In part one of our interview with Rick Priestley we talked about the background and setting for Beyond the Gates of Antares, Warlord Games’ brand new sci-fi wargame. Part two was focused more on the design process and crunch of the game – in this final part we will discuss some miscellaneous (I couldn’t not ask about Necromunda) and the future of BtGoA!
Q. One of our favorite games is Necromunda – I realize that was 25 years ago, but what do you recall from the design process for that game? What were some of your inspirations? What are some things from that game that you still believe in and would use in games today?
A. Necromunda used the original WH40K mechanics and added a level of detail – it was supposed to be just one of a series of games that used the core mechanical ideas, but set on different worlds and environments of the 40K background. So, we wanted to do a game set on an Eldar Craftworld – for example. Unfortunately, the company’s agenda changed very soon afterwards and it was decided to concentrate on 40K and WH, but I always felt it would have been a great series of games, and it would have allowed us to explore the 40K background in diverse and interesting ways. The backstory and environment owe something to a ‘Wild West’ setting – sort of. How does that relate to today – well I believe that great games spring from the setting and imaginative content – rather than abstractions of the gameplay – and Necromunda is a good example of why that is so.
Q. Can you explain, for an American, what ‘bottle test’ means? (From Necromunda)
A. In English slang ‘losing your bottle’ means losing your nerve, ‘you ain’t got the bottle,’ means you don’t have the nerve to do something. In ‘cockney’ - and much modern English beside - the word is pronounced with a glottal stop rather than a ‘t’ sound – so bo’-al.
Q. With the wide range of games and easier production processes now available to game companies - what about Antares sticks out among everything else that should make one pick up this game?
A. What one thing? Hmm well there are lots of reasons to give Antares a go – but I have to admit there’s so many other games, and so many Sf backgrounds in which games are set these days, it’s hard to pick out just one thing over another. I guess the truth is it’s probably the game play – especially because it has such potential for evolution and development – but also because, with so many game designs opting for the ‘simple’ approach these days, Antares does rather stand out as being quite complex and – hopefully – rewarding and involving too. It has some depth to it. Of course – the writer in me would like to think that the worlds and the backstory, and the potential for that to develop and evolve – are also a big attraction J Perhaps I should just say they are a big attraction for me and leave it there!
Q. What can players expect for FAQs or errata etc. for Gates of Antares?
A. I’ve just handed over a players errata and an FAQ – so I suspect those will be available by the time this is published.
Q. What are some of the game systems out there you admire right now and what do you admire about them?
A. I’m very impressed by the success of X-Wing – it’s a very straight-forward, clear and focussed game system that manages to combine board game and war game mechanics in a way that is very accessible even to non-wargamers. For similar reasons Alessio Cavatore’s Terminator game is an example of an accessible mechanic combined with rewarding game play – it’s very compact and precise and very typically Alessio! Other than that – well I’ve had my head buried in Antares for more than two years so I’m probably a bit behind the curve if I’m honest – and with the supplement to do and hopefully the first of a series – that is likely to be the case for a while J
Q. How do you think the reception for Antares has been?
A. It’s only been out for a few weeks but so far – amazing! I don’t think it would be giving away any secrets to say that Warlord actually had to reprint the book before the game even launched. Which is nice J
Q. What is next for Gates of Antares?
A. Warlord have about a year’s worth of releases already designed so it’s a question of getting those into production. Some of that includes plastics – which need to be tooled in steel so they will take a little longer to get ready. Others are metal or resin or a mix of those. I’m working on the first supplement – which is all about the exploration and fighting over Xilos.
I want to give a huge thanks to Rick Priestley for taking time to answer this gamer’s questions, and to Andy Hobday and Rich Dando at Warlord Games for helping me. Check out Beyond the Gates of Antares on Warlord Games’ website, on Facebook, and keep your eye out for more articles in the near future!