Empire of the blazing sun... Mofafucka!!!

It is a really cool game.
The core mechanics are relatively straight forward..if you've played a tabletop wargame before.. which we all have.
Bringer of Death and I got our first game in on Wednesday and it really is cool.
The 6'x4' looks really good with the two fleets on it, manouevring for position and range...
The first few turns took us a little while as we figured out what we were doing with our ships and which of them had the ability to take out others/were vulnerable to other stuff.

But lets start at the beginning:

- We decided to play an "open" game with 6 fixed turns.
- Size was "starter box" as these are balanced for points, this is even an option in the rulebook before you escalate up to higher point value like 1000points to 2500pts.

Pretty simple. Roll 2D6 and pick which board edge you want to deploy from.
Deployment zone is 8" on from that edge.
We went from short edge to short edge so we had the whole length of the 6' to play with.. I like to take a length lol
You take it in turns with the person that won the roll of to go first and deploy one squadron.
A squadron is essentially just a unit.
This is similar to how WFB used to be I think, and allows for some sort of strategic balance of forces but also for the occasional surprise deployment.

The game itself..
At the start of the turn you roll 2D6 and whoever wins MUST go first.
From here it is a system of alternative activations of units until both players are out of units.
For the first 2 turns, as I said, we just moved up the board trying to get our squadrons into the right position for a preemptive strike against the enemy battle group.
The term Alpha Strike is really quite apt in this game, except that it does not really exist. A crippling slavo fired before the enemy is able to react, then sweep in and finish off the pieces.
I play a Empier of the Blazing Sun (read: Japanese) fleet, it's principal feature other than manouevrability is that its principal weaponry is large quantities of rockets.
Rockets that work best in longer range bands (side note: Range bands are up to 8", 16", 24", 32" - making 32" the maximum theoretical range and you get a certain number of attack dice in each band.) having the greatest number of dice in that range.
I thought I could therefore Alpha Strike Bringer's British fleet, but he also has a long range weapons system.. the more traditional Naval weapon.. the Torpedo!

So matched in range and both able to shoot down the enemies primary weapon - Bringer with dakka dakka (or Ack Ack as it is called) to gun down my rockets with AA guns and myself able to deploy my Concussion Grenades which are basically just counter measures.
Both systems are cool as fuck.
At one point, my Cruisers linked their fire against a Bomber flier of Steve's, which was already struggling due to a fusion reactor leak caused by a critical hit earlier in the game..
I hit with a mighty 7 rockets, only for them all bar one to be negated as they were gunned down by his ships guns! Damn that 'exploding 6' mechanic (a roll of 6 counts as 2 hits and you get to reroll the dice..creating the possibility, however slim, of cancelling or generating any number of hits!)

Damage was the other thing we found tough. in order to cause damage to a boat or any other vehicle in Dystopian Wars you need to meet or exceed its Damage Rating (DR), this is effectively it's armour rating. To do this you roll your attack dice and any 4+'s hit (with 6's exploding as I just talked about). Your hits must equal or beat the DR and in doing so you cause a reduction in Hull Points (HP). When there are 0 HP left, the boat is dead.
Critical Damage can be caused by beating the boat's Critical Rating, which indicates that you have absolutely smashed through the armour of the vehicle, or hit a sweet, weak spot in the armour. This can cause the vehicle to just explode horrendously in one hit.
Damage can be negated through the use of Counter Ack Ack (gunning down the rockets before they hit for example) or through the use of Counter Measures (vs torpedo's) or the use of shield generators etc to save the damage (think popping smoke or flicker fields in 40K).
Each boat gets a certain number of Attack Dice (AD) for each gun depending on which range band you are in. For most ballistic weapons/gunnery weapons..the further away you are the less dice you get to roll.
Worked example, Frigates have guns which shoot up to mark band 3 (24") and decrease in AD from 4,3,1 in each range band respectively. Unless their fire is combined you can see that it is statisatically very hard to cause enough hits on an average vehicle to actually damage it with one boat.
Up clsoe and personal, this is another story.
There are no restrictions, other than LOS and fire arcs, about which guns can shoot ..so your frigate can move it's 12" and then shoot all its guns.
This is love. Far better than in 40K for example, where movement shuts down the capability of most tanks to actually shoot.. for the most part, limited movement = limited shooting. Which sucks.
Dystopian Wars seems to be a very violent game.
We found this out very quickly in turns 3 onwards as we were both close enough to lay the smack down on each other with buckets of attack dice.
Lots of dead boats and frigate squadrons..

Flying stuff is cool. my Jap Bombers are equipped with Rockets that fire 7 AD in Range Band 3, they can move 10"..so my Bombers have an effective range of 34" where they can unleash a large volume of shots. They can link fire from the squadron to roll 10 AD together against a single target (link fire allows the squadron to shoot at the same target, but the second onwards member of the squadron shoots at half AD rounded down, so 7+ 7 goes to 7 + 3 AD). Link fire provides an excellent statistical chance of smashing through Damage Ratings and even Critical Ratings.
We also learnt that fliers have very different roles in the game. Steve's British Doncaster Bombers, for example are armed with Torpedo's.. these of course can only target Naval vessels and therefore Steve had nothing to shoot down my planes, other than his naval fleet of course, and therefore usung range to my advantage I could gain aerial dominance and rule the skies mwuhahahahaha!

The final thing I want to talk about is tiny fliers. They are so freaking cool! You can get 2 Wing Squadrons for free (points) in a Naval Battle Group and they are up to 5 strong.
They have limtied fuel which you have to conserve (losing fuel for flying fast, launching an attack or aborting an attack run due to incoming fire) or they fall into the sea. They can unleash a hellish amount of dakka.. and we all know from 40K that weight of fire is so very often more effective than quality of fire.
They ping about the table as either Escorts to large ships (like your main Battleship) or they cruise around as their own little squadron..
I think however, we are playing them wrong.
We had it so that on a roll of 6 for incoming fire one dies, on 4+'s they were hit, but save that on a 5+ due to 'Big Fuel Tanks' special rule.. that they resolve their Ack Ack (range 4") against their target simultaneously as the counter attack AA, and that they have to use combined fire rule - wherein they use linked fire but with the full amount of attack dice.
So they always get to shoot at full capacity, but are very fragile as each hit causes an 'Abort' result, meaning a loss of fuel.. when they suffer a total loss of fuel..they die.

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