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Subject: Revolt on Antares - a light sci-fi wargame rss

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Robert B
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Revolt on Antares is a mini-game released by TSR in 1981. Generally speaking, it is a science fiction type wargame. The setting is planet Antares 9 which is boiling with “unrest and intrigue”. The game includes three scenarios: Revolt Against Terra (2 player), The Silakka Invasion (2 player) and Power Politics on Imirrhos (2-4 player).

Brief Overview of Rules: Units used depend on the scenario, but generally the 7 local clans/factions are fighting for power. Other units, depending on the setup, can include the Terrans, the Natives and the Silakkans. In the Revolt Against Terra setup, one player is the various clans who have banded together to revolt against Terra, while the second player is the Terran and allied clans loyal to them.
There are three types of units. The first are troops, which include power infantry, laser tanks, jump troops, hovercraft and airjets. The second type are leaders – each house and Terra has a leader with unique powers and various Galactic Heroes are available for recruitment. The last type of units are artifacts. These are very powerful weapons left over by previous inhabitants of Antares 9. The hex-map depicts economic resources, land and water, clan fortresses and the Terran star port.
Troops, leaders and some artifacts have two values – combat factor and movement factor. Players may move their units across hexes up to their movement factor, with a penalty for rough terrain. Most land units cannot cross sea zones unless loaded into a hovercraft. Combat ensues when units are next to each other. Attack factors are added up for attacking and defending units. Both players roll a die, which is added to their totals. Highest score wins and the loser must remove units with attack factors that total the difference between those rolls. Leaders then have a special attack round that is essentially a roll-off with highest die winning. Losing leaders then roll to see if they are killed, wounded or forced to retreat. Each player normally has a replacement point pool with which they can bring units back into play. A player can attempt to recruit Galactic Heroes with a die roll.
Some variety is introduced in that each clan leader has certain powers, such as teleportation, telepathy, precognition and others that allow special modifications to the rules. Artifacts are also unique and allow for some strategic variety. For example, a clan’s fortress has force screens that double defensive values. The Field Generator artifact nullifies this advantage when used in battle.
Victory conditions depend on the scenario. For the Revolt Against Terra scenario, economic symbols, fortresses and the Terran spaceport are worth victory points, highest total wins. Victory points are only counted at the end of the game, which is a pre-set number of turns.

Components: It is important to remember this is a mini-game and as such, production values are not high. About 90 counters are included, but they are small and can be fiddly when stacked. One set is very dark green with black writing that is incredibly difficult to read (middle, right, below). Some counters have overlapping colors on them from the printing and cutting process (the hovercraft below are examples).



Artwork is simple, but effective. The laser tanks look menacing, the hovercraft are easily identifiable and each Faction Leader and Galactic Hero has a unique portrait. The map is paper and is (very) multicolored. (see picture below, shield your eyes!) The rulebook is short and concise.



Game Play Impressions: Game play is relatively fast. Movement is very simple in that any terrain symbol is “rough” (mountain, desert, jungle) and terrain penalty is only applied once. Combat is also simple and fast, just add the factors, roll the die, and remove units. Another simplification is that any economic symbol (iron, minerals, coal, oil, cattle, grain, etc) is worth 1 victory point regardless of type and the types have no impact on the game. The game contains quite a bit of “roll the die and see if “X” works”. For example, one faction leader has illusions that work on a roll of 1-3. Another can summon lightning, which works on 1-4 and strikes their own units on 5-6. Another’s fascination power is successful on 1-3. Galactic Heroes are recruited on a roll of 1. Defeated leaders are killed on a roll of 1-2. And so on.

General Critique and Summary: As mentioned above the game is very simplified in many ways, all terrain is rough, movement penalties are the same, all economic resources, even though they have different symbols and names, are for game play purposes the same, etc. However, it is important to keep in mind this is a mini-game and makes no presumption of being a deep, complex game. Game play is fast and in my opinion, there is enough variety of units and leaders to make the game fun and interesting. Moving a bunch of laser tanks to crush your foe, loading units into hovercraft to mount a cross-sea attack and bringing out some mega-artifact at the right moment are all satisfying game events. Don’t look for a deep combat game or heavy sci-fi, but if you approach this game as a light, but colorful, diversion you’ll have fun.

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Ricatoni
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Nice review. I think you are "spot on" about the playability and the fun for what it is factor. I gave my brother and his family of young gamers a copy and they have worn out the counters. This game was a winner in the TSR Minigame series. I wish I could say the same for SAGA.
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Moritz Eggert
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Yes, "Saga" sucked sadly...
Nice review!
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Joseph Betz
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Nice review!This was not a bad little game.I owned three of the TSR mini games(The revolt on antares,saga,and they invaded pleasantville).The revolt on antares was probably the best of the three but I liked the idea of they invaded pleasantville with the alien invasion and the random movement of the people.Always felt there could have been a better game there somehow.
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Judd Vance
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"Just get that sucka to the designated place at the designated time and I will gladly designate his ass...for dismemberment!" - Sho Nuff.
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Great review. I think this was the best pocket game I ever played and we played a lot of them!
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