Covenant of Antarctica Boxed Set Showcase and Review

My Freshly Painted CoA Fleet
 Lately I'm living and breathing Dystopian Wars. I LOVE the scale of this game and combined arms games are always something that I've been stoked about.

I started out my gaming experience as an adult by coming across a Games Workshop Epic game way back in the day and just loved how you could build lists that would allow you to take infantry, vehicles, flyers, spaceships, titans, etc.

Dystopian Wars is like that and similar to Epic in that it is Activation based. Anyhow, I won't get into the rules system too much because really what I want this post to be about is a showcase of the boxed set for the Covenant of Antarctica.

Can you believe you get all of this in a starter fleet?!
After my game with Stad on Thursday of last week I dropped by the store and picked up the Covenant of Antarctica starter fleet. I've been keeping my eye out for this boxed set but none of the gaming stores (and trust me, I've been to a few across Canada in these last couple of months) had one, so when I saw one at Myth I kind of pounced on it.

So a week later I've got a fully painted CoA starter fleet which I'm going to break in with Zac on Tuesday.

For a mere $50.00 here is what you get in the starter fleet.

1 Aristotle Class Battleship
3 Plato Class Cruisers
9 Diogenes Class Frigates
2 Ptolemy Heavy Bombers
10 Tiny Flyer Drone Tokens
4 Card Sheets for Templates and Tokens
All the stat cards for each unit
Flight stands and submersed template for the battleship
all the turret options for every gun in the fleet
CoA 40 page background and rulebook

If you think that's a stupid amount of stuff to get you would be right.

Tiny Flyer Drones
The drones are awesome. In the boxed set you get 10 tiny flyer tokens that are 1"x1" in size (same as every other DW boxed set). The CoA flyers work a little differently than other tiny flyers in that they don't have the Tiny Flyer MAR (Model Assigned Rules aka special rules) but instead have their own rules. They don't get the ability to be torpedo bombers but can be Fighters (for countering aircraft), Recon Planes (I dunno what they do yet) or Dive Bombers (that get some nice stats with 3 AD per marker).

The biggest ability of the CoA Drones is that they only get 4 fuel points versus the normal 6 that most Tiny Flyers in a fleet have and they can willingly spend their last remaining fuel point on an activation whereas most nation's Tiny Flyers aren't allowed to spend that last fuel point but rather have to wait to have it used up by being attacked, for example.

What does this allow you to do? Essentially, you can recycle your Drones at a MUCH faster rate if you have a carrier on the board! From what I can tell, this MAR makes having a carrier almost essential for the CoA because otherwise you cannot replace your Drones and you'll just blow through them much quicker.

I love the look of the drones because they totally look like something out of Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow or some other 50's style alien/sci-fi tech movie. I decided to to with an ocean-themed base so as to contrast with the detail of the Drones themselves. I'll definitely be playing with some Drone-based fleets in the future!

The Diogenes Class Frigate
The boxed set comes with 9 of these resin cast models. They're tiny little things, maybe 1 1/4" in length. Obviously look like some submarine Nautilus type of vessel.

From what I've read on the forums they're performance is somewhat lack-lustre but they do have 2 AP (assault points) a piece which could mean they might be good as some skirmishing boarding actions...

They do have a special rule in that they are Dolphin Divers which means if they move in a straight line they get another 3" of movement due to skipping along the water. This increases their range out to 15" in a single turn! The only potential problem to this is that they might outpace the rest of the fleet and then get chewed up by fire.

What I think might be a wise way to use them is keep them with the fleet for a turn or two and just maneuver into position while the rest of the fleet peppers your opponent's ships to get them damaged. Than you pounce with the Diogenes into position and open up on damaged targets.

Plato Class Cruisers
 A lot of people on the forums are bitching about the Energy Turrets for CoA and I have NO idea why, to be honest.

With the Plato cruiser you can switch out your turrets from the traditional 7/5/3 weapons batteries to a 3/3/3/3 energy turret that counts a secondary weapon.

If you field a full 3 Plato cruisers (which is what you get in the boxed set, conveniently) that means you are linking potentially 18 dice out at range-band 4 on secondary weapons systems, which, to be my knowledge, aren't reduced in their AD by being damaged! Holy crap! That's a lot of dice at that range band! AND they get Sturginium Rounds which means that they force successful Shield Generator saves to be re-rolled.


Plus the models just look awesome. And they get a mean broadside attack. And shields. For free. Epic win.

Ptolemy Heavy Bomber
 The look of this heavy bomber is pure awesome. A flying wing with rotors just oozes '50s sci-fi appeal!

I decided to stick with my glowing green motif on the propulsion and energy weapons, thinking that they derive their power from the same source.

Sad to say, the Ptolemy Bombers are somewhat lack-lustre in performance in that they have a somewhat average front gun, an aft mine and aft bombs.

Don't get me wrong, I think that they could pack a punch if positioned correctly and able to drop bombs and mines, but with other flyers in the fleet like the Icarus, they do seem to under-perform.

That said, the models look awesome. They are also the only pewter model in the boxed set and pretty easy to prep and paint the two that come in the fleet.

Aristotle Class Battleship
 This thing is a beast and is widely regarded as one of the best battleship class vessels in the game. Why? It comes with three primary turrets, all of which could be converted to energy turrets if you wish (for 5 dice out at range-band 4 per turret if you wanted!), it has a horrific broadside and a particle accelerator cannon on the front that can blow through multiple targets with 12 AD at rangeband 1!

But the coolest feature of this Captain Nemo-like vessel is that it gets Wave Lurker, which means that it can partially submerse itself!

I'll admit, the five year old in me totally freaked out when I learned it did this.

Wave Lurker also means that it gets increased movement speed (out to 8" as opposed to its normal 6") and can only be hit on a roll of 5 or 6 as opposed to the normal 4, 5 or 6, greatly increasing it's longevity!

There are some disadvantages to become partially submersed though, and I learned about this in a game against Brett last week.

Your Ack Ack, CC and other defensive stats are reduced by half and you can only fire 2 of the primary turrets available to you as the others are now under-water. So if you think that you are going to get attacked by Tiny Flyers or Torpedos, it's likely a good idea to come back to the surface for your full AD (or just attached some Galen class escorts).

This was easily my favourite model to paint in the fleet. The detail on this model is truly amazing! From the staircases in the fore and aft to the decking strips on the port and starboard this model has a ton of detail and it doesn't take much of an imagination to see where the crew would be running around manning battle stations.

I ended up sinking in some rare earth magnets in the top and base portions of the model for some added stability when it is in its surface model as well as putting magnets on the turrets to easily swap out my weapon options.

I HIGHLY recommend investing in some magnets for your fleet as the turret options (you get all turret options for all the ships that have them, woot!) are resin cast, tiny and prone to fall off and skitter into annoyingly hard-to-find areas on the floor normally reserved for dustbunnies and gremlins.

Oh, and the battleship comes with a clear acrylic base that shows the submersed part of the model that the top part easily fits into. When submersed other ships can pass over that base without colliding with the battleship, so that can help some fleet maneuverability a little I imagine, especially if you have Galen class escorts attached to your battleship.

Overall, I'm incredibly impressed with the Spartan Games range, judging from my experience with the CoA boxed set. At only $50 for the box and another $30 for the main rulebook, the entry price for the game is incredibly low when compared with the likes of Games Workshop that would require a MUCH higher initial investment to actually play the game behind a tiny skirmish.

The points value of the fleet was somewhere around 715 points I believe which is adequately large and it doesn't take much to add a couple of other blisters to round it up to 1000pts which is, from what I can tell, an average sized game.


  1. Dude! Awesome review, I wish you and I were both still in Ottawa because I'm sure that I would love playing this game. It looks like a combination of epic and man o'war. Can wait to see some AARs of the fleets/armies in action.

  2. Yeah me too, Drew. I always like playing against you.

    Yup, that's a very apt comparison: The activation part is very much like Epic (there is even a deck of cards where you get to draw and play during the turn).

    I gotta say, I'm pretty impressed with Spartan Games these days. The minis have a STUPID amount of detail on them and are pretty cheap!

    AAR coming Tuesday/Wednesday. I have a boxed set game against Zac on Tuesday.