The year is 1947...

Dust Tactics is a tactical miniatures board game for 2-4 players. In an alternate 1940s reality, alien technology fuels gigantic machines of war as the forces of the Axis and Allies clash over rare mineral deposits that could inevitably decide the outcome of the war. With over 30 highly detailed miniatures, 9 double-sided terrain boards, 12 custom dice, unit cards, terrain, and plastic scenery, Dust Tactics delivers everything you need to wage battles in the world of Dust.

User Reviews (9)

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2
Reviewed My First Game
7
49 of 55 gamers found this helpful
“Fun, But I Won't Jump Into It”

Dust Tactics is a great mix of boardgame and wargame. The miniatures are fabulous, especially the mechs. That said, I’ve played it 4 times or so and don’t necessarily care to play it much more. I think for wargamers looking for a faster experience, it’s fantastic: I’m primarily a boardgamer who dabbles in wargames, and I realized too late that it does require quite the investment in time. It’s best to play all of the missions out of the box and then, if you still are into it, get the expansions and go from there. It can be hard as a beginner to find the right group who hasn’t already played through all of those missions. This is the spot I was in and I felt sort of like a 5th wheel–I didn’t want to have to make the group come down to my level to get me up to speed.

If you have someone who wants to begin the game with you, and you’re excited about Weird World War II, and you love minis but don’t want to sink millions of hours and dollars into a game, Dust Tactics is for you. It’s not a bad game. It’s just not what I was looking for.

 
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5
BoardGaming.com Beta 2.0 Tester
Went to Gen Con 2012
Amateur Reviewer
7
49 of 55 gamers found this helpful
“A Miniatures Game for the Board Game Enthusiast”

What You Get:

The Dust Tactics Core Set is a massive box filled with miniatures, map tiles, unit cards, and terrain. There are enough units to field two complete armies (one Axis and one Allies). Each side comes with two walkers, three infantry squads, and a hero. The walkers are without question the coolest part of the game. Imagine a World War II Sherman tank with legs, and you get two of them!

There is also the custom dice, rule books, unit cards, and the map and terrain tiles but all that stuff fades into the background as the wonderful miniatures take center stage.

Playing the Game:

Dust Tactics is the skirmish game genre at its finest. The game is straightforward and quick to play. The game mechanics ensure for a tense back and forth for the duration of the game.

A round of Dust Tactics begins with each player rolling for initiative. The player who wins the roll takes the first turn. On a player’s turn he activates unit and then completes two actions with that unit. Then it is the other players turn. Gameplay goes back and forth until all the units have been activated.

There is an immense amount of strategy in Dust Tactics. You are constantly attempting to outmaneuver your opponent or draw him into a trap in order to gain the tactical edge. Each unit can take two actions when activated; move or shoot. Of course you could do a double move, or a double shoot. Combat is absolutely merciless and it is common for entire units are wiped from the board in a single round of shooting! This constant danger means you will do whatever is possible to protect your own units while at the same time attempt to draw out your opponent. It is a challenging and fun game.

The Good:

Incredible Minis and Quality Components – FFG has always been able to push out games with the highest quality components. Dust Tactics is no different. The production quality on the miniatures is incredibly high. In just the Core Set you get over thirty of these highly detailed and ready to paint models. As far as other board games go, there is no equal.

Fast, Furious, Unforgiving – Dust Tactics plays quickly and aggressively. If you want to win then you are going to have to go out there and take victory from the hands of your opponent. The gameplay is tense and action packed with almost no downtime between players. Dust has a certain back and forth aspect to it that really makes the combat engaging and exciting.

The Expansions – There are a lot. There are more walkers, more infantry, more heroes. ****, there is even a whole new ARMY that just came out and it has helicopters! That’s right, flying units. On top of all the new guys, there are new Campaign Expansions that bring new rules, new missions, new stories, and new battles. The Dust universe is ever expanding and FFG has shown no signs of slowing down.

The Bad:

The Cost – Make no mistake, Dust Tactics has wonderful models and components and you WILL want to acquire more troops for your army. Of course, this will cost you. Big time. Like all games that have minis at their core, Dust Tactics is expensive. Each new unit you add to your force will be between $15-30, which really is not too bad considering the price point of most other miniature games. But it will add up quickly. So, if you are not prepared to spend some serious cash, stay away.

2D Terrain – As I have stated before, the unit models are fantastic. Just gushing with little details and cool equipment. That being said, the terrain tiles SUCK. You and your opponent each have a massive force of beautiful 3D models prepared to do battle on a…2D game board. Weak. This game is begging for some 3D terrain that is just as good looking as the units. It is a shame how silly your troops look trying to maneuver around a flat wall or bunker.

Storage – Remember that huge box this game comes in? Well be prepared to try and hide that thing somewhere because there is no way you will want to carry your armies around in it. The game box offers no protection or convenient way to store the models. The game comes with so many gorgeous models and I am supposed to just throw them back in the box? I don’t think so. If you get this game you must get some proper containers to store your units.

LoS – This is a small nitpick but the line of sight rules in Dust Tactics are rubbish. Time and time again you will have to ask your opponent their opinion on who can see who and if you have a line of sight to your intended target. I’ve had to flip a coin on numerous occasions because we could not reach an agreement. I refuse to believe there is not an easier way.

Worth It?

Nope. Dust Tactics is a fine game comprised of the highest quality components. But that does not mean it is worth it. The game is ever expanding and if you are willing to lay down an ever expanding budget to keep up with the new releases, they it may be right for you.

 
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2
8
49 of 55 gamers found this helpful
“Great game”

This game introduced me to tabletop gaming. It was a gateway to more complex games later.

Having never played anything with miniatures before I tried 40k and found it to over whelming, too expensive, and clunky. Dust maybe to simple for veterans but proved just right for a newbie like me interested in learning more. I got to learn a lot of lingo like initiative, cover saves, etc and also picked up a few things with regard to playing tactful (opposed to how I started… Rush and kill everything).

I recommend this game and it’s revised core sets to all new gamers.

 
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6
I play orange
Miniature Painter
Veteran Grader
Intermediate Reviewer
2
50 of 57 gamers found this helpful
“It's a boardgame! No, it's a miniatures game! No, it's a giant turd going <flop>! But it looks good.”

The disassociation of scale
Its always a challenge to a game designer to create a believable simulated environment when the game is supposed to be scaled. Some games use abstracted scales simply to afford space for the game itself, actual maneuvering in balance to reference the locations and resolution of terrain and event interaction. With such dynamic (non-abstract) figures at 28mm, this game should be played on no less than a 4’x4′ table and only for the purposes of small skirmish style combat. The game contradicts itself right off the bat with the scale of the figures and the actual size of the playing surface and the resolution of the tiles.

Most tabletop wargames are a bit tight on the scale, but Dust Tactics takes this to an almost comical level. Massive mechanized walker tanks are mere yards away from foot soldiers. In a game that is utilizing the massive theaters and awe inspiring battles of WWII to both lure in gamers via a safe, established genre and to create a similar style of warfare, it sure fails in fidelity to that type of warfare. At least with games like Incursion, its scaled appropriately to commando style missions, but when everything is laid on the table, Dust tactics sure is pretty to look at, but its almost ludicrous to imagine that there is either a small scale front or skirmish taking place. Its essentially, bypassing all events leading up to these small band of forces facing off against each other. It should probably be stated in the rulebook, “Each an every scenario is at the climax of heavy casualty operation, where the opposing forces are now mere yards away from each other and down the last few soldiers.” But further reading of the box material does almost the opposite of this.

The 81 pixel map to the 5 Megapixel stats
I know I’m going overboard here with the salemanship of the word “tactics”, but I just wish to emphazize that this game is far from an engaging, sophisticated, having tactics or even believable as a wargame. Most of this breaks down to the tiles. The tiles are large, mostly identical and have square geometry. So, you possibilities of movement, where to fire are both limited and predictable. Not much resolution and the fact that everything snaps to the center circles and are further constrained by drawing lines from center circles to other circles not crossing corners offers even less resolution to movement and firing. This snapping of locations and LoS is another contradiction to the scale and potential of the game as it doesn’t help justify having a fluid unit of personal and size of a tank that obviously can see each other but because but can’t “see” or shoot each other. Further confounding this is the attempt at realistic stats of the weaponry. “We’re gonna make shooting believable with range and damage modifiers on distance, but make the actual distances abstracted.” The model and weaponry stats themselves are actually really great but feel wasted on how they are utilized in the game.

Did something just happen? Wait, did we just play a game?
I read that so many people love that the game is fast paced. I don’t mind fast paced and simple, but when the salesmanship of the game is centered around something as grand, strategic and tactical as WWII, fast paced isn’t gonna help capture any of that. In fact, this game is blitzschnell. Move, roll dice, pick up models; move, roll dice, pick up models, game over. Excuse me? I didn’t really employ any kind of strategy, didn’t really need to decide on any tactics, and didn’t really execute any difficult decisions. I feel wholly rewarded in my victory via lack of effort.
My options to move are limited and almost forced, there really isn’t any difficulty in what and at what I should be firing and its not like I need to take care how I position or face my troops. Move, roll, pick up.
I’ve played a few games and have watched a few games and nothing ever last longer than 25 minutes. It takes just as long to set up.
“That’s the beautiful part though Guillermo, you can play many games in a short period of time.”
The problem I have with this is that the games aren’t all that different from one another. The largest determining force in this game is the dice. The tiles aren’t that highly different, there isn’t a whole lot of different list constructions, the resolution of the game itself is very broad, and there isn’t a whole lot of skills or abilities aside from moving and shooting. So dice are gonna dictate everything. If I’m gonna play a game like that, I’ll play Zombie Dice.
At least some games that have low resolution of movement and combat have other elements at play, like card decks or items, or even events that occur from the tiles themselves.

Who’s the cutey at the end of the bar?
I can see that the game can transform itself with lots of expansions, new troops, new tiles to choose from and expanding the play surface to better accommodate the scale, but some of the above short comings will still be present and at that point this will be a very expensive, LARGE and underwhelming experience.
I admit that this game had been tugging mischievously at my eyes, but I knew I’d have to wait and see.

So this game is like a knock-out gorgeous babe sitting at the end of the bar that you can’t stop looking at all night. When you finally approach her, she’s sounds like donkey with buck teeth, bad breath and is a blithering ditz.

Identiy crisis
The end affect of having a fully scaled, gorgeously presented set of miniatures and terrain that have high resolution stats, but low resolution terrain, little to no abilities or skills from which to choose from and no third party affects or events with which to respond to has this game straddling both the tabletop miniature world and the simple boardgame wargame genre and it can’t make a decision on what it wants to be so it fails miserably at both.

This game should abandon the tiles it has and either develop a new format of higher resolution tiles or switch entirely to a full-fledged tabletop wargame and take advantage of spectrums rather than snap points.

 
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3
Gamer - Level 3
Rated 25 Games
9
49 of 67 gamers found this helpful
“Great lead in to actual Miniature game”

This game is a great lead in to the new Dust Warfare. It has amazing components and some of the best value around. Nothing less than what I would expect from FFG and the miniatures are usable in both this and Warfare…

 
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3
Amateur Reviewer
3
50 of 76 gamers found this helpful
“Just a mix of old mechanics.”

If you expect to fin anything new in Dust Tactics, well, you won’t.
If just mixes rules and ideas from a lot of miniature games, there’s nothing original or surprising.
The price is very high, and, even if components are really good (but not better than AT-43, to make an example), the game is not worth it. It’s boring and very random, and some rule is plain bugged.
Also, the rulebook is often messy and unclear.

 
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1
5
49 of 77 gamers found this helpful
“Average Game”

I played this at GenCon 2011. I’m not that into minatures and played this thinking my son might like it. It was OK but I didn’t purchase.

 
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1
My First Heart
 
49 of 78 gamers found this helpful
“Good starter ”

If you really want to get someone into strategy/miniature games this is a great starter just for that. I love the game the rules are nice and easy to follow.

 
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1
2
50 of 95 gamers found this helpful
“no thanks”

Played a demo game. Board isn’t big enough. Not enough going on. Needs something. Perhaps when it becomes a boardless game? Otherwise just isn’t enough here…

 

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