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Gates of Antares beginner

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This topic contains 10 replies, has 2 voices, and was last updated by  thedace 5 months, 2 weeks ago.

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    My friend has recently asked me if I would like to start playing Gates of Antares.

    Having recently played a few Warlord games such as Blood Red Skies, Cruel Seas and Test of Honor and loving them, I have decided to take him up on his offer.

    Now, I really like the look of the Virai.

    Warlord currently have a sale on some Antares things

    I was hoping to get some help off you guys/girls on which Virai to get for a small starter force. Preferably from the above sales page (as i’m tight)

    Any help with this would be greatly appreciated.



    Probably the best start would be to build a force based on the Virai starter army here

    Virai Army Starter Swarm

    Which contains the following:

    1x Virai Dronescourge – First Instance
    1x Virai Dronescourge – Defender Squad
    1x Virai Dronescourge – Weapon drone with flamer array
    1x Virai Dronescourge – Secondary Instance command
    2x Virai Dronescourge – Constructor squads
    1x Virai Dronescourge – Virai STAA probe shard
    1x Virai Dronescourge – Tertiary Instance
    1x Virai Dronescourge – Scavenger squad

    The ONLY thing on this list that’s not being offered on sale is the Scavenger Squad and the Tertiary instance. But with it being 50% off you could perhaps look to get a Weapon Drone with Mag Light Support weapon. Do note however the Virai are a very “up in your face” army, and like the Ghar not the easiest army to begin with. For a first force for BtGoA I’d normally suggest either Freeborn or Algoryn (the metals for these armies are great, but the Algoryn Hazard Armour is again a bit tricky to use).

    But at the moment the sale only really has the rank and file troops available for the Virai at the moment. But I see from the last newletter that more offers are coming Friday (so not sure if there’s going to be more kits available on the 50% off sale), so it might be an idea to wait until tomorrow before ordering.

    BUT the game is great (especially if you played and loved Rogue Trader back in the day). There’s also 4 or 5 campaign supplements out for it, and the army lists are a free PDF download (however the one for the Virai isn’t out yet, so you need the latest campaign book to access the army list for now….but it WILL be coming).

    PS also nearly all the chat and news about the game is on the facebook page (rather on Warlords own forum), not sure why (it just seemed to “evolve” that way). So it might be a good idea to join the group and see what assistance they can offer you 😀


    • This reply was modified 5 months, 3 weeks ago by  phaidknott.


    Thanks for the great reply.

    My friend was good enough to give me a starter force of Concord and we were going to try a few of the starter scenarios to learn the game.

    I wanted the Virai for when I know the game a little bit better, as you and my friend suggest they are not the easiest novice army. They are my favorite looking models though and I though I would take advantage of the 50% off.

    Have you played much of the game? Who would be your favorite faction?

    I look forward to checking out the FB group and getting into this game.




    Hmm probably the Freeborn (followed by the Algoryn), they also match up VERY well for some balanced games.

    Yup….. played a fair bit. The “trick” to a good game is the table itself. As the ranges are massive compared to games like 40K, you can pretty much shoot across the table. So you need to set up lots of terrain to block LoS and to encourage players to move (and not just sit on the closest cover to the baseline). So you’ll need LOTS of terrain (a particular thing with BtGoA is to use the most brightly coloured garish plastic aquarium plant you can find…think 70s sci-fi films and TV series for your inspiration) compared to what you may be used to when playing 40K.

    The narrative campaign books are great, and I’d also recommend getting a copy of the book “Markov’s Prize” (nothing like reading a good book on the subject to get you all inspired to get stuff done on the painting table). The other two books are collections of short stories.

    Markov's Prize Book

    I’ve actually ended up getting ALL the factions, the only “gripe” is with Isorians (the rules for their armour is a bit game winning to the point of cheating), you CAN beat them but it takes more than a few games to work out how. Unit’s that can spoil the game a bit are Boromite Lavamites, Algoryn Hazard Suits, Rebel Ghar Weapon teams and Isorian snipers (you can still take them, but don’t go all “min max” and spam them). It sometimes takes a bit of self restraint in building armies for everyone involved to get some GREAT games going.

    I’d also recommend not using Isorians or Imperial Ghar in your first few games, again these are both tricky to use (or beat if you are facing them). I’d say both of these armies (along with the Virai) are “advanced” armies to delve into once you know the rules off by heart and are confident in fielding the more normal armies.

    But BoGoA can turn into a dangerous addiction. The rules (along with using D10s instead of D6s) allow a bit more fidelity compared to Bolt Action (actually other than using the dice draw mechanic for unit activation, the rule aren’t that similar to BA). The miniatures might at first seem a bit “old school”, but the game feels very Rogue Trader in layout (rules for nasty aliens lifeforms that might attack anyone appearing), Terrain that might just eat you, and some RP elements in the campaigns. I’d say its probably not the best set if you are all into Tourney gaming, but if you enjoy a more casual game and having a laugh…it’s definitely one to get.

    But be warned, I only intended to get two armies at the start…but I’ve now got all eight armies with about 20 units/dice in each force. The minis and warlord sales are just too tempting 😀



    • This reply was modified 5 months, 3 weeks ago by  phaidknott.


    Well no new Antaries goodies appearing today in the sale (although there’s some limited 50% off Bolt Action stuff today if anyone’s interested).

    Another “cheap” start would be to try with some Freeborn in the current sale.

    There “Domari” are 50% off (so that’s £10 for 16 models), now Warlord also sell metal Mag Guns separately for conversions

    Freeborn Mag Gun & Plasma Pistol Sprue

    So a lot of people have been using the Frostgrave Barbarian set to make the Feral troop squads (see below)

    So those purchases with an X Launcher weapon team (your first purchase for any BtGoA army for a weapon team should always be an X Launcher if available). So a couple of boxes of Domari and a box of the Frostgrave Barbarians (plus the mag guns from Warlord) would give anyone a fine starter army for a freeborn force.

    I must admit tho that I much prefer the metal Domari from Warlord (I think that set has the best sculpts in the range), but some people prefer the plastic for doing conversions.

    But looking at the current sale I think there’s only the options of Concord, Freeborn and Virai for trying to build an army from the items on offer (most of the other armies rank and file troops aren’t included).






    I have ordered just that from Warlord. Plus Amano Harran (£2.50 for a great looking model)

    £30 odd for a starter army, not too bad at all.

    Also in a weird stroke of luck, I already have a set of Frostgrave Barbarians 🙂

    You advice has been invaluable, thanks for taking the time to advise.



    Good to hear.

    As your mate gave you some Concord, you can also use them to expand on your new Freeborn Army. You have the choice to upgrade one of your command squads to use HL armour that the Concord Strike troopers use (it’s a max size of 5 men, and many Freeborn players just use some of the spare heads left over from the plastic Domari squads to help differentiate them from Concord troopers). PLUS you can also use one of the weapon drones as a support option for your army (with a subverter matrix).

    So you’ve already got a bigger army forming 🙂

    One tip for the Amano Harran figure is that I personally found the pose to be a bit off. So I did a small conversion of sawing almost through the right arm from underneath the shoulder to repose the arm so that it looks to be at the right angle for Amano to be taking aim. Then I carefully sawed the head of and put it back turned so that it looks like he’s aiming down the pistol sights. It made the figure look a lot better in my opinion, but the only issue was the ornate headpiece now looked a bit weird, so I had to leave it off. But of course you could always leave the figure alone to show off all it’s finery.

    After this, your first purchase should be an X Launcher (or two), these are pretty essential in dealing with some of the advanced armies (like Ghar and Isorians) by using the specialised ammo (scoot, net etc).

    BTW the freeborn army lists are available for download at the Antares Nexus here…

    PDF Army Lists

    Good luck and I hope you enjoy the game with your mate (btw what army will he be using, I might be able to give you a tip or two)?






    • This reply was modified 5 months, 3 weeks ago by  phaidknott.


    I found my Barbarian models and I only have 5 lol (I think I got them as part of a Nickstarter) So one for model for a leader is needed.

    I was considering modifying this from Bad Squiddo!/Thorrun-Shieldmaiden-Champion/p/76693089/category=21735084

    Great idea with the HL armor for the Command squad, I will defiantly  do that.

    My friend has a small Ghar force and a larger Concord force.

    I have started to read through the rules over the last few days. It’s quite a large rule set but i’ve been reading a bit then watching a battle report / demo game then back to the rules. Sometimes it helps to see them being played. I loved watching the Battle report between John and Justin from a few years back.

    I have downloaded the updated army lists, this is handy because there are a few changes from the older rulebook that I have.

    I do have a question, Where would the rules for Amano Harran be? As I cant seem to find them.




    The rules for Amano Harran are in the first campaign book “The Battle for Xilos”, but as ever they are also available online at the Nexus (just remember to hit the “Tags” side menu to navigate, I keep forgetting to do that (use the Tag “Character” in this case).


    Fighting Ghar, you’ll have a problem without an X Launcher or two. The normal tactic is to pin/suppress the battlesuits until they no longer pass order die or even if they do, shoot very well. Absolutely no point taking along any drones/buddy drones as the Ghar’s Disruptor weapons rules will just strip away any that you take (although sometimes they make a useful hit sink, just be aware of the points you are spending on your buddy drone vs the cost of an individual model in the unit).

    Concord are very “shooty” and the HL armour means that explosive/blast type weapons aren’t as effective (ie X launcher/howitzer “normal” rounds, BUT more importantly Micro X Launchers (which are your squad support weapons)). So you might want to forgo using them vs Concord and use mag weapons instead. You’ll want to try and get into melee if you can, but those dastardly Plasma Carbines get to shoot twice (basically you can’t engage in a standup firefight with them).

    With Freeborn, your armies “thing” is usually you’ll outnumber your enemy. So the “Ferals” are always playing into that strength (plus if you use Suma Grafts and a Hound buddyprobe they become unbreakable and fight to the last man (most of the time)). Another “cannon fodder” unit are the “Misgenic Rejects” (Now I loath the official models for these and use the Mantic Scifi Zombie models instead), they do use up one of your all important “Auxiliary” army slots, but at 5 pts a model are the cheapest unit to buy (I made my unit over 10 models and tend to use it as a “use up the last points in your list” unit.

    Freeborn are like the Merchant Princes of Venice in the fluff, they employ large amounts of Mercenaries and don’t really care if they live or die. Any problems they shrewdly throw money at (but the most successful Freeborn Houses only throw just enough money at the problem).

    Domari and Vardanari are your “standard” troops and although a bit more expensive also can be useful (the Vardanari are not far off Concord Strike troopers in equipment).

    But the “downside” to Freeborn is that they don’t have a reliable way of dealing with high armour units with their available options for squad support weapons (although they excel at taking out low armoured units). So you’ll need some of the Weapon Teams (they are on sale atm), Mag Light Support and Mag Cannons are always useful (pity the X Launchers aren’t on sale, but “if” I was going to restrict myself to only buying the Sale items I’d go for a couple of Mag Light Supports….which are pretty useful against Concord Strike Troopers HL Armour). It’s a pity your friend has picked the two most armoured armies in the game (but be thankful he didn’t pick Isorians), as this means your going to be a bit more restricted in your list and tactics.

    But sounds like you’ll need to scrounge up some extra Frostgrave Plastic Barbarians for now, and dig through your “never ending mountain of unpainted stuff” to see if you have any Mantic Sci-fi Zomblies floating around. BUT also keep an eye out on these Warlord Sales (they tend to have 2 or 3 a year), nearly all my Antares stuff was bought on sale. As you picked out a Shieldmaiden as your Feral Squad leader, you might also want to look at the Soldiers 2 box from Frostgrave (although I’ve not seen anyone stick Mag guns on these minis, so not sure how hard it would work out to be…..the arms and arms span might prove to be tricky, and as there’s been no posts of someone trying this out I suspect this may indeed be the case).

    Nickstarter for Fantastic Female Soldier Miniatures – Frostgrave

    But for now I’d play games at about 600 pts (this was found to be the best points value at the open days at Warlord for a quick but still interesting game), and if you live near Nottingham they do have an Antares Day that is usually well attended (but nothing like a GW event). For these first games it’s always a good idea to reach a “mutual” agreement on the army lists if one side has only got a few unit (so no Concord Close Support drones with a 3X PLS loadout). Probably just use squads and a HQ unit or two for now.

    But the all important bit is the table, if you find that the Concord are just dropping your units consistently if you dare to step into the open using multiple units (they are a very shooty army), then you haven’t got enough terrain on the table. Basically we follow an old WRG Ancients system where we take turns to put down terrain, but at the end we get to remove one piece of terrain each. Again can’t stress the importance of this in game of Antares (where a basic mag rifle has a range of 60 inches….much better then the myopic space marines and their 24 inch sight range 😀 ).


    • This reply was modified 5 months, 3 weeks ago by  phaidknott.


    Ooops for got to add. The favorite tactic to use against Concord Strike Troops for Freeborn.

    With Hyperlight armour giving +3 RES (or the saving throw) against blast weapons, and +RES increasing with range against all other weapons (after all these are the “Space marines” of BtGoA). You might feel they have all the advantages.

    But the counter for this massive advantage of equipment is the humble “Haywire” shell from X-Launchers and X Howitzers (although NOT available for your Micro-X Launchers used as your squad support weapons). Simply plonk one of these down on any strike squad and you stop their armour from working (and the Buddy Drones….take that NuHu).

    Now the tables are turned as your Micro-X Launcher excel at hitting unarmoured squads (the only thing you have to watch out for is the fact he can still rapid fire his plasma carbines, AND his plasma lances can split fire so that a single squad can shoot at two different targets…..but that’s why you have LOTS of cheap units). But he’s lost a lot of points sank into this fancy armour now being useless.

    In fact I rarely find I use normal shells with my two X Launchers and X Howitzer, instead these are used to combat the advantages of the high tech armies and better allow my cheap units to over whelm them with sheer weight of numbers. Haywire also can be used against Isorians in the same manner, and “Scoot” used against those fancy stealthing units using a camo drone.

    The special ammo for the Launchers and Howitzers are a MUST buy in my book for the Freeborn, and given the fact you can almost buy a squad of Domari and a weapons team with an X Launcher for the same price as a single tricked out 6 man Concord Strike team it becomes the mainstay of any Freeborn army list 🙂



    I like it!

    Thanks again for the great advice.

    I cant wait to get stuck in and start getting a few games in.

    I will also be getting cruel seas at some point this month so a great start to my new years gaming.

    I was reading some of the fluff last night and was enjoying learning some of the background.

    Have you got many games planned in the future?

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