11 January, 2016

Getting The Most Out Of (New) Sci-Fi Gaming

With the flick of a switch, a turn of the page or a roll of the dice. Sci-Fi gaming presents itself a way to get into something far different than the regular gaming experience. Video games, board games and table top miniature wargaming offer that escape to another world and a different genre of fun.

Battletech, my first experiment with table top games. Over 20 years ago, this game eventually led me into all the other table games I enjoy today.

My love of Sci-Fi gaming started out on an Atari 2600 learning to play 'Missile Command' as a child. This continued into other Sc-Fi games like 'Quake' and countless hours playing 'Unreal Tournament'. So with the interests that I had playing games like Axis and Allies, RISK and Space Hulk (GW *shudder*). Combining the two was the best thing that could come of both worlds.

Star Wars 'Xwing' from Fantasy Flight Games is easily my second favorite game at the moment, my first still being Flames of War of course. But we're not talking tanks here, we're talking stars, spaceships and lasers blasting your opponents to pieces, leading you to victory.

I tried to get into a squad based game before without much result. 'Inifnity' was a nice 'looking' game, but for me lacked the true flow and enjoyment of playing it. I like the reactionary rules, the models look cool, but I found I had to have my nose in the rule book way more than any gamer should. I admit, I've only played the game 2-3 times.....but for me that was enough. I watch games of this being played by far more experienced players and it's the same thing, dice in one hand and the rules in the other, interrupting game-play. While it definitely fits the Sci-Fi genre, it just won't find it's way onto my games shelf.

Breaking out in 2016 is (Beyond the Gates of) Antares. A Sci-Fi, squad based combat game from Warlord Games, the people that brought you 'Bolt Action' and 'Black Powder'. I saw this game at 'Fall-In' in 2015 down in Lancaster Pennsylvania, I watched a demo game for over an hour and really like the way it looked and played. My good friend Chris was playing the demo and is a huge fan of many different types of systems and games. I knew if he liked it and had good things to say, it was worth taking a chance on it.

The nice thing about the models, is they're all plastic and come on their own sprues. This takes out the guess work and along with the assembly guides for each type, it makes finding the right pieces simple. The templates (right) are also plastic and the starter also contains all the dice necessary for your army.

One of the best hardcover rule books you'll ever own. Well laid out, nice fonts and easy to read. It contains the factions, missions, and of course all the rules necessary to play Gates of Antares.

Just some more of the book with stat lines for units and their descriptions. Throughout the book, there are lots of paint schemes in nicely photographed pictures. The great thing about Science Fiction, is there are no set references in how to color scheme your models, so you can really paint your units however you like! Bright colors, urban camouflage patterns are some of my favorites.

If you haven't added a Sci-Fi game to your tabletop interestes yet, I hope you give 'X-Wing' or 'Beyond the Gates of Antares' a try. Both offering something different but enjoyable aspects of playing games with friends, they're set in space and the models just look cool.

New podcasts for 2016 are right around the corner, as we continue to talk about what we're up to and some personal opinions on all things related to gaming. We look forward to getting something out on a more regular basis. If there are any topics you want to see covered, just post a comment and let us know!

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