‘5’ is not the same as ‘2+2+1’

When taking up any new game, we all bring with us interpretations and protocols that have been established in previous rules – especially BtGoA v1 – and we tend to apply them for a while to the new rules. Antares 2 is likely to be no exception: important ‘gotchas’ will be missed which might affect game play. Such gotchas are not strictly FAQs, mainly because no-one asks the question but just assumes on a way of doing things and, as both rules writers and players, we have to be aware that everyone brings their own, unavoidable pre-conceptions and background to an interpretation of the rules. However, inadvertent errors easily slip in that can make a big difference to the way the game is played and often make the different between a win and a loss.

In this article we’ll go through a few of the more common ‘gotchas’: it’s a sort of pre-FAQ FAQ.

Hitting models you see means just that

In some rules, if you can see a few models, then any hits applied to their unit are applied to the whole unit. This is not so with direct fire in Antares 2. If three models in a five-figure unit are behind blocking terrain or behind objects or terrain that LoS cannot be drawn through, then no matter how many hits you score with your direct-fire weapons, they can only be allocated to the two models that can be seen. What’s different in Anatres 2 is that if there are a bunch of models partially obscuring each other it doesn’t matter as the rules assume they were being shot at as they move around slightly: all that does matter is whether or not LoS can be drawn to models in the unit and that those models are not behind LoS blocking terrain.

Overhead weapon templates and markers are different. Other than the fact that OH shots ignore cover bonuses to Res and should be worked out first, using the blast template to see if the unit is hit, and then allocating those blast hits are allocated to any viable models in the unit (remembering that only one Lucky Hit can be allocated to equipment or buddies – barring Ghar disruptor weapons, of course).

Using an AI or Domari squad’s micro-X launcher in blast mode along with the mag weapons means that those models hiding behind a building can’t escape!

Cover is not Concelment

In Antares 2, cover bonuses to Res are different to shooting penalties to Acc. The idfea is one stressed in the military: cover is not concealment.

Concealment gives those shooting against a unit a -2 penalty to Acc, even if the unit is defending an obstacle against those shooting. This is entirely independent of teh cover bonus of teh terrain: the concealment might come from lots fo leaves or spore or dust motes, all of which offer no cover at all.

Cover comes from the physical defences of what a unit hides behind. So, being behind a defended obstacle grants a cover bonus due to that obstacle (typically +1 for wood, +2 for stone, and +3 for fortificaitons) but note that the cover bonus could be +0: the terrain merely offers concealment. Similarly, within a wood, a cover bonus of +1 is gained from the trees; within a large boulder field, +2 Res from the rocks. However, within tall crops, the cover bonus may be +0 but concealment (Acc -2 penalty) may still be gained – and the target unit might suffer the same penalty if shooting out!

5 is not the same as 2+2+1

Imagine your carbines inflict five hits on three models, none of them a lucky hit. The defender quickly grabs five dice and makes a Res roll, failing on two and succeeding on three. Are all three safe? Is one killed? Or are two killed? What happens?

Nothing happens as they’d have to reroll. Those two fails could have occurred on the same figure or they may have occurred on two different figures. You could roll yet another 50/50 dice to check, but it would have been easier to just roll dice for each model hit: 2 dice for one, 2 dice for the next and 1 dice for the last.

The issue is made even more critical if a models are affected by special rules with rerolls such as Tough, Monitor or Medic. Whilst Medic and Monitor allow a reroll on anyone in the unit (or radius of effect for a Medic), Tough only allows that model a reroll (or 2 or 3). This means an attacker really needs to know which hits are on the Tough model and which are not, and how many hits were failed on each, individual model.

In practice, saves are made pretty quickly, very often witha  different dice for each target hit. Sometimes, though, the SV of the shooting weapon makes a difference, too, so a different coloured dice (or a different roll) is also useful.

An interesting facet of Antares 2 is that blast and OH blast hits are allocated at the same time as any other hit.

Hits can all be different

In contrast to some other rules, if a model with a particular weapon or attribute is hit and lost, then the weapon is lost. It means that lucky hits have quite a lot of value even against ordinary squads: a hit can take out the plasma lance in a C3 squad or can take out the micro-X in an AI squad.

Break Tests

Gotchas here are legacies of Bolt Action in situations which work differently in Antares. There are only a few times a squad has to make a Break Test: when told to by a Damage Chart result; when a squad is shot at and hit and suffers half casualties or more and each time it suffers a casualty after that; and if defeated or drawing in HtH combat.

In most cases, a Break Test is taken when the current action is completed (the exception is during point blank shooting, which may force a charger Down or to break, or may force a defender to do likewise before contact is made).

This is different to BtGoA v1. Further, there is no automatic break on a ’10’ and no special removal of a pin on a 1: a Break Test is either pass or fail.

Failing a Break Test doesn’t always mean the unit is lost

No? Absolutely. A unit is only automatically destroyed if it fails and has less than half its models left. If it hasn’t reached that critical number, it goes Down, instead.

Have fun!

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