My interest in Beyond the Gates of Antares was originally peaked by a podcast interview by the D6 Generation back in Dec 2015 with Rick Priestley. Back then Rick had the idea of trying to Kickstarter a company, which ultimately failed, but did lead him to the doors of Warlord Games: fast-forward to 2017 and Antares seems to be in pretty good health under their banner.
I owe much of my teenage gaming years to Rick’s work on the original Warhammer 40k Rogue Trader, so I was more than happy to show some moral support by buying a few Antares products: I picked up the Kar’A Nine mini-starter set back in April this year while I was at Salute and it has sat unbuilt until now.
Interestingly, the Kara’A Nine set is very similar conceptually to GW’s new min-starter sets for 8th edition 40k like First Strike or Know No Fear. For those that aren’t familiar with Antares, in a nutshell:
- Antares is a sci-fi skirmish game in the mould of the original Rogue Trader – most likely you will have a couple of squads of infantry to a side and the odd tank.
- It uses a dice bag/order activation mechanic taken from Bolt Action.
- Another key mechanic is that taking enemy fire results in pins which degrade shooting/melee/morale checks.
- The core mechanics are based around d10 rolls rather than d6.
- Aesthetically, this is far future sci-fi, but more ‘hard sci-fi’ rather than ‘grim-dark/gothic’. I think it is very reminiscent of the Mass Effect computer game.
- In terms of the rules complexity, I think you have something between WH40k 7th edition and 8th edition – the design of Antares is certainly cleaner, more modern and innovative than WH40k 7th ed, but 8th edition is definitely much simpler and cleaner still.
The sculpts of the Concord and Algorians are pretty clean line in style and look spartan compared to some of the modern GW releases (looking at you Plague Marines) – you might call them bland if you are being unkind:
The Concord are definitely the ‘Space Marines’ of Antares universe with the widest product support and the most generic look & feel. The Algorians are very similar with a slightly more post-human look. Of all the factions available currently, the Ghar battle suits appear most, but I wanted to only invest in a small set and test our the rules to see how it plays before investing in a big army. The big problem with Antares at the moment is that very little is in plastic other then the most basic troopers so it isn’t as if it is a cheap game to get into compared with 40k: you will by buying a lot of expensive metal.
My paint jobs were very quick & dirty so really not my best work, but I want to have everything painted to a tabletop standard for a few learner games at HATE Club next month.