GAJO Games

GAJO Happenings and Ramblings Blog

2012 - Number 42


Axis Supply Dump Under Threat

Dust Warfare:
New Faction: Enter the SSU

We have a number of players at the shop who enjoy the Dust Warfare rules and miniatures. FFG has recently released a new faction for their DUST games, the Sino-Soviet Union (or SSU). With the official Dust Warfare stats and rules now released, we thought it would be fun to get them into action.

One cool thing the SSU brings is the game's first air units - helicopters! Transport choppers, with an airdropped squad of Chinese volunteers, were one of the first SSU units released. Their infantry squads also feature an interesting mix of weapons, with more reliance on rifles and light MGs than the other factions.

Battle Grenadiers in Hard Cover

SSU Infantry Advances

SSU walkers (armor) are interesting as well, generally less potent than the other factions, they are cheaper and also more durable (they take an extra damage point to destroy) than the equivalents in other lists. Combined, this gives the SSU a very different feel than the Axis or Allies.

We did two different playtests with our new SSU forces. First, we tried a 1:1 action with an SSU force attacking a supply dump held by a slightly smaller Axis force. The SSU used a mass push with infantry, supported by several walkers, to threaten the objective, while using their airborne mobility to push around the Axis flank. The result was a tough fight, but a clear SSU victory.

SSU Walker - Cheap and Tough

Axis Firepower Slows the First Assault

The second action was a large battle with 3 forces on each side, to allow us to see how all of the forces fit together. We had two SSU forces, supported by an Allied force, facing off against 3 Axis forces on a large table featuring a lot of broken terrain, with a clear area in the center. The Axis forces were the attackers, but the Allies had large reserves and so a steady flow of new units gradually eroded the initial Axis advantage.

Although the Axis had trouble with the continuous stream of new Allied units, they steadily wore down their main defences. The key moment came when the Axis were able to destroy the sole Allied heavy walker in the center. A heavy walker takes 10 hits to destroy, and rolls 7 dice for armor saves, so it took a lot of combined fire to bring it down.

But the SSU Keep Coming

Airmobile Troops Flank the Axis

In the end the Axis were able to prevail, but suffered heavy attrition. There were several interesting lessons from these actions - the SSU helicopters are very hard, taking 6 hits to destroy and so not really vulnerable to light or medium AA walkers. Only the Axis heavy AA walker really made the skies dangerous for them in the second game.

Airborne Assault on an Axis Walker

Secondly, the SSU walkers in groups are very tough, but a single one will be overwhelmed by the longer ranged weaponry on equivalent Axis walkers. When combined with the "up close and brutal" feel of the SSU infantry, an SSU assault feels very much like a mass assault that is very hard to stop through firepower alone.

Overall we were pretty impressed with the SSU for Dust Warfare. They fit into the basic rule system nicely, but provide a different feel from the game's existing factions.

The Rules Supplement for the SSU

SSU Squad with Walker Support

They have a "feel" a lot like WW2 Russians would have - lots of cheap infantry combined with tough and numerous armor. Combine this with the mobility of their airborne units, and they are a fun force to collect and game with.

Axis Command Squad, Suppressed in Cover

Lone Recon Grenadier Holding in Soft Cover

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