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Subject: Dusting off Dust rss

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Rob Olsson
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I arrived in time to sit in on a game of Dust at Bobby Tweak's house. Malloc, Phil, Matt, John, Pete, and I all sat down to work our way through the rules and set out on a battle of world conquest.

Rule number one for Wednesday night gaming: First time games with six players always take three hours or more. This is something I should have observed as I began placing my tanks on my capital and the two energy center/ mines that I would use to begin the game. I only mention that because I tend to be among the early birds to leave on gaming night.

We flipped our cards and I ended up going third on the location selection track. We played through card one all the way through production and battles. The player placement felt like a Risk game. Phil was in North America, Matt was in South America, I had central Europe and North Africa, Malloc had Northern Europe/ Russia, John was in eastern Asia, and Pete had the Australian corner of the board. Once set, the battle began.

One of the things I like about the board is no labels on the countries or cities. It makes it easier for classic lines like, "I'm attacking you there." After all, there are few other words you can use to describe the destination.

I went with a sea gambit and snatched up two power centers in turn one because of where my production facilities were located. I had been concerned that Malloc was going to crush my capital on turn one until we learned that you needed 15 points before you could attack a capital. That gave me a lot of protection in my board placement, so I focused on attacking south to get a better position in Africa.

Tanks and submarines were the big purchases in the first turn, and we all more or less expanded equally. My grabbing two power centers and having more submarines helped me to leap ahead in turn one. By turn two, my continued focus on power centers gave me a profound lead. It was at that point that the other players decided I should be taken out of the game.

Malloc worked his way south, using amphibious assault to take out a power center and to capture a production center. Matt used a missile to take out another production center and used subs to capture a power center. Still, when the smoke cleared, I had not altered my lead. I was looking at 17 points by the end of turn three when I had to call it a night. By that point we were getting the hang of it, so the other players elected to keep my troops in as a neutral army while they played through.

My impressions of the game were positive. The six-sided dice have clear target markers so you know when you hit. The small tanks, planes, subs, and mechs have the right level of abstraction that you know what they are, but not so much that you would want to paint the pieces. The screw-your-neighbor potential is very high as well, as each person builds, moves, and attacks. An early turn could be crippling for someone coming later on. And the initiative tends to make or break a skirmish. Cheap tanks are great until a mech comes along and strikes first. I had to keep in mind near the end of my experience that two mechs are better than one.

Pete had brought the game wondering if it was named Dust because that is what it would be gathering on the shelf. For my money, I think it is quick to set up, relatively quick to learn, and a good attack your neighbor game.
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Peter Putnam
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Did they finish the game? How long do you think it would take with experienced players? Hopefully, you won't get bored of it by the time I get a chance to play. I don't think I'll make it to BobbyTweeks until almost March.
 
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Steve R Bullock
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My copy arrived from Thought Hammer today. I looked over the entire game, including counting the pieces. I found 2 Mechs missing a foot, and emailed FFG for replacements.

I love the look and feel of the game, and the card play really seperates this from the "oh, it's just a Risk wannabe" naysayers. This reminds me more of a game that could have come out about the time Fortress America by MB came out.

I am really looking forward to playing a game, but can't until a week or 2. Gives me time to read the rules and (hopefully) get those 2 Mechs without both feet replaced.
 
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Wink
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KingPut wrote:
Did they finish the game? How long do you think it would take with experienced players? Hopefully, you won't get bored of it by the time I get a chance to play. I don't think I'll make it to BobbyTweeks until almost March.


No, we never did finish it! Rob was really out to a remarkable lead at the time considering the size of the pack. I can't remember for sure, but I think it was primarily from controling all the majority tokens. After a couple of cold beverages I was in dead last and couldn't pronounce "amphibious assault", so there was really no hope for me. As the game broke there were serious discussion between us dregs at the back of the pack as to who we were going to make the target. A testimony to the diablical and deviant nature of this gaming crew is the fact that we didn't even have our sight set on the leader.

With 6 new players and only 3 copies of the rules (1 incl, 2 printed) you can imagine the "fiddling" going on. It was slightly compunded by the fact that we resorted to a 4th copy of the rules . . . which was really for the EPIC (vs. Premium) version of the game and had enough differences it it to cause some extra confusion. After some experience I would estimate a solid 1/2 hour per player and I think 6 might be 1 too many. All of that said, the rules are really not difficult at all.

Thre was lot's of complaining during the gme but afterward just about all of us agreed we'd like to play it again - albiet under more sensible circumstances. The card feature was very cool and added a lot more to the game than just to see who goes first. The tactical initiative feature for combat was also cool. The puzzle map worked well and was well laid out - however I can see potential for it to get crowded. Someone commented on the board and bits as having lot's of "chrome" and I agree.

All in all I enjoyed it and if spending a few hours in a dice rolling combat game is your idea of fun than you should too.

 
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Peter Putnam
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Rule #1 there is probably little to no chance to finishing a new FFG at Bobbytweeks that starts at 8:00 on Wed. with 6 Newbies and beverages. But we have to start somewhere and now we have 6 people who who have learned the game.
Rule #2 if you're thinking of trading Dust away Mr. "Game Wheeler Dealer" BadLT let me put in a counter offer. I've got a number of classic Euros collecting Dust in my collection (Puerto Rico, Princes of Florence, etc)
Bobbytweeks and I played Starcraft after you left Saturday. It's pretty cool. I had no idea what I was doing for more than half the game but I woke up this morning wanted to play it again and that's a sign of a great game for me. Me and Bobbytweeks ganged up on the Doug who owned the game so it ended up very close. Bobbytweeks beat Doug and me by 1 VP.
 
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Rob Olsson
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I would love to give it another go. The game could have been played a lot faster if we had known more about what we were doing, and now we do. Maybe FFG has a cheat sheet or something we could use.

As I have learned from Malloc, four people is probably the best way to go with these styles of games. Everytime we go for large games, as Pete said, they just get out of hand.
 
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Peter Putnam
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I think there is about a 0% chance I'll make it to Bobbytweeks this week and about a 75% chance I'll make it next week January 30th.
 
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