Imagine a world similar to our own, but subtly different. Now imagine the year is 1870 and the Industrial Revolution occurred decades earlier than in our own world. Technology is far advanced, and in many cases, unrecognisable, which has led to the development of fantastic naval vessels, hulking land ships and terror from the skies in the form of airships and war balloons.
The Dystopian Wars game is set in a Victorian Steampunk world and we have designed the rules to ensure a fun game with a large selection of high quality models in a couple of hours. The rules support Naval, Aerial and Land models from the outset, so that you can set up battles and scenarios in any combat setting.
Dystopian Wars features highly detailed resin and pewter miniatures with which you can roam the high seas, scour the smog filled skies looking for enemy flying ships, or doggedly defend the cities and countryside of your home nation using giant Land Ships.
Our fast play rules are optimised for large fleet actions, so you can get as many miniatures on the table as you want, and still finish an enjoyable game in an afternoon or evening. Dystopian Wars is also ideal for multiplayer games, because you get to activate individual squadrons of miniatures from one player to the next. The rules allow for the use of a deck of 52 Game Cards that add an exciting Fog of War element to each game.
You command one of the great imperial powers of Dystopian Wars, you can choose to defend your territories from foreign incursion, or you can conquer the world. The choice is yours…
So you’ve read the introduction to what Dystopian Wars is all about, but if you keep reading you can get a better idea for who is fighting who, some of the politics of the wolrd we have created. This is a rich game background, with a vibrant backplot – we loved creating it and we’re sure you’ll love reading and gaming it!
The Seeds of Global War!
In Europe, the Prussian Empire and the Kingdom of Britannia are mired in a bloody war of attrition for control of the mainland, whilst expeditionary forces clash amongst their colonies. Throughout the Pacific the Federated States of America (FSA) and the Empire of the Blazing Sun continue their struggle for dominance, raiding the colonies of the European powers.
It is a time of unrest, distrust and fear – technology has leapt far beyond anyone’s wildest imaginings, issues of morality abandoned in the pursuit of power. Tesla’s electricity has made life easier, providing light and warmth, but now also powers military vehicles and weapons. Darwin’s biological experiments have yielded livestock that can feed all the hungry, as well as monsters that are all too readily unleashed upon the battlefield. And the heart of this technological innovation stands Sturgeon’s Element 270, used to create metals as light as fabric, or as hard as diamonds.
With changing times come changing tactics. Man cannot compete with the Iron Behemoths that now tread across the battlefield, at least not alone. With improved communications, there has been a revolution in the armed forces of the world. Combined arms are now the most widely accepted tactics in use, despite some die-hard commanders still stubbornly clinging to their old ways.
The conflict between the great nations started with something as minor as a trading dispute, back in 1864. The East India Company had been trading in Singapore for several decades, securing their position as the leading traders in the world. As such they took a dim view of the encroachment of Japanese traders into what they considered as their turf, and made their opinions crystal clear.
The Blazing Sun representative ignored their threats, and as such was caught unawares when East India Company forces fell upon his delegation and evicted him from the country. Suitably shamed, the man committed suicide and his name was stricken from Imperial records. Failure deserved no less.
But his family would not stand for such a black mark upon their honour, especially his uncle, a newly promoted commander in the Imperial Army. He personally approached the Empress and begged for a chance to restore his family’s honour by striking back against the uncivilised barbarians of the East India Company. In her eternal wisdom and compassion the Empress granted the commander his wish, and bestowed on him the Third Division of the Second Imperial Army – also named the Wani. The commander was born again that day, casting off his name until he had avenged the slight against his family. History would remember him only as Oni.
He wasted no time in leading the Wani to Singapore. The city held out for a month, largely thanks to the support of the East India Company, before falling under the might of the Third Division. Oni razed the city to the ground, yet he felt no satisfaction. The failure of his nephew was not due to Singapore or the men located there. It was due to the actions of the East India Company. However, the Empress reined him in before he could set out to cause more destruction, ordering him back to the homeland.
But the Britannian forces had not sat idly by whilst their operations were disrupted. Two weeks after the fall of Singapore the 45th Expeditionary Force landed in Malaysia, commanded by Lord Duxford, and a message was delivered to the Empress from Queen Victoria. It stated that the sacking of Singapore was an act of war and that there would be consequences unless reparations were made. The young Empress realised the necessity of handing Oni over to the Expeditionary Force and dispatched her elite agents to assassinate him.
This proved to be a futile gesture, as when information regarding the Expeditionary Force reached Oni, he immediately turned his forces around and sailed to Malaysia. The Wani obeyed him unquestioningly, having faith in his judgment, and the people of the Empire hailed him as a hero, seeing him as a tired warrior fearlessly plunging back into danger for their sakes. Realising that to leave Oni to his fate would result in public unrest, the Empress mobilised her entire military and sent it out in support of Oni’s Third Division. The Imperial Armies fell upon Malaysia like a divine wind and wiped out the 45th in a matter of weeks, although Lord Duxford was safely evacuated from the area.
The world was shocked at this turn of events and the Kingdom of Britannia swiftly declared war on the Empire of the Blazing Sun, deploying its full military might to Malaysia. Knowing her forces would never be able to survive the onslaught of the entire Britannian military, the Empress dispatched envoys to the Prussian Emperor, Frederick Grunder. It is unknown what agreement the two eventually came to, but a month later the Prussian Empire launched co-ordinated assaults against all Britannian colonies, even managing to sneak a small force into London itself, commanded by the then Colonel Sturm.
His use of gas weapons, bartered from the Koreans, made a lasting impact upon the Britannian Government, which was forced to recall several of its armies from Malaysia to defend the homeland. The success of this operation paved the way for Sturm’s rise to power.
During this time, the Russian Coalition made a pact with the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, allowing them to move freely through the country to attack the eastern borders of Prussian. They assigned their chief general, Jozef Cherdenko, to this task. The Poles supported this act by deploying three Hussar Legions to support the White Army, driving deep into Prussian territory before grinding to a halt at the Wolfgang Fortresses.
Seeking to maintain their power in Europe, the Prussians called upon ancient treaties to drag the Republic of France and the League of Italian States into the war, albeit on their own terms – the French would deal with the Britannian forces whilst the Italians would run guerrilla campaigns against the Russians, giving Prussia time to rebuild its strength. This tactic worked, and the allied Commonwealth forces were forced to take up patrol and policing duties against the Italian troops, whilst the Russians fortified their gains against any Prussian counterattack.
With the global situation rapidly collapsing into chaos, the FSA attempted an invasion of Japan, wishing to expand their control over the Pacific. Dispatching the Fourth Federated Fleet under the command of Admiral Springfield, the FSA President was convinced that by wiping out the Empire of the Blazing Sun he could earn a measure of influence in Britannia, enough to stave off any potential expansion into his domain by Queen Victoria’s forces.
However, the Fourth Fleet instead came across a Russian Coalition fleet mobilised for the invasion of the Blazing Sun as well, so as to earn favour with the Koreans. Both sides fired upon each other, convinced they were attacking a defending Blazing Sun fleet. Four hours later both sides accused the other of provoking them and promptly went to war as well, forgetting about the Empire of the Blazing Sun for the time being. Using this sudden calm, the Empress of the Blazing Sun, despite protests, made deals with the Australian Independents to bolster her regrouping forces. Not to be denied their revenge, the Britannian forces also hired the Australians to run interference amongst the Blazing Sun withdrawal.
The London Raid
Following the declaration of war on on the 17th of November, 1870, the capital of the Kingdom of Britannia was attacked. A single submersible of Prussian design managed to sail up the Thames and launch a daring and shocking attack at the Houses Of Parliament. Whilst this act was more of a symbol than any true offensive, it managed to strike terror into the hearts of the Britannian public, especially when it emerged that the ship in question managed to sail away undetected. Gripped with fear, many members of the populace volunteered for the armed services, and the Britannian military doubled in size over the next six months.
Meanwhile, in Prussia, Commander Sturm, the mastermind behind the strike, was toasted as a visionary of tactics and technology. His studies in Korea had paid off, resulting in the production of gases for battlefield use, capable of incapacitating or even killing Land Ship crews whilst leaving their vessels untouched, perfect for salvage. The technology to deliver the gases and protect his own troops from their effect had been obtained from the Empire of the Blazing Sun, who knew full well the consequences of a gas attack on unprepared soldiers. In return for this knowledge, Sturm had promised the Blazing Sun to provide them with design schematics for building their own Tesla weaponry, cementing the alliance between the two nations.
Throughout all this Lord Barnabas Draynes Sturgeon sat in his favoured armchair, located in his study in Antarctica, home of his new nation – the Covenant of Antarctica – and listened with deepening despair at what was coming to pass in the world above. Not only had his assumptions about events been in error, the events themselves had transpired far faster than he had thought possible. The technology he had provided was being perverted to better maim and kill, and the madness of patriotism had infected even his own apprentices. With the world rapidly sliding into chaos and death, Sturgeon resolved to act and correct humanity’s mistakes himself.
He ordered the activation of many of Wells Chasm’s production facilities, and elevated Schneider from Custodian to the position of War Master. His envoys suddenly turned into well-placed assassins and spies, and the researchers began applying their knowledge to the art of war. It would be a year before the Covenant marched, the longest and bloodiest year to go down in history so far.