Fantasy Flight Games announced recently that beginning June 1st, 2013, the Dust Tactics and Dust Warfare games will be distributed by New Zealand-based Battlefront Miniatures, of WWII miniatures game Flames of War fame.
For someone who recently moved to New Zealand and who plays Dust Tactics—like, oh, me for example—this would seem a good thing. But what does it really mean for Dust fans worldwide?
Well, not that much as it happens. The move seems to be a very amicable one. Paolo Parente and his Dust Studio (who owns the IP and designs and manufactures the game and the figures) wanted to keep expanding and developing the game. Fantasy Flight Games, who handled the marketing and distribution tasks that Battlefront will now assume, wanted to focus on its core activities—presumably LCGs and boardgames. It does seem strange that FFG continues to dabble in miniatures games (AT-43, Confrontation, Dust Warfare) only to repeatedly retreat to its core games, but then again the two former Rackham games probably cost them a pretty penny in leftover stock when Rackham folded, and we can’t blame the company for directing their resources towards their most successful—and in the case of LCGs, cheap to produce—product lines.
There’s a short interview with Paolo on the Front Towards Enemy blog in which he clarifies the mutual nature of the change. And his partner Olivier Zamfirescu talks about the future of Dust in this post.
What’s next for Dust Tactics and Dust Warfare? Well, I can only assume that the Dust Studio has negotiated a new deal which gives them the freedom to expand the game and make sure it gets the attention it deserves. There’s definite talk of a new revised core set with second edition rules, an unavoidable price increase this year, and work on the (as yet unrevealed) miniatures that will be released in 2015. And there’s vague talk of a 15mm large-scale-battles version some way down the track. But for now the future of these two excellent games seems assured.
In the meantime, download v4.2 of my Dust Tactics rules summary and reference sheet. I’ve added some small reference cards that allow you to refer to the special rules for Command squads and NCO Command squads during the heat of combat.
I’m hoping that FFG are going to be concentrating on a Star Wars miniature game.
That would be cool, but the problem is, would it have a long-term future? Buying into a miniatures game is a committment for a gamer, and if the company is only going to support it for a few years, and then drop it or pass it on because of less than expected sales or the end of a licence deal, it can affect that decision to commit to it in the first place.
FFG seem to be more interested in LCGs these days (which presumably require a low investment and have high volume, regular sales), but who knows what they’ve got up their sleeve …
I’ve got both core sets and a handful of expansions units and expansion sets, but as my family grows Ive got less money to try and keep up with purchasing new miniatures and paying someone to paint them.
Having said this, I love DT and hope they remain alive far into the future. I don’t understand why it could never break into the same tier as 40k and WM: I find this to be a much more elegant system than either.
Perhaps Battefront will be the distributors to do just that—we’ll have to wait and see …