If you are new to DS, we’d recommend that you set up scenario A.1 August Storm. Then you can learn while playing by using this “jump start” procedure.
Step 1: Before you start playing, read the sections of the rulebook listed under “Read Before Playing” in the August Storm Scenario Setup instructions found in A.1.1.
Design Note: If you’re familiar with wargames, you should have little problem understanding the core concepts introduced at this time.
Step 2: Set up the August Storm Scenario, following the steps listed in “Game Preparation” below and the setup instructions found in A.1
Step 3: With the rulebook in hand, you can begin playing. Follow the Sequence of Play closely – the rules are presented in the order you will use them in the game. Read a section, then play out that Phase or Segment. We’ve listed the important rules you’ll encounter as you go through the Sequence of Play under “Read As You Play” in A.1.1.
Design Note: You won't play quickly this way, but you should end up with a firm grasp of DS's mechanics. And don’t worry too much about getting something wrong. You’ll have fun no matter what rules you don’t get right the first time. We’re happy to report that the game is pretty much indestructible this way.
Step 4: After you’re feeling comfortable with August Storm, try a run at scenarios A.2 The China Incident and then A.3 Tora! Tora! Tora!, following the same read-and-play strategy we’ve presented for you. Each of those scenarios will introduce new rules to learn as you go.
Step 5: After a few training scenarios, we hope you’ll feel comfortable enough to tackle one of the campaign games. At this time, go back and read the whole rulebook before setting out to play.
Design Note: Be especially sure to read section 12 on War States, because you won’t have read them during the training scenarios.
If you’re the impatient type, you can skip the Look-Up Rules before tackling a campaign game. Remember, sections 14-16 are rules you’re meant to “look up” as you play.
You should also spend some time reading the Players Notes on the back of each faction’s Aid Cards – they contain some useful information regarding the strategic decisions you’ll face over the course of the game.