Antares – Another army building app

Because of my habit of writing programs whenever something can be automated, I made an army building app for Beyond the Gates of Antares.

There are a few already – ArmyBuilder, BattleScribe, Quartermaster are the top ones – but they all require manual input. I did a bunch of work on the BattleScribe version of the Antares rules. But then updates were made to the army lists, and I’m really bad at spotting detailed changes, and I I didn’t want to do the updates anymore and…

I figured out how to parse the freely available Warlord PDFs into a semi-usable XML file, then built a small web interface to interact with that file. There’s no validation, you can add a million of everything, you can add a units between factions, you can do whatever the hell you want. The important part is that it’s automatically generated, so can be more easily kept up to date.

Here’s a link to the app: http://geeksong.com/Antares/

And here’s a link to the GitHub repo for it: https://github.com/rythos42/AntaresArmy Should you be a developer and be interested in expanding my work, I’m open to discussion and pull requests!

Antares – Playing a game

Clark asked me to play a game the other day, likely my first at the club in almost 3 months, and I had a hankering and had a couple other errands to run in the area so I agreed. It was nice to throw down the Antares!

The club, led mostly by Clark and myself, have been writing a tournament scenario for Antares. Just one scenario. Because it has enough randomness built into it to serve the kinds of purposes you need in a tournament scenario — forcing balanced lists, keeping people entertained all day, providing plenty of opportunities for success and for failure. But we need to playtest it, because there are a lot of random elements to it and you need to make sure that all the pieces fit together. So it was also nice to get another playtest in!

And THEN because I’ve been drawing up a storm (my buildings), I folded up all the prototypes I’ve made and stuff them into a folio and threw them down on the table too! It was great to get to actually use these, as opposed to just stare at them on my desk! Clark immediately took advantage of them. He really likes giving buildings teleporters, and I think it’s a decent idea too — makes the game a lot more mobile — but this top photo is of lavamites pouring out of my two-storey building.

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I managed to kill them, which was great because they can really run amuck. This next photo Clark is pushing forward to take the center, and moments later I sprint my T7 up to contest it.

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These photos might be in the wrong order, but I doubt you’re scouring them anyway. He teleported 2 units of Gang Fighters into this building near my deployment zone. I had hoped that overwhelming firepower would make that a bad idea, but the building defenses and a couple less than amazing rolls in combat meant he got to keep the building, and got to use it as a funnel for his more powerful combat troops.

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Unfortunately, I keep failing to learn that C3 Drop troops aren’t really amazing in combat. I mean, they’re the best I get, but that doesn’t mean a whole lot.

I took advantage of the version 2 of the rules to bring a T7 and an X-Howitzer in 1000 points and I was happy to be able to do so. I stripped the T7 of it’s gun and acc6/co8/in8 which brought it down in points, while still allowing me a mobile bunker for my squishy troops and a speedy objective contestor. Like it.

Antares – Wet Coast GT 2017

With the impending homecoming of my daughter, I bravely took to the tournament and hoped she would hold out until I was done rolling dice. 😛

This was an awesome event! Because there were only 3 people signed up, the TO arranged to change the format of the event so it was one large game on Saturday instead of a the 5-6 game tournament format that is common around here. They dropped the price by half and we got one more person to sign up and played a 4 person 2500 point game on a 6×8 table. 10,000 points, 95 dice in the bag. It took us about 8 hours to play, thanks to some exceedingly efficient dice pulling — the puller would draw 2, and then decide whether the first dice would affect the second dice, and if it didn’t, would give the second dice to be played as well. We often had 2-3 people going at once, which really helped speed the game up so we didn’t take all night, and also keep it fast paced and exciting!

Here’s a break, because there are about 40 photos in this post.

Continue reading Antares – Wet Coast GT 2017

Blog Comments and Batter Drones

I noticed the other day that comments on old posts were closed, which is not a situation I want to be in — I’d like people to be able to comment on anything, at any time in the past! I just found the setting that was messing with that and turned it off, so hopefully its fixed now!

I needed more batter drones for big games of Antares. One of our guys bought an army online that had some drones done up like this —

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It’s the metal spotter drones (of which I have a million extras) and the phalanges from the subverter matrix. Cut off the drone wings, glue on the phalanges, and be very, very patient.

 

The price of Wet Coast GT this weekend went down by half, because the TO decided to make it a one-day event. Unfortunately, with summer finally here in Vancouver, the event isn’t getting as much love as it should. So if you’re in the area and want to play a big megabattle, and get some swag, come on up to Vancouver (or down to us, or sideways)!

I’m still really hoping I get to go. My brand new daughter is still in the hospital, and isn’t allowed to leave until she shows she can survive outside of a medical environment. She just has to figure out “eating” and she gets to come home (she’s premature). If she does that before this weekend, it’s all hands on deck at home as we struggle to figure out what life looks like in this new world order!

If I do get to WCGT, I’m planning to bring my good camera and I’ll see about getting some quality photos up here next week. I think I also need to replace my phone camera lens, if possible – it’s become very hazy.

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.

 

Antares – X-Howitzer and Airbrushing

A friend was doing some airbrushing of 40k tanks recently and after he showed me his work I was inspired to think about airbrushing again. It was 4 years ago the last time I wrote about airbrushing, and these articles remind me a bit of how I was feeling — rather like I should sell the damn thing. I had no skill with it and keep messing up. My friend said his was a breeze – start ‘er up, do your thing and BOOM, nice looking shading. I bought some new things to help — a new Golden High Flow Acrylic in fluorescent blue, and a Wicked Colour airbrush colour in light blue. In the earlier of those two articles, I appear to have also bought new toys to help, and they appear not to have helped.

What did help a lot this time…is having a deck. I pulled all my stuff onto my deck, plugged it in and relaxed. Previously my outdoor space was shared space — a parking lot or shared rooftop — and I had no ability to just sit and play, I had to constantly be worried about whether someone would come along and ask what I was doing there, painting the parking lot floor.

I had planned on doing the lighter colour, then ringing it with the darker colour. Which, it turns out, is not the correct way to do this. 😛 So this first photo is that. I had the PSI set to 15 and held the brush relatively close, to get more intense colour with a thinner line.

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I went back afterwards and re-did the lighter colour and ended up here. This I did at about 30 PSI and further away, which diffused the paint.

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My next plan is to follow my C3 steps, and wash into the recesses some watered down blue wash, then nuln oil the shadows. Then clear up mistakes with Ulthuan Grey and whatever the GW white is called these days. I think this guy will be done pretty soon!

There is an airbrushing course happening in Vancouver on June 17th. Unfortunately, I’m busy that day with another hobby — I’m in a circus show. 😛

Antares – A Game

Unfortunately, not a campaign game. Or maybe it was fortunate, since I lost. 😛 We played a 2000 point game, the largest I’ve ever seen played, and we used a modified “Maelstrom mission” scenario which was inspired by the 40k scenarios of that name. Really liked it, although I think it needs more playtesting from people who aren’t myself. 🙂

I think the camera on my phone is going to shit – these photos look like they’ve had a glamour filter or something put on them?

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The “Atlas”, also known as “Objective 1” came up a few times for me, along with objective 4 which is behind the temple on the left-middle of the photo, so I spent a lot of time trying to hold these guys.

 

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In our mission, you generated 6 objectives at the start of the game. Each turn, you had one less “maximum” to work with, so first turn you either scored one or you dropped one. Greg got an early 2+1 point lead because he scored twice in the first turn, while I had to drop one of mine. Which meant he was up by 2 points, plus 1 for “opportunity”. Every objective you don’t score is a lost opportunity! This gap increased and then shrunk as the game continued, and then in turn 5 I scored 3 points to his 0 to tie it up!

The last ones generated — he had to rally 4 times and I had to take objective 2. Here’s where objective 2 was:

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It’s inside the rock cluster on the right. Greg had it to score a few times over the game, so he had been holding it no problem. Rallying 4 times is a hard objective mid-game because you have to lose the use of 4 units for that turn. At this point it was less of a problem since he just had to hold and he knew exactly where I needed to go – he could just rally those units that weren’t near my objective.

At the end, a well placed Grip ammo right in the middle of the only 2 squads that could take it, sealed my fate.

Speaking of Grip, we both made good use of special ammo. I was dropping Scoot like it was going out of style! I made that Plasma Bombard move a lot, and he did an early disrupt of my planned X-Launcher firebase.

I think the Nuhu won’t be making an appearance in many lists. He’s to fragile even with the shield drones. My opponent only needing a 1 to remove most of his power.

 

Lastly, here’s a photo of Clark winning the Blood Bowl championships, which happened while we were playing. Damn him! But at least he was the guy who took me out of the play-offs entirely!

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Antares – Concord Interceptor Bikes All Done

I finished some bikes! I bought these guys a while ago, and decided to prioritize them over the rest of the assembled things I have for Antares. These are going to be in a lot of lists, I think, in particular for Wet Coast GT in July.

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I did them similarly to the last drop squad. I used Nuln Oil in a very light layer after the middle layers, around the exhaust ports. I was trying to darken the area, so that when I drybrushed up it would look brighter because it was darker to start with. I did a couple layers of drybrushing here, trying to make it a little more …OSL? The bases make me happy. White does not make me happy. >.> but it’s to late to change that up.

Antares – First Campaign Game

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to play in it. My opponent got stuck in traffic, so I watched two others play and occasionally answered rules questions wrong.

It was 1000 points, Freeborn vs Boromites. The Freeborn guy has played a few games (but not a lot), the Boromite guy had played…a couple games (maybe 1-2). He had a brand spanking new Brood Mother he wanted to put on the table, and after handling this model I totally agree!

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The Freeborn firebase hides in the woods.

Unfortunately, on turn 2 the Brood Mother took enough pins to be removed from the table, even after her general did a rally order. Only so many x-launchers even a Boromite model can handle. Here she is, with her 10 pins and 2 down orders and looking a little bit like a dead spider.

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Here’s the map after this game. The teal and yellow sections are the Salt Excavation Union, Local 50 and Antares Brine Commission, our two factions. I’m on the SEU. This game was fought over #18, the teal piece nearest the bottom of the map. After the Brood Mother died it was a fairly quick game after that, since they were played scenario #1 from the main book and 2 of his 9 dice had just disappeared.

Campaign

The yellow cross-hatching is places were the Brine Commission are attacking. The teal cross-hatching is where the SEU is attacking. The red cross-hatching is where someone is attacking, and the attack has a defender scheduled already. So red — all good. Not red — needs someone to help out. Players can defend any attack that is adjacent to one of their factions territories. So that little teal section in #11 is, right now, totally open for the SEU to break out of their little corner and start taking other parts of the galaxy over.

The campaign system has gone through a lot of change this week. I had previously given my club mates access to it, so they could poke around and make suggestions. One fellow did, but one person is not 14 people. 14 people find all the problems in your system, very quickly. My to-do list went from empty* to zomfg-I-don’t-have-this-much-time.

(*it was never empty. It just ran out of high priority things to do. I have lots of plans, but I wanted to get this piece test-driven before I started working on anything more).

Antares Bases

It turns out I don’t have a post for Antares bases. I noticed this because I went to paint a bunch of bases and clicked the tag “bases” and couldn’t find anything for Antares. Usually I pick one of the post where I paint bases and tack the tag onto that so I can refer back to it.

This post is just about bases!!

So exciting.

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I almost got the bikes in the photo, which are almost done, but due to some fancy angling managed to ensure that this post was entirely devoid of anything interesting.

Here’s the bases recipe:

  • Snakebite Leather
  • 1-2 layers of Seraphim Sepia
  • Drakenhof blue shade as a shadow
  • drybrush up with Tallarn Sand and then Ushapti Bone.