Strangely enough, when Games Workshop released their latest one off naval battle game ‘Dreadfleet’ my gaming buddies expressed an interest in playing a naval war game. Nobody was impressed with an expensive one-off game from Games Workshop, so Spartan Game’s ‘Uncharted Seas’ was mentioned as a naval fantasy alternative. That was until Daniel chipped in and mentioned he had the rules for ‘Dystopian Wars’. One look at the fantastic steam-punk, sci-fi themed ships from Spartan Games was enough to hook us and we immediately each ordered a naval box. We’ve also exercised the rules with a few games of Dystopian Wars and our own (sad) cardboard chit ships and they seem fairly reasonable, with an interesting mix of naval, land, and air units, some intriguing tactical options and the sometimes horrifyingly effective ‘exploding dice’ mechanic.
I ended up with the new ‘Covenant of Antarctica’ forces, ordered from Maelstrom Games and have started painting the contents of that box in a fairly typical ‘winter sea’ splinter scheme. Here’s a slightly murky shot of the first three squadrons of Diogenes class frigates. Just in case I forget, these ships have been primed with 3M Acid Etch, painted with a mix of GW paints and Vallejo Flames of War military colours. Then ink washed with a mix of india ink and Windsor & Newton blue ink and over-painted again with lightened tones thinned with acrylic thinner. They’ve been varnished with the now unavailable Moana Matt Varnish.
The Dystopian Wars ships seem universally excellent. The ships are one-sided resin casts of what appears to be rapid-prototyped 3D models. The level of detail is simply amazing on the ships, so I can only assume Spartan Games are using some expensive laser sintered rapid prototype service. For bombers and other large two-sided flyers the models are cast in pewter and lack the same crispness and level of detail as the resin ships which is a bit of a pity. They’re still passable models, but they’re definitely less defined in terms of surface details like tiny 0.2mm rivets etc.
We’re all painting up our forces at the moment and when you consider a Dystopian Wars naval box force consists of one capital ship, three medium ships, 9 small frigates, two large bombers and 10 tiny flyer tokens it is actually possible we’ll be playing with fully painted forces!