Totengrabber and I played a second game of Dust Warfare last Saturday. We switched sides and I took the Axis. Laser Grenadiers with Sigrid are pretty decent damage dealers, and Damage Resilient Solider 3's can be a PITA to dig out of hard cover. I'm really digging the suppression mechanic. Even a really nasty unit like Rhino joined to a section of Hammers can be dealt with thanks to the judicious use of suppression. It's going to be interesting when Totengrabber eventually gets some unsuppressible units like Gorillas or Zombies.
We also tried out the scenario builder. With it, each player gets 2 points to bid on deployment, mission, and battlefield conditions. Each one starts with a 0 default setting and each point spent on a category changes it. Categories have 4 options and you can only bid them up. For example, the default 0 objective is: get to your opponents deployment zone. Bid it up one, and it becomes kill points. If it gets bid up to 2, it becomes objectives. It's kind of neat. It's good enough for friendly games, but I'm not sure of its intended use as the core of a tournament system. I need to give it some more tries to really form an opinion. I think its application would be more interesting if we better knew the capabilities of the armies. Otherwise we might as well just randomly determine the scenario conditions.
My impression of the game remains high. I'm finding the infantry combat to be more interesting than the walker combat. Walkers tend to do two things: suppress infantry at long range(important, but not very sexy), and trade long range fire with other walkers. Walker on walker shooting tends to be a roll off; especially if you can get your walker into some hard cover. This could be because we're using too many large ruins and other pieces that grant hard cover in our games. As a result, I'm not too impressed with anti-walker walkers. The good walkers are the ones that can reliably suppress infantry at 24 to 36 inch ranges. I'll have to try some games without long range AT to see if I actually miss it.
There are still a bunch of unit types and abilities we haven't tried out. Totegrabber doesn't have any of the utility command squads, snipers, observers, or artillery pieces. And, of course, no heavy walkers. I'm really interested in seeing how these units effect the game-play.
As a result of my giddiness over Dust, I've decided not to build a Flames of War army. I'm going all in with Dust Warfare. I bought the starter and a few random allied infantry that Jerry had in stock at G2D4. I also ordered enough stuff to build a 250-280 point Allies army. What's nice is I've got this all for only about $200, and that includes about an extra 150 points of Axis from the starter.
For my initial list I think I'll be running something like this:
Platoon 1: Ranger Platoon
Ranger Command Squad
Ranger Combat Squad
Ranger Combat Squad
Ranger Recon Squad
Platoon 2: Heavy Ranger Platoon
I'll probably build an SSU army when the expansion book for them comes out sometime this summer.
I will have to convert some more potential players. A few of the G2D4 40K regulars seemed interested. I'll have to prepare a few more injections of wunderserum.
If anyone is interested, I can run quick demos using the starter box contents.