Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Taking Cover in Dust Tactics

Today we have the last of Udo77’s Dust Tactics strategy articles.


Dust Tactics Cover


By Udo77


Did you already experienced those games in which heavy armored infantry with damage resilience stood in hard cover, and you fired away with your machineguns? And fired, and fired …


Time to reflect on how effective cover is in Dust Tactics. Because in the beginning most of us thought: ‘These are just three guys in cover, how hard can this be?’ And if you had bad luck three rounds later the enemy was still there.

The question is now how much more damage you have to deal with normal weapons that do not ignore cover. The short answer is: is the enemy in soft cover you have to dish out +50% more damage. Is he in hard cover you have to triple(!) your damage output. Or in other words: a unit in hard cover survives three times longer. That’s huge!

How do I get this numbers? That’s not so hard. If you repel damage in soft cover you have to throw a ‘hit’ on the dice. Now if we throw 3 dice we can expect 1 hit and 2 blank sides on average. That means that 3 successful enemy attacks are needed to inflict 2 damage on you. This makes soft cover +50% more efficient.

In hard cover you have to throw a blank side to repel damage. As in the example above if you throw 3 dice for the cover roll only 1 will get through and inflict damage on average. Instead of 1 the attacker needs 3 successful attacks, thus hard cover is 3 times more efficient.

Now it’s no wonder that guys like the “Heavy Laser Grenadiers” are so tough in hard cover. That are 3 guys with 1 hit-point each. They have damage resilience, comparable to soft cover, so they survive +50% longer. Now you have to inflict 3 * 1,5 = 4,5 hit-points. Triple this for being in hard cover: 4,5 * 3 = 13,5 hit-points. If you attack with normal machineguns expect that you need like 25 dice with sustained attack to get rid of those grenadiers!

This elaborate example shows how fruitless it can be if you fire with normal guns at units in hard cover. Now we will discuss some alternatives:

a) Use weapons that ignore cover. That are: close combat, flamethrowers, phasers, artillery, (most) grenade weapons. Since the enemy gets no cover bonus this weapons are, depending on the cover, +50% or 3 times more effective! These weapons are your best choice.

b) Destroy enemy tank traps. A tank trap has vehicle armor 5 with 4 life points. This tactic is a bit controversial. It depends on the circumstances if this makes sense or not. First an example:

Let’s assume there is an infantry level 2 unit with 5 guys. They are in hard cover, so you need to inflict 5 * 3 = 15 damage (as always on average). If you make a sustained attack with machineguns you need like 27 dice.

If you shot the tank trap first you need to inflict 4 damage against vehicle 5 first. You need like 8 (virtual) dice with anti-tank weapons for this, sustained attack. After the tank trap is gone you can shoot normally at the infantry and need only like 9 dice with sustained attack. Instead of 27 dice as in the example above we needed only 8 + 9 = 17 dice, but from two different weapons.

What can we learn from this? Most anti-tank weapons are not very effective against infantry, so shooting tank traps would be a better way using them if there is no better target like other enemy tanks. Another point to consider: how many times can the enemy use his tank traps? Can his next unit hop in right after you destroyed this nasty heavy laser grenadiers?

But there are also some rules to consider: if there is an enemy unit and a tank trap is in the same spot, and you fire at both at the same time, you have to deal damage first to the infantry (revised core rules, page 13)! So ideally you have to plan ahead or even shoot these tank traps preemptive!

Still, weapons that ignore cover are your favorites, especially in city fights. Always bring along some grenade weapons or flame throwers!

“Did somebody say flamethrowers?”


Summary so far:

· Units in soft cover survive +50% longer

· Units in hard cover survive three times longer

· Units with damage resilience survive +50% longer

· Avoid using normal weapons against targets in hard cover

· Instead use weapons that ignore cover: close combat, flamethrowers, phasers, artillery, (most) grenade weapons.

· You can destroy tank traps. They have vehicle armor 5 with 4 hitpoints.

· If you’ve got no weapons that ignore cover consider using your anti-tank weapons to shoot the tank traps. Especially if the enemy could use them several times.

I hope this inspired some new tactics. See you next time.