Beyond the Gates of Antares is a science-fiction tabletop wargame by Rick Priestley.
Antares can be played with as few as 15 figures a side but is typically played with something like 30 to 50 models divided into squads of usually five figures or or weapon teams, normally of three or more models. Bigger games can be played and the game makes provision for larger machines and vehicles, these generally forming units of their own.
To explain just ‘What is Antares’, we asked the author, Rick Priestley (the creator of Warhammer 40,000), to give us an overview.
Rick: “Overall, the game assumes a fair degree of experience and maturity on behalf of the players, which is to say I’ve not aimed to create a beginners game, but I’ve tried to present the rules in a way that makes the game straightforward to get to grips with – especially working with Tim Bancroft on Antares 2. The mechanics are D10 based – which I freely confess I chose because it enabled me to explore mechanical ideas that I’ve previously not had much chance to work on – and this does give the game a quality and character that I’ve certainly come to enjoy. See – it’s never too late to learn is it!
The turn sequencing uses the Bolt Action Order Dice draw mechanic. If you’re not familiar with this think of it as a kind of chit drawing system that randomises which side gets to go next with one unit, which means you can never be exactly sure who gets the next chance to move or shoot. Antares also feature a reaction system that allows troops to make immediate reactions in some cases – and the extends the tactical options well beyond the tradition IGOUGO kind of systems.
Antares 2 Structure
Version 2 of Beyond the Gates of Antares (we call it Antares 2) is now supported on a hobby basis by Tim Bancroft and myself. unfortunately, owing to the pandemic and the worsening world-wide situation, Warlord had to cease development of Antares. Rather than shut it down completely, Tim and I offered to maintain it on a hobby basis and Warlord transferred production to their sister company, Skytrex. The rules themselves are now free downloads (see Rules Central), in four parts, and the lists are likewise freely available (see PDF Lists). As much as we can, we’ll keep these updated and, if possible, even develop them further with community-created models and ideas.
With version 2 (Antares 2) we have provided separate lists for all the factions for which there are ‘official’ models (some factions are so varied you can use almost any models). Each faction has its own army list with a range of troops, drones and vehicles, as well as additional equipment and ammunition types.
There are matched and narrative scenarios included: the ‘matched’ are ideal for straight competitive battles, and the ‘narrative’ are more story driven and, perhaps, a better match with this story-driven set of rules.
Star systems and their planets are linked by an interdimensional portal formed by the giant red star Antares. Antarean gateways connect worlds in space, time and dimensionally – so rather than occupying a portion of our galaxy or segment of space the Antarean universe is held together by interdimensional pathways.
Although the various human and alien factions of Antarean space all use these pathways, the original constructors of this vast, multi-dimensional engine vanished many long ages ago, leaving the ruins of their civilisation for future explorers to puzzle over. Even their name is a mystery, and the human species of Antarean space call them simply The Gatebuilders. Much of the advanced technology of Antarean space results from the exploration and exploitation of these ancient secrets, and searching for, fighting over, and controlling the remnants of Gatebuilder civilisation is just one of the things that keeps our armies busy.
I say human species – plural – because Antarean space is full of human-descendants or ‘morphs’. Some have evolved rapidly as a result of extreme environmental pressure, such as the tough, war-like Algoryn. Others have been engineered to survive in space or in harsh environments, such as the Boromites and the cloned warrior race called the Ghar. There is at least one purely artificial species, the Virai, who do not get on with any biological life-form at all…
These are all factions within the game, and as well as distinctive in appearance they also have their strengths and weaknesses as fighting forces, different kinds of supporting equipment, and various levels of technical accomplishment.
The rules are split into four main rulebooks, the last of which – The Universe – has a substantial background on the history of Antarean space as understood by its human inhabitants, and a description of the main players in our unfolding drama, details of the main species… it’s packed, really!
The game was created with exploration and development at the forefront of the design, and I’ve kicked that off with the start of what is intended to be an expanding narrative. Since its first launch, it has alread been shaped by games days, campaigns, player-run campaigns and the idea is that our universe will continue to evolve in such a fashion through a series of campaigns and back stories.
It is an evolving universe!”
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