Monday, September 26, 2016

The Antares Initiative: Fresh Coast Gaming Goes "Beyond the Gates of Antares"

Several months ago, Warlord Games posted a "help wanted" add, of sorts, to gaming clubs around the world.  
They were looking for groups of gamers to help them grow their exciting new sci-fi game, Beyond the Gates of Antares in their local communities. They wanted players who would be able to blog about their experiences painting the models and playing the game, as well as provide honest feedback about every aspect of the game.

In return, Warlord would send four of our members complete 500 point scout armies, rulebooks, templates, and a massive box of terrain to help set us on the right track. With a well established blog and a YouTube channel, as well as a local Sarge who has been amazing in growing our Bolt Action community, Fresh Coast Gaming became a logical choice. However, we didn't expect to be the ONLY club selected in all of North America. That was a particularly incredible honor.  

Our first assignment was to discuss our thought process behind why we selected the armies we did, as well as the actual units that would make up our forces. 

Here is a brief introduction to the members involved in this project.

Joshua Brownfield:

When FCG was selected for the Antares Initiative project, I was incredibly excited. I had already begun to collect some GoA models for a Freeborn force and had played a few demo games with Muggins and Will, but having an opportunity like this come along only keeps me motivated and more interested in the game getting to share this experience with my son, Oscar, is a huge plus!

Oscar gets to work on his first "solo" army, Boromites!
When the GoA models were first being released, a friend suggested that the model range would make excellent substitutes for use in a Dune themed universe. Being a HUGE Frank Herbert fan, I was hooked. I settled on the Freeborn because their look matched fairly closely to the Fremen, the desert warriors from the planet Arrakis. Painting them up in black armor to represent stillsuits and desert colored cloaks would be easy. 

I fell in love with the idea of hordes of wild soldiers with implanted mind control chips running around the battlefield. I knew that I had to load my 500 point army for the Initiative up with as many Feral Mhagris squads as I could. 

Unfortunately the Skark riders wouldn’t be available for some time, so I reached for a squad of Skyraiders. Having used these in my demo games with Muggins, I knew they would be a very welcome addition.  With flexible weapon load outs and being INSANELY fast, they would back up my lightly armored Ferals nicely.

To finish off my force, I knew I would need something that could punch through even the heaviest armor. The new Striker Attack Skimmer was perfect. Armed with a Plasma Cannon and getting two order dice a turn, thanks to the MOD2 rule, it would give me something I could reliably use to bring down Jeremy’s Ghar or Oscar’s Rock Riders. 

Freeborn smugglers all assembled.
Here's the unboxing video Ozzy and I filmed when our Initiative supplies arrived.

Jeremy Groat:

Ghar Battle suits. Those delightful menacing war machines attracted my attention immediately while first perusing the factions of Antares. They were different from the rest of the factions; they were big robots, and these machines of war oozed an aura of cold villainy.

In every miniature game I have played, the role of villain always fell to me. At first this trend started because of a lack of villain players, but I have embraced it since, and, to no surprise, I chose the most villain like faction in the game. Rebels will not be an option, and this player is driving the bad guy narrative. 

The Ghar, to me, seem a mix of cold and mechanical (think Star Trek Borg) with the narrow minded drive of battle typically found in fantasy orcs. These characteristics are quintessential for great fantasy storytelling and I am looking forward to using them.

Jeremy's test model
When it came to picking my 500 point scout force, I knew that I wanted to play just Ghar, no rebels (traitor pansies). I also knew I wanted Ghar Battle Squads. The problem being in a 500 pt game the battle squads took slightly over 200 pts for a unit of 3. So I took 6 anyways, they are simply too cool not to use.

To fill the remaining 80pts I took an Outcast Disruptor Cannon, and Tectorist Scouts. In my Bolt Action experience, machine gun teams excel at putting on pin markers, and I am hoping they Disruptor Cannon works similar in GoA.

In hindsight, I wish had chosen Flitters over the Tectorist Scouts. Both function kinda similar, but the bonus to hitting is needed more than rerolls, given Ghar’s poor accuracy. On the bright side, I know what to get next for the force!

Here's me unboxing my package from Warlord.

Will Kochis: 

I decided to jump in on the Isorian Senatex faction. Early in GoA's outset, we saw many folks really excited about this faction. The preview sketch art was really interesting. Most see black armor and organic alien shapes and see the evil guys. 

As I dug into the back story, I really enjoyed how they were simply a divergent path of the Concord technology. The nature of adapting and bonding to alien life is a doorway to literally anything you can imagine being a part of the army.

When the Tsan Ra came out, it garnered a lot of attention. They are stellar models and quite a new design. I'm also glad there are rules in place to make sure they are a special unit in your army and not the whole thing. 

Painting them up is going to be fun, they have a lot of great contours. I've seen some pictures of others painting them up really bright colors which I thought was a good contrast from the black suits on the infantry.

Recently drone commander Xan Tu was released. I'm always into things like this, especially when 'drone commander' is involved. In a rules sense, it sounds like he's a dangerous sentient being who can put out a lot of firepower! In a model sense, he really couldn’t be better.

The rules that most stand out for me are the obvious differences from the C3. The choice to go down with phase armor is always there for you. I feel like I'm going to need some command presence to make sure I'm getting back up. 

Likewise, the phaseshift shield on the vehicles will give you an extra edge to shake off shots. As far as equipment, everything seems pretty C3 standard, but what really stands out is the phase sniper rifle. I hope to see more unique things like that for Isorians!
I've already gotten started with painting and ready to get these guys on the table.

Oscar Brownfield:

Yo! I’m Ozzy. I’m the youngest official member of Fresh Coast Gaming. I’m only 10, but I’ve been playing games since I was 4. I have played Warhammer, Bolt Action, X Wing, and more. When my dad asked me if I wanted to play Beyond the Gates of Antares, I was excited. When he told me I had to do all the work myself, I was still exited, but I was a bit nevus because I’m not that good at painting, but I hope to get better thanks to this!

When my dad was listing the armies I made him stop when he explained the Boromites, and I immediately thought of gorons from The Legend of Zelda, and that will inspire my paint scheme. I wanted lots of lava mites because they are cool, so I went with the 500 point Boromite Scout force Warlord had already put together.  It had everything I wanted in it! 

Oscar's inspiration.
My dad and I gave the Drone Integration scenario a shot using our armies instead of the ones in the starter box.  

Oscar and Jeremy played Drone Integration at our last club outing. It was a good introduction to the game, but they both were left a little wanting in terms of playing Gates of Antares. In hindsight, Drone Integration will be a fine demo product to display at the LGS as it plays quickly and does showcase some of the finer aspects of the game, but it is perhaps too simple for experienced gamers.

Their game ended up in a tie since the Ghar were unable to kill all the Concord and the Concord did not hold the transmat. However, the Drone had only 1 order die left with 6 pins on it and all but 2 Concord were dead. The Ghar only suffered one casualty, which makes Jeremy wonder if there was a balance issue. Nevertheless it was a great time, and we are all looking forward to our next games where Jeremy can unleash the full fury of the Ghar!
Oscar runs the Drone Integration scenario with Jeremy.
Be sure to subscribe to the Facebook page, the YouTube channel, and this blog for much more Beyond the Gates of Antares coverage in the next several months!  Stay tuned for some awesome giveaways and special event news as well!


  1. Very cool. Can't wait to see the forces and strategy evolve.

  2. Great job and looking forward to demo Game at our FLGS