Wednesday, August 22, 2012

DW: Empire of the Blazing Sun

The Empire's fate depends on the result of this battle,
let every man do his utmost duty.
-Admiral Tōgō

This might look like a random post for a lot of people, but believe it or not, I'm a big fan of Dystopian Wars. At first, the whole steampunk element of the game didn't call to me, but it's not the genre of the game that matters, it's how the game plays.  I had the same problem with Warmachine, but I didn't care because the gameplay was solid and the rules were great.

Dystopian Wars is the best naval warfare game that I've ever played, yes, even more so than Uncharted Seas, Firestorm Armada or even the vaulted Battle Fleet Gothic.  A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, I owned a Corsair Eldar fleet and played BFG.  Then I stumbled along Firestorm Armada few years ago and played that.  I found the game to be a little shallow compared to what I had played in BFG, so I wondered into Uncharted Seas.  Uncharted Seas was great, but the lack of players in my area really turned me off.  DW takes what was good in the first two games (Uncharted and Firestorm) and mixes it into one.  In some ways, it feels like it's an upgunned version of Uncharted Seas.

Here's what I like most about Dystopian Wars:
  • Maneuvering matters a lot; just like how real naval warfare should be.  Getting into good positions for your firing arcs while denying the enemy is king.
  • Line of Sight matters:  Having your units screen for other units, or activating your units in a way that your enemies return fire is weakened by intervening units is awesome.
  • Collision and spacial awareness matters:  Being able to maneuver well on the battlefield and planning several moves in advance is what's going to be the driving factors in winning later engagements.
The faction that I chose to play is the Empire of the Blazing Sun.

From what I hear on the forums, the faction has a pretty steep learning curve, is considered a little on the weak side, and some units are questionably bad.  You know what?  I heard the same thing about Dark Eldar when I first started and I'm not one to back down from a challenge.

Besides, they're Japanese and I always wanted to play the Japanese in some kind of wargame.

With that said, I wanted to show off my 1K point navy for the EotBS.  I already have most of these pieces and my reinforcements should be in by Friday.

1x Hachiman DN = 235
1x Kiyohime BCV (Torps) = 130
2x Ika Squids = 200
3x Tanuki CL = 225
4x Uwatsu FF = 100
4x Uwatsu FF = 100
2x 5x Torpedo Bombers = Free!

Let's just say that the first things to stand out is the choice of the Dreadnought and the Kiyohime Assault Carrier over the Tenkei Sky Fortress.  As crazy as it sounds, I don't like the look of the Tenkei Sky Fortress model.  Not only do people think I'm crazy for that, but they also think I'm crazy for not taking a model that's incredibly good for its cost.  I think the biggest factor that draws me into the Kiyohime is the fact that it's well-armed, can be screened by my Gunships, and has Sharp Turn.  After playing a game last night of the newest version of Dystopian Wars (played as the British vs. my friend's French), I forgot how incredibly awesome having Sharp Turn is on all your ships.

The Hachiman DN is in there for also aesthetic purposes.  I really like the look of the ship, even though I acknowledge that it's nowhere as good as the other Dreadnoughts.  However, one cannot simply look at the ship in a vacuum.  I acknowledge the fact that the Hachiman will probably lose in a DN vs. DN duel, but I can't look past the fact that it's basically an upgunned BB with better stats in almost every way.  The rockets from the ship also tears people a new one, shooting with 9 dice from RB4 and packs a ton of damage from 3x AD13 turrets at RB1.  Not just that, it comes in at 235 and comes stock with either a Shield or Disruption Generator.  For the price, I think the DN is decently-costed (it's the other ships I find outrageous for their price).  The only downside is that I think the designers over at SG missed the chance to make the ship truly unique:  The ship doesn't have the +1 CR racial that EotBS has on all its other ships, and the MN rating of 5 on the back of the ship draws one giant WTF.  I'll probably mess around with 14 CR and/or higher MN variants of the ship via opponent's permission to judge its potential.

The rest of the list is pretty self-explanatory.  You have your anti-BB/DN squids who goes Submerged, 2x 4x Uwatsu FFs to link 16 AD at RB1, 3x Tanuki Gunships because they're almost mandatory in terms of price/effectiveness (and look awesome), and as many Torpedo Bombers as possible because that's what Empire excels at.  Faster Torpedos forcing your opponents to re-roll all successful CC saves from 20" threat is no joke.

I'll have the entire fleet assembled and on the table for next Tuesday.  Stay tuned for the BR!


WarPanda said...

Glad you are playing a game worth playing!!! I also play the EOBS and I am looking forward to your bat reps.

Vladdd309 said...

Sounds like you have a good handle on the EotBS. I'm looking forward to the BR. Don't you also get four extra flier tokens from the carrier?

One thing to consider is that opponents always underestimate the Empire's first turn rocket barrage. Nothing starts a game off like downing a ship or two first turn. Also, the Uwatsu, imo, is the best frigate in the game. Keep them back until turn 3 or so, then rush them forward. At Range 1 your squad of 4 can link fire with 19 dice at one target, or throw out ten smaller attacks at a squadron.

I've put up a lot of Empire posts over the last year and my 800 point list is currently undefeated!

HERO said...

How you getting 19 AD from them mate? Shouldn't it be 16? It's late and I want to make sure I'm doing numbers right lol.

My biggest disappointment is the Hachiman DN. It's either that the ship is weak, or every other DN in the game is overpowered :P Sigh.. such a beautiful model. I think if anyone brings a DN, house rules might be in order.

Vladdd309 said...

Np, it was early here and I'm not sure I was doing the numbers right. Assuming you've got four undamaged frigates all port side onto a big ship, (so full rate of fire and no halving attack dice,) you would have five dice for the first ships turret, two for it's port, then two each for each other ships turret and guns. 5+2+2+2+2+2+2+2=19 attack dice. Does that sound right?

The real trick is running them up between the individual ships of a squadron and shredding them with three attacks per frigate!

HERO said...

Oh, I was thinking it was:
5 for fore gun, 7 for P/S, so 7 linked full on the lead FF. Then 7+3+3+3 = 16 AD.

HERO said...

I'm also going to pick up the Prussians. Really excited to play more!

Jarrett Lee said...

What is it about Dystopian Wars (gameplay) that raises it above Firestorm in your view?

HERO said...

Maneuvering matters a lot; just like how real naval warfare should be. Getting into good positions for your firing arcs while denying the enemy is king.Line of Sight matters: Having your units screen for other units, or activating your units in a way that your enemies return fire is weakened by intervening units is awesome.Collision and spacial awareness matters: Being able to maneuver well on the battlefield and planning several moves in advance is what's going to be the driving factors in winning later engagements.
In FA, you don't really care about maneuvering. You get into range, shoot a bunch of stuff. Pretty much everything has broadsides so positioning doesn't matter. In DW, you have 90/180/270 arc turrets and if you're not getting all your guns into a good arc, you're only getting half dice. If your opponent has his ships obscured, you're hitting on 5s and 6s.

LoS doesn't matter in FA, because you're in space and everything is 3D. The same applies to collision. Who cares if something is in front of you? Shoot whatever you want. LoS can play a huge role on shielding your own units from harm, or moving your unit out of their firing arcs so you take less damage. Collision matters because you can force your opponents into better firing lanes, or move in a manner that they can't get their full guns on you without crashing into their own ships.

DW is just a superior game in terms of game mechanics. There's a lot more to it, and I like that about any game.

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