Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Review: Dystopian Wars Covenant of Antarctica Fleet

Right this is the fifth bloody Dystopian Wars fleet that I now own and I swear to God almighty it'll be the last one... until the next one. Thing is when I read the background to Dystopian Wars I just knew I was going to end up buying the CoA because of the fluff. I mean what's not to like? I nation of rational scientists with kick ass weaponry and an elite military force, so many boxes and so much ticking. I was sold before I'd even seen the concept art, so luckily for me the ships don't look half bad!!! I won't be discussing effectiveness in the game during this review because I feel that's best left to people on internet message boards who can decide if they're overpowered or not.

Product description

Like all the previous Dystopian Wars fleet boxes I have purchased this box came with all the counters and cards you need to get the fleet out on the Battlefield or should that be the battlesea? Oh hell who knows, as always they require a steady hand and a pair of scissors to cut out. Unlike the other box sets though this one came with a little rules booklet for the Covenant forces as they aren't in the main rulebook, there is some nice background fluff in it as well. Like the other boxes the components are mainly resin with a few metal pieces namely the two flyers and unlike the other boxed sets most all of the turrets etc are in resin rather than metal. The box contains 1 Battleship, 3 Cruisers, 9 Frigates, 10 Tiny Flyer tokens and two metal flyers plus their acrylic stands, there is also an acrylic hull outline for the battleship when its submerged.

Character of the Pieces 8 out of 10

Having seen the CoA ships from my recent visit to Shepton Mallet I was acutely aware of how cool they were. I was a fan of the artwork and 1950's sci-fi B-movie vibe they gave off. Up close and personal they don't disappoint and while there is somewhat of a flying saucer vibe to them they certainly still retain a 'steam punk' element to them. I happen to love the stylings of the Battleship and I think it might be my new favourite ship ever TM. Until their dreadnought is released that is, I know some people aren't keen on the fishy look of the frigates but I happen to really like their aquatic features. If any of the ships in the box made me unsure it'd be the cruisers, sometimes I look at them and like them and at other times like when I'm looking at them head on I don't like their profile. Nevertheless they do fit in with the over all aesthetic of the fleet, even if there isn't a unified shape or motif to the fleet. like say the angular sleek hulls or the Prussians, the paddle boat look of the FSA or my own personal main fleet the steam train look of the EotBS. In fact I think the theme is more the little detailing on the surface of these ships as opposed to a more unified look the other fleets seem to have. Also the tiny flyer tokens look like flying vibrators with wings, I mean look at them!!!

Detail 9 out of 10

As with pretty much all of the Dystopian Wars range the level of surface detail is really quite good. If you've seen any of the other fleets you know what to expect from this fleet. However I think there is actually a lot more packed in, in terms of surface detail and texture, especially on the battleship which just has loads of little spherical nodules all over its surface and just seems crammed full of detailing. However its also the frigates that impressed me the most. For something so small I'm amazed they've managed to cram as much detail onto them as they have without overloading them and making them look cluttered... it was a close call but I personally think they stopped at just the right point. The cruisers look really nice on their side profile and from the side retain a really nice steampunk element to them. However I think where I'm most impressed is with the metal flyers (Ptolemy class bomber), sometimes I think it'd be fair to say that some of the Spartan Games metal pieces aren't quite up to the standards of their undeniably fine looking resin pieces, however the the Ptolemy class bombers are brilliant and every bit as sleek and detailed.

Quality 7 out of 10

If there was a downside to this purchase I think its that there was more flashing on this fleet than probably all of my other fleets put together. Nothing awful or terrible but a fair bit of it was thicker than the normal little bits of flash you get with the Dystopian wars range and required some quite careful and skillful removal with a craft knife as opposed to just 'picking' it out with my fingers which you can normally get away with. I suppose I've been spoiled with my other fleets and it wouldn't stop me buying another set of Antarctican's again (in fact I'm already planning on bolstering their ranks) so it shouldn't put people off buying them. I'm just being a picky sod.

Service 9 out of 10

Still not sure about these from the front but I quite like their side profile

These were actually brought from Maelstrom Games as opposed to Spartan Games which is where all my other Spartan based products have been purchased from. However I was placing a rather large order of toys from multiple game systems and companies and thought it'd have been rude not to have added the lovely Covenant of Antarctica ships onto my order. As always they came well packed, in good time and the postage was free. No grumbles, gripes or problems.

Price 9 out of 10

 Whereas the Battleship just looks splendid from any angle

Well when I ordered the fleet I saw the price was £26.50 and I actually phoned to find out if that was the right price, my Ika Squid was £7.50 at the time too. I was informed it was the correct price, and so placed my order happy I wasn't ripping somebody off. Turns out it wasn't the price after all and the fleet should have cost £29.25 and the Ika Squid £8.10 and while I feel slightly bad for getting the things at a lower price, I did phone to check and let them know it was more than their normal discount!!! At that prices I paid I'd have to have given them a can't be beaten 10 out of 10, but even at their current prices they're really quite well priced so I think its more than fair to give them 9 out of 10.

Overall 8 out of 10

I think its fair to say I'm a fan of all things steam punk, in fact last night I watched the Anime 'Steam Boy' while cleaning these bad boys up. Its great for inspiration for boats and things if you get the chance to watch it, even if some of the Mancunian accents are so far off they sound more Lithuanian!!! So being such a big fan of steampunk I'm going to be sold on Dystopian Wars, the fact I love my 1950's flying saucer B-movies means that the Covenent miniatures and just ticking so many of my geek boxes they are full of win for me. So you might want to consider that when looking to purchase these yourself. The rulebook with added fluff was a nice touch and as always the quality is quite nice. I'm just hoping the Turks, Italians, French and Russian fleets don't look this cool because I seriously think owning every fleet is just insane. Peace out!


  1. I also started working on my CoA fleet not long ago. I like them a lot and think they're great models but I too was surprised by the amount of excess flash that had to be cut away. Nice review, well done!

  2. @Papa JJ, cheers. I don't know whether to be happy or not that it wasn't just me that had a lot of flash to clear away or sorry that you had the same problem!!! :P

    However its really not an issue, or I didn't find it so any way, but given the other fleets I've had being so damn near perfect I felt I should mention it.

    However I really do love them, and while I'm in the middle of painting my EotBS fleet I have to be brutally honest and say the CoA are making come hither eyes at me to paint them... but I must get my chuffing EotBS and Sorylians done first!!!

  3. Hey there.

    So did you ever continue playing DW? I'm a huge fan of the system and your blog, and it's been a while since you posted anything about this splendid game. The French and the Russians came and went and now the Italians are also coming up! No reviews?

    Also, as for owning every fleet, well... that's where I'm up to, and then some! :p


    1. Yeah I've continued playing it. But not as often as I thought I would. The games take too long to play down at a club, 4 hours is the average we see... so it's just to long for a club game. Same problem that the 40k gamers are having now, just too time consuming. I still play the odd game when the mood takes me, but we play round my house now and set a full day aside for it as a game.