I have been thinking about this for a while now, and I have decided to stop writing articles for this blog. The main reason is I don’t have much to say anymore. Clash at Zverograd started out as a Dust Warfare blog at a time when there weren’t many people creating content for the game as its future was in question as Dust changed distributors. I also started it because I had a lot of free time stuck in a hotel room during a business trip.
When I started Clash at Zverograd I was quite new to miniatures war gaming having less that half year in the hobby and found Dust Warfare to be one of my favorite games to play. I wanted to share my enjoyment of what I thought (and still think) is a very good core rules system. However, the gaming group that played Dust Warfare when I left for business had all but disbanded during the near half a year I was gone.
When I managed to get in contact with the players that still had their armies, they weren’t interested in playing Dust Warfare. However, Dust Battlefield was new and shiny and had rules they liked much more. I just wanted to game with my collection of models, and while I didn’t like (and still don’t) like Dust Battlefield as much as Dust Warfare, the game is fun enough that I could still enjoy playing it. Although, I will admit that it was a couple of months before I purchased the rule book and cards.
It was around that time that I had decided to include Dust Battlefield stuff on Clash at Zverograd. It was also the same time I received some less agreeable comments from people stating they thought this was a Dust Warfare blog not a Dust Battlefield one. Even though I had included a couple of articles from Dreadball and Deadzone well before then.
At the time, I stated that indeed Clash at Zverograd was primarily a Dust Warfare blog, but since I was playing Dust Battlefield as well, I saw no reason not to also write about Dust Battlefield. For a time, things were really hopping here too. When the Dust Kickstarter was happening I was seeing more traffic here than I ever did often getting hundreds of visitors per day. Which isn’t much in the grand scheme of things, but given the niche subject matter of Clash at Zverograd, I found it impressive none the less.
Most Dust players know that the Kickstarter has been a huge fiasco. I have often stated that I don’t back Kickstarters. I still don’t as I don’t like the business model of them, but that is my own (probably wrong) opinion on the matter. I will say that the Dust Kickstarter had me awfully tempted. It was only the fact I have no interest in Soldier 1 squads and lighter versions of the vehicles I already have that prevented my from doing something I said I would never do. I am somewhat glad I did as the Kickstarter has all but destroyed Dust.
I do want to say that the Kickstarter fiasco is not the reason I am discontinuing writing on Clash at Zverograd at least not directly. The real reason is I haven’t much more to say about Dust. I have found myself less and less interested in the gaming side of the hobby and more on the spectacle of gaming. I don’t really care to analyze units anymore Dust or otherwise. I just don’t care to play at that level anymore. I actually haven’t for sometime. That is not to say I don’t try my best when gaming, just that I am not putting nearly as much thought before/during the game on possible tactics/counter-tactics as I used to. I am just not as sharp as I used to be and don’t want to put the effort required in these games to keep that edge.
It is only the fact that Esoteric Order of Gamers’ Universal Head and his friend Will with their video battle reports that had me write the last few months worth of Unit Assessments. My hope was to give them some insight to what I had learned so they each could know Dust Battlefield at a level that they could show off highly tactical nature of the game with the most useful units/ unit combinations in an excellent video battle report that in turn other Dust players could use to elevate the playing of the game. Sort of along lines of a high tide raises all ships sort thing. If that makes any sense. Clash at Zverograd has always been about trying to get players though the rough rookie mistakes of originally Dust Warfare then Dust Battlefield so players could be on more even footing aware of some of the tricks in each game before having to be exposed to them in game. What I am trying to say (badly) is I wanted to narrow the skill gap between new/inexperienced players and veteran/skilled players as few people enjoy blowouts.
I don’t know if I was successful in that goal with this blog. I know that the last Dust Battlefield videos that the Esoteric Order of Gamers was better in tactics/rules understanding. I don’t know if I had much to do with that. I know that I am very unlikely to get to play Dust Warfare with my non-gamer friends as they don’t care to study the rules enough to play it at the same level as myself. They also don’t want the charity of me playing at a handicap either. So it is a foregone conclusion, mostly, to the victor. Which doesn’t much make for a fun game for either player.
In addition to me just not wanting to play at the same competitive level, I have also been losing interest in playing Dust in general. Now, I’m not going to sell my stuff or anything. It is just that I have been playing Dust Battlefield nearly every week for over a year. I have used nearly every unit I own. There only units I haven’t off the top of my head are the SSU mortar tractor (which I may have but forgot) and Sergeant Victory (I just can’t see spending all those points only to not have Cheat Death work). I am at the point I can see mechanics poking through the immersion of the game.
To combat this gaming system fatigue I had gone to playing some Bolt Action at another gaming store (relatively) nearby. I know I said the game system is mediocre (which I still think it is), and I think needs a new edition. Which is ironic as it is the only miniatures game I own not getting a new edition. The thing is I like Bolt Action a little better than Dust Battlefield even though I think mechanically Dust Battlefield is a far more solid system.
I find myself more drawn to historical games even in the case of Bolt Action it is more just World War II themed than anything all that close to using real historical tactics. Which is fine by me. I want lighter, faster games far more than historic simulations (which can be a false dichotomy, I know). I have finally started my second army for Bolt Action (and any other 28mm WWII game I might like) with late war Germans. In fact, just this week I have finally have a painted force large enough to field.
The Bolt Action gaming store (Heroic Knight Games) also has large Napoleonic group using Black Powder which is strangely enticing to me. Although, I don’t really want to start yet another large army. And with Napoleonics, even at 28mm, that’s a lot of troops (more than 100 easy). Plus, it is getting to the rainy season here in western Washington which is poor priming models time. Just the same I like the idea of trying out the most classic of wargaming eras/settings even though I never really had all that much interest in the Napoleonics before. In addition to starting another large army, I also don’t know how many games I will get and it that will be enough to justify to me the time and money spent. So, I am holding off for now.
Now I suppose I could write about Bolt Action on Clash at Zverograd, but outside a couple of army lists based on units for certain battles that I asked for help creating on other forums, I don’t have much to say on it either. Heck, I don’t really care all that much about list building even in Bolt Action which is perhaps I am more drawn to historical since once you decide on which battle many times the units are chosen for you. I could show off some pictures of them, but I don’t think the paint jobs are anything special even if I like them. I could also do that on forums where they are also likely to be seen by more people.
I am rapidly becoming a spectacle/immersion gamer that cares far more about the look of the table and armies than playing super competitively. I still want a good game, but I don’t have much interest in studying units and maximizing their tactical potential these days. In fact, I am considering declining games against players with unpainted forces (with some exceptions such as work-in-progress or more board game-like games) as most of my fun comes from a nice looking table with painted forces on it rather than trying to out wit my opponent. Its not that I have a problem with people playing with unpainted miniatures its just that a large chunk of my enjoyment comes from a nice looking table. Which I suppose I could write an article on that, but I think other like minded miniature wargamers have covered subject better than I.
The only other subject I could write about is my own miniatures wargame that I have been putting together fairly slowly. It isn’t much. Basically just the Dust Warfare core system with an alternating (or hand in the bag Bolt Action style) activation system with a more robust suppression system for a purely historical WWII flavored game. It takes my favorite parts of Dust Warfare, Dust Battlefield, and Bolt Action like and blends them together into what I want in a miniatures wargame. Honestly, not a lot (or any) new ground is covered in it. It is also still very rough and very much in draft and probably always will be unless I can convince one of my gaming groups to play test it and help me create it. Which I am pretty doubtful it will happen.
So in conclusion, I just don’t have much to write about concerning miniature wargames particularly anything Dust related anymore. I haven’t for a long while now. Given that was the reason for this blog in the first place, I have decided to stop writing new stuff for it. I don’t know, maybe I will come back to Clash at Zverograd at some point in the future, but I kinda doubt it. That is not to say that I won’t be playing miniatures games. If anything, I seem to be playing more. I just don’t want to write about it anymore.
I want to finish what could be the last article on Clash at Zverograd to say how grateful I am to my readers, commenters, and visitors. I had fun writing a lot of stuff here at Clash at Zverograd, and I hope others found it informative and maybe even entertaining. I want also want to give special appreciation to Universal Head at the Esoteric Order of Gamers. I consider him my miniatures painting mentor. While I still don’t paint anywhere near his level, I go occasionally get complemented on my stuff and I owe a lot of my methods to his painting tutorials on Youtube. I also want to thank Olympic Cards and Comics in Lacy, Washington (where I have played most of my games of Dust) as well as Heroic Knight Games in Issaquah, Washington which are two of best places to play games with some of the nicest store owners.