Welcome to The Blazing Gun. This is an opinion piece column that will appear every Friday, or at least on Fridays when there is something to say!
One of the things I really like about Dust Warfare is the tight nature of the rules. It’s something that you don’t see very often in wargaming, and comes as a breath of fresh air. It’s something that needs to happen a lot more.
A clear, well-written set of rules benefits both casual and competitive players. Let’s find out why.
Clarity is important
A lot of wargames are written with wishy-washy, hand-wavy rules. One particularly famous wargame even encourages players, in the event of a disagreement, to just roll a dice and move on. I’ve played in large tournaments for certain games where this would never be allowed. It’d be a scandal. Players would lose faith in the publisher and stop coming to tournaments.
Dust Warfare, on the other hand, tries to lay out exactly what should happen at every part of a game. If A happens, then do B; if X is true then Y happens. This is because the game was written with both casual and competitive players in mind.
Of course, not everything is laid out clearly, which is why an FAQ exists. Even then, questions still occur about things that neither the rulebook nor the FAQ address. But the majority of the game is covered and makes sense.
Also, FFG is infamous for typos in their rulebooks, but I think this is exaggerated within the gaming community. Their books aren’t that bad!
Obviously, I haven’t tried every wargame out there, or read every set of rules, but I’ve played a few of the big ones and the loose nature of their rules put me off. Sometimes, wargame publishers think too much about the “having fun” aspect, without realising that they’re completely missing something that will actually make the game more fun!
Thinking about tournaments
If I were to organise a large Dust Warfare tournament, I would be happy to do so knowing that if a player had a rules question, I could answer them with authority.
The Warfare rules are also fair to players. It’s horrible to play in a tournament and have a rules decision go against you because the judge, tournament organiser or whoever makes the decision has to use their own interpretation of what should happen. That won’t happen very often in Dust tournaments!
Tight rules are great for casual players, too. Although, of course, a casual game will be less competitive than a tournament game, a tight set of rules can only be beneficial to casual players. In my experience, there are less arguments on what happens during each part of a game, and the game flows more smoothly.
Well-written rules are like a safety net for players, and also help them to become better players. If you know something will definitely happen when you move a particular unit to somewhere on the battlefield, you can plan a strategy.
What do you think about Dust Warfare’s rules? Have you found them to be as tight as I have, or do you think they’re full of holes? Would you run a large tournament with money on the line with the rules as they are now?