‘The Interface Wars’ Antares Games Day – Event Report
30th March 2019, 9am, players descended on Warlord HQ from all over Europe (well, UK, Germany and Bratislava) for an Antares Games Day. This year the theme was ‘The Interface Wars’ – a series of conflicts ignited by the spread of the Virai Dronescourge down the Northern Interface and into the Determinate, predominantly along the Concord-Algoryn border. The format was that of a faction league: individual results counted towards the overall total for the player’s faction, with the overall results only calculated on a faction level. Each player played three games using either a 750- or 1250- point army from one of six different scenarios, the challenge being they had no idea which scenarios they would play on the day! Rick Priestley was in attendance to give advice and answer questions on Antares lore.
We ended up with a real mix of factions across 22 players, the only absentees being Boromites and Ghar Rebels (the Virai being the enemy for the day). The Algoryn and Concord formed over half the forces on the day, but Ghar Empire and a force of Exiles ended up being a substantial proportion – probably because they helped spread the Virai in the first case! We had a last-minute loan-out of Tim’s Shamasai Concord when a player unfortunately left his army box on the sideboard at home!
There were a few prizes on the day, a Painting Competition (won by Ruben Lopez) judged by Rick, Tim and the Warlord crew, and two player-voted prizes: Best Painted Army (won by Gergely Gombos from Bratislava), and Best Player (great army, great opponent, etc, won by Ben Buxton). The judges also gave out an award to Ant Sharman for helping out so much with set-up and behind-the-scemes support, but additional thanks have to go to Bernard Lewis (from Warlord), Lea Davidson, Jan Rudolph and BDAWC who also gave vital assistance with terrain and various minor crises!
What we found was wonderful was that the best-painted army votes were so well split, simply because there were so many wonderfully painted armies in use. Further, the overall approach and attitude of players on the day was fantastic, so much so that the ‘Best Player’ votes were spread amongst almost everyone. Congratulations to all for making this such a fun, friendly and relaxed event!
Now on to the details (or click on a quick link).
The reappearance of the Dronescourge is causing chaos on Antares. Their scavenging is spreading south: no longer are the Virai a problem confined to the interface between the PanHuman Concord and the Isorian Senatex. Now their depredations threaten the Algoryn Prosperate and the wider Determinate.
And now the Ghar have intervened, using the Virai to spread destruction amongst their human foes. The Virai have no master plan; they are merely following the line of least resistance. They do not care that the Ghar are deliberately sacrificing older vessels as carriers to spread the Dronescourge into more panhuman systems. And neither do the Virai care that the Ghar then send in their armies to purge the weakened planets of panhumanity. But the Ghar have found the Virai are harder to control than they realised.
All along the Determinate interfaces, panhumanity is fighting for survival against the Ghar, the Virai, and frequently other factions in the same straits as themselves.
The factions in use led into the background for the event: given the predominance of Concord and Algoryn, the wars were mainly fought along the North-West Determinate, on the borders of the Prosperate and Concord, but spread a little into Isorian space. After round one, there was a surprise for the players: the Ghar had completely lost control of the Virai spread and were now fighting the Dronescourge infestation as much as anyone else: the only non-player, enemy victory points would be assigned to the Virai and used to determine their success!
Scenarios and Tournament Rules
The scenarios used included three especially requested from previous games days. One was from Dronescourge (Intersecting Explorations, p.36 – we had all the corridors cut out ready), one was from last year (Search for the Hive), and one using a map for an orbital (see All Hands on Deck!). The other three included Orbital Barrage (or Drop the Rock as it’s affectionally called), Analysis-Paralysis in which both forces have to analyse some suspect packages and crashed remains (on the Nexus, too) and a third, Clearance which involved investigasting and clearing out one of a number of buildings in which Virai or Virai-infected Ghar had taken refuge.
All the scenarios bar All Hands on Deck! were included in the Players Pack, which is available as a download from the Nexus: Antares Day 2019 Player Pack. Player aids for the day were also provided as simple handouts: Antares Day 2019 Player Aids.
We had been asked by players to avoid the lower-end 500 point games and to allow for larger games in which the mid-range vehicles could be used, so went for 750 and 1250 points given the time. Further, whilst points values were suggested, for most games the players were able to switch from 1250 to 750 if they wished, but all the scenarios were selected and designed such that they could be completed in the time available and even if they weren’t: the score for the larger games at any point when the game ended was perfectly valid!
There were a number of special rules for the event, predominantly to speed play but also to rectify some aspects players have been asking for for a while. They were:
- Ghar could only take attached weapon teams, not separate teams
- Ghar Battle suits with Battle Claw had SV2 in hand-to-hand
- Ghar Assault suits with Plasma Claw had SV4 in hand to hand (no rolling) and their Gouger’s had a minimum range of 5″)
- Feral Soma Grafts were triggered in any Command roll of a 10, not just order tests…
Whilst not yet official, they are changes that are well worth playing around with!
The Painting Competition
Unfortunately, we weren’t able to have shots of all the entries as some appeared close to the end, but those for which we do have photos are as follows. Ruben’s winning entry was based on the early marketing images for Beyond the Gates of Antares.
Gergely Gombo’s Ghar
Voted Best Painted army in use, Greg brought these all the way from Bratislava…
Players and Games
We were all impressed with the approach and attitude of players on the day and there was a palpable atmosphere of fun. A few photos might not go amiss as there were some lovelyt tables, some great armies and a unique dice bag for the Ghar!
There were some interesting results. Unsurprisingly, the factions with the most armies scored the most victory points. But such a result is not the purpose of a faction league. To determine a winning faction, bonus victory points are included and the results weighted by games played to produce a final score that can be compared across all the factions. Whilst the Virai, Boromite and Ghar Rebels are include, their score of zero merely reflects the fact that they did not participate as player-controlled factions (the regular Boromite players were unable to make the event).
This produced a winner: the Isorians and Privateers, with the Algoryn extremely close behind (this may differ from previous, interim results as we found a hiccup in the spreadsheet – apologies!). All bar the Ghar Empire otherwise did fairly well, gaining an above average Victory Points per game.
On the face of it, it seems the Virai didn’t do very well, being largely suppressed. However…
The Virai threat…
But the story does not end there! The games day was not just about the winning faction, but also about restraining the Virai’s incursion into the Determinate. What was critical was how well the Virai did against each faction, too, as this determined how much they were suppressed and how much they remained a threat to each faction. This is calculated on the amount of points the Virai score per game against each faction. This leads into the the co-operative aspect of the tournament in that a faction could totally dominate their opposition, but doing so would inadvertantly allow the Virai to gain a foothold by preventing the opposition to learn enough about the threat to stop the spread of the Virai.
So, despite the Algoryn doing so well and roundly beating so many other factions, the IMTel assessed the Virai threat to the Algoryn at three-five quantum, four points above the threat to the Concord and eight abot the threat to the Senatex and even the nomadic Freeborn. Whilst the C3 intelligence services decided they could handle such a threat with a shift of resources, they considered the danger to the much smaller Prosperate much more significant, issuing travel and wellbeing risk warnings. Both the Senatex and Concord offered support to the Freeborn to bolster their scanning technology as some Freeborn ships were found to be compromised…
Luckily, the Ghar seemed to have got largely on top of their problem with the Virai… the very problem they initially created. Karg is feeling proud of himself!
Effects on the Antares Story
This games day has had a profound effect on the evolving Antares story!
Under Ess Ma Rahq’s leadership, the AI had dominated the conflict against the Ghar-induced Virai threat. Her ruthless and high-tech approach to warfare produced one-sided results that apparently benefitted the Prosperate but at the cost of co-operating with those who could prevent the Virai travelling further into the Algoryn demense.
Of course, their were mutterings in the High Council, perhaps fuelled by her advancing power-base and insistence on the use of non-Algoryn, advanced technology. There were many who felt that the exiled Tar Es Janar would have performed far more admirably in co-operating with those who were, after all, fighting for the same cause: the eradication of the Virai. The general’s tactics on Xilos were re-examined by the neutrals on the High Council and they began to speak out: perhaps a more conciliatory approach to those facing identical threats was a sound strategy after all?
But Ess Ma Rahq would have nothing to do with such discontent. The growing threat of the Virai was theoretical, she said; her command had produced superb results in gaining much-needed intelligence on the Virai and had led to a resurgance of respect – or fear – amongst the IMTel nations. No longer would the Freeborn take advantage of the Prosperate as they had been shown the strength of her new approach. Once more she stressed the ‘respect’ borne from fear that the Freeborn were now forced to show.
But that fear did not just exist beyond the borders of the Prosperate: it existed at its heart, in the corridors of Algor and within the High Council, itself. There were old Mochs who feared the growing power of Ess Ma Rahq, and even her own allies began to be concerned that they were bolstering a force that may, eventually, swallow even them. An opposition movement bagan to grow, conservative traditionalists, perhaps, but a force who believes strongly in the way of Algor that has kept the Prosperate a respected military power for over a thousand years.
Now, emmisaries are being dispatched to find the exiled general, to rally round Tar Es Janar as a figurehead of opposition. But Ess Ma Rahq is ruthless, and is hunting down and punishing dissent, the technologies of her Special Division proving difficult to match. There is talk of active opposition, and in Algoryn society, such opposition cannot help but mean violence.
It seems the Prosperate is on the brink of Civil War…