+ inload: Antares army lists +

+ Isorian army – writing a list +

‘Some sort of event, or angle? I don’t think the Izzies have festivals like some crank feral worlders, but who knows what those creepsack-wearing crazies are capable of? All I know is that the night lit up with star-flares from the sentries on the night of the moon-conjunction, and we woke up to see waves of them pouring across the field like so many beads of quicksilver. IMTel alone knows how, but they’d bypassed the nano-probe net…’
<Records of Omu, day 88>

+ Polished off the remaining Phase Squad infantry – that is, the panhuman soldiers. Being really quite pleased with how they've come out, I pulled out a gaming mat and got a few pictures before packing up. +

+ Nar Vesh +

+ Relatively quick but effective, I think this force has enough pop and contrast to stand out well on the table. It's been really nice to work on metal models again. Not something that I always enjoy, but the medium just seems to make painting fun somehow. Maybe it's simply nostalgia. +

+ But enough of nostalgia – let's take a look into the murky future of the game... Tim Bancroft from Warlord shared a few snippets on the IMTel Facebook group recently; the first being this extract from the 2nd edition army structure:

+ The Phase Squad name is seemingly being updated to 'Nar Vesh' for the new edition; an in-universe term for the squad. I'm a bit on the fence about changes like this – while it's great for immersion once you're familiar with the names, jargon can be a bit off-putting for new players. It's a difficult balancing act, because without such character, the game would have less depth – and perhaps lose appeal to a different group. +

+ By the looks of things (from the small previews we've seen thus far) there seems to be a good balance of restricting the jargon to the unit names, and weapons and individuals are still referred to by common and easily-understandable names (troopers, plasma carbine, etc.) + 

+ Pleasingly, there also seems to be a glossary – again a preview on the IMTel Facebook group, which is a nice (and welcome!) touch. +

+ There's a few things you can extrapolate from this – that the Pulse Bike Squad are likely going to be renamed Takhanra; and that the Isorian term for the IMTel-native evolved posthumans previously called 'Nuhu' will be called 'Vanra'... but stuff like that's guesswork. Interesting to see, and since I really enjoy linguistics, a lot of fun to see how the different elements link up. +

‘Tsan Vesh. The most common Drummers we encountered on Omu. Like all of the alien ganks, they were big; twice the height of us at the shoulder, and with what amounted to an entire extra body at the back. What evolution had intended with all those limbs wasn’t clear – I’d had a temp graft myself for a couple turnyan (who hadn’t, as a childer?) – but as we found out, even with two arms occupied holding a rifle, and four bracing the body, turns out they still had two left to club anyone unwise enough to get near.’

+ My first squad of Tsan Ra Phase Squad – soon to be called the 'Tsan Vesh' – are also finished. I haven't polished off the rest of the Tsan command squad (perhaps soon to be the Tsan Va?), so thought I'd post him/her/it with their underlings. + 

+ A group shot of everything finished thus far. It's all looking nice and uniform, and also quite alien to me. Importantly for playability, things like the squad leaders can be picked out easily at tabletop distance – they're the ones with more white and yellow masks. +

‘Instance Ck’htr knew best. Her commands were consistent and incisive. We obeyed through discipline and proclivity.’
<Omu Defence Logs T-3>

+ Still to come on here are some grass tufts to add a bit of interest to the bases. I've picked up a range, and will have a little play around – but likely when the opportunity comes round to do the whole army. +


+ Taking stock: writing an Isorian army list +

+ Anyway, let's talk building an army list. The Beyond the Gates of Antares army lists are available for free from The Antares Nexus [+noophericexloadlink embedded+] website. I didn't deliberately avoid writing an army list, but whenever I thought 'right, let's work out what I've got', I just kept getting distracted by the articles on background and painting that are also up on the Nexus – watch out; it's very easy to get absorbed! +

+ The army-building system in Antares is clear, simple and fairly traditional. You establish a points limit for your army based on the size of game (referred to as 'Combat Level'), then buy units until you run out of points. It'll be immediately familiar to anyone who's played tabletop wargaming before. +

+ Additional options are available for your squads, such as adding extra soldiers, or buying specialist equipment. There is also a small menu of army upgrades, which are generally one-off bonuses to allow you to re-roll a unit's shooting, or play around with the order dice mechanic. +

+ In terms of restrictions, units are split between four categories. Tactical choices are your regular troops; Support things like mobile light support weapons (machine guns and the like) and elite troops; Strategic is your big guns and weird things: tanks, howitzers etc.; and Auxiliary choices are mostly drones. The latter are mostly things to enhance the rest of your army, rather than fight in their own right. +

+ Depending on the Combat Level (i.e. the size of the game) and the army itself (some factions require more basic troops than others, for example), the forces have different restrictions. For a 1,000pt list, Isorians have the following requirements and limits:
  • Tactical: 4–6
  • Support: 1–4
  • Strategic: 0–1
  • Auxiliary: 0–2

+ There are some subtleties – certain choices might preclude others, or units might be noted as 'limited', requiring other units to be taken in greater numbers. The limits for the Isorians are:
  • No more than 1 in 4 (25%) of units can be Limited Choices
  • You can spend up to 10% of your points on Army Options
  • Your force cannot include any more Tsan Ra units in any combat level than it includes non-Tsan Ra units in that level.

+ Starting with what I have painted seems like the best approach to planning. It gives me three panhuman Phase Squads as the core of my force. Aside from one being six strong, they're identical:

  • [135] Senatex Phase Squad (115) with a spotter drone (10), plasma grenades (5 x 2) and with one of the trooper's carbine swapped out for a plasma lance (3). 

  • [157] Senatex Phase Squad (115) with a spotter drone (10), plasma grenades (6 x 2), plasma lance (3) and additional trooper. 

  • [135] Senatex Phase Squad (115) with a spotter drone (10), plasma grenades (5 x 2) and plasma lance (3). 

I still need one more Tactical choice to be legal, so let's include a Tsan Ra Phase Squad:
  • [138] Tsan Ra Phase Squad (93) with a spotter drone (10), plasma grenades (4 x 2) and and additional trooper (27). 

+ This gives me a nice core group of Tactical choices costing 565pts, leaving me plenty of space for some harder-hitting material. I need to paint up three more drones and one more Tsan Ra trooper to get these done. With a bit of juditious trimming (losing the extra troopers and grenades from one squad), it fits into a 500pt list, too. +


+ To expand, I'll paint up what I have remaining, which is:

  • [198] Tsan Ra Command Squad (131) with a spotter drone (10), medi-drone (20), plasma grenades (4 x 2) and and additional trooper (29)
    • This is a limited Tactical choice.
  • [100] Senatex Support Team (40) with plasma cannon (35), spotter drone (10) and additional crew member (15)
    • This is a Support choice.
  • [110] Heavy Support Team (110) with X-howitzer (free)
    • This is a Strategic choice.
+ That's an additional 408pts, taking me to 973pts in total. That leaves me with just enough to get some Army Options like 'Superior Shard' or 'Block', or perhaps to add a couple of extra models here and there. I'll leave the final decisions 'til a little later. +

+ It's not a hyper-competitive force, but it does have the right sort of 'feel' to me. By dropping a few upgrades, I might be able to pick up an x-howitzer or something, to get the proportion of Support choices up a bit. I think of 'soft' choices – those that don't necessarily require representation on the models, like grenades, ammunition upgrades or army options – are much easier to cut in favour of more cool models. I'm sure time and experience will teach me! +

+ If you've any thoughts or questions, let me know. +

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