Out of the Painting Rut: Starting with Antares 2 – Demo Day!

Erik A. Pulkka had landed in a bit of a painting rut. In the second and final article he tells us how, by teaching nine friends all at
once to play Beyond the Gates of Antares, it helped him breakout of that painting rut. Part 1 can be found here.


When the day finally came, eight of my friends arrived, I was excited to share the game and all the work I had put into making it happen. Players had ten forces to choose from: two Ghar, two Concord, two Algoryn, two Freeborn, one Isorian and one Boromite force. We did a general briefing of the overall story of Antares, brief background/style of each army, general rules and turn sequence, and the terrain involved on each board.  Then the player chose their armies and we set off and divided the eight players between the two tables.

One of my friends who arrived about half way through the first session – he made nine – had played a couple of games with me before the demo-day and he was very helpful in answering rules questions. He had also provided his own painted Concord Drop Troop force and I’d made him a tray too.

Erik Pulkka Painting Rut 9 - The Swamp Table

Initially I got the group on the Swamp table going first, and then went to help the second group get going.  Later when I came back to my first group, well into their second turn, they’d changed to a two on two game as the two Algoryn forces had both allied against the Ghar and Isorian players.  My intention was everyone against everyone, but we went with it – the idea was to just be flexible as players will do the unexpected!

The second group on the primitive village in the hills table had Concord, Boromite, Ghar and Freeborn.  The Boromite initially intimidated the Concord player with his Lavamites, the Concord then sent the game hugging his side of the table, taking a long way to the Drones.  There was a great battle in the center by the other three forces. In the end the Freeborn, whom had been more aggressive throughout the game, grabbed a Rogue Drone, then proceeded to use a fighting withdraw to take the Drone back to home base for the victory.

Erik Pulkka Painting Rut 10 - the Hills

During both group’s games there was a lot of back and forth as players tried to capture the Rogue Drones.  The games all went very well and everyone had a good time.

I made spaghetti for lunch, it was easy to feed a bunch of people at once, plus I made it ahead of time. It was dish up, serve, eat, and get back to gaming.

In the afternoon session during the Escort mission the attackers decided to work together almost right away and go for the minor victories and the defender put up a good fight but lost about two moves away from getting the Pod off the platform.  I was expecting an all-out fire fight.

By the end of the day, everyone had enjoyed the games, and although it was a lot of work to set up and run, I really enjoy doing it.

Lessons learned

Players will always surprise you with what they will do or try during the game.

Things that worked well:

  • Having the tables and troops set up beforehand and almost all of the preparations for the games really payed off on the day of the event.
  • Also having one other person that had played before was really much more helpful than I expected and really kept things moving on both tables as they were in separate rooms.  If I was planning on another large group of players like this, I would definitely invite a friend with experience to help out.
  • The games at my home, as opposed to my local game store, worked well for the noise and distractions of other games going on that happen at a store, but it would have worked just fine at my local store too.
  • The data cards were very helpful for the players.  But the quick reference sheets were not, players didn’t use them, although I did use them several times during the day, I really only needed one per table.

I didn’t quite plan enough time to paint for myself. With a busy life outside of gaming I needed a little more time to paint the Boromite force.  So, I did have to borrow a friend’s Boromites due to running out of time to paint mine (and I used proxies for the Freeborn force with other Sci-Fi miniatures from my collection – but that was the plan in the beginning).

Mission selection

For the most part I ran the narrative missions as published. I’d played the Rogue Drone mission several times and liked how it worked as a first mission. The only change was to the Rogue Drones: when the Drones performed a Run Order, I had them move 5”+D5” instead of D10”. There’s a little more movement out of the Drones this way.

But not having played The Escort mission before I ran it was a mistake on my part. So I was really surprised during the first turn when all the Attackers decided to work together. Overall the missions worked fine for the day and players had fun.

Erik Pulkka Painting Rut 11 - Swamp Detail

Final thoughts

Most everyone whom paints miniatures has (or will) experience a painting rut at some point, and finding your way out of it is the goal, find whatever works for you, then do that. There are many ways to get out of a painting rut.

For me, working with a buddy or gaming group has always motivated me, we can hold each other accountable, set goals so we can play bigger games with more units, or just get motivated by each other’s accomplishments. In this hobby I’ve learned that you get out of a game what you put into it.  For the most part, the more preparation the better the game.

In the end I’d broken out of my painting rut and had three new armies painted to show for it, the Concord, Algoryn, Isorian forces and a ton of jungle/swamp terrain finished too. Plus, eight new players excited about playing Antares again.

Erik Pulkka Painting Rut 12 - The Armies
All three armies!

Since the time between my demo-day and writing this article, Warlord Games has released the new supplement The Dronescourge Returns with the new army all-drone Virai. I’ve just ordered a small force of them.  Plus, I’ve primed and base coated a few more squads and support weapon teams for my Isorian force and still have a Boromite force to do, too.  Now I feel the need for another deadline, maybe it’s time to set up another Antares Game-Day.  I’ll keep you posted.

Here are a few close-up pictures of the final troops:

Erik Pulkka Painting Rut 15 - The Concord
The Concord
Erik Pulkka Painting Rut 14 - The Isorians
The Isorians
Erik Pulkka Painting Rut 13 - The Algoryn
The Algoryn

See the Isorians, Algoryn and Concord forces on the Nexus.