Hobby: Justin Shearer, spoilt for choice & what army next?

Have you ever found yourself in a quandary over where to start, or even what army next? Justin Shearer of the Freeborn Shard podcast takes on the challenge:

Xilos Free Box

Justin: Like every other wargamer that ever lived, when I start a new game I find it almost impossible to stick to just one army. If you’ve been listening in to the Freeborn Shard, you’ve probably heard me lament my struggles to resist a second army…

…well, I’ve buckled. My resolve is no more! But, now that I’ve committed to picking up a second force, I’m faced with the frightening prospect of actually choosing between all of the shiny options. One of the things that appeals to me most about Beyond the Gates of Antares is the overall aesthetic. This means that, frankly, I like most of the range… this is not going to be an easy choice. I’m hoping that you, fearless reader, will hold my hand through the mental gymnastics of choosing a new army (far more impressive than my physical gymnastics, I might add), and then join me on the journey of putting it on the table.

The first place I generally start when picking a force is by looking at the models… in this case, I’m stumped. I love the Freeborn Domari, I love the Boromite gribblies, I think the Phase Sniper is awesome… eeek! I don’t think there’s a range in Beyond the Gates of Antares that doesn’t contain some seriously awesome models.

So, I think I’ll have to go beyond appearances to make an informed decision. My primary force is Concord – I chose them because I really like the fluff and, frankly, they were one of the starter forces. I gave one a test paintjob and I was really confident I could make them look great on the table. All of those factors are important to me. What I’d really like is to put an army on the table that is very different to the Concord.

WGA-ARMY-23-Isorian-Skirmish-force

So, this helps me eliminate some choices right away. Isorians, you’re cut. I love the range, I like the fluff… but, on the tabletop they’re a little similar to the Concord and, if I’m honest, I’m just not confident I can put down a good looking force when I’m faced with intimidating models like the Tsan Ra. I can also discount the Ghar Empire on the basis that, although I really like the range, I just can’t connect to the fluff.

WGA-ARMY-05-Ghar-Empire-starter-army

So, that leaves me with the Freeborn, the Boromites, the Algoryn and the new Rebel Ghar. Unfortunately, there’s a lot to like about each of these!

The Rebel Ghar are the newest available force. I have the limited edition Black Guard figure that came with the Battle for Xilos supplement and he’s just a really great little figure with a tonne of character. The preview images for the rest of the range are also very exciting, I have to admit. Fluff-wise, the supplement goes a long way to connecting me to Fartok and when I brought the supplement home, my one-year old snapped up my blister of the Black Guard to munch on faster than I could say “Hail Fartok!”.

509915001 Ghar Outcast Rebel 500 Point Acout Force

The Boromites offer something also rather exciting. The rules for allied forces in the supplement would give me a few different ways to get those units onto the table, press ganged into serving the C3, while I work on the army as a whole. That might be rather motivating in terms of getting them painted! Not only that, but an army of the Boromite gribblies would look great on the table and a melee-centric force like that would be quite a departure from the forces of the Concord.

The Freeborn appeal too – much like the Boromites, there are a number of ways for me to get them to the table early. In addition to the mercenary and combined forces rules, I can draw on a large part of my C3 collection to flesh out a Freeborn force more quickly. Beyond that, the Freeborn Skyraider Squad are among my favourite models across the whole range. And, of course, I’m virtually obligated to have a Freeborn army as I’m co-hosting the Freeborn Shard podcast!

As for the Algoryn, I really love the look of their infantry, especially the AI Infiltrator Squads. I also really enjoyed the fluff in the supplement – I felt like some of the passages about the Algoryn added the most to the universe and I rather like the character of Tar Es Janar. I also have a paint-scheme in mind for these guys already – I think I could put down a force I could be really proud of. And finally, I think they’re very different, rules-wise, to the Concord.

But I have to pick one… although I’m convinced to start four new armies, these arguments just aren’t as persuasive to my wife. *sigh*

As much as I’d love to pick up the Rebel Ghar, I think they’ll have to wait. I’m going to try and paint the figure I already own, but I’m not the most prolific hobbyist in the world and the Rebel Ghar are going to have an awful lot of infantry. I’m not sure how I’d approach painting them and I don’t relish trying to keep motivated through several squads of Outcast infantry… and that’s a lot of integral bases to cut! I’m afraid, as cool as they are, I have to pass these guys over… for now. My little one remains committed to Fartok’s rebellion, however – he’s been spitting peas onto the floor in support of the overthrow of Karg.

As to the Boromites, I have a really cool idea for an army in mind and I’d really love to put them on the table. The trouble is, while I would really enjoy playing that army, I just can’t connect, yet, with the Boromite fluff. I like the look of them, I like the rules for them and I like the idea of the dual-purpose mining gear… but the role of the Boromites in the wider story just doesn’t work for me yet. Since the fluff is a big part of keeping my interest and motivation, these guys will have to wait until the story develops.

The Freeborn will be waiting too, sadly. I thought I had decided to go for them, but as I built some lists to toy around with what pieces I’d like to collect, a niggling doubt crept in… would they be different enough to my Concord, especially in bigger games where I was putting down some of the Concord toys, like the X-Howitzer? My favourite units seemed to push me toward playing units that are very similar in role to Concord units. I think I’ll probably still buy myself some fearsome penguin-riders at some stage, but for now, I think it is time to start work on…

…my new Algoryn army. The Algoryn just tick all my boxes: fluff, check; hobby, check; rules, check. I especially love the idea that the infantry that will comprise the bulk of the army are varied and also make up my favourite figures in the range.

Join me next week as I start to plan my purchases and work on a 500 scouting force to begin my journey.

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