‘5’ is not the same as ‘2+2+1’

When taking up any new game, we all bring with us interpretations and protocols that have been established in previous rules and we tend to apply them for a while to the new rules. Beyond the Gates of Antares is no exception: the finalised ruleset is less than a year old and both benefits and suffers from being seen as possibly similar to some of its predecessors. In particular, new Antares players can sometimes be heavily influenced – understandably – by what they did in Bolt Action. Others can also be influenced by the way they did things in the game-with-a-big-number. In both cases some important ‘gotchas’ are missed which can radically affect game play. Such gotchas are not strictly FAQs, mainly because no-one asks the question but just assumes on a way of doing things. However, they are inadvertent errors that can make a big difference to the way the game is played and often make the different between a win and a loss.

In this article we’ll go through a few of the more common ‘gotchas’.

Hitting models you see means just that

In some rules, if you can see a few models, then any hits applied to their unit are applied to the whole unit. This is not so in Antares. If you can only see two models in a unit, then no matter how many hits you score with your direct-fire weapons, they can only be allocated to those two models. What’s more, hits are allocated first to those models who block LoS to models behind them in the same unit. See page 30 in the core rulebook for details.

Overhead weapon templates and markers are different, of course. Other than the fact that OH shots ignore cover (p.32) and should be worked out first (p.34), blast hits are allocated to those models under the OH template first and only then distributed round the rest of the unit(s) that are hit. But you probably knew that, anyway.

Using an AI or Domari squad’s micro-X launcher in blast mode along with the mag weapons means that those models hiding behind a building can’t escape!

5 is not the same as 2+2+1

Imagine your carbines inflict five hits on three models, none of them lucky hits. The defender quickly grabs five dice and makes a Res roll, failing on two and succeeding on three. Are all three safe? Is one killed? Or are two killed? What happens?

Nothing happens as they’d have to reroll. Those two fails could have occurred on the same figure or they may have occurred on two different figures. You could roll yet another 50/50 dice to check, but it would have been easier to just roll dice for each model hit: 2 dice for one, 2 dice for the next and 1 dice for the last (p.31 and around).

The issue is made even more critical if a Leader is involved as a Leader rerolls hits only the Leader model receives (p.135), so an attacker really needs to know which hits are on the Leader and which are not. if you want rerolls on other members of the squad, get some medics, medi-probes or medi-drones.

Hits can all be different

In contrast to some other rules, if a model with a particular weapon or attribute is hit and lost, then the weapon is lost. It means that lucky hits have quite a lot of value even against ordinary squads: a hit can take out the plasma lance in a C3 squad or can take out the micro-X in an AI squad.

Break Tests

Gotchas here are legacies of Bolt Action in situations which work differently in Antares. There are a number of times a squad has to make a Break Test: when told to by a Damage Chart result; when a squad is shot at and hit and suffers half casualties or more; if defeated or drawing in H2H combat; if, after being shot at and hit and casualties removed (if any), a pin is applied and the unit then has one or more pins per model (p.44).

Imagine a 3-strong unit of Ghar suits who already have a pin is shot at by a squad of C3 strike troopers. The Strike Squad fires in single shot mode, makes two hits and the Ghar player allocates one hit to his leader, and succeeds on the Res save, and one hit to a trooper, who fails its Res save on a ‘0’. The suit is removed.

A pin is applied to the suit squad because (a) the carbines have an SV of 2 (which reducing the battlesuits Res to 10) and hit, and (b) a casualty was caused.

The suits now have two pins, one per model, so have to take a Break Test. All good.

However, now every time they are hit and accrue an additional pin they have to take a Break Test: it doesn’t stop just because you tested once. Each time they are hit (by different units each time, obviously), the Casualty Test sequence on p.44 is checked again. This continues until they get rid of the pins, typically either through a Rally or by keepin gout of the way for a while.

Failing a Break Test doesn’t always mean the unit is lost

No? Absolutely. Sure, on a Break Test roll of ’10’ the unit is automatically destroyed, just as if it fails and has less than half its models left. The unit is also lost if it has been ‘defeated’ (or drawn) in hand-to-hand combat, irrespective of other losses.

However, and otherwise, if a unit is still fairly hale and has half or more of its models still on the table, then a failed Break Test just means it goes Down instead (p.45).

Have fun!