Dystopian Wars by Spartan Games


Spartan Games has not failed to produce products and games that are a big hit with your humble narrator. My support for the Uncharted Seas series should be fairly evident for anyone who bothers to read this blog on a regular basis. I admit, I like the fantasy game, Uncharted Seas, quite a bit. I like the big chunky scale and the amount of depth the designers put into the “fluff”, or the backstory, to the game. Uncharted Seas is fun and easy to teach to youngsters, which makes it a big win in my book. When the science fiction game, Firestorm Armada, was released, I initially had the knee-jerk response of “Oh boy, oh joy!  Uncharted Seas in space!  I’m all over this thing like stank on a pig!” I rushed out and purchased the “Dindrenzi Fleet” starter pack.   Sadly, this game never gelled with me.  Nobody I knew was investing in the ships, as most of the people I game with in the Thursday Night Gaming Group already have a sizable collection of Silent Death space ships.  There was some interest in playing the FA game rules with Silent Death ships, but I never bought anything else in the series– it’s too much like stuff I have already played, too much like Uncharted Seas in space, too large a scale for me to get all that excited about it.

I guess I blame my FA knee-jerk response on the enthusiastic reporting from the D6 Generation Podcast on FA.  Those guys are like the ancient Greek Sirens for new game systems (go ahead, try Malfaux, you knowwwww you’ll loooove it).   I blame my Uncharted Seas addiction on them, too, come to think of it.  Maybe I’ll think it through next time, before dropping a big dime on a starter set.

Hey, whaddya know, the next time is here!

It turns out the folks at Spartan Games have not been idle.   They have been toiling away unseen on their new combined land and sea steampunk combat system, Dystopian Wars.   This is a steampunk setting for the “exploding D6” game system popularized in Uncharted Seas and Firestorm Armada.  Needless to say, if you’ve been reading along, I love this setting.  I cut my miniatures gaming eyeteeth on Victorian Science Fiction gaming (Le Grand Cirque and the like) and love the older games of this genre, Castle Falkenstein, Space 1889, even GASLIGHT.  So I am more than willing to give this system a try.  I think they had me at “hello” here.

From the webpage:

The proprietors of this wonderful tabletop game – SPARTAN GAMES – are, they inform me, most jubilant to announce the launch of Dystopian Wars, which is the company’s third major game to be based around its easy to master Exploding D6 rules system. The game embraces the exciting idea of Victorian Science Fiction and the established genre of Steampunk to create a visually impactful game setting, and will be packaged in the company’s now established format of a boxed Battle Group which can be easily expanded upon using blisters containing upgrade models.

The news about the rules being of the same lineage as Uncharted Seas and Firestorm Armada is good.. the learning curve will be somewhat insignificant, then.  Even better are the early pictures of the fleets (and ARMIES) from this system.  Like their other two games, Dystopian Wars favors the “big chunky” scale of somewhere near 1:900.  Fine by me!  I might be mixing and matching with the Uncharted Seas stuff anyway!

A few preliminary release pictures:

From “The Federated States of America”

FSA Battle Group
FSA Battle Group, Dystopian Wars

“The Kingdom of Britannia”

BR Battle Group
BR Battle Group, Dystopian Wars

“The Prussian Empire”

PR Battlegroup
PR Battlegroup, Dystopian Wars

Finally, “the Empire of the Blazing Sun”

EBS Battegroup
EBS Battlegroup for Dystopian Wars

And that’s not all. There’s a land element as well, which is likely not remotely going to be in scale, consisting of armored steam tanks. I’m liking this notion quite a bit.

Concept art, EBS land forces
Concept art, EBS land forces

Firestorm may have been a miss with me, but I don’t think Dystopian Wars will be. If Spartan Games supports this line as thoroughly as they have with the Uncharted Seas, I suspect I will have TWO fantastic naval addictions at some point in the near future.