Friday, 10 June 2011
Smurf Tactica: The Prussian Fleet
I have recently been playing a lot of Spartan Games' Dystopian Wars and since I get quite a bit of traffic from people looking for game reviews, I thought I would cover a few basic tactics I have picked up using the Prussian fleet. I will not be using terminology or stats lines from the game because I know many people that read this blog will not know what I'm talking about. Also, this sort of advice can be easily obtained from the Spartan Games forum. Instead, I just want to review each of the units that I have been using and provide a few tips on deploying and using the fleet.
For a review of the game mechanics and the products please click here!
For a demonstration of my painted fleet click here.
The General Rule:
The Prussians are generally all about speed and boarding. Boarding is by far the best way to knock a ship out quickly but only if you are good at it! Prussians are the best! Prussian ships don't tend to have much offensive gunnery power and so the strategy is generally to damage enemy vessels (which reduces their ack ack rating) and then assault them with boarders when you're ready. The speed of the Prussian ships always high and so this makes getting into a suitable boarding position much easier.
A secondary benefit of this tactic is that occupied vessels are worth double victory points! So winning is not really about the number of ships you sink but the number you own.
There are currently 4 classes of ships and 2 air variants available to buy from Spartan. I have personally only been using the contents of the starter box and the carrier. So all tips I provide will be based on that. Other build will of course play differently.
The Prussian Skyfortress is truly a beauty to behold! Basically a resin rugby ball, it dominates the sky with its awesome ack ack stats and elite boarding crew. Because it is a flying model, the skyfortress can make obscured movement, which means that attacks made against it can only ever hit on a 6+. This is essential, because it only has a movement of 6'' and so it can slowely advance without taking too much damage.
I tend to deploy mine in the middle of the board with a aerial accompaniment of 5 fighter planes. It then advances obscured to the middle of the board and provides anti flyer support. Its main strength is in its ability to board other ships. I has a complement of 9 boarders that kill on a role of 3+. This makes taking a relatively large ship (like a battleship) a possibility so it is very dangerous when it gets close!
The Prussian battleship is a strange beast. It is the fastest of all the battleships from other nations but not be so much as it makes a true difference. Its not the most offensive either in terms of gunnery sporting 3 turrets (or 2 turrets and a generator), a mild broadside and teslas (which are rubbish). It's not the king of boarding either despite having 10 boarders as the Japanese also has 10 and the American ship has 9.
The Prussian battleship is, however, a great all rounder. I use mine to smash enemy cruisers and do damage to other battleships before launching the all important boarding assault! Remember the trick is to capture the ships and not necessarily sink them. The Prussian battleship is not that good at sinking ships but it is good at damaging them (reducing their ack ack) and then boarding them next round! Being the fastest battleship, its also pretty maneuverable and so you can get it into a favorable position for boarding a little easier.
I tend to deploy mine near to the skyfortress with an accompaniment of 5 fighters. this allows it to respond to either side of the battle field as and when required.
The Prussian cruiser is my least favourite of the ship classes and its the varient that I have the most trouble defining. There have been many games where they have been completely unimportant and there have been games where they alone have won it for me. What makes them so awkward is that they aren't that offensive gunnery wise and they are also very vulnerable to damage.
Their main strengths lie in their speed and their boarding ability. Each cruiser can move 10'' and unleash 6 boarders upon the enemy. With an intact squadron that's a total of 18 boarders at one ship! They also have enough boarders each to reliably take an enemy frigate on their own, so that's a whole squadron of enemy frigates captured in 1 turn...nice!
When linking fire, a squadron of cruisers can put out some serious offensive damage but because they are so vulnerable to damage themselves there is rarely a situation when the squadron can put out its best! If nothing else, the cruisers can act as a great fire magnet, drawing fire away from your most important ships (the frigates!)
I tend to deploy my cruisers in a position to attack the enemy frigates. So it depends entirely on what the enemy deployment is. Never deploy them away from the bulk of your force. If you do they will be easily picked off.
These are in my opinion by far the most important ships in the force and have been instrumental in winning me most of my games. What makes them so good is that they tick all 3 boxes when it comes to what you need in a small ship; they are fast, they have a very offensive turret and they have a good complement of boarders!
Because they are a small ship they are harder to hit by the larger ships, which allows them to rush right up to a battleship or a cruiser and smash it with a nice big combined gunnery attack! They also have 3 boarders each and so can easily take an enemy cruiser or even weardown a battleship when combined (9 boarders total with 3 frigates to a squadron).
I always group 3 squadrons of 3 together on one flank. This allows me to rush the enemy flank enmasse and cause all sorts of trouble. The primary objective of my frigates initially is to knock out the enemy frigates. One this has been done they move on to harassing the large ships up close. Launching a boarding assault on a battleship that's doomed to fail can be a good idea with frigates as they are essentially expendable. However, you will kill some of the guys on the enemy ship an make it easier to take with a more dedicated boarding unit like the skyfortress. Using these sorts of harassment tactics on enemy vessels will soon make your opponent rue the day he ignored them! They are the work force for the whole fleet and should be looked after. If you lose your frigates, you have almost certainly lost the game (unless your opponent is in a similar mess of course).
The Prussian Geiger class bomber is the most offensive unit that I have been using. It is not a good boarder and can only be useful in boarding actions in very special circumstances. It does, however, have a lot more gunnery than the other nations equivalents including a forward and rear facing tesla and bombs. Like the skyfortress it can fly obscured and so they can advance upon the enemy and then drop down and unload a rear tesla and bombs upon a medium/large ship! There is a downside to having so much gunnery and that is attracting enemy ack ack. Each squadron you taken can fire ack ack back so long as its in range. this makes getting in close and shooting a target in front and one in the rear a risky strategy as two targets worth of ack ack will come back at you before you make your attack rolls. Therefore great care should be taken when planning your attack.
I deploy mine on the opposite flank to the frigates and use them to pick off any isolated squadrons. I always move them obscured to protect them from harm and only attack when the situation is perfect for bomb dropping. I do sometimes use them to hunt enemy frigates as their ack ack is generally low and bombers have no trouble hitting them with gunnery.
The Prussians are a great fleet to use if you are patient and good at planning ahead. They are not about sinking other ships with systematic fire. Instead it takes a little more finesse and a great deal of careful forward planning to get all the ships into position in order to board effectively. It also takes patients and prioritisation skills in order to plan a multi-layered attack. The Prussians cannot take everything on at once as each ship generally tend to be quite fragile. Position and timing is everything.
I hope both players and lurkers alike find this article helpful when using the Prussian fleet. As I use new ship classes (like the new medium airships!) and play around with the force composition I'll learn new tricks and post them up here. Until then enjoy!