At this point, Concord patrols on the planet Xilos are as plentiful as fleas on a dog, it seems.
Transporting another load of Builder trinkets at the behest of their masters, the Vardosi of Ipsimus again find themselves face-to-face with the hated, pretentious strike troopers of the C3 IMtel, which recognizes Ipsimus as a threat and tags them for immediate eradication.
Game was played to 750 pts using Core Rulebook matched scenario #3. Victory conditions required units to escape off enemy edge, with forces deploying half on/half off in a narrow deployment zone.
The Vardosi take up strong central defensive positions, X-Launcher behind several containers of builder artifacts, two Light Mag Support teams with one on high ground, and one Feral squad in good position to charge forward.
Concord seize the initiative, their strike squads surging forward as a Freeborn Light Mag Support advances into position behind a kinetic barrier and opens up on the feared C3D1 drones. One fails a Res test, and the unit takes 4 pins before failing a break test and going down, prompting a sigh of relief.
The Freeborn X-Launcher begins launching suspensor nets, pinning the foremost C3 squad twice.
The remainder of the turn sees squads jockeying for position with some light fire exchanged, taking one of the soma grafted Meat Puppets but failing to truly concern the Vardosi.
The C3D1 passes its recovery test on a 1, removing two pins and taking away the breathing room the Freeborn were feeling.
As the C3D1 squad starts to activate… it fails its test, the IMtel struggling to deal with superior Freeborn shard tech, and going Down for another turn.
Several C3 Strike Squads advance, inflicting more pins on the perched meat puppet squad. Domari squads advance, inflicting several pins but failing to achieve meaningful hits on the wide-breaking Concord.
In a worrisome moment, the C3 X-Launcher hits the pinned meat puppets, bringing their pins up to 8 and auto-breaking the unit.
Again, the Concord IMtel is stagnant as the C3D1 drones fail their Order test on a 10, losing no Pins and staying Down another turn.
Seeing a clear path to the other side of the board, the Vardanari squad on the far left sprints across the open, passing their Ag test on a 1 and sprinting a full 20″ to within easy distance of the edge and well out of enemy LOS.
On the right side of the board, two Domari squads surround an encroaching Strike Squad, gaining ground and inflicting enough casualties and pins to force a break test, annihilating the squad and clearing up the left side of the board.
Another Strike Squad charges up the center, taking fire from a Light Mag Support that inflicts a pin and kills two soldiers.
The left side of the table wide open, the C3 squad on that flank sprints 20″, effectively taking it out of the fight as the Vardosi write it off as a loss.
The Vardanari squad, ready to run off the table, come under Fire from the C3 X-Launcher, reacting with Dash to Cover and successfully fleeing the field without taking any further hits.
Yet another C3 squad sprints 20″ into a kill-zone between two Light Mag Support, who focus fire, knocking out their leader and inflicting several pins. Seeing an opportunity, one of the rightmost Domari focus on this squad with mag guns and slingnet shots, finally forcing a break test that the squad fails, eliminating it.
The remaining squad of Meat Puppets makes a break for it, sprinting through light woodland on a straight line for the board edge.
Freeborn Light Mag Support opens up the turn, firing on the single remaining Strike Squad and finishing them off, the Hyperlight armor of the strike troopers no match for high velocity mag slugs at such close range.
The C3D1 squad is finally able to activate, rushing to stop the fleeing meat puppet ferals, but only managing to kill just under half their number, leaving them well within sprint range of the edge, and able to pass their Co test thanks to soma grafts, fleeing the table and scoring more victory points.
Both Domari squads pick a direction and sprint to opposite sides of the barricade near the edge, giving the C3D1 drones a choice between moving to block one or the other next turn as the single C3 Strike Squad that made it near the Freeborn edge leaves for 3 VP.
Having lost four of seven order dice, the Concord players rolls an Army Break test and it’s determined that the game will last one more turn.
Drawing the first order die, the C3D1 drones activate and swoop to intercept the Domari squad closer to the center, but fails to draw LOS on the whole squad. Still, with clear fire to four of six, the light plasma support drones open fire. The squad is cut down in a series of pink explosions, only the leader and Micro X-Launcher soldiers ducking out of sight. Losing more than half their models to a single round of fire, the Domari take and pass a break test before activating and sprint to the table edge, with almost exactly 1″ of clearance to enemy models on either side of a 14.5″ run… The Domari escapes for 3 VP under INCREDIBLY tight margins.
The second Domari are left unmolested to sprint off the table as the last few support teams trade a bit of fire.
Ultimately, the Vardosi Ipsimus and their extensive experience at handling Concord military forces prove victorious, breaking the backs of their scouting force and hauling their crates of precious Builder technology back to their secured Transmat pad for retrieval.
This game was a LOT of fun. Antares really shines from 750 pts up when battles like this are often incredibly tight all the way to the final turn, with each choice carrying remarkable weight, and tactical decision making shining through as more important than list building. Well…. that and rolling the occasional natural 1.