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In January 2013, I was invited to play in an Apocalypse battle with a bunch of the guys from the Waaagh Club here in the Bay Area. Theis is the same crew that was responsible for running one of my favorite touranaments of all time, the Da Grand Waaagh. While these guys have dialed back their tournament presence, they are still a bunch of 40k fanatics, and I was stoked that they invited me to the game.

Apocalypse games can be hit or miss. If you make things too complicated, run into the wrong army, fall in with folks whose playstyle just doesn't match your own, or just don't organize things well, they can be just plain miserable. However, if all goes well, Apocalypse games can create some memorable 40k moments.

This time around, the game was 'vehicles only'. Running massed ranks of infantry can really slow the game down as you move literally hundreds of 28mm models across a massive table. In an effort try and speed up the game and make it more enjoyable, we decided that there would be nothing on the table that didn't have an armor value.

Did we have fun? Did we speed up the game suficiently? What did we learn, if anything?

Read on and find out...



We divided the table diagonally from corner to corner, with a 24" No Man's Land between the two deployment zones. We figured since there weren't any infantry, having a wider dead zone in the middle of the table might be a good idea. I'll be recapping all of our decisions in the "Lessons Learned" section at the bottom of the page.

The Forces of Ruin consisted of Orks (played by myself), Chaos, Traitor Guard, with a smattering of Fallen Dark Angels, Necrons, and Tau thrown in. The Forces of the Imperium were a whole mess of Imperial Guard back ed by some Blood Angels and White Scars.

As you can see from the pictures, the Forces of Ruin were all lined up at the leading edge of our deployment zone, eager to get to grips with the Imperial Scum.

The Emperor's Finest, on the other hand, huddled in the back of the their deployment zone. This would give them several turns of shooting at the bad guys as we tried to close the gap.

The Imperial Forces hide in the corner.


They also outclassed us in not only the number of Super Heavy vehicles, but in their quality as well. This would prove decisive in the coming turns. More on that later.


I just hoped that the sheer mass of vehicles we had on our side would be enough to break through the wall of firepower and get to the soft chewy center of the Imperial lines.

The Game

Chaos on the move...

Since the Forces of Ruin set up first and won first turn, we started moving our forces toward the enemy lines. The Chaos Brass Scorpions bolted forward in a mad dash to close the distance.

The Ork walkers did the same. The Tater Titan, and every other model with a weapon in range, opened up on the enemy gunline in an effort to soften them up and maybe take out a model or two. For the most part, the shooting of the Forces of Ruin didn't acheive a whole lot.

... and the Orks as well.

The Blood Angels drop in.

The same couldn't be said for the Imperials. In the bottom of Turn 1, the Blood Angels dropped a couple of Dreadnoughts behind the Chaos line and started wreaking havoc. The melta weapons of the Blood Angels, combined with the pizza-sized blast templates of the Imperial Guard weapons led to...

... a chain reaction of explosive goodness!

One Brass Scorpion went nuclear and the resulting blast took out a second Brass Scorpion, along with several traitor guard tanks.

The right side of our line was looking like it could be in trouble...

... and it's only turn 1.


Like fish in a barrel

The next few turns went about the same as the first. The Forces of Ruin advanced into the IG gun line, taking a few shots here and there, mostly to minimal effect when compared to the return fire that came our way.

The guys on the other end were doing a little better than I was, considering they had some flyers and long range guns. My side of the table was like walking into a shooting gallery.

The only contact made with the Imperial lines, was on our left flank. My main avenue of approach was choked with Killa Kans, an immobilized Tater Titan, and a metric crap-ton of IG ordnance fire. I decided to take a few of my vehicles in a flanking maneuver around the cathedral and hit the Blood Angels from the side.

Gotta love Deff Rollas. My Battlewagons smashed several Blood Angel vehicles flat as they raced around the corner into the Imperial line.

Watch out for the left hook!

More Blood Angels behind the line

Even though two of my Battlewagons were making pancakes out of some Blood Angels tanks, those guys were far from done.

They deepstriked in behind our lines again with a Dreadnought in a Pod, then some Landspeeders and finally....

... a Landraider. How those things can drop from the sky and still be functional is beyond me.

At this point in the game, the writing was on the wall.

While not wiped out entirely, the Forces of Ruin were pretty much gutted by the Imperial firepower. Dropping Blood Angels in behind us to divide our attention was a smart tactical move. We had threats in front and behind, and ordnance fire coming down on our heads for the 5 turns that the game lasted.

All in all I had a blast, and I'm looking forward to the next one.

Though we'll definitely make a few changes.



More Pictures

Here are some more shots from the game.

Lessons Learned

The game was a lot of fun and a great learning experience. It was pretty much a test-game to iron out ways to play Apocalypse in a timely fashion. We've all heard the horror stories of Apocalypse games that last all day and only get 2-3 turns of actual play in that time, and that was precisely what we tried to avoid. We played 5 turns in about 6 hours including a lunch break, which is almost unheard of in Apocalypse games. In the future, we may change things up a bit. Here are some of my ideas:

  • Super Heavies definitely need to be balanced. While the number of Super Heavies was close on either side (we had 4 to their 5), the quality was very lopsided. The IG Super Heavies threw bigger templates, at a higher strength, had more structure points, and were rocking a 14 front armor as opposed to a max of 13 on our side.
  • We made a 24" inch No Man's Land between deployment zones, which was a bit too wide considering the size of the table. When the IG heavies were all bunched up in the corner, it made for a long slog across 4'-5' worth of table to try and reach them. Taking that kind of firepower on the chin for that long made for a very one-sided game.
  • Objectives will definitely be part of the scenario next time around. The "kill the other guy" game style works well enough in 40k, but when the games get larger, the advantage shifts dramatically to the army that can lay down the most firepower at range. IG have pretty much cornered the market when it comes to that aspect of the game.
  • Possible addition of some other model types. 'Vehicles Only' was cool, and made for a fast game, but I felt something was missing. I'm not saying we should go all out on massed ranks of infantry, but maybe some HQs, Elites and possibly some Monstrous Creatures could add some flavor to the game. Introducing 'no grunts' and 'no footsloggers' rules might be helpful - if you bring an infantry unit, they have to be Elite (or at least expensive) and they have to ride in a transport of some type.
  • Stratagems. Part of the flavor of Apocalypse to me is the cool rules and abilities. We'll have to come up with an 'approved list' of stratagems to use, because some of them are downright broken. I'm looking at you Flank March!

Apocalypse can be great fun if organized well, or a real pain in the ass if organized poorly. We're still working to get the balance right. Once we iron it out, I'll post it up.