Saturday, 22 February 2014

Great Danes

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS OF THE KINGDOM OF DENMARK IN DYSTOPIAN WARS

"Alone of the Scandinavian nations, Denmark has managed to retain its independence in the face of three mighty neighbours; the Prussian Empire, the Kingdom of Britannia and the Russian Coalition. By a combination of careful diplomacy and stout local military power, the Kingdom of Denmark endures these threats and stills stands proud today."

The Danish Fleet

Newly released at the end of last year, the Kingdom of Denmark became more than the old allies of the Prussian Empire and a playable nation in their own right. A fan of the Skagerrak-class Gunship and the Korsor-class Minelayer initially released with Storm of Steel, it was an easy decision for me to snap up the new box and get painting!

The evolution between the different ship classes is striking
The box set adds several new Naval ship classes and updates the old Gunship and Minelayer with new rules that make them much more interesting for the Imperial Bond player. I am particular fan of the new models - the Sigurd-class Cruiser is restrained and sleek in its design, ready to exploit its formidable speed and Streamlined Hull. The Ragnarok-class Pocket Battleship is one of the best examples of a "Pocket" Battleship out there; packed with turrets and weaponry but maintaining a relatively small size. Spartan have also included the option for a second turret to the Skagerrak instead of the UPG Generator, adding some serious firepower.

Most importantly, it must be recognised that all the ships have Mines and Battleship-strength turrets to go with their excellent speed and low armour. This is a Glass Hammer of a fleet - fast and hard hitting, but not ready for any form of concentrated counter-attack.

Korsor-class Corvettes
The Korsor has not changed as a model, but rules-wise is reclassified as a Corvette, granting it the Fast Target and Elusive Target MARs. Coupled with Sharp Turn and a frankly ridiculous movement value of 15", the Korsor takes the movement restrictions of Dystopian Wars and throws them out the window. These things are fast, cheap, and best of all, carry the seriously dangerous Sturginium Mines. At this point I have only played a few games with the Kingdom of Denmark, but I have swiftly come to the conclusion that three squadrons of Korsor-class Corvettes would not be a wasted investment.

Sigurd-class Cruisers
The Sigurd-class Cruiser, as mentioned above, is sleek and simple, with only one turret and a minelayer. Cheap and fast, what the Sigurd really brings to the table is manpower. AP6 almost matches the Battleship and far exceeds the Gunship, as well as the Mediums of most other nations. Given the easy access to UPG Generators within the Danish Fleet, I see the Sigurd as an excellent, cheap addition to any Danish battle line.

Skagerrak-class Gunships
The Skagerrak-class Gunships remains a mainstay of the fleet. Two hardpoints give the option for a scary UPG Generator loadout or (equally scary) two turrets. Combined with the Close Gunnery and incredible firepower of the Danish turrets, I am always tempted to run three Gunships with two turrets each. Though this would cost a great deal of points, this squadron could also triple critical an FSA Dreadnought if you rolled... average. Damn!

For Boarding shenanigans, consider a Reinforced Cruiser Squadron with one Skagerrak and two Sigurds. The UPG cripples the enemy ship, and the sixteen AP move in for the kill.

Ragnarok-class Pocket Battleship
Cost effective and brimming with firepower, the Ragnarok is the Large of the fleet and a great example of a "Pocket" Battleship. It might be able to give out a lot of pain, but it cannot take it very well, so protect it! The Magnetic Pulse is too useful to lose, moving your Mines a couple of inches every time your Commodore activates - perfect for a one-two punch from a squadron of Korsors that have just dropped their Mines and sped to safety.

Fafnir-class Light Airships with their TFT complements
The box has introduced an Aerial element to the Danish fleet; my favourite model in the box, the Fafnir-class Light Airship. Taking some of my favourite elements of the Imperium-class Sky Fortress and adding even bigger turrets to its underside, the Fafnir looks awesome and works incredibly well in the game as a carrier and a gunship.

They each bring with them four TFTs, adding to the twelve the fleet usually brings with it due to Local Air Superiority. These little bastards, if taken as Fighters, have More Machine Guns, which translates as More Dead Flying Things. Take these guys if your opponents like to run a few flyers and rule the skies! A Danish Fleet with two Airships will sit pretty with five wings of TFTs, more than most fleets outside of the Ottoman Empire.

PAINTING
The fleet was painted over the Christmas period in about two weeks, and though I must admit it is not my best work, I find the simple scheme stark and effective. The flat grey hulls was taken from my Prussian fleet; I wanted them to match visually so took the base colour and simply kept highlighting up instead of adding the camouflage. To make them pop and add something a bit more interesting to the palette, I made every ship far more weathered than my usual Dystopian Wars vessels - huge build ups of rust and dripping pipework. Orange has become the spot colour for the fleet! I justified this by thinking the Danish were probably on the receiving end of Russian aggression for a great deal of time, and were almost constantly on a war footing.

I painted a small Danish flag on the side of the Battleship to break up the large expanse of grey hull, while the TFTs were also painted red and white to act as a contrast to the fleet; an effect I am very happy with. I think the TFTs are my single favourite part of the fleet - great little models!

INITIAL GAMING IMPRESSIONS
  • Learn to use Mines - you have access to far too many Mines not to use them 
  • Incredible Turret Strength - Close Gunnery on a Battleship turret make them match if not beat Russians in the close range bands
  • Fantastic Speed and Manoeuvrability - some of the fastest ships (for their class) you can find without resorting to Generators. Sharp Turn is also a neat trick 
  • Average/Poor Auxiliary Statistics - watch out for rockets and torpedoes
  • Low Armour - without access to other forms of defence, Danish ships will hurt if they get hit
  • Mixed Points Spread - cheap Corvettes and Cruisers, but expensive Gunships and Light Airships. Makes sure your fleet is balanced to make the best of the situation

Hit hard, hit fast, hit first. If they get you, you will not survive. Regardless, not all your ships will make it into that sweet spot where the guns hurt the most and the Mines start exploding, so make sure you screen well, use the manoeuvrability and speed of the ships to protect yourself and force your opponent to target the ships you don't mind losing.

The Danes carry a steep learning curve, perhaps steeper than any other fleet. Use them well, and your opponent will weep at the sight of how many dice you're piling up. Mess up, and the Danes will not forgive you; your fleet will be sunk before you can begin to enjoy yourself.

This INITIAL IMPRESSIONS has hopefully shown some of the interesting gimmicks the Danish bring to the table. They are a cagey fleet to play, but a lot of  fun. An equally in-depth article was done by Reese over at Element 270, and was the inspiration for this article. Check it out, and his impressive painted fleet, which I think he painted even faster than I did mine! Hopefully he won't mind me treading on his toes.

Thanks for reading,

George

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