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Friday, September 29, 2017

BattleGroup: An interview with the designer

With Warwick Kinrade. All photos courtesy of Ironfist Publishing.

I recently had a chance to correspond with Warwick Kinrade, primary creator of the Battlegroup rules system, published by Ironfist Publishing and The Plastic Soldier Company.

Photo: Piers (left) and Warwick (right) performing historical research for a period other than WWII.

Warwick is the main game designer behind Battlegroup. He's had help along the way from Piers Brand, the other half of the Ironfist Publishing force. In what I've learned is true "Piers Fashion" he deferred all of my questions about the game design of Battlegroup to Warwick.

1. Which of you is the genius (or to blame - either motivation works) for creating the game? A joint effort, or more one than the other?

WK: The game was created by me (Warwick). With some help from my main gaming opponents, but it's 99% my work, over about a 10 year period. Piers has helped out with the supplements.

Photo LEFT: Warwick (left) and Wil from PSC --  Photo RIGHT: Gaming the Battlegroup way.

2. What kind of backgrounds do you have in either military, historical research, or game design?

WK: My background is in games design and publishing, for 15 years for Games Workshop. My history background is nothing more than a long-standing interest in military history since I was kid really.

Photo LEFT: Piers Brand in his paint studio. Piers paints many of the miniatures in the Battlegroup books, as well as painting the minis pictured on the PSC boxes.  Photo RIGHT: In addition to designing the game, Warwick is also responsible for the vast majority of the images in the Battlegroup books.

3. Is IronFist publishing your baby? Does someone else own it, how did that come about?

WK: Ironfist was set-up as a joint venture between the Plastic Soldier Company and myself.

4. What's the connection between BG and PSC? Did they commission the rules set from you, or did you approach them?

WK: Will, at PSC, asked if they could publish my game. He wanted a WWII game and really liked BG and the ideas behind it. I was going to publish my own rules anyway, so we did a deal...

5. In your own words, what is different about BG compared to other historical WWII and later period games?
What kind of player does it attract? Is there much of a tourney scene, convention play, or just blokes in garages and game shops having a fun afternoon?

WK: It was designed for me to play really, so middle-aged, knowledgeable, historical wargamers. It's not an intro game, it’s not about getting youngsters into the hobby etc (although they are welcome to play), it’s for those gamers that are serious about their historical fun and want games to feel that way too. I have no interest in a tournament scene (although others could create one, I won't),

I’ve seen up close what that pressure does to games design and development when rules get written with tournaments in mind, and I am very wary. Pick-up play, for evenings and afternoons, is the heart of BG, although I like an accurate historical refight occasionally too. But even those pick-up games still need to feel very much ‘of their time and place’, with the right forces, right scenario, etc. No anachronisms are allowed here (if we get it right).

Compared to other WWII games, I think it looks and feels a lot more authentic, the history is at its heart, not just a backdrop. Hardwired into the game. A knowledge of combined arms tactics, how to deploy a heavy machine gun for best effect, how infantry and tanks must work together, helps. It isn’t a guarantee of victory though, as in the real world, things need to go your way too (in Battlegroup terms, dice rolls and counter draws). There is a level of unpredictability which is more entertaining than in other games, which seem very predictable, even with the dice rolls (you generally get an average across a game).

6. As you work on the various Battle Books, what kind of criteria are you using to work on list building for each nation's forces? Are you looking for pure historical accuracy? If so, how do you balance that with the rules system? When looking at the special "flavor" of each nation's army, how do you decide what characteristics fit both the national flavor, as well as the playablity within the game system? Especially to avoid meta-creep in the system?

WK: Historical accuracy is very high on the agenda, as is the variety of forces and lots of options in the lists, mostly to facilitate collecting and using different and interesting models. Ambulances, radio trucks, motorcycle dispatch riders etc, that they have a role on the tabletop, even just a very small one. Then you can collect one, and enjoy painting it up. You don’t need them though, they don’t replace the tanks and infantry, just support them (like in real life).

‘Game balance’ (which isn’t the same as a fair game) is less important, as the core system is designed to cope with a lot of stresses. As said, it’s not for tournament play. There is no way to build a ‘killer’ army. Most players find a balanced force will always do well, so a bit of infantry, tanks and artillery support.

I’m not interested in that kind of ‘what you take’ game (ala X-Wing et al), I'm more for ‘what you do with what you take. I don’t like killer-combos or ‘bankers’, nothing is guaranteed in BG. The Battle Rating system offers very diverse forces a level playing field. The points values get players in the right ballpark, but its the BR system on which the game balances, not the points. BR is a simple system, impossible (I think) to break with power gaming. I haven't seen anybody do it yet.

There can be no ‘meta-creep’ (what is this ugly term?) as there is no ‘meta’ for BG (as I understand the term), the game is designed to avoid the pitfalls of this currently dominant ‘model’ of wargames, which is, IMHO, mostly only commercially driven, not about a better game. Battlegroup comes from a different place. It’s not about the rules selling more miniatures to people. Instead, Battlegroup is about providing a better gaming experience with those models. My ultimate aim was to have cool models, well-painted, on good historical terrain, in a game that felt historically right (from my knowledge) and was still fun and dramatic to play. That is what I wanted from my free time - the best of wargaming.

7. You issued a reprint of the main rules with, what? three minor changes? As you progress with the various battle books, do you foresee any major additional to the rules? Major revisions?

WK: No revisions, no new editions, no big rules changes, the core game is strong and I have no interest in doing all the work again. I poured my heart and soul into these rules and gave it my all, to create the best WWII rules I could, that won’t happen again (not with WW2 anyway). The game is the one I want to play and, beyond a very few minor tweaks, it won’t be revised.

Such revisions are, again, a commercially driven idea from big companies that need the income from ‘new stuff’ - to sell rulebooks again and again. BG isn’t that. That’s not BG’s approach… This is the WWII game I shall play for the rest of gaming days (I hope). We’ll just do different theatres and time periods from within the war… they provide new interest and can feel like entirely new games anyway - if we get it right.

8. Of course, you've announced a NORTHAG rules set in the works. We should do a piece or two on that system when it comes out. But, for now, how close is that rules system to the WWII version of the rules set? Is the core system getting revamped (EG: FoW ver 3 moving to Team Yankee - two different beasts)? Or, are the two systems staying close to each other?

WK: NORTHAG is miles away from being done. Work has only just started. Ultimately, it still has to be Battlegroup, the rules won’t be drastically re-worked. They will be tweaked though, and in some ways, subtle changes can make big difference and produce a very different feel to the game, which is the aim with all BG supplements. It can’t just be WW2 with different tank models, that’s not the BG-way. It has to feel like a very different game, although the core rules don’t change. That’s the trick… and the tricky bit.

Troy A. Hill is a recovering journalist, and recent transplant to Los Angeles, California. He's a long time gamer, and has played too many games to list. He even got to edit a D&D supplement for TSR back in the days of green computer monitors. He grumps a lot, especially before his second pot of coffee. If spotted in the wild, you have an excellent chance to escape if you toss him bacon, or oatmeal-raisin cookies, and back away slowly while he's distracted.
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Thursday, September 28, 2017

Bolt Action: Full scale model wars

Full scale model wars
Quite some time ago I participated in an event and I noticed that two of the players were using some tanks that seemed a little on the large side. Melbourne's favorite French sons Julian and Enzo had come out to play and they had bought some 1:48 scale tanks. Initially I had a kind of reservation about using a larger scale, after all 1:48 is a lot bigger than 1:56 and therefore harder to transport, easier for your enemy to shoot at and easier to break as 1:48 tends to be an actual model as opposed to a toy. But then I noticed the exquisite detail these models offer as well as the fact that your models actually look like they could fit inside the tank.

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Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Product Review: Battlefront's BB228 Apartment Block

By Ranger Dane

The most recent Battlefront property released as part of the RED THUNDER battlefield in a box terrain series is the Apartment Block. The Apartment Block is an impressive 3-story building capable of housing even the largest platoon.  Each floor measures 1.5” x 5” x 3.5”    and can hold: 4 (medium base) Infantry Teams.   This building is typical of the apartment buildings seen all over Europe.  This building is a welcome addition to Battlefront's new modern building line for use with Team Yankee.

The 3-story Apartment Building comes with Air Conditioners (window units) and HVAC systems for the roof, or side yard

Let’s take a look at a few typical European apartment buildings.

Here we have Battle Front’s Apartment Block, product code BB228 and retails for $50.00 USD.

The model comes with:
• 1x ground floor with doorway.
• 2x elevated apartments with balcony.
• 1x roof.
• 1x package of 6x air conditioners and 4x HVAC units.

Each level of the Apartment Block could stand alone as a town building and are large enough to accommodate 4 infantry teams.

The roof is perfect for those SA-14 Gremlin or Fliegerfaust Teams.

I really like this model.  It is very representative of many of the city apartment blocks in Europe. Though this set comes pre-painted, it would be easy enough to change exterior colors to add a little Variety. It is a great terrain piece on the game table, especially when combined with other Team Yankee Terrain. Though some may not appreciate the $50 price tag, this is a lot of building for the gamer’s money.  The quality is there and there is a lot of resin in this 3-story building.  I believe I will get a few more of these and create an apartment block for those Urban-city fights.

This building rates: Ein Prosit und eins! zwei drei! trinken!
This Building was provided by Battlefront.

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Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Bolt Action: Better to Burn Out Than Fade Away!

What's up everyone!

Today I get the supreme pleasure of introducing to you the newest member of the Bolt Action Alliance team, the indomitable Kieran Byrne! Kieran's been a part of the UK Bolt Action for a while now, and many of you may remember him from the Combined Operations podcast which has sadly been deactivated. Kieran, never being one to shy away from a topic, comes out swinging at the bell to talk about something a lot of gamers deal with... the idea of hobby burn out. Apologies to those of you who thought we'd be talking about introducing Highlander characters into Bolt Action. Interspersed throughout the article are pics of Bryan's "Lead Mountain" as well as Kieran's armies.


With the fact that it is becoming an all too prevalent phrase being presented by a lot of gamers, on a bigger scale than maybe what was previously seen, I am going to jump in with both feet and tackle one of the elephants in the room for my first article for the Bolt Action Alliance. The dreaded hobby burnout.

What is Burnout?

Now any internet search for the term ‘Burnout’ will bring up a plethora of information about how various stress factors that we place on ourselves daily can lead to our motivation being diminished, and lower us to certain levels of depression in a lot of cases. Through all those online suggestions for remedies a main one that stands out if you read it from our perspective is the ‘Get a hobby!’ cure, but what if our hobby is the thing that causing us the problem? Well hopefully below we may try and address some suggestions and points that can be of help.

I will preface these all with saying that this is from my own perspective. I have suffered with the complete lack of motivation to do anything constructive at all and while I hope the points I raise below will help I also am not naïve enough to say if you do this then it will sort you out. The effects and causes of the burnout is as individual to the person as the person themselves so what is right for one is not for others.

Now I do think that ‘burnout’ has become a bit of a catchphrase at the moment, but the first thing I think we need to ask is, is it really a complete burnout with the hobby? Or have we put things in our way that are causing us to unduly stress? Or are we just in fact a little bored? I think this is a main crux of the whole situation as whatever level we find ourselves then the solutions to it may be easier than others.

What Causes Burnout?

So the actual playing, how can we break out of the rut of not being motivated to get out and play? A lot of the online posts you see surrounding this all seem to point to one suggestion. ‘Go and play something else!’ Now while I somewhat agree in part to what this suggests I also don’t think in some cases that it offers a reasonable solution and here is why. A lot of us have used a marked amount of our time, effort, and financial resource to creating the armies we play with to such an extent that now if we are to attempt to distance ourselves the whole cycle begins again which in turn will just cause a respite for the issue. It may also be the case  that you will go to play these other games and never return back to, for purposes of this article, Bolt Action. Also this suggestion does not take into account the financial or time constraint levels that people are at so maybe we don’t just have the ability to go and play something else. I will come back to this point in a while though.

One thing I think we need to ask ourselves is actually what is it about the game that’s causing the problem. This is from my own experience so this is my first bit of first hand advice. For a number of years I was a quite prolific tournament player and as such all the games I played were of a similar style, so to speak, and it just got to the point of not holding interest to go out and do it all again. So what did I do? Well to be honest I joined my local hobby club. The gameplay at a club vs gameplay at tournament can be of a marked difference and the whole baggage that sometimes comes along with being at a tournament is stripped away and you just relive the pleasure of playing the game again. Also you have a lot more freedom playing away from a tournament setting as we will touch on below.

The second of my points is are we challenging ourselves enough? What I mean by this is the fact that, say, a lot of tournament armies will follow a pretty set out criteria and this can have an effect of when you are playing against these armies, then the whole scope of finding something new is greatly reduced. It can be seen that a lot of the more experienced players have the experience already to counter most things on the table, so those players that do turn up with these forces expecting to do well are disheartened when it all goes pear shaped. So on the other hand are you a player that follows that criteria? Are whatever armies you have pretty much the same setup with just different clothing? Do you think that the challenge of running your armies without any armour, being solely infantry, or another composite of what is available will help you find a new challenge in the game and reinvigorate your taste for battle? I know it did in my case.

Another part of the whole hobby that seems to cause the most burnout is the actually painting and general hobby that surrounds the making up of your armies. This is the one that has probably caused me the greater problem of the two to be honest. Now I am not a person who has the availability in my house to have a dedicated hobby area where most things are laid out constantly and it can be easy to sit down for ten minutes or half an hour and do a little painting when you get chance. The whole actual sitting down can take in excess of half an hour itself to get everything sorted so that only adds to the whole stress factor.

How Do We Alleviate Burnout?

So what have I learnt? First off be realistic about your availability of time you can apply to your output. A lot of suggestions to conquering the hobby burnout are "Sign up for a tournament!" and "Join a hobby pledge!" Now while I understand the setting of deadlines will work for some I can’t see how adding another factor of stress in making that commitment can help.

Secondly never try and compare the stuff you produce to anyone else’s! The times I have got disheartened looking at what others talent can produce are countless, and it’s a fool’s errand to try. I mean even if you were to talk with some of the top names they would always say how in awe they are of others painting and how they wish they could be as good as them. That moment when I realised this is probably as good as I am ever going to do and being totally happy with it myself was a massive relief in my hobby life and at the end of the day you are always going to be your worst critic.

So is there anything else that has helped me to get through to the other side of this hobby burnout? Yes there was and a lot of this is so simple that it is often overlooked.

Tiredness is one of the biggest contributors to stress, it is as true in everyday life as it is in hobby, so maybe not staying up to early hours of the morning doing hobby, then say going to work, and then back to late night hobby sessions will be a good thing in the long run.

Take a break! As silly as it seems the old adage of a break is as good as a rest is still so apt. So if you feel yourself starting to get a little irate and stressed, walk away for even a few minutes. Get some fresh air or coffee, go play with your children, or whatever.

Clear your mind! As with above during a break completely disconnect yourself. I have often found the worst things is if I get that irritated feeling is to jump on social media with the intentions of maybe catching up with friends and then getting embroiled with a conversation can often only heighten your stress levels.

Lastly, and this is the most important point of all, as much as you feel they are the issues you have you are not the first nor will be the last person to go through them. Discussion and getting the problems talked through can be the most effective way to relieve them.

Thank you for your time to read through this article which I hope will be the first of many that I write with the Bolt Action Alliance. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did writing and in fact just doing this and sharing has in some way helped with my own burnout issue so thanks to you for that.

Till next time.


There you have it! Hobby burnout is something I think a lot of us deal with to varying degrees, myself and some of the other lads included. Reading Kieran's truth-bombs, the causes seem pretty obvious and ironically the solutions even moreso! I'm definitely going to bookmark this article and give it a quick review for those times I just can't bring myself to pick up a brush. Tiredness is one of the ones I struggle with the most, for sure. The other one used to be comparing my work to that of others. I'm no Bryan, no Patchimus... but I'm happy with the results I'm getting and THAT is the key.

Hopefully this article will be of some help to you as it was for Kieran to write, and for me to read/edit. Remember that at the end of the day, this is a hobby and it's supposed to be fun!

- Seamus

Game on!
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Monday, September 25, 2017

Gates of Antares - Unofficial Global Self Defence Force Army List

Global Self Defense Force Army List

A 100% Unofficial Supplement to Gates of Antares

by Mark Barber

The fighting which rages across Antarean space is often dominated by the largest and most powerful alliances and empires; the PanHuman Concord and the Isorian Senetax are seemingly constantly locked in combat with one another and a host of other factions, whilst the eternally aggressive Ghar seek to eradicate every shred of human existence wherever they find it. Whilst factions are at war with each other, they are also - for a variety of reasons - also seeking to annex other civilized planets which they encounter. For IMTel civilizations this is one of the core components of their society; isolated human civilizations will prosper and advance at an astronomically accelerated rate if they are embraced within the Concord or Senetax, even if they do not realise it or appreciate the offer to merge. Likewise, the Ghar and Vorl see isolated, lone planets as an easy source of raw materials, slave labour or even just somewhere to fight and kill.

For these isolated planets, a sudden and unwelcome awareness of their part in a much wider universe can be a terrifying thing. Depending on the level of technology the planet enjoys, an invasion can be seen as anything from sky gods or mythical warriors from the stars to an invasion from a foe with marginally advanced technology. For the purposes of this supplement, we will look at planets who have only just began to take tentative steps into space; who have began to explore their own system but have limited or no awareness of the vast empires which struggle against each other in the systems which surround them. These planets probably still consist of individual nations which war with each other, using mag technology at best for their weapons but more likely still relying on archaic chemical reactions to propel solid bullets at each other across the battlefield.

But the militaries of these planets do invariably rally together when starships bearing advanced warriors make planetfall on their planet, their home, and threaten their freedom. Even with comparatively primitive arms and armour, militaries can muster heavy weapons, air power, tanks, or even fall back on waging guerilla warfare against the future tech of their invaders.

This unofficial list allows players to field a Global Self Defense Force in Gates of Antares to fight against any of the official factions. It is mainly intended for new players who want a simple force to experiment with the game mechanics, perhaps using miniatures from the Bolt Action or Terminator: Genisys range to dip their toe in the water before committing to purchasing an official (and more capable!) army. However, it also provides something a little bit different for veteran gamers or those who would like to add another level of detail to a narrative campaign.


Force Size
Points Value
Scouting Force
Skirmish Force
Combat Force
Battle Force
Offensive Force
Invasion Force
Conquest Force
Each 250+ after

  • ‘Tech Lvl 1’ refers to GSDFs from planets with a more advanced level of technology. If players do not choose any Tech Lvl 1 options, they may have a free Fire Team with 8 soldiers and all available upgrades (not including Tech Lvl 1 options!)
  • 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, but you can only take ‘Superior Shard’ for a Tech Lvl 1 force


The Command Team is made up of an officer and his squad, normally including a Senior NCO. This can range from a platoon commander up to a battalion commander, depending on the size of the force being led.
Infantry Command Unit                  Points Value: 90                                Limited Choice
Unit: Command Team                 Ag Acc Str Res Init Co                      Special
1 x Officer: Assault Rifle, Pistol
    Body Armour                                           5      6       5    5(6)    7     9            Command, Follow, Leader 2  
2 x Soldiers: Assault Rifle,
    Body Armour                                           5      6       5    5(6)    7     8          
  • Upgrade Officer to Leader 3 @10pts
  • Add 1 soldier to unit @15 pts
  • Include UAS in unit @5 pts
  • Give one soldier an UGL @2 pts
  • Give one soldier a motion sensor @1pt
  • Upgrade Assault Rifles to Mag Guns @2 pts per model (Tech Lvl 1 only)

The basic building block of the GSDF, this tactical element typically consists of four soldiers led by an NCO. Six Fire Teams make a platoon, which is led by a junior officer and his or her Command Team.
Infantry Unit                                       Points Value: 60                               
Unit: Fire Team                            Ag Acc Str Res Init Co                      Special
1 x NCO: Assault Rifle,
    Body Armour                                           5      5       5    5(6)    7     8                              Leader  
3 x Soldiers: Assault Rifle,
    Body Armour                                           5      5       5    5(6)    7     8          
  • Upgrade Leader to Leader 2 @10pts
  • Add up to 4 soldiers to unit @13 pts each
  • Include UAS in unit @5 pts
  • Exchange one soldier’s Assault Rifle for a Light Machine Gun @4 pts
  • Give one soldier an UGL @2 pts
  • Give one soldier a motion sensor @1pt
  • Upgrade Assault Rifles to Mag Guns @2 pts per model (Tech Lvl 1 only)
  • Exchange one soldier’s Assault Rifle for a Smart Gun @8 pts (Tech Lvl 1 only)

Special Forces are made up of highly trained and experienced soldiers who have volunteered for special duties. They are used for reconnaissance, infiltration, destroying key enemy installations or mounting lengthy guerrilla campaigns against invading forces.
Infantry Unit                                       Points Value: 100                         Limited Choice      
Unit: SF Team                              Ag Acc Str Res Init Co                      Special
1 x NCO: Assault Rifle, Pistol
    Body Armour                                           5      6       6    5(6)    8     9                              Leader 2
3 x Soldiers: Assault Rifle, Pistol
    Body Armour                                           5      6       6    5(6)    8     8          
  • Upgrade Leader 2 to Leader 3 @10pts
  • Add up to 4 soldiers to unit @20 pts
  • Include UAS in unit @5 pts
  • Exchange up to two soldier’s assault rifles for light machine guns @4 pts each
  • Exchange any number of soldier’s assault rifles for sub machineguns for free
  • Give any number of assault rifle armed soldiers a UGL @2 pts each
  • Give one soldier a target designator @3 pts
  • Give one soldier a motion sensor @1pt
  • Upgrade assault rifles to mag guns @2 pts per model (Tech Lvl 1 only)

Whilst the GSDF is built around professional, experienced soldiers, a planetary invasion by a vastly superior foe will inevitably galvanize ordinary citizens into taking up arms against the invaders. With limited training and basic equipment, these hastily assembled forces can still prove to be a threat and are often underestimated.
Infantry Unit                                       Points Value: 37                               
Unit: Resistance Volunteer Team           Ag Acc Str Res Init Co                      Special
1 x NCO: Assault Rifle,
    Body Armour                                           5      5       5    5(6)    7     8                              Leader  
4 x Volunteers: Assault Rifle                        5      4       4      5      6     7          
  • Upgrade Leader to Leader 2 @10pts
  • Add up to 5 volunteers to unit @6 pts
  • Include UAS in unit @5 pts
  • Give all volunteers body armour @1 pt each

Some isolated civilizations within Antarean space have now evolved to the point of using Artificial Intelligence to assist with many functions within society. This also includes military capability, and crude robotic soldiers have been used in combat on many planets. The AI of these units is simplistic; they are unable to feel emotion or display much in terms of initiative and flexibility, but consequently they are unable to feel fear and will not abandon their orders under any circumstances.
Infantry Unit                                      Points Value: 150        Limited Choice - Tech Lvl 1    
Unit: Robotic Trooper Team       Ag Acc Str Res Init Co                      Special
5 x Robotic Troopers: Mag Gun                   4      6      5      8       4     -        SV2 in assault, Scramble Proof
                                                                                                                                          Command checks pass automatically           
  • Add up to 5 Robotic Troopers to unit @30 pts


A Weapons Team is centred around a heavy weapon, often too cumbersome to keep pace with Fire Teams. It is deployed at platoon or company level.
Weapons Team Unit                          Points Value: 34                              
Unit: Weapons Team                   Ag Acc Str Res Init Co                      Special
1 x Soldier: Guided Missile Launcher,
    Pistol, Body Armour                                5      5       5    5(6)    7     8           
1 x Soldier: Assault Rifle,
    Body Armour                                           5      5       5    5(6)    7     8          
Weapon Options
The weapons team is armed with a guided missile launcher. The unit can be rearmed with any of the following support weapons at the points cost shown
  • Heavy machine gun @free
  • Mortar @free
  • Mag light support @2 pts (Tech Lvl 1 only)
  • Add 1 soldier with assault rifle to unit @13 pts
  • Include UAS in unit @5 pts
  • Give one soldier a motion sensor @1pt
  • Promote one soldier to Leader @10pts

A Technical is a generic term for a civilian 4x4 road vehicle, adapted for military use by mounting a weapon on the back. It also has a limited troop transport capability.
Vehicle Unit                                       Points Value: 60                              
Unit: Technical                             Ag Acc Str Res Init Co                      Special
1 x Technical with heavy
machine gun                                                5       5      1       6      7     8                       Transport 5, Large
                                                                                                                                        Scramble Proof
Weapon Options
The technical is armed with a heavy machine gun. It can be rearmed with any of the following weapons at the points cost shown
  • Guided missile launcher @4 pts
  • Mag light support @2 pts (Tech Lvl 1 only)
  • Remove weapons for free to increase Transport 5 to Transport 8

Snipers are highly trained and proficient marksmen who are adept at working behind enemy lines to eliminate high value targets. Whilst normally equipped with normal rifle calibre weapons, GSDF snipers routinely arm themselves with high calibre sniper rifles intended to anti-vehicle use so as to give them a chance of countering enemies with technologically advanced armour.
Weapon Team Unit                          Points Value: 38                              
Unit: Sniper Team                        Ag Acc Str Res Init Co                      Special
1 x Sniper: Sniper Rifle,
    Body Armour                                           5      6       5    5(6)    8     8           
1 x Soldier: Assault Rifle,
    Body Armour                                           5      6       5    5(6)    8     8          
  • Include UAS in unit @5 pts
  • Give sniper a sub machine gun @2 pts
  • Give pistol to either or both soldiers @1 pts each
  • Give one soldier a motion sensor @1pt
  • Promote either or both soldiers to Leader @10pts each
  • Give soldier a target designator @3 pts


The Main Battle Tank is a compromise between mobility, protection and firepower. Whereas previous tanks specialised in certain roles, the MBT is an all-rounder, with enough speed to be in the right place at the right time, but enough armour and punch to make a difference once it gets there. MBTs were amongst the first military units to employ mag technology, and so are fitted with early, bulky mag weapons. However, compared to the combat drones of the Concord and Isorian Senetax, the GSDF MBT is little more than a curious museum piece.
Vehicle Unit                                       Points Value: 120                              
Unit: MBT                                     Ag Acc Str Res Init Co                      Special
1 x MBT with early mag cannon*                 3       6      1     11      7     8                     Large, Scramble Proof
and 2 light machine guns
Weapon Options
The MBT is armed with an early mag cannon* (rules on page 75 of Gates of Antares rulebook, but does not include the Massive Damage special rule) and two light machine guns. It can be rearmed with any of the following weapons at the points cost shown
  • Replace either or both light machine guns with heavy machine guns @2 pts each

The Armoured Personnel Carrier provides a good degree of protection in a swift, armoured vehicle for transporting troops directly into action. Some APCs are also fitted with turrets, providing limited fire support for troops as they drop them off in the thick of the action.
Vehicle Unit                                       Points Value: 90                              
Unit: APC                                      Ag Acc Str Res Init Co                      Special
1 x APC with light machine gun                   3       5      1     10      7     8                        Large, Transport 10
                                                                                                                                       Scramble Proof
Weapon Options
The APC is armed with a light machine gun. It can be rearmed with any of the following weapons at the points cost shown
  • Replace the light machine gun with heavy machine guns @2 pts
  • Add a autocannon @12 pts or a guided missile launcher @10 pts


Medics are medically trained military personnel who deliver first aid on the battlefield. Within the GSDF, medics may also be civilian doctors or nurses who have volunteered by help with the fight against the invaders.
Weapon Team Unit                          Points Value: 45                              
Unit: Medic Team                         Ag Acc Str Res Init Co                      Special
1 x Medic: Pistol,
    Body Armour                                           5      5       5    5(6)    7     8             Medic - counts as medi-drone
1 x Soldier: Assault Rifle,
    Body Armour                                           5      5       5    5(6)    7     8          
  • Promote medic to Leader @10pts each

The sentry gun is a tripod mounted, fully automated sustained fire defensive weapon. It has an integral scanner system which detects targets and, if they are not equipped with an IFF (Identification Friend or Foe) device, will automatically engage them.
Weapon Team Unit                          Points Value: 30                              
Unit: Sentry Gun                          Ag Acc Str Res Init Co                      Special
1 x Sentry Gun                                              -      6       -       4      8      -                            

The Armoury

These pages list the new weapons and equipment used by GSDF. For weapons and equipment which already exist in the Antarean universe, consult the rulebook.


The pistol is the simple, primitive forefather of the Mag and Plasma pistols. It fires solid bullets from a semi-automatic feed, usually from a magazine housed within the pistol grip. Even on planets with relatively primitive technology, it has limited uses and is carried by officers, special forces and vehicle crews.

Type of Weapon               Effective    Long    Extreme      Strike Value       Special
Pistol                                       10            20           30                    +1                     -

 The submachine gun is a compact weapon capable of firing fully automatically, utilising a small, pistol calibre bullet. It lacks the range of weapons chambered for larger cartridges but as a result of the lower recoil, it is more controllable when fired automatically. For this reason it is classified as a hand weapon. 

Type of Weapon               Effective    Long    Extreme      Strike Value       Special
Submachine Gun                    20            30           None                +1                  RF2
  • RF2. Rapid Fire 2. The Submachine Gun fires two shots.


The mainstay of all militaries prior to the development of magnetically accelerated projectiles, the assault rifle is a long barrelled weapon capable of fully automatic fire, utilising a full sized, rifle calibre cartridge. This term covers a broad category of weapons, ranging from the very first fully automatic rifles up to weapons using caseless ammunition and targeting assistance.

Type of Weapon                 Effective    Long    Extreme      Strike Value       Special
Assault Rifle: Single Shot         20            30            50                   0                       -
Assault Rifle: Rapid Fire         None         10            20                   0                    RF2
  • Shooting Modes: A unit equipped with assault rifles can use one of two modes: the longer ranged, hard hitting single shot, or the shorter ranged, rapid fire. All models in the unit must shoot using the same mode.
  • RF2. Rapid Fire 2. When using Rapid Fire mode an assault rifle fires two shots.

The light machine gun is a fully automatic weapon designed to be used by an individual soldier to provide integrated sustained fire support within a squad. It may be a larger, box or belt fed weapon or bipod fitted, or even a simple modification of an assault rifle. 

Type of Weapon                 Effective    Long    Extreme      Strike Value       Special
Light Machine Gun                    30            40            60                   0                    RF3
  • RF3. Rapid Fire 3. The light machine gun fires three shots.

The Smart Gun Weapons system consists of a man portable machine gun, a gyroscopically stabilised harness and a head mounted targeting system. It is a powerful and accurate weapon, but it is also cumbersome and maintenance intensive which is why it has been replaced in more advanced militaries.

Type of Weapon                 Effective    Long    Extreme      Strike Value       Special
Smart Gun                                  40          60          None                   1                 RF3
  • RF3. Rapid Fire 3. The light machine gun fires three shots.
  • Cumbersome. The awkward harness which forms part of the weapon system makes it difficult to fire whilst crouching or prone. Any model with a Smart Gun who is shot whilst on a Fire order must subtract 1 from any Res bonuses from cover.

The Underslung Grenade Launcher is a modular addition to the assault rifle, consisting of a tube and ammunition feed system which is fitted beneath the weapon’s main barrel. This gives the squad a limited capacity to deploy High Explosives on lightly armoured targets. This weapon is a compromise; whilst it adds some offensive capability to the squad, it is not as effective as a bespoke, stand alone explosive launcher.

Type of Weapon                 Effective    Long    Extreme  Strike Value       Special
UGL                                                10-20             30            None                   0                  OH, Blast D4                                                                                                                                      
  • Minimum Range: The UGL has a minimum range of 10” and cannot engage targets that are closer than this measured in the standard way
  • OH. Overhead. The UGL can shoot overhead as described on page 34 of the Gates of Antares rulebook.
  • Blast D4: The UGL gives a Blast causing D4 hits as described on page 33 of the Gates of Antares rulebook.

The sniper rifles adopted by most GSDF snipers are large, heavy weapons mounted on bipods and chambered for an anti-vehicle round. Whilst devastatingly effective against contemporary armour and light vehicles, even these weapons struggle against the advanced armour of IMTel societies. 

Type of Weapon                 Effective    Long    Extreme      Strike Value       Special
Sniper Rifle                               40            80       Unlimited              1          No Cover, Scope
  • No Cover. Models hit by sniper rifles get no cover bonus to their Res roll.
  • Scope. The rifle’s scope has various sensor inputs which allow the sniper to pick out his target. If the sniper shoots with a Fire order, he may pick his target within a unit.


The guided missile launcher consists of a simple firing tube which launches a missile with pre-programmed way points. The missile, whilst not particularly agile, is able to fly along a path made up of user defined waypoints before accelerating to impact the target. Guided missile launcher teams are normally made up of two soldiers, who carry High Explosive and Armour Piercing projectiles as standard.

Type of Weapon                 Effective    Long    Extreme      Strike Value       Special
Guided Missile Launcher: HE        10-80        None        None                  1               Blast D4
Guided Missile Launcher: AP          10-80        None        None                  4                      -
  • Minimum Range: The guided missile launcher has a minimum range of 10” and cannot engage targets closer than this measured in the standard way.
  • Waypoints: The firing player may place up to two waypoints anywhere on the board but not within 1” of scenery. The missile will then fly along these waypoints. The total distance of the missile’s flight cannot exceed its maximum range of 80” and the missile cannot turn more than 90 degrees at a waypoint.
  • AP: The firer may elect to use Armour Piercing missiles. These rely on speed, and so the distance from the final waypoint to the target must be at least 10”.
  • UAS: Any number of UAS from other friendly units may be used as waypoints, but the maximum range remains 80”. A missile launcher counts as drawing LOS to a target as long as any friendly UAS within 30” can draw LOS to the target.
  • Blast D5: HE missiles give a Blast causing D4 hits as described in the rules for Blasts on page 33 of the Gates of Antares rulebook.

An ancient but still effective weapon, the mortar lobs bombs high into the air to fire over the top of intervening terrain and cover. Light mortars have largely been replaced in rifle platoons by UGLs, so this entry refers to larger, medium or heavy mortars.

Type of Weapon                 Effective    Long    Extreme      Strike Value       Special
Mortar                                    10-30          50          100                   1              OH, Blast D5
  • Minimum Range: The mortar has a minimum range of 10” and cannot engage targets closer than this measured in the standard way.
  • OH: Overhead. The mortar shoots overhead as described on page 34 of the Gates of Antares rulebook.
  • Blast D5: The mortar gives a Blast causing D5 hits as described in the rules for Blasts on page 33 of the Gates of Antares rulebook.

The heavy machine gun fires a larger cartridge than its squad based relatives, giving it more stopping power and a limited anti-vehicle capability. Due to the weight of the weapon, it is normally tripod mounted and manned by a crew of at least two.

Type of Weapon                 Effective    Long    Extreme      Strike Value       Special
Heavy Machine Gun                  40           60            80                   1                   RF3
  • RF3. Rapid Fire 3. The light machine gun fires three shots.

The sentry gun is a tripod mounted, fully automated sustained fire defensive weapon. It has an integral scanner system which detects targets and, if they are not equipped with an IFF (Identification Friend or Foe) device, will automatically engage them. 

Type of Weapon                 Effective    Long    Extreme      Strike Value       Special
Sentry Gun                                20            30         None                   0                   RF4
  • RF4. Rapid Fire 4. The sentry gun fires four shots.
  • Fixed Position. Once placed at the beginning of the game, the sentry gun cannot be moved.
  • Reactive. Every turn, the sentry gun must be given an ambush order. It will automatically engage the first unit which moves within its LOS.
  • Simple AI. The sentry gun cannot be pinned. If it is operational, it will launch ambushes and fire at full effect.

The autocannon is a vehicle mounted, fully automatic weapon with a slow rate of fire, firing explosive shells.

Type of Weapon                 Effective    Long    Extreme      Strike Value       Special
Autocannon                               40           60            80                    2                   RF2
  • RF2. Rapid Fire 2. The autocannon fires two shots.


Body armour is crude and simplistic when compared to cutting edge hyperlight or phase armour which equips the soldiers of the most advanced civilisations. Normally consisting of a helmet and simple plates attached to a jacket, it provides nothing more than the most base level of protection against weapons of a similar technological level.

The following rules apply to troops equipped with body armour:
  • Troops equipped with body armour add +1 to their resist (Res) value against weapons with a strike value (SV) of 0 or greater only. No Res bonus is granted against weapons with a SV of -1 or less.
  • Against any hit from a blast, body armour will provide a +1 to the target’s resist (Res) value down to a SV of -1. No Res bonus is granted against any blast weapons with a SV of -2 or less.


The Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) is the primitive forefather of the modern drone. It has no AI, no ability to think and act independently and responds only to commands and input from its user. It is, to all intents and purposes, a camera on a remote and very basic flying platform. It follows the basic rules for Buddy Drones as detailed on page 110 of the Gates of Antares rulebook. In addition:
  • A single blast weapon fired from the unit with the UAS gets a +1 Accuracy bonus.
  • The UAS can act as a waypoint for a guided missile launcher (see rules above).
  • If a unit shooting a guided missile launcher or mortar does not have LOS to the target, then it can patch into any friendly UAS within 30”. If the patched UAS has LOS to the target then the shooting unit counts as having LOS too.
  • The UAS is scramble proof.
A target designator is a man portable pod which uses an emission such as a laser or infrared pointer to designate a target to a second party. It is often used by sniper’s spotters for assistance, or Special Forces to direct Fast Air.
  • Once per turn, any unit equipped with a target designator can grant a re-roll to a unit who has missed when attempting to fire at a target within the target designator’s LOS. This can only be applied to the following weapon systems:
    • Guided Missile Launcher, Sniper Rifle
  • This bonus can be applied to another model within the same unit as the target designator, as well as to other friendly units.
  • The target designator can also be used to assist with Fast Air support (rules coming soon).
  • The target designator is scramble proof.

The motion sensor is a hand held unit which uses internal sensors to scan around the user to detect movement, which is then displayed on a screen. It has proven to be a simple method of partially mitigating the effects of Isorian phase technology.
  • If a unit is equipped with a motion sensor, when it is shooting at an enemy target equipped with Isorian phase-armour, the Isorian unit is limited +1 to its Res value for its armour, even if the range of the attack is over 10”. Cover modifiers are applied as normal.
  • The motion sensor is scramble proof.

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