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Clash At Zverograd Cease Fire (The Blog is going Inactive)

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.

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Editorial: Analysis vs. Tactics vs. Strategy

In this post I want to talk about a player’s ability to analyze a units, opposing players actions, and hypotheticals and compare (maybe contrast them) with actual game play strategy and tactics.  I want to talk about my own experience about this topics and some of the things I have found myself at odds with playing various miniature war games and indeed tabletop games in general.

NOTE: This article is pretty incoherent as I don’t quite know how to articulate what I mean.  Just a warning to those who value their time.

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Nearly 40,000 veiws and over 10,000 vistors since starting

I haven’t done a state of my blog in a very long while.  I’ll be honest, I didn’t know if I was going to continue writing articles every now again.  This is largely based on the state of the game that I started Clash at Zverograd on: Dust Warfare.  I don’t get the chance to play Dust Warfare all that often as I can only convince my non-tabletop friends to play it.  Even then, I find it easy to get them to play Deadzone we can get through a game of that faster.  Which is weird since we all like Dust Warfare more.  I guess there is something to be said about convenience.

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Editorial: Dust

As I have mentioned before in previous articles, Clash at Zverograd was never intended to be a news blog for Dust Warfare or other miniatures games.  However, because the bulk of the articles involve the game of Dust and Unit Forward has been gone for some time now, I feel I should say something about the current condition of it.  Now, I am a complete outsider to all parties and have never been contacted by Fantasy Flight Games, Battlefront, or even Dust Studios.  I don’t even think I remember any of those companies making mention of my small potatoes blog even once.  So have absolutely no insight to what is going on beyond the responses by those parties and the hearsay of the internet at large.

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Crossed Over 20,000 Views and State of CaZ

Weeks ago I crossed over 20,000 views.  I have been meaning to write this article to make mention of it.  I do want to tank everyone that still comes by an reads over the posts I have up.  I haven’t been active on Clash at Zverograd would be a bit of an understatement.  It is hard to choose between writing for this blog or spending some time on painting miniatures where I have largely got everything based coated but nothing is ‘done’.

That said, I do want to continue adding posts to the blog.  However, if I do, it will have to be concerning Dust Battlefield.  I haven’t played Dust Warfare since January of 2014. Not by choice, but my gaming group doesn’t want to play Warfare and I would rather get in game of Dust that not.  Additionally, my usual opponent is really good at Dust Battlefield.  He is undefeated.  While I don’t like Dust Battlefield as much, I do like a good game so I have studied Dust Battlefield more than I wanted to have a competitive game.  As of yet, I have come close defeating this opponent in some cases coming down to bad dice rolls.  I must also mention that I think I now have more games of Dust Battlefield played than Dust Warfare.

It is for all of these reasons that I don’t think I will be able to continue writing articles on Dust Warfare.  I know I would get confused on how things work, and I don’t think I would be able to give any meaningful assessments or advice.  I think it I was to play Warfare, I would make use of Clash at Zverograd to remember some of the strategies and tactics I have came up with.  What I take comfort in is that I did manage to get through most of the units available in my Dust Warfare Unit assessments.  I would have liked to get a few more done, but I am generally happy with the amount I covered.

As for new material, I don’t quite know how I want to proceed.  I don’t want to unit assessments like I have and I am considering maybe Platoon Assessments where I talk about each unit that can make up the unit in addition to the platoon.  I like that set up more, of course, that leaves many units without a mention.  I have also thought of just doing a overall unit assessment of all units available like I did for the Allies a while back.  I don’t cover any unit with much depth, but everything is covered.

I also have doubled down on Mantic’s Deadzone.  So expect some material on that as well. I can’t wait to finish getting the zombies halfway painted to try a solo game with them.  I wouldn’t mind doing faction assessments on them, but I don’t know how enlightening they would be.

I know long time fans of this site won’t be happy with the switch to Dust Battlefield from Dust Warfare.  I sure once I mentioned it you knew this day was probably coming.  I’m sorry, especially if you feel betrayed, but for the reasons mentioned above, I can’t write on Dust Warfare at the moment.  That was a big part of my hiatus.  I’m am too out of practice as well as playing a game very close rules-wise to accurately write on Dust Wayfarer anymore. Just like playing Dust Warfare again, I would like go back to writing on it, but I don’t know if that is ever going to happen.  All I can say is that my old articles will still be there. If Clash at Zverograd is going to see new material in Dust, it is going to have to be on Dust Battlefield.

Farewell Unit Forward

Unit Forward has sent out its last transmission.  Alex (aka Cannor) did a great job with is website Unit Forward which lasted over 2 years.  The site was dedicated to news as well as all things Dust Warfare out on the internet.  Alex and Unit Forward even weathered the rocky transition from Fantasy Flight Games over to Battlefront when others decided to close up shop. 

I am pretty sure many of the readers I get here at Clash at Zverograd are largely due to his posts of my articles.  I remember discussing with him the future of Dust Warfare and our own sites as the game with forward and neither of us were certain they would see activity in 2015.  I can’t say I blame him for closing up shop.  He seemed to be trying everything he could to get Dust more popular in his area going as far as trying to setup tournaments which has to be daunting in itself let alone with a game system that never gained much popularity and even that amount as waned considerably since last year.  I suspect he just couldn’t get the game going and the continue dwindling of content for Dust Warfare (mine included) just didn’t justify continuing to run a website dedicated to it.

I myself have considered taking a hiatus with the very real possibility of not ever writing another article for Clash at Zverograd.  For one, my group has switched over to Dust Battlefield,  Those in it who have played both say they like Battlefield more and I am really the only hold out for Warfare.  I have considered writing some stuff for Dust Battlefield, but honestly my heart is just not in it.  That, and I think there is part of my audience that don’t want to write on the subject anyway.  However, even without Dust Battlefield being the form of Dust I’m playing, I have been generally losing interest in adding content to Clash at Zverograd.  I only have a handful (twenty or so) of pre-Babylon units I haven’t inspected, and of those, I haven’t really used, played against, or even own.  I haven’t played a game of warfare since the beginning of the year as well so my knowledge is also becoming rusty (and replaced to some extent by the new rules). Additionally, when I started Clash at Zverograd I was living in a hotel room in Texas on an extended business trip with not a lot to do.  I have been back home for quite a while and don’t have the free time (or the time I want take away from other things I am doing) to write for Clash at Zverograd anymore. I am not saying that I’m closing up shop here just yet, but with the loss of Unit Forward I am also less passionate about continuing.

I still believe that Battlefront is good to their word and will continue to support Dust Warfare in addition to Dust Tactics.  I am sure that I will get to play Dust Warfare again (although possibly not in the gaming group I’m currently in) though it might be a few years down the road and I will basically have to relearn the system.  I hope to make use of my own blog for that.  I continue to maintain the idea that have multiple rules sets is a good thing as players can get the most use out of their models. 

What does the future hold for Dust, I don’t know if anyone knows.  I definitely don’t. Part of me thinks that the game had its chance and peaked.  Still, another part of me hopes that Dust just hasn’t been introduced to that many players or many miniature war games players what to continue with games certain to have player bases even if the rules aren’t all that great.  What I can say is Dust lost a great news source with closing of Unit Forward.  While I am a bit saddened the loss, I can understand some of the possible reasons why.  I hope for the best and wish good luck for Alex in whatever he decides to do next whether it be in gaming or life in general.

Suggestions to Finding/Creating a Gaming Group

In this article I give offer suggestions to players wanting to either find or creating a group to enjoy gaming.  While this is applicable to Dust, much of what I suggest would probably work for other miniature games or even board games and table top rpgs.  I fact much of what I will suggest will come from my experience finding and setting up rpg groups.

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Unit Inspection: SSU Auxiliary Attack Squad “Chinese Volunteers”

Trained as a paratroopers to jump from the back of MIL 45 Helicopters at high altitude and used for rapid deployment and smirching, the Chinese Volunteers can run the gamut from highly trained commandos, to Chinese loyalist spies to gather information on their Russian “comrades”, and in some extreme cases, conscripts given the basics of a paratrooper and minimal supplies and treated as cannon fodder.  No matter what these volunteers background, woe is those that ignore them as they are still highly capable guerrilla fighters.

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Over 5000 Views: Very Much Thank You

As I have just passed 5000 views here at Clash at Zverograd, I want to take the time to thank everyone who comes by visits.  I really do appreciate everyone to takes a gander at my articles.  That goes doubly so for those who take the time to send a reply.  Once again, I would like to send out a special thanks to Alex over at Unit Forward http://www.unitforward.com/  and the updates to CaZ he posts.

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1000 Views: Thank You

I have just crossed over the 1000 views for Clash at Zverograd.  Which I know in the grand scheme of things isn’t much a milestone, but considering when I started this blog, I figured I wouldn’t hit a 1000 views in a year let alone in a month it means something to me.  I would be remiss if I didn’t thank Alex (aka Cannor) over at Unit Forward. http://www.unitforward.com/  His multiple plugs for my blog are, I am certain, what has brought in the all traffic I am seeing here.  I look forward to more Zero Station podcasts and other Dust news from around the internet.

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