More Dystopian Legions Previews

Man oh man I’m going to be so broke. Damn you Spartan!

Empire of the Blazing Sun

“The lives of your men are a valuable currency, and only by care and prudence will they buy us our rightful place in the world. Use this wealth well, for Her Divine Majesty abhors the spendthrift.”

Tetsuo Kojima, High General of the Crucible Army, ‘Reflections on Military Life’, 1868

The junior officers of the Blazing Sun are well-versed in the combined arms military doctrine of the Empire’s Three Armies. They are well-trained with a combination of traditional battle techniques combined with the latest in military thinking from armies around the world. This has proven to be a particularly deadly combination.

The Empire’s military academies in Edo, Osaka and Niigata turn out classes of officer-graduates trained in these combined philosophies. These new officers then receive additional training from the ‘finishing schools’ of the Sword or Shield Armies, if they are assigned to a Division in one of these institutions.

During this additional period, officers of the Sword Army Divisions frequently receive more specialised tuition in offensive storming tactics. Conversely, Shield Army officers are often given extra training in defensive warfare techniques, such as creating trench-lines and effectively garrisoning fortifications.

Blazing Sun infantry battle plans typically rely on keeping the opposition off-guard with feints and deceptive thrusts. These are aimed at attempting to manipulate the enemy’s actions as much as to marshal the Blazing Sun commander’s own forces. Only when the enemy has been left totally unbalanced does the killing blow fall, the officers leading their troops to strike hard and fast with devastating force at the point of decision.

The field officers of the Blazing Sun are very flexible in their tactics. Blazing Sun infantry frequently adopt looser formations when carrying out general manoeuvres, the better to take advantage of cover and minimise casualties from enemy counter-fire, especially when advancing across open ground.

However, unlike the Americans, who also employ such tactics, Blazing Sun troops who come under attack will often choose to mount a ferocious blitz in response, sweeping aside their enemies with fierce short-ranged firepower and gas attacks.

Blazing Sun field officers are well versed in exhorting their charges onwards with timely forced marches, bringing the full strength of their forces to bear on the enemy’s weak points before a strong defence can be mounted.

Unlike other nations, the appearance of Blazing Sun field officers can vary somewhat. Some more traditionally minded individuals, notably those with samurai connections, go into battle in ancient regalia redolent of an earlier age. However, the majority of newer lieutenants and captains choose to dress in more modern uniform, often with styling modelled upon the fashions of foreign armies – a living embodiment of the Blazing Sun’s determination to secure its future as a great power in the Sturginium Age.

Tactical Use:
Blazing Sun Commanders place considerable importance in their Lieutenants, as their Ashigaru Sections do not have access to NCOs like their foreign equivalents.

This means that for these Sections to use Command Points to fight to their fullest potential they must stay near to their Officers. For this reason it is a good idea to keep your Lieutenant near your Mainstay Infantry – leading the charge from the front! However, remember to keep them close to their charges, to prevent dishonourable and unscrupulous enemies from picking them off!

Keeping your officers close to their infantry Sections also gives the Ashigaru access to the Lieutenant’sCommand Abilities. The Forced March Command Ability is invaluable when it comes to pressing the advance, whilst the Focus Fire Command Ability makes the Infantry’s weapons even more deadly, allowing them to totally annihilate their enemies at Effective Range!

The Blazing Sun Lieutenant is also a powerful warrior in his own right. Although not able to combat entire Sections by himself, by adding the firepower of his Kappon pistol to a Ranged Attack, or Charging in alongside the Ashigaru, his aid can often tip the balance in the Blazing Sun’s favour. His equipment can also give him the edge in honourable duels with enemy leaders, but be careful not to risk him too often in seeking such glory – his Command Abilities are too valuable!

“Though we command the power of many mighty machines of war in the service of Her Divine Majesty, always remember that it is still the humble Ashigaru who forms the beating heart of the Three Armies. By his skill and courage are battles won, ground held, and enemies kept at bay.”

-Tetsuo Kojima, High General of the Crucible Army, ‘Reflections on Military Life’, 1868

Many years ago, the term ‘Ashigaru’ or ‘Spear Carrier’, denoted a rather humble soldier in the armies of Japan. Not so in the Sturginium Age. The modern Ashigaru infantryman is a tough, highly trained and supremely motivated fighting trooper.

As with their large war engines, the infantry and light armoured forces of the Empire of the Blazing Sun represent a unique combination of an ancient martial traditional paired with some of the most cutting-edge weaponry in service anywhere in the world.

Although not wholly eschewing conventional rifles, most Ashigaru are armed with the Kawachi-Kanpon Type 4 automatic shotgun. Nicknamed the ‘Dragon’s Breath’, this fearsome drum-fed weapon fires a hail of shells filled with incendiary materials developed by the Imperial Alchemical Institute. The ‘Dragon’s Breath’ is very short-ranged compared to conventional rifles. However, within that distance, it is one of the hardest-hitting infantry small arms currently in service anywhere in the world.

The limited range is not normally an issue in the circumstances under which the Ashigaru are most often employed – namely, supporting more heavy armoured units in close terrain or urban areas. The Type 4’s burst fire and destructive projectiles make it very forgiving of being fired from the hip when the soldier is moving. This means it is perfect for the kind of hard-hitting assaults favoured by Blazing Sun military doctrine.

Like the Americans, the Blazing Sun military also favours high mobility warfare, but they prefer a far more aggressive approach. They are not berserkers, however, and attack with a great deal of cunning and foresight, making maximum use of terrain and environmental features to win out over their opponents.

Blazing Sun infantry attacks frequently consist of simultaneous assaults on multiple fronts. Some of these attacks will be feints, intended to draw the enemy’s attention away from the true objective at the key moment, allowing the true attack to break through.

The Ashigaru, like many other Blazing Sun units, also bring the most deadly of the Imperial Alchemical Institute’s offensive weaponry to the fore, in the form of poison gas grenades. Although infantry-issued gas bombs cannot match in any way the terrifying destructive power of massed gas bombardments by heavy artillery, they are certainly capable of causing localised panic amongst opposing infantry, light vehicles and gun crews. The insidious vapours give the Ashigaru a vital edge, especially against well dug-in or heavily armoured enemy troops.

Blazing Sun troops have traditionally fought in many areas where heavy armour has not played a key role. Although increasingly equipped with armour of their own, Ashigaru are taught to face enemy tanks without fear, even when lacking their own armoured support. Ashigaru sections almost always contain specialists trained in the use of the notorious Type 7 Rocket Projector.

Called the ‘Okha’ or ‘Cherry Blossom’, this tubular weapon projects a powerful explosive warhead capable of cracking open a tank or blowing apart a machine gun nest. Combined with the Dragon’s Breath and gas weaponry, this allows well-led Ashigaru to make short work of most opponents.

Tactical Use:
The Blazing Sun Ashigaru are at their best in a well-defined role: getting up close to the enemy, and letting rip with their mighty “Dragon’s Breath” shotguns!

These weapons, when in Effective Range, are the most deadly of the standard small arms currently employed by any nation’s Mainstay Infantry. However, their raw power is offset by their very short-range.

Therefore the main tactical focus for any commander is to get your Ashigaru into close range fire-fights with the enemy without taking too many casualties on the way in.

Thankfully, the Ashigaru go into battle with the best armour protection of any Mainstay Infantry, making them quite resistant to long range pot-shots by the enemy.

However, no matter how well protected, if a Section of infantry takes fire every turn it will quickly lose potency, and so making effective use of terrain and movement bonuses is vital.

Using their ‘Banzai!’ and ‘Double Time‘ Game Cards, Ashigaru Sections will soon make their way across the Game Board. Such speedy advances will quickly confound opponents who rely too much on hunkering down.

When they have closed to Effective Range, the Ashigaru should blaze away with their shotguns, brutally eradicating exposed targets. However if they find their enemy loitering behind Hard Cover, or a useful combination of Game Cards presents itself, a supported Charge using their Gas Grenades can be decisive.

“They are our hidden blades, invisible until the deathblow falls. They march with us unseen, bringing terror to the enemy, and reminding us of our duty. Honour and fear – they are worthy of both.”

Ashigaru Odo Hanamura to his troops, during the march on Havana, 1871

Wherever the armies of the Blazing Sun march, they are accompanied by teams of deadly Shinobi infiltrators. The guardians of an ancient tradition of stealth, spying and assassination, the Shinobi Houses of today are the personal servants of the Her Serene Majesty the Empress Shinzua, and their loyalty to the throne is absolute.

The Shinobi Houses serve as the Empress’ silent enforcers and secret service, both within the Empire of the Blazing Sun and beyond its borders. That they hold enormous influence is undoubted – one of the seats on the Empress’ Council of Seven is reserved for the de facto representative of the Shinobi Houses, known as the ‘Faceless Lord’.

However, none but the Empress Shinzua herself and her aged great-aunt and predecessor Empress Maya, know just how far this influence and surveillance extends – and this is just as it should be. To emphasise this, the Faceless Lord’s seat is perpetually left empty; a powerful symbol to the Council and visitors to its presence that the Empress’ deadliest servants could be anywhere, or indeed anyone – no one is beyond their scrutiny and, by extension Her Majesty’s knowledge.

The skills of the Shinobi are without a doubt, almost the last word in espionage and infiltration. Virtually no target, no location, no security measures, are beyond their ability to breach. Shinobi agents are even thought to have successfully infiltrated the inner organisations of nothing less than the Covenant of Antarctica.

However, given the extreme secrecy of both the Shinobi themselves and the near-unbroken silence of the Covenant in recent years, the truth about this potentially masterful feat of infiltration and whether or not it continues must remain a matter of conjecture.

Near-invisible and silent as death, Shinobi Strike Teams infiltrate hostile ground ahead of conventional Blazing Sun forces. There they will sow terror and discord, assassinating key personnel, ambushing unwary units and committing acts of sabotage that can cripple enemy forces even before they are brought to battle.

Once full combat is joined, the Shinobi continue their deadly harassment, picking off stragglers, shaping the battlefield with well-placed smokescreens to conceal friendly troop movements and generally creating chaos amidst the enemy’s lines with misdirection and confusion.

Shinobi are lightly equipped, as befitting their role as agile and deadly insurgency troops, armed with the traditional blades and other weapons of their deadly trade. Expert martial artists and unequalled in their ability to stalk targets and evade capture, the Shinobi have a reputation for almost supernatural skill in combat among foreign troops.

No enemy commander can sleep securely, and no sentry can afford a moment’s peace when fighting the forces of the Serene Empress, for the death’s shadow may fall over them in an instant in the form of a Shinobi’s deadly blades.

Tactical Use:
Shinobi Assassins are one of the most interesting and tactically flexible Sections available to any player in Dystopian Legions.

As you would expect from a ninja, the Shinobi are physically powerful, fast, hard to kill and blessed with an almost supernatural skill-at-arms. They also have some very influential Model Assigned Rules that allow them to manoeuvre around the Game Board with unparalleled ease – virtually invisible to the enemy. All in all, if you can get a band of Shinobi Assassins close enough to charge , don’t expect the enemy to last long!

However, Shinobi are worlds away from a simple blunt combat unit. They can be used in a great multitude of ways. If they want to advance with the Bulk of the force they can – using their Smoke Pellets Model Assigned Rule to support their comrades advance, laying Smoke Screen Markers that will impede the enemy’s fire.

If they want to go it alone that is an option too. Used with subtlety, they can cross the Board at high-speed to attack the more vulnerable elements of an opposing force. Playing their Special Game Card, Ninjitsu, they can even attempt one of their legendary assassination attempts and potentially take out an enemy Officer!

“He is as inscrutable as a statue, cold as an icy dawn – I doubt that anyone has ever named him a friend. Yet few are deadlier with a blade, and his deft plans and curt orders lead us ever to victory. For these reasons, I march with him gladly.”

Captain Kensuke Sato, on Master Kozo Okinawa

The senior officers of the Blazing Sun land armies are almost invariably Samurai – warriors who owe their loyalty to their superiors in a strong chain of command that reaches right up to the Empress herself.

As fighting men steeped in the traditions of bushido, many Samurai even in the Sturginium Age disdain most conventional modern firearms, preferring instead to take to the field armed with more traditional implements – the katana and wakazashi blades that are their most potent status symbol are also their most common war implements.

Master Kozo Okinawa exemplifies this tradition. The son of an ancient family whose antecedents go back centuries to the dawn of the old Shogunate, Kozo was raised practically from birth to eventually assume the mantle of high military office.

Though he came from considerable wealth, his upbringing was harsh, with virtually every waking moment dedicated to the study of swordplay, military philosophy from inside and outside the empire, and the core tenets of bushido by which he would live.

This intense and rigorous upbringing for such a singular purpose left little time for cultural pleasures or other distractions. While Okinawa’s martial expertise was beyond question even as early as his mid-twenties. He acquired a reputation as a bleak and joyless man, aloof and distant from even his most trusted colleagues. Nonetheless, his skill at arms assured him of rapid success in the field for which he spent so long honing his mind, body and spirit.

Holding the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel of the general staff of the Blazing Sun Sword Army, he is regarded with awe rather than affection by the soldiers under his command. A calculating rather than an inspiring leader, he treats his forces like the cogs of a finely-engineered machine, enacting his complex and subtle battle plans with the detached assurance of a chess grandmaster.

However, when the time is right for the enemy to fall, Okinawa enters the fray himself with the force of a stroke of lightning. A swordsman of fearsome skill, dressed in fine armour of traditional style but thoroughly modern materials, he transforms himself in an instant from shrewd tactician into steel whirlwind, scattering before him any enemy soldiers fortunate enough to avoid his killing blades.

But even those who escape death upon the end of his sword are not safe, for Okinawa, like many of his peers, is adept with the dread poison gas grenades so beloved by the Samurai of the Sturginium Age.

Okinawa is part of the Army of the Sword’s general staff, an adjutant and close ally of High General Uematsu himself, and a former staff officer to the infamous General Oni. He was transferred from the old Wani 3rd Division of the Sword Army only two months before Oni’s fatal mission to Singapore. Since that time, he has spent most of his postings with the Sword Army 5th Division, now based in the occupied Malay Peninsula and heavily engaged in fighting off Britannian counterattacks in the region.

Okinawa has relished testing his skill against the Britannians, and views the widening of the war with perhaps the greatest enthusiasm he has shown for anything in years – soon the whole world shall be an arena, where Kozo Okinawa can measure his skills against the best and brightest of the enemy’s military minds on the fields of honour.

Tactical Use:
Master Okinawa is quite possibly one of the most physically intimidating characters in Dystopian Legions – a great asset for a Blazing Sun forces, and a deadly opponent for their foes.

Although a superb Commander, he does not have any Command Abilities, though he still contributes to the Force’s Command Point Pool.

Although this may appear to be a disadvantage, it is more than compensated for by his battlefield effectiveness as a fighter. Okinawa is without a doubt one of the most powerful Characters out there for sheer combat ability. Leave the bulk of leadership to your other Officers, and use the Master as the warrior he is. Leading an Ashigaru Section charge, he will rip the enemy apart.

However, the Master is not just a deadly weapon in his own right. Rather than simply hacking up a few common line soldiers this character is a superb duellist. When Master Kozo Okinawa challenges an officer in the midst of a Melee, they have two equality undesirable options. Accept and face the mighty Master, or cower behind their own men, weakening their resolve as they do so.

Okinawa’s Special Game Card is perhaps his greatest asset, however. Playing The Divine Blow gives a great Melee bonus to every Section nearby. Using this card at the right moment can turn a losing battle around, or transform a close victory into an utter enemy rout!

Dystopian Legions Previews

It seems that Spartan Games is determined to take all of my money in exchange for large piles of awesome looking toys. I can’t complain too much, it’s a fair exchange I suppose.

Below is a couple of previews for, the soon to be released, Dystopian Legions. I rather suspect I’m going to have to sell a kidney…

Empire of the Blazing Sun

The Imperial Alchemical Institute is well known for its bizarre creations, made all the more unbelievable by their exceptional and reliable performance, even in the heat of battle.

Of all of these, amongst the most astonishing are the Ryuma Steambikes; mechanical steeds which can skim a few feet above the ground on steam jet enhanced repulsine gyros, and propel themselves at astonishing speeds. Although some have questioned the efficiency of these ‘hover’ machines, the ability to traverse almost any ground, no matter how treacherous, is proving invaluable in battle.

Once perfected, these unique engines were quickly adopted by the armies of the Empire of the Blazing Suns, as their advantages over more conventional cycles or traditional horse cavalry were evident. Samurai, already adept at mounted combat, quickly began adapting their tactics and techniques to take full advantage of the machine’s potential.

Empire of the Blazing Sun Ryuma Steambike

The armies of the Empire of the Blazing Sun have long been famed for their shock assault tactics – be it from the renowned Ashigaru regiments with their Type 4 ‘Dragon’s Breath‘ shotguns, or the Shinobi Assassins who use stealth and infiltration to conduct brutal lightning raids.

However, now that the Ryuma Steambike-mounted Cavalry are growing in notoriety, the Empress’ enemies have a new threat to fear. Faster, and more manoeuvrable than anything else on the battlefield, these Samurai are expert at hit-and-run attacks.

Cutting through enemy formations at breakneck pace, they scythe down their stunned targets with a combination of Katana and ‘Firefly‘ Quad-Barreled Kanpon Type 12 machine guns. Whatever foes remain after these blitzkrieg attacks are often too shocked to react, and easily dealt with by the Ashigaru advancing in the cavalry’s wake.

Kingdom of Britannia

The Knights Templar are an ancient Order, which traces its origins back to the 12th Century. However the Society today is a very different entity.

Since its expulsion from continental Europe several centuries ago, the Order has receded into the shadows somewhat. Most of its efforts have been focussed on furthering the expansion of the Britannian Empire, and it is a common belief that they are the real power behind the ‘Knights’ faction within Britannian politics.

Kingdom of Britannia Knights Templar

Since the outbreak of the World War, the Order has galvanised its military arm. Equipped with the finest technologies that the Royal Society can supply, the distinctive tabards of the Knights Templar are becoming an increasingly common – and ever welcome – sight amongst the ranks of the Line Infantry.

Kingdom of Britannia Knights Templar

The Knights themselves are very different in aspect to the feared Teutonic Order Armsmen of the Prussian Empire. They are patriots to a fault; fighting for the safety and prosperity of Britannia with a fervour and dedication that sets them apart from others on the battlefield.

Kingdom of Britannia Knights Templar

The Knights Templar are an intimidating presence on the battlefield. Although smaller than the hulking armoured suits of the Teutonic Order, with their personal Shield Generators they are nearly as well protected, but with a much smaller sacrifice in agility.

Their offensive comes primarily in the form of the Adams No. 10 Auto-Revolver, an immensely powerful weapon which only the Templar’s in their motorised combat suits could hope to fire with any degree of accuracy.

The Adams No. 10 Auto-Revolver lacks the long range capacity favoured by the Britannian Line Infantry, but compensates with close range devastation. The weapon is even powerful enough to punch holes through the more vulnerable side or rear armour of some Ironclad vehicles.

“See, lad, that there officer is Colonel MacDonald VC. Legend in his own lifetime, that chap. He might be gettin’ on, but he’s seen more battles in his time than every man in this platoon and lived to tell the tales, so mind your manners around him.”

-Sergeant Reginald Chaplin, 18th Royal Somerset Rifles, to a young recruit

Colonel Samuel Horwood MacDonald is one of the Kingdom of Britannia’s most celebrated soldiers. A descendent of Anglo-Scottish gentry, his first stint on a battlefield was as a 13-year old drummer boy at First Waterloo itself, but his first military service for the Kingdom was as a young subaltern in the last of the Britannian-Burmese wars in 1826. Even at this early stage, he already displayed the attitudes that would become his hallmark – leading from the front, bellowing encouragement to the men under his command and apparently heedless of danger.

Colonel Samuel H. MacDonald

In his lengthy career, he served all over Britannia’s vast empire, serving as a captain in the crown’s forces during the Australian mutiny of 1842 and French-sponsored Portuguese rebel mercenaries in south-east Africa in the 1850s. It was during this rather obscure campaign that he would earn the highest honour, the Victoria Cross, for leading an ambush of an enemy column approaching the Limpopo River, and routing them with a force only one third their size and composed mainly of local militias.

Promoted to Colonel of the 18th South Staffordshire Fusiliers in 1857, MacDonald’s last official action took place during the Britannian intervention in the American Civil War. The then sixty-two year old Colonel MacDonald led the South Staffordshires on the ground during the Britannian offensive into the state of Michigan in 1864 to threaten one of the North’s key industrial heartlands.

Colonel Samuel H. MacDonald

Following the end of that war, Colonel MacDonald returned to Britannia to take up an appointment with the General Staff, regarded by Horse Guards as a purely ceremonial post. He was expected by most to do nothing more trying after so many years’ service than to settle down in well-earned retirement on his country estate. However, the General Staff were in for a rude shock.

Colonel MacDonald refused to go quietly to pasture. He became a constant feature at Horse Guards, trundling up and down the corridors in his specially adapted Brunel-built bath-chair. He submitted endless demands and suggestions to the war planning department, especially after the tensions in South-East Asia boiled over in the late 1860s.

Colonel Samuel H. MacDonald

Eventually, his insistent ‘advice’ grew so aggravating that Lord-Admiral Tillinger, Chief of the Imperial General Staff, became personally involved. There was no question of sacking MacDonald, with his fame and immensely popularity among the common soldiers, especially the thousands of ‘Short-Shrifter’ volunteers who had signed up after the London Raid. His public appearances and speeches had drawn audiences of hundreds and vastly increased recruitment numbers wherever he went.

So Tillinger hit upon a plan. He offered the old Colonel a field commission. To the joy of the Kingdom’s regular infantry – and the abject relief of the General Staff – MacDonald eagerly accepted. Since then, he has seen extensive service, leading once more from the front from a special armoured wheelchair, roaring out his orders. The troops under his command never fail to rise to any challenge, scything down the enemy with torrents of hot lead!

Colonel Samuel H. MacDonald

Tactical Use:
Although Colonel Sir Samuel ‘Big‘ MacDonald has only recently returned to active service after a leisurely decade in retirement, his presence is being felt all along the Britannian Line – but not always for the right reasons.

Only a fool would underestimate this great man, although perhaps past his physical prime, his mind is as sharp as it ever was – making the Colonel a superb commanding officer.

Although his tactics are firmly lodged in the pre-Sturginium age, they ring as true today as they ever did. His Focus Fire Command Ability makes a Line Section even more deadly at range, and his Mad MinuteCommand Ability can lead to a section putting out as many dice as a full Machine-gun Battery!

Despite his age, the Colonel is still a fair combatant. Although he’s not able to put up ‘the old fisticuffs‘ like back in the old days when he helped to build the Empire, which was when he acquired the moniker of ‘Big MacDonald‘ because of his huge physique. Instead he now goes into battle with carrying his trademark Blunderbuss – a huge weapon that will soon see off any enemy that comes too close.

The armour of his plated bath-chair (and many layers of blankets) provide enough protection to the Old Colonel to ensure that he’ll be around to fight many more battles to come.

Even if he does rub other officers up the wrong way from time to time, few officers can hope to match Colonel MacDonald’s abilities to keep his men in line and fighting at their best.

Dystopian Legions Release Details

Dystopian Legions will be shipping on the 31st October. Initially just the Prussians, Empire of the Blazing Sun, FSA and Britannians but fear not the Covenant won’t be far behind (hooray!). IT’s all very exciting and finally I have something to put on my Christmas list. Starter sets will be going for around the £40 mark which and will include a quick play version of the rules. Not indications yet how much the rule book will be but I suspect £20. Unit boxes will be £15 for 6 and musicians £7 for 2 so not bad really. It’ll be interesting to see how much the tanks go for. I suspect around the £30 mark a they’re solid resin. And massive.

Full release info for each faction can be found via the links below.

PE nation intro

EOTBS nation intro

FSA nation intro

KOB nation intro

We Are Legion

Prepare yourself for another Nerdgasm as Spartan shows off some renders from the upcoming Dystopian Legions. Absolutely love the FSA Treadbike, the Prussian Lucifyre and the Lord Flashheart-esque Britannian Officer. And yes the Air Cavalry Officer has huge boobs.

Dystopian Legions

So the big news on in the community is the announcement from Spartan Games of the up coming release of Dystopian Legions in October.

This is a huge progression from Spartan moving into the 28mm wargaming market. And judging by the snaps below it’s going to be a little bit tasty. And I can say, hand on heart, my wife is gonna absolutely kill me…

Here’s the announcement from the Spartan website:

DYSTOPIAN LEGIONS is a fast-paced, action-packed 28mm scale tabletop game set in the exciting world of Dystopian Wars, where Victorian super science fiction has created a fascinating and brutal arena for a deadly world war.

Concept artwork for Dystopian Legions

Having brought carnage to the Dystopian battlefields with giant tanks, massive airships and technologically advanced naval vessels it is now time to get up close and personal with your warfare. It is up to your platoons of infantry to storm enemy positions, capture towns, secure strategic objectives and devastate rival nations.

Infantry sections are the building block of Dystopian Legions, but we’ve created so much more for gamers to build their armies with. Also available for battlefield commanders will be elite infantry units, section upgrades, mechanised walkers, tankettes, armoured personnel carriers and special characters, such as leaders and scientists who can inspire your men and cause fear in the enemy.

Turn back, the road is closed!

And if that isn’t enough we’ve created full-scale battle tanks, stoked full of detail and delivered in glorious high quality resin. Marvel at these giant behemoths of the battlefield…

The Empire of the Blazing Sun ambush the Prussian Empire

The game is scalable from a small number of models right the way up to a full-blown company of men with armoured support. A modular approach to army building guarantees the game embraces further new releases and game expansions.

Welcome to DYSTOPIAN LEGIONS… warfare just got so much more personal! Check out the nation links to the right for more information.

And because I’m so damn nice to you all, I’ve also robbed the faction fluff too. So far only 4 factions have been announced but you know my beloved Covenant will be getting an outing. And I have two words for you. Iron. Men. Take a good look at some of the snaps, the models look awesome. This game is going to be massive.

Empire of the Blazing Sun

Although the smallest of the great powers, the Empire of the Blazing Sun have carved out an influence far greater than their modest territories would suggest.

This is largely due to their formidable strength in arms. The core of this nation’s force are the elite Ashigaru Sections, better trained and equipped than the infantry of any other nation. The Ashigaru are armed with the infamous ‘Dragon’s Breath’; firing cartridges filled with mysterious compounds that ignite on contact with the air, fired from a rapid-repeating shotgun. These horrifying weapons are truly devastating once the Ashigaru have closed to within range.

A unit of Shinobi Ninjas

The Ashigaru are trained to make the best of their equipment, using fluid manoeuvre and aggressive shock assaults. These are supported with short range rockets, along with the nations unique and highly recognisable Ke-Ho tanks. Further, all infantry in the Blazing Sun’s armies are equipped with gas grenades to suppress and disorient the enemy before launching their assaults.

Additionally, the Empire of the Blazing Sun armies make use of various specialist troops. They range from the subtle and deadly Shinobi, who employ stealth and speed in place of cumbersome armour to dissect vital targets, to the renowned Rocket Corps Samurai, who descend upon the Empress’ foes from the clouds and sunder their formations with ferocity and matchless skill at arms.

Considered amongst the greatest of the Imperial Alchemical Institute’s achievements are the flying Steambikes piloted by their boldest Samurai in crushing charges.

Knowing that they have the world’s best trained soldiers under their command, Officers in the Blazing Sun’s armies demand peerless discipline and execution from their troops. This they use to direct the fast moving, hard hitting assaults their forces are famous for, and they can always be assured loyalty and obedience from their men. Of course, martial prowess is a matter of honour amongst the Blazing Sun’s upper classes, and the majority of their Officers exemplify this trait, able to best any opponent with their matchless swordsmanship.

Concept art for Empire of the Blazing Sun Lord (left) and Ashigaru Infantry (right)

An example of the highly detailed Empire of the Blazing Sun models for Dystopian Legions

Federated States of America

Eschewing the rigid formations employed by the majority of European forces in favour of a more flexible and responsive military, the core units of the Federated States’ Armies are the Federal Infantry.

Operating in fluid skirmish formations they manoeuvre into position, then bringing to bear an overwhelming volume of fire from massed ranks of Winchester Repeating Carbines supported by Orlington 1869 Light Machine Guns. The Federal Infantry are drilled extensively to keep their weapons at optimal firing range at all times, coordinating their movements to deny the enemy advance and crush the foe under sheer weight of fire.

A stand-off between troops from the Prussian Empire and the Federated States of America

The specialists who operate the supporting Light Machine Guns and larger field Gatlings know well how to push their weapons to maximum effect. In turn the crews of the imposing Pioneer tanks and Revolving Cannon gun teams are experts at cracking enemy armour.

Embracing their pioneer traditions, the Federal Armies employ a range of patriotic freelance soldiers as scouts. These hunters are expert marksmen and can use their Buffalo Rifles to pick off high priority targets from great distances, whilst using their matchless skills to remain hidden from return fire.

The fine traditions of the American Cavalry regiments also retain their place in the Federated States military, both in the forms of the valiant Air Cavalry and the elite Treadbike riders. Both use the principles of mobile firepower to great effect; able to use their great speed and manoeuvrability to encircle the foe and strike at vulnerable targets.

The officers of the Federal Armies are expert at employing efficient fire-and-retire tactics. They keep their troops fighting at maximum effectiveness at all times, knowing when to push them forward to harass the enemy, and when to pull them back in good order so that they can reform and keep firing.

Concept art for Federated States of America Federal Infantry with Specialist Weapon (left) and Air Cavalry Officer (right)

An example of the highly detailed Federated States of America models for Dystopian Legions

Kingdom of Britannia

The Kingdom of Britannia holds dominion over an empire upon which the sun will never set, and as one would expect, the defence and policing of these lands has long required The Crown to uphold a tremendous body of professional Solders.

The Britannian army is structured around a solid core of Line Infantry Platoons, who by virtue of their training and able aristocratic leadership are able to keep the enemy at bay with well-coordinated volleys of rifle fire, before advancing and overwhelming whatever remains with the time-honoured combination of savage flamethrowers and the cold steel of the bayonet.

Captain Gilbert 'Bertie' Smethington II

These platoons benefit from a great deal of support from the other Admiralties of the Britannian military, at any one time able to draw upon the support of the machine-guns and field batteries of the Royal Artillery, and the Tanks, Tankettes and Armoured Transports of the Royal Armoured Corps.

Like all modern warring nations, the scientific men of the Kingdom have been called upon in recent times to produce new and ever more astounding machines and weapons of war. These efforts take form on the battlefield in the form of the soaring Sky Hussars and the redoubtable Knights Templar.

The Sky Hussars utilise the very pinnacle of personal flying-machine technology to roar at incredible speed across the skies above the battlefield, descending to cremate their enemies wherever they stand with their Flame-Projecting weaponry.

The machines of the Knights Templar are no less an incredible sight to behold. Their great, hulking, humanoid forms are able to wade into the thickest of enemy fire with little fear of injury, before bringing their awesome might to bear.

These forces have never been left wanting for competent leadership. The Britannian Officer Corps is comprised, as it has been for centuries, almost entirely from the men of the Upper Classes. These individuals are born and raised knowing they are destined for great things, and can be expected to excel at the front by virtue of their ample training and self-confidence.

Concept art for Kingdom of Britannia Tank Commander (left) and Line Infantry with Specialist Weapon (right)

An example of the highly detailed Kingdom of Britannia models for Dystopian Legions

Prussian Empire

The great Prussian Reichswehr has proven itself throughout its history to be one of the finest fighting forces ever to have devastated the surface of the Earth.

The hammer-blow of any Prussian offensive comes in the form of the Grenadiers. These fine infantry are drilled to their cores and well equipped with some of the finest personal equipment. First and foremost is the Mauser-Tesla M69 Breach-Loading Rifle, a weapon made to the highest standards. At the end of this weapon is a violent ‘Tesla Bayonet’, a two-pronged electrical device that gives every Prussian Infantryman the upper hand against their opponents. In battle the Grenadiers favour highly offensive tactics, close range firepower followed by a stern charge to rout their enemies.

Oberst Werner Hahl with unit of Teutonic Knights

Prussian attacks are generally combined arms affairs, their infantry supported by various incarnations of the deadly Prussian Panzer tanks and transports, supported further by Machine Guns and Tesla Artillery batteries.

Perhaps more than any other nation, Prussia has drawn the new sciences of the modern age and applied them to its armed forces. Wherever and whenever they are deployed, a Prussian force can be expected to be accompanied by the fearsome aerial Luftlancers or elements of the mysterious Teutonic Knights.

The Luftlancers are a fearsome sight in battle, balancing high above the battlefield on tesla-powered plumes of smoke, they wait until the moment comes for them to strike like the knights of old, plunging down and charging into the enemy ranks, decimating them with their Tesla Lances.

Oberleutnant Lily Reitsch, famous aerial ace of the Prussian Empire

The Teutonic Knights are little less than Ironclads in human form. They take up the foremost positions in any Prussian force, slowly but surely wading through the fire towards enemy positions, fearless and indefatigable. Each armed with a Maschinengewehr 71 Machine Gun and strength augmented far beyond the greatest human potential, many enemy lives have been lost to these great machines.

The Prussian Reichswehr has never to fear that their elite military units are being squandered as they are led by only the finest of the Prussian Nobility. These Junkers take to the field with their men. Raised on a steady diet of Clausewitz and Jomini, trained in the finest military academies and hardened by years of Mensur, Prussian leadership is the envy of the world. In battle they can be expected to be seen at the front amongst their men, lending their martial skills into the fray.

Concept art for Prussian Empire Infantry (left) and Oberst Werner Hahl (right)

An example of the highly detailed Prussian Empire models for Dystopian Legions

 

Dystopian Wars Tactics

Following the game I had with Lee and ahead of the one I have with Ian both of The Chaps I’ve been thinking about tactics in Dystopian Wars both general and force specific.

So here’s what I’ve come up with.

Use Size to your Advantage

The rule surrounding line of sight can be a bit of a pain in Dystopian Wars. If you don’t pay attention to what you’re doing you can find your battleship blocking line of sight of your dreadnought. However, this works both ways. Depending on what you’re trying to achieve you can use ships to protect other elements of your force until such time as you’re ready to unleash them.

For example, a Dreadnought can screen cruisers. This is especially handy if your cruisers are a little on the soft side or, in the case of CoA armoured cruisers, expensive and specialist. Equally, a battleship is large enough to obstruct the view of a dreadnought. Having two, in larger games, means you can keep your dreadnought safe until such time as you’re ready to bring its might to bear.

Unit deployment

To a point this links to the previous comment as sensible placement of units can mean screening your smaller, vulnerable units from the big guns. However the distance between ships in that unit is important to consider. By keeping your ships relatively close together you are able to share Ack Ack and concussion charges. This can leave them vulnerable to mines etc but combined with the added bonus of it makes it harder for the enemy to get amongst you it’s worth it.

Escorts are Deadly

Granted the effectiveness of escorts varies from fleet to fleet, but they are designed primarily with Ack Ack and Concussion Charges. The obvious tactic is to assign them to your big ships. However, because escorts have solid Ack Ack, if sent off in packs they can hold up or even wipe out flanking tiny flyer squadrons. Coupled with the fact that they’re small and evasive makes them a bastard to sink.

Don’t Underestimate Corvettes and Frigates

Although cheap and easy to blow up, their speed and large unit sizes means that they can go screaming across the board and mob carriers, particularly a soft touch like the FSA’s. They’ll almost certainly be destroyed but at the cost of diverting enemy assets to deal with them. A CoA unit of 5 Corvettes will cost 100 points and at range band one can unleash 13 dice. That’s more than a CoA Dreadnought’s particle accelerator at the same distance. But for 175 points less. You don’t need to be a maths whizz to see the advantages of smaller vessels, especially when looking at mass fire power. The Prussian frigates are especially tasty on that front and, en masse, are a bigger pain in the arse than their cruisers.

Use the Psychology of Big Ships to your Advantage

It’s no surprise that battleships and dreadnoughts attract a lot of fire. They’re big and scary and have many many many guns. However, if you can get your deployment right and are able to hold your nerve you can use this to your advantage, holding back enough ships that when you sail your large/massive ship into the teeth of the enemy and they attempt to surround it, you have elements on station ready to counter attack. And providing you don’t leave the capitol ship on its own for too long it should be able to soak up the worst of the punishment whilst your ships get there.

Fleet Tactics

These are some tactics I’ve observed in the fleet lists I’ve had experience with.

FSA – Encircle and overwhelm. The FSA have the best ranged firepower in the game. They can afford to hover at range band 3 with a mixture of Battleships, Cruisers and Gunships and pound their enemy to splinters, with frigates and other support vessels watching flanks and running interference. More over a coordinated strike between rocket batteries and tiny flyers can overwhelm even the most concerted defences.

Prussians – Corral and Capture. The Prussians are fast but light on armour. But they are also devastating at boarding actions. Prussians can use their superior speed to isolate vessels and then use scissoring maneuvers with the larger vessels to weaken and ultimately board & capture the target vessels. But keep on the move. Withdraw out or range or make use of cover. Getting bogged down in prolonged exchanges of fire will not end well.

Covenant of Antarctica – Taking the Fight to the Enemy. The CoA ships are solid all rounders. They are the Space Marines of the Dystopian Wars universe. However, their particle accelerators are devastating when fired. However the 12inch range makes the opportunity difficult to exploit. The Covenant work best in a fighting wedge. Their armour isn’t thick enough to take a prolonged pounding but bringing enough force to bear on a thing point and the CoA can break through, before opening up with broadsides and laying mines.

Kingdom of Britannia – Hold Fast. The KoB are actually a bit shit at the shooting game. Their gunnery at range is incredibly poor and only average at the closer ranges. However they don’t lack for guns and they’re not short of torpedoes. They are by far their most effective at keeping their distance, using frigates and submarines to deter attackers, and softening the enemy up with relentless torpedo attacks. Once weakened or thinned out a bit close as quickly as possible to take advantage of the increased dice at range bands 1 & 2.

Empire of the Blazing Sun – Combined Arms. I’m not too experienced with the EotBS but from what I’ve observed they are all round pretty tough ships and work best in task forces of combined arms with a healthy blend of naval and air elements. This can make them vulnerable to attack but their high critical rating will mean that enemies can only chip away at them and making sure a healthy air presence will give them the edge.

Hopefully this has been helpful and as I dream up more I shall post them up.

Statistically Speaking…

Spartan Games have updated a few of their stat cards as well as the MARs for Dystopian Wars. Once again, as I’m all about providing a service I’ve robbed them and put them up here:

Updated Kingdom of Britannia Stat Cards:

Kingdom of Britannia Ruler Class Battleship [PDF, 500KB]
Kingdom of Britannia Tribal Class Cruiser [PDF, 500KB]
Kingdom of Britannia Orion Class Destroyer [PDF, 500KB]
Kingdom of Britannia Hawk Class Scout Rotor [PDF, 325KB]
Kingdom of Britannia Eagle Class War Rotor [PDF, 525KB]
Kingdom of Britannia Vanguard Class Submarine [PDF, 300KB]
Kingdom of Britannia Sovereign Class Land Ship [PDF, 550KB]
Kingdom of Britannia Illustrious Class Sky Fortress [PDF, 525KB]

Updated Prussian Empire Stat Cards:

Prussian Empire Stolz Class Destroyer [PDF, 475KB]
Prussian Empire Metzger Class Robot [PDF, 300KB]
Prussian Empire Gewitterwolke Airship [PDF, 525KB]
Prussian Empire Imperium Sky Fortress [PDF, 300KB]

Updated Federated States of America Stat Cards:

Federated States of America Independence Class Battleship [PDF, 500KB]
Federated States of America Guilford Class Destroyer [PDF, 500KB]
Federated States of America Saratoga Class Fleet Carrier [PDF, 500KB]
Federated States of America Washington Class Land Ship [PDF, 300KB]

Updated Empire of the Blazing Sun Stat Cards:

Empire of the Blazing Sun Ika Class Mechanical Squid [PDF, 325KB]
Empire of the Blazing Sun Inari Class Scout Gyro [PDF, 550KB]
Empire of the Blazing Sun Tenkei Class Sky Fortress [PDF, 550KB]

Updated Covenant of Antarctica Stat Cards:

Covenant of Antarctica Prometheus Class Dreadnought [PDF, 325KB]
Covenant of Antarctica Galen Class Escort [PDF, 300KB]
Covenant of Antarctica Callimachus Class Time Dilation Orb [PDF, 300KB]
Covenant of Antarctica Archimedes Class Heavy Walker [PDF, 300KB]

Updated Model Assigned Rules:

Model Assigned Rules [PDF, 325KB]

Not United Nations

Those lovely chaps at Spartan have been busy balancing out some of the MARs for Dystopian Wars in light of the mad as bat shit stuff that’s coming out over the coming weeks. And being the nice chap I am, I’ve robbed it and put it up here for your convenience…

With our latest releases hitting gaming tables around the world, some of the more eagle-eyed Commanders out there may have noticed that the scientists, both home and abroad, have been working overtime to improve their machinery of war. And while the boffins of the Federated States of America have been concentrating on fitting a huge artillery piece to their Gunship, the other Nations have been making more encompassing tweaks to their beloved moving arsenals. This blog details a couple of the improvements that are being made to Dystopian Wars.

Prussian Empire's FlagPrussian Empire’s Flag

The Prussian Empire has been making advancements with its Tesla Coil technology.

From this point onward ALL Prussian Empire Tesla and Tesla Coils weapons have the following Model Assigned Rule (MAR) associated with them (regardless of whether it is listed on the Stat Card owned by the player, or not):

REDOUBTABLE: Any weapon with the Redoubtable Model Assigned Rule only reduces its Attack Dice (AD) by 1 for every 2 Hull Points (HP) of damage taken.

Empire of the Blazing Sun's FlagEmpire of the Blazing Sun’s Flag

The Empire of the Blazing Sun have taken strides towards improving the mobility of their Naval vessels.

From this point onward ALL Empire of the Blazing Sun Naval models have the following Model Assigned Rule associated with them (regardless of whether it is listed on the Stat Card owned by the player, or not):

SHARP TURN: This model can Turn during the minimum move made at the beginning of its activation, rather than moving DIRECTLY ahead.

Kingdom of Britannia's FlagKingdom of Britannia’s Flag

The Kingdom of Britannia have put their faith in the invention of a new Generator that will be making an appearance on suitable vessels within their Fleets.

Classified information on the Guardian Generator is detailed below – don’t read it if your security level isn’t up to snuff:

Guardian Generator

Esteemed Britannian Physicist Eugene Parker is the creator of the Guardian Generator, an invention that many in the Kingdom of Britannia military believe will save thousands of lives during the world war. This enhanced generator, which has become nicknamed the Big Brother Generator by Britannian crews, allows a vessel to not only protect itself, but to cast out a 6″ diameter defensive veil of protection that other models can shelter under. Parker started work on the Generator the day he received news that his only son, Giles Parker, had been killed in action following a naval engagement with Prussian forces south of Greenland. The Frigate his son was serving on was shadowing the Battleship Selenga when a salvo intended for the larger vessel struck the Frigate, destroying it with no survivors. Eugene Parker vowed that day to create a Sturginium powered Generator that would save the crews of unprotected vessels during combat.

The Guardian Generator grants the model it is fitted to ALL of the effects of a single Shield Generator. Roll 2D6 Shield Dice for each Guardian Generator:

• Against Gunnery AttacksAA and CC, a roll of 4 or 5 results in a success which cancels one hit against this model.
• Against Rockets and Torpedoes, a roll of 5 results in a success which cancels one hit against this model.
• A roll of RED6 always results in a success which cancels two hits against this model.

The Guardian Generator also grants ALL nearby Friendly models WITHOUT Shield Generator a limited amount of protection. Roll 1d6 Shield Dice for any model, without a Shield Generator, that is hit with an attack, within 6″ of the centre of the vessel fitted with the Guardian Generator:

• Against Gunnery AttacksAA and CC, a roll of 4 or 5 results in a success which cancels one hit against this model.
• Against Rockets and Torpedoes, a roll of 5 results in a success which cancels one hit against this model.
• A roll of RED6 always results in a success which cancels two hits against this model.

A model can only gain the effect of ONE Guardian Generator at any one time.

In the lead up to Christmas we’ll be putting online all of the altered Stat Cards, along with an A4 crib sheet of the different enhancements we have made to Dystopian Wars. Please bear in mind that the amends you see here are part of batch of enhancements we will detail in full before Christmas.

To tie in with the arrival of the Large Class Flyers, the following Stat Cards have been modified:

The Kingdom of Britannia Eagle War Rotor
The Prussian Empire Gewitterwolke Airship

It’s Not Propaganda…

…it’s good advertising…

Spartan Games are working over time at the awesome factory at the moment. And not content with bombarding us with images of the up and coming ships and other contraptions for Firestorm Armada and Dystopian Wars, they’ve penned a few rather funky Propaganda posters.

I think the thing I like most about them, aside from some rather striking design and a great sense of humour, is that Spartan are really getting behind their backgrounds now. A rich universe to game in is a fun universe to game in and I think when the new iteration of Firestorm Armada comes out we’ll see even more fluff than before. I also suspect as fleets are re-released we’ll start to get booklets included in starter boxes like we’ve seen with the Covenant of Antarctica (review for that slice of awesome coming soon) which will dramatically enhance the background and therefore gaming experience. Not to mention the added benefit of not having small cards littering the board with all the handy, need to know, special rules on the back.

But my musings aside, scroll down for some Spartan awesomeness…