It’s been a little while – over a month, now – since I posted. A lot of real life stuff, including a new house and moving into said house, has meant almost zero hobby time until this past week. But now that things have settled down, I’m getting back into the swing of things. So, here are a couple updates.
First up is an Armies on Parade board. After missing the last couple of Armies on Parade events, I promised my local Games Workshop shop manager I’d participate. Knowing I wouldn’t have time for something amazing with the board, and it being a little while since I did something like this, I decided to go the simple route. I wanted to do a two-tier board to keep it from being completely boring. The three options I though about were a centralized tier, an unbroken back tier, or a split back tier. As you can see, I went with the third option.
The Armies on Parade rules say the board limit size is 24″ x 24″ with no real height limit. Height wasn’t really my concern this time around. I did go for the full size limit on the board because I was concerned about running out of space. I picked up two 2′ x 2′ squares of insulation foam and a thin plywood 2′ x 2′ board from my local Home Depot, along with a 2″ brush and big bottle of wood glue. I glued the base foam square to the wood board. I figured the would would act to reinforce the foam for transport, as well as protect it in case of any accidental drops. Once that was dry, I marked off where I wanted the tier pieces to go, then I use a hot wire foam cutter to carve appropriate chunks out of the other piece of foam. I smoothed out the foam surfaces where the cuts were made and then glued the pieces down.
At this point I wasn’t sure about which specific army I was going to use. I mean, I knew it would be Chaos Space Marines, but would it be Black Legion, World Eaters, or Death Guard. After thinking about it for a day, I decided on the Death Guard. That has my more impressive models, I think. Getting that nailed down was important, because my Chaos Space Marine armies have different painting schemes on the bases. I wanted the board colors to match up with the bases of my models.
As I said, it’s been a little while since I’ve done this sort of thing. For my mix, I used plenty of wood glue, plenty of model ballast, and some black paint from an old bottle of Apple Barrel I had on the shelf. I was surprised it wasn’t dry as this bottle has to be 10 years old at this point. Anyway, the mix was looking pretty thick, so I diluted the mix with water, then added more black paint. Once it got to a consistency I thought I could control with the brush, I began painting it on. This actually went pretty quickly, and I was surprised that I properly guesstimated the right amount of mix to cover the board. I covered every flat surface of the board, but left the “ledges” from the upper tier clean. That way, when I get to painting, I can create a rock cliff look.
Once the mix was on, I set it aside to let it dry. My work is being done in a basement now, so the environment is a little more humid than I’m used to. As such, drying times take a little longer. In my next update, I’ll go over my painting process, and hopefully have some pics of the finished board. Need to get this done by Tuesday!
Initial Impressions of Beyond the Gates of Antares
In my last post, I wrote about gearing up for a game of Beyond the Gates of Antares. I was able to get in a couple games with a buddy of mine. Given this was our first time playing, I’m sure we got some of the rules wrong. We played games at about a 500+ point size, so relatively small. The armies were the ones from the starter box – C3 Concord and the Ghar Empire. We did have fun, and I’ll give a few of my thoughts.
Overall, I think the game is pretty good. It’s clearly from the Nottingham school of miniature war gaming. That shouldn’t be surprising since Rick Priestly was the lead designer. However, Beyond the Gates of Antares isn’t a straight Warhammer 40K clone, as it introduces some concepts used in other Warlord games.
For example, Beyond the Gates of Antares uses pin markers when a unit is hit. Getting rid of pin markers does add a level of strategy you don’t think about, and is quite a bit different from morale in 40K. In fact, if you load up enough pin markers on a unit, you can wipe it off the board. Also, the number of rolls you execute in the shooting (and close combat) phase is reduced by one as there is essentially no roll to wound in Beyond the Gates of Antares. It’s hit and armor save. This might not sound like much, but over the course of the game, it actually adds up to cutting a bit of time. I think it’s a good way to quicken a game. We played two 500 point games in about time time it would have taken to play one in 40K.
The random activation system means you have to have more discipline in executing your game plan. It’s much easier to execute a plan when you know what’s coming. In Beyond the Gates of Antares it’s not You-Go-I-Go. Random activation means your opponent could have acted with most of his force before you get a chance to do anything. That can throw you if you start collecting pins, or even start losing models or units. We didn’t have a bag for our game. Instead we used a six-sided dice that had only 0s and 1s on it, which game the same effect. I’m not quite sure how I feel about random activation yet. It is different, but I don’t like adding too much random stuff to a game, as it can mean the outcome is more dictated by how you roll than how you play.
As a final thought, the victory conditions are not quite the same. In Beyond the Gates of Antares you only have to wipe out half the opposing force to win instead of tabling where other victory conditions are not involved. That seems a little harsh, especially for armies with small but powerful units, like the Ghar Empire. Maybe this can be mitigated through army list construction, and playing scenarios with objective markers, but it does seem to be a limiting factor for some armies.
Anyway, these are just some initial thoughts and impressions of the game. I’ll post more thoughts as I get more Beyond the Gates of Antares games in. As always, thanks for reading!