Gates of Antares getting dropped from Warlord Games and becoming a fan-supported project

I like Bolt Action and the sci-fi offering, Beyond the Gates of Antares is also a fun game using a similar system. GoA always had a sort of uneven rollout. It was first announced as a Kickstarter which got pulled, and Rick Priestley (the game designer) worked with Alessio Cavatore to put out Bolt Action instead, which pretty much exploded. However it was proof of concept that the core GoA mechanics (random activation and pins) were solid, I think it resulted in Warlord giving a nod to Priestly to get GoA out to the gaming public.

You are likely climbing an uphill battle with trying to spark interest in a platoon level, sci-fi skirmish game, as 40K is the wargame leviathan. Even worse you’ve got most of your armies available initially as metal minis. Over time core units for GoA were released in plastic kits, and another boxed set for GoA was put out to lower the bar of entry for new players. There were a few campaign books put out and the model range slowly expanded. Yet GoA just never seemed to get much traction like Bolt Action did for people.

I heard some rumors for a while a new edition was on the horizon, which ended up being somewhat true. However I was surprised to hear Warlord Games dropped support for the game. I first thought there’d be some future for GoA as Skytrex would be taking over the model line from Warlord. However the announcement from the official GoA blog looks like the future for GoA will pretty much be a fan community game. The devs are working on it part time as a side “hobby.” So there is a new draft version of the rules out there and there might be new stuff in the pipe, but it’s pretty much a system with severely limited resources for developing future content. I expect it’ll flounder along for some time and have a few dedicated fans, but looks like GoA will be forever doomed to be that niche system.

It’s such a shame as so many bits of it are solid. Bolt Action has some pretty gamey mechanisms and for a WW2 game, they can accumulate to become rather jarring. I drifted away to Chain of Command simply because lmgs and machine guns were badly implemented in Bolt Action. Along with truncated ranges, it all pretty much flew in the face of historical tactics. So much so, folks didn’t even bother using LMGs and MMGs for a platoon game at all. But in a sci-fi game, rules like this are fine. It’s odd that all the parts a lot of stodgy wargamers grumble about in Bolt Action would be embraced in GoA as fun design choices.

So it’s a shame to hear GoA being dropped from Warlord. It’ll still be around, but I don’t see much growth for the game at all. Especially so for the sci-fi genre as you’ve got so many choices that get solid support with new models. Time will tell, but I don’t expect Gates of Antares to ever expand from that small circle of die hard fans.