The first month in Antarian space has been a challenging one for the villainous scum of The Noise Sector. Cast adrift from the main star cluster in unfamiliar territory we find our four games Asher, Mick, Mitch and Dan. With time-locked supply drops the frenzied crew has devoured any morsels of information they can land their glue stained mits on, even going as far as to scrounge a dusty Xilos Horizon starer set off of a rogue trader in a tight spot.
When the supply drop from the home worlds did arrive it was a joyous occasion; clippers, plastic and putty strewn as far as the eye can see, burying the back corner of the House of War cantina in ankle deep piles of sprue.
By way of recompense we sent a salutary message to the rest of the IMTel supported lifeforms:
The best and most gleaming models from Warlord Games leapt out of the packing and onto the table top. The Noise Sector was absolutely stunned by how good the Antares models looked out of the box, sometimes photos really don’t do the tiny fellows justice.
Let us pause the Holotape and hear what each of these Noise Sector corsairs have to say for themselves as they describe their Army Selection and experiences thus far in Beyond the Gates of Antares:
The Ghar will prevail. We live only to destroy.
There is no degenerate that can escape us.
There is nowhere to hide from us.
We are the Ghar, The Ghar will prevail
– Ghar prime edict (Beyond the Gates of Antares Rulebook)
From the Gharon Prime come a race of diminutive, furious clone soldiers, engineered to fight some long forgotten conflict, in which their creators presumably perished, they care for nothing but victory, glory, honour, courage and heroism mean nothing to them, and encased in their Battlesuits, leaking death and doom for anything and everything (including the Ghar themselves!)
The Ghar march outwards, stripping planets of all useful resources and leaving them behind as barren, empty wastelands where no ‘advanced’ race can tread.
There is nothing I like so much as playing a villainous race of warmongers, especially given their monstrous appearance. Of all the races in Beyond the Gates of Antares, in the Ghar Empire I have found the most inspiration. After looking at the range, and reading up a little (I was especially taken by how the angry little clones operate), I knew they were the force I wanted to build and play. Soon a picture of my force began to come into focus;
This is the idea that just seized me and refuse to let go, so of course I needed five Battlesuits, One of which would go onto become my nefarious leader Barduk Vul, but more about him in a future article. Kitting out these blighters chewed through a fair chunk of my points, the logical second choice was a large squad of Outcasts to screen my force and absorb some mag rounds along the way.
Since Outcasts are relatively cheap I was able to throw in another small unit of them, giving me a total of twenty five models in my force. I’m happy to boast five hardy, death dealing Battlesuits in 500 points to really deliver that killing punch!
My plan is tactical simplicity: to run the Outcasts forwards and if my enemy shoots at them, they have done their job and aren’t focusing on my battle suits. If they attack my suits, I’ll then have more Outcasts in their face with reach to wreak havoc! (until they run out of ammo – Dan).
Why did I pick the Algoryn Prosperate?
While I did give all the factions of PanHuman space their due diligence when making my selection of armies, I knew very early on that there could only be one choice: The doughy and reliable warriors of the Algoryn Prosperate!
The first thing that grabbed my attention was the models , The blocky angular design of the armour spoke to me of a utilitarian race, less concerned with aesthetics than efficacy, they are clearly a civilization not to be trifled with. The spiky crests and the sharp edges of the Algoryn, reminiscent of the “Silurians” from Doctor Who or the “Jem Hadar” of Star Trek, was the tipping point that made them stand above the more vanilla humans of the Concord and the Freeborn (Oi I think he means me here! – Dan).
The background of a faction helped in making my decision to I stick with the Algoryn. As I dug into the story behind the Algoryn Prosperate I enjoyed what I uncovered. In “Infinity” I play the “Nomads”, a small faction, constantly outnumbered and outgunned by the hostile powers that surround them. Toughness and determination amongst a caste of competent and effective fighters, these are natural Algoryn traits .Surrounded by the Isorians, Concord and of course, the merciless Ghar! The idea of playing a faction that the other races consider mysterious, backwards and barbaric but fiercely honourable to the point of fault appealed to me the most.
Finally, the rules crunch! I’ll admit the AI squads didn’t impress me much at first sight, but with their natural resilience and reflex armour they will form a solid, dependable core for the army and their access to Micro-X Launchers means that they should be able to hold their own regardless of circumstances.
Both the Infiltration and Assault Squads really piqued my interest thought! The Infiltration squads seem like they are a sneaky mobile force full of tricks with their ability to take a camo drone and Solar Charges to deny areas of the battlefield to the enemy, while the Assault Squad and their D-Spinners seemed like the kind of no breaks aggressive unit that I would really love!
While both units have Mag Repeaters to put heaps of shots down range, the D Spinners mean that the Assault Squad excel in assault (Surprised?)! As they can either use plasma grenades to boost their strike value to take down tough units like Ghar Battlesuits or engaging their Distort Grenades to increase their own durability which should, shifting assaults with less tough opponents in their favour.
Finally the Algoryn have a number of different support weapons options. While a Plasma cannon was a tempting first option, the cheapness and special ammo options of the X launcher means that it won out due to its sheer combat flexibility.
With some valuable guidance from Tim and Justin from the Freeborn Shard, I have decided on the following army for my starting 500 points:
6 Man Assault Squad
6 Man AI Squard with 2 Micro X Lanchers w/ Overload Ammo
6 Man AI Squard with 2 Micro X Lanchers w/ Overload Ammo
2 Man X-Launcher Team with Net Ammo
4 Drone Targeter Probe Shard
So 5 dice worth of activations and hopefully enough firepower to give even the Ghar a run for their money! Ghar battle suits still scare me as does the Isorians ability to phase out and the Concords Hyperlight armour that protects them against blasts, but I am Algoryn now! And we will Overcome!
Welcome to IMTel citizen, you are now patched into the fastest, most agile, just and powerful digital consciousness collective known to PanHumanity.
That is music to my ears. The Concord was the only logical faction worthy of my support in Antarian Space. Having a background in Bolt Action a low model count, highly trained well equipped surgical strike force sounded like a welcome change from platoons upon platoons of footslogging soldiers being fed into the bullet grinder.
My initial intention was to run a full complement of Drop Troopers but the reality of fielding a 500pt force of a total of 13 soldiers across 3 squads was for a much braver soul than I. In the end I took a Drop Command Squad, with an eye towards expanding drop capability in future, supported by a contingent of Warlords stunning plastic strike troops.
Tactical capacity aside I was also captivated by the C3 models: the stark, clean shape of the basic C3 Strike Trooper is effortlessly cool and has a dignified minimalism. It is also a prime space for me to use for battle damage, rust, bullet holes, freehand and weathering. As I’m a bit of a busy guy the ease of function, assembly and conversion of the plastic Strike Squads was a calculated bonus. I was able to whack out 3 squads of 5 troops in short order and begin the process of controlled destruction.
So I ended up with a force totalling 4 order dice boasting kitted out strike squads with Plasma Lances and X-Slings with Net Ammo. My game plan is to use the Strike Squads as a bulwark to lay down fire as need, staying in the sweet spot of 20” hiding in as much cover as possible while the Drop Command Squad boosts about the board handing out its command bonus and pinching objectives.
Greetings and salutations! Picking a force for a game I have had no previous experience with a daunting task but based on the fact that the system had been design by Rick Priestly I know I was in safe hands.
So why did a handsome chap like me pick the Isorians as my army of choice for the Antares Initiative?
Well after clicking around the models gallery on the Warlord Games website and flipping through the rulebook the Isorian Sentax convinced me with three simple reasons:
One: The Backstory
- The background and history of the Isorians is knock-out stuff. I’ve always been fascinated by genetic mutation and bio-weapons in science fiction. (see also Mitch’s love of the “Alien” -franchise – Dan). When I learnt that the Isorians had waged a war with the silicon-based organic Tsan Kiri and that upon their victory the Isorian IMTel absorbed their technology to bolster their military. This leads me to my next point….
Two: The Tsan Ra
- The Tsan Ra Phase Squad is the most bad-ass looking models that I’ve seen in a long, long time. The idea of having these massive, four legged, four armed alien monstrosities stomping across the battlefield, following behind the main Isorian force laying down loads of firepower was enough to make me salivate. I couldn’t wait to get my hands on these big gribblie models and paint them up.
Three: The Phase Sniper
- The last nail in the coffin was the Isorian Phase Sniper. With rules to match this little fellow would be responsible for many more nails in many more coffins, that is, if there’s anything left to scoop up. The Phase Sniper was another model that I just wanted to paint, field and watch him cause chaos in game.
My mind was made up, I would have to have Tsan Ra and a Phase Sniper in my 500 point scouting list. The rest would be rounded out with standard Phase squads and sneaky Drones.
I’m still figuring out the game but I am absolutely riveted by what I find the further I dig. Until next time this is Mitchell Thomas from the Noise Sector
First impressions and initial games
My impressions of the game so far and my experience of the “Drone Integration” starter scenario have given me time to arrive at some initial conclusions:
The pin mechanic in game is vital to your success! Being able to dish out pins and rally your pined troops is integral to being able to win. Which leads me to my second point: More order dice in the bag the better. With heavy pins shutting down entire units early on the more activation dice you have the more you can counter manoeuvre.
Games of Antares can swing back and forth rapidly depending on how the dice roll. In my preliminary games I’ve had a lot of fun and learning the game has been an amazing experience which I am looking forward to exploring in greater depth.
My initial impressions were really positive! The dice system of activations, where a die for each unit in each army is placed into a bag and the colour of the dice that is drawn determines the next player to activate a unit seemed to work very well and kept the game moving along at a cracking pace.
Wrapping our heads around the ability to react didn’t take too long and units were seen engaging in firefights, voluntarily going down under fire and trying to flee from charges! Needless to say we went off the “reservation” from the Drone Integration Scenario pretty quickly as we started to implement the full rules set.
The only significant issue that I encountered was being able to remember where we had read certain rule or passage in the book when we were trying to find them to refer back, but we soon managed to figure to the rules for difficult terrain, cover and the related agility tests! (With a little bit of help from coloured sticky notes, bookmarks and the very handy front index- Dan)
Echoing what Mitch said discovering the importance of the pin mechanic very early on. When the Ghar weren’t pinned they rampaged through the Concord with bursts of Scourer cannon fire and slashing Plasma claws, but when they were pinned and out-activated they found it very hard to make headway as they started failing break tests and going down.
During my first game of Drone Integration with Asher, he really honed in on how the forces in the starter set are very asymmetrical, so it will be interesting to see how our 500 point forces go against each other, given they are a bit more balanced and have been designed with more activations in mind. Also as novices to the system I feel that we were probably not playing with enough line of sign blocking terrain. It will be interesting to see how the Ghar and Concord get on when they have a more dynamic game, 15 pieces should do it.
Resorting to Napoleonic firing lines with my C3 as we were initially learning playing the first mission with no objectives that needed to be held is a habit I’ll have to shake either that or invest in more soldiers as we expand our forces and play a range of different scenarios.
I was really struck by how quickly a 5 man Strike Squad could come apart in this game. Even with their amazing Hyperlight Armour saves the Concord have been total bullet magnets in my initial games it may be time to invest in some batter drones to get that -2 Acc to my enemies shooting. I may also have to give the Freeborn Shard another listen as Justin and Tim know what’s up when it comes to tactics and sound dice decisions.
*during this time Mick was busy building (or more correctly presiding over the controlled demolition) of our terrain table*
Download your own copy for FREE below…
If you haven’t yet tried out the drone integration then download the PDF of it below as there is no better way to get started in the Antarean Universe…
You can download your own copy of the scenario by clicking the image below!
The downloadable match-up has been specifically designed by us Warlord folks to get you playing as quickly as possible using the contents of the ‘Xilos Horizon’ starter box set (with which – incidentally – you can pick-up a FREE box set when you purchase through the Warlord webstore!)
We’ve also taken some of the key reference pages from the core Rulebook and made them available separately as PDFs for you to download and print as gaming aids, to save you from flicking back-and-forth through the Rulebook – the Quick Reference Sheet & Weapons Summary are available to download here
This information is taken from pages 256 & 257 of the Beyond the Gates of Antares rulebook, please download it and print as you see fit – it’ll help tremendously with your games!
For a brief summary of some of the key points of Antares gameplay, take a look at this webpage.