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...
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.
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...
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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.
are some more shots from the game.
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
- 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
- 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.