Some people like boardgames, others like wargames, but why can't you have both in one? The DUST universe began with DUST tactics, a miniatures game with ready to play troops, tiles to play on, and individual cards to list each soldier's stats. However, Fantasy Flight Games evolved the game into DUST Warfare which is proper tabletop warfare game without tiles or cards. The beauty of DUST as a whole is that every product release comes with options for playing both the tabletop and the boardgame variant.
Every miniature for the game comes pre-assembled and pre-primed, so you can play them right out of the box. However, if you want to beautify your army with rusty metal and dirt-stained boots, paint adheres very well to the bare figures. Depending on your experience with war games and willingness to commit time to the game, DUST can suit beginners, veterans, and everyone in between.
DUST Tactics adheres to the philosophy of being easy to learn but hard to master. Playable right out of the box, absolutely no time spent assembling or painting is required and the rules can are easily understood as you play. For example, line of sight is drawn between the center of each tile where units are placed, and if any tile under that line impedes line of sight, then the units cannot shot each other. The card accompanying each unit lists all of its stats and abilities, so keeping track of who rolls what and when is a breeze.
DUST Warfare doesn't just remove the tiles and cards, it changes the stats for the units. Warfare isn't a complete rewrite of Tactics, but it's different enough to warrant separate rules. Units consist of troops, vehicles, and aircraft that can be played at different levels which determine their fighting ability. Actual gameplay consists of a traditional I-go-you-go turn system as well as basic actions like moving, shooting, and recovering from suppression. Units can also react during an opponents' turn, but this does limit the number of actions it can take during its subsequent turn.
DUST smashes World War II and science fiction together to produce a visually familiar but aesthetically distinct world. In an alternate 1938, a submarine crash in Antarctica leads to the discovery of an alien space ship. The Allies took the technology within and began producing high-tech weapons. However, the new technology was stolen and soon the Axis powers and Russians produced tanks with legs, super-charged gorillas, zombies, and other strange weapons.
Where to find it:
DUST Tactics and DUST Warfare can be found in most tabletop wargaming stores, but rarely make an appearance in major retail chains. The game is widely available online, and can be ordered directly from Fantasy Flight Games on their website.