Story Time with Uncle Ray - Episode 1 - Kampfgruppe Von Stein (AX003)

In this brand new series of Blog, Uncle Ray Rappaport will guide you through each faction from your first purchase of a starter set to a 100 point army, taking advantage of platoons, faction bonus if relevant and of course variety in the game style. Today, we start with…

Frank, Zombie Grenadiers and Heinrich Trop. What’s not to love here?

Frank, Zombie Grenadiers and Heinrich Trop. What’s not to love here?

One of the First Starters released for DUST 1947 it brought us the terror that is the Wiederbelebungsserum  experiments of the Blutkreuz.

Let’s look at the Units in the set..


FRANK VON STEIN

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For 8 AP Frank may seem expensive for a close combat monster (literally), but he is actually very versatile.

His Zombie Ability means he has a better chance to survive long enough to get in close combat. Charge helps that along by allowing him to use his March Move and then start a Close Combat. 

In Close Combat he is an Expert with his weapon of choice the Dual Claws (Frank is all about the hugs. This allows Frank to better make most Close Combat attacks a success. This is followed up with his Berserk, for every die that hits, roll another one (keep in mind Expert does not apply to these additional rolls).

What makes this even more astounding and powerful is that his close combat weapons are capable of damaging any ground unit.

Finally Assassin lets you get rid of the figure you need to in any infantry unit (Flame weapons are always a priority to remove)!

The one issue with Frank is deciding whether or not to use him alone or with the Zombie Grenadier Squad in the starter. They are definitely Ranged combatants; Frank is more of an up close and personal kind of figure.


Zombie Grenadier Squad

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And Speaking of the Zombie Grenadier Squad… One of the most expensive Infantry 1 Squads in the game, it is also one of the most Capable.

For starters it has the Zombie Infantry save, meaning they save on Faction Symbol or Shield, something to help them stay around longer and get to where they can be the most effective, without relying on cover.

Movement wise they have Move 2, and a March Move 4, nothing unusual for an Axis Infantry Unit, but speed is not what this unit is about.

Weapons wise you have a main effective range of 3 for both Anti-Infantry and Anti-Tank weapons, with a support weapon range of 6. The weapon assortment is where this unit really shines:

  • At range 6 it can attack Infantry and Aircraft with the support Machine gun.

  • At Range 3 a full strength unit against Infantry can put a high of 29 dice (Inf 1) through a low of 3 Dice (Inf 4).   Not something many other infantry can do.

At the same range against Armor they can destroy up to 3 units of Arm 1-3 and cause as much as 9 damage against Armor 7 (if you roll very lucky of course).

The drawback is that all of their Anti-Tank weapons are single use, so choose your targets wisely!


Heinrich (Trop.)

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Last we get to the Walker in the Starter Set.

At 8 points it is the lower end of medium for points but shows in the 4 Damage it can absorb before being destroyed.

Scout gives you the ability to get in a good position early in the game.

Your primary weapon is powerful against Infantry and Aircraft (Its primary purpose), and can damage Vehicle units up to Type 5.

The backup Machine gun provides good support against infantry but is not effective against Vehicles.

About the Heinrich (Trop.), it is good to note that despite having a visibly zombie pilot, it does not have any zombie ability as it only applies to infantry units. Belonging to the Blutkreuz is enough to not lose the theme in this case!


Playing with the Starter Set

When playing this starter the hardest decision will be whether to attach Frank Von Stein to the Zombie Grenadier Squad. The decision should be based on the goals of the scenario and the kind of enemy you may be facing.

If the goal is control of objectives, you could use the Squad to prevent your opponent from getting near key areas and Frank to dive in and also remove threats that are too close.

If the scenario goal is more “search and destroy”, putting Frank with the Squad means you have close and ranged options available in a single unit

Always remember that because of the Zombie Skill, these units have a better than average chance to survive enemy fire, regardless of their position on the battlefield.

Range wise you can exchange fire with most units without being at a disadvantage, in some cases you have a longer reach and can better dictate where things will happen.

Use the Heinrich Trop (BK) as support. Position it to be able to cover your units and any key areas that need to be controlled. In Starter level games the Anti-Aircraft aspect of your weapons will not be a factor.


In Conclusion

If you have looked at the starter but just were not sure what to make of it, I hope this has answered some of your questions.  And perhaps given you pause when you consider what it will mean to face this starter across the field.

That’s all for now, next time we meet, Uncle Ray will let you in on some ideas to build the Kampfgruppe Von Stein set in to a 50 point force.

And remember Commanders, the more you think outside the box, the more fun you will find in the grid!