14 September 2011 | Dust Warfare

Dust Warfare Designer Diary, Part One

Preview Dust Warfare with insights from designer Andy Chambers


Fantasy Flight Games continues to be excited by all that has happened for Dust Warfare since we announced it in July! Our demos at Gen Con Indy 2011 were buzzing all weekend long, and that buzz only grew when we announced the upcoming release of our Heavy Walkers for Dust Tactics and Dust Warfare.

Today, renowned miniatures guru and Dust Warfare designer Andy Chambers shares some of the design goals and philosophies that informed his initial approach to the game.

About Dust Warfare

In the year 1947, World War II still rages. Allied and Axis forces wage massive battles with weapons derived from alien technology in the alternate 1940s reality of Dust Warfare. Control heroes, squads, and fearsome combat walkers in this exciting tabletop miniatures game as you battle for the fate of the world. Dust Warfare integrates dynamic and engaging new game design with the stunning models from Dust Tactics.

Andy Chambers: Designer Diary, Part One. 

I want to kick off this by saying that working on Dust Warfare has me in a state of tremendous excitement. World War II is the war for me, the one that first had me pushing Airfix models around on a blanket and crying when my guys got blown up. These days my obsession manifests itself through books, books, and more books, with the occasional PC game. But it’s as powerful as ever. I love how Paolo Parente has built on the imagery and background of World War II with pulp classics like zombies, rocket troops, and walking tanks. So I'd like to thank the fine folks at Fantasy Flight Games for giving me the opportunity to be involved with such a great game; it’s a great honor to be designing for Dust Warfare, and I sincerely hope to do it proud.

General Philosophy and Inspiration

For me, the best tabletop games are grand affairs with a lot of dynamic action. By that, I mean participants have reasons to send their armies into action, utilizing the terrain and thinking about how to use their maneuver as well as their firepower. One of the other big attractions of a tabletop game is that it can be scaleable for anything from a small skirmish up to a really big battle. Dust Tactics is fast and deadly. I wanted Dust Warfare to be, too, but on a bigger scale with more crunchy bits of realism and a touch less abstraction.

As such, I set my sights on designing Dust Warfare as a platoon– or company–level World War II game with firefights, suppression, commanders who are important on the spot, and metal mayhem from the clanking tanks. That means, as a basis, it’s designed for three or more units on each side, usually more.

For overall feel, I’ve attempted to recreate a bit of the feel of the many different World War II games I've played down the years. The best of these always seem to really emphasize two key points about World War II combat that have been borne out by everything I've read or heard about it ever since:

  • First, if someone is shooting real bullets at you, it really is safer to be inside a house than out in the street.
  • Second, and less obviously, that soldiers can keep going through incredible firefights led by the energy and personal bravery of their junior officers and NCOs. Time and again, their leadership in small unit actions was what turned the tide and won victories.

I felt like this gave me some clear direction for the kind of game I hoped to develop and started by looking at what I considered the biggest challenge, the turn sequence.

What sets Dust Warfare apart from other tabletop miniatures games?

Dust Warfare stands apart by having the ass-kickingest miniatures range I've seen in a long time! Now granted, I am biased toward models from a setting that pairs World War II with walking tanks, intelligence-enhanced apes, and lasers. Mechanically, it plays fast and well. The interplay of actions, suppression, and reactions is highly evocative. I find myself thinking in terms of bringing up reserves, reinforcing the line, and giving covering fire during games of Dust Warfare in a way that feels very tactical and right.

Thanks, Andy!

Stay tuned into this website for future previews, including the next part of Andy’s designer diary, in which he addresses the turn sequence. In the meantime, you can share your excitement with other members of our community forums, and you can start building your army by collecting the stunning Dust Tactics miniatures that provide the backbone for both Dust Tactics and Dust Warfare.

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