Friday, July 3, 2015

BTGOA: The Force Thickens

I'm just about finished with my Algoryn force for Warlord Games' Beyond the Gates of Antares. Over the past few months I've managed to bang out three regular AI squads, one AI assault squad, one AI infiltration squad, a command squad, a mag light support weapon and crew, and an x-launcher and crew. At this point I only have some spotter and targeting drones to complete, which I would do if it weren't so hot right now.

A little support from my friends

I have two support weapons and crews complete. The light mag support weapon is a kind of sci-fi version of an MMG. It has a rate of fire of 3 and a +2 strike value (the amount that a target's "resist" value is reduced).

Light mag support weapon
The x-launcher is a sci-fi mortar. It uses overhead fire and the weapon has a blast effect.

Each support weapon comes with just two crew.  Like in Bolt Action, the weapon's effectiveness degrades as crew is lost. However, in Bolt Action, support weapons usually have three crew, so BTGOA weapons may poop out sooner.

The only missing support weapon is the plasma cannon. John hasn't gotten them in at The Panzer Depot. There was one mis-marked pack, but it's contents were the mag light support weapon. I'll have to wait until John gets another in. From the beta rules for BTGOA, it looks like there are other support weapons that Warlord hasn't released figures for, like a light plasma support.

The squaddies

I now have three regular Algoryn armored infantry (AI) squads. The Algoryn AI aren't bad. Their mag weapons are pretty effective and their +1 reflex armor, combined with their normal "resist" value of 6, gives them a 70% chance (1-7 on a D10) to survive a hit (reduced, however, by the weapon's strike value).

Each AI squad is five figures: one leader with a mag pistol, three squaddies with mag guns, and one squaddie with a micro x-launcher, which is a hand-held version of the support weapon, except that it can use direct fire at effective and long ranges (up to 30"). The leader figure also carries an x-slinger, which is a very short range version of the x-launcher.

AI advance!
The command squad is three figures all armed with plasma carbines. Plasma carbines have a slightly shorter extreme range than mag guns, but a +2 strike value. They can alternately shoot "scatter" at an increased rate of fire (RF=2), but their strike value goes down to +0. The command squad also includes a targeting drone, which increases their chance to hit.

Command squad
Targeting drones are part of some unit's composition (support weapons, command squads, and special types).

My favorite new unit is the assault squad. These have mag repeaters, which means a higher rate of fire than a mag gun, but no extreme range and a strike value of +0. What makes the assault squad tough is the "d-spinners" that they use for close combat. The weapon has two attacks (two dice per figure) at a +2 strike value, but it also distorts the effect of weapons used against them, giving a +2 to their "resist" value in close combat.

D-spinners ready
Chicks in reflex armor

The background story for BTGOA says that Algoryn infiltration squads are made up of women fighters only. They're not much different in games terms than a standard Algoryn AI squad, except that they have MAG repeaters for weapons, like the assault squad, and include two targeting drones (which increase their hit probability).

Infiltration squad w/o drones
I gave them darker blue armor with metallic blue chest and shoulder plates. I also gave them pink unit patches. Their armor is less bulky than for the male squaddies. It's kind of the sci-fi equivalent of a chick-in-chainmail that you find in fantasy figures. The armor is more form fitting and shows off their rear ends better than standard armor.

Lt. Shapley Bottoms leads the troops
I try pretty hard not to be stupid every day, but some days are better than others. It wasn't until I got to painting the weapons for the unit that I noticed I had assembled one figure with its weapon held upside down and backwards. Well, crap.

Kids, don't hold your MAG repeater like this at home
What's next?

I still need to get a plasma cannon to complete my Algoryn force. After that, I'll likely start some Concord troops as an opposing force. There are apparently people who play/have played/will play BTGOA at The Panzer Depot, but I haven't crossed paths with them. I do have plans to get a small sample game in later this month with Phil Bardsley, when we'll also give my 35/40mm gladiators their baptism of sand.

The BTGOA rules haven't been released and are only available in a free PDF, which has been supplemented with several smaller PDFs with additional rules. The rumor I hear from John Kennedy is that Warlord Games will release BTGOA in December this year. They've been working hard on having an initial release available of multiple races/polities for the system. So far, Algoryn, Concord, and Boromites are available, but previews from the Warlord website shows more in the works.


  1. Interesting genre and great looking figures, David. The closest I've gotten to the genre was a couple of 40K games (maybe only one?) with Space Marines. Otherwise quite clueless ;)

  2. My understanding is that the Warlord Games Bolt Action rules were first developed as a next version of 40K, but GW didn't go that way with the rules. BTGOA is derivative of Bolt Action, so the rules have come full circle in a way. I've never played 40K, so I couldn't compare, but I like how BTGOA is shaping up. There are some interesting nuances that can make interesting game play.

  3. Interesting how many of the "Black Books" that I like have the same lineage or DNA. :)