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Helping A Noob: Nation Analyses

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I kinda discovered spartangames and dystopian wars recently and me and a few friends are going to start collecting. None of us know much about it and we haven't yet gotten a chance to see the rules. We all nerded out over the concept of the Victorian/steampunk/post-historical miniature war game.

Just wondering if some of you could offer to give as much of a run down as you can about the different nations an their crunch (not really interested in fluff ATM). We're curious about the pros and cons in the mechanics of each faction, cost-efficiency (in game points as well as actual purchasing cost), strategies/playstyles, etc. etc. I like the idea of the airships and flying battles and stuff :P, whilst the other guys find the land and sea battles more appealing. Some info on the ups and downs of those would be awesome too.

Any useful information would be greatly appreciated, whether comprehensive or concise. I'm sure there are many other noobs out there that would benefit from it.

Thanks folks!


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It is important to say that nations can play very differently in different theaters, for example FSA navy loves to sit at the back and blast away while their land vehicles love to be up close and personal, with a fair bit of boarding.  Meanwhile, air remains a mix of the two.  So what theater is attracting the most interest?

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One of the best things about Dystopian wars is the way it neatly integrates Flying, Land and Naval models together. Mechanics wise, a model is a model is a model.


You can simply agree with your opponent if you'll have a land board or sea board, and then build a force that can work there- so you can bring an Air force and you opponent a Land or Sea one as appropriate. You can build a fleet with a mixture of unit types, so you can have a naval force with heavy air cover, for example.


There are currently 7  full factions( Britain, France, Prussia, Russia,  the FSA, The empire of the blazing sun, Covenant of Antarctica) with Land, Sea and Air forces, and a large number of other nations that have a smaller range at the moment. These  alliance nations are gradually being expanded upon, both in number of fleets available, and the range available withing fleets.


I would suggest, unless one of the Alliance nations really grabs you, to start with one of thee 7 full factions.



Mechanics wise, the game  works on alternating activations. I use one squadron, you use one squadron, ( third player if present uses one), I use one, etc

This makes it fast moving and players don't have to sit there for 30 minutes and do nothing but roll some saves.

Each squadron( examples A battleship with escorts, squadron of cruisers, squadron of frigates) can perform the following actions.

Move -




All Nations can do all of these actions, but certain nations favour some over other. For example, the Coveranant of Antarctica can move very well, and have good short and long range shooting,  but most of their units are very weak against boarding.

The Prussian Empire have poor long range shooting on most units, but good speed, short range firepower and Boarding. The Emipre of the Blazing sun do all things quite well, but not as well as the specialists in it.


The best way to choose if you don't know too much about what play style you'll like is simple..........  What models do you like the look of?


Cost wise. As mentioned above, the same unit class  will cost much the same in points and in pounds for any nation that can field it.

Start up price....A Rule book, Starter box and a Carrier model will come to about £50, and give you a really good solid core to start from.  Because the game is so cheap compared to many others, lots of people have several different nations.


Hope that helps, and welcome to the game.

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Couldn't really put it better than Bunnahabhain. The main point I think though, is while most nations tend to do things better/worse than others, there is no 'super nation' or nations to avoid. Some have a steeper learning curve than others (I believe Prussia and Brittania are the two I see most mentioned as the harder of the Core 7), but they aren't weaker than the others. :)

Also, be careful... This game can be quite addictive... I started off with the recommended Rule Book + Starter Kit mentioned above, now I have 7 different nations, most with Sea, Air and Land... Damnable Spartan and their amazing models... :P

But at any rate, welcome aboard! Hope to see you lurking around your chosen nations sub-forums in the near future.  ^_^

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As a quick list of sea styles only.

FSA - long range shooting

KoB - Mid range torps and guns

PE - Short fast borders

EoBS - Good bording good long range narrow arcs of fire

CoA - Fair to good long range weak to bording SHENANIGANS

RoF - Short range good air/anti air

RC - Heavy armour HUGE short range guns no long range slow.

Note these are broad gereralisations of the main tactics, other tatics are possable. Note my anaysis of RoF and EoBS are not personal and come from what i have gotten from these boards.

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I'll just add to what has been said from my point of view:


If you like fliers, have a look at the French. They have very good fliers and the power to make sure their airforce dominates thes skies. On sea level, a French player needs a bit of patience: They excel on short range and aren't especially fast to compensate for that. Their ships can be quite resilient, but you will still suffer losses if you play long ranged factions like the Americans (FSA). Once you are in range, you can keep up with most enemies. If you support French navals with the airforce, you can cause mayhem on the table.


The British are very reslilient. It's hard to bring some of their ships down and with their torpedoes they can still cause damage near the end of the game when other factions are worn out and have suffered too much damage to shoot effectively. The drawback with the Brits is that you need to plan your movement very carefully since you need a minimum range to fire your torpedoes. Clever enemies move too close for them to work it you are not careful. Furthermore, their aircraft is rather shoddy at the moment (but I suppose it will receive a boost in 2.0.)


The FSA can basically do everything, but what makes them really strong is their amazing long range firepower in combination with tough ships. In my gaming group we refer to the FSA as the "+1 faction" since they always seem to have something better than the other nations :-) Of course they are still balanced, but with short ranged factions you will be shot at long before you can retaliate. And once you're close they still can keep up with what you have on the table. Tough guys, as a French player I hate to play against them.


Russians totally lack subtlety: You move them to the front, take care of your big ships and gunships and then blast everything to kingdom come. If something miraculously survives, you board it and then get a cup of coffee. In my opinion, they are the currently the most powerful nation (yeah, this will cause discussion - it's just my opinion, not written in stone): Their ships are very tough, if you get close, their gunnery is extraordinary and their weaknesses (slow, vulnerable to aircraft and outmanouvring) are easily compensated by their frigates and their generators. If you have long ranged gunnery, you can probably hurt them badly before they are in range, but if you need to get close to them, you need a very good plan.


I don't have lots of experience with the other factions, but I guess somebody else will chime in. Have fun with DW!

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I like to add

FSA and KoB are considered long gamers. In my experience is they like the games that go longer cause they last longer. FSA can hurt from farther away and just sit back shoot and are harder to hurt. KoB can survive easier with shields all over and can also have weapons that never reduce due to damage.

PE are short gamers. They blow their load and are done. This is my experience from them boarding. As a shooting and duking fleet, which I add is not what they are designed for, they are moderately effective.

RoF and RC want to get in your face and punch you below the belt. Lots of dice once they are spitting distance. Not to mention good armor. And RC case, darn near impossible to sink sometimes.

CoA and EoBS are fluid factions. Good all around. CoA case as mentioned is handicapped in boarding. But between abilities and mars and stats. These factions are fluid and can face any faction effectively if you know what to do.

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