Story Time with Uncle Ray - Episode 5: Spetsnaz Battlegroup Roza
It’s time to visit the SSU Commandos of the DUST 1947 world. Please welcome Roza and her Spetsnaz team. Let’s take a look at the Units in the set!
Roza is 7AP and comes with an interesting style to master. An accomplished Sniper, her first Ability AND STAY DOWN is very powerful: Any Unit hit by ranged weapons fired by this unit automatically gain a suppression token. It has the ability to limit the actions of your opponent significantly if they can’t remove the Suppression token.
Next she also has CAMOUFLAGE, making it easier for her to choose her moment and target.
Take CAMOUFLAGE special action. Unit cannot be attacked at Range 3 or higher. Ends if unit takes any action other than Move or Nothing Action. Start the game camouflaged. Does not share with units joined.
Early on, in most scenarios, this will allow Roza to move carefully to where she can have the best field of fire, without worrying about being hurt along the way. It can also be used to get back in to Camouflage after taking a shot at an important target. Keep in mind a March Move will cause a unit to lose Camouflage.
EXPERT - SNIPER RIFLE shows us how Roza became a Hero of the Union in the first place!
Hits on Rolls of Faction Symbol or Target.
When Roza takes her shot she rarely misses. This combined with AND STAY DOWN, means that even if you only wound a Hero or take out a single member of a Squad, the Unit hit will be looking over their shoulder and thinking twice about what to do about it.
And last (though certainly not Least) Roza is a SNIPER. In case we had not guessed that yet.
Choose the enemy soldiers hit with this weapon. It ignores infantry and cover saves.
This means that when Roza picks her target, they will not know it until it’s too late. Is there a support weapon causing problems for your Units? Having trouble with a Hero who absorbed maximum damage to keep his squad going? Roza is the answer. Combined with Expert this means you will be removing a normal figure or reducing a hero consistently every turn!
Her mobility is a fairly standard Move 2 March move 4.
What you might notice early when looking at the back of her card is that Roza is an Infantry 2, not Infantry 1 which is the most common level in the various Starter Sets. This means that some weapons will be rolling less dice when targeting her. You have to be tough to be a Hero of the Union.
Weapons wise Roza has 2 options. One for precision and one for a bit more damage potential.
Option 1, Sniper Rifle: With a range of 8 it allows Roza to reach out and touch someone from outside of most infantry return fire. It is also not really meant to be used against anything else. With a profile of 1/1 against any Infantry or Light Vehicles, this is a precision instrument. But when combined with all her skills it means whatever she hits will either go down, or spend the next turn trying to not let that happen again.
Option 2, Pistol: Though it only has a range of 3, against low level Infantry it can do up to three times the damage. This may be important over making sure 1 point sticks, or as a follow-up after making sure a target is suppressed.
To Help Roza in her fight for the freedom of the common person everywhere she is accompanied by a Spetsnaz Assault Squad.
9AP for this unit may seem like a lot, but their skills and stats make the cost seem reasonable.
To begin with, they know the benefits of being sneaky and choosing your moment to do things right, as shown by the CAMOUFLAGE Skill
But they also bring something critical to the table for a commando unit, SCOUT
Take a March Move action as the first action of game, leaving one further action for that activation
Now a march move means they get where they need to be faster, but it also means they will lose their Camouflage. This actually works out well since you can use that extra action to gain Camouflage back after the March move. Also the Scout ability is gained by any Heroes that might join the squad, “Comrade Roza, join us and let’s sneak up on the unsuspecting warmongers!”
Finally they have ARTILLERY OBSERVER.
Can shoot target in Line of Sight with an Artillery Weapon from another unit that has not yet Activated, even if the other unit does not have line of sight. The other Unit is counted as Activated after making its Attack.
Though not important for Starter set level games it can be helpful as you build your force, fast moving and sneaky, this squad can be the eyes of a support unit staying back and out of danger.
Mobility is standard, with a Move of 2 and a March Move of 4. Just keep in mind that if they March Move they lose any active Camouflage.
And like their hero Roza the squad is Infantry 2, making them a little tougher to most small arms fire and also being a Squad Roza can join before the game.
For their weapons you have a good assortment to take on other infantry and Aircraft. Though you will need to storm all but the lightest vehicles, if you want to hurt them.
The support weapon of the unit is a Machinegun with a range of 6, more than most squads can move in a single turn. With the ability to wipe out most squads it might encounter if they do not save against your hits. Even a potential threat against aircraft that get to close.
For their main squad weapons you have 4 Assault Rifles. Range 4 which is better than most standard small arms. They are also very effective against all but the heaviest infantry, and pose a threat against aircraft.
To round out the Starter we have the Support Unit of the group, the ever reliable Natasha (TSH).
For 8AP you get a very reliable Walker to support your team and create some holes in your opponents strategy.
The First Skill is AIRMOBILE: Can be carried by an airlifter.
Airmobile will not be used in starter level games, but it gives you options and will make your opponent second guess what they might need as you expand your force
The Next Special Ability will certainly give your opponent trouble, DAMAGE RESILIENT: Roll one die for each point of damage the unit takes, negating one point for each Faction Symbol rolled. Does not apply to units joined.
Vehicles do not inherently get a save like infantry do. But this provides a way to stay in the game even when your opponent is focusing on your Vehicle. Also this ability is used after damage from Close Assault!
This is followed up by SMOKE LAUNCHERS.
Once per game, take smoke launchers as a free action to place smoke on unit.
Smoke creates 4 square of cover (in a 2x2 square). One of those grid squares must be placed on this vehicle, but the others can be placed to provide cover for other friendly units or perhaps make this unit out of Line of Site from opposing units. A very handy ability early on, or at a key juncture in any game.
Finally the Natasha is armed with GRENADE weapons on the Dual Howitzer: Target infantry get no cover save from this weapon (but still have an infantry save).
Need to get rid of a pesky Infantry unit using cover to their best advantage? Well now you can. Especially when you see which weapon has this ability.
The Natasha can get in to position a little faster than your infantry, as it has a Move of 3 and a March Move of 4. At Vehicle 3 it is in the mid-range of vehicles and many weapons can still be used against it. Keep in mind, your Damage Resilient should negate some of that.
Weapons wise your main weapon is the Dual Howitzer. Range 6 may seem short for a vehicle, but considering it is meant to take on infantry and light to medium vehicles, this is not as bad as it might seem at first.
Also with Dual Explosion for dice rolled to hit, you certainly have a good chance to get some hits through and potentially take out a an entire squad in a single turn. The Dual Explosion symbol means that you are rolling 2 dice for every figure in the target Infantry unit.
Against light vehicles you are very likely to destroy them in a single shot and for medium vehicles you can certainly cause them to be cautious or face the consequences.
Your second weapon is a Heavy Machine gun. It also has a range of 6, so if they need that extra push to remove them as a threat, you are ready. This weapon also has the ability to damage aircraft. This is not something you will face in starter games but it is a potential concern later as you and your opponents build up your forces.
Much like our previous series of articles, the key decision before the game will be whether to have your hero fight on their own or as part of the squad. Roza is best used to keep opposing threats at bay or to cover an objective. But when combined with the squad she can become a threat that much faster while still being able to hide as a unit with Camouflage.
As always the decision should be based on the goals of the scenario and the kind of enemy you may be facing.
If the scenario goal is more “Destroy the enemy”, adding Roza to the Squad means you have can use her to take out key weapons or finish off a Hero whose abilities are giving your opponent an advantage.
For more strategic scenarios her ability to thin down an opposing unit or hero while usually not being an immediate target of retaliation (either form her range of 8 or using Camouflage), can be extremely useful. Remember, if your opponent is at the longer end of her range she can use both actions to sustain fire, thus all but guaranteeing she hits her target. Then she can slip in to camouflage as they get close, after taking another shot the following turn.
Use Camouflage to your advantage no matter if they are joined as one unit or split as 2. This will mean moving a little slower in some cases, but make it harder for our opponent to attack you.
Your Sniper Rifle has one of the longest ranges of a non heavy weapon, and your Assault Squad can match most Infantry for range, while still staying safe if they activate camouflage after firing.
The Natasha (TSH) is definitely there to provide cover (with the Smoke Launchers) and support (with Dual Howitzers) as well as devastating most Infantry targets. Remember if your opponent has heavier vehicles, Close Assault is the best method for dealing with them.
The Battlegroup Roza Starter offers a lot of tricks and does not require an expert level of experience to get the most from it. Remember you are a commando unit and striking from the shadows is your style. Hide from and harry your opponent. Make them come to you and then regret it.
Let me know how your games have gone with this force until the next time, when Uncle Ray will give you his advice to make your opponent even more wary of what might be out there when we build up to a 50AP force.
Have fun no matter how you play. Starter level games are just that, something to start with and learn from. The field may have a grid, but don’t let yourself be boxed in by old ideas!