First up is the brand new, never-before-seen Unit Upgrades. Dust Warfare is a streamlined system, but a lot of complaints about unit individualism did crop up. Now, units are able to add select upgrades for a few points, changing things up without need for extensive modeling or record keeping.
Without going into great length about each upgrade, which I will be reviewing on Dust-War.com, I will touch on the few that really impressed me.
For the Axis, High Visibility Lasers are an all-star, in my book. Being able to roll for Blanks on the Laser special ability instead of hits is a marked improvement. This means a lot given that the Axis have a new Laser-toting unit in Hades that really benefits from this. For its cost, it’s a solid choice.
The SSU have a nice one – Grizzled Veterans. This means the unit must take a casualty before they gain a Suppression marker. That is a huge boon, especially with wound-sink Heroes and combined squads (meaning more models that are harder to Suppress).
There are plenty more, but let’s move on to the next part – the Axis and Allies additions.
First up are the Devil’s Own and French Foreign Legion, which are similar units for the Allies. They are available in different slots, but offer up some withering Phaser love. The FFL really shine, I feel, as they have one of the new Special Abilities – Supercharged! This means on their first roll, they get double the combat dice. This is a major bonus, even if the weapons are overall weaker than their Red Devil cousins.
Next up are the new Jagdgrenadiere and Laser-Jadgrenadiere units, both of which feature a new format to a unit. A single base with three models and a unified Damage Capacity, meaning damage won’t lessen their combat effectiveness as much. They are also significantly cheaper, if a little less potent, than their predecessor units. At around 10 AP less, the Laser-Jagd seem simply fantastic, especially with High Visibility Lasers and a good field of fire.
To further bolster the Axis, there is a pair of transport walkers, one of which can even be selected as Additional Support. These are going to be very useful for getting troops across the table and adding overall firepower to the more Soldier 2 oriented lists. The Sturmprinz can even carry guys inside, as well as hanging off its hull, in addition to a rather good anti-air gun, too.
Now on to the real big addition to the game – the Red Platoon. This is the third SSU platoon option, bringing them up to the normal trio available currently. This whole platoon has a new format to it, featuring unique options in the 3rd and 4th Sections usually reserved for Support roles, with Support options from the Zverograd Soldier selections.
The new Red units are few, but look solid. There is the Red Command, which is standard Command fare with the typical loads, but with the “Unleash Hell” Order, allowing a unit that has neither Suppression nor Reaction markers to make a Sustained Attack action. This comes at the cost of two Suppression markers afterwards, so it isn’t too unbalanced at all.
Up next is the Red Storm and Red Thunder, the former being a UGL-toting Frontoviki Squad with Molotovs, while the later is a dedicated antitank squad with a pair PTRS-47s. At 26 and 20 AP respectively, they are reasonably priced units that open up a whole load of new list options for players. Given the nature of the Red Platoon format, this should really diversify the format and give SSU players a lot of variation.
Now we move onto another first for Dust – tracked vehicles. These come in the form of the potent IS-5 and IS-48 Heavy Tanks. The IS-5 A “Mao Zedong” is a clear all-star, being able to hurt anything at 36” and on a heavy platform, it should wind up in a fair amount of SSU lists. The rest have their place, but look for a Dust-War.com article for some more depth on them in the near future.
The next shiny, new toys the SSU gets are the very nasty KV-3 Heavy Walkers – the Babushka and the Matrioshka. Of the two, the Matrioshka is the clear choice since the SSU really lacked the anti-armor firepower of the other factions and this remedies that well. The Dual 152mm Guns just put a mean hurt on any armor rating – from 9/1 on your average Medium to 7/1 on even the heaviest of heavies. This will see play, even with its somewhat steep price tag of 65 AP.
The last new unit is a major deal – Winter Child. This is our first look at a Superhuman in the world of DUST and boy does he look awesome. He is a veritable tank, being Soldier 4 with Damage Resilient, most weapons in the game will struggle to hurt him and when they do, he is a whopping Damage Capacity 6. At 70 AP, though, he won’t see use outside of your average 300 AP games and even then, he won’t be putting down as much hurt as some other similarly priced units, but that doesn’t me he doesn’t hit like a freight train.
His Radiation Beams will make mincemeat of Soldier 2 units, especially those only in Soft Cover, while his Steel Fists can beat on light and medium armor rather well. Flight means he can zip around the table and also punch aircraft. Yup, he is that good.
Beyond the new units is an entire campaign system, complete with unit experience, army growth, and various other elements that look like a real treat for players. A new Battle Builder is present, as well as all the various sheets for tracking everything. I have yet to play through one, but I can’t wait to get to it, as it will be much easier than trying to do up in-house rules for our players.
Overall, this new Campaign Book is simply awesome! As an avid Dust player, I am excited to see the continued growth of the factions and the addition of new units without power creep or any noticeable invalidating of existing units (at least, not too much). For more CB: Hades content, keep an eye on Dust-War.com, because we are putting out articles weekly reviewing in-depth all the new content.
~So who’s been playing DUST Warfare out there?