So after returning to DUST after a hiatus, I realized that I had a lot of trouble navigating around the games current landscape. So I decided to create a small guide (EDIT: Not a small guide. ) just to help newer players get started. I have also tried to include useful links.
What is DUST 1947?
Dust 1947 is an alternate history WW2 miniatures game. The design is very pulp inspired. The game itself uses a tile based alternate activation system that's not too hard to understand. There is also a couple completely gridless options available.
Information on the different versions of the game.
There have been many versions of DUST, to the detriment of the game. Newer players have often had a hard time figuring out what is what. So here is a small bit of info about each version. Placed in chronological order.
The first version we should discuss is the FFG version, this is the version used by any boxes with FFG on the cover, notable releases are the Original core set, the revised core set, and a majority of the operation boxes. (I believe Achilles isn't part of the FFG line.) You can tell a FFG unit card because it is big and blocky. About 2.5X the size of a traditional playing card.
Also released by FFG is DUST WARFARE, I will talk more about this later. But just know that it's a full gridless version of the game, with a lot of differences in gameplay.
The second version was distributed by Battlefront. They re-released a lot of the FFG units with new unit cards. You can especially tell the vehicles by them apart because the DUST vehicles distributed by Battlefront only includes one weapon option. The DUST TACTICS rulebook released by them is hardcover and includes a gridless version of the game. Called DUST TACTICS BATTLEFIELD. You can tell unit cards from these releases by the DUST TACTICS identifier strip on the left hand side of the ability side of the card.
The third version is DUST 1947, it is the current version of the rules. The rulebook is available online for free, and so are the unit cards. DUST 1947 has it's own gridless version that is 99% the same to the normal DUST 1947 rules. There is also an advanced gridless book available with OPERATION KONDOR which simply contains some advanced gameplay variants to add more depth to the gridless version of the rules.
You can tell unit cards for this version by looking for DUST 1947 on the unit card.
What to start with?
With so many versions all with there own unique starter sets which to get, which are available? How to start. Well first you should probably choose a FACTION or BLOC to start with. Well some info about FACTIONS and BLOCS. There are multiple BLOCS in Dust across all versions. They include the ALLIES, the AXIS, and the SSU. Recently a fourth BLOC has been released, the CTHULU MYTHOS. Think of a BLOC like you would think of the EMPIRE or the REBELS in star wars. The BLOCS are all fighting each other.
But that's not all, within each BLOC are sub factions. Which are collections of units around a theme, and there are bonuses for staying within a single sub faction.
The Allies have the USMC, which are cheap cost effective units. The DESERT SCORPIONS, who have weaponized cars and are designed around fast movement and quick attacks. And the SPECIAL SERVICE BRIGADE, who have Phaser technology and can be airdropped to the battlefield. The Allies have a big theme of mobility.
THE Axis have the NDAK, which like the USMC are cheap cost effective units. The LUFTWAFFE, who have rocket troopers, airdroppers, and aircraft. (Also a flying Gorilla.) and the BLUETKREUZ, who are the mad scientists of the DUST universe. They have lasers and zombies and gorillas. And are pretty darn cool. The Axis have a good mix of offense and defense.
The SSU have the Spetsnaz, who are elite special forces, good at quick strikes. The Peoples liberation army who have lightly armored units, and a unique hero type. And the RED GUARDS, who field human tanks who have amazing defense and great weaponry. The SSU have a lot of variety. They have cheap units. And expensive powerhouses.
The Original Core box and the Revised Core box are both amazing starter sets, and the FFG rules are completely playable and rather fun (In my opinion.) If you can find either of these for a good price i'd say you cannot go wrong with them.
Both core boxes from this era include units from the ALLIED BLOC, the AXIS BLOC, the BLUETKRUEZ faction.
Released around this time were 3 single army starter sets. Taskforce JOE, Kampfgruppe STEFAN, and Battlegroup KOSHKA. As starters go, each of these are pretty good. The biggest issue with them is that the heroes aren't unique to these sets so you may very well have them already if you have some of the older stuff. These have also been rereleased by DUST STUDIO so you can still get them.
All 3 starter sets from this era include BLOC units. Kampfgruppe STEFAN also includes a single BLUETKREUZ unit.
DUST STUDIO ERA:
There have been a multitude of starter sets released since DUST STUDIO started self publishing. There have been 2 for the Allied BLOC, 2 for the SSU BLOC, 3 for the AXIS BLOC.
Here is a link to the starter set page. You may notice that some BLOCS and FACTIONS are not represented. There is also a MERCENARY starter set. MERCENARIES are a standalone faction. They can play in any BLOC.
You can download the current rulebook and FAQ here:
Dust news is a bit hard to find. The best place to find it is a website called DUST WAR JOURNALS. Here is a link:
You can also find the main DUST page on facebook, this is where DUST STUDIO does most of their communication. I think they should post on these forums occasionally but that's just me. If you wish to find it look up DUST 1947 on facebook.
Here is their twitter page:
You can also find the current UNIT cards on their website, direct link:
Good websites to buy DUST miniatures:
https://www.miniaturemarket.com/ (They have a really cheap selection of the old FFG stuff.)
That should be most of the information you need to get started, any additional questions you can direct towards me with this thread. or you can start a new one, the answer is usually responded to pretty quickly.
This is some information on WARFARE, WARFARE is a completely gridless version of the rules. Written by Mack Martin and Andy Chambers. It uses some more traditional wargame rules, and it is the more complex and deep version of the rules. Dust studio does not support it directly, they decided to license it out to a guy (Forgot his name, please post it and i'll update this, thanks.) But he is currently taking a break to work on schooling, so DUST WARFARE for the next year or two will be updated rather sporadically and it most likely won't be worth investing into this version of the years until the hiatus is over. IDK if anyone else is working on it currently but DUST WARFARE is a really cool system.
If you look around you can find the rules for WARFARE 47 (The re branded name.) for free. I don't have permission to link to em here. So I won't (I also don't know how to link to that particular file.)
This is the BGG page
And here is a how to play series by Rodney Smith:
They also have a facebook group. Look up DUST WARFARE fans if you wish to find it. You can ask that group for the link to the rules and they'll happily oblige.
I probably missed stuff. But thanks for reading! Hopefully this helped a bit. And maybe will inspire someone who's better at writing, preferably Dust Studio to create a more streamlined getting started guide so newer players won't get lost.
- Last edited Mon Jan 15, 2018 5:34 am (Total Number of Edits: 1)
- Posted Mon Jan 15, 2018 5:33 am
Nice writeup! And thanks for mentioning our podcast (the Dust War Journals).
The guy who is "running the Warfare show" is Gregory Withrow btw.
I think it would be important to note that the current version of the game has cards available for all the older units so you can use them with the current system. So If you purchase older FFG/Battlefield models, you arent limited to their outdated rules system
Thank you, thank you for writing up this post! This is exactly the information I've been looking for. I had all this old dust stuff I just dug out when I saw there was a new version, and I was getting totally confused about what worked with what. Perhaps you could write an article comparing the different systems and what the most significant changes have been? I was played a game with my son, and luckily I noticed that the big cards have vastly different stats from the little cards before we started to play! It looks like all most things have doubled their movement speed. Seems like that would drasticly affect game play. But I presume they also made lots of changes to other things, so I'd be interested to see a comparison article.