Tuesday, 27 September 2016

The Antares Initiative – part 1.



Evening chaps. After a bit of a break I have finally got back to the old blog.

So what game managed to get me excited about gaming again.  Well its none other than 'Beyond the Gates of Antares'.

As I am sure you will be well aware, Warlord Games is trying to spread the word about the game so they have decided to give 8 clubs around the world the chance to play the game completely for free and all we need to do is let you fine people about how we get on.

Our club, the St Aidans Warriors group from Clarkston, were lucky enough to get picked.  Over the next 6 months Lorne, Richard, Kenny and I will be exploring all aspects of this great game including, army selection, modelling, terrain, tournaments and possibly few battle reports on the way.
First up here’s a quick introduction from each of us and what we have picked.

A quick pic from our first game

Kenny Hall
Beyond the Gates of Antares (BtGoA) has intrigued me ever since I first became aware of the abortive Kickstarter campaign a couple of years ago.  Having dabbled with Bolt Action, without really being hooked by the WWII setting, the thought of a hard sci-fi game using similar rules (order dice, pinning, etc.), cool looking models, and designed by the venerable Rick Priestley was what drew me in now, especially when Warlord offered an all expenses spared intro to the game.

In order for St Aidans Warriors, our club in Clarkston, Glasgow (6.00-10.30pm every Sunday evening) to be chosen for what’s now called The Antares Initiative, we each had to select one of the forces for our initial 500pts.  I was immediately drawn to the Algoryn Prosperate for the following reasons:
1.      I really like their angular suits of armour, they look like just the thing for going to war in, no sweeping curves here.
2.      They have heads shaped like artichokes.
3.      Generally I can paint red colour schemes quite quickly & to a reasonable standard.
4.      They’re the only force to have a specialist Medic team.
5.      Skimmer tanks - I mean, how could anyone not want a Bastion or Liberator (cue nostalgic memories of Blakes 7....).
Kennys 500 Point Algoryns

This is what I’ve chosen for my initial 500pts scout force with comments below each selection:
·         AI Command Squad (104), Overload Ammo (5) – 109
o   Provides much needed Leader 2 special ability, plus the whole unit comes equipped with Plasma Carbines for taking out those dastardly Ghar battlesuits
·         AI Squad (94), +2 Troopers (34), +1 Micro X-launcher (0) – 128
o   Boots on the ground, poor bloody infantry, etc. these are the guys that do all the work and get none of the credit
·         AI Infiltration Squad (119), +2 Troopers (36), Camo Drone (10) – 165
o   These guys remind me of ninjas – stealthy Spec Ops types that can sneak about and shoot you in the back when you’re least expecting it
·         AI Support Team w MLS (38), Spotter Drone (10) – 48
o   Who doesn’t love a big gun, especially one that lays down 3 shots per turn with a Strike Value of 2
·         AI Medic Team – 30
o   Love the imagery of these guys, battling to patch up the hardy Algoryn warriors and send them back into the fray
·         Targeter Probe Shard – 20
o   Cos they make it easier to shoot at and hit the enemy, and they’re a cheap way to use up those last remaining points
Total 500 points


Lorne Campbell
Well I suppose I had better start at the beginning, my Name is Lorne and much to my horror when I worked it out I have been playing wargames for over 30 years. I have always had an affinity for any space age games and have played most of the main games systems out there. My good friend Gary has played wargames since before most of our club mates were born (bloody kids lol) and where space was my genre WW2 was his. It was by his introduction to the fantastic game of Bolt Action that I came to hear about this new sci-fi version using a similar game mechanics.  Now with both a sci-fi feel and the already familiar and awesome game mechanic of the dice draw, I knew I would have a new love and a familiar dent in my bank balance.

Being selected for the testing group was just a bonus as we had already agreed to get involved in the game. At this point I have to say a huge thank you to Warlord Games as their generosity on an individual level and to the club in the way of armies, rule, dice, templates, terrain...... it just goes on so much stuff WOW!!

So onto my army and why I picked it. I would love to say that after so many years of wargames experience, I poured over the rules and with hawk eyed precision and could at once see where the most tactically brilliant army list was to be made, one to take on all comers and crush them under my armoured boot, claw or tentacle. But the truth be told it was simply the models. As soon as I had my first glimpse of the Ghar battle suits I knew that was my army. The background fluff by Sir Rick Priestly (if not knighted he bloody well should be) was just more gravy, as the idea of a race bred for war by a long forgotten overlords, is just too brilliant. 

Lornes starter army
The army list itself was an easy choice as the main force was always going to be a large squad or two of these beloved suits, backed up by the also brilliant gribbley outcasts. As a race that only honours victories the fact that if you fail, or speak back to a superior you end up on the battle field without a suit for protection and are also expected to act like a walking shield was too much fun not to want in the list. In the end for the first 500 point list I went for a four Ghar squad of battle suits to acts as a fire base, a three Ghar assault battle suit squad with the infamous plasma claw which should crush Gary and his puny Concord troops, and a squad of outcasts which are there more for fun and for the dreaded "red" dice of disruption. Still with a few points left I hummed and hawed over plasma dumps and plasma amps, but in the end decided that I really needed more dice in the bag so went for an outcast disruptor cannon to give me a bit more poke on the battlefield. 

All in all I have a large hopefully hard to kill center of battle suits to do most of the heavy lifting with a distortion dice dump and a small flanking force, all in with 4 dice in the bag, with more to follow on pay day.  

·         Ghar Battle Squad (4)- 244
·         Ghar Assault Squad (3)- 184
·         Outcast Squad (6)-43
·         Outcast Disruptor cannon(1)-24
Total 495 points


Richard Prunty
Hi, my name is Richard and I decided to go with the Isoarians for my chosen force.

At the time of choosing, I knew nothing about any of the factions and decided on Isorians primarily based on aesthetics.

I just loved the black sinister looking armour and weapons. Once I started reading about them, I liked them even more.

The whole combination of machine and biological components made them stand apart.
There is something dark about them and with perhaps more going on behind the scenes than anyone knows.

Once the models arrived, I couldn't wait to get the blisters and boxes open.

My chosen force included a mixture of phase squads, snipers, command unit and the very alien looking Tsan Ra.
The quality of the models was first class, with very little mould lines, or flash and no miscasts.
They were incredibly simple to assemble, in most cases just needing heads attached. The only exception were the Tsan Ra, I found these a bit footery and with no instructions, numbered parts or sprues, it took a little guess work to figure out what went where.

However, there were only 3 models with a handful of parts each, so it was no great feat and they look so good once assembled, amongst my favourite miniatures.

When it comes to painting them, I have a few pieces of inspiration.
Firstly, The Shadows from a TV show called Babylon 5, the second being spiders.
I just see them as patient hunters, stealthily stalking their prey, rather than running in full pelt or dropping in out of the sky.
Striking then disappearing, before the enemy can return fire, or hit back.

Once the Drone integration scenario box set arrived, we couldn't wait to get a chance to play the actual game.
Reading the rules, it's hard not to draw similarities to Bolt Action, however, it plays very differently, with some fairly major changes.
Reactions being the biggest. You feel as if you can actually respond to the flow of the game as it happens, although not the first game to include this mechanic, I feel Beyond the gates of Antares does it better, and integrates it more fluidly.

Richards Isorians
Having managed to try both sides in the scenario, you get to see how very different certain armies will play.
The Gar feel almost invincible, able to stride through a hail of fire to decimate the enemy with a very healthy return fire.
Whereas the Concord, felt a lot more fragile, but able to respond and perform surgical strikes as and when needed.

All in, I can't wait to try more games, we have a few planned over the coming weeks and next time try out the Isorians.

·         Senatex command squad- 174
Medi drone, +2 troopers.
·         Senatex phase squad- 125
Spotter drone, plasma lance.
·         Tsan Ra phase squad- 98
Leader/slung net ammo.
·         Isorian phase sniper- 82
Camo drone, shield drone.
·         Targetter probe shard- 20

Total 499 points

Gary Martin
As mentioned above a lot of gamers got interested in Gates of Antares as it is so similar to Bolt Action but for me this was a negative.  I mistakenly thought that this was just the Sci Fi version of Bolt Action so what was the point in playing the same game system just with another set of very nice figures.  Lucky for me the Antares Initiative came along and showed me what a mistake I had made.
Yes both games are based on the same dice bag system for orders but there is so much more depth and subtlety than its WW 2 counterpart.  The ability to react to orders, the way units interact using drones plus the good luck on a one and a dud on a 10 makes for what looks like a fast paced and exciting game.  Can’t wait to get started.

For my army I have gone for a Concord scout force.  I have always had a certain thing about elite army’s (cough, Fallschirmjager, cough, cough) which suits the C3 plus I really liked the way modern warfare has been extrapolated to a Sci Fi setting with the integration of drones throughout the army.
 Having the ability to pick either rapid fire or single shot from the plasma carbines is a great ability but combined with the  plasma lances ability to target a second squad makes the C3 strike troops some of the most flexible in the game.  

My stash
My first support choice for this list is the X-launcher.  I really like the variety of shots that you can put down range and there is a something for every situation.  Combine that with the vast array of networked spotter drones, there should be nowhere to hide on the table.

·         C3 Strike Command Squad (110), Spotter Drone (10), Additional trooper (22) - 142
·         C3 Strike Squad (112), Plasma Lance (3), Spotter Drone (10) - 125
·         C3 Strike Squad (112), Plasma Lance (3), Spotter Drone (10) - 125
·         C3 X-Launcher Team (40), Spotter Drone (10), Batter Drone (20) Full Ammo load (15) - 85
·         4 x Targeter Probes (20) - 20 

  Total 497points

There you have it.  We are looking forward to what is to come over the next 6 months and sharing it with the wider gaming community.  

Should be a lot of fun.

Drone Integration

We kicked off our gaming with a night playing the Drone Integration Scenario which Warlord were good enough to send us and everyone who applied for the Antares Initiative.

C3 Strike troops teleport to the planet surface.

In this scenario 10 C3 strike troops have to activate a C3M 4 combat drone and stay alive for 6 turns while fighting off an assault of 6 Ghar suits.
Initial Set Up including some great scenery sent to us by Warlord.
Its a great scenario and very simple to pick up, in fact all the rules and set up are on a single page.

All the C3 players used a similar tactic and had one squad run for the the drone while the other squad held off the Ghar.  We did have mixed success with this with that tactic most of us got to the Drone intact but Richard did have some problems with a single trooper being pinned down in front of the drone for 2 turns.

C3 Troops run for the Drone.
Sometimes the plan didn't work well.

Most games were won or lost depending on how the covering squad got on holding off 6 Ghar Suits.

Many pins were placed on the defenders.

Even with the basic rules used in the scenario the Ghar suits put out a hell of a lot of fire power.

The Ghar suits attack.
Over all its a great scenario and an ideal introduction to the game.  Well worth trying if you get a chance.

Thanks for reading about our first month in the world of Antares.  We will be back next month with some painting guides for our forces.

Gazza