So I have been reading through the Beyond the Gates of Antares rulebook in the last week with an eye to what new elements the game brings to the table. Here are a few features that I think are unique to BGoA that I am looking forward to trying out in games.
Compressor Drones are Buddy Drones that you can add to a unit to carry or store equipment. Compressor Drones can hold grab bikes or similar vehicles allowing mounted units to quickly turn themselves into foot infantry. A more interesting use is to store support weapons or to transport Probe units. Imagine a unit of Concord grab bike infantry zooming across the board and not only presenting a flanking threat but also unloading a unit of Targeting Drones who then move into the enemy deployment area to start providing target data to friendly units.
The idea of a unit of small AI probes isn’t unique but in Beyond the Gates of Antares you can have units of multiple probes that activate together but can spread out across the table to distribute their affects. Shard units can have 4 – 6 probes in them so you can cover a significant amount of territory. Its difficult to try to hide your scout or infiltrator units if your opponent can take a six probe Scout Shard unit and blanket the table with them.
I touched on this before but the Multiple Order Dice transports in Antares provide far more options for moving and supporting troops than most tabletop games. While MOD transports are still limited, I believe, by the restrictions on transports on page 95-96 in the rules (no embarking if you Run or Advance and no disembarking if you Run), the additional dice means that you can provide a lot of covering fire for troops trying to embark and also have more movement options when disembarking troops.
I love the idea of MOD vehicles but these advantages that MOD transports provide are equally awesome.
Sci-fi games often don’t pay attention to what type of ammunition a support weapon fires. A weapon may have some specific abilities ascribed to it but more often than not if it has multiple firing options they are variations of the same shot. BGoA has this as well but also provides X-Launchers and other types of support weapons with distinct ammunition types that have varying effects on units in the game. Grip ammo slows down units, Slingnet ammo adds Pins to a unit, Arc ammo deflects fire, etc.
Ammunition in Antares can be used to place effects on a unit but also to provide area-denial or defensive buffs. You don’t need to just drop explosive rounds on an opponent.