Sunday, 24 June 2012

Dystopian Wars (at last, a tangent!)

Celebrate! After more than a year of consistency, I've found a new thing to latch onto, which means I won't have to rename the blog to Dunc's Endless Posts About SSL

Firstly, no apologies for the 6 week hiatus in posts. I couldn't be bothered to think much about wargaming and even less about painting the damn things. Partially this is down to a persistent inner ear/sinus infection - just can't shift it. Balance problems vary from day to day, but spending all day with mild vertigo doesn't half put one in a bad mood.

So, the tangent. Good mate Pete from down the road, and also of this blog has been collecting and playing much Dystopian Wars (by Spartan Games). Over the last six months or so he's been periodically - read weekly - showing me the latest resin 'n' pewter thing in a blister pack whilst I try to look interested.

 I'll happily admit I've never got into Steampunk / Victorian Sci-Fi, so always regarded the Dystopian Wars miniatures are rather silly and impractical, with the exception of the Metzger Robot/Walker thing. Despite Pete gamely banging on about the great games him and other pal Charlie were having, it simply stayed off the radar.

However, being at a loose end Friday evening before last, I suggested a wargames evening with Pete; I wanted to play SSL, and my concession to being allowed to push little animals around the board was that I'd give Dystopian a go. As it turned out, the afternoon was busy at work and I didn't manage to even think about SSL warbands, or rounding up the miniatures from their various places about the house and garage.

So we played Dystopian.

I rather enjoyed it, to be honest. It's not a particularly subtle system - grab some boats, and whole barrel load of D6, and you're away. Akin to other floaty-based systems, there's turning templates and looking at stats and an element of judging when to go broadside.

Thankfully the similarities stop there. Where historical dreadnought action quickly becomes very dull , Dystopian has all manner of fabulous weaponry and defensive things to fall back on. So instead of just hammering away at each other with big guns, you actually need to think about what is going on. On top of this, each faction is quite distinct in character, meaning different tactical approaches are needed.

A very enjoyable 2hrs of toy soldiers, so much so that I demanded a rematch this Friday just gone and subsequently decided to go 'all in'.

Why do I like it?

Well, along with the bits explained above, it plays fast, has no 'eh? do what?' moments with the rules, and most surprisingly for naval rules doesn't suffer from what I call the HMS Rodney Effect; where one ship is so utterly dominant on the table that the game is over before you've even rolled initiative.

(The Rodders and Nelson weren't great as ships of the line thanks to their inherently poor handling - due to them effectively being the front 2/3rds of the magnificent pre-Washington treaty N-Class. However, on paper, which is what matters in wargaming, they're not the sort of ship you'd want to get into a punch-up with; especially with those nine 15" up front. The nearest thing a German player can produce is either a Tirpitz or Bismarck, neither of which stand a chance... which, along with the mighty King George V, may explain why the Kreigsmarine spent the war going out of their way to not go anywhere near the Home Fleet)

I've also changed my mind on the miniatures; the French are especially good looking, which is handy, as they're going to be my faction.

Payday is this Friday. Painting follows shortly thereafter.


  1. I know it makes me a terrible person but I have to point out you meant 16" for Nelson and Rodders

  2. I'll let you have your anorak there Voltan ;o)
    I typed it out, and thought 'maybe I should wiki that'.

  3. I felt worse at the Durham show when I rembered the name Picton from the description of British napoleonic general, wears a top hat. :P

  4. Ah, naps; generically referred to within our group as 'Pedantic Stench'.

    Much fun to be had with Charlie - the chap in the group who is very into Napoleonics. It has been alleged that I deliberately and maliciously painted some of my 10mm Redline British with the wrong facings, just to set him off.

  5. Good to have you on board again, here''s to some more fast and furious wet bang

  6. Played my first game not too long ago and won with the French! I haven't bought any ships yet, but like the French and Prussians.