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woensdag 25 januari 2012

Extra! Extra!

As promised, here is the second part of yesterday's post. I'll be doing a quick review of the Covenant of Antarctica faction for Dystopian Wars as well as provide some follow up thoughts on my Campaign Conundrum from yesterday. (Campaign Conundrum; I like that name. Has a nice ring to it.) Also, be warned, I'm using the blogger app for this post, so there's every risk the layout will be eaten when I upload. Won't be able to fix that until tomorrow morning, so apologies in advance if that happens.

Alright, let's get reviewin'!

Covenant of Antartica

Some background: The Covenant of Antarctica (CoA) are pretty much the reason the world of Dystopian Wars is so technologically advanced. A certain science fella by the name of Lord Sturgeon, ridiculed by his contemporaries for his ideas, decided to prove everyone wrong and launched an expedition to Antarctica to find what he knew to be there.
Lo and behold, after much difficulty and perseverance, he find the remnants of a lost civilisation that was technologically very advanced. Calling many more scientists from around the globe to come and help him he begins the monumentous task of finding out exactly how advanced this civilisation was.
After deciphering the civilisation's language, and being a kind fella at heart, he decides to let the world benefit from most all his findings, including the new near-magical element dubbed Sturginium, which can do all sorts of wonderful things like make metals lighter and stronger.
A colony proper is established in Antarctica, there's some betrayal, and, humans being human, before long all the powerful nations in the world have used Sturginium to make better weapons and are now eagerly testing them out on each other.
Lord Sturgeon, realising what he has unleashed on the world, decides to show everyone else how it's done and sets out with the powerful war engines of the Covenant of Antarctica. After all, it's all good and well to share some ideas, but did you really expect him not to keep the best toys for himself?
Neither did I...
I remember when it was nice ´n quiet here...
And there you have it, the CoA background, Thunderstomp! style.

Now, how does that translate to the actual game?

CoA forces are, unsurprisingly, technologically superior to the other factions. This means they have more fancy equipment (Time Dillation Generator) and special weaponry (Energy Turrets and Particle Casters), not to mention their own techno-based special rules (sturginium rounds). Of course, all these little extras aren't free, so CoA models are fairly expensive.

As far as I can see, CoA forces work well in range band 2 (8"-16") where they get to roll a lot of AD. Compared to the other factions they have average amounts of AA, CC, and AP.
They aren't particularly resilient, although they should by no means be considered weak. It still takes quite a bit of firepower to bring down an CoA battleship.

CoA also have access to plenty of mine laying units. Without having tried it myself, this potentially can de used to block of certain areas on the board, making it more hazardous for your opponent to go through that area. This is something I especially like, since laying down mines forces an extra choice on your opponent: go through and take damage or go round and be late. And the more choices your force your opponent to make, the more likely it'll be he makes a choice you can exploit.

That's pretty much the basics covered, I think. Now let's move on to the CoA starter set and see what you get there.

As with all the other starter sets you get one Battleship (Aristotle), three Cruisers (Plato class), nine Frigates (Diogenes), two flyers (Ptolemy bombers), and ten tiny flyer tokens. All in all, that's 715 pts without any extra uogrades, the most of any starter set. Let's run these down one type at a time.

Couldn´t you have cropped this picture? Yes, but I didn't, ok?
Aristotle Battleship. The big one in the set. With four main turrets and powerful broadsides this thing can lay down a barrage of AD, all the way down to range band 4. It has either a Shield Generator or a Disruption Generator as standard and can be equipped with a Target Painter Generator. This little gem of a machine lets you "paint" one enemy unit within rb 1 on a 4+, adding a +1 modifier to all of your units firing on said unit for the rest of the turn. Might not work all the time, but can be devastating when used properly.

This model, like most all CoA units, can replace its turrets with Energy Turrets. This gives you a fixed number of AD on all the RBs (AD5 for the Aristotle), making it better at the longer range bands and slightly worse at the shorter range bands. However, you must remember that energy turrets aren't Primary weapons (like the main turrets you replaced) and as such do not suffer the -1 to hit modifier in RB 1. This means that in RB 1, Energy Turrets aren't really that much worse than Main Turrets.

Another, somewhat gimicky, weapon on the Aristotle is the fixed channel Particle Accelerator. This special weapons allows you to potentially hit multiple models one after each other. Every dice that misses firing at the first target you can then roll to hit vs the second target, which can only be in a straight line behind the first. The misses there you can roll vs a potential thrid target along the same line, etc, etc. Range is unlimited (gasp) as long as the first target is within 12". Sounds nice on paper, but doubt it'll do much of anything vs two targets in a game.

Finally, the Aristotle has a nifty little movement option, partially submerging itself for higher speed and better cover. It loses most of its firepower when it does this and gains 2" of movement, but it is also better shielded from enemy fire. Overall a nice ability that can be used if you need to protect yoy Aristotle or go somewhere quick(ish).

Plato Cruisers.
Fiarly reliable cruisers. Have two main turrets and effective broadsides, so can dish out a fair bit of punishment. Not that tough when compared to other cruisers, looking at damage ratings and hull points. Can also replace Main Turrets for Energy ones (AD 3).
Comes with a Shield Generator as standard, which helps with the toughness issue.
If you have the points, buy the Inventive Scientists. The generator reroll will help solve any lingering Toughness issues even better. If you don't have the points, ditch something else so you will have the points.
Overall a good unit, I think. Useful and not too expensive.

Frigates on the left
Diogenes Frigate. Fast and fragile, these puppies are ok but not great. They die easily, don't dish out a tremendous amount of AD (only broadside guns), even when taken in a large squadron. Pretty much the only thing they have going for them is their torpedoes. 4 Dice at RB 2 is nothing to sneeze at, especially if you take a larger squadron. A squadron of 5 linking to shoot at an enemy will roll 12 dice at RB 2, which is pretty decent for a torpedo attack. Being small they are maneuverable enough to get their chosen target in their fixed front channel.

Ptolemy bomber.
This plane I'm not too sure about. It doesn't have much in the way of firepower. Or rather, it has bombs AND mines, but since you can't use both in the same turn, you're always not using one. It's fore guns dont scare anyone. Every time I look at the Ptolemy I can't help looking at the Icarus Flyer as well and seeing that the Icarus does what the Ptolemy does, with added gunnery attacks and an extra HP, for 15 pts more. To me that spells Icarus over Ptolemy every time.

Tiny Flyers on the right
Finally, the tiny flyers.
The CoA are actually worse off with their free tokens because all CoA tokens are drones. This means they can use up all their fuel (which other tokens can't do) and when they're gone, their 'mother' vessel can just spew out a new squadron. To compensate, CoA only have 4 fuel, as opposed to 6 for the other factions.
Now, since the ten tokens are free, they do not have a 'mother' vessel and therefore cannot be respawned. However, still being drones, they do only start the game with 4 fuel. Whooptido....

And that ends the first review!

Campaign Conundrum
Just imagine the Sparrow is a Campaign, ok?

I was talking to my mate David today and he suggested, after reading my post from yesterday, an idea for our potential DW campaign.
To recap, I was (am) wondering about the viability of combining all three types of DW vehicles (land, naval, air) in a campaign army. The problem lies in making sure battle and battlefields are set up so that all three types can be used together.

David's suggestion was, paraphrased: why bother?

If we make the campaign more narrative based, linking different special scenarios (which we'd have to write up ourselves) with the outcome of a previous scenario affecting the next one. Making it more of a narrative campaign allows us to write the scenarios (with available forces) in advance. I imagine scenarios where a force made up of frigates takes on a lone capital class ship trying to get home, or a wing of bombers trying to take out three radio towers on an enemy island before land forces move up to capture the main enemy bunker. The ideas are endless.

Btw, can you tell David is a fan of the Tide of Iron board game? Very similar ideas to what ToI has done. And I hear that's a pretty good game too.

I like this idea and wil think about how to do it properly. First we need to play some more games though!

That's it for now, see you next time!