Dust Tactics Unleashed
Rules changes for DT to do away with the board, by Guido Quaranta.

Most of these rules are variations to the regular Dust Tactics rules. You need to know the basic game, and most of those rules apply normally. The rules noted as “(extra)” are my own creation for different aspects of the game. More on them on the Designer’s notes at the end.

Remember this is a living document. I will update this post, and let you know via blog post when I do.

Latest version: September 2011

Distances: 1 square = 6 inches

Squad formation
Models in a squad must remain within 2 inches of a leader model. There must always be a leader model in the unit. If the leader model is removed as a casualty, immediately choose another model. When a hero starts the game inside a squad, he/she is the leader.

Line of sight and shooting
Every weapon line can shoot at a different target. Only the models with LOS (line of sight) to the target can shoot though. Distance is measured from the base of the nearest model with the weapon to the base of the nearest model in the target unit. Always measure from the models’ base edges. Every model shooting must have LOS to the target, but distance is only measured from and to the closest models.

Limited-ammo weapons can be fired by any model (as normal), but those shooting must have LOS to the target.

A player can remove any figure from his/her target unit taking casualties, even those out of LOS from the firing models (exception: Sniper special rule).

The models from an active squad do not block LOS to other squad members. Nor do they block movement (they can move through models in their own squad).

Squads block LOS to other squads (as in the normal rules). Consider the space between models of a single squad as a solid screen. For robots, consider their bases as blocking LOS.

Firing flame weapons
Make a template 2 inches wide by the needed length (6, or 12 inches, depending on the weapon). Place it against the nearest base edge of the firing figure, towards the closest model in the target unit. Any unit the template touches (except the one from the firing model) is affected, whether friend or foe.

Close combat
Close combat weapons have a range of 2 inches. If at least one figure from the active unit is within that distance from an enemy, they can fight using CC weapons. When a unit attacks with CC weapons, the whole unit fights (not only the ones 2 inches from an enemy). Also, every model from the target unit gets to fight back.

Cover and scenery
Area terrain: It’s represented by a small area (the size of a CD is perfect) where you place cover elements (tank traps, ammo crates, etc.). If half or more of the squad is completely inside an area terrain they gain the corresponding cover save.

Ruined buildings (extra): They block LOS to everyone like obstacles do. Walkers and vehicles cannot enter this terrain. They provide hard cover to squads inside. If there are several levels of height, it takes one action to move up or down a level. Squads in higher levels can trace LOS over squads, tank traps, ammo crates, but not over walkers, other buildings or obstacles.

Changes to skills
Agile: The unit moves 10 inches per move point instead of 6.

Activation roll (extra)
Every unit must roll 3d before activating. Heroes, or units with heroes attached to them roll 4d. Check the result on the table below.

0 hits: The unit doesn’t do anything this turn. Counts as activated.
1-2 hits: The unit activates normally.
3+ hits: The unit activates and has an extra action.

If the unit activates using Reactive Fire (or fails to do so) it doesn’t need to make an activation roll.

Armor saves (extra)
Only infantry squads get armor saves. The roll is made every time a squad takes casualties from a weapon line shot at them, as many times per turn as needed. This means that a unit targeted by another one, shot with 3 different weapon lines, will roll armor saves 3 times, and not just one after all the casualties have been added.

If the save succeeds, the unit doesn’t receive casualties. If it fails, the unit can still make any relevant cover save (if available).

Armor saves are made with 4d. The armor of the squad determines the result needed for a successful save.

Inf1: 4 hits to save.
Inf2: 3 hits to save.
Inf3: 2 hits to save.
Inf4: 1 hit to save.

Armor saves cannot be made in close combat.

Designer’s notes
So, I craved for two aspects of the rules that were very important when creating rules changes. First, to use only the numbers on the cards. No extra attributes or anything. Second, to use the DT dice. No need to get or roll other type of dice.

Now, the most obvious changes are the activation roll and the armor saves. Let’s talk a second about them.

The activation roll is mainly my first try to make it more enjoyable to solitaire play. When I play solo, I apply the activation roll to either both armies or just one, and add a bit of uncertainty to the battle. Other mechanisms would be needed to make it more enjoyable, and I’m working on that.

The armor save seems a bit strange. But already the game design has included the different infantry armor to its ethos, so I might as well use it. If you see clearly, the chances of making a save are very low considering most troops right now are Inf2. But still, they do add a tiny bit more survivability to the whole game. Why is this necessary though? Well, I believe that the board game is quick and deadly, and I love it. But when setting up a tabletop game, we usually go a bit larger. The play area is bigger, there is more scenery, if only because the movement and shooting distances are a bit larger. However, I still enjoy playing with few units, and this gives me a slightly longer game, and also another bit of unpredictability. I am developing a simple system for the walkers, not in the form of saves but in the different ways that they can be affected beyond the simple “alive” and “dead” states.

Hope you can try them out and enjoy them.