viktor requires no compromises!”).

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In a surprise move, the Scourge deployed a large number of the hated Prowlers on the western edge of the board.  Reacting swiftly, the Triumvirate Gun Wagons moved in onboard their Kraken hovercraft.  Dismounting with earnest, their veteran crews blew apart half of the Prowlers immediately.  While every true child of the Resistance loves destroying Prowlers, this did leave the rest of the force without much air defense.

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Seizing on the overplayed hand, the Scourge brought in their main battle tanks to threaten the gun wagons.  Although backing up and causing more damage from their anti-aircraft guns, eventually the Gun Wagons were entirely wrecked.  The Kraken, however, would survive the entire battle.

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The M9 Hannibals deployed near the Alexander, while the Scourge ADA moved into the central square – prime real estate for their anti-aircraft weapons, but (luckily for the Resistance) blocked on one side by a large building.

In the second turn, the small Resistance squad got incredibly lucky, located the human survivors, and escaped off the board in their Jackson.  One victory point for the Resistance.  The larger squad raced toward the other large building, hoping to get their fighters inside and capable of threatening Scourge vehicles with their tube launchers.  

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Before they could dismount, however, the Scourge Reapers swept around out of the square and dangerously close to the Jacksons and Alexander – but just out of range of the nearby Lifthawks.  In reaction, the Alexander unleashed the Maelstrom grenade launcher and destroyed two of the enemy ADA (although one survived the grenades, chain guns, and main gun assault).  Although caught in the large blast, the Maelstrom grenades did no damage to the Jackson Halftracks.

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(During turns two and three,) On the other side of the large building the Hunter MBTs swept in and, alongside their transport, destroyed the Gun Wagons and damaged the Kraken.  However, their attack was blunted by the Lifthawks, Kraken, Gun Wagons (before they were completely melted), and only the Scourge commander survived.  A Lifthawk even managed to take out a Prowler with its nose-mounted heavy machine guns!

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On turn 4, some drastic transport movement bunched the Scourge transports on the eastern side of the board, while their commander escaped the firing lanes of the Resistance armor.

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A lone Prowler also survived, despite the pilot of the Kraken trying for turn after turn to smack it down with the 90mm cannon (on the final try, the Prowler was hit – but the Kraken rolled a ‘1’ to damage).

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Resistance fighters streamed out of the Jacksons (which then scooted out of the way) and into the central large buildings.  They would then use their tube launchers to take out the Scourge commander (not before he killed four of them with falling masonry, however!).  Meanwhile, though, the Scourge infantry finally found their own objective and made it off the board.  One victory point to the Scourge.  Poor humans!

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DropzoneLego24At this point, we called the game.  A lot of destruction had been caused – mostly against the Scourge, I admit – but no battlegroups had been totally removed, and each side had only one objective recovered.  Furthermore, neither side was in a position to go after any other objectives or even really damage the other side before the end of Turn 6.  

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It was a fun, fast, and furious game.  I look forward to trying higher points levels!  I need another Lifthawk for sure, but I also feel some calling from the new Salakhan miniature…


After the Dropzone Commander game, we flipped the board over and played a full turn of Dystopian Wars (my first using the 2.0 ruleset!).  We ran out of time to continue, but it was clear in that first term that my Merc faction (the Jack-o-Lantern company / Canon de Zibilene) was overcosted.  We were played at 710 points per side, and the Russians bested the mercs in every way – number of ships, size of ships, range band 4 firepower… I’ll need to look at the points values again, and get more playtesting in!

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