As part of my learning process for Dystopian Wars, I thought I would review some of the units available to my Naval fleet – the Empire of the Blazing Sun.
Whilst the game is playable, simultaneously, across Land, Sea and Air..in our local group, we are only playing Naval with some Air support.
I can break the Naval/Air fleets up into several size classes for review purposes:
Within each, I will review the units that crop up in the category and try to get a feel for the better units in the game, whilst also highlighting how and why I reached such conclusions. The units that are available to the Empire, Naval and Air, are:
Kiyohime Assault Carrier
Tenkei Class Sky Fortress
Tsukuyomi Class War Gyro
Hachiman Class Dreadnought
Sokotsu Class Battleship
Nakatsu Class Cruiser
Tanuki Class Gunship
Inari Scout Gyro
Tetsubo Small Flyer
Uwatsu Class Frigate
Yurgi Class Destroyer
Fujin Class Corvette
Kitsune Class Escort
So where to start? Massive is the smallest, but I have no experience with either unit.. guess it’ll make it a paper/theory exercise and probably quite brief.. Massive it is then! Today, we’ll just cover massive class:
Kiyohime Assault Carrier
Despite it’s massive size classification, this thing really doesn’t live up to the name. As a Carrier, it can launch a squadron of Tiny Flyers, which can be very effective and a threat. It can also have a damaged squadron come in from the cold and refuel. The most obvious thing to do here to me is to launch the Tiny Flyer wing as 5 strong, then using your existing complement of Tiny Flyers (all fleets gain 2 x 5 wings for free) earlier in a more aggressive manner, using the now empty carrier to refuel from attack runs and aborts, as well as to pick up the 6th Tiny Flyer from the Carrier’s complement in order to bulk up a damaged wing.
There are also tactical uses of the Carrier, launching the Tiny Flyer complement in waves (I’m not sure if you can do this, but see no reason why not) of 3 would allow for 2 extra activations, allowing for some manipulation of the turn. This would mean you would be able to ‘see’ the opponents plan unfold whilst also being able to hold back your own units, not lashing out until the opponent has moved his units up into the right position or range band for the Empire player to react.
Now, is this worth the 130 point price tag? Well, no..but the Kiyohime luckily does more than float around launching a few flyers.
Offensively, it is relatively slow moving at only 6” per turn, but this is to be expected from massive ships. It forgoes the usual Empire weaponry of Rockets in favour of gunnery weapons and torpedoes. However, for it’s size it is lightly armed, with just one main
port and starboard guns as well as fore-mounted Torpedoes. Whilst the main
battery and P/S guns are considerable at Range Bands 1-2 or up to 16”, the
offer very little except some harassment outside this range. Indeed, combined
with the nature of the Tiny Flyer complement and support nature of the vessel,
I would suggest it is best used in close range.
On the defence, the ship has a reasonably high Damage and Critical hit Rating of 5/9, when combined with its ‘Rugged Construction’ Rule which reduces the incoming attack dice by 1 after linking. For example, a pair of enemy Cruisers target the Kiyohime and after checking range, find that they have 4 attack dice (AD) each. Now, individually, this is not enough to get through the armour of the Carrier, so they link. Meaning the first Cruiser gets its full AD (in this case 4) and the second adds HALF its AD to the firsts, meaning 4+2 =6. 6AD should result in 3 hits, not enough to get through the armour of 5, but what if any 6’s are rolled… a much better chance now.. however, with Rugged Construction the 6AD are reduced down to just 5AD, meaning less chance of rolling 4+ (to hit) or rolling a 6 (which counts as 2 hits and ‘explodes’ allowing a further dice to be rolled). The Kiyohime also has 7
Hull Points (HP) which
means it can take quite a few shots before it drops. 7 is also quite important
as it means it can take 3 Critical Hits and still survive.
(Side note: Critical Hits are harder to achieve – the Kiyohime requires 9 hits to equal its Crit., but if a Crit is rolled, then it does 2 Hull Points AND you can roll on the critical table.. possibly killing you outright in a Magazine Explosion (the deadly 1,1 result on 2D6))
However, it’s not all good for the Kiyohime, due to its extra ‘Fuel Reserves’ rule, it suffers an additional Raging Fire marker on a 5+ with Critical Damage, potentially killing off the Assault marines hanging out ready to defend the ship from and to board other ships. Not cool.
It’s auxiliary defence is not too amazing either with 4 depth charges to use a time versus torpedoes and 5 Ack Ack to shoot down Rockets, Tiny Flyers and potential boarders jump packing over from their ship.
Not too bad, but certainly only as good as the equivalent from multiple smaller vessels.. this is not a competency for the Kiyohime.
Pretty average overall, nothing really jumps out. I guess you could really try and throw it forward and abuse the fact that it is a massive ship just to block and obstruct lines of sight. Bit cock-ish that though. I’d probably do it.. if I took this ship..which I probably won’t.. I do love Tiny Flyers though and getting more of them is always a temptation…
Tenkei Sky Fortress
This boss clearly wins the Massive category just because of its name. It is functionally the same thing as the Kiyohime in that it is a mobile jetfighter launcher/carrier. It has the same support function, it has the same complement of tiny flyers (6 tokens/bases) but it is clearly superior in many ways.
Firstly, it costs just 5 points more than the Kiyohime. 5 points is legitimately, nothing. For this, let’s examine our differences. It has an additional 2 Hull Points, having 9 HPs. Far more staying power. It has superior armour, having a DR of 6 and a Critical Rating of 10 (compared to the Kiyohime’s 5/9), the extra point really does make that big a difference. It does suffer from the same Raging Fires issue as the Kiyohime – when it suffers a critical hit it too has a 33% chance of an additional raging fire marker.
The Tenkei has the same movement as the Kiyohime, but with a few added extras that are generated just because it can fly. It can never be blocked in the air, it can always move where it wants. It can rise up above the clouds and become Obscured, making it harder to hit. This can make it easier, combined with it higher armour, for the Tenkei to close in on its targets without sustaining damage. In addition, it can fly over other models without them obstructing its path. On the otherhand, as a flyer, it’ll never block anyone LOS to a target, nor provide cover etc. In this case, I think that the benefits outweigh the drawbacks.
Offensively, the Sky Fortress is armed quite differently to the Kiyohime. It has 2 primary gunnery weapons, but they are limited to Range Band 3 or 24”. As discussed with the Kiyohime, I don’t see this as a massive issue. The guns can of course link or shoot at separate, split targets, which in Range Band 1 and 2 can be very effective. Against a singular target, the Sky Fortress is as effective in RB1 and fractionally more effective than the Naval version in RB2. It is however, weaker than the Kiyohime in RB3, however this evaluation is overruled by the addition of 360 degree Rockets to the Tenkei, meaning it can more than make up for the slightly inferior gunnery ordnance, especially in RB3 (24”) where the Tenkei has 7 Rocket shots.
The beauty of the rockets over the P/S Guns of the Kiyohime is that the slow movement and manoeuvrability of the two Massive units limits the ability to swing and make use of both the main turret gun and either the port or starboard guns. Rockets can be fired wherever. This makes the Tenkei easier to wield in an offensive manner.
The final, principal difference between the two units is the replacement of Torpedoes on the Kiyohime with Bombs on the Tenkei. As the Sky Fortress flies over other units, probably not til turns 3 – 4 when it is in position, the Tenkei can drop a bomb directly on a target. The bombs are very effective and get to roll a mighty 10 AD (attack dice) against their target. This is more than capable of crushing small to medium units and putting some hurt on larger, capital class ships. In addition, whilst trickier, these bombs can be dropped on other flyers.. torpedoes, whilst ranged and superior in this manner, can only ever be used against Naval units.
Whilst it is true that the Kiyohime could put real hurt on a variety of targets in close range, possibly more so than the Tenkei, the Tenkei is more flexible in my opinion and quite frankly, as anybody that has been a Marvel fan for years or has just seen the Avengers will tell you.. having your own Heli-Carrier is just plain awesome.
Let me know what you think of this unit evaluation, for new players is it useful, for the experienced DWars players – have I read it right, interpreted this unit properly? Please let me know as I am in the process of writing the rest and need to know if I am on the right lines!
To be fair, without a working knowledge of Tiny Flyers..I guess this doesn't help as the principal function of the units is to deliver them!