And Now For Something Completely… Steampunk

Something a little different for you.

A little while back I picked up a starter box and rules set for quite a different style of miniature wargame – namely Dystopian Wars, by Spartan Games.

As you have probably spotted, I’ve been getting rather obsessed about Malifaux lately, and also focussing on my Salute painting competition entries (just over two weeks away now, ulp!). So those lovely little Steampunk ships have been sitting patiently in their boxes.

So, to add a touch of variety, I thought I’d do an unboxing post so you can get a sneak preview of what’s to come when I eventually do get stuck into them.

This is the haul I have collected:

  • Dystopian Wars Rulebook, with accompanying reference card
  • Empire of the Blazing Sun starter box
  • Sky Fortress (giant flying aiurcraft carrier thingy)
  • Deck of game cards (not necessary for play but they add some interesting random events and narrative)

Getting Started with Dystopian Wars

Spartan Games already have a couple of other ship games at this scale – namely Uncharted Seas (Fantasy) and Firestorm Armada (Sci-Fi). However, Steampunk being genre-of-the-moment, I got rather excited when they announced Dystopian Wars last year and previewed it with glorious looking models of Prussian Zeppelins with Tesla Cannons.

Here’s what Spartan Games have to say on the setting:

Imagine a world similar to our own, but subtly different. Now imagine the year is 1870 and the Industrial Revolution occurred decades earlier than in our own world. Technology is far advanced, and in many cases, unrecognisable, which has led to the development of fantastic naval vessels, hulking land ships and terror from the skies in the form of airships and war balloons.

What’s not to love about that?

Anyway, James bagsied the Prussians (damn him!) so I went for my option two – namely the Japanese inspired Empire of the Blazing Sun.

Cracking open the starter box we find it is jam-packed with steampunk goodness.

Here’s what tumbled out (in an orderly fashion):

  • 1 x Sokotsu Class Battleship
  • 3 x Nakatsu Class Cruisers
  • 9 x Uwatsu Class Frigates
  • 2 x DFA-170 Bombers
  • 10 x Fighter Tokens

Plus stat cards for each of the ship classes above, a handful of counter and template sheets, and some metal weapon turret options for the battleship.

Unboxing a Dystopian Wars Starter

I must say I’m really impressed with the quality of the resin sculpts.

The detail is super sharp and crisp. I can only assume that the sculpting was done on computer, which is probably appropriate for vehicles made entirely of geometric-inspired shapes such as these. (That said, my Kingdom Death Preacher appears to have been computer sculpted.)

Anyway, you can get an idea of the detail level yourself in this close-up of the three ship types:

Dystopian Wars Resin Detail

I probably should have put a ruler alongside for scale. For reference, the shortest – the Frigate – is 40mm prow to stern.

I’m not sure how long it will be before I get to work on these but I can see them being fairly easy to prepare and paint. I think the sculpts will respond well to drybrushing, washing and glazing, so half decent results should be pretty quick to achieve.

As for the actual game mechanics, I can’t really comment yet, having only had a cursory scan through the rules, suffice to say that it looks pretty simple and fun. And, in a far cry from the card-flipping of Malifaux, it features bucketloads of dice.

I do love chucking around bucketloads of dice.

Oh, and by the way, did I mention the game features freakin’ Zeppelins with Tesla Cannons!

~ by Max Von Deadlock on March 30, 2011.

9 Responses to “And Now For Something Completely… Steampunk”

  1. Nice. I am one step ahead of you: mine are undercoated! They’ll probably stay that way for quite a while – I too am more fired up by Malifaux at the moment, but their time will come. As you say its a very different style of game, it will be a nice change of pace, and the figures are just cool. In hindsight I don’t think we both needed to get the cards, I think you only need one deck. Or none, being an optional extra, though they look like they add some needed narrative to the game.


  2. I can’t find the rulebook anywhere, it sucks when the figures look so good.


  3. Must…own….copy….


  4. I really like the look of those Japanese frigates… in fact, i’m, thinking they’d look perfect as Imperial Cruisers for Rogue Trader. Stick them on a clear raised stand and boom, let the space wars commence!


    • You wouldn’t use Battlefield Gothic cruisers?


      • Possibly but they tend to be extortionately priced on ebay these days since they’ve been OOP for so many years, and most of the ones that aren’t too expensive are suffering hideous paint jobs, which is a pain given many of the mini’s were plastic so removing it isn’t going to be easy =/


  5. […] other miniature wargames I play, and the starter box represents fantastic value – providing everything you need to get stuck into this exciting and fun game of steampunk […]


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