About Ewen

My name is Ewen. I am an adult human male of roughly 186 cms. Bendigo has been the place i have called home for the last bunch o'years. Its

The shot heard round the world

A little while ago we had the Shepparton Miniatures Gamers Dystopian Wars Tournament which was awesome. I went with the Polish Lithuanian Commonwealth. I came 5th overall with 2 Wins 1 Draw and 2 Losses. 

It has been a while and the counselling is finally starting to kick in so here goes… This is a quick story of my 3rd match.

I fielded 1 Zamiec with a Grom buddy, 1x Triglav, 3x Marowit, 3x Podaga, 4 Frigates.

My opponent played as New Zealand with 2x Cerberus Battleships, 4x Victorias, 4x Protectors and 5x Goshawks (these were all named after Maori gods of death… fittingly)

Deployment:

New Zealand deployed arrayed along their side of the board pointing inwards. PLC deployed tight in behind an island for cover, very tight.

Turn 1 went fairly quickly and not much happened. The PLC didn’t really take much damage at all. But New Zealand had 2 critically injured Victorias, one downed Goshawk and one injured Goshawk.

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Early in turn one. That block of cruisers will move forward and maintain basically the same spacing… great idea…

Turn 2 opens. NZ win initiative. Goshawks activate targeting the Grom. Ok, thats fine I think to myself. Opponent plays devastating ordinance… Ok fine, it’s early in the game, shouldn’t be pivotal at this point and I get 60 points…and naturally he rolls a triple critical. Yikes. 1st some effect. 2nd Magazine explosion. This results in a dead Grom. But not just a dead Grom but an explosion-y one. Boom.6 hits rolled… Trig minus 1 HP, Zamiec -1 HP Marowits -1 hp each… the Podagas on the other hand. Yikes. All crited. First one rolled some effect, second one another effect… third one: Magazine explosion. Scoring enough HP loss to kill it, causing another massive blast. Oh FFS. Crits to all other ships. Another magazine explosion, this time from a Marowit. Crits all round once again, good bye Triglav. 

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The Grom vaporised the rest of the fleet damaged but the back line is about to cause more problems…

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3rd on the trot 1 Grom, 1 Podaga, and now a Marowit

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Triglav – Dead
3 Marowits – Dead
3 Podagas – Dead
1 Grom – Dead
Zamiec 5 HP lost

The Heavy Frigates were all good which was nice.

More than 70% of the fleet annihilated by a damaged unit of smalls in one hit the first activation of the second turn. Yowzer! My opponent later calculated the odds which he put at 1 in 76.7 million

We played out the turn. I sunk the Vics and the Zamiec went down. Obviously massive MASSIVELY crushing defeat for the Poles. It was epic. Nuts. But man as those Mags started cascading I just had to strap in and take it.

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A consolation prize from my opponent, Hehehe, hopefully it helps ease the pain next time.

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BADGA Con Tournament Part 2

This post continues my write up of how my Russian/Polish forces fared at the BADGA Con Dystopian Wars Tournament

Round 2 RC/PLC vs COA

I entered the next round hoping to recover from a fairly poor showing against the Prussians (see part 1). My next match was against the Covenant of Antarctica. I got a bit slack with photos as the game progressed but here it is anyway.

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Again the RC/PLC deployed tightly to one side.The COA were more spread out. They were using a lot of escorts and running drones as CAP, an unusual choice, which benefited me a bit, not having to face wave after wave of drone.

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The Azov moved forward taking down some smalls

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The Triglav damages the Hippasus, good to see it doing some damage rather than just taking it this time.

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Here is where the photos end, but to run through what happened thereafter:

  • The PLC smalls are taken out.
  • The Hippasus goes down under constant fire from the RC forces rounding the island.
  • The Aristotle’s particle accelerator short pings off the end of the Azov, killing one of its own escorts in the process.

The game had run right through lunch at this point and was eventually called on account of time. This one moved a bit slower than most matches. I think given more time the Russians would have steamrolled from that flank and won the game. While the smalls were gone the other ships hadn’t taken much damage. Although the Diophantus hadn’t seen much action and would have been very tough to take down.

Round 3 RC/PLC vs Australia

The final match of the day, possibly a chance o grab some points and make a leap to the middle of the pack? One can dream…

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Deploying slightly differently this time I split my forces across the sides of the board with the weight to the right flank. I was hoping the Azov to hold that section virtually on its own.

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On the second or 3rd activation of the game the Victorias take a pot shot at the Myshkin bombers from across the board and, you guessed it. Critical hit – Magazine explosion. My opponent then rolled a 6 meaning it dealt: 3 HP +1 equaling a dead bomber and yes this caused a crit on the neighboring bomber (can’t remember what this was though). Yikes. Things weren’t looking great but this sort of action is why we love the game.

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The PLC frigates and the Azov are no match for the Cerberus and Protectors coming there way. The Azov takes some heavy damage and the frigates are no more.

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Across the board the Russians push up exchanging light fire with the Aussies.20150607_163114

  • The Aussie mini subs spring their trap rush forward and board the Triglav. Unfortunately for them they encounter some hardy drunken Polish marines who repel them with virtually no losses. All the Aussies are wiped out in the attempt
  • The Victorias follow this up with their own attempt similarly annihilating themselves against the Polish defenders.
  • The Dazbog moves up and prizes one, the Kostroma prizing the other.
  • The Tasmanias move forward, but one is destroyed in the process and the other is boarded and prized. Luck has definitely moved to favour the Russians.
  • Despite this huge points swing to the RC they are unable to fulfill their victory condition of all smalls +50%.

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After sinking the Azov the Australians round the island and take aim.

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They score a crit – sturginium flare. Teleporting the the Dazbog before its demise. Australia fulfills their victory condition: all mediums +50%.

It was an awesome match and easily the best of the day for me both performance and enjoyability wise. The swings in fortune and cinematic events the magazine explosion, the boarding madness etc really is why we all play this game I think. Its just good fun!

Thoughts on the day and my force

The day itself was run well, especially considering the guy who was running the event got sick and another guy had to fill in. Nice work!

The day was won by a guy fielding the Indian Raj whose bombards wreaked havoc. Best painted fleet went to another player feilding Indian Raj looking very ‘Red Fort’.

I probably should have taken a more traditional Russian force with a Khatanga at least, as well as some Tiksis. But instead I decided to try something a bit different going with the PLC combination. While this allowed me to max out the 60% large/massive component it didn’t have the firepower or staying power other force combos may have had.

The Triglav is ok but I don’t understand why it doesn’t have a shield generator. All the other medium & large PLC units have one, it should too it needs one badly! It is too fragile otherwise.

BADGA Con Tournament Part 1

At the start of June the local gaming group ran an inaugural convention which included events for various game systems but the main event for me was the Dystopian Wars 1 day-er. We played 3 rounds of 2 ½ hours each. In all there were 10 players representing a fair spread of nations including Prussia, India (x2), COA, France and more. As there were only 3 rounds not everyone got to play each other. Tournament Points were awarded for:

  • Victory scoring double your opponents VP
  • Victory (dictated by TAC cards)
  • a draw (both players scored points)

Bonus points were scored for things like killing the commodore, and getting a magazine explosion.

At the end of the day players voted on the best painted fleet.

So to begin with I was planning on running a Khatanga/Tiksi based fleet then the Friday before the event I decided an RC/PLC mixed fleet would be the way to go. My thinking here was that I could maximise the 60% large mediums while maintaining some good firepower. This was slightly flawed logic in the end but it gave me a chance to road test some models I hadn’t played with previously.

My fleet ended up being:

1x Kostroma (Commodore) fleet carrier
1x Triglav assault carrier
1x Dazbog pocket battleship
2x Myshkin medium bombers
3x Bagiennik heavy frigates

The list was very light on mediums/smalls but I hoped the larges would do all the heavy lifting. The Myshkins were a bit of fun, drawing fire away from the main fleet while stratospheric and then making a late game attack run/boarding action. That was the plan, how did it go in action?

Battle 1 Prussia vs Russia

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The Prussians were going to be tough. 3 assault carriers, 1 medium carrier, 2 heavy bombers, and a couple of small frigates to round out the group, along with fistfuls of SAW.

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The Russians huddled together on the right side of the board the Prussians to the left. Early activation were all about spotter planes, luckily for the Russians the Prussians had a series of bad rolls and weren’t able to spot anything much at all.

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Having said that the Triglav started taking damage more or less straight away.
SAW units moved up and started to engage each other. The sheer weight of numbers was in the Prussian favour, although the RC did have a few.

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The heavy bombers start to move forward, one attacking the Triglav and speerschleudering it.

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The Dazbog rounds the island and deals some damage to a bomber.

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The Triglav is brought down and the Azov, with a bomber at its rear, takes a lot of damage very very quickly.

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The Russian bombers, in the final turn of the game, bomb the only thing they can: a frigate. Yay.

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The Azov is sunk. game over.

The game ended due to time, and despite the one-sidedness of the game it was a draw, as the Prussians hadn’t achieved their orders. It was a complete rout though and given more time the board would have been wiped clean of Russians I think.

In a few days time I’ll upload a separate post with the next two battles and a few points around how I thought the fleet went and what I’d do differently.

Until then I hope you enjoyed the report.

Russia vs Australia

The Russians, still buoyed by their victory over French a month earlier were looking to keep up their form while practicing for the up and coming tournament. The Royal Australians were looking to do some major damage, for Queen and Country.

RC:

1x Khatanga
1x Kostroma (commodore)
3x Tiksi
4x Novgorods
Russian SAW (19) included 2 recon planes and the rest were dive bombers

Aus:
1x Cerberus (commodore)
1x Cerberus
2x Victoria
1x Victoria
3x Protector
2x Protector

All Australian SAW (10) were fighters.

The sea had been churned brown, and a string of islets sat on the Russian side of the battlefield, creating in the centre a nice funnel. There was a smaller corridor closer to one edge of the board to. The Australians fanned out pointing toward the main corridor.

2

Initially the Russians moved the Novgorods into a screening line across the mouth of the opening to protect the big K. The Russians only too well know the devastation Australian guns can cause.

3

Both sides moved SAWs forward. The Russian ships moved from right to left across the board while the bulk of the Australian ships moved toward the centre. The Khatanga, having line of sight used area bombardment wiping out the squadron of 2 Protectors. Various Australian ships took pot-shots at the Novgorods killing 2.

4

The SAWs started their work, with the Australian fighters killing a whole unit of RC bombers, while they started to drop ordnance on the Cerberus battleships.

The Tiksis unwisely turned into the corridor (aka the meat grinder) bombarding one of the Cerberus and lone Victoria who had come very close together. The Khatanga continued to move across the board finishing off the Vic and further damaging one Cerberus. The Kostroma moved forward to support the SAW and ease rearmament. The Tiksis quickly started to take damage, with the Aussies focusing on kills rather than spreading fire.

7

The Big K finished off the 3 Protectors who isolated from the rest of the Aussies were easy pickings. The Tiksis and the Cerberus’s traded fire. As did the fighters and bombers. Some bombers were lucky enough to rearm.

7a

MS Paint coming to the rescue showing us the major final movements

In the final 2 turns a lot happened. It looked like it could go either way. The Aussies Fleet Commander boarded, prized and forced compliance from the last remaining Tiksi. Luckily it wasn’t in a great position for the Aussies. The Kostroma blasted up the narrow passage (easy) boarded and rendered the Cerberus derelict, which only had 1 HP left and it slipped below the waves at the end of the turn. The Kostroma then took some hefty damage from the 2 Victoria gunships pointed straight at her. The Khatanga rounded the island and with the help of the lone recon plane was able to sink the Aussie fleet commander’s Cerberus.

8

And thus the Russians achieved their Victory condition: Kill all smalls +50%. The Aussies were close to theirs: Fleet commander +50%. We played out a couple more turns but with the Big K behind the Victorias they weren’t around long enough to finish off the Kostroma, let alone respond to the undamaged K bone.

Thoughts:

  • The Aussies had deployed well, focusing on the central corridor. Which I should never have entered with my Tiksis. Avoiding obvious traps is always a good idea.
  • Some fighters would have been good, to kill off their fighters and then rearm, I didn’t get enough rearming in to really make the SAWs all that, although they did get a number of nice attacks in on the Cerberus battleships.

So this weekend there is a tournament which I’ve been building up to. Still not decided on a final list… Should be a good day, although i think it’ll be an uphill battle. Keep an eye out for a post or two about it in the coming weeks.

Russia vs France – 750 Point Battle

This was my first game for 2015 as well as one of my opponent’s first 2.0 games so it was good to dust off the models and finally get them back on the table. There is also an up and coming tournament being run by the local gaming group so this was also a good chance to test out some 750 point model combos to hopefully wreak havoc with. We fielded:

France
1x Magenta Class Battleship
3x Marseille Class Light Cruisers
2x Voltaire Class Heavy Interceptors
4x Alma Class Reconnaissance Frigates
4x Lyon Class Frigates
3x Lyon Class Frigates

Russia

1x Khatanga
3x Tambovs
2×4 Novgorods
2x Veliky’s (attached to the Big K)

Deployment:

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The Russians were grouped tightly in one corner hoping the mass of their forces would batter the French into submission. The French were arrayed across the back line, seemingly looking to envelop the Russian menace.

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Movement mostly, the Khatanga is able to put some hurt on one of the Marseille. A Novgorod is sunk.

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The frigates on both sides smash each other to pieces, the French come off second best. The Voltaires have also come and gone with the Tambovs taking heavy damage 2 of the 3 receiving criticals and losing AP.

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Tambovs cripple and eventually destroy the Marseilles, with some help from the Novgorods. Meanwhile more french frigates move in from the left and really put some hurt on the Tambovs.

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The Tambovs are finished off and finally rounding the island the and after taking a bit more damage from French SAS the Khatanga opens up, but not targeting the French battleship as expected, instead opting for the small skimmers, sinking the lot.

This achieved the Russian Victory condition sink all smalls +50%. The French had to sink the Khatanga to achieve theirs. I’ve had a patchy record with the Coalition but this was nice bit of form.

Conclusions:

  • I don’t think the forces were particularly well matched. These French may have achieved more against another foe but the Russians were a bit too much.
  • The Special K is crazy good, no wonder its the staple of most Russian fleets. It can take a beating and has guns falling off it.
  • Tambovs did well despite being pushed into the centre of the board, where most of the French were directed. They could have been better supported but they held up and did their jobs… until they died, like good Russian serfs, in the service of the overlord.

Anyway… this battle happened over a month ago now and the Russians, a slightly different force, have since taken on the Australians. I’ll post that soon.

The tournament is happening over the Queen’s birthday long weekend here in Victoria, Australia, yes we know its not even her actual birthday but its a holiday so yay for that, but a full run down of events will be posted thereafter.

Cheers.

RC V. Ottoman Empire Round 3 – Turkey Slapped

The Russians and the Ottoman Empire were all set to go at it once again. The Russians were ready for action, hoping to build on an encouraging loss, if there is such a thing. The Ottoman Empire were looking to defend their title as undisputed Black Sea Biff champions.

The Ottoman Empire had been able to build on their forces, adding in a Death Bringer Submarine to the rotation. This brought the points total up to near 1000. This gave me some options when building my list and I had a good idea… it was a good idea… and I stand by it… Up you can probably see where this may be headed…

It should also be noted the Ottoman fleet has had some paint lathered on, its a simple but effective scheme, thus far, but will look great.

The game took place a few weeks (possibly months now…) ago just prior to the release of 2.0, so it was something of a last hurrah for the 1.1 rule set.

The lists:
Russians:-
1x Borodino
3x Suvurovs
2x 4x Novgorods

PLC Allies (oh yeah!)
1x Zamiec
3x Gryf Flame Blimps

Ottoman Empire:-
1x Kanuni Class Dreadnought
2x Sinop Class Armoured Cruisers
2x 2x Avci Class Destroyers
3x Zuhâf Class Small Flyers
4x Mizrak Class Frigate

Black Wolf Mercs
1x Death Bringer

I was very much looking forward to getting the PLC guys into action, especially the newly painted Gryfs!

Forces lined up on each side. The RC deployed the Zamiec and the Borodino on my left. To try and make the most of the shield generator/mimic link up.

Unfortunately the Ottoman Empire Dreadnought was deployed on the exact opposite side, making its sinking unlikely. The Death Bringer was, however very much fair game.

Boro Hit
The opening salvo of the game came from the Death Bringer. Its target: the Borodinosaur. The Ottoman’s had learned last time how dangerous the Big B is left unchecked. They were taking no chances. The shot was fairly epic, lots of 6’s. The Ablative Armour was no more, but it had prevented a triple critical.

Suvs Storms
Storms harried the Suvurovs as the Novgorods were thinned out.

Dread Mines
Mines were deployed fencing off the dreadnought.

Zamiec Returns Fire
The Zamiec swoops in for a little revenge on the death bringer.

Suv Gryf meat grinder
The Suvurovs and Gryfs start taking heavy damage, one Suv is sunk another slowly corroding away.

DB put on ice
The Zamiec takes out the death bringer a rare high point for the RC/PLC lads.

Boro just alive
Nav lock on the Boro as the Zamiec takes light damage while the Gryfs, having done little continue to take damage, one by one plunging into the sea.

B Dead
The Boro is out for the count.

end
Game.Set.Ottoman Empire.

I think this loss came down to a couple of key issues:

1. Poor manoeuvring
2. Not the best deployment
3. Bad targeting

My big plan was to hide Novgorods and Gryfs behind an island, using the Gryfs to burn the AP out of the Dread before mounting a 2 wave boarding attack on it. While it sounded good in theory sending waves of vodka soaked peasants into the burning shell of a dread couldn’t have ended well for anyone. It wasn’t a bad plan… just poorly executed. Sending the Gryfs up the middle in between all their units, especially considering the broadsides was essentially suicide, they never fired a shot. I should have known better. Furthermore the Novgorods kept peeking out from behind the island allowing themselves to be picked off one by one. I then separated the units and they died pointless ineffective deaths.

The whole flank on that side ended up quite weak with the big hitters all on the opposite side. They might have been better in a more central position.

The 3rd speaks for itself. Poor target choices, the Gryfs barely fired a shot, if at all, it so yeah. Less than good.

Tips for next time. Well 2.0 should help deployment, reducing the need to build in additional activations and allowing me to counter the heavy hitters a bit better.The re-balancing as a whole should really help.

Given the 2.0 changes I’ll probably need to take a repair ship or two to keep the HP up above the halfway mark…

So, another loss for the RC. The Boro never really got into the game before being taken down. Really the whole RC fleet didn’t do a whole lot. Just slowly dying… It was not an inspiring performance. Big Zed though, he does alright. MVP for that one.
The key issue was bad manoeuvring, sending the Suvurovs and the Gryfs right into the centre, between the two flanks of the Ottoman Empire. Secondly I exposed the Novgorods far too early, allowing them to be picked off without them doing anything of import.

Despite all my gripes it was a good game and a fine farewell to 1.1.

ConstantiYESple? RC vs Ottoman Empire II Electric Boogaloo

The Russians, still hurting from last battle, were back up against the exact same fleet as last time. The Russians will be happy to make it through without getting pantsed. The Ottoman Empire, triumphant… maybe cocky… were ready to put out some more hurt.

It was time for the Black Sea Battle 2 – Odessa Offensive! (I’ve run out of puns that don’t involve the Crimean peninsula…)

Wanting to test all my theories straight up I went for:

1x Tunguska
1x Borodino
2x Pesets
4x Rostov’s
2x Veliky’s
4x Novgorods

The Ottoman Empire had the same fleet:
1 x Kanuni Class Dreadnought
2 x Sinop Class Armoured Cruisers
2x 2x Avci Class Destroyers
3 x Zuhâf Class Small Flyers
4 x Mizrak Class Frigate

Deployments (Well, after the first move anyway…)

  Turn 1 Turn 1 Deploy   Tunguska gets first damage of the game with a hit on the Dread! Was it a sign of things to come?

T Damage

First blood really goes to the Ottoman Empire, however with the Mizraks taking out the Velikys. Novgorods get revenge moving up and wiping out most of the squadron. The Novgorods pay a heavy price for their maneuver though with the Sinops killing a couple in return.

Meanwhile on the other flank things are getting congested, with mines, submarines, destroyers and flyers all getting funnelled into the small gap. The Tunguska is rewarded for its shirtiness by having its ablative stripped and then being dealt a critical by some TFTs. Sturingium Flare sending it back 4 inches. Things were getting tough.

t flare

Mines annihilate some Rostovs and the Tunguska takes yet more damage, another critical and is starting to look decidedly unhealthy.

Mines

T Crit

Soon inevitable death comes – swift and relentless. And to cap it all off the Dread had managed to heal its only point of damage, thanks to a STAR card. It seemed like history was repeating…

Nobody told the Borodino this however, who rolled into town and took a startling dislike to the two Sinops and decided they shouldn’t exist anymore. Some fantastic (for me) die rolls and a STAR card later they were dead. Both of them. Straight up murdered. This may not seem like much but coming from last game where I could barely damage a frigate this was huge.

One down, one damaged, still with dice in hand

One down, one damaged, still with dice in hand

Soon all the Rostovs on the other side were dead. The storms had been playing havoc with the TFTs, slowing them down no end. The Pesets moved in and attempted a torpedo strike on the dread with no effect, even if i had missed completely the CC would have annulled any hits. The two flanks were almost mirror images of each other.

Last Pesests

The Borodino finished off everything on its side leaving it with nothing to do and way too much distance to cover. I was down to only 2 squadrons comprised of the 1 Pesests sub and the Borodino. The last sub being the difference between achieving 70% or not for the Ottoman Empire. Whereas I had to kill the Dread to achieve it no matter what else happened.

End Game

Needless to say the last Pesets perished. The TFTs having been taken out much earlier by enemy fighters.

Regardless of the ultimate result, the Russian Coalition made its presence felt. It was not a pushover. It could take the fight right up in their faces and… yes… still lose, but… shut up! They did just fine! Its about how you play the war, not the result that counts. I’ll sat that now anyway…

Things to take away:

  1. The Borodino packs more impact than Vladimir Putin’s hairy man nips. Ok not that much punch but still a lot
  2. The Tunguska did well but was out gunned against the Dred. It would have been a very differnet game if the Boro and the Tunguska had switched places
  3. I needed to bum rush my TFTs in, rather than minimum move, which through a storm is 4 inches. It took all game to get them close and they never got to attack at all (the dread anyway)
  4. I was lucky to avoid some of the bombard shots thanks to fixed channel and different operational priorities, this help the Borodino arrive in striking distance at full strength
  5. The Pesets didn’t do much and seem to lack the punch required to take on the dread but may do ok against their cruisers, essentially they too were on the wrong flank
  6. the Rostovs, taken for ‘Hard Impact’, were never in a great position for it. Points may be better spent on more Novgorods.

What will I take next time?

  • Maybe a very similar list. The Pesets are a good psychological weapon, if nothing else. Rostovs may be rotated out though.
  • Do i need to try the Moskova? Maybe, it is an up armoured Borodino after all. Although it a flat out stat v. stat comparison with the Ottoman dread its still not really up to the task by itself and it is expensive.
  • Could the PLC Zamiec be the answer? Shield generators for things to mimic? More TFTs, flame throwers could work??? Might be an option…

Instanbul was ConstantiNOOOple

It had been a while since I last played Dystopian Wars. It was all the way back in the heady days of 2013, such a distant memory now. I had an itch that needed a scratch, as anyone infected with the potent, but lovely, STD of DW can attest.

I was lucky enough to find a local game group that had a number of players with a wide range of factions but no naval Russians so along I went, glad that I would soon be sated. Bitter sweet was the outcome, as it always is…

I was up against the Ottoman Empire. It was all set to be a Black Sea Shakedown, a Big Bash on the Bosphorus, a Dardanelles Dalliance, an Istanbul Infraction. It was time to settle a grudge as old as Russia itself.

I went with:

1x Kostroma
1x Kthanga
3x Suvurovs
2x 4x Novgorods
3x Velikys (attached to the Kostroma)

The Ottoman Empire had:

1 x Kanuni Class Dreadnought
2 x Sinop Class Armoured Cruisers
2x 2x Avci Class Destroyers
3 x Zuhâf Class Small Flyers
4 x Mizrak Class Frigate

I deployed the Russians neatly in a tight formation behind an island. The Suvurovs ready to head one way the Kostroma and Kthanga the other. Novgorods were arrayed in a defensive wall to shield the larges.

RC Deploy

The Ottomans spread out along the opposite side with the Dreadnaught on one end.

Not the best photo but you get the idea

I won’t go exactly through each turn in minute detail but here is what went down:

Russians moved forward as did the Ottomans. Several Novgorods fall. First blood to the Ottoman Empire. Russians retaliated by taking down some small skimmers.

Early

Then the storms started to gather, oh to literally, around my larges. It slowed movement down considerably as well as hampered my efforts at long range fire. It was not too long before the abalative was stripped from the Kthanga, it was the beginning of the end.

Ablative gone

Soon there were no escorts or frigates left for the Russians. A light drizzle of Novgorod parts had started though.There had been very little damage done in return apart from a few skimmers and mine planes taken out, but not putting any serious dents in the Ottoman offensive.

The corrosive weapons from the Ottoman ships were eating through both the carrier and the ice breaker. The Kthanga like a tired, wounded bull thrashes trying to hit the matador doing little but refusing to give up.

Kthanga fights on

While remote controlled mines ripped through the Suvurovs.

Mines

TFTs attempt diving run on dread, come up short with only minor damage resulting inflicted. Then a collision! Not a ram, unfortunately, occurs doing some damage to the enemy… the drill was so close! It was nearly magic.

Collision

The Ottoman dread moves in brandishing both broadsides the Kthanga is, finally, down (rest well my sweet) and the Kostroma sensing the futility of life (so Russian) decides to go the same way.

K goes down

Kostroma goes down

Game. Set. Ottoman.

It was a whitewash, plain and simple. The Ottoman ships were powerful at range and the storms wreaked havock for me trying to get into the fray. By the time i was there it was too late.

I also made some tactical errors, my targeting was almost random, very unfocused. Which is not helpful.

Lessons learnt:

1. If you have a newly painted Tunguska USE IT the movement, power, and mimic generator should have put it front and centre, indeed i intended to play it but didn’t, thinking longer ranged weapons would have been better.

2. Range, in this case, wasn’t as advantageous as it seemed thanks to storms. I found myself, toward the end wishing I had brought a Borodinosaur instead, despite the fact that the Kthanga took out some of the only units i managed to kill.

3. Boarding could do ok here, I should have tried it more, instead of shooting. You never know what some vodka fueled serfs might achieve. Indeed I think this might be an ok tactic against them more generally, not that I have much experience against them.

4. Ottoman units have a lot of MARs and generators but some are fragile underneath, some of their units had very low HP, so focused damage is the way to go.

5. After much discussion afterwards it was agreed that submerged units would probably also do quite well against them. As the bombards wouldn’t be so effective against them.

So with all that in mind I should have included in my force in order of perceived usefulness

1. Tunguska
2. Pesets Subs
3. Borodino
4. Rostovs, just to throw another shrimp on the proverbial… Fast, hard impact = solid potential.

When I next face the Ottoman Empire I will be far more prepared and focussed, unfortunately so too will my opponent who was already hatching plans involving islands, all stops and other nasties to impede the Russian advance.

2014 – Once more into the… thing

Like the others I had left the blogging to Peter while enjoying my holidays and the Christmas period, good job and many thanks. Now I’m back at work I must escape the realities of the day to day grind and find somewhere I feel at home, welcome and happy… somewhere Dystopian!

2014 will hopefully be a big year for me game wise. Here are my hopes, dreams and aspirations for the year ahead.

Acquisitions

I have a fairly sizable Russian Naval Core now, not much more needs to be developed there however there are still some gaps that need to be covered:

Land Ho!

For Christmas I received a Russian Coalition Land Box. Previously I hadn’t been too fussed with that side of the game, however, seeing the minis and hearing good reports of the land game I quickly changed my mind. I quickly purchased some Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (mediums and smalls) to complement the RC or to use standalone. I still need to deepen my RC and buy some larger/massive units. So that’s number 1!

Air ho…

Or something. As a Russian player my air force is as follows: 2x Myshkin Bombers and 1x Tunguska. There is also a PLC Zamiec Carrier too, naturally. This needs to be developed somehow, probably with the PLC Aerial box, because blimps.

Emigrate…?

Lastly, I want a new nation, one that offers a different play style and set of abilities to the hard drinking, hard fighting Russians. I like the models for the mercenary factions. From the cool drone tenders of the black wolf, the giant gatling cannon of the Eclipse and so on but I am a traditionalist I guess, I want a nation so I can wave a flag and damn and blast everyone for being foreign. To that end I am mulling the following options:

• Chinese Federation – A floating forbidden city with energy shields and flame throwers, what’s not to love?

• Ottoman Empire – Minarets, minarets, minarets! Plus drop mines and storms

• Italian League – Mini boats are sweet. Plus columns on a ship is just fun

 

So those are my main options. Probably leaning more toward the Chinese or Italians at this stage, but could go anywhere really. I’d almost prefer a full nation over an alliance nation as that’d give more options but am undecided as to which of those I’d go for….

Painting

I have a lot of painting to do, well I say a lot it’s not as much as some (haha Giles!). But a lot of land forces a bunker and tower set, Tunguska and 3 Suvorov’s will still take a fair old time. Still yet to decide on a scheme, especially for the PLC flame tanks scream ‘paint me red’ but my Zamiec is blue so a blue theme it might be. Although reddish elements may appear on the flamers themselves I guess…

Terrain

I’ll leave proper terrain elements to the professionals but I am going to do a sea battle board at some stage this year, everyone needs a battle board.

Storage

 

My current storage ‘system’ would send most gamers into apoplectic fits of rage and/or stress induce panic attacks. Novgorod on Novgorod, Cruisers crushing each other and the TFTs… the poor TFTs… needless to say the madness must end. Some form of tackle box setup should suffice and replace the various post box and bag setup I have currently. But yes, this is something that must be done.

Play

I am hoping to get a lot more gaming in this year. Try out a few land games and a linked series of scenarios would also be awesome. The key thing is to get the minis on the table. The rest should take care of itself.

I, like Peter, have had very patchy form across all my previous fixtures. I need to tighten up my game. I’ll need to work out how to mitigate a couple of strong tactics from my usually COA playing brother and also worry about the Aussies, after a nightmare encounter with a couple of Victoria class gunboats – it was raining pieces of ablative armour… such a sad day…

So that’s it. Purchase, paint, play and pummel. Here is hoping for a dystopian 2014!

 

High Hopes for a Lucky Strike

So, I’ve just finished painting up the Strike Flotilla box, the ships are ready to join the fray in earnest. I’ve done them in the same sort of scheme, paint wise, as the rest of my fleet, which is to be expected really…

All the models look great, as is expected. From the hodge-podge of decks, grates and rooves that is the Nikel to ‘dat drill each has its own character while paying homage to their antecedents. It was a struggle to do them justice.

Strike Flotilla

The goal for Spartan in introducing these ships to the Russian’s was to add some much needed strategic depth and gameplay variation. I for one am very glad and hopeful for the future. A future where the waves are crested with the mangled hulls of my enemies (fair warning Giles).

The places you'll go...

The places you’ll go…

The wedge, much like the Mighty Duck’s ‘Flying V’ has always been the mainstay of Russian tactics. Grouping all ships together and charge head-on toward the enemy, hoping the serfs strapped to the outer hull, the so called ‘ablative armour’, will hold long enough to bring the big guns into range.

Unfortunately for me this hasn’t really been overly successful. Mostly due to placing units too far apart and/or not sheltering the right units in the right way, meaning when/if I arrive I have very little left in the tank and the units that do are too far apart to provide any real concentrated fire. Divided we fall and all that business. I always seem to end up with the smalls off by themselves getting picked off one by one and larges getting pounded into oblivion. The big guys still pack a punch but don’t usually survive too long once they are in range, due to the concentration of enemy fire. Typically you’d either use the larges to shield the smalls or the smalls to reduce the incoming dice on the larges. This is something I need to do better but having options is good.

I’ve played two games with elements of the the Strike Flotilla in them and so far they’ve done well but are yet to be fully battle tested. Here are the key things I’m looking forward to with these new ships:

1. Drilling something… anything… The big ship of the Strike Flotilla is the Khatanga, which I’m thinking of naming the RNS Khodorkovsky (you can thank google for that joke).  It has a massive drill on it… so naturally Drilling Something has to be top of the list, even if it turns out to be horribly impractical, who can resist. The few rams I have done have always been highlights of each engagement, as only ramming something can be… (too much?), moving on…

That should do the trick...

That should do the trick…

2. The Tiksi’s MAR: Attachment, Naval Medium 1. A reinforced cruiser squadron plus one of these bad boys providing some longer range indirect fire from the rear? Yes please! Apparently the 2/2 Suvorov/Tambov squadrons were very powerful so a 2/1/1 formation should do pretty well. Whether or not its worth the points for just one will be the test. 

mulling combinations...

mulling combinations…

3. Concussive Barrage ammo. I don’t play many factions besides COA so boarding isn’t a huge threat but its not an ideal tactic either, given the drunk serfs being forced to carry out the missions. This should help make offensive boarding easier if concentrated properly, as well as provide some defence when the time comes.

4. Range/Indirect Fire. This was a big issue in the last game I played. Ablative was stripped off left and right thanks to the Australian Victoria Class gunships with their double exploding ammo. Granted I didn’t shield myself well (icebergs from the Khatanga will help this) but being able to fire back earlier would have offered some respite/vengeance. Being able to do this easier from a well covered position can only be a good thing. It may mean I start using recon planes too for a change.

Ready to join the swarm

Ready to join the swarm

5. Sheaf Fire, being able to hit multiple targets with a single link fire attack is always good. This seems to be a great way to hurt a closely formed squadron of smalls, mediums, or potentially spreading fire across a couple of squadrons if they’ve been funnelled closely together. This could also be effective in controlling tactical points on the board, forcing ships away from certain areas.

Truly mortorfying... I'll see myself out

Truly mortarfying… I’ll see myself out

These are my musings on key tactical benefits of the new ships and what I’ll be trying to use them for. If nothing else they give the Russians some ability to hit back as they crawl across the table. Definitely looking forward to getting these guys on the table.