Like most wargames, AT-43 pits different kinds of forces against one another in battle. These forces range in scope and style of play from the hordes of Red Blok to the high tech sophistication of the Therians or Cogs. One interesting thing is that each army has a number of different factions which determine the force organization and the extra advantages and disadvantages at your disposal. Since the Army books are now available for free on Rakham's website, I am going to only briefly describe each force and its playstyle so you can begin to think about what army fits your personal ideals.
One of the few actually alien forces in the current AT-43 group, the Cogs rely on cloning and high technology to obtain dominance on the field of battle. Though their forces are few in number, their cloaking shields, which allow them a cover save even in open terrain, make them pretty hard to kill. Cog Armored Fighting Vehicles (AFVs) are basically giant robots with highly sophisticated weapons. With their technological superiority well established, the Cogs can easily reach out and punch someone, or run up and slaughter their enemies in brutal assaults.
One of the big disadvantages of the Cogs is their reliance on going first. A Cog commander generally wants to wager as much as he or she can to ensure they have the initiative each turn. Why? A Cog commander has lots of long range, accurate shooting units, which should be leapfrogged one in front of the other to give inactive units the benefit of cover from shielded units out front.
Another alien species, well another non-human species at any rate, is the Kharmans. If you have seen the movie Planet of the Apes, you have the basic idea of how the Kharmans work. The primary discipline of the Kharmans is to hit hard and fast. Kharman troops are brutal in close combat, with a number of long range artillery support troop options, and many troopers have the ability to lift even Type II AFVs. Kharman AFVs are hover-bikes with great maneuverability and speed, very much unlike the walker variants of the other race. Kharmans love a static enemy against whom they can use their best advantages.
While speed and maneuverability are great assets, it should be pointed out that the Kharmans don't have it all their way. The greatest disadvantage that the Kharmans have is a dearth of units. The average troop unit is 2-4 men, smaller even than the Cogs' units, and there are not anywhere near as wide a variety of special weapons available to most of those troop choices to give the the punch they need to deal with heavy AFV opposition. Kharman AFVs are incredibly fragile, trading armor for speed, and are suited more to smashing troops than vehicles.
One of the most recent additions to the AT-43 universe, Oni Corporation is possibly also one of the strangest. Unlike the two other human factions, Red Blok and UNA, Oni forces are mercenaries and can be incorporated into any other army list, giving the less flexible armies a more potent stable of options. Oni troops come in two flavors: plain old humans and Zombies! That's right, Oni uses virus Zombies with guns and weapons that turn opponents' units into more virus Zombies. In spite of this major advantage in the ability to increase your forces with a volley of Zombie Gun blasts, Oni is a bit lite on diversity. Oni AFVs represent the first wheeled vehicles in the game, but while they are fairly hardy, they are nowhere near as versatile as the walkers of other races. One other interesting point in the Oni's favor is that some of their AFVs are also transports, allowing you to get the normally pokey zombies to the front lines more quickly and keeping your OniKorps mercs alive a bit longer.
So far as I have seen, the only real disadvantage of the ONI is that their AFVs are incredibly expensive compared to the slightly more survivable options of other races. They are easily immobilized as they have only one structure point for propulsion, and generally only get one or two shots a turn. While all of their vehicles have the mechanic ability, a decent volley of UNA missiles or Red Blok rockets will shred them pretty quickly.
My personal favorites in the AT-43 universe, the collectivist forces of Hades and the Red Blok, are basically space Commies! Red Blok has the worst technology in comparison to the other races, but this is more than made for by the massed numbers that the collectivist forces can put into the field. Red Blok troops have little in the way of defenses, aside from numbers and medics, and their weapons really rely on volume of fire to make up for their lack of accuracy. Where the Red Blok shines, however is in their Type III infantry and AFVs. Both are extremely capable and can fill multiple roles far better than their UNA counterparts.
Red Blok's primary disadvantage is in the fragility of its Type I and Type II troops, and their lack of any real assault elements. While this may not seem a particularly big problem, all it takes is one enemy assault to teach you not to get too close to your enemies. Another big problem is the Red Blok infantry's lack of survivability against pretty much anything. Even the weakest of enemy guns will easily mow down large numbers of Krasnye and RPG Soldaty.
While I have fought many battles against the Therians, and do not own enough of them to field a coherent force, I have to admit that the Morphos are probably my second favorite army. They are a tough nut to crack, with the strongest and most powerful troops in the game, coupled with the best AFVs. Couple these incredibly tough units with Hero units that are well nigh immortal, and you have an army that can pound even the toughest units into the dirt.
All this comes at a pretty hefty price, though, as the Therians have to pay a high cost per unit for their fancy ray-guns and immediate repairs, and regeneration. The Therians use up leadership points faster than you can blink, and anything that restricts their leadership will cripple their ability to do all the fancy tricks that their nano-machines make possible. Of course, even without the nano-shenanegans, the Therians are still the biggest bad-boys around, so beware!
The United Nations of Ava, or UNA, are the good guys (unless you are a space commie), and their forces are built to be effective in all situations. Their troops can be put through their paces in pretty much any role from anti-personnel to anti-AFV, and their effectiveness is unquestioned. Their AFVs, however, are fairly lackluster, with only a few good Type I and Type II choices in the field. UNA has some pretty competitive heroes, though, and an army with Captain Newton at the front can pack a pretty nasty whallop.
The main disadvantage of the UNA: a lack of effective vehicles. The UNA Fire Toad is probably the best AFV in the game, but the problem is that most of the other AFVs fill functions that can be better done with infantry. Another issue with UNA is a definite need to have more and more Type III infantry units to combat the more survivable armies.
So those are the current armies at a glance. For more information on each individual army, please visit the Rakham corporate website at http://games.rackham-e.com.