Scout probes are common to many factions in the Antares universe, so we have produced a single article to help with them all.
In general, probes are small hovering unarmed drones surrounded by a cloud of nanospore. They are simple machines with limited and specific intelligence – by Antarean standards, that is. Many exude nanospore (nanobots) that feed information back to the unit’s combat shard, as well as using whatever types of communication is possible (given much of what we consider advanced communication methods would be blocked in an Antarean battlefield).
Probes like scouts and targeters tend to operate in shards – independent groups of drones that scour the battlefield and carry out their assigned roles. A typical shard consists of four or more probes but only a single shard of each type of probe can be used – though more probes can be bought at higher FLs (check the army list). For most purposes each model (a scout probe) in the shard is treated as a unit in its own right, but the entire shard contributes only one order dice to the dice bag.
Probes normally have a Res of 5 and a move (M) of 10″, able to Run at double that distance, though they may not sprint. Being shards, they cannot receive some order dice due to events as they can only be given a Run order. Probes are nimble, so also bob out of the way of units trying to attack them hand-to-hand, so cannot be engaged in an Assault. Further, models in a sharded unit normally have to be targeted individually unless they are attached to an enemy unit or are within 1″ of each other.
Tip: It is worth checking a scenario before playing, as some scenarios and environments block the activities of particular probes.
The Role of Scout Probes
A scout probe is a spotter drone operating as part of a probe shard rather than as a buddy drone. Like targeters, scout probes are fast, zooming across the battlefield on their suspensor beds and completely ignoring most terrain. Their purpose is to draw lines of sight onto enemy units to enable both overhead fire and to enable spotter-equipped units to fire on those who would otherwise be protected by a camo drone.
Both functions use an approach called ‘patch sighting’. This is limited in range to 20″, but it means that if a unit within 20″ of a scout probe has its own spotter, it can use the scout probe’s line of sight for overhead (OH) patch sighting or its sensors for camo-drone concealed unit patch sighting. For OH shooting, this means that support weaponry can hide behind terrain features; for spotting camouflaged units, it means the enemy unit can be targeted from beyond 10″ .
Scout probes are more expensive than targeters simply due to their flexibility: they merely have to draw a line of sight to a target or be 10″ from it to be useful. In an army with a great many support weapons, or against a force (like the Algoryn) who uses infiltrators and camo drones, they can be very useful.
The Concord, Isorian and Algoryn all have their own style scout probes. Whilst other factions have probes that resemble their normal style, Boromites go their own way and use their own, unique style of scout probes mounted on general-purpose suspensor rings (which is, in many ways, very Boromite!) and Freeborn use any scout probe they can turn to their own use – sometimes even retrofitting scout functionality into unused buddy or probe carcasses.