As most readers probably know, Warlord Games recently introduced a game to the market called Beyond the Gates of Antares. We did an interview with the legendary creator of the game, Rick Priestley, back in December. Check it out here, here, and here.
Warlord has produced a ton of different models for each faction and keeps churning out more. Recently they released the first planned supplement - The Battle for Xilos. This is the first part of the galactic war that started in the Xilos sector over relics from a long lost civilization.
Some may remember the original plan for BtGoA - a live, dynamic tabletop universe where players can shape the story. That has kicked into gear full-bore now. The Xilos campaign in the new book is left with a cliff-hanger - who comes out on top? This is said to affect the story going forward, which sounds really cool! The players get to take part.
The supplement itself is pretty substantial at 120 pages for $32. It includes six connected scenarios with bonuses and a conclusion at the end. It will help you score the ending and be able to report who actually won the campaign.
The scenarios themselves are pretty in-depth - most are around six pages each. These are narrative scenarios, so they're much more than just a show up and fight. There are special rules aplenty, which is really cool for an 'event game'. I also like the paragraphs devoted to Designer Notes - where the author suggests possible changes for the scenario or ways a GM can help. This is really welcome to me, as a gamer who has kinda gone past the 'every game must be a competitive chess match' to 'lets tell a story'.
It also includes rules for allies, which many players have asked for already. I own a few squads for almost all the forces that my friends don't play, so intermixing them will be cool, and I could easily see it happening with the way the Antares story works.
Adding to the element of narrative, the designer has included animals indigenous to Xilos, including the Gulper, pictured above. I really love the old school sci-fi feel of the creatures and WLG has released some pretty sweet models for them. I look forward to incorporating them into our games as scenario elements.
They have also included new equipment and squads for the factions that I'm guessing wasn't ready for the release of the initial rulebook. There are some pretty sweet selections here, including two heavy weapons for my chosen Algoryn.
There are three 'alternate' army lists that can be used for mercenary forces for the Freeborn, Boromites, and Ghar. The Ghar force isn't so much a mercenary force, it is a rebel force. This is Fartok's army that he's leading against his own people. This is a really cool idea - you use a lot of the same models (and some new ones) and then change how the army operates slightly, but change the narrative in a huge way.
The final part of the book is about the major characters involved in Xilos. I feel like this is a pretty ingenious way to drive the narrative. Each army is devoted to their commander and operates according to how that commander fights. Each commander is significantly different, from Fartok in a battle suit to an Isorian drone. Each commander also has a table at the end of the scenario part where it shows what happens if they lose, win, etc.
|I love the old-school sci-fi feel to the art|
The overall story is very in-depth, something I can clearly tell the author has taken years to develop in his mind. This isn't really the crusades in space, or roman legions vs barbarians in space, etc. A lot of the tech-talk is a bit high in the clouds for me, but the author clearly has an end goal for each objective. The end of the campaign results in a pretty big climax that will definitely shape the story to come!
The story and book would be cool, but model releases are the most important part. Warlord Games has come out with quite a few models to support this release for each army - check some of them out!
|Algoryn drop capsules (made out of MDF)|
|Boromite rock riders!|
How do I join?
While the supplement and new models are amazing, what I really think will drive the growth of the game is the Xilos website. This is put together by Beasts of War and is really innovative, in my opinion.
Once you've joined the site, you can record all your battles that you do during the campaign and gain experience and achievements, which is really what I think will drive people to participate. You can see my site here. I reported our first game, a big learning game.
|These dudes wish to tell you that Boromites reign supreme|
You also have access to specific forums for each race - something that will help you talk strategy with other people who are playing your faction. You can also see all the statistics of who has reported a battle, which faction is winning, and view the reports for each battle. You can comment on the reports and let people know if they're doing a good job, etc.
Currently the battle is in Episode 1 - Landing Zones, which corresponds to the first scenario in the book. Join in and have some fun!