Tabletop Game: Dust

Dust is a series of tabletop games based on a comic by Paolo Parente. It is set in an alternate timeline: the year is 1947 and World War II continues with the aid of alien technology and a mysterious mineral called VK. The style is Weird War II and Diesel Punk, with some supernatural and superhero elements.

The games are:

  • Dust. A Risk style 'Strategy Board Game' with small scale miniatures of mechs, tanks, troops, submarines and aircraft. Out of print.
  • Dust Tactics. A miniatures game played on a 'board' of printed map tiles.
  • Dust Warfare. A wargame using the same miniatures as Dust Tactics with more complex rules.

The playable factions in the game are: the Allies, the Axis and the Soviet Socialist Union (SSU).

The Dust games and miniatures were published by Fantasy Flight Games until 2013, when Battlefront took over the licence. A Roleplaying Game is also being developed. A hobby website also sells the miniatures as model kits or completely built and painted.

This game provides examples of:

  • Awesome but Impractical: Even in the 1940s wheeled and tracked armored vehicles were capable at moving at 30 mph or more. The lumbering walking tanks in these games are at least twice the height of an ordinary vehicle, which should make them easier to shoot at and harder to hide than real tanks. Averted, of course, because of the Rule of Cool.
    • Most of the 'futuristic' tech falls under this category. Walkers and Power Armour require the VK mineral to build, which is incredibly rare and found only in dangerous, highly contested areas, and require special resources to use and maintain. This is why 'normal' tanks and helicopters still have such a significant roll in the war - even though they have their drawbacks, they're much easier to build and use particularly in large numbers.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Tactics and Warfare include colourful individual characters who are pretty powerful on the tabletop.
  • BFG: Infantry weapons in the games include heavy machine guns and magazine fed bazookas. The largest walkers carry two 173mm or 152mm cannon, or equally impressive arrays of rocket launchers.
  • Boring Yet Practical: The role of 'ordinary' tanks and infantry in the Dust setting. While Walkers and Power Armour have their benefits, they're also expensive to build, require training and in some circumstances just aren't as effective as a platoon of tracked vehicles.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience: The miniatures are supplied in olive drab (Allies), dark gray (Axis) and olive green (SSU). Players can paint them, of course, and many choose World War Two style paint schemes.
  • Eagle Land: The Allies miniatures are almost entirely represented by US soldiers and armor. The exceptions are British paratroops and French Foreign Legion soldiers - but to compensate, both are in Power Armor.
  • Frickin' Laser Beams: Some Axis soldiers and walking tanks are armed with Lasers. Allied troops get Phaser weapons and the SSU favor Tesla cannon.
  • Gatling Good: A couple of the walking tanks have the option of mounting multibarrelled cannon.
  • Green Rocks: The mysterious alien mineral called VK. There are hints of Imported Alien Phlebotinum, but nothing playable in the game... yet.
  • Instant Awesome, Just Add Mecha: The stars of the games are the walking tanks. The miniatures are designed very much in the style of World War Two vehicles. Imagine a clanky diesel powered walker with a Sherman Tank turret or a Hanomag hull and you are mostly there.
  • Jet Pack: The Allies can have Power Armor troops with jetpacks. These troops are armed with powerfists, typically used for punching tanks.
  • More Dakka: As well as main armaments, most of the walking tanks have at least one machine gun. One of the Allied walkers is a 'recon' variant with four .50 cal machine guns - and it is considered lightly armed. One of the light Axis walkers is armed withtwo twin 20mm anti-aircraft guns.
  • Powered Armor: Some of the soldier miniatures wear this.
  • Rocket Punch: A common weapon in Allied Power Armor.
  • Stupid Jet Pack Hitler: The Axis forces include zombies and augmented gorillas.
  • Super Soldier: All factions have access to at least one unit that has been exposed to refined VK and thus become a super-human warrior as a result. examples include the Captain America-style Winter Child for the SSU.
  • Those Wacky Nazis: Averted. In the backstory, the Nazis were deposed by the regular German forces. In real life this means the players use German style models without swastikas or other Nazi imagery.
  • Walking Tank: These models are usually the ones that capture a new player's imagination first.