"Commander, it is a relative certainty that the Ghar will come for you next."
   Commander Theutric Es Ingomar squinted suspiciously at the drone.
   "I thought you dealt in probability, not certainty."
   "With everything we have observed about the Ghar thus far, I stand behind my assertion.  The IMTel is never wrong, after all."
   Theutric spat on the ground as if to dispel the mantra.  In recent months Bodora Vestea had been slowly ceded to the IMTel, despite the best efforts of his men to prevent the Concord expansion.  That the Ghar had succeeded where he had failed was of no comfort.
   "And what do your calculations say about your chances of seeking help from me?"
   "High Commander Gurtik 12-44-9 leads the invaders.  He is an old adversary of yours.  As I understand it, his battle group defeated the Algoryn at Viri Epsilon.  Even so, we have nowhere else to turn.  If the Algoryn do not intervene then the Ghar will drive us both from this world."
   Silence hung in the air as Theutric studied the drone.  There was little to study.  The machine's voice was likely a synthesis chosen to elicit no strong emotional response from the listener.  But the words themselves were carefully chosen.  Theutric could not ignore the slight, and even knowing it was a deliberate attempt to manipulate him did not make it less effective. His own scouts had reported back on the Ghar numbers this morning.  Even the combined forces of Concord and Algoryn were unlikely to stem the Ghar tide on Bodora Vestea.  But if he passed up this chance to even the score for Viri Epsilon, it would appear as cowardice, no matter what the practicalities involved.
   "I must return to Strike Leader Garos.  The Ghar are on the move.  What should I tell him?"
   Theutric checked his Mag Rifle as if considering the question, but there could be only one answer.
   "Tell him the Algoryn will be there."
   The IMTel is never wrong, after all.

Having spent most of my Christmas break assembling and decorating my new terrain tiles (www.anomaliagames.com, if you’re interested), I figured I ought to get them on the table and try them out.  So, I invited over my usual sparring partner, Andy Croft, and we set about putting the new tiles through their paces.

We decided to play a variation of Narrative Scenario 4: Return to Basecamp, where the defending force would consist of a small Concord detachment and an equal-sized force of Algoryn reinforcements.  The hill went on one long edge and we decided that the Algoryn would enter from the short edge from turn 3 onwards, subject to command tests.  As with the original scenario, victory would go to whoever had the most non-probe units on the top of the hill by the end of turn 6.

Force Selection

We were a little loose with the force selections, allowing the defenders an extra support choice and an extra auxiliary for the attackers, purely to fit with the models we had available.  With so many fun units to choose from, we ended up with 1,100 points per side, though the Ghar were padded out with upgrades that they didn’t need (Leader 2 on the Outcast squad, for example).

Concord + Algoryn (1,100pts)

The reluctant allies – we didn’t have a Strike Command Squad, so proxied the Kratz Assault Squad in its stead, and the Concord had to borrow their X-Launcher from Commander Ingomar’s men.

I took the role of the defenders, starting with two Concord Strike Squads, a Strike Command Squad, a C3D1 drone and a Support Team with X-Launcher.  Plasma Lances, Batter Drones and Spotter Drones were taken where I could, and Net ammo for the X-Launcher.  The Algoryn force consisted of a five-man Hazard Squad, Assault Squad, two AI Squads (each with two Micro-X Launchers) and a Mag Cannon support team.

Ghar Empire (1,098pts)

The small but mighty Ghar force.  There is always at least one Flitter facing the wrong way.

The core of Andy’s attacking force came from the Ghar Empire starter army box, and were led into battle by a Command Crawler sporting the High Commander upgrade, meaning he would be very hard to kill.  A unit of Tectorist Scouts provided much needed rerolls, the newly painted Munitions Scutter gave the Ghar an extra Scourer Cannon for relatively few points.

There were many upgrades to fill up the points, including Plasma Amplifiers everywhere and Plasma Dumps on the Assault Squad.  But the most tricked out unit had to be the Outcasts, who had a Disruptor Cannon, Vac Armour and Leader 2 (this had to have been a mistake, but we kept it in).

Game Summary

The Ghar spent most of the first turn just advancing onto the field, and the Concord opened strong, concentrating fire into the Ghar Assault Squad and killing one, covering the rest in pins.  Next turn, however, all Ghar activated their plasma amps and it was easy enough to shed the pins with a Rally order.  Most of the Ghar had to cross the ford or contend with the rushing water, which we decided was difficult terrain rather than impassable.  Either way, Andy didn’t want to risk it on a dice roll, so it gave the defenders an easy time aiming the X-Launcher and stacking pins onto the Command Crawler.

This made it very easy to land pins with overhead fire.
On the right flank, a squad of Ghar Battle Suits and a lone Munitions Scutter had already crossed the river.
On the left flank, the Outcasts kept absorbing the distortion die, leaving them last to cross the ford.

By the time the Algoryn arrived on turn three, the Ghar were closing in at the base of the hill.  No more casualties had yet been inflicted against them, and they had managed to shoot the Plasma Light Support off the C3D1 drone, leaving it largely useless.

The Concord support team only missed one shot all game, and the large number of pins they produced were instrumental in slowing the Ghar down.
I was convinced that all that plasma fire would take plenty of Ghar out of the equation, but the dice gods were not with me.

Unfortunately, in my eagerness to bring my D-Spinners to bear on the nearest Battle Suits, I forgot that the Hazard Squad can’t sprint.  Knowing they wouldn’t get close enough to charge the Ghar, I opted to advance, but 15 shots just bounced off the thick armour without causing so much as a pin.  The Assault Squad, who could have sprinted into combat, failed their command test to enter the field, and by the time they joined on turn 4, the Ghar had moved away from the table edge, resulting in a sprint that came up 2 inches short.  The Assault squad never did get into combat due to a flurry of pins forcing them down.

It was at this point, with the amped-up Ghar retreating from the Hazard Squad, that I wished I’d chosen Drop Capsules.

Elsewhere the Concord Strike Command squad was wiped out by the Ghar Assault squad, who were otherwise stalled by pins and failed command tests.  The Command Crawler was similarly slowed, but at MOD 3 (still rocking those amps) it was still making progress.  Andy kept it at the bottom of the hill though, where a clear line of sight to the Algoryn allowed it to hold up the reinforcements quite effectively.

The hill was looking pretty crowded at this stage, but most of the Ghar were still on the slope, and thus not counting towards victory.

The highlight of the game was when the crippled C3D1 drone, lacking anything better to do, charged and killed a Ghar Flitter, making it the most lethal Concord unit on the field.  So far the Ghar had suffered only one casualty, but a lot of pins.  The Outcasts were lagging behind, soaking up the Distort Die, and since they were shielded by the Ghar Battle Suits, not even they fell to enemy fire.

A true clash of titans – a disarmed C3D1 drone charges a Ghar Flitter.
The outcasts didn’t fire a single shot, busy as they were hiding behind Ghar Battle suits and absorbing the Distort Die.

Partway through turn 4, the hour was late, and with my Hazard squad too far from the fighting, my Assault squad pinned out in the open, and dwindling numbers of Concord left to save, I was ready to concede.  We decided to play out the rest of the turn and then evaluate success or defeat.

The Algoryn Mag Cannon managed one shot on target against the Command Crawler, but with Res 13, even the Mag Cannon failed to cause more than a single pin.  However, with the X-Launcher team on the hill still applying pins every turn, the Command Crawler, now without the benefit of its plasma amps, lost one order die to a failed command check and only got halfway up the hill.  Even so, the Ghar had three units at the top, vs the Concord’s two (a battered Strike Squad and the X-Launcher team).

Strike Leader Garos falls to the Ghar advance.

The Algoryn reinforcements, so far having little impact, only had the plucky but harmless Algoryn AI squads left, who were unlikely to penetrate any Ghar armour.  How wrong I was, though.  Right after describing them as “useless”, the combined fire of two squads wiped out a unit of 3 Ghar Battle Suits who had just gained the top of the hill.  This would have made the game a draw, until we realised that the close combat monster, the C3D1 Drone, was still hovering around charging at Flitters and Tectorists.  Despite racking up no further kills, its mere presence was enough to grant the defenders a technical victory, with 3 Concord units occupying the top of the hill.


Narratively this was a lot of fun, putting me in mind of Rorke’s Drift.  For a long time the Ghar Plasma amps meant way more order dice for the attackers.  We were originally planning the Algoryn to arrive on turn 2, but felt the Ghar should have a numerical advantage for longer.  The other plan was to use Drop Capsules to deploy the reinforcements, but we wanted more of a Two Towers vibe (look to the East).  It was probably the closest game we’ve played, but 2 more turns would have probably swung in favour of the attackers – the Algoryn were just too far away to dislodge the Ghar with those D-Spinners.

I probably should have sprung for the Avenger Attack Skimmer with a Mag Cannon – taking two shots vs the single shot I was getting with the Support Team could have made all the difference, but instead I spent the points on two extra Hazard Troopers.  Ultimately that was a mistake, due to their limited mobility.  The Ghar, on the other hand, were well balanced, though the addition of a Bomber Squad would have suited this scenario quite well.

The new terrain made the table look fantastic, but having played a full game with them, I think I’ll give them another coat of sealant (watered down PVA) and remove some of the larger stones to allow models to sit flat.  The tiles themselves were great, and the locking clips I bought with them kept the whole battlefield solid for the entire game.

The board in all its glory.

All in all, this was another great game of Antares, and I look forward to expanding the story of Bodora Vestea further in a future battle.

By Jamie Morris

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