Today on Nerdvana Gaming we’re taking a look at Beyond the Gates of Antares the latest sci-fi tabletop miniature wargame designed by Rick Priestly (of Rogue Trader and the original Warhammer fantasy game for those of you old enough to remember!) and ask the burning question…is this a good miniatures game or does it blend in with so many of the other sci-fi miniature games on the market?
Let’s start with a brief introduction to the universe of Beyond the Gates of Antares.
Beyond the Gates of Antares is set in the distant future, during the seventh age of Antarean Space, a vast network of inter-dimensional gates around the star of Antares were created by an ancient race. This network has allowed the human race to expand across billions of worlds, over these countless millennia the human race has splintered into factions with each having their own quirks and style, they are:
The PanHuman Concord: The most technological race of all the the Antarean factions the PanHuman Concord are the combination of man and machine, the pinnacle of their achievements is the IMTel system which has linked the entire faction through the NuHu Mandarins – rulers of the Concord.
The Isorian Shard: Once part of the PanHuman Concord the Isorian Shard encountered an alien intelligence which fused with their IMTel network corrupting and enriching the Isorians with the inhuman technologies they were exposed to. The infection left the IMTel of the Isorians incompatible with that of the Concord and left the 2 rival systems locked in an eternal war for supremacy.
The Freeborn: Proud and independant the Freeborn are a space faring race of traders who travel the galaxies on their huge spacecraft, purveyors of the finest goods and high end military technologies, the Freeborn are the greatest mercantile power in all of Antarean space.
The Algoryn Prosperate: Centuries of endless warfare on all fronts have hardened the Algoryn race surrounded by rival factions the Algoryn are ruled by the mightiest of warriors as they’re race fight day and night, the young growing up on the battlefield just to maintain the independance of their people.
The Boromites: The Boromites are a highly secretive race that are seen by many wanderers, a technology shunning race of nomads and miners, their cities built on decrepit technology, but the Boromites harbour a dark secret within their hierarchy, darker than anyone dare suspect…
The Ghar Empire: The Ghar were bio-engineered to fight, built for one purpose – distruction of all those who stand in their way…engineered in the aincent past their origins have become lost in time all that is know about the Ghar is that they can not deviate from their primary directive and that their blind hatred for anything other than other Ghar is unerring.
Beyond the Gates of Antares takes Alessio Calvatore and Rick Priestly’s tried and tested Bolt Action game system, tweeked the way the rules work and thus created the rule set for Beyond the Gates of Antares. The rules for Beyond the Gates of Antares function in a similar fashion to those of Bolt Action in that players have 1 dice for each of their squads, each turn all yours and your opponent’s die are placed into a blind pool and then each player takes turns to draw from the pool – if a dice of your corresponding colour is pulled by yourself or your opponant then you get to use that dice to activate one of your squads with one of their various actions (Down, Ambush, Rally, Run, Fire or Advance) this is repeated until all dice from the blind pool have been removed and so all units have been activated once – at which point the die are returned to the pool and the turn re-starts. This random activation actually helps to balance the game as you find yourself constantly questioning which unit to activate when so as to maximise a squad’s effectiveness whilst minimizing the number of pins they can potentially take from your opponent’s firepower.
The Different options to use on the order dice correspond to the different orders you can apply to your squads within the game, put in a simplified way:
Down (Your squad hits the dirt, they can’t move or shoot but they are now harder to hit),
Ambush (Your squad lies in wait for the enemy to move into their firing line and then opens fire on them),
Rally (Your squad steady their nerves to fight on by removing X number of Pin Markers),
Run (Your squad run towards the enemy but can no longer shoot),
Fire (Your squad aim their weapons and fire but do not move),
Advance (Your squad march towards the enemy and open fire)
Each squad has a stat line which gives you the figures for the ability level of your squad to carry out the corresponding order, to be successful you must roll below whatever the applicable stat number is on a d10 i.e: Your general purpose drone is shooting at your opponent’s unit, the drone has an accuracy of 5, to score a hit you must roll below a 5 on a d10…
This simple yet satisfying use of the d10 system flows through all aspects of the game, from the fast and fluid combat which ends after a single round with a clear winner (who can only opt to continue combat for 1 further round) to agility tests for moving through one of the various types of terrain listed in the rulebook the simple d10 system makes Beyond the Gates of Antares feel different enough from its historically themed cousin whilst keeping Bolt Action’s easy learning curve.
Beyond the Gates of Antares is a very enjoyable game distinguishing itself just enough from it’s historical wargaming cousin Bolt Action to make it more than simply a science fiction iteration whilst keeping the intuitive nature of the system making it easy to pick up and learn. The rules and backstory are simply wonderful to read and the rulebook has many interesting pieces of artwork and digital blueprint images in full colour to illustrate the rules, aside from a few minor issues overall such as the rulebook’s lack of a comprehensive glossary section we found very little wrong with the mechanics themselves and with a little digging using the contents most in game queries can be found in the rule book.
Overall here at Nerdvana Gaming we have had tons of fun playing Beyond the Gates of Antares and at the moment the special Launch edition of The Xilos Horizon 2 Player Starter Set proves great value for money as it includes the hard back edition of the rulebook, an exclusive miniature and plastic tokens, templates and pin markers, however the launch edition of the Xilos Horizon is only available for a limited time so grab it from the Nerdvana Store while stocks last! For us Beyond the Gates of Antares has proven itself a strong sci-fi battle game capable of play from skirmish level to large scale epic warzones and we here at Nerdvana Gaming are definitely going to be adding to our collections from the entire Beyond the Gates of Antares range whilst waiting with baited breath to see what new units Warlord Games have in store for this interesting new franchise.