Review: Dystopian Wars

This is the newest miniatures game from Spartan Games (www.spartangames.co.uk), set in 1870. The game describes itself as "Global Warfare in a Victorian Sci-Fi Age". Which is pretty accurate since the Prussian Empire has zeppelins with Tesla lightning cannons mounted on them.

The game covers land, air, and sea combat, requiring a fairly comprehensive ruleset. While Spartan Games has had issues with organizing their rulebooks with past games (Uncharted Seas and Firestorm Armada), this one is very well organized. But there is so much to absorb (because the rules must be so comprehensive) that you're really better off learning through playing the game. It is easily the most ambitious thing Spartan Games has done, and the ruleset looks like it's pretty thorough without having a billion special-case rules, applying the same basic design tenets to cover all the situations.

Unlike Uncharted Seas and Firestorm Armada, Dystopian Wars has more than just three kinds of models available to a faction from day one. In fact, the nations of Dystopian Wars have enough stuff in the base rules that Spartan Games will probably be releasing models from the core rules for a good year or so. But not all the units have models yet, so you must either be patient or inventive. The models that are out, however, are designed from the ground up using computer modeling software, allowing for a level of detail that I've rarely seen. There are view ports on the doors of the ships... at 1:1200th scale. A person at that scale is not even a millimeter tall.

Each nation has their own visual style and technology preferences. The Federated States of America and the Prussian Empire use airships/zeppelins, for example, while the British and Japanese use VTOL engines for their large flying craft. The Japanese ships bear special mention, as they resemble trains, explained in-universe as a deliberate choice by the engineer who came up with the designs.

Overall I think Dystopian Wars is worth checking out. Beware! There are supply problems with the miniatures and rule book, so obtaining Dystopian Wars may be slightly difficult.
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