Dystopian Wars has been waiting for what seems like forever to gets its new lease of life with new owners Warcradle. Finally, this weekend saw its release. While there are going to be some gamers who will hate on it for being different to the Dystopian Wars they know and love let’s take it for a spin and see what’s what.
First off straight out of the box we have a lot of plastic. This step away from the old Spartan models is for me neither here nor there. I like the look of the new plastics, more on that later. I must admit I did love the weight of the old resin models. The rule book is an A5 job and its nice to see Warcradle are still printing rulebooks as all the newer WWX stuff has gone PDF. However, there are no Unit or stat cards. Theses are purely online downloads. This being so they can be easily updated as players inevitably try and break the game.
Top of the plastic pile are some really cool template and measuring gubbins. It’s great that these are in plastic as card board ones tend to fray to quickly so these will take some beating without needing to be replaced.
The ships sprues are pretty standard affair although they can be stacked on each other which made storing them while building them a doddle and nothing got damaged whilst waiting for dry dock. The instructions to build them are downloadable from the Dystopian Wars web page and are really easy to put together. What isn’t easy is trying to decide how to make the ships as each sprue builds multiple classes of ships.
The enlightened ships from The Hunt for Prometheus set really have taken from the Old Covenant of Antarctica faction in styling. This was the faction that I used to play a lot and had a fairly sizeable force. I love how they have kept their uniqueness well unique. Warcradle certainly hasn’t reinvented the wheel here. What they have made sure that the wheel is definitely much smoother than before.
Now having to make the ships is a new concept really to Dystopian wars. Many were just a few bits of resin and metal. Whilst the new plastic sprues are multipart with even the smaller ships coming in at half a dozen parts. With the Commonwealth the bonus of this isn’t as apparent, despite being able to make multiple ship classes from one sprue, it really becomes apparent on the Enlightened ships as the difference between the Heavy and Light cruisers is one piece on the aft of the ship and a different centre section.
The Commonwealth ships are slightly different in the prow but the aft of the ship classes are totally different. The Commonwealth ships are much more Germanic in appearance of the ships being more pronounced. With different weapons available but the same generators across all the factions.
Both the weapons and the generators can be magnetised so that you can swap them around until you find your prefered layout. Alternatively you just want a bit of tactical flexibility without having to expend a lot of cash and time into having the same base ship with all the different load-outs available. This flexibility to the game is great. You can play the same base fleet with different weapons in a very different way.
The rulebook is nicely laid out and finding everything needed has so far been a breeze. The ship special rules are handily written out in each factions ORBATS for ease of reference. The ORBATS and unit cards are available here. Expect these to be updated regularly. The new rules which I think are great. Add a speed to the game which I always thought was slightly lacking from the original. Though this hasn’t been accepted all across the board with some players complaining that the new version has lost some of the granularity of the original Spartan Wars game. I do agree with this a bit, but the game is much more streamlined now, and I think it is greatly improved by this.
Time will tell how well the new version is accepted by players in general. Hopefully with this new iteration what was once a fairly niche game will become much more mainstream. As far as starter sets go however this one is very good. It has two forces of a decent size so you can get the feel of the game. It has rules, tokens and gubbins plenty to get you going. The bonus of the plastic gubbins adds a premium feel to the set. The two forces can be customised a lot so there is plenty to be getting on with straight out of the box, and they look great as well.
With a retail price of £85 it is on the dearer side of starter sets. Though not expensive to put it out of reach. It’s also worth noting that a lot of starters these days need extras to function as a full game. The Hunt for Prometheus has enough inside for reasonable sized games. With a fair amount of customisation to keep things a little fresher while Warcradle release the rest of the range.
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