Hey everyone Denied here with my first impressions review of the new Fantasy Flight miniatures game DUST Warfare. I got a chance to stop in to the Fantasy Flights event center on Thursday night for their big pre release unveiling of DUST and I was able to play a game and pick up a copy of the book on my way out. I even got Mack Martin one of the game designers to sign it for me. Sadly Andy Chambers was not present to do the same, but I was told I had just missed Alessio Cavatore (/sad panda) one day Alessio you and I shall cross paths and on that day I will so hug you :-D
My first impressions of DUST were very positive overall it was a very easy game to pick up and start playing. The rule book is extremely lean, almost bordering on anorexic. The entire book front to back is only 143 pages, this includes the army entries for every (current) Allied and Axis force as well as a few sheets of cut out markers for use in the game (I’m leaving mine in the book though). Skimming through the book its looks like the design team took a page out of Alessio’s mantra of simplify, everything comes off very clean with no big clunky rules that contradict each other. The system is very similar to other table top miniatures games you have some dudes they have some weapons and they want to kill the other dudes on the opposite end of the table as them. An interesting and unique point is this game uses special dice, they are your standard D6 only that there are 4 blank faces and 2 that have some sort of target or symbol on them. Basically the system works on the concept of you get X number of dice, role them if you get a mark you hit/succeed/ happy-party-dance-time. It defiantly makes this an easy game for beginners to pick up and run with as there is very little math needed to figure out if you hit then wound the enemy its just is there a symbol on the dice I rolled then I succeeded .
The Game utilizes its own simple to use (even though I didn’t do it in my first game) mission building format. When talking with Mack Martin he mentioned that the intention for this mission generator is to make it easier on Tournament Organizers (Since DUST is specifically designed to be used in a tournament setting). The missions can be generated uniquely by the players for each round of the tournament so the TO doesn’t have to get yelled at for designing unfair scenarios for people, additionally from my cursory glance it seems that the mission generator allows for people to counter the often infuriating SPAM lists people bring to tournaments.
The game utilizes an interesting turn system as well that results in unique initiative each turn, this may sound broken at first but trust me its far from it actually. If anything it helps to keep the game balanced as the game goes on so if Player A took a particular nasty beating in the first turn he has a higher chance of going first in subsequent turns. This means that there are no moments in the game when there is one player obviously winning over his opponent which to me made the game more fun in the long run as even when I was loosing I had the chance to turn it around and get back on top.
Last thing I want to talk about real quick are the miniatures (As this is a miniatures game after all). Now I never played DUST Tactics which from my understanding is where the miniature line actually originates from, but I was impressed with the miniatures they had available to play with at the event. My understanding is the miniatures are purchased pre assembled and primed and for a little extra cash you can shell out for the pre painted armies as well. The models they had for demonstrations at the event were the pre painted ones and I must say overall I thought they were better then anything I could have done on my own. Additionally I am not sure what kind of super alloy they mad these things from, but they were damn near indestructible. At one point Mack demonstrated this by chucking with force a model gorilla soldier (yet another reason to play this FREAKING MONKEY SOLDIERS!!!) across the event center and when I went and picked the guy up excepting it to be in several pieces I found the defiant little bastard staring at me as is to say “What up now son!”. The overall esthetic of the miniatures I found very appealing even though I am not a huge WWII fan they had enough whimsy and cleverness to their design that I enjoyed them very much. My friend who was at the event with me who plays Imperial Guard was very impressed with the miniatures and kept thinking of how he wanted to take this bit and that bit and a few extras to beef up his IG armies look.
Overall I would say the simplicity and easy at which a novice player can get into DUST Warfare is very appealing. This is defiantly a great game for beginning miniatures enthusiast as it just helps transition people into the hobby. I first got started with Warhammer 40K and starting that hobby was like your parents teaching you to swim by dropping you in the deep end with a lead weight attached to your ankle, DUST in comparison is like having Michael Phelps as your personal swim instructor. I highly suggest people get out to their local stores in the next couple of weeks and pick up a copy when it hits the shelf. At just over $40 for the Core Rule book which includes all the current army entries this game is very easy on the wallet to get into. I can see building a competitive level army at around $100-$200 and that to me is also very appealing. Overall I say this game is a 9/10 and I put my stamp of approval on it.