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.
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.
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.