|Dust Tactics | Published 31 August 2011|
Captain Joseph Brown ran with those of his Hell Boys who had survived the initial onslaught of the Axis Heavy Laser Grenadiers. The sounds of cannon fire rang through the streets of Scapa Flow, and the air smelled burnt from the laser fire. A couple of the Hell Boys ran with limps, but they saw hope ahead. A Wildfire stood at the end of the alley with its guns trained and ready for the Axis soldiers.
In the fast-paced battles of Dust Tactics, players have to consider every unit activation carefully. While it might initially look like a good idea to run your Allied Hell Boys at your opponent’s Battle Grenadiers to drench them in fiery doom, where will that leave your Hell Boys later in the round? Will Lara and her Heavy Laser Grenadiers march over to annihilate some of your heaviest hitters? What if your flamethrowers don’t burn the Axis soldiers, the dreaded empty black squares show up on the dice, and the Battle Grenadiers survive to retaliate? What if your Hell Boys move too deep into enemy positions and find themselves surrounded?
Pin them down
Sometimes the path to victory in Dust Tactics is gaining control of important streets and alleys and the lines of fire they provide. However, in order to hold a line of fire, you need to be able to activate your squad or walker at the opportune moment.
Normally, you want to seize the initiative, go first, and eliminate enemy units before they can hit back, but if your unit dedicated to holding an alley has already activated, you lose that measure of control. Often, this means your opponent can rush past your defenses and engage the unit that was supposed to prevent enemies from approaching. An Allied walker that was supposed to prevent Axis troops from marching down a narrow lane does not want to face an angry swarm of Axis Gorillas! All the Allied player can do then is hope to win initiative on the next turn.
The rules for Reactive Fire released in Operation “SeeLöwe” allow you greater flexibility for your unit activation, but at a cost. Reactive Fire allows units that haven’t yet activated in a round a chance to interrupt your opponent’s action by activating to take an immediate attack. However, players normally risk a good chance of failing to act in time and losing their unit’s activation for no effect. This means Reactive Fire often becomes a desperation tactic reserved for units staring death in the face and hoping to get in one last shot before they fall in a barrage of machine guns, lasers, phasers, or panzer gloves.
Improving the odds
Both the Axis and Allies have developed light walkers that increase your odds of successfully interrupting an opponent’s actions with Reactive Fire. The Axis Heinrich and the Allied Wildfire feature Advanced Reactive Fire and Superior Reactive Fire, respectively. Advanced Reactive Fire gives the Heinrich the ability to roll two dice to aim for a “hit” and fire its 2 cm FlakVierling. The Superior Reactive Fire of the Wildfire means its controller rolls three dice and gets to activate if any of them is a hit. With its Quad .50 cal, the Wildfire can pump seven dice into a single attack against an onrushing squad of Armor 2, or six dice against against a squad, like the Heavy Laser Grenadiers or Axis Gorillas, that has a heavier Armor 3 rating.
While neither the Heinrich nor the Wildfire sports cannons large enough to harm medium or heavy combat walkers, the Axis Blutkreuz Korps have developed a walker with Advanced Reactive Fire capable of giving any Allied commander second thoughts about sending tanks up any alley within its line of fire.
The Axis Sturmkönig can give pause to pilots of even the sturdiest Allied walkers. Its 12.8 cm FlakVierling can lay down an impressive line of fire–to the tune of seven dice against medium walkers with Armor 4. Against squads of Armor 2, the Sturmkönig unleashes a devastating ten dice, plus another five from its MG 44 zwei.
Force your opponent’s hand
Playing units with Advanced or Superior Reactive Fire gives you another intangible advantage; you can cause your opponent to second guess his activations. Will he be able to rush your walker with his Axis Gorillas, or will they get gunned down along the way? If you cause your opponent to play more cautiously than usual, your units with Advanced or Superior Reactive Fire may help control the board without ever opting to utilize Reactive Fire.
The Allied hero, Ozz 117, has a tremendous skill, and luring your opponent to play it early may prove the difference between disaster and victory in a given battle. His Heroic Attack skill allows Ozz 117, and any unit he joins, to shrug off every single shot fired at them for a given round. With his Heroic Attack, Ozz 117 can lead a unit of Tank Busters into position to pin an Axis walker in a corner, become immune to attacks for a round, and then unleash a furious sustained attack on the round thereafter. Because a player must declare all a unit’s actions at once before he activates it, the mere existence of the Sturmkönig on the battlefield may prompt Ozz 117 to waste his Heroic Attack early lest he risk a barrage of eleven dice from the Sturmkönig and its 12.8 cm FlakVierling and its MG 44 zwei.
Allied players can use the threat of Reactive Fire to similar advantage. By maneuvering your Wildfire into a threatening position, you may prompt the Axis hero, Sigrid, to expend her Berserk skill at time that’s less than opportune. Instead of saving the skill to inspire her Laser Grenadiers to a devastating volley of laser fire against your most dangerous squad or walker, she may fear falling an early victim to the Wildfire and opt to go Berserk against the first unit within range.
Build surprises into your army
It is even better to act quickly and err than to hesitate until the time of action is past.
–Carl von Clausewitz
In the brutal, bloody battles of Dust Tactics, every action counts, and Reactive Fire allows players to reshape the sequence of activations in creative and surprising ways.
Add the Allied Wildfire or Axis Heinrich to your army today to see how their improved Reactive Fire skills can help control the battlefield.
Dust Tactics is a tactical miniatures game of brutal combat for 2-4 players. Based on the popular universe created by artist Paolo Parente, Dust Tactics presents an alternate 1940s reality in which alien technology fuels gigantic machines of war, and the world's superpowers clash over rare mineral deposits that could ultimately decide the outcome of WWII.
Ummmm, Superior Reactive Fire according to the Dust Tactics Core Set Revised Rule book is not roll one die and reactive fire on a miss as stated in the article, but it is role three dice and reactive fire on a roll of at least one hit.
[ADMIN: The Dust Tactics Revised Core Set rules are correct. The article has been edited.]
Ah... I hoped it would ship with the Revised Core Set. Seems it'll be relevant to buy an additional medium AND an additional light mech.
So the Sturmkonig has advanced reactive fire? Nasty!
Also might have to get the Heinrich now.