13 April 2012 | Dust Warfare

The Core of the Explosive Action

Preview the Unit phase of Dust Warfare


Dust Warfare will be on store shelves in just one week! In the last Dust Warfare preview, we looked at the Command phase and the Orders you can issue in this pivotal phase of the game. Today, we’ll present an overview of the Unit phase, along with details of its unique features like reactions and suppression.

The Unit phase of Dust Warfare is in many ways the heart of the game. In this decisive phase, every unit in a player’s army moves, attacks, attempts to shrug off suppression, or is forced to retreat. The Unit phase is where the bulk of the action takes place and where the careful planning and positioning of the Command phase comes into play. 

Download and read the Unit phase summary (pdf, 198KB). This top-secret document outlines the basic structure of the Unit phase, giving you precious insight on removing suppression, declaring actions, and more. once you are more familiar with this phase of Dust Warfare, read on for a look at a few vital concepts of the Unit phase.

Activating your troops

Every squad in Dust Warfare can perform two actions in a game turn. These actions include moving and attacking. Moreover, rather than taking two separate actions, a squad may perform the same action twice. When making a double action, units concentrate harder on executing their action, and therefore gain useful bonuses.

Units performing a March Move, two move actions, can ignore the effects of difficult terrain. Marching units of troops can move swiftly through most types of common terrain like forests, creeks, or low walls and fences. Walkers treat more terrain features as difficult terrain, but with a March Move, they can simply smash through many obstacles.

Perform two attack actions consecutively for a Sustained Attack. Taking careful aim, units that make a Sustained Attack can reroll their combat dice that missed. These types of attacks increase the squad’s chances of inflicting heavy damage on their enemies.

Reacting to the battle

In battle, soldiers don’t sit idly by as they are pummeled by the enemy. They react to the battle, taking cover from incoming fire, firing back at the enemy, and retreating in the face of unfavorable odds. The innovative reaction system in Dust Warfare allows your units to instantly respond to the developing battle.

In the Unit phase, if a unit does not have a Suppression or Reaction marker, they can react to their opponent’s actions. If an enemy moves within 12” of one of your squads, you can react with a single move or attack of your own. Also, if an enemy declares an attack on a target unit and the target unit is within 12” of the attacker, the target unit can perform a reaction. Basically, the closer the clashing armies get, the more intense the fighting becomes.

“Hit the Dirt!” when you want to gain some extra protection from your foe’s barrages. Unlike other reactions, this unique reaction can be taken regardless of the distance of the attacking unit. While your squad receives both a Reaction and a Suppression marker, the unit also improves its cover, meaning it will be harder for the enemy to inflict damage.

Suppressing fire

Even the toughest soldier scrambles for cover in the face of overwhelming odds. Suppression is used in Dust Warfare to represent the morale of soldiers during the fight (vehicles are immune to suppression). A unit suffering from suppression performs one less action in the Unit phase, cannot make reactions, and, if the situation is dire enough, retreats. On the other hand, a suppressed unit still has enough wits to lie low, giving them an increased cover bonus.

Every time a unit is hit by incoming fire, they gain a Suppression marker, even if the squad is unharmed by the attack. A bullet glancing off a helmet is enough to make the entire squad momentarily lose concentration.

Worse yet, if a unit has more Suppression markers than squad members, they’ll retreat from the thick of battle. This is, however, a reversible situation, as there are several ways to regain a squad’s composure. At the end of each turn, every unit removes one Suppression marker. Units also attempt to remove Suppression markers before activating in the Unit phase. If the circumstances are warranted, a Command Section can issue a nearby squad a Regroup Order to erase all of its suppression.

As you may already see, suppression is central to any battle. If you can suppress key opposing troops, you’ll encounter fewer reactions, and therefore be more able to dictate the flow of battle. Nonetheless, the battle can quickly shift back to your opponent's favor if they can regroup their forces.

Congratulations! You have completed the Dust Warfare basic training. The Dust Warfare: Core Rulebook arrives at your retailer next week. Join us then for the first part of our Dust Warfare battle report.

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