BASICS OF GAMEPLAY
In this article I will try to show you the beating hart of any game – gameplay mechanics. Basic Dust rules are quite easy, but don’t get decived – “easy to learn, hard to master” is a very true saying for this game;)
Mats you can find in any Dust Starter Set are divided by a grid, and in the center of each square you can find a dot. Infantry unit, vehicle or terrain element usually occupy that one square on the map (of course there are great machines of destruction that take even up to four squares, but let’s leave them aside in our training 😉 ). Back to squares – both range of weapons and movement are measured by simply calculating the squares between attacker and defender, or the target of our move action.
Dots placed on each square allow for quick and easy check if our units see each other. From the center of the attacking unit square to the center of the square is we set an imagined line. It always starts end ends on a dot. If the line goes trough any terrain element or unit that would block our line of sight (the imagined line allowing us to tell if we see someone or not) then taking a shoot is impossible.
That simple mechanic allows you to avoid strange situations and arguments over the board. “I see this guys left foot”! or “No i don’t need 1/10 of mm to shoot! They are in range!”. That type of discussion always kept me off wargaming and miniature systems. And thanks to Dust rules i found a game in which i have great miniatues, lots of fun and a lot less of discussion!
In each turn a unit can be activated only once. During that activation it receives 2 action to use. Basic ones are:
- march move (longer than move, but using both actions)
- sustained attack (attack made using both actions, but more effective)
- usage of special ability
- nothing action which is simply passing with that unit
Some abilities allow you to use third, additional action. Allowed are all actions mixes, with two exceptions – two separate move actions automatically become a march move, two attack actions -a sustained attack.
All basic information on each unit like: weapon range, amount of dices used in an attack, armor value, move and march move values can be found on the front of the unit cards.
On the back side, apart from picture of the unit you can find the amount of army points the unit costs when chosen into our force and basic description of that unit abilities. Those handy cards save your time, you don’t have to look trough the rulebook each time you activate a unit.
More advanced elements
Wargamers will also say “nah, this is too simple! My super system XXX (here put a name of a game that setup takes 2 hours, and game 4) is way better”. But this is not true. On the easy and clear rules a solid and serious game was built.
Sometimes battle can be decided even before the miniatures get on the table – when we choose units for our army. Picking right units, that will work right witch each other, and also fit to the battlefield conditions can be crucial for the outcome of the game.
My lightly armored marines army won’t do me much good on an open battlefield with scarce cover, while the Axis Raktentruppen will cross it safety thanks to their rocket packs and long march move range. Your enemy likes to use slow but hard to kill zombies? Your fix for that problem should be lot of flamethrowers – negating any saves. You want to paralyze enemy tactic by eliminating his command squad early on? Use quick walkers for suicidal but effective raid behind enemy lines. Or on planes which can cross the board on one move. Or maybe a sniper squad dropped nearby by a helicopter ? Possibilities are almost endless.
Also heroes, equipped with special weaponry or gifted with special abilities, can change the course of a whole battle. You want to always move first in turn? Pick a hero with Black Ops skill that will allow you win initiative more often. You want your lasers to be more deadly? Here is Axis Luftwaffe hero, that increases their effectiveness by 1/3. Your gorillas die too quickly under enemy fire? When Marcus will lead them – enemy combatants won’t even have time to reload. Everyone can find something for their taste.
In next steps you can add command squads allowing you to reactivate or rearm units. Additional rules for reactions, building fights, suppression. But these are subjects way out of basics 😉