Escorts; small, fast, unarmed (mostly) and with armour like tissue paper – yet these ships are some of the best investments you can add to your fleet in Dystopian Wars.
Escorts are only deployed with either large or massive models, up to three craft. This applies to all large or massive models – more on this later. These large or massive models are the “parent” model of the squadron and all craft are activated at the same time. This means they all move, shoot and assault together. Escorts are purchased as Small models but don’t contribute to the percentage maximums of the Small category range.
Escorts have a high speed value, normally 10-12 inches each activation; allowing them to easily keep pace with their larger parent vessel and even gain or lose distance during the activation – even changing from one side to another. There is a danger with this though, sometimes you need to turn your parent ship and if you’re not careful your escorts will collide. A 2 hull point escort versus an 8-10 hull point battleship really is a one sided collision.
In a Dystopian Wars game, you can link the fire of a single turret or single vessel with another turret/vessel in the same squadron (unless the squad is broken of course). Linking fire halves the number of Attack Dice for the second and each subsequent weapon – Escorts and their parent vessel instead Combine Fire, meaning they don’t halve their Attack Dice when using Auxiliary weapons.
This means a Battleship with an AA (Ack-Ack) of 8, in a squadron with 3 escorts each having AA of 2, will have 14 dice to roll against Rockets, attacks from Flying models or Assaulting marines. This works similar to attacks from Torpedoes, swapping AA for CC (Concussion Charges).
So how do you get rid of these helpful, little ships? A good tactic to use is to send in a squadron of Frigates to attack the escorts, using Gunnery Ordnance (IE turrets, broadsides etc.). Your frigates will most likely be destroyed by the parent vessel but if they can remove the protecting escorts then they have done their job.
Don’t try to rely on your attack ship(s) rockets or torpedoes to destroy escorts as their parent vessel also protects them if they’re fired upon by this type of gunnery.
Another advantage of Escorts, away from the game board, is their price. After buying your naval starter set you only need to buy one blister of Escort models and immediately you have double the number of models you need.
You can also do some interesting things with Escorts. The first is, to provide greater protection from air attacks, combine a parent model with escorts and a CAP (Combat Air Patrol). In this configuration you would not only gain the combined fire of all ships but also a squadron of tiny flyers as additional defense.
While escorts are great for naval vessels, what about flying or land craft? Even though models are starting to appear for flying and land craft, your Naval escorts can do the job just as well.
As mentioned previously, Escorts are attached to large or massive models. Land Ships or the larger Sky Fortresses can have escorts attached to them, so long as the escorts remain within six inches of the parent model. Obviously a problem if a Sky Fortress decides to fly over land or a Land Ship moves away from the coast. Be careful though, if you don’t measure your movement correctly you may end up with your escorts colliding with terrain.
I hope this article has convinced you about the value of these small but handy craft. Questions or comments are welcome.
Good gaming and watch out for those exploding dice.