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"Beyond the Gates of Antares, Concord versus... Austrians? " Topic


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496 hits since 4 Sep 2017
©1994-2017 Bill Armintrout
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ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP04 Sep 2017 9:41 a.m. PST

A few months ago I floated the idea of using Bolt Action or Black Powder or even Hail Caesar armies against Beyond the Gates of Antares armies to represent a battle on some primitive world which had backslid during the period of the gate collapses. Obviously, the technologically backward savages would be very badly outclassed by the high-tech invaders and would require overwhelming numbers to have any sort of a chance.

I recently completed my first small Concord force, but since that was all I had and no one in my local gaming group plays Antares yet, I had no one to play against. Then I remembered my earlier idea—and my Black Powder Army!

Since I had no clue what sort of match-up would make a good game and not wanting to involve anyone else in a failed idea (and possibly sour them on the idea of Antares) I decided to do this as a solitaire game.

The basic premise is that a small scouting detachment of Concord troopers under command of Captain Natchia Krissa is surveying the newly discovered planet of Habsperger IV when a freak accident causes their shuttle to crash land on the planet, not far from a local city. A signal is sent to the mother ship asking for retrieval, but it is a great distance away, checking out another planet in the star system, and it will be quite some time before it can arrive.

Unknown to the Concord force, the local inhabitants, who have reached a horse-and-musket level of technology, have a distorted memory of the dark and dangerous times just prior to the last gate collapse. All that is truly remembered is that their world was ravaged by ‘sky demons' who might someday return. The fear of this is so strong that an actual religion has grown up around the need for eternal vigilance against the return of the Sky Demons. Every citizen is pledged from an early age to fight against this ancient evil. So when the locals see the crippled shuttle coming down it causes great alarm and an immediate and violent reaction. The local garrison is mobilized and marches out to drive off the invaders.

To set up this scenario I made some modifications to the standard rules. To reflect the very primitive nature of the local's technology and the hopelessly outdated tactics used by their armies I made the following changes:

The Habspergers are using muzzle-loading smoothbore muskets which will only hit on a roll of a ‘1' (A lucky hit). And the Concord forces will only fail a resistance test on the roll of a ‘10'. So statistically there is only a 1% chance of a shot killing the target. (Of course, since each hit is by definition a lucky hit, the Habspergers can choose not to hit a leader and thus not give them another resistance throw reducing their chances to 1 in a 1000). Obviously, only massed fire will have any hope of inflicting damage. But, of course a Black Powder army is all about massed fire! Musket range is 12".

Cannons also need a 1 to score a hit, but even hyperlight armor might have trouble handling a direct hit from a 12-pound cannon ball, so they will fail a resistance test on a 9 or 10. Also, a straight line will be traced from the cannon to the target and ANY figure which is touched by that line is a potential casualty and must roll for hit and resistance. Cannon range is effectively the length of the table.

If by some miracle the Habspergers manage to make it into close combat, they will do a little better. Hitting on a 1 or 2 and Concord resistance failing on a 9 or 10. Cavalry get two attacks each to represent the horse.

On the Concord side, firing at the closely massed troops of the Habspergers, they will hit on any roll except a 10 and the unarmored troops will fail resistance on anything except a 1.

Pins are handled in the normal manner, but when it comes to pins per figure, I am treating each BASE of Habsperger figures as one figure for this purpose. So a 36 figure battalion would fire with 36 figures, but would only count as 6 bases when figuring pins per base. The Habspergers have a Command rating of 8 to reflect their fanatical religious convictions.

The scenario pits a Concord command strike squad, 3 strike squads, an X-launcher, and one light support drone against an endless horde of Habsperger troops. Each unit of Habspergers which is destroyed can simply re-enter the table as a new unit. The Concord force must survive until the rescue ship arrives. I didn't bother with any batter drones since under the modified firing rules they would have no effect. I also excluded shield and medic drones since it is already so hard for the Habspergers to score a kill it would seem unfair to snatch them away. Clearly the drone storage compartment suffered damage in the crash and only a few survived.

I had no idea how this game would play out, so I tentatively decided that after 6 turns the Concord would roll a D6 at the start of each subsequent turn and on the first roll, the rescue ship arrives on 1. On the next turn it arrives on a 1 or 2 and so on.

So! On with the game!

An unscheduled stop on Habsperger IV

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Everyone okay?

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Uh, oh, I think we've been spotted,

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Form a perimeter, help is on the way!

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By all the gods! Look! Send word to the Lord General!

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Captain? Looks like company coming.

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We don't want to fight these savages. Fire a warning shot with the X-launcher!

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They're not getting the message. Plasma fire at their feet!

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They're coming on, sir!

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"Sigh… Open fire." (The game effectively starts here)

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More of them!

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Look at those mad men!

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They're running!

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But under cover of the cavalry attack the Habspergers set up a couple of cannons. The X-launcher drops a round on the big things—they look dangerous. Not much effect though.

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So the light support drone showers them with plasma bolts and the crews break and run.

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The First Turn ends with the Habspergers having lost two cavalry squadrons and a section of guns. The Concord troops haven't even been shot at yet, but more and more of the enemy are approaching!

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The Second Turn starts with the Third Strike Squad coming up and shredding the front of an approaching column.

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The First Squad joins in, expecting to send these infantry packing like they did the cavalry. But no, the bigger units are tough!

But at last the Habspergers get the chance to fire back! A unit of light infantry has snuck through the edge of the woods into firing position and lets off a ragged volley.

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Out of 24 shots they score only two hits. But incredibly, one unlucky Concord trooper rolls a 10 on his resistance and goes down! Captain Krissa can scarcely believe it when the IMTel informs her of the loss. "Blast these vermin down!" Second Squad fires back to avenge their comrade, but the enemy is partially protected by the tree-like growths and only suffers six casualties.

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As the enemy continues to advance, wave after wave, the X-launcher tries to silence the troops in the woods. A perfectly placed shot kills five of them and force the rest down.

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The light support drone and Captain Krissa's squad shoot down the head of another approaching column, but it keeps advancing. She can only admire the courage of these people, but there seems to be no end to them and they are getting closer!

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Turn 2 ends with the casualty ratio about a hundred to one, but things are looking a bit chancy for the Concord troopers. Where is the rescue ship?

Captain Krissa realized that she had been overconfident. She had expected massed plasma fire to send the barbarians running, but it had not. She needs to treat them like any other foe. She orders the lance-armed members of the strike squads to pick out different targets, try to pin down more of the advancing troops. Even as she did so, a battalion of the enemy marched forward in line and let loose a volley. 36 dice, but only two hits and this time none got through.

A second battalion, despite two pins on it, passed its command test, advanced half, deployed into line and fired a volley at the damaged Second Squad. Only 29 men firing, but they score five 1's and unbelievably another Concord trooper goes down, rolling a 10 on his resistance! The squad was stunned and forced down.

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The shock of this, spread through the IMTel was apparently too much for the members of the first squad because they fail their order test with only a single pin and go down, too. Meanwhile the Habspergian artillery which had unlimbered on a hill opens fire. Due to the masses of troops below, their only target was the distant X-Launcher, but the shots missed.

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Third Squad stands fast, however and splitting its fire kills a few infantry in an approaching column and then mows down half of a heavy cavalry squadron.

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The X-launcher, not liking the looks of the enemy light infantry slowly sidling in their direction drop a bomb on them and forcing them down again.

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At the end of the Third Turn, things aren't looking too good for the Concord! Captain Krissa realizes that they need to fall back onto the rocky hill to buy some time, but with two squads pinned down, will they be able to get out?

But the Concord gets a break. On Turn Four the big battalion poised to attack fails its command roll despite only having a single pin. Then the Concord get two dice pulled out of the bag in a row despite the enemy having a lot more dice. Third Squad pulls back and puts some heavy damage on an advancing column and a few more hits on the big battalion.

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And then the X-launcher drops a net round on the light infantry and the additional pins cause it to break and run.

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Then one of the deployed Habspergian battalions, despite a lot of casualties and several pins passes its command test and fires a volley and the ill-starred Second Squad. Two hits are scored, but for once the resistance rolls are passed. Still the squad now has three pins per model and has to take a break test. Fortunately it passes with a 1.

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Most of the rest of the turn was just the Habspergian reserves moving forward, but one amazingly lucky shot from their heavy artillery put a pin on the X-launcher and forced it to go down!

At the end of the turn, the rolls to remove Down orders went well for the Concord. Second Squad not only removed the down, but rolled a 1 so it lost two pins, First Squad also removed its down. The X-howitzer, apparently dismayed by the rain of large iron spheres decided to remain down. Two of the Habsperger battalions also remained down. But at the start of Turn Five the Concordians are in quite a fix.

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Turn Five starts well for the Concord. Not only do they get two order dice right away, but they are able to pull back the badly exposed first and second squads and put quite a lot of hits on the enemy. Then the Habspergers fail several command rolls leaving some important units stalled. But this is redeemed suddenly when one battered battalion not only makes its command roll, but advances and guns down another Concordian trooper from the First Squad! Which then goes down! Not good!

Fortunately the rest of the Habspergian turn is rather uneventful. The artillery fire does no damage and when one of the cavalry units attempts to charge it fails its command roll with only a single pin. Many of the other units are stuck in a traffic jam behind the densely packed front lines. Even so, the Sky Demons are retreating and several have been killed!

The end of turn Down checks go well for both sides. All the Concord units remove theirs and only two of the Habspergers remain down, although one is the big battalion threatening to flank the Concord left.

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The Habspergers receive the first order die of Turn six and decide to charge with one of their battalions. It moves forward gallantly, but the Concord troopers stand and fire and with that and the following point blank fining they cut down the hapless natives to the last man.

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The rest of the turn was fairly uneventful. The Concord finished off the one heavy cavalry unit threatening their right flank and dealt out a number of casualties on other units. The Habspergers' momentum had faltered, their movement blocked by down units and mounds of bodies of those who had gone before. At the end of the turn the Concord force was all up and free of pins, while a number of the native's troops were still down

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And it is Turn Seven! Captain Krissa rolls a D6 to see if the relief force has arrived. A 2! They must be getting close! But they need to hold out a while longer.

The Habspergers get the first die and move up a fresh battalion of grenadiers . They score four hits on the first squad, but no kills. Just a pin. Then they get the next move and send another column of grenadiers into to charge First Squad. Captain Krissa orders them to run for it and they do, falling back outside of the reach of the enemy.

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But then a bugle rings out and the enemy hussars surge forward—straight toward Captain Krissa! She realizes that she cannot run as she'd commanded First Squad to do. If she does, the enemy cavalry will smash right into the X-Launcher only a short distance behind. So she and her headquarters team stand and fire their plasma carbines on scatter mode and bring down a half dozen enemy. But the rest reach her nonetheless. A savage moment goes by with blazing carbines, flashing sabers, and trampling horses. When the dust clears, the hussars have been annihilated, but one of Krissa's men is down.

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To her horror, she looks across the field and there is yet another group of heavy horse moving into position to charge. With just her and one man to face it, the situation is grim indeed. Her only hope is the X-launcher team her man gave his life to save. "Fire a Net round," she commands. And the team's fire is on target. The intense suspensor field plays havoc with the horses, putting 3 pins on them. Their officers try to lead them forward, but it proves impossible and the squadron is reduced to a tangled mass of men and horseflesh.

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More enemy troops keep arriving and the Concordians are being pressed up against the rocky hill. Will help ever arrive?

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Turn 8 begins. The D6 is rolled and… a 5! The battle goes on!

The Habspergers get the first move and they send a grenadier battalion into a charge against the light support drone. The machine could easily elude the attackers, but to do so would allow the enemy to sweep over the wrecked shuttle and attack Captain Krissa. The loyal machine stands its ground, shooting down as many as it can before it is literally smashed to bits under the swinging musket butts of the enemy.

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Yet another grenadier battalion moves forward and a devastating volley brings down a trooper in the First Squad!

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On the wake of this, a squadron of light dragoons charges the First Squad. Again, they dare not run for fear of letting the unit behind them be hit. So they fire away, cutting down a third of the cavalry. But the rest presses home and a wild melee goes through two rounds before the surviving horsemen break and run. But another trooper from First Squad had gone down.

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The Habspergers move again and at last the big battalion on the left flank, which has been down for several turns finally deploys and advances to fire on Captain Krissa HQ Squad. Realizing that she is badly exposed, she dashes out of range and rejoins the rest of her troops.

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The Habspergers are closing in for the kill. More fresh forces move into position for a final assault against the Sky Demons.

But then, Captain Krissa's communicator comes to life. The relief force has arrived! A wave of shuttles passes very low overhead, raining down net munitions. Normally used for riot control on freshly pacified planets, the intense suspensor fields immobilize the locals for the few minutes needed to load Captain Krissa's people aboard. They have reached safety, but six of their comrades and a trusty drone have been left behind.

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The Habspergers watch the Sky Demon vehicles vanish in the sky. They cheer and weep and hug each other. They have done it! They have defeated the Sky Demons and kept their home safe for another age.

Waiting for the burial parties. 245 bodies.

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Well! That worked far better than I could have hoped for and was a real blast to play! I had been afraid that it would be hopelessly lopsided, but I think it was amazingly well balanced and a few critical die rolls could have seen it go either way. If the Second Squad had broken on Turn 4 as it almost did, things might have gotten very sticky for Captain Krissa! The Austrians—I mean Habspergers—died in droves, but they wore down the Concord defenders bit by bit.

If you have Bolt Action, Black Powder, or Hail Caesar armies, I urge you to give a game like this a try. This is only one possible scenario!

Personal logo Mardaddy Supporting Member of TMP04 Sep 2017 10:05 a.m. PST

Awesome AAR.

colgar6 Supporting Member of TMP04 Sep 2017 10:30 a.m. PST

That was quite marvellous! My congratulations on your inventiveness.

Personal logo chasseur Supporting Member of TMP04 Sep 2017 10:55 a.m. PST

Very cool AAR. Are those casualty markers available on your website?

ScottWashburn Sponsoring Member of TMP04 Sep 2017 11:06 a.m. PST

Chasseur, no, I just made them up for this game. Why? Do you think there would be a demand for them?

princeman Supporting Member of TMP04 Sep 2017 3:02 p.m. PST

Neat idea- reminds me of the book The High Crusade. Nice looking figures to boot.
Greg

Synjin04 Sep 2017 9:16 p.m. PST

That was great! Wonderful use of various miniatures.

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP05 Sep 2017 8:16 a.m. PST

Marvelous!

Oberlindes Sol LIC05 Sep 2017 12:03 p.m. PST

Looks like a good time was had by all.

SouthernPhantom05 Sep 2017 6:45 p.m. PST

Very nice AAR, that looks like a fun game! I played something similar with a time-traveling armored-cavalry unit winding up at the Alamo; it was a great game.

KniazSuvorov06 Sep 2017 5:04 p.m. PST

Awesome AAR! Thanks for sharing

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