Dystopian Wars: Hunt for the Prometheus is a 2-player starter set and the first release of Dystopian Wars for Warcradle Studios. Dystopian Wars is a nautical wargame set in an alternative Victorian Steampunk-eqsue timeline, in the same universe as Warcradle’s Wild West Exodus and upcoming Lost World Exodus skirmish games. Players familiar with those games will find similarities, as well as possible character and faction crossovers.
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The Hunt for the Prometheus box contains a huge amount of content and includes the following:
- 30 Highly Detailed Plastic & Resin Miniatures which includes:
- 14 Covenant of the Enlightened Fleet Ships
- 1x Descartes Class Control Ship (Resin)
- 1x Hypatia Class Generator Ship (Resin)
- 3x Heavy Cruisers (Each Cruiser can alternatively be built as either Copernicus, Antarctica, Chatelet, Lovelace, Stiletto or Ulysses Class)
- 9x Merian Class Drone Frigates (Each Frigate can alternatively be built as Germain Class)
- 16 Commonwealth Fleet Ships
- 1x Borodino Class Battleship (Resin)
- 5x Cruisers (Each Cruiser can alternatively be built as either Kutsov, Norilsk, Oleg, or Sineus Class)
- 10x Rurik Class Frigates
- 1x Dystopian Wars Rule Book
- 1x Hunt for the Prometheus Campaign Book
- 2x Victory & Valour card Decks
- 1x Template Set
- 40x Action Dice
- 12x Critical Dice
- 2x Condition token sets
- 1x Iceberg & Physeter Construction Token Set
Players will need to print out, or access digitally the assembly instructions for the ships, along with the ship stat cards, and also the faction army list, know as an Order of Battle (ORBAT), and these, along with loads of other resources, are available for free on the Dystopian Wars website.
All of the ships, except for the 3 largest ships, which are resin, are hard plastic and can be built in a variety of ship types. The 3 large resin ships come clean and require minimal work to tidy up, and only need a few resin pieces attaching, and then your choice of plastic turrets from the sprues. The hard plastic ships are extremely easy to put together, but we’d advise you to do a little research into each different ship type before deciding on the type to build for each one. You can see a brief overview of each of the starter set ships below.
The turrets for both fleets can be left unglued, and rested in for games until you know which turrets you want to use, or until you start to paint your fleet. The Enlightened Copernicus Class Heavy Cruisers can be built as a shell, and the top half left unglued and rested in for your first few games until you know which ships you want to build. The Commonwealth Kutsov Class Cruisers are a little different, as there are 4 body pieces that make up the 4 ship types. We built one of each ship type, and then a 5th Kutsov as it’s a mid-price ship out of the 4. If you’re looking to main one of the starter-set factions, I wouldn’t worry too much about specific builds until you’ve played around with the different options, as you’re almost certainly going to be picking up more line ships to flesh out your fleet.
Covenant of the Enlightened
The architects of the Dystopian Age, the Covenant of the Enlightened wield their formidable intellects to sweep aside those who stand in the way of Science and Progress. These masters of technology covet knowledge above all things and believe that it is only they who can steer humanity on a path to enlightenment. Whether with monstrous fusions of man and machine or with their terrifying and wondrous war-engines, the Covenant of the Enlightened take every opportunity to demonstrate their technological supremacy.
The discoveries that were intended to herald a new era for humanity are instead used to punish those who would misuse them. Only when the Covenant are lauded as the rightful leaders of the Earth this new Dystopian Age can the world be brought into a new dawn of achievement and prosperity.
Descartes Class Control Ship - 1 of 2 flagship options for the Enlightened Fleet. The Descartes is slightly faster than the Hypatia but has less defense. It has the same heavy weapon arsenal, including the powerful Heavy Aetheric Broadside.
Hypatia Class Generator Ship - The other flagship option for the Enlightened Fleet, slightly slower than the Descartes, but better in defense, it has some impressive offensive weapons and access to 3 generator options, which can really mix and customize the style of play for the ship each battle. The Hypatia can also be used as the named Prometheus ship.
Heavy Cruisers - Hunt for the Prometheus comes with 3 Heavy Cruisers, which can be built as 6 different classes. They range in capabilities but feature a standard loadout of Seeker Torpedos, Particle Beamers, and Internal Generator options.
The 6 different classes are split between 2 slightly different silhouettes. The Antarctica, Ulysses, and Lovelace classes have a rear-mounted Particle Beamer.
- Antarctica - The most expensive of the class, comes armed with the devastating Heavy Particle Cannon.
- Ulysses - Cheaper than the Antarctica class, replacing the Heavy Particle Cannon with SRS Capacity 1
- Lovelace - The cheapest of the 3 larger Heavy Crusiers with limited options beyond the standard.
The Copernicus, Chatelet, and Stiletto feature a fixed Aetheric Lance on the rear.
- Copernicus - The most expensive of the 3 fixed lance classes, but cheaper than the Antarctica, whilst still being armed with the Heavy Particle Cannon.
- Chatelet - The Chatelet is fast, and a reasonable cost for access to its SRS Capacity 1.
- Stiletto - The Stiletto is as fast as the Chatelet, but loses the SRS Capacity for a cheaper cost.
Drone Frigates - The Drone Frigates can be built as either Merian or Germain. The main difference between them is the main weapon. The Germain is slightly better armored and armed with a Particle Beamer and the Merian is slightly faster and armed with a Pulse Emitter.
Tempered by revolution, civil war, and failed conquests; forged in the fires of invasion and the minds of brilliant men and women, the Commonwealth stands as a beacon of hope to oppressed humanity. A democracy that stretches from the industrial centers of Poland-Lithuania to the snowy wastes of Siberia and the steppes of Mongolia, the Commonwealth’s people come from a hundred or more cultures and groups but are united by the loyalty to their state and the Tsar who safeguards it. Required to serve their country and fellow-citizens in whatever capacity they can, the Commonwealth can call upon huge reserves of strength to ensure its survival and prosperity.
Enriched by the technological bounties wrested from the jealous hands of those who sought to manipulate the world, the Commonwealth stands as a testament to the will and perseverance of the common man.
Long live Mother Russia, long live the Commonwealth; long live her People, long live the Tsar!
Borodino Class Battleship - The flagship for this Commonwealth force. The Borodino is slow but well-armed, armored, and full of troops ready to meet the enemy face to face. It has 3 Heavy Gun Batteries, and Heavy Broadsides to back it up if the enemy dares to get too close.
Cruisers - The Hunt for the Prometheus box comes with 5 sprues to build 4 different Commonwealth cruiser options.
- Norilsk - The most expensive of the 4 cruisers, but with good defenses and armed with an extra Gun Batter at the front.
- Kutsov - The Kutsov and Sineus are the same points, but the Kutsov has slightly better armor and an additional Heavy Gun Battery.
- Sineus - The Sineus trades armor for speed against the Kutsov and has a single Heavy Gun Battery.
- Oleg - The Oleg is the cheapest of the 4, nearly half the price of the Norilsk, but armed with only a single Heavy Gun Battery.
Rurik Class Frigates - A Unit of 2 Rurik are the same price as a single Oleg. They're very lightly armed and armored, but lightning-fast for getting in quick and disrupting enemy plans.
Hunt for the Prometheus
Along with everything 2 players require to play Dystopian Wars, the Hunt for the Prometheus starter set also includes a 4 mission campaign that uses the ships included in the box, in an onboarding process that builds up the number of ships used and rules included along with the narrative campaign itself as the Commonwealth see a chance to steal some Enlightened Technology.
Dystopian Wars brings across a couple of mechanics from Wild West Exodus that add an interesting and tactical dynamic, and some mechanics from the previous editions of the system that keep Dystopian Wars true to its heritage.
Games of Dystopian Wars and broken down into turns of 3 phases. Players establish who will go first in the Initiative Phase, then carry out alternating actions with their ships during the Activation Phase and then clean everything up in the End Phase.
Each turn, players draw a hand of Victory and Valour cards. These are dual-purpose cards that can be played during the round to either claim victory points for meeting a condition, or to get a bonus to help during their actions. Victory and Valour cards are also used to determine initiative each turn, by placing one facedown at the start of the turn and the player with the highest numbered card gaining the initiative.
These cards provide an interesting tactical decision each turn. If gaining the first action next turn is important, then you’ll need to keep your highest numbered card to try and win the initiative bid-off. Then you can either try to win lots of small victory points through the cards, or use the valour side to gain an advantage to push for the larger scenario objective, or simply a balance of the 2.
The game mechanics themselves are a mix of complexity. Movement and the round structure are extremely simple, and keep the game flowing well. Combat, as is expected from ships carrying weapons firing in all arcs, is slightly more complicated.
The core of the combat system is relatively simple, but it does require some thought and keeping track of weapon systems, which each ship has a number of directed in set arcs of fire. Each weapon system can be fired once, in the choice of arcs during that ship’s turn, unless the weapon system is a broadside (on either side of the ship), then it can be fired in both arcs. Weapons of matching types in the same fire arcs can also be used as support weapons, boosting the fire of the lead weapon system to take down more heavily armed opponents.
A number of custom dice are rolled depending on the weapon fired. These 6-sided dice list a number of hits, and some can cause additional hits, adding another dice to the attack roll, which in turn can cause more hits. These are known as exploding dice and can lead to some incredible shots.
These attacks don’t cause an insane amount of damage based on the dice rolled. Instead, the number of hits is compared against the armor value of the target and exceeding it causes 1 damage, and doubling the armor causes 2. Ships also have a Citadel value, which represents the operationally integral parts of the ship. If the number of hits caused is double a ship's Citadel value, then a critical hit is caused, and the custom critical dice are rolled, and then left beside the ship as markers for the systems that were damaged.
The simple mechanics for movement and the custom dice, help to keep the flow of the game smooth and allow you to focus on the intricacies of each individual ship or unit.
Hunt for the Prometheus is only the first release Warcradle has planned for Dystopian Wars. There are 7 factions in total, including the 2 in the Starter-Set, that have releases planned. We’ve got our eyes set on the Empire and Crown fleets and look forward to seeing the future release for Dystopian Wars.
The Dystopian Wars: Hunt for the Prometheus starter set used to produce this preview was provided by Warcradle Studios.