Fighting Withdrawal by Andy Patrick
A community-sourced asymmetric scenario for equal-sized forces.
The attackers are closing in. Through rapid manoeuvre and overwhelming application of force, they have left the defenders in disarray. A rear-guard is left behind to hold off the attackers for as long as possible. If the attackers break through, the defenders’ entire presence on this world is in jeopardy.
In this scenario an outnumbered and outgunned defending force must delay the attackers’ advance for as long as they can. It is likely that the defenders will need to give ground, so they must make their enemy pay a heavy price for the territory lost.
Decide which player will be the attacker and which will be the defender. The attacker is allowed 50% more points than the defender; for example, if the defender has a 1000 point Combat Force, the attacker may take a 1500 point Offensive Force.
Set up the terrain as described on page 139 of the Antares rulebook.
The defender must then choose one corner of the board to be their line of retreat. Place an objective marker in the exact centre of the board, another in the corner representing the defender’s line of retreat, and another halfway between the other two.
The defender deploys first and may position their units anywhere within their deployment zone, more than one standard move away from the table edge. Note that the defender’s deployment zone is the diagonal half of the board that does not contain their line of retreat (see diagram).
The attacker’s units all start off table. Half the attacker’s forces enter the table on the first turn; the second half may roll to enter the table from turn two onwards, as described on page 140 of the Antares rulebook. Attacking units enter the table from the table edges not adjacent to the corner containing the defender’s line of retreat.
The attacker must try to capture the positions indicated by the three objective markers. The defender must try to stop this from happening.
The game is played until either the attacking side has been broken, or until six turns have elapsed – then roll randomly to see if another turn is to be played, as described under Game Duration on page 141 of the Antares rulebook.
If the attacking army is broken, the defender wins. Otherwise, at the end of the game, the player controlling the most objectives wins; if both players control the same number of objectives, the game is a draw.
Special Scenario Rules
You control an objective if there is a model from one of your infantry or equivalent command units within 3” of the objective, and no enemy infantry or equivalent command units can claim control. An objective does not remain under your control if your units move away from it.
An alternative for controlling objectives suitable for forces with few or no infantry is to have controlling units being any bar beast, probes or shards.
With the significant imbalance in force strength, this can be a challenging game for the defender to win, despite the fact that they start the game closer to all three objectives – and will probably start in possession of one of them. The main decision that they will have to make is whether to make their stand at that objective and fight it out, or fall back to the other objectives to prevent their line of retreat being cut off. The latter choice may seem safer, but sacrificing firepower in order to move may give the attacker the chance to overwhelm them.
Of course – a more aggressive defender may choose a different strategy entirely: ignore the objectives, and take the battle to the attacker in an effort to break them early! This is a high-risk approach, but the possibility means that the attacker will need to balance rushing for objectives against the likelihood of his army being broken while arriving piecemeal.
Author’s note: this scenario is heavily inspired by the one with the same name in the Warhammer 40,000 – Altar of War expansion. However, it has been adapted to make for a more evenly balanced game, and to be more suited to Beyond the Gates of Antares.