In the seventh age of Antarean space the galaxy is at war. Various factions vie over control of the Gates of Antares. These gates allow instantaneous travel between worlds, and for those that hold these gates they can control the outcome of battles. Do you have what it takes to succeed in this war-torn galaxy, or will your forces be laid to waste on an alien world? Welcome to Beyond the Gates of Antares: The Xilos Horizon from Warlord Games!
When I first opened the box I was shocked to find a hardbound, full-color rulebook sitting on top. Usually with boxed set games you are given a small rules pamphlet that explains the basic rules and you are on your way. Warlord Games thought outside the box, including a massive 259-page tome that covers the rules and so much more. There are army lists for each of the factions, not just the two that come with the game. So, if you wanted to expand the armies that come with the boxed set or just take up an entirely new faction you wouldn’t be required to buy anything else. Also covered in this rulebook are many examples of the vehicles and equipment used by the various forces.
Let’s say you don’t want to page through a massive rulebook and simply wanted to get started playing straight away? No problem! There’s also a Quick Start guide that covers the bare bones of the rules with instructions on how to assemble all of the miniatures within the set. Also, there are more than a few scenarios for the armies enclosed within the boxed set. From one-off encounters to narrative scenarios, there’s more than enough material to keep you coming back again and again for more engagements.
The rules focus on issuing commands to your squads (which are infantry units, so you would issue one command to ten models). The commands are: Run (move across the battlefield), Fire (shooting at an enemy), Advance (move and shoot, but less accurate), Down (take cover), Rally (to recover from being pinned down), and Ambush (lie in wait to attack later).
Each of the models has stats which reflect how powerful they are in performing certain tasks. The attributes are Agility (movement), Accuracy (shooting), Resist (avoid damage), Initiative (chance to react), Command (testing to receive orders), and Special (any special abilities). Each weapon has a range to hit, so once the unit is in range you can roll a d10 to see if you score a hit. After applying any modifiers, you need to roll under your unit's accuracy to hit. However, regardless of any modifiers a ‘1’ is a “lucky shot” and a ‘10’ is a “dud shot.” A dud shot is a wild miss and cannot be re-rolled under any circumstances, while a lucky shot is assigned first when allocating, which must be spread evenly throughout the models and, under normal circumstances, if a unit fails its resistance test it has taken a casualty. There are rules for how these units will perform under pressure (i.e. losing units in their squad) so it is critical to keep your wits about you in these skirmishes else you will most certainly face defeat.
This boxed set contains everything you need to start a two-player skirmish between two opposing forces. The two forces featured are PanHuman Concord (a technologically advanced race) and the Ghar Empire (armed with massive battlesuits), with a total of 39 miniatures included in the boxed set (six ghar battle suits and 32 concord forces). The strike leader Kai Lek is sculpted in metal, but the rest of the figures are in plastic. Each model has an incredible amount of detail which will make assembling and painting ‘em a showcase for any battlefield. Also, two types of dice (order and polyhedral) and a few plastic markers and templates complete the package. These templates will not only make the game easier to play, but the pin markers give a bit of depth, as well, letting you know which units have been hit and how they will be able to respond under fire.
This review barely scratches the surface of the Gates of Antares universe, so if you are looking for a great two-player wagon to get you started look no further than Beyond the Gates of Antares: The Xilos Horizon. For more information on this and other games head over to www.warlordgames.com and get ready to fight for the Gates of Antares.