Scenario: Virai First Contact – A Rogue Drones Variant

Virai First Contact – A Rogue Drones variant

Virai First Contact Drones
Warrior and Crew Constructor

Neither IMTel nor non-IMTel nations could decide on what they had discovered in the newly-reconnected system: drones, of a kind not seen before. All they suspected was that it was strange and possibly a threat or fantastic opportunity. What they knew was that no other faction could be allowed to investigate such unknown technology – the drones had to be recovered at all costs!

This is a variant of Narrative Scenario #1 in the Antares rulebook (p.148). The scenario is played as specified in the book, but the ‘Victory’ and ‘Special Scenario rules’ sections are replaced with the following. In this variant, the Rogue Drones are Virai drones – those available in the First Contact Sample Pack (available in the store).

Running the Game

This can be played between two players or four, the players resolving the movement and shooting for the two Virai drones as necessary. Alternatively, the drones can be controlled by an umpire, who will then take any rolls required, move the drones, work out shooting and so on.

Set Up

Set up a mix of terrain as described on page 139 leaving the area within 6” of the centre of the table clear. The terrain should afford each side the opportunity to approach the drones without exposing themselves to too much enemy fire.

Deployment

If playing with two forces, each enters the table from the opposing short table edges.  If playing with four opponents, each starts within 12″ of one of the four corners. Roll randomly to determine which player starts from which short table edge or corner.

Deploy the two drones before the first turn once the players have determined from where they will start. Each drone is deployed in a random direction d6″ from the centre of the table.

In the first turn a side can bring up to half of its force onto the table as described for Moving onto the Table (p.140). Remaining forces can be brought on at the same edge from the second turn, making a Command test to enter.

First Contact scenario - 2 player deployment
Setup and deployment – 2 players

Objective

The objective is to reach the drones, capture them as described below, and hold on to them until the end of the game. If you can carry them off your own starting edge (recovery), so much the better.

Game Duration

The game ends immediately when there are no more Virai drones on the table. An alternative is to play until one side reaches its break value or until six turns have elapsed, then roll randomly to see if another turn is to be played (Game Duration, p. 141.).

Victory

Capturing and in control of the warrior drone at the end of the game  2 victory points
Bonus for recovering the warrior drone off the table +1 victory points
Capturing and in control of the contructor drone at the end of the game  1 victory point
Bonus for recovering the constructor drone off the table +1 victory point
Bonus for recovering both drones off the table +2 victory point
Bonus if recovering/capturing the only surviving drone at the end of the game +1 victory point

A faction with two or more VPs than any other is the winner but a winning draw can be claimed if a faction has one more VP than any other.

Special Scenario Rules

The Virai

The objectives are two unknown drones – the Virai. These should be represented by the two drones in the ‘First Contact’ drone pack. The drones have the following stats:

Infantry Ag Acc Str Res Init Co Special
Warrior Drone with fusion flamer, ripclaws 5 5 7 7 7 Infantry, Virai
Crew Constructor with tool appendages, fusion cutter 6 5 4 6 6 Infantry, Virai
Virai are immune to Scramble and Scoot munitions. Other benefits of being a Virai are not applicable in this scenario.

Virai weapons

Weapon – Range –
Effective Long Extreme Strike Value Special
Fusion Flamer 10 20 50 3/2/1 Variable SV, Standard Weapon
Ripclaws H2H Only 2 2 Attacks, Hand Weapon, Compound SV
Tool Appendages 5 0 2 Attacks, Hand Weapon
Fusion cutter 5 10 30 2/1/0 Variable SV, Hand Weapon
Tool Appendages and Ripclaws get 2 Attacks in hand-to-hand combat
Virai weapons typically have a Variable SV that decreases at longer ranges
Compound SV. If both Ripclaw hits strike the same target, their SV is combined into a single attack of SV 4.

Virai Actions

To play this scenario two further distinctly coloured order dice will be required to represent the drones. Place these in the dice bag along with the order dice of the opposing players. When the first drone dice is drawn randomise which drone gets the order. The subsequent drone dice is given to the remaining drone.

Each Virai can take pins as normal for any infantry unit. If shot at and destroyed, the Virai drone is obliterated and it and its order dice are removed from play — no capture or recovery VP can be gained for that drone. A drone forced to take a Break Test and failing such that it would normally be removed from the table (such as losing in hand to hand combat) flees instead, moving 1D10″+5″ in a random direction.

The Virai are confused without their Architector, so their order dice is rolled and the result determines their action. If a drone has pins, it will have to pass a command test for the action rolled or go Down. See the Virai Actions Table to see if the order rolled is changed to another given the circumstances.

The drone must obey movement and coherency rules as for any other single-figure unit, stopping if it would move into impassable terrain, off-table or get too close to another unit.

Virai Actions Table

If some actions are impossible or non-fruitful, the drone will follow a logical progression to another order, as detailed in the table below.

Rally If the drone has one or more pins after removing that for a successful test, it performs a rally action, otherwise, follow the instructions for a Fire order.
Fire The drone aims and shoots at the nearest player unit that it can draw a line of sight to. If there are no possible targets, follow the instructions for an Advance order.
Advance The drone moves D5” in a random direction and then shoots at the nearest player unit that it can draw a line of sight to.  If there are no suitable targets then give it a Run order and move it another d5″ in a random direction.
Run If there is an enemy unit within 15”, the drone makes an assault against that unit and sprints into combat. Otherwise, the drone moves D10” in a random direction.
Down The drone goes Down. At the end of the turn make a recovery test as normal to  return the order dice to the bag.
Ambush The drone immediately goes into Ambush. Whilst in Ambush it will shoot at any player unit that makes an Advance/Run move within its line of sight. It will also Stand and Shoot if assaulted or react with a Firefight if Fire‘d at within 20″. If the drone is still on ambush at the end of the turn the dice is left in place and the drone remains on Ambush into the next turn.

Capturing a Drone

To capture a Virai, an infantry, weapon team or equivalent command unit must defeat it in the hand-to-hand phase of an Assault by ‘destroying’ the drone. Instead of being removed from the table, either by becoming casualty or failing a hand-to-hand Break Test, the attacking unit has the option of capturing or ‘destroying’ the drone. A captured drone is placed into formation with the unit. Once a drone has been captured the player who has captured it takes its order dice, removing it from the dice bag if it isn’t already in play, and places it aside.

This means that even a capturing unit can only destroy its drone by attacking it through an Assault, again.

Virai Base Logo 512
Virai Dronescourge identifier as used by panhuman nations

The drones are heavy and struggle even after being captured. Therefore, a unit can only carry a single Virai at a time and each requires a combined total strength of 15 in order to be carried by the unit. Providing this restriction is met, the Virai can be moved as if it were a buddy drone. If at any time a capturing unit’s Str total is less than 15 (typically three normal panhumans), the drone is dropped, it is given a ‘Run’ order and it immediately makes a sprint away from the unit.

So long as the Virai remains in the control of its captors it follows the unit around in the same way as a buddy drone, keeping formation with the unit. It must be within 1” of enough squad members to carry it (Ghar Outcasts will have to have five clustered around it, for example). It does not otherwise move or act and its order dice remains out of play. However, it can be shot at as if a buddy drone – on a Lucky Hit – but makes a Res save as normal.

This effectively means a drone must be specifically targeted to be destroyed, whether through PBS, shooting, or hand-to-hand combat. There is nothing wrong with refusing to shoot at a drone in the PBS phase, but the drone will still shoot back!

A unit that has captured a Virai cannot Sprint whilst carrying the drone. If the unit makes a Sprint move, or is destroyed in any circumstances (including by assault or failing a Break Test), the drone is abandoned and becomes independent again: it is left behind where the it was abandoned and its order dice is immediately placed back into the dice bag. Once captured by a unit, a Virai cannot be captured by another unit unless it is abandoned and becomes independent again (because it can only be captured through assault).

A Virai counts as a single model for the purpose of being transported, but must still be controlled by a unit within the transport other than the transport itself – otherwise it will just break out!

Pass the Virai

If an active unit carrying a Virai moves as close as permitted to another friendly infantry, weapon team or equivalent command unit it can pass the drone to that unit. The receiving unit must be able to carry the Virai (see above). A Virai can only be handed over in such a fashion once per turn.

Designer’s Notes

The scenario is a two-part game: the first part is capturing a drone and dragging it back to your own baseline, whilst the second becomes a fight to prevent your opponent(s) from doing so. As a result, pins and command tests are crucial.

It is easy to add additional drones to the scenario just by making each drone a squad. We recommend, however, that players only score once for each drone type they have, whether constructor or warrior.

Rocky’s War Room has made a useful video tutorial on how to paint the Virai First Contact Drones (off the Nexus).