Beyond the Gates of Antares, now in its second edition (Antares 2) is a fast-paced game of combat between diverse factions in a future universe. Battles range from small skirmishes between a few squads to much larger conflicts involving drone-tanks and aliens. Some of the factions are descended from humanity as we know it. They are termed PanHumans, some having diverged more than others from the original human norm; other factions are very different, not even closely based on the Antares panhumans! Each faction fights and feels different on the table, as well as having a unique aesthetic and composition. There is no one faction who can guarantee to beat every other, at all points levels.
This page and its links intends to help you decide a faction when you are starting out in Antares. If you are looking for a brief background, then try this introductory article. The best two questions that help deciding your own army are:
- Which models do you like the look of and would love to paint?
- Which army fits best with your own style of play?
Scroll down to find a brief overview of a particular faction and links to its Nexus page. The factions here are:
- the PanHuman Concord;
- the trading Houses of the Freeborn;
- the panhuman and alien Tsan forces of the Isorian Senatex;
- the AI and SD forces of the Algoryn Prosperate;
- the Boromite Clans and Guilds;
- Fartok’s New Ghar Empire;
- Virai Dronescourge;
- The Vorl Ordo.
Concord Combined Command (C3)
The IMTel is never wrong, they say. This, perhaps arrogant, statement sums up the feel of the Panhuman Concord’s C3 forces: stay aloof, use overwhelming firepower, use all the capabilities of the panhumans in the Concord with an abundance of drones and technology. Whilst they have some units who can stand up well in hand-to-hand, the C3’s greatest asset is their ability to strike at range with the most potent weapons in the Antarean universe.
High points costs means the C3 are often outnumbered on a squad-by-squad basis. This means they must take care to use cover, move fast, strike and back off, and not be afraid to use some of the twists in their squads (a lance trooper and spotter drone upgrades in their normal squads is a great asset). Their support drones are more potent than many first realise. At close range, though, the C3 can take a pummelling from many other factions.
The C3 are great for players who like to keep at a distance, perhaps finesse their battle plan. Visually, they have a curved, technological aesthetic that is a huge contrast to the Ghar and extremely attractive.
The Nexus focus: Concord Combined Command
New Ghar Empire
The Ghar are one of the craziest armies around, simply because they break all the rules and impose their own! From Plasma Reactors which might explode on a lucky hit and may wipe out a squad, to their vulnerable Outcasts to the Distort Dice – which forces units Down – everything is different.
In play, the army’s core Ghar battle suits are pretty tough, but not invincible. Their scourer cannons can put out a lot of firepower at close range, but it is the disruptor cannon that are the most deadly. These are able to put lots of pins on units and quickly damage equipment such as drones and probes. Though tough, the saving grace from other forces perspectives is that they are relatively low-tech and few in number – unless they field plenty of Outcasts or veterans from their recent Civil War (won by Fartok 12-40-13 by facing down Karg 12-40-9 on Duret IV).
Ghar are normally outnumbered in order dice as their heavy squads are expensive in points and can be pinned or negated by good or accurate long-range fire. As a result, the Ghar player typically needs to get in fast and hard.
Visually, the Ghar look brutal and bulky, even intimidating. In general, they win big or lose terribly, so are not suited to players who like control or who are tentative or defensive in outlook on-table. They are, however, one of the most fun to play.
The Nexus focus: Fartok’s New Ghar Empire
The Algoryn are forged by war against the Ghar. Even their basic AI squads can cope with many units in the game but their flexibility through specialist units, upgrades and support options helps them survive and overcome: AI Assault Squads can take on Ghar Assault squads and beat them at their own game; AI Infiltrators can pose an annoying threat to many opposition squads; Hazard squads can even resist light and medium drones, as well as take on Ghar.
In play the AI need careful handling and sensible use of their upgrades; in force selection, they need a savvy hand to select the most appropriate weaponry, support options and upgrades – for the latter are advised. However, they are fundamentally tough and have the flexibility to adapt their tactics to exploit the weakness of any enemy.
The AI are great for players who like analysing their opponent and teasing out their weaknesses, adjusting their strategy as necessary. The AI visual aesthetic is often angular, hard and representative of a non-nonsense, war-footing civilisation: they even look tough.
The Nexus focus: The Algoryn Prosperate
The Freeborn are a mix of hi-tech IMTel society, insulated-tech AI and feral fighters from less-advanced worlds they trade with. Whilst not as directly tough as the AI nor as long-range a force as the C3, the Freeborn have access to an incredibly wide range of weaponry and upgrades that means each unit can be different. They have access to some of the C3’s drones and have very good access to support units, but can also make good use of a range of unusual creatures as well as solid, basic, core infantry and terrifying ferals. The flexibility of their command units is second to none.
From a background perspective, the Freeborn are the most flexible and (possibly) interesting as a player can create their own house, with its mores and customs. They certainly suit players who like extrovert forces or fluff, incredible flexibility and tailorability, but also those who like a variety of aliens and a flambouyant visual appeal.
Also included under the Freeborn heading are the Freeborn Adventurer bands – mercenaries to anyone else – and the self-styled Privateers and Salvageers, those itinerant, space-going renegades who hire themselves out to rogue systems and, in their downtime, ‘find’ and recover wrecks of starships.
The Nexus focus: Freeborn
Genetically engineered miners, the Boromite guildsmen are very tough, solid and prone to use much of their mining equipment on the battlefield. Their support choices are excellent and it is a good idea to make maximum use of the opportunity. However, their hand-to-hand and close range capability is excellent and a Boromite commander should not be worried about putting his work gangs up close to an opponent: they are a Concord commander’s nightmare.
Adverse terrain can sometimes pose a problem for the Boromites, and they are not as responsive as other factions, but they are more likely to obey direct orders.
Visually, the Boromite force can look very different as there is plenty of opportunities to use strange, geneered creatures and mining tools, most of which are dangerous on the battelfield, too! They suit a commander who doesn’t mind getting stuck in close, as quickly as possibly, but a bit of finesse is required to support that march forward with the options available.
The Nexus focus: Boromite Clans and Guilds
The original Pan-Human Concord, the Isorian’s broke off (became a separate shard) when they became infected with biosilicon nanospore. As a result, their organic aesthetic is very different and one of the most interesting to be found and they utilise their former alien enemy, the Tsan, in their forces. They are, however, as advanced as the Concord and have access to some unique equipment and capabilities in both weapons, armour and the Tsan Ra aliens.
At range and general feel, they can be compared to the C3, but are ‘sneakier’ in that the infantry can drop (go Down) when targeted, making them difficult to hit. Their snipers, armed with a phase rifle, have a very long range and their drones and heavy equipment are a match for the C3. However, despite the similarities, they need a careful hand at the helm, especially with the Tsan Ra who can be devastating in close combat or when used in support but can be vulnerable if unprotected.
Choose them for their organic visual appeal, potential for posing awkward questions to the opposition and if you like finesse tactics.
The Nexus focus: Isorian Senatex
The Dronescourge are an ancient threat only recently resurfacing due to the Xilos catastrophe. An all-drone ‘race’, they have a tightly hierarchical society governed by a ‘First Instance’ architector drone who delegates areas of responsibility to ‘Second Instances’ it constructs. In turn, Seconds build Tertiary Supervisor architectors and numerous, specialised constructor, warrior and weapon drones to assist them in their task. They distrust biologics, the distrust tending towards paranoia and a view that regards infestations by biological life on their salvaged ship/occupied world/asteroid/stolen orbital as a disease.
The army relies on its architectors, and must have at least one with a proportion of constructor drones, but luckily its constructors come in varying specialities. In it’s own environment – enclosed spaces, mines, starships – it is very effective but against well-equipped, heavy weapons in the open it needs a careful hand. Though forces typically have higher than average order dice, some drone units are brittle and when isolated from their architectors are easy pickings. In play, they often do well in the first few turns, and then fade towards the end, so it is a careful balance of trying to achieve as much as possible at the start and then relying on their close-quarter competence later in the game.
The Nexus Focus: Virai Dronescourge
The utterly alien Vorl have been around Antares for almost as long as panhumans. Their technology as about the same as most of panhumanity, and they have their own nanosphere, but their technology is expressed in different ways to panhumans – such as in their love of suspensor technology. The Vorl are a symbiotic creature, a single person –a zugon – consisting of three creatures: a cephalite head, a torsite middle and an ambulite lower body. They are extremely clan-oriented, and gather together in large conglomerations called nests which then group together to form a multi-system horde, or ordo. Such loyalty means non-Vorl or even Vorl from toher nests are instinctively seen as dangerous, to be wiped out before they threaten the existence of the nest.
Due to the nature of Vorl synthesis effects, the army is incredibly tough early on the game but deteriorates much more quickly than other forces. Whilst it has no weapon teams, as such, the Vorl weapons can combine to give each other more power and longer range. This means a single squad could shoot like a Concord Strike Squad in one turn and then fire a single SV8 shot at long range in the next. This flexibility and deadly capability comes at a cost: the force can be hard to master and relies on Vorl numbers.
The Nexus Focus: Vorl Ordo
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