News for April 2013
Death Bringing Death
Guest Writer Jeremiah Terry Looks at the Newest Dust Tactics Zombies
Dust Tactics | Published 04 April 2013

Last month, the Ubertoten Suicide Squad and Ubertoten Assault Squad joined the Axis forces of Dust Tactics. Today, we’re pleased to present a closer look at these undead abominations, by guest writer Jeremiah Terry.

A few weeks ago a frightening new Axis menace began to appear on the battlefields: the Ubertoten, (Superior Dead) a creation of Blutkreuz science. These living dead are more than just mindless animals like their zombie predecessors; they have functioning brains. For some, the retention of thought and will is an empowering force, allowing them to become weapons of frightening ability. Others, however, do not cope well with the realities of “life” as an undead soldier. These unfortunate few are destined to join the suicide squads, smashing through enemy armor as efficiently as they smash their own bodies.

The Heilige Tod (Ubertoten Suicide Squad) is armed with the powerful Panzerfaust 100, as well as the recently developed Magnetic Mine. While these weapons allow them to reduce enemy armored vehicles to wreckage, they have extremely limited range. Additionally, these weapons are almost useless against infantry. This creates a number of challenges for them. On the one hand, they have to get very close to their target to be effective. This makes open terrain their true enemy, since while crossing an open field they’ll be venerable to enemy fire that may cut them down prematurely. On the other hand, they could also find themselves cut off from their intended prey by enemy infantry. Under the right conditions, a single enemy infantry squad could impede or stop the Ubertoten Suicide Squad altogether. As a result, players will have to carefully choose their path across the battlefield to ensure maximum effectiveness from their Suicide Squads.

The Braineaters (The Ubertoten Assault Squad) have none of the drawbacks of the Heilige Tod. As these undead warriors have more fully embraced their new “lives,” they are able to create a more cohesive combat unit. The Assault Squad has several advantages over their undead brethren, the foremost of which is their effectiveness against infantry. Armed with the new MP 46, these harbingers of death can easily cut down most lighter infantry squads, making them a huge threat to the SSU forces. Further, their array of Panzerfausts allows them to handle armor with almost the same effectiveness as their more self-destructive counterparts. But all of this comes with a steep cost; at 40 AP the Braineaters will cost as much as a command squad, so players will have some hard choices to make when building their armies.

The Superior Dead Truly Are Superior

For players looking to field armies composed of large numbers of these Axis undead creations, there are two different types of undead units to choose from: the Ubertoten and the Untertoten. Between the two, there are a couple of differences worth noting. For instance, the “standard” Axis Zombie, or Untertoten (inferior dead), are close combat only, and have no ability to use soft cover. This can be a serious disadvantage in more open terrain, or in structures when fighting against specialized anti-infantry units. However, these inferior dead do have the advantage of the “Fast” ability, which neither of the new Ubertoten squads posses. Of course, all the undead have the advantage of Armor Class 3, as well as “Damage Resilient,” making them far more survivable then the average infantry squad. One last thing to note is that all zombie units have the “Blutkreuz Zombie” skill, which allows only heroes who share that skill to join their squad. So, regular heroes like Lara are not able to be paired with any undead squad.

Players should also take note that these new undead soldiers outclass their living counterparts in many ways. For instance, when compared to the Heavy Recon Grenadiers, at first glance the Braineaters may seem overpriced at 40 AP. However, when you look at the stats, you can see where the Braineaters outclass their living allies is some ways. Against armor vehicles, for example, the Grenadiers can’t match the Braineaters. The Braineaters can damage all armored ground vehicles, and in a sustained attack can destroy many tanks and walkers. In terms of anti-infantry ability they are nearly even, but what makes them truly superior is their added unit size. The addition of two extra Armor 3 “Damage Resilient” soldiers makes this unit far more survivable then their living counterparts.

Undead Manual of Operations

Axis commanders looking to field these dread creations of science should take note of the following demonstration. In our example scenario, an Axis force of zombies backed by minimal living infantry are used in a constraining urban environment to set up a trap for an SSU force. The SSU forces are attempting make their way through a narrow street; they are desperately needed to reinforce their beleaguered comrades on the front lines of the battle for Zverograd.

To start, you should familiarize yourself with the forces involved in this battle. Looking at the defending SSU forces, you can see that the majority of the units are armored vehicles capable of not only taking heavy damage, but also shredding infantry forces with little effort. The Axis force is the polar opposite of their enemy, but no less capable. The majority are undead units able to damage all forms of armored vehicles; even the heaviest tanks can be threatened by the lowly Untertoten. The remainder of the Axis force consists of infantry armed with that other scientific creation of the Blutkreuz: the Laser. The Laser unit’s weapons are varied enough to not only take on the SSU’s heavy armor, but also to defend against infantry counterattacks, allowing them to act as a rear guard for the zombie units. At first, you may think that the Axis forces don’t stand a chance against an SSU force with an 81 AP advantage. But all their units are Armor 3 with Damage Resilient, which will be a huge advantage over the SSU’s lighter infantry and medium walkers.

SSU Armored Company Points Blutkreuz Tod Kompany Points
Mao Zedong 85 Braineaters & Totenmeister 40+24
Nastasia 34 Heilige Tod 34
Natasha 32 Axis Zombies & Grenadier X 31+24
Grand'Ma 36 Axis Zombies 31
Frontoviki, Red Yana & The Tredikovsky 18+20+7 Heavy Laser Grenadiers 30
Fakyeli, Yakov & The Sumarokov 28+30+5    

The defending SSU Armored Company uses a total of 295 points, while the attacking Blutkreuz Tod Kompany uses a total of 214 points. Click to enlarge.

The scenario for this demonstration is a simple one. An SSU armored column must make its way from its deployment zone to the opposite side of the map, with at least 50% (148AP) of its forces intact. When an SSU unit reaches the exit zone, it is removed from play. At the end of the game, the AP for all SSU units that exited the board in this manner are totaled, and if they equal or exceed 148, the SSU wins. The Axis goal is even simpler: they must destroy as many of the SSU forces as possible before the end of the 8th round. The Axis will effectively win when the SSU AP total falls to 147 (including units that have exited the game) or less.

Looking at the map, you can see that the SSU have quite a challenge ahead of them. They must navigate a very narrow city street. Their heavy tanks and walkers will have very little room to maneuver. Further, they will have to spend many of their actions attempting to make their way to the “exit,” giving the Axis forces plenty of opportunities to attack.

On the Axis front, the biggest threats to the Axis’ plans are the two small infantry squads attached to the SSU’s armored force. Once these infantry units make their way into the buildings lining the street, the Axis will have a hard time dislodging them. This will force the Axis to either concentrate their forces in a couple of building to prevent any SSU incursion while providing themselves with cover, or spread out through all the buildings and hope that the SSU cannot gain entry easily.

 
The defender deployment zone is in red, the attacker deployment zone is in blue, and the defender exit zone is the striped area on the left. Click to enlarge.

Now look at a game already in progress. It’s the end of the first round and you can see the Axis player has opted for the “spread out” approach, placing forces in all the buildings. He has also concentrated the majority of his zombie infantry in the front line buildings nearest the SSU deployment zone. Also, it should now be quite apparent just how much of a terrain disadvantage the SSU forces have. Their only choice is to begin the second round with their forces clumped together. To attempt to mitigate this, the SSU player has chosen to place his walkers with the Assault Ability in his front lines. This will allow them to move out of the way quickly and attack if necessary after moving two spaces. Also in the lead is the powerful Mao Zedong, which can block the entire street if necessary, preventing any attack on the SSU’s rear echelon units for as long as its health holds out. One additional option available to the SSU commander is the ability for some of his infantry to ride on the Mao Zedong, which will help them to get deeper into the battlefield.


Click to enlarge.

Become a General in the Blutkreuz Korps

Now that you have a basic understanding of these new Ubertoten squads and clear picture of the challenge before you, what would you do? It’s the beginning of round two, and thanks to Yakov’s powerful “Legendary Tactician” skill, the SSU has the initiative. This means they’ll have to make a hard choice: move or attack. They have the ability to threaten several of your units, but with the Hard Cover provided by the buildings, combined with your squads Damage Resilient ability, they’re not likely to be eliminated. Alternatively, if the SSU chooses to use Assault and move deep into the battlefield in a single activation, you may feel forced to move to cut them off. This is exactly what the SSU player chooses to do. He moves his Nastasia walker to the center of the map hoping to draw you out. It’s vulnerable, but he’s hoping it will survive the round, and be that much closer to the goal in Round 3.

Now it’s your move. Will you fall for the SSU’s feint and move forces to counter Nastasia’s bold move to the center? Or will you attack the massive Mao Zedong threatening the majority of your forces on the front lines? No matter what move you make, just remember you’re likely going to come under heavy fire from the SSU forces immediately after making your attack. Try to focus on a soft target like Grand’Ma, and attack from in cover. This way, your forces won’t be vulnerable and in the open after attacking. Always keep your mission objectives in mind; while the Mao is a tempting target, destroying it is not necessary to achieve victory. You may find it far easier to use your precious activations on lighter targets instead of spending three or four of them to take out a single enemy unit. Don’t succumb to “Shiny Target Syndrome” and waste valuable time and ammunition on the biggest and most difficult-to-destroy targets, when victory can be achieved through other means.

Victory is yours for the taking, but it is not going to be easy. You must act quickly but carefully. If you blindly rush out of cover and attack without thinking you may soon find your undead are simply dead.

Thanks, Jeremiah! What will you do next? Head to our forums to discuss this example scenario, the benefits of zombies, and other Dust Tactics issues!

Dust Tactics is a tactical miniatures game of brutal combat for 2-4 players. Based on the popular universe created by artist Paolo Parente, Dust Tactics presents an alternate 1940s reality in which alien technology fuels gigantic machines of war, and the world's superpowers clash over rare mineral deposits that could ultimately decide the outcome of WWII.

    
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