On Wednesday 18th February 2015, Warlord article writer, Sam Phillips visited Warlord HQ to sit in on a Beyond the Gates of Antares playtest session with Rick Priestley and Nick Simmerson. Rick and Nick had been rigorously playtesting the Antares game system since its inception.
The aim of the afternoon’s session was to revisit the ‘Recover at All Costs’ scenario, with the objectives being two rogue drones placed at the centre of the table.
The drones would act independently – with each having their own Order Dice. When a Drone’s Order Dice emerged from the Dice Bag, we’d do the following;
- Roll to see which drone activated (rolling a D2).
- Roll the Order Dice to determine which action the Drone would perform.
- If the Drone moved (via an ‘Advance’ or ‘Run’ order) we’d then roll a D10 to determine how many inches it moved (using the angular sides of the D10, we’d determine which direction).
- If the Drone received an ‘Advance’ or ‘Fire’ order – it would fire at the nearest unit – regardless of whether the unit were Algoryn or Boromite.
Once a player managed to move a unit into base-to-base contact with a drone – they had captured it. Once captured, the drone was under the command of the relevant commander (i.e – if it was captured by an Algoryn squad, it was under the command of the Algoryn player) – and the Drone was then considered to join the squad which captured it – its Order Dice was removed from the bag…
If either player was able to move one of the Drones off of their board edge, they would win the game.
If the controlling unit was wiped-out, the Drone would remain in play – its Order Dice would be returned into the dice bag, and it would act independantly again following the rules outlined above.
Nick Simmerson’s Boromites
- Overseer Team
- Gang Fighter squad x 2
- Lavamite squad
Rick Priestley’s Algoryn
- AI Command Squad
- AI Squad x 2
- Assault Squad
- Plasma Light Support
With the forces chosen, the scenario set, and with each player deploying half of their forces to begin the game – it only remained for the players to shake hands – and the game began!
The Boromites got the first Order Dice, with the Lavamites scurrying as fast as possible to the nearest piece of cover. The Boromites luck continued with the X-launcher also moving up behind cover, next to the Gang Fighters.
The Algoryn then received their first Order Dice – and made their move with the Assault Squad storming towards the Lavamites position, staying just out of sight of the deadly critters. The Rogue Drones, despite being heavily armed with plasma weaponry decided to simply stare down the encroaching infantry squads.
The Algoryn moved up their own X-launcher, settling into position to cover the drones, and the second AI squad managed to exhaust themselves charging towards the closest drone.
End of Turn 1 – Both Drones remain uncaptured
With the encroaching Lavamites presenting a very real threat to their position, and the Rogue Drone within their sights, the Algoryn Assault Squad decided to set an ambush – they sat in position and waited for their moment to strike. In return, the Gang Fighters set their own ambush – effectively launching a stalemate preventing either side from reaching the drone. On the other side of the battlefield, the Boromite Overseer entered the field, flanked by his two best warriors – with their sights set upon the second Rogue Drone.
The Algoryn responded by moving an AI squad just in front of the drone, around the corner from the advancing Overseer. The Boromite Overseer spotted this and – in turn – ordered a unit of Gang Fighters to advance and secure the Drone, and the other squad of Gang Fighters to move-up in support of the Lavamites.
The remaining uncontrolled Drone ran towards the AI squad taking cover behind the hedges, whilst the second AI squad moved up, triggering the ambush from the Boromite Work Gang who’d been silently stalking their prey – a single pistol shot hit and pinned the Algoryn. The ambushing Gang Fighters then came under attack from the nearest Algoryn AI squad, but they in turn could only manage a single pistol shot, causing no casualties.
The Drone suddenly came to life and opened fire on the nearest unit, condemning the Lavamites and their controller to oblivion! The Algoryn Command moved towards the Gang Fighters, enabling the accompanying Spotter Drone to draw a bead on the enemy unit (who had control of the Rogue Drone). The X-launcher fired, using the Commander’s Spotter Drone to confirm their location – but the shot went wide, skyrocketing and exploding harmlessly. With the second drone in the sights of the Algoryn Assault Squad, the Boromites launched an Arc round which landed just off target, but still prevented the Algoryn from advancing or shooting.
End of Turn 2 – The Boromites have control of one Rogue Drone.
The Rogue Drone had the next move, advancing and firing at the Gang Workers taking cover behind the hedge, inflicting three hits but no casualties. At the other side of the table, one of the Algoryn AI Squads moved up to secure control of the other Drone!
At turn three, and with our playtesting session running quickly out of time – both sides had control of a Drone – it was all even, and a decisive action was needed.
Having seen the Algoryn capture a drone, the nearest Boromite squad opened up – their Mag Rifles blazing – killing one and pinning the Algoryn in place. The Boromites followed-up with a round from their X-launcher – the projectile soared high into the air before slamming down into the earth – wide of its target.
The second group of Gang Fighters then advanced and poured their own fire into the same unit in an attempt to break them, failing – but managing to slay two of them.
The Algoryn then brought their larger weaponry into the fray, with the Plasma Light Support opening up its first salvo straight at the Boromite unit in control of the Drone, killing their leader. In an effort to free the Rogue Drone, the Algoryn Commander sent the order to all available units to open fire upon the Boromite Work Gang who had the Drone in their clutched. An AI Squad opened-up – launching a volley of Mag Rifle fire far across the board – managing to killing another Worker – but they still couldn’t manage to break the unit’s morale.
The Algoryn Commander and his bodyguard went to boost his own troop’s morale by running towards the beleaguered Assault Squad carrying their Drone – providing reinforcement and fire support. The X-launcher was busy dealing with a misfire, whilst the second AI squad moved up to support the squad over on their right flank – in a move to get around the side of the Boromites holding the captured Drone.
With only one Algoryn Trooper able to draw line of sight upon the Work Gang who had already had their numbers thinned during previous firefight, the shot was taken… his aim was good – he managed to pick-off another Worker, causing them to fail their Morale Check, and flee from the firefight – dropping the drone in their haste!
The Boromite Overseer Squad advanced and fired upon their Algoryn counterparts, killing one of the AI Commander’s bodyguards outright. Over on the right flank, the Boromite Work Gang charged the Assault Squad carrying the second Drone. Both sides tore into one-another, with guns blazing and fists flying in a fierce exchange that saw casualties fall on both sides, but – with time called – it was the mighty Nick Simmerson’s Boromites that won the day, defeating their foes, having control of the Drone at the end of play.
End of Turn Three – The Boromites are declared victorious, having control of one Rogue Drone.
This game brought-up a few interesting snags and situations which required a little tweaking and revision of the rules but overall, the game flowed really well – it didn’t get bogged down in rules queries or flicking through the rulebook, which is always the sign a game went well. The scenario needed a few different variations on the mechanics of the Drones to see if they’d work better but, overall, a very successful session!