Power DoLLS has become one of my favorite DOS-era games, and I’ve recently been revisiting it, in part because of an old blog post I found that talks some about the franchise [though the post is newer than my review for it]. It’s really a franchise I’d like more people to check out, and I hope that at some point we get translations of at least some of the other earlier games in the franchise, but the series is mostly known for its steep difficulty curve.
When you first get into it, the game looks impenetrable because of the loadout customization, but really there’s a pretty easy logic to it, it’s just not laid out anywhere. So, I’ve decided to do a write-up on how best to equip your girls.
Enemies are mixed-unit forces, mostly tanks and mechanized infantry but with a handful of mecha.
Weapons load-outs should take this into consideration.
Power DoLLS is an Action Point-driven system, and anything added to your load-out drags down your total AP, reducing both movement and fire rates for the turn. Keep this in mind, and make sure that no load-outs put a girl below 20. [22-25 range is acceptable for missile/support troops, 25-29 is acceptable for balanced combat load-outs, and 30+ is ideal for scouts and hand-to-hand fighting mechs]
Missiles are king and essential for quickly taking out enemy armor before they can call in airstrikes and offboard artillery.
Heavy Missiles (DRu35) – These have 2 shots per load, so you want to save them for heavy tanks. If you can’t one-shot a heavy tank, finish it off with a Light Missile.
Medium Missiles (DRu25) – These have a few more shots and are more versatile than heavy missiles. They won’t one-shot a heavy tank, but they’re good for medium tanks and finishing off a heavy tank that’s at half strength.
Light Missiles (DRu15) – These don’t do a whole lot of damage, but they’re almost a guaranteed hit on tanks. Use them for finishing off things that aren’t killed by heavier missiles or for taking out mechanized infantry. Unlike the other two, you’ll have enough of these that you can fire them at mechs, too, without feeling like you’re wasting them.
Rockets – These are unreliable but they are AOE. There are a few missions where you need to hit areas where lots of units are tightly grouped. You might want to include a few units with these, but don’t go all in on them.
Make sure that you give any girl with a Missile rating of +6 or higher a mech with two shoulder-mount slots. Give them some combination of Heavy + Medium, Heavy + Light, Medium + Light. You may want to give one girl double light so she can finish off units hit by heavier attacks so you don’t have to burn a unit’s entire AP pool on a single target.
You might give missile mechs a machine gun or a rifle, but you don’t want to give them anything that will weigh them down more than they already are.
You can’t take care of everything with missiles, so you’ll need some girls to act as gunners. If a girl doesn’t have a +6 or better Missile rating, make her a gunner.
Gatling Guns – These are probably my favorite weapon in the game. They’re versatile and do all right against both tanks and mechs. Plus, they’re pretty good for attacks of opportunity during enemy movement. There are a lot of different ways you can go, but to me, best bet is having a couple girls with Gatling Guns and Grenade Launchers to cover for your missile troops. These also can do massive damage to clustered enemies. The downside to Gatling Guns is they burn through ammo fast. Shoulder-mounted guns have more ammo, so a good combo is a recon mech [one with a built-in shoulder-mounted scanner; normally scanners are hand-equipped] with a shoulder-mounted Gatling Gun and a Gatling Gun in the hand. And if it doesn’t put her AP too low, you can give her a grenade launcher.
Cannons – The 105mm and 85mm shoulder mounted cannons are the best anti-mech weapons, and they’re also okay against tanks. However, given that most of your enemies will be tanks, you’ll probably only want a few mechs with cannons. They’re heavy, so sometimes I’ll give a girl who’s got a heavy missile a cannon instead of a light missile so that they’ve got some anti-mech capability.
Scouts & Bruisers
Some girls aren’t great at missile but have better than decent scanning. Or maybe they don’t, but they’re not useless, and getting them into fights will make them better.
Your missile mechs are your most valuable troops, and there’s nothing worse than one of them getting blown up before you can fire off all of their missiles. So, you need to be able to protect them, and scouts and bruisers can run interference to do so.
There are a few key things you want to do with these:
-keep their AP high, 30 minimum
-high HP mecha, 75 or greater
-light loadouts (this helps with high AP)
Assault Rifle – You may want to give a scout an AR; they have good range and good accuracy, even if they do low damage. This can help with cleanup if there’s something heavy troops missed or failed to finish off.
SMG – I’m not a huge fan of the SMG; it’s better as a backup weapon for heavy troops because of its light AP cost and opportunity fire, but some girls have AP to spare and you can give them a Gatling Gun instead.
Sensor – If you can keep a girl’s AP above 30 and still give them a sensor, give them a sensor. Scanning range is everything in this game.
The reasons you want to keep AP high for these girls:
-Scouting: Everything in this game comes down to spotting. Being able to either use standard or safe movement to detect enemies outside of opportunity fire is huge. Spot them and take them down with your missile troops. If they can’t see you, they can’t call in air/artillery strikes.
-Drawing Fire: Okay, this is also why you want high HP for these girls, too, but with high AP, you can make multiple safe moves to draw enemy opportunity fire and still have a little AP left over. And with safe moves, machine gun fire is less likely to chip away at you [maybe 5 HP when it hits, and if you’ve got 75-95, you can take it].
-Charge: The only guaranteed way to damage an enemy in Power DoLLS is hand-to-hand combat. You need to move into an adjacent enemy hex, but tanks are no match for your mecha. So, with high AP, once you’ve drawn fire, you can use “Quick” movement to close the distance and punch through.
Remember: the key to Power DoLLS is patience.
You’re ALWAYS going to be outnumbered and outgunned. Strategy is the key to victory. If you go charging in and your girls get isolated, they’ll be picked off, and you’ll lose.
If someone gets damaged but still has missile capability, keep them back and do everything you can to have them end the mission alive. While I don’t think your girls ever die, injuries and MIAs carry over for as many as two missions.
If you’re spotted, clear the area. You don’t have to move far, but you have to move. If they enemy has air superiority or off-board artillery, you can be sure they’ve called it in on your location. Save AP to move at least 2-3 hexes from your last position.
Similarly, keep in mind that enemies who’ve spotted you or are on the march won’t stay still for your airstrikes or artillery; if you had an unseen spotter, great; if not, go with saturation bombing of key strategic areas and make sure you don’t move into them yourself before the fireworks go off.