Dystopian Wars : Hunt for the Prometheus - A First Look
The new edition of Dystopian Wars has been eagerly anticipated by us seasoned admirals. How much would the rules changes? Would the exploding dice stay? How usable would our ships be in the new edition, and would they get the balance right?
The answer to the first one is not a lot thankfully, fundamentally the rules are very similar. The best parts of the game such as linking turrets and catastrophic explosions are all here, however the game has been seriously tightened up. The different coloured dice of previous versions have been removed and replaced with a clear and concise custom dice solution. Each D6 now has a blank, light counter (1 block), heavy counter (2 blocks), light hit(1 hit), heavy hit(2 hits) and an exploding hit(2 hits + roll another D6) allowing for a faster analysis of the results from your attacks, as well as providing a great solution for colour-blind players. The starter set includes 40 of these, along with 12 crit dice.
Damage ratings and critical hits still exist but have been renamed and unit cards are now double-sided with a battle ready and crippled side. This reduces the amount of tokens on the board, as once you are crippled you flip your card and then start counting up to your destroyed rating. In previous versions, you could have huge stacks of tokens on a single ship. Critical hits results have been reduced down to a table of 6 and have a dedicated die, removing the large chart and allowing for more of the 'best' results (magazine explosion anyone!)
That brings us to the Victory & Valour deck, now we never used the decks in previous editions as when we played they were optional, and we just ignored them in second, so perhaps this is an area we were missing out on in the old game but from my cursory glance these seem a fun addition. Each card can be played for victory points or a battlefield advantage such as a re roll, forcing some hard decisions and also allowing you to attempt to mitigate a degree of luck in the game.
So on to the rule book. Presented in a slick A5 book, that is a welcome change to the hardback of old, and well laid to boot this is all I could have hoped for. The rules are well written and actually only 37 pages long. This leaves the rest of the 143 pages for scenarios, an index and a lot of lore. A quick note about the lore as it seems to have largely stayed the same in essence, with changes made to link the nations that make up each power/state together. The starter box also contains a campaign which slowly escalates the forces involved, allowing you to learn all the rules as you progress or easily introduce a new player.
Fleet building does seems interesting with battle groups being a key point, allowing you to further focus your list options for some additional benefits. For example, if you are playing the Latin Alliance and wish to field all French ships then there would be a benefit for that. These battle groups along with all the unit cards for the starter set will be available on the Dystopian Wars' website from tomorrow. With more to follow allowing you to also use your old ships with new rules. Unit stats have always been contentious in Dystopian Wars with some real power creep toward the games end, so moving them online is definitely the right move allowing adjustments to be made swiftly.
It wouldn't be right though if I didn't mention the fantastic models also present in this starter, there are 30 ships in the box with the 3 larger ships being resin and the others plastic multipart kits, which is great as each has several build options allowing for a great level of replayability out of the box. The templates are also plastic opposed to cut out cardboard which is very much welcome, with the only card components being the two decks, damage token and templates, which feature some lovely artwork.
Overall this is a fantastic new starter for Dystopian Wars. Warcradle have done a great job of tidying up the edges and leaving the core of this wonderful game of Victorian steampunk intact. I am very much looking forward to taking a look at the new unit cards and eventually getting my fleet on the table. You can find the new starter set here: https://athenagames.com/products/dystopian-wars-hunt-for-the-prometheus
Are you excited to take to the high seas? Leave us a comment with what nation you used to play, or are excited to be released.
Until next time,