Antares Day 2018: The Taking of Taskarr

Tim Bancroft, Studio Antares Coordinator, was  able to put down a few words about the Antares Day 2018.

Players discussing tactics at the Antares Day
Players discussing tactics at the Antares Day

It was wonderful to see everyone enjoying themselves on the 2018 Antares Day. The attitude, fun and laughter was tremendous to see and it makes all the work worthwhile. We had players from Germany, Spain, Canada and even Virai from Glasgow. This year, the format was a Faction League in which the scores from each player were totalled and weighted to make a final score for each faction. The idea was that this kept some of the competitive element but removed the head-on-head focus, allowing players to enjoy a set of predominantly narrative  scenarios.

Congratulations have to go to George (Players’ Choice, voted for by the other players), Ruben Catalan (the painting competition) and Ian (Best Painted Army in use – the 66th Nomads). All were well-deserved.  Runners up in the painting competition were Ian Ackerman with his Isorian Tograh (showcased in an article on the Nexus) and Gary Martin with his Algoryn Avenger. 

Ruben Catalan's Kai Lek Atastrin
Ruben Catalan’s Kai Lek Atastrin

Ruben’s Kai Lek was the unanimous decision of the judges – Rick Priestley, Tim Bancroft and Warlord studio painter Andrés Amiàn.Ruben’s highlighting and lining were superb and the details extraordinarily crisp.  He had the rest of his Concord in use on the tables!

Best Painted Army in use - Ian Ackerman's 66th Isorians
Ian Ackerman’s 66th Nomads (Best Painted Army ) charge across the snow to defend the transit towers

Ian Ackerman’s 66th Nomad Isorians were voted Best Army in use by players – though otherwise it was a hard decision to make as so many of the armies in use looked fantastic!

Painting Competition Entry
Jon Harrington’s ‘Ghar Outcast goes surfing’. Not a winner, but it made us laugh!

Scenarios

We had seven narrative scenarios, only three of which the attendees would get to play. This meant they had to pick their forces carefully as an army optimised for one scenario would fail at another.  Several of the scenarios were taken from The Dronescourge Returns and adapted for the day, and one even used the soon-to-be released corridors and starship compartments in a PDF to be released with the book, this one in a mixed explore-and-hold game.  Several scenarios were in the snow and a tundra of Taskarr, and these involved destroying a suspensor-bed mass transit systems or finding a hive into which some Virai had hidden themselves.

Virai defend their hive on Taskarr (Gary Martin)
Virai defend their hive on Taskarr (Gary Martin)

Other scenarios involved fighting through the cramped corridors of a orbital before it blew up, as well as the hunt for Virai components in a research base. And the three-player boarding action in which the defenders were outnumbered two to one proved to be more of a challenge for the two attackers than they initially realised!  The cramped orbital was a map specially made for Antares by Tim from corridors and rooms by Heroic Maps (external link).

Virai streaming round a wreck
Virai streaming round a wreck

The Action Unfolds…

Unfortunately, Tim’s hands were shaking too much during the day, but we have a few photos from others who attended.

Algoryn advance into an orbital
Algoryn advance into an orbital (James & Thomas Waller by Gary Martin)

Virai Warrior drones guard an engineering compartment
Virai Warrior drones guard an engineering compartment

Algoryn defend the mass transit suspensor bed generator towers
Algoryn defend the mass transit suspensor bed generator towers

Ghar defend the mass transit towers they have just managed to reconstruct
Ghar defend the mass transit towers they have just managed to reconstruct

Weapon Drone about to attack Ghar on Orbital (Gary Martin)
Dronescourge Weapon Drone about to attack Ghar on Orbital (Gary Martin)

Ghar Exiles lurk in defence of their ship
Ghar Exiles lurk in defense

Terrain and Tables

As can be seen from the photos, the scenarios were based all over the Taskarr system and on the planet’s surface.The planet itself is undergoing one of its frequent ice ages, with climate zones ranging from hardened arctic ice to temperate woodland at the equator.  To show where each table was located, each had a label marked with the location and scenario data (see right).

Two tables were inside ancient, ruined arcologies; two within an ice-bound research base; several on tundra and ice fields, with one located in the temperate zone.  Four were within the vast wreck of the City of Exile (or T.O.R. 563 as the IMTel insists on calling it) whilst others were located within a pair of ancient orbitals around the system.

Terrain was provided mostly by Tim Bancroft as much of it came from playtesting The Dronescourge Returns, though the organisers purloined some Warlord mats and temperate zone terrain.  Other major contributors, for whom appeciation overflows, were Lea Davidson (20 items of snow-covered terrain and hangar deck terrain), and Vaughan Powell of the Southampton Sluggaz who provided much of the terrain for one of the snow tables.  Others who helped were Ant Evans and Richard Priestley with items of hangar deck or industrial terrain and the studio in the form of Anna and Liam rushed to get the PDF corridor files ready before the book’s release at the end of June.

Many thanks to all who helped out on the terrain front!

And loads of thanks and appreciation to all who helped set up, run the event and break down. This was not just the superb Donna and her corps of helpers (some of whom acted as stand-ins during the day as we ended up with odd numbers due to sickness) but those who packed up and even loaded my car for me afterwards. Thanks all for making it such a wonderful day.

Virai defend their hive in tundra
Search for the hive in Tundra

Factions

Antares Day factions in use
Spread of factions in use

There was a fine spread of factions in use mainly focused on Algoryn, Concord and the various Ghar forces. However, Jan Rudolphs Algoryn-like faction had a great, converted Freeborn-Algoryn command squad and domari as mercenaries, and was declared an exiled moch – possibly even the Ma’req – so was classed as Freeborn.  It’s worth mentioning that the painting quality was high indeed, with almost all the forces a pleasure just to look at, let alone play!

Four players from the Dronescourge playtesting also volunteered to paint and use the three Factions described in the supplement: the Privateers, the Ghar Exiles and the new Virai Dronescourge.  Gary Martin made a tremendous, last-minute effort to produce a very well painted Virai army based around the Starter Swarm, and he wrote down some of his observations about the army in an article, A Road Trip to Taskarr. Jamie Howard and Jon Harrington set to work with knife, glue and greenstuff to produce converted Ghar Exile armies – Jamie even with TOR 563 Exile colours!  And, finally, Adam Murton produced a Privateer army featuring a mix of panhumans, Boromites and Tsan Ra.  Thanks all for your hard work.

Seminar

Just before lunch, Rick and Tim sat down, answered questions and had a discussion about Dronescourge, Antares and the future. Ben from ‘Too Many Metal Men‘ recorded it for those who were unable to attend.

Results

The Total Faction Score was, of course, dominated by the faction with the most armies present: Concord (53.5), then Rebel (39.5), then Exile (31.3).  However, a better rating based on earned Faction Points as well as successes per army was that of the IMTel-calculated Efficiency rating for each faction. In this, the Ghar Exiles won by a whisker over the Ghar Rebels. It seems that despite some direct success, the Virai were driven from the Taskarr system.

  • Ghar Exile 5.22
  • Ghar Rebels 4.9
  • Boromite 3.3
  • Others 1.2-2.8
  • Virai 0.2

Unfortunately, this efficiency calculation proved to be a devastating error as the calculations failed to take into account the subsequent impact of all this inter-faction strife.  When this was factored in, the Virai’s real intentions were discovered: they were using the conflict and confusion between the other factions to further their own ends (they earnt almost 2VP per game that affected their existence).  The IMTel’s initial calculations that they were defeated had to be updated, only to reveal the Virai had either gone to ground or fled the system, possibly as stowaways aboard an Isorian, Privateer or Algoryn starship.

Destroyed, no; driven away, certainly. But to where?

Final results: The Taking of Taskarr
Final results: The Taking of Taskarr