The Funny Thing About Prussians…

…is they have all the armour plating of a carton of milk. In a stand up shooting match they will last roughly as long as a Wendy House against a Gatling gun. But what they do have is speed, tesla coils some outstanding support ships and flyers fantastic assault values.

I thought, to mix things up a bit, I’d combine reviews of some of the models and what they add to the fleet in gaming turns.

As mentioned, the Prussians are not a tough fleet and point for point, Prussian capital class ships do not stand up well against their opposite numbers in the other factions. However they have some of the meatiest support ships and superior assault points. Throw in a sky fortress that’s armed to the tits and as hard as the Prussian battleship and they can be a very formidable force.

So let’s begin. The Prussians is the only fleet I’d think twice about getting the starter fleet for. For a start the Reiver class cruiser isn’t quite what it’s cracked up to be. They don’t lack for weapons but in a ranged battle they will lose every single time because they only have one decent ranged weapon system and their hulls are made of paper. The alternative is the Hussar class gunship. It’s a bit of an odd kettle of fish.

Looks wise, the model is way cool. Sleek and compact with two bloody great turrets, one of which nestled on top of a tesla generator which is the epitome of the steampunk genre. It still posses the exposed pipes and boxy design elements that speak of practicality above all other considerations that we’d stereotypically expect from the Prussian Empire.

In game terms, for the extra 20 points you get overall fewer weapon systems. But you do get one extra hit points and two turrets over the cruiser’s one and they get a couple more shots. However you don’t get any extra move, armour or a higher assault value and because they only come in units of 2, they’re hard to justify for the points. However, the tesla generators are extremely handy as it allows you to apply them in the only way I can see value in using them. Which is close support. Prussian support ships are mad good. Particularly the Arminius class frigate and the Stolz class destroyer. Gunships can lead the charge, screening the frigates from the worst of the damage whilst softening up the enemy. Once at short-range the gunships can deploy their tesla generators and then leave the frigates to do what they do best…

Which is boarding. Point for point the Arminius class frigates are brilliant. Aside from looking the part with a massive turret mounted on what is essentially a very small ship it looks as dangerous as it is in the game. At 6 shots at range band 1 the Arminius on its own packs a punch. Take a unit of 4 and that’s linked fire of 12 and 8 hull points for 100 points. Which is undeniably impressive.

If you’re then able to fire the rear tesla coils and then board you’re pretty much guaranteed to take the target ship as a prize. Especially against fleets like the Covenant who suffer from low assault point values. To be fair, the entire Prussian fleet is good at boarding but the blitz kreig approach that support vessels can give you – combined with larger ships softening targets – makes them very hard to manage. Through in the modifier to hit for smaller targets and frigates and destroyers are lethal in Prussian fleets.

And talking of large ships…

20120722-152707.jpgThe the Blucher class dreadnought is an absolute beast of a model. It oozes streamlined aggression and its four turrets make it plenty scary. It’s also got some impressive Tesla coils too but the real bonus is its two, yes two shield generators. What this means is that you can move your dreadnought in close, abeam of a single target and level 18 shots at range band 3 whilst being afforded no small amount of protection from the shield generators. And if you’re feeling fruity it’s got 12 assault points too.

It’s a fearsome ship in its own right even having only two turrets available whilst closing on a target but with sensible position it can get shots off at a bevy of targets. Plus it has range which is invaluable compared to the majority of the Prussian fleet who need to close to be combat effective. What this means is that the dreadnought doesn’t lead the charge as with most fleets but lurks at the back pounding targets and only closing to engage if it’s really needed. At short-range the guns are devastating but dreadnoughts of other fleets are easily a match so knowing when to commit is key.

Combined arms is the name of the game for Prussians and as such the Imperium Class sky fortress is an absolute must. For a start it’s a fantastic model. I mean truly awesome. And massive. It’s incredible value considering how much resin you get. There were some pretty horrid mould lines on the blimp if I’m honest but they weren’t too problematic to remove. It did come with a bloody huge lump of resin on the on nose though (the Tesla coil is separate) and that’ll need to be trimmed away gradually, which is a bit of a faff.

The Prussian sky fortress is lethal. As tough as a battleship but with the benefit of being able to obscure itself. It’s prow mounted Tesla coil is also range band 1-4 and with the Lethal Strike MAR it can start stripping off assault points that’ll make life easier for the support vessels below. If allowed to close to range band 1 it also has 12 bombs it can drop on some poor bastards head.

And finally, it has tiny flyers. Tiny flyers are a bit hit and miss in Dystopian Wars. Continually having to rearm torpedo and dive bombers mean that unless you use them wisely you’ll struggle to make the most of them. But, again, this is where a coordinated approach is vital to the success of the Prussian way of war. By using the 2 free squadrons of tiny flyers as fighters you can ferry your bombers to their destination, attack and then either send the bombers to their deaths or return them for re-arming. Whichever is quickest. If you take two sky fortresses then not only will you have two very tough, and meaty flyers on the board but a formidable air arm that will take some defeating. The sky fortress closes to range band one all its weapons come into their own and can unleash some horrendous damage and as bombs are ordinance the sky fortress can be on fire and plummeting through the sky but the bombs will keep on falling.

The final piece of the puzzle is the Metzger Robots. The water lined models are brilliant. The detailing is great, although the ones I got had quite a bit of flash on them but that was still easily dealt with. And to a degree you can forgive that because you get two bases for £10.50 retail. Which is a fricking bargain. The pointed chest plate out of water is impressive. In the water it cuts through the waves like the ships of the fleet. In reality the rules aren’t quite so accommodating, cutting its move from 8 inches down to 4 inches all but leaving the robots stranded at the back of the line.

However this isn’t a bad thing as the speed of the fleet (and relative slowness of the sky fortress) makes them vulnerable to flanking actions. The Metzgers can bring up the rear harass anything that tries their luck. And their weapon systems are potent enough to harass and more. The reality is that they’ll most likely get destroyed for their trouble but they’re relatively tough so it’ll take some doing. But at 90 points a pop the loss will sting some.

Hopefully these insights will be of some use. The point is that the key to Prussians is overwhelming force using support vessels with other, larger, ships supporting, either as screens or ranging fire. Prussians will take casualties whether you like it or not. They’re just too squishy to avoid it. The trick is volume of ships, speed and assault the living shit of your opponent. And make sure you’ve got the muscle in key places to anchor your line. Simples.




Prussian & Britannian Carrier Review

A double whammy review this time because I liked the symmetry of reviewing both German and Britannian carriers. Specifically the Imperium class sky fortress and the Avenger class fleet carrier.

Let’s start with the Imperium class sky fortress. In short, it’s awesome. It’s one of my all time favourite models from Spartan. It’s just pure genius. It’s that perfect blend of World War II, Indiana Jones and Steampunk. It is one of the coolest Steampunk models going. Let’s be honest, what’s not to love about a fecking massive zeppelin with a landing strip bolted to the top?

The model is absolutely massive. I mean massive and that blimp is a single solid piece of resin. That’s a lot of model for your money. It’s also a doddle to build. The metal struts fit nicely into the slots on both the blimp and the flight deck. Although word to the wise, glue the struts to the flight deck first and then slot it into the couplings on the blimp.

The model needs some cleaning to be fair. Mine had some pretty nasty mould lines along the middle of the blimp but nothing an emery board didn’t sort. You’ll also have a lump of resin on the nose that you’ll have to clip away. If you have a modelling saw use that  and keep a metal file handy so you can chew off any excess. And the underside of the flight deck may have a few air bubbles so keep the liquid green stuff handy. Although it’s not an essential just me being fussy.

In game terms it lives up to its title. 7 Ack Ack is horrid and tesla coils coming out the wazoo is worse especially as the redoubtable special rule means that the bloody thing can be on fire and still fry anything that strays too close. Throw in 12 bombs at range band 1 and you start wondering why you’d bother with the fighters it carries. 12 bombs is just mental. That suck is going to be cleaving lumps out of just about anything. And it’s relatively tough too – almost as much as tough as the Emperor class battleship and tougher than the Rhine class fleet carrier. For 135 points it’s an absolute beast.

The Avenger class fleet carrier by comparison is a lumbering pig of a ship but has its charms in the same way a fat chick can still have a pretty face. And fat she is. The Avenger is basically two Ruler class battleships lashed together with a runway over the top.

Like the Imperium class sky fortress you are getting a lot of resin. Two battleships and a flight deck means it’s massive. Almost embarrassingly so. Like the Prussian sky fortress it has metal struts and the whole kit fits together very nicely. The towers are separate too and fit very snugly into the flight deck, just make sure all the edges are nice and smooth or you won’t get a nice fit.

In the game it’s just horrid. It’s bristling with torpedo tubes creating an exclusion zone around it which anything smaller than a battleship would be foolhardy to close within. It’s also got broadsides and a beam turret too. Unfortunately though it’s going to need them because it’s quite flimsy for its size. Although the carrier has one point higher hull points than a battle ship it has one less point of damage rating and two points lower for critical which means that if it does come under fire it’s going to get absolutely shredded. It’s Ack Ack is also a little low considering it’s a carrier. It occurs to me, like the Imperium class sky fortress, it’s a better torpedo boat than carrier. Which is just as well as you’ll be using its fighter complement to fly CAP over it.

It’s 155 points which makes it the most expensive carrier in the game and although heavily armed it’s vulnerable to the long-range guns of the FSA and even aerial attacks which is a bit comical considering it’s a carrier. The big plus, and I imagine it’s the reason for the high price, is that no matte how much of a pounding it takes it can still dish out those torpedo shots. Which makes me think the best way to use it is to get the fighters in the air and then close and use it as a torpedo boat.

Either way the Avenger class will be a headache. If you ignore it it’ll torpedo the living shit out of you. If you don’t you give the rest of the Britannian fleet to close. The name suddenly seems very apt.