Even though a fairly new Antares player (4 months by now if I am not mistaken), but a guy who will get excited over just about anything Wargaming, I was more than glad when the news about possible Antares Day (second this year) reached me via the grapevine. With date confirmed, army selected (not that I had much choice) I was just trying to do my best to make sure everything on my side will be done on time.
Antares Day is a faction league type of event that lets the players play through a narrative one-day event; there is no winner and no prize to play for – but the faction results in this event will have impact on the development of the game lore.
Preparation and planning
There were three of us going – Rudi, Greg and me. As far as preparation goes, we had look on the mission pack, quickly run missions 1 and 2 and decided that this is going to really be fun and left it at that. Until I got the grand idea “What if we have matching outfits”. As this has been unanimously agreed upon, we have started with commissioning our shirt logo design – a painstaking 4-week process during which the official logo of Pressburg Shard has been born.
The initial plan for the trip was simple. We arrive Thursday late evening, sleep over, we spend the Friday in Warhammer World where we try to catch a table to play Kill Team on, shop a little and then head back to bed with short stop at Ye Olde Trip To Jerusalem to grab few pints with other players who are already in town and with Tim Bancroft (Antares Coordinator at Warlord Games and hands-down greatest guy ever).
This plan however went south pretty quick since as we were already considering buying into Black Seas, Greg took initiative and asked Tim (Da Man!) whether it would be possible to arrange maybe a play demo at Warlord HQ on Friday. Tim “The Man!” Bancroft went above and beyond (pun maybe intended?) and actually arranged us a playdate with Gabrio Tolentino, the writer of Black Seas.
Further, as due to some local council shenanigans time was short for event preparation, we offered our sickly corporate hands not used to hard labour to help with preparation of tables and event space. This was accepted with thanks and after many a trip up and down the stairs, with loads of boxes filled by awesome terrain that has been brought in a van by Tim Bancroft the tables have been prepared. Hats off to Tim (again!) for preparing 12 individual and unique tables that not only had written fluff to place them on the planetary map of the system the event has been taking place in, but as well preparing table-specific terrain charts and features with special rules. All of those were printed and prepared at each table (of course they were, it’s Tim we’re talking about here. Come on.)
The Ghost of Yu Hamnu – Antares Day 2
Consternation grows around Antares as the events of Xilos causes gates to become unstable. There may well be
more than five million gates but more gates are now closing than are being created, causing fears of a new dark age. Is the Antares nexus about to collapse, again? Once more, the Isori are given the blame after using their
chronophasic device in an attempt to resolve the Xilos disaster, but blame is not enough…
In three systems in the Determinate, ancient, dormant technology in widespread archaeological sites springs to
life. Whilst it is doubtful the technology is of Builder origin, it appears to be sufficiently advanced to be able to
partially predict gate activity: at least, it seems to indicate the direction in which a closure is about to occur.
Gaining control of a number of these devices and repositioning them could locate an imminent collapse. But there is no clear user interface to the technology and, even more mysteriously, what are thought to be status
indicators occasionally flash up two words in the Concord alphabet: ‘Yu Hamnu’.
Concord NuHu Ambassador Yu Hamnu disappeared on Xilos: has she really survived the Xilos Catastrophe? Is she
somehow safe behind the Xilos time-locks? Has she activated the ancient technology or is she just using it to
communicate what she alone can see at the heart of Xilos? Most importantly, does this mean Yu Hamnu can stall the collapse using the ancient machines?
There are far too many questions, but all shape the future of Antares. Whether preventing a collapse or predicting gate closures, the artefacts are suddenly of immense importance to all the people of Antares. The race to control the future is on!Antares Day 2 Player’s pack by Tim Bancroft
In gaming terms, Antares Day 2 was a one-day event with three games being played, following the narrative of a force trying to retrieve and escape the planet with artefacts. Game 1 was to be played with equal forces of 600PLUS selector (more below), Game 2 was with disparate army sizes (chaser with 600 PLUS, hunted with 600) and Game 3 with equal forces again, but this time only 600.
Army list were per Exploration Force Army selector up to 600 points and then each army had a PLUS option – either 1x Support or Strategic unit (any points) or 1-2 Tactical units totalling 350 points. Apparently, there has been mixed approach amongst the players who either relied on brute force of pimped out MOD2/3 units, or went the other way with more Tactical choices for board control. My list was as follows:
- AI Squad, Leader with pistol, 3 Mag Carbines, Micro-X; Slignet + Overload
- AI Squad, Leader with pistol, 3 Mag Carbines, Micro-X; Slignet + Overload, Spotter Drone
- AI Squad, Leader with pistol, 3 Mag Carbines, Micro-X; Slignet + Overload, Spotter Drone
- X-Launcher support team, 2 bodies, Net + Scoot, Spotter Drone
- Avenger Attack Skimmer, HL Boosters, Mag Cannon, Spotter Drone
- PLUS = Liberator Combat Skimmer X06 Plasma Destroyer, 2x Plasma Light support, 2 Spotter Drones, 2 Batter Drones, 2 Shield Drones, Self Repair
Following are the short reports of the three battles – I apologise profusely in advance for not remembering my opponents names by now.
Game 1 was called Identify and Recover. The goal was to race to the middle of the board where 5 blind objectives were aligned 12″ apart on the centre line (long edge). When issued order next to blind objective and then passing successful INI test, player was allowed to roll a D10. 6+ meant successful artefact find, 1-5 meant bust. There were guaranteed 3 artefacts on the table, even if the first digs were bust, the remaining then had to be artefacts.
My opponent for Round 1 played C3 (as will be quite the recurring theme due to having 12 C3 players in the event) and had solid troop force with drone support. His PLUS choice – as this has been PLUS vs PLUS battle had been C3M4 Combat Drone with plasma cannon, but no extras.
Being seriously outmatched on Infantry numbers (as only Infantry could carry artefacts on the table), I have decided to push my two skimmers to the middle of the table for threat range maximization and see whether they can whittle down my opponent’s forces while my infantry stays at back looking for opportunity.
C3M4 has decided to not pick up the gauntlet thrown by my X06 and skirted left, forcing me to redirect my Avenger to face it. Having taken heavy shots, my Avenger has been immobilized, but with valiant effort the gunner managed to pop one very good shot into the hull of the C3M4 and explode the enemy tank before it could inflict heavy damage. About the same time as my Avenger was hit, enemy infantry finally started pushing up aggressively and it seemed that not even the 2 batters on my X06 will be enough and I will soon be encircled – as my infantry units were either hiding away from the C3M4 light plasma on the left flank, or decided to not cross the jungle hedge after all and rather huddle down for a nice cup of tea. Luckily the C3 Lances had trouble hitting and when they hit I was lucky enough to save, the only hit did nothing more than to inflict few pins which were promptly shed off. As the game reached Turn 5 the Algoryn dominance has been established and the artefact sites identified by elimination. With two artefacts on the way off the table a bloody battle had taken place over the last one, the valiant C3 survivors hell-bent on denying the Algoryn the full victory. Unfortunately as there were no more threats and targets on the left flank, the X06 was able to turn its undivided attention to the last artefact site and supress the C3 troops with many plasma shots.
The day was won for the Algoryn, scoring 3 out of 3 artefacts. This likely meant that in the next scenario, I will be the hunted. The only other Algoryn player at the event passed with flying colours as well, so the Prosperate faction was well off!
Game 2 was scenario called The Chase. As the title suggests, whichever player had more artefacts in their posession was being chased across the board by their opponent. While the escaping force was limited to 600pts, the chaser had the availability of the full 600 PLUS force. Another heavy infantry C3 force against me, but taking stock of the table, terrain placement and deployment layout, I was fairly optimistic. I have dropped my three infantry units as close to the middle of the table as possible, with 36″ to go to the short exit edge and formed a rear guard from my X-Launcher and Avenger. The plan was easy – run like a wind with the encumbered squads (no sprint possible with artefact) while sacrificing the Avenger and the X-Launcher to the enemy, best case blocking some movement and simply counting on the opponent to not be willing leaving such things in his back.
C3 did answer the call and started flooding the board with loads and loads of infantry and drones including his subverter matrix. How happy I was seeing that most of my units were just out of the matrix range, content I have chance to outrun it. Next dice? C3. Subverter moves up, covering lot of ground giving me no option but to abbandon the plan of blockading with my Avenger to deal with it.
Algoryn dice. Testing for subverter. 1! Great! Advance up around the Subverter Batter template, fire the mag cannon. Hit. No Save. 6 and 9 on the Massive damage rolls. With the Subverter drone gone, quite some headstart on my artefact carriers and the Avenger still participating in the mexican standoff on the bottom of the board, I was feeling very, very confident about the smooth win.
Until the moment when in T4 two of my AI squads decided to take another tea break 5″ from the table edge, refusing to be roused back to action even on their recovery test end of turn.
End of T5 I had one unit off the table, one unit back in action for next round and the first squad who managed to actually loot the extra possible artefact for this scenario (thus carrying two total) hunkered DOWN still awating the inevitable C3 charge coming in next round.
Although surviving the combat and not breaking, they run out of time to exit the table and thus the game ended with worse result than expected, but still solid score of two artefacts saved.
Game 3 brought a scenario called Escape to Victory. Quite straightforward affair – you run up with any artefacts you secured in Game 2, so does your opponent. There are three transmats positioned on the centre (long) line, a rally order when within 1″of the transmat safely transports the unit and artefact up to orbit – artefact secured.
It should not surprise you at this point that it was another game against C3. Three infantry squads, C3T7 transport and targeter shard. Two infantry squads loaded into the T7.
The twist of the scenario came from random deployment. Each deploying unit had a D6 rolled for, designating which 1′ sector it will deploy in. 1 was always the leftmost, 6 rightmost.
Dice were good to me again, throwing most of C3 units to the left side of the table, leaving my 2 infantry squads (one carrying artefact) fairly uncontested against only targeter shard opposition. One of C3 squads was vectoring for intercept, but unfortunately my Avenger proved to be MVP of the whole day after hitting, penetrating and blowing up the enemy T7 with its first order second order die. Even though the two embarked troops disembarked with loss of only one body, they were then constantly pumelled into submission by my X-Launcher blasts. C3 did not give up however and made very brave (albeit suicidal) push towards my units and forced me to reconsider my reckless approach to the tactics of my left wings.
However, due to the devastating and decisive strike from the Avenger in T1 and then very precise fire of the X-Launcher team, end of T4 there was really nothing to play for for C3 and with honor restored with reckless pushes, C3 decided to agree on cease-fire and evacuate the remaining troops. The Algoryn agreed to the proposal, seeing no reason in depleting their resources even further – especially hearing the reports of Ghar taking foothold in the system. With two arfefacts retrieved at the end of the day, it was time to congratulate myself on job well done.
Unfortunately the other Algoryn army did not fare that well – loosing to Rudi actually if I am not mistaken. This meant that Algoryn went a bit down on the faction ladder.
After last game, tables were put away, terrain stored and tales of great victories exchanged. As part of the organized play support test we got sneak peak on possible awards for next years organized play tokens – golden order dice! The best painted model in competition and player army as well as most effective player overall has been awarded and it was time to go spend some (A LOT) money at the store.
I have to say – the whole trip and the game day was a lot of fun. It was nice to play in event where individual wins did not matter, where the ruleset, the spirit of the event and the players themselves encourage camaraderie and having a good game over the need to win (yes, I know that blowing up the Transport was not cool 😦 ). It was a day filled with three awesome and great games on thematic tables, immersing myself into the combat and the action on the table. It was great opportunity to play against people I have not known or met before except the passing mention of their names on my Facebook page – and thus playing against people who come from different “meta”. Seeing how they think and play the game differently to what I am used to here.
The last but not least remark – and this one does deserve it’s own paragraph – is a huge thanks to Tim Bancroft. Tim has guided us/me towards this event from the beggining, was integral part when vetoing and preparing the shirt design. Proved great host arranging for us the demo game and – most important of all – run well prepared event that went above and beyond (yes, I did it again) of the standard event preparation. Everything has been thought of, has been provided and altogether it was Awesome.