Antares – Strike on Kar’a Nine Rulebook

I promised a number of reviews of the Strike on Kar’a Nine box set, and have yet to make good on those promises. 🙁 Most of my promises are out to seed, hopefully growing into full-bloom promises, but a bunch of them aren’t in my hands. 2-3 of them I still control.

  • I wanted to review the demo scenarios, but each time I offer a demo game the other person declines. I don’t …think I’m scary. But Blood Bowl takes up so much of my clubs mind frame that it’s hard to unseat it sometimes.
  • I wanted to paint and review the new Algoryn plastics. They’ve been primed on my desk for a while, but I keep buying new Concord models! We have a tournament in July and I’m trying to prep!
  • This review.

This is not as positive a review as the last one. The K9 box is amazing, but the mini rulebook has some flaws. We’ll go into detail shortly, but the flaws can be overcome. Here’s some photos first.

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Here it is, compared to the big hard cover rulebook. It is smaller, which is everything you want in a mini rulebook!

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It also contains an index, which the big rulebook does not. There was a PDF published online of this index, so while you didn’t get the benefit of it directly in your book, you could always print it out and stick the paper in it somewhere.

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This is the last numbered page. Page 63. The good news, is that the book contains every single page from the main rulebook up to page 63. Even better, the page numbers are identical! This is great, because unlike in Malifaux where you had to say “pg 12 mini, page 20 big”, with this book you can just refer to the page and not worry about it.

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The last pages and back of the book are also a reference sheet for weapons and for various game charts, also very nice.

What Isn’t Good?

So here’s the thing. While this book is great for the price you paid for it (remember, I calculated the box at about a $112 discount!), it can’t replace the big rulebook. Which is what you want from a mini-book, you want to not have to carry the big-book. If you have the big-book handy, pick it up and flip to page 63. Now observe all of the things in that big rulebook that are after page 63. Here’s an itemized list:

  • 73 pages of rules for ammo, equipment, vehicles, drones, weapons, armour. This is the really important one.
  • 19 pages of scenarios. You can get by without these, but I would argue that you shouldn’t. The basic scenarios should be included, really.
  • 38 pages of army lists. After the release of this book, Warlord put up the army lists as free PDFs online, which is amazing and means missing these 38 pages isn’t as important. Also, we always had ArmyBuilder and BattleScribe as options. Less important to lose.
  • 55 pages of fluff. Missing the fluff isn’t great, since I think fluff helps draw people into the game. But to me, it’s less critical to have lost. If you want to read it, buy the big-book or buy the PDF for the big-book.

 

Those first 73 pages really hurt. I went to look up the rules for jump packs and couldn’t find them. I recently started a project to add some of these rules to the BattleScribe lists. Things like the rules for Scoot Ammo, and AG Chutes can be put onto printable army lists no problem. The special rules for every weapon, however, is going to be a real pain since there are a lot of them. By the time I’m done, Antares army lists will be 3-4 pages even when summarized.

This is a huge project, and I’m sure to miss things. My plan is to only add the things I notice are missing (ie, Concord), and the things people ask for. I can’t do a full pass, it’s to much.

What Else Isn’t Good?

There’s another big gap here that won’t be covered by army lists — the rules for things like Disruptors, Grenades, the basic rules for vehicles and the basic rules for probes are included in those 73 pages.

My club has said that the rules of this game are good, but that the rulebook is poorly laid out and this is a great example. Rules like the the basic rules for vehicles and probes should not be in with the detailed and specific rules for the individual tanks and probes. The first main section should contain every basic rule you need to play the game. If they’d done this, these rules would be in the mini rulebook! The second main section of the big rulebook should contain every special rule, and while I wouldn’t agree to leave them out of this book, at least the main rules would be complete.

 

There’s More?

There’s another small issue. I had heard this on Facebook, so it might not actually be a real problem — more like a theorycrafted problem than one that’s been witnessed. But someone buying this box could imagine they had a complete and useful rulebook, only to have the experience I had of building a list with X-Launchers in it, and finding they didn’t have the rules for any of the special ammo for it. I would imagine that would be frustrating.

I would point that person at the paragraph below this one, to try to make them feel better.

But There’s Some Good Right?

I have to end on a good note. Because despite my issues with this book, the box itself with all of the stuff that’s inside it is such a phenomenal deal that you can’t pass it up. However, I would re-calculate the discount I added up at the end of that last article, to remove the rulebook because this book is not a drop in replacement for it. Making the Kar’a Nine box a mere $63 off the total contents. Bonkers, because then you get most of a rulebook as a bonus.