Episode 35 – Mother Russia!



Welcome to episode 35 of the Element 270 podcast!

In this episode Giles and special guest Ewen discuss the Russian Coalition forces in Dystopian Wars, including the changes between the older and the newer ORBAT.

This episode has been a long time coming, and many apologies for the poor quality of the audio, and occasional distraction, we were having difficulties with Skype and children both!

Find the episode directly here: http://traffic.libsyn.com/element270/E270-035-Mother_Russia.mp3

As always you can email us at element270podcast@gmail.com

Find us on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/element270/

And on Twitter: @element270


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

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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

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

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.

The Hunt for the Black Wolf

Captain Nemo knew time was up.  Those damned Russian ships had hounded him all the way since he left port in Tromso, Norway.  He couldn’t go any further, not without risking the wrath of the Russian navy on the rest of the mercenary force.

With grim resolve, Captain Nemo ordered the Death Bringer submarine “Tooth and Claw” to reverse course.  Amongst the dotted islands of northern Norway he would bring sorrow to those who had sought his doom.


A rainy weekend and a meet up with an old friend – what could be added to make this day any better? Well how about a Dystopian Wars game.  Dave didn’t bring his Australian fleet so I decided on a classic match up; the Black Wolf Mercenaries vs the Russian Coalition.

I constructed 1000 point fleets for the battle – nothing special, just enough for a good old fashioned bash.

The Russian Coalition had 1 x Moskva Dreadnought with Target Jammer, 1 x Borodino Battleship with Internal Target Jammer, 2 x Pesets Submarines with Target Painter (Primary Gunnery), 3 x Suvorov Cruisers, 3 x Rostov Destroyers, 5 x SAS fighters with Ace and 5 x SAS Dive Bombers with Ace.

The Black Wolf Mercenaries had 2 x Death Bringer Submarines, 2 x Manticore Support Vessels with Main Turrets, 2 x Nemesis Battle Cruisers with Rocket Batteries, 8 x Fury Frigates (2 x 4 squadrons) and 10 SAS Torpedo Bombers.


At the end of turn 1 the Black Wolf ships had pushed across the board, the twin Death Bringers slid beneath the waves to the deepest of depths.


The Manticore’s skimmed over the waters surface, providing support to the Reaper attack subs.  The mini-subs sped towards the Russian cruisers – two of their number broken by the power the Russian guns.


A squadron of Furies brought their hull guns to bear on one Russian cruiser.  Impressively the guns let loose and scored 20 successes.  Suffice to say, that Russian cruiser didn’t participate much for the rest of the game.

“Transmission from the Savatov Sin Captain” announced the radio operator, “she reports one Russian cruiser seriously damaged by gun fire.”  Nemo knew that Russian ships were notoriously hard nuts to crack.  “Send the following message to the Savatov Sin – stop boasting and sink those Russian bastards. End message.”


The Reaper subs and Manticores closed in on the Russian cruisers.  The skimming cruisers suffered at the hands of the Suvorov’s – sending only one to the bottom of the dark water.  The Borodino ploughed forward, dispatching the Furies quickly.


Using their Kinetic Generators, the Nemesis Battle Cruisers quickly rounded the first island and took aim at the Borodino.  With devastating gunnery they reduced it to within 2 hull points.


With the Borodino crippled, the SAS Dive Bombers closed in for the kill but the sun must of been in their eyes – their damage only inching the mighty ship towards the end.  The Manticores were boarded, one lost to the hands of the Russians.


Suddenly the Borodino lurched forward, knocking the first Nemesis out of the way, destroying the last Fury and launching a boarding action against the other Nemesis.  At the end of turn 3, another ship was in the hands of the Russians.

“Is this a good time Captain”, asked the guest.  “Not now!” shouted Nemo and turned away.  The radio operator reported 2 of his fleet were now in Russian hands.  His Furies were heading towards the bottom of the ocean.  He consoled himself with the fact that the technology lost was nothing new to the Russians; but if they got a hold of his submarine – there would be no place on Earth he would be able to hide from his employer.


Despite being on the bottom of the ocean, a squadron of Russian dive bombers dropped their deadly payload.  The bombs sank and sank then found their mark.  If the Death Bringer had of been any other submarine – it would of remained on the bottom as a wreck.


Finally some good news – the Borodino battleship was gone.  The Reaper subs had found their mark and now thousands of tons of Russian warship was slipping beneath the waves.  Nemo made a mark in his journal, bonus pay for the sub pilots.  In the background, the guest waited.


In what could be described as the strangest tactic I’ve ever seen played – Dave drove his Dreadnought into the island that separated the battles.  It was a risky move – Dave needed the firepower that the Dreadnought could bring to end the game but what would be available to him after 48 AD!  The result, as you can see above caused 6 hull points of damage, 2 x Chaos and Disarray results and a single Shredded Defences.


The best laid plans seldom work out – the Dreadnought survived but its gunnery was badly compromised.  It took no further part in the game.


At the end of turn four, Dave (Russians) called a win.  His field order was 50% + all mediums.  The loss of the my last Nemesis gave him the game.  I also called the game with 50% of his points lost and all smalls.  However his points total was a little higher than mine (1040 vs 560) giving him a narrow victory.

Nemo gave the order to the helmsman – best speed to home.  His fleet was lost; only the two Death Bringers would make port.  The pilots of the Reapers, their support ships lost would have to find their own way home, which would be very unlikely.  

The guest made his way back across to Nemo’s command chair; his quill and pen in hand.  “Very well Mr Verne; where would you like me to start.”

Sneaky Preview from Spartan Games for Dystopian Legions






Look what Spartan Games has just dropped into our laps via Facebook.

Painted preview models for Dystopian Legions.  These models look amazing.

Hopefully they will be in our hands ASAP; until then lets just sit and drool.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.

Turning it Around – From Loss to Win in 2014 – Part 3


Hi Everyone,

With another fortnight past, this blog post would normally be me letting you know how my quest is going (yes, it is defiantly a quest); unfortunately I have nothing to report.

My first game was a teaching game which I love doing; it’s the main reason why I became a Spartan Vanguard.  I’m proud to say my “pupil” was very positive about the game and can expect to see him back for more.  I used a modified version of my last list to face him – dropping the Peset submarines and some other smaller craft so I could fit in a Zamiec class Sky Fortress.


I know the Zamiec isn’t Russian (it’s PLC) but I wanted to show Phil how carriers worked as I don’t have the Russian naval model.  As it turned out; Phil robbed my Zamiec of the ability to recover tiny flyers for two turns and then blasted the sky fortress to bits.  The magazine explosion destroyed 2 Novgorod frigates, a TFT wing and a Princeton Class Gunship, which also suffered a magazine explosion and removed it’s squadroned partner.

My second game was cut short due to time constraints – it was a three way battle between myself (Russia), Nick (Russia also) and Luke (Prussian).  We only got to play a few turns of this game but it was exciting to see a squadron of Russian cruisers (Nick’s) destroy a wading Metzger (take that Reese!) only to have a squad of Prussian frigates prize one of the aforementioned cruisers.

My naval Russian’s will be getting a rest for a couple of month’s now as I have a Dreadball tournament, a Dystopian Legions demo day and a Dystopian Wars Land battle coming up.  I may forgo using my FSA land forces for a chance to use my mighty Russian Land Dreadnought and Vorkuta class Land Drill.

When I do get back to my Russian naval fleet, I’m going to be including one or two of these for something different.


I intend to place them around my Landing field and then deploying them on the center line to really mess with my opponent while my bigger ships steam as quickly as possible towards them.

So until my next battle – watch out for those exploding 6’s!

Turning it Around – From Loss to Win in 2014 – Part 2

Hi Dystopian Fans,

Welcome to part 2 of my blog where I layout my attempts to go from loss to win in 2014.  Before I start I’d like to say thank you to all those who provided comments and suggestions on my last post – your ideas have been very much appreciated. So without further ado lets dive into part 2 of my journey.

Armed with a new Russian Coalition list I headed to my FLGS.  This list was not such a big change from the last list – here it is for reference.

1000 points – Borodino Battleship + 2x Escorts (230), 8x Novgorod Frigates (200), 2x Pesets Submarines (160), 3x Rostov Destroyers (120), 3x Suvorov Cruisers (195) and a Landing Field (95).

As you can see, the Myshkin are gone (and good riddance as well) the Novgorod’s are back to 2 full sized squadrons and I added a Landing Field.  The Landing Field might seem like a strange inclusion but I have learned the value of Russian Tiny Flyers, especially Fighters.  With their ability to ignore Abort results and then “dive-bomb” into a target with Hard Shell(2) on each token I really wanted to get as many tokens onto the board as possible.


Game number 1 for the day was against Micky and his Republique of France aerial force.  Micky’s victory condition was to destroy 50% of my core fleet points plus all Medium models – meaning my Pesets and Suvorov’s were his primary targets.  Mine was to destroy all Large and Massive models – his fleet carrier and large flyer.  I felt confident that I could achieve this within the game’s turn limit.

I now realise that focusing on your opponent’s objectives is just as important as yours – for some stupid reason, and I still don’t know why, I moved my medium models FORWARD!  Besides from this gaff the battle was tough but I did manage to bring down his large flyer.  His battle carrier, which I dropped in AP, moved forward to use its heat lance.  I saw an opportunity to push forward with my battleship and board it (I was confident of boarding with my 12AP vs 5AP plus I had the STAR card in my hand dropping my boarding rolls from 5 to 4).

Unfortunately it was not to be – a mix up of my activations allowed his fleet carrier to fire first.  The Borodino, which had already lost its ablative armour, suffered a Magazine Explosion!  Goodbye battleship, 2 escorts, 1 frigate and my last Medium sized ship.  With only a squadron of Novgorod’s left it was congratulations Micky on achieving his victory condition.


Game number 2 and I was up against my old sparring partner – Luke and his Ottomans.  Luke’s list was an Ottoman static list which included a Hussar and a Dreadnought.  My victory condition was to destroy all Medium models and 50% of his fleet points; Luke’s was 70% of my fleet – all within 4 turns + variable turn limit.

Taking Luke’s earlier advice I set up a refused flank on the left hand side of the table.  The game went well for me as at turn 3 I had managed to destroy his only two medium models on the board.  However destroying the dreadnought or Hussar proved more difficult. In the end Luke managed to achieve his victory condition before mine.

While both games were a loss I did feel that I was making progress and I was more confident with the fleet.  I don’t feel that the current fleet needs anymore changes;  I just need to better organise my deployment and REMEMBER all victory conditions.

In a fortnight I’ll have this fleet back on the table and ready for another go at victory.  Then I’m taking a break for a month while I attend a Dreadball tournament – after that I’ll be back with my first go, in over a year, with my Prussians.

Till next blog – watch out for those exploding 6’s.  I know I will be.

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.


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.


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….


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…


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.



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.


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!