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.

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It’s interesting how the Warpath alpha rules make use of the leader of a squad to measure and move the whole squad, just as I’m doing with my Dust Tactics Unleashed rules hack.

Chronicles of Blood is a solitaire wargame developed by Crystal Star Games. It’s a fantasy mass battles game where the basic unit is the regiment, represented by several figures on a base. It’s an amazingly clever and elegant design, which you should check yourself because it is absolutely free. You can find it in DriveThruRPG to name just one.

Anyway, I’ve been playing the game quite a bit, and decided to add a few clearer rules for my games regarding some stuff. The game is vague in some aspects, and I enjoy that, but since I love dwelling in game design I thought I’d make the hacks available to anyone interested. These are not clarifications to the rules. More like tweaks I enjoy to make it a bit more solid, and maybe even limited. Always a good thing when playing a solitaire game.

I will be updating this article, mainly with new profiles as I need them, so be sure the check back whenever I post an update on a regular post.

Remember, these are not clarifications to the rules nor official words from the publisher, just fan work.

Rules

Line of sight

LOS determines what a regiment can see. LOS extends to the sides of the regiment from the front side in a 45 degree angle. If you use any kind of template for pivoting the regiments you can use the same one to determine the LOS angle.

A regiment can only charge an enemy that was in LOS at the start of its activation. A regiment can only shoot using Archery if the target is within its LOS and it is not completely obstructed. Other regiments and terrain such as woods and hills block LOS, while shallow terrain like rivers do not.

A regiment completely on top of a hill can trace its LOS over other regiments, but not over other hills or woods. A regiment inside woods or ruins can see outside and be seen in return.

Movement

Straight & sweep
A regiment can move up to its Speed in a straight line or a sweep. This is basically a diagonal move without changing the regiment’s facing. However, a regiment can only end its sweep move with its front side completely within its original position’s LOS. Any sharper sweep and the regiment would require a change of formation or risk disruption. This simply means regiments can move diagonally, but in an angle not greater than 45 degrees.

Side step
A regiment can make a side step move during its activation. It moves up to 10cm to either side (just one, not both in the same move) maintaining the same facing. The regiment cannot pivot during a side step move.

Reform
A regiment can make a reform action during its activation. The regiment can change its facing freely staying in place, and no further movement is allowed.

Charges
Any regiment ending its move in contact with an enemy regiment is by definition charging. Regiments can only charge enemies that are in its LOS at the start of their activation. Charge contact can only be made with the front side of the charging regiment’s base, against one of the target’s sides (any side, just not a corner). Neither the rear, nor sides, nor any corner of the charger can be used to contact an enemy regiment. A regiment must stop at least 1cm away from an enemy if it cannot charge it. It is perfectly normal to pivot after moving in contact with an enemy using a corner, if the regiment has enough Speed left (“closing the door” move in other wargames rules).

Cover

A regiment completely inside terrain that provides cover, like woods or ruins, gains +1 Armor while in the terrain against Archery.


LOS and Cover

Multiple combat

If a regiment’s move ends with its front side in contact with two or more enemies after charging then you’ve got yourself a multime combat. Remember only the sides of enemies’ bases can be charged (any side) and corner contact doesn’t count.

When there is more than one regiment fighting on one side simply roll both Fight dice, add modifiers separately and choose the higher number. If this is enough to beat the opponent’s roll then each regiment rolls its own Damage die and Wounds separately. If the side with multiple regiments loses the combat both are moved back 2cm and the lone regiment chooses which regiment to wound. If a tie, then every regiment in the combat takes one wound.

Lone monsters

Monsters are big and scary creatures. Monster regiments use the regular basing (and movement rules) for the armies. However, some of the biggest monsters come with their own bases. These are lone monsters not limited by the drills of military movement. They can move freely without the need to pivot, retreat, or side step. They have 360 degree LOS.

Army banner bearer hero

The army banner bearer carries the army or alliance colors and represents the rally point for the whole army.

A regiment that has an army banner bearer benefits from an increase in their Morale battle stat like a regular banner (see Heroes of the Battlefield p. 1). Additionally, it allows any friendly regiment within 15cm, including itself, to reroll a failed Morale roll once per turn.

An army banner bearer increases the points value of a regiment by 4 points. A regiment can have either a regular banner or an army banner, not both, and of course not more than one. Only one regiment per army can have an army banner.

Special rules

Huge
A regiment can be so big it can be seen from all over the battlefield. Some monsters and war machines are the most common examples.

A huge regiment can see and be seen over other regiments and scenery. It does not half its Speed while moving through terrain, but it also doesn’t gain the cover Armor bonus while on terrain that provides it.

Rock Lobber
Some machines or monsters can throw massive rocks at the enemy creating all sorts of chaos. Rock Lobber is a variation of the Archery special rule.

A regiment with this rule may shoot at an enemy regiment within the distance listed in brackets with the Rock Lobber special rule (eg, 40cm, 50cm, etc). The shooting regiment must have LOS to the target. If the target is in range and can be seen, roll the shooting regiment’s Fight die. If the result is 4+ the shot hits. Otherwise it’s a miss.

Roll a d6 for damage and deduct the target’s Armour stat for the target regiment and every regiment within 5cm of the target (both enemy and friendly). Roll different dice for each.

If the shot was over half of the Rock Lobber range away deduct a further -1 from the damage. The remaining total is the number of Wounds the regiments lose.

Pathfinders
Some troops spend most of their time hiding from the enemy, using terrain to their advantage to strike at the right moment. They know the lays of the battlefield and move fast where they are needed.

Pathfinders do not half their Speed stat while moving through rough terrain.

Profiles

These are a few profiles I did for my games based on the existing ones. The formula is pretty easy to work out and they have worked well in play too. Take into account I play Middle-earth games with these rules.

Dark

Stone Giant. Lone Monster – S 15cm – F d10 – D d8 – A 4 – M d6 – W 8 – P 14 – Special: Huge.

Cave Trolls. Monsters – S 15cm – F d8 – D d6 – A 3 – M d4 – W 6 – P 8 – Special: Rock Lobber (30cm)

Goblin Spearmen. Goblin Infantry – S 15cm – F d4 – D d6 – A 1 – M d4 – W 5 – P 3 – Special: Spears

Uruk-hai Warrior.  Uruk-hai Infantry – S 15cm – F d8 – D d6 – A 3 – M d6 – W 6 – P 8

Uruk-hai Pikemen. Uruk-hai Infantry – S 15cm – F d8 – D d6 – A 2 – M d6 – W 6 – P 8 – Special: Spears

Uruk-hai Scouts. Uruk-hai Infantry – S 15cm – F d8 – D d6 – A 1 – M d6 – W 6 – P 8 – Special: Archery (50cm), Scout

Wild Wargs. Warg Cavalry – S 25cm – F d8 – D d6 – A 1 – M d4 – W 6 – P 8 – Special: Scout, Charge!

Warg Riders. Warg Cavalry – S 25cm – F d8 – D d6 – A 2 – M d4 – W 6 – P 8 – Special: Charge!

Light

High Elf Spearmen. Elf Infantry – S 15cm – F d8 – D d6 – A 2 – M d8 – W 5 – P 8 – Special: Spears

High Elf Archers. Elf Infantry – S 15cm – F d8 – D d6 – A 1 – M d8 – W 5 – P 7 – Special: Archery (60cm)

Gondor Spearmen. Human Infantry – S 15cm – F d6 – D d6 – A 2 – M d6 – W 5 – P 6 – Special: Spears

Gondor Warriors. Human Infantry – S 15cm – F d6 – D d6 – A 2 – M d6 – W 5 – P 5

Gondor Archers. Human Infantry – S 15cm – F d6 – D d6 – A 1 – M d6 – W 5 – P 5 – Special: Archery (50cm)

Gondor Scouts. Human Infantry – S 15cm – F d6 – D d6 – A 0 – M d6 – W 5 – P 5 – Special: Skirmishers, Archery (50cm)

Gondor Knights. Human Cavalry – S 25cm – F d8 – D d6 – A 3 – M d6 – W 5 – P 9 – Special: Charge!

Vault Wardens. Dwarf Infantry – S 15cm – F d8 – D d6 – A 4 – M d8 – W 6 – P 11 – Special: Spears

Stone Thrower. Dwarf Infantry – S 15cm – F d8 – D d6 – A 1 – M d8 – W5 – P 8 – Special: Archery (90cm)*

*Note: The dwarf stone thrower is more akin a ballista than a catapult, therefore it has Archery rather than Rock Lobber.