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Monday, December 10, 2012

Why you should be playing Dust Warfare

So, Dust Warfare has been completely dominating the Indy40k’s gaming time and interest recently – for some very good reasons.  If you are a wargamer (and if you aren’t – why are you reading this blog?!), and you aren’t playing Dust Warfare – you are really doing yourself a disservice.  Here are a couple reasons you should be playing Dust Warfare:

  • The ruleset is a great balance between simplicity and depth, is very consistent and coherent, and is very fun.  
    •  Everything uses the same rules -- Are you shooting at a soldier, vehicle, etc?  Great – the game mechanics all works the same.  Same basic mechanism for the rolls to hit, same saves, same everything for game mechanics.  The number of dice you roll will change, but *how* you perform them is the same.  Also, Dust Warfare uses a 5+ system – so all rolls require a 5+, and to get different results you change the number you roll.
    • Very few tables to memorize – most of the game complexity is contained in the weapon damage tables for each unit.  Other than these, there is only one other table in the ruleset that you need to know for vehicle damage. 
    •  The reaction mechanism – this lets your units react to nearby enemies.  Getting attacked within 12”?  Your unit can react by attacking back, running away, etc.  Aside from allowing a more realistic and involved game experience, this also makes the game require a combined arms approach to game play.  Units need support and synergy – running a unit off on their own to take on the enemy usually just ends up with a dead unit. 
    • Suppression – suppression is a game mechanic that simultaneously operates as a way to represent a unit ‘hitting the deck’ after getting shot at and as a morale mechanism.  When suppressed, a unit cannot react to their opponent, and has one less action in their own turn.  If a unit ever gets more suppression than modes in the unit – their morale breaks.  This is another key mechanic that really emphasizes a combined arms approach and to using units in combination.
    • Army building – armies are built using platoons, containing a command unit, up to 4 core units, and up to 1 support unit for each 2 core units taken.  Each platoon limits what you can take in each slot, and, in doing so, limits your ability to build an unbalanced force.  Unlike a 40k style army building scenario, the number of core choices you take determines how many support choices you can take.  So, you can’t have an all-tank list, or an all-aircraft list.  This helps to limit the paper-rock-scissors style matchups that can exist in other games. 
    •  The battle builder – the ruleset is written from the ground up to support competitive gaming, including a mechanic where you ‘bid’ to determine the game mission.  This lets you attempt to pick an appropriate mission type and scenario that is well-suited to your army.  Have a close range army?  Great, bid to get a close-up deployment and limited visibility.  Have a long ranged army?  Bid to get off-target shelling to reduce your opponent’s ability to remove suppression and an opposing corner deployment.

  •  It is SUPER cheap to get into. 
    •  Most units are ~$15.  The medium sized walkers are ~$25, and even the giant Landraider sized heavy walkers are $40.00.  Given how armies are built, it is rare to require more than 2 of a given unit in an army – no more need to buy 6 of the same unit just to be ‘competitive.’ 
    • The core set is a great deal – without any platoon or unit upgrades you get 120 points of Allies and 140 points of Axis.  So, basically you get ½ each of 2 tournament sized forces for $40 each.  As an example of how to bump this up to a tournament sized force – for the Axis army add a heavy recon grenadier unit, gorillas, a sniper unit, and an Axis heavy walker and you’d have a 300 point tournament force for an additional ~$90.00.  So $130.00 for a tournament sized force, without even considering any discounts.  Even adding $40 for the core rulebook – a whole army and the rules costs less than JUST the 40k rulebook, the new Chaos Space Marine rulebook, and a unit of Chaos Terminators.  
    •  Fantasy Flight also sells all the rulebooks in PDF format for ½ of the normal cost. 
    •  Speaking of discounts – sells all Dust models, rulebooks, etc. at 35% off all the time with free shipping for orders greater than $100.  The above mentioned army would be closer to $100 if ordered from them. 
    •  There is a nice free online army building resource - here is a link to the army list for the above mentioned army list: 
  •  The models are cool 
    •  Like giant walking tanks, zombies, and dudes with lasers – play Axis. 
    •  Like Sherman tanks with legs, jump-packs guys with rockets strapped to their fists, and guys with shotguns and flamethrowers – play Allies. 
    •  Like more traditional tanks, lots of cheap infantry, and helicopters – play SSU. 
    • While not as detailed as GW models, the models are generally quite nice and good quality.  They are easily as good looking as most other non-GW miniature companies, in my opinion. 
    •  They are pre-assembled and primed.  This can be a negative to some, but overall the quality is quite good, and they are ready to play as soon as you buy them.  If you want to remodel or repose the models, I have heard that they come apart without any major issues. 
  •  They are releasing new models and rules very regularly 
    •  Since the original Dust Warfare release, they have been releasing new models and rules quarterly.  They are adding new units for each of the factions – not doing the ‘big bang’ rules and model release like GW.  So, each quarter there are new goodies to play with – regardless what army you are playing. 
    •  There is talk that a fourth faction – the VK Aliens – will be released after the first of the year.
  • The game plays very fast 
    •  When we get together to play, we have been able to play two 300 point games in roughly the same time we used to have to allot for a single 1500 point game of 40k.  If both players know how to play, a typical tournament sized 300 point force usually takes about 60 to 90 minutes. 
  •  It is an alternate timeline of WW2 
    •  If you are like me, the idea of playing a game about a conflict where real people died is a bit unsettling (no offense intended to historical players – it just is unsettling to me).  Dust is an alternate timeline of WW2 – Hitler was killed by Operation Valkyrie, Alien technology was found in Antarctica that enables the new walker technology, etc.  It is sufficiently different to not be ‘playing’ WW2, at least for me. 
    •  This alternate WW2 covers nearly every part of the globe – so, there is probably justification for nearly any army theme or build you could conceive of.  Want to play ‘traditional look’ Axis – great.  Want to play an Axis army based in Antarctica – no problem.  Want to paint them like jungle fighters in South America – go for it.

There are plenty of other good reasons to play Dust Warfare, but this list was already getting quite long.  If you are in the Indy area and are interested in Dust Warfare – watch our Facebook page for times we are getting together to play, and drop by and watch a game.  If you’d like to try one out – let us know and we can arrange for models if you don’t have any yet.


  1. Great summary of why people should be playing Dust Warfare. I discovered the system 8 weeks ago and have spent a lot of money because there is lots to like about the rules, models and universe.

  2. Is a shame it is so expensive in the UK or I would try it.

  3. Can you order from They offer it 35% off all the time - not sure how much the shipping would be, but I'd assume it would still be somewhat reasonable.