Wow. What an amazing few days.
I was lucky enough to be invited to spend a few days with Warlord Games playing Beyond the Gates of Antares, and along with Sam Phillips, Jez Allum and Matt Houghton we were treating to be seeing some of the incredible new models that are due to be released very soon. Absolutely none of which I can talk about other than to say woooooooooooow, you are in for a treat. The book especially is shaping up to be something really special, and there is just so much character in all the models.
After a horrendous journey courtesy of rain that was obviously trying to do a (successful) impression of the Atlantic ocean, and hideous volume of traffic on every single motorway between Kent and Nottingham we unpacked our models for a photo shoot, and whilst the camera wizardry was occurring we played a small game, with Sam and I using the Boromites, and Jez and Matt fielding the Algoryn. We used forces comprising of 2 squads, a support weapon and a command squad, with the objective of taking a central point and then holding this until the 4th turn.
The game was quick and bloody, with troops from both sides being cut to pieces in close range fire fights (A mechanic in the game that allows units at shortish range to fire on one another simultaneously if the targeted unit wishes, and has not activated that turn). Our Boromites got off to a great start, pushing some accurate and powerful fire, whilst weathering the hail of return fire, and although we managed to get to the objective point, a swift and sneaky counter attack from the Algoryn mixed with a failed orders check led to our control of the point being contested, and the game ended in a draw.
A short break for lunch, and we were back in the car again and heading to a mystery visit, which turned out to be Rick Priestly legendary gaming barn! This was a truly mind blowing experience, to be picking the brains of gaming royalty and drinking his coffee whilst setting up our second game of the day. My thanks to Rick for welcoming us to his home, and the innumerable brews we got through.
The next game we played as a team game, with Sam and I again teaming up against the dastardly Algoryns of Jez and Matt. This time however Sam and I were using the Concord, with each side having a total of 14 order dice, including Matt's fantastic home made tank, and I was using a squad of Drop Troops and the Nu-Hu reviewed here.
The game ran for 5 turns, with our forces fighting over 5 key objectives to seize control of the area from the enemy. My Concord were opposing Matt's Algoryn and his tank was slightly scary, I was eventually able to get some damage on it, but not enough and I had to be quite careful in my movement. We had a lot of close range fighting around a housing settlement, with my Nu-Hu gliding through and flattening everything he looked at.
My drop troops tried to make a quick shift accross the board at the start of the game, and got punished for it, however I've learned a bit about using them tactically and can't wait to use them again. Ultimately the Algoryn were able to hold one more objective than us, but it was a close game that could have gone either way comfortably.
Unit of the match has to be our targetter probes, these little treasures marked the Algoryn units and let us really punish anything silly enough to walk into range and site. The game took around 3 hours to play, even with so much stopping to chat and eat cake, the feel of the rules was intuitive and the differences between Beta and release were subtle enough that we all managed to jump straight in and have start messing each other up.
After the game it was off for dinner and beers, and again thanks to John Stallard for his hospitality, and wonderful of nostalgia in his treasure cave.
The following day we spent our time making terrain using a variety of bits boxes, plastic cutlery and anything else not nailed down. Our creations will be in an upcoming Warlord news letter once they are painted, but it went to show how much can be done in a short time with a bit of imagination. A quick chat with Wotjek, lunch and a shopping expedition and it was reluctantly time for the long drive home.
I'd like to express my deepest thanks to Warlord for their kindness and hopsitality, and hope we can all get together again soon for some more games and cake, and I'd like to thank Jez for letting me use some of his photos. I really urge people to have a look at the Warlord Games website and sign up for the Beyond the Gates of Antares news letter, and also to check out the Facebook group. And as ever, you can always find my work or contact me through Volley Fire Painting Service