Dystopian Wars - Activations

The first in a series of Articles exploring the rules & tactics of the Dystopian Wars game. First things first its not the Movement phase... its Activations! 

So unlike a lot of the games you may play, Dystopian Wars turns are not one person moves their entire fleet / army and then the other person does.

The Empire of the Blazing Sun Fleet prepare of Battle

This is a game where you alternate activating Squadrons. A Squadron can be a single Capitol / Massive Class ship, all the way down to a Single Tiny Flyer token.

To decide who goes first each turn, each player rolls 2D6 with the highest going first. There are some game cards that can effect the outcome of this (+3 to your roll for example). This can sometimes mean that you or your opponent go second in turn 1, then manage to get first in turn 2 and so get 2 activations chained one after another.

This means that you are able to react to your opponents decisions better, or if you have more activations than them, leave them guessing as to what your big boys are going to do later in the turn.

A couple of things I have picked up from playing Dystopian Wars (and the few other games like it) is that you really should try and plan out what you are going to move first. You also have to pay attention to where the enemy is going to move as well. Otherwise you end up boxed in, surround and pretty much dead in the water.

A Prussian Bomber... in the middle of their fleet. It seemed like a good idea the time!

In the early game moving and shooting with your models first is actually a bit of a dis-advantage as you end up moving forward, still being at relatively long range, whereas your movement makes the enemies shots better due to a shorter range. 

In all the games I have played, and Battle reports I have read, people tend to try moving their Heavy Hitters at the end of the first turn, and then into the second turn, if the gap has closed enough you then activate them first to ensure they get to shoot at maximum effectiveness.

Another trick for activations is that from the mid to late game you should consider using your activations to damage and destroy enemy Squadrons that have not yet activated, hopefully denying your opponent that activation all together, or reducing the Squadrons effectiveness. 

Ok so those three Cruisers that just turned up and pounded your  Carrier deserve some retribution... but if you shoot at them now, just after their activation, then the enemy still has all of their other squadron to do the same again, whereas if you ignore the Cruiser squadron with your big guns, and instead hit something the enemy hasn't activated, that squadron is then unable to hurt you if you wipe it out, or is only able to at a reduced capacity.

Prussian Cruisers, bear the brunt of a Empire of the Blazing Sun Cruiser Squadron.

Please note, I am not suggesting ignoring them completely, but since a lot of your Ships / Models with have fire arcs, fore, aft, starboard and port its worth considering not assigning all your Attack Dice (AD) to the Cruisers when you could just assign the Broadside that has nothing else to shoot at.

Remember, if your opponent ends up with less Squadrons to Activate than you it means you can chain several activations together to cause them real problems.

There is also the added bonus that once your army has less than 5 Squadrons to activate (excluding Tiny Flyers) you get less Game Cards (something I will touch on in a later article) each turn. Another way to reduce the chances of your opponent pulling out a trick to shock or expose you.

So there you have it folks, a brief look at how the difference in the turn sequence can benefit you while playing Dystopian Wars. So now, out to the floor, does anyone have any good tricks to try when next playing, or has had something equally nasty done to them that they think we should all aim to avoid.