Who wins in a battle of 32,000 points per side?
- IG & Tau, IG, Salamanders, Space Wolves, a Land Raider force, Marines & Sisters, Daemonhunters, and Sternguard galore
- Tyranids, Tyranids, Chaos, Chaos, Khorne, Orks, Renegade IG, Dark Eldar and an Imperator Titan
Does it make a difference if I tell you that the 2nd team also had a Warlord Titan, Reaver Titan, and two Hierophant bio-titans, while the other team had only a Warhound and a Knight Titan??
If you said Team 1 would win, you’re more clairvoyant than I.
Recently, we had a massive battle (well, massive by Alaskan gamer standards), wherein the forces of good and evil fought for control of a nearby city. The game was simply too large (and chaotic) for a proper battle report, so I’ll throw up a handful of pictures I took at the game, a few takeaways, and a link to the local forum where there may be some more pics and insight as well.
My Army list was:
- 1x Hierophant Bio-Titan
- 3x Zoanthropes in Mycetic Spores w/ Cluster Spines
- 1x Doom of Malan’tai in Mycetic Spore w/ Cluster Spines
- 2x Biovores
- 19x Squads of (5) Ymgarl Genestealers
With no scoring units, my goal was simply to do what Tyranid do best: Feed. I just charged anything that moved each turn, and hacked at it until it stopped. I didn’t care about objectives, but rather followed the smell of blood.
With so many units on the table, and so much area terrain, each of the Ymgarls was essentially guaranteed to be in combat the turn they arrived. Granted, they didn’t always kill all of their prey (in fact, in most cases they didn’t), and they didn’t always lived–but they ate well while they lasted. Below will be a spotty recap of the battle, dotted with photos. Each of the pictures is just a thumbnail, and you can click on them to view the larger pics.
The board, as always (when setup by Andrew), looked phenomenal and was oozing with character. At one end of the table was a ruined city, and at the other, an orky village. His original hope was to have enough orks to fill one side of the battle entirely, but sadly, he was the only greenskin in attendance. Before I continue, I wanted to send a thousand thanks to him for hosting this massive game. He’s an amazing host, and he’s really the heart of the gaming community. Muchos Gracias, sir.
The armies were fairly balanced, if not the super heavies. When we divided up between “the good guys” (Imperial, Tau, & Eldar) and “the bad guys” the teams naturally evened out, and only one good guy had to betray his coherts. I think they must’ve sensed he was really a good guy at heart, because during the course of the battle, our token renegade (Cole), only lost one single tank. Granted, he lost a couple of individual models here and there, but no other squads or vehicles died of his 4,000 points for the entire game. If you ask me, this means he wasn’t trying hard enough!
One thing that gave this battle an epic start was that when Tyson lined up his massive force of land raiders right on the starting line (pictured at right), we answered back by lining up a force of Khorne berserkers in charge range (at left). It was an incredibly ballsy (and flavorful) move that got people into the right spirit. He didn’t make any attempt to hide behind anything–knowing full well that he’d take heavy casualties to begin with, but that only meant more blood for the blood god!
The “Pincushion” award for the night had to go to my Hierophant. So, to start with, we talked about the rules for Warp Field before the game, and no matter how hard I tried to convince my opponents, they insisted I’d get a 3++ field save and a 2+ armor save. While they appreciated the fact that I was trying to tone down the cheese, they insisted that we play rules as written. Despite that fact, he did finally go down after three turns. They fired seemingly every lascannon, exorcist launcher, and assault cannon in the game at him, and then repeatedly beat on him with Thunderhammers until he just couldn’t take anymore. Ultimately, he didn’t wind up doing much because I kept throwing him into a squad of thunderhammer-storm shield terminators, but he did soak up a ton of firepower before ending in a giant gooey mess. Kudos to Mike for finally destroying the behemoth. Still, he managed to do a number on the imperial forces during his short lifespan, destroying two land raiders, Vulkan Hestan, a few terminators and of a knight titan, along with wounding quite a few other tanks.
The “Horseshoes & Handgrenades” award would have to go to Andrew’s Squiggoth with home-made “Deff Rollin’ Supa-Mega Zzapgun” (or DRSMZ for short): a suitably orky gun with a random chance for damage. He did roll up an apocalyptic explosion, but it deviated harmlessly off the board. Seems kind of weird to describe an “apocalyptic explosion” as “deviating harmlessly,” eh? Rest assured, there were many an unhappy spectator at the battle… You can see a glimpse of his critter in the photo to the left.
The “Needs Another Bedroom in his House” award goes to Scott and the imperator titan. For some reason, I didn’t get a photo of it, but you can see it’s feet in the picture to the left (along with Scott himself, who appears to be doing the hokey pokey). The thing was massive, and rained death upon the enemy. He had some 6+ strD guns that eviscerated the enemy lines along with all sorts of magical cannons. I’m just stoked I wasn’t on the receiving end of that nightmare… So, whether he needs another bedroom for the titan itself, or for the fact that his woman surely must’ve kicked him out when she saw the size of his “miniature” toy, it doesn’t matter. He deserves the award either way!
The “Biggest Nads” award would’ve had to go to our resident Khorne player. Sadly, his name slips my mind at the moment. As explained above, he faced almost certain annihilation, but he new what his force was designed to do, and by golly, he was going to do it. Despite the beating he took first turn, he managed to survive and give the onslaught of terminators quite a whollop.
The” Big Baddaboom” award would have to go to Kurt when his warhound titan met a nasty end to strD pieplates from the Imperator. Nah, pie-plates don’t do it justice (unless you’re talking about pizza pies)! 10″ blobs of death is more like it. Whatever the case, his titan lit up like a christmas tree and destroyed everything around it. Sadly, no photographers lived to capture the evidence (either that, or I got too consumed in the game, and didn’t take any pictures after the first turn… Sorry Kurt!)
The “WTF Did That Come From” award, I’m giving to Dan. Granted, the game was huge and there’s no way you could follow everything that was going on, but when several thousand points of Grey Knights crept up behind me, I was more than a little flabberghasted. I did manage to kill one with a Doom of Malantai, and despite being shot by 20 of them at close range, and then promptly assaulted by them, he was merely 1 invulnerable save from living (and surely killing more next turn!). God, I love that Doom of mine!
The “Don’t You Wish Your Army Was Chitinous like Me” award goes to Blaine, who opted to take the Strategic Asset “They’re All Around Us.” A seemingly awesome asset that forces all non-tyranid units to treat area terrain as difficult and dangerous terrain. Yeah, that says “ALL non-Tyranid units,” so it affected our team as well as theirs. The only caveat? They took Recon, so they got to reroll their failed tests. The end result is Blaine’s asset wound up killing far more of our models than they did the enemies (I’m not sure that even a single enemy died to it). Hell, I was fine with it though… I played bugs!
The original intent of the game was to have 20 minute phases (movement, assault, & shooting) for a total of 1 hour turns. If we played hard and fast, we should’ve been able to get a full five turns in. Sadly, too many things slipped, and we only managed to get three in. When we were faced with the decision to call it or to continue (8 hours after we’d arrived), we opted to call it then and let the chips fall where they may. Of the 6 objectives, 4 were contested, one was completely unclaimed, and one had three pinned tactical marines nearby who’d barely escaped death by baneblade. But three marines is good enough to claim victory!
How would the game have gone if we’d gone a full five turns? Well, certainly more would have happened. By turn three, there wasn’t much consideration towards objectives, so any number of things could’ve happened. Whatever would’ve happened, I know I wouldnt’ have made much difference… (since I didn’t have any more scoring units), but I’m certain to have killed a few more good guys. Of course, this isn’t to cheapen the win of the goody-two-shoes. To me, this game wasn’t about winning and losing so much as it was about having a bunch of guys together to have a good time… and it did that really well.
So, I’d like to take a moment to think about what went well, and what could’ve gone better. This way I can reference this for future Apoc games:
What went well:
- A bunch of good guys got together and had a good time. The table was setup ahead of time and virtually everyone was there on time.
- Great variety in army lists, and I got to see a bunch of units I rarely see because the game was open to everyone.
- Timed turns went well, and forced the game along at a good pace.
What could’ve been better:
- The game didn’t start on time (not sure why). This was a big reason as to why we ran late, as the turns were each timed.
- The break for lunch seemed unnecessary. Yes, everyone has to eat, but I’d have much rather that everyone chipped in a few bucks and we ordered pizza or something–just to keep things moving.
- Each side was restricted to one copy of a unique character per side, but nobody knew for certain who was on who’s side before the game. Though there were no conflicts, it could’ve been bad.
- There were a fair amount of ambiguous rules questions in the game. This could’ve been cleared up and standardized by adopting a single FAQ to use (such as the INAT used by Adepticon). Granted, it’s not perfect, but it’s pretty well crafted.
- Strength D is just too dominating. In future games, I’d like to see it limited to encourage people to play more “balanced” armies. This is something we determined when we played Arctic Apocalypse 2010.
- Hierophants can’t have a 3++ invulnerable save. Rules as written (RAW) be damned!
- The time limit was good, but waiting for each person to come watch your dice was too time consumig–so much so that I had to forgo some attacks in my assault phase because I spent too much time waiting for someone to come watch my rolls. In my opinion, any good player should be able to watch rolls for any other good player (and for most generic combats, fight back as well).
I don’t mean to detract anything from the game. I had a ton of fun (as I’m sure did everyone involved) and made some new gaming buddies, those were just things that I think could’ve made the game go even better. Thanks again to Andrew for making it all happen (and I forgot to donate, so annoy me next time you see me and I’ll donate extra!)
Some other great insight on what makes for a great Apoc game can be found at the links below:
- Suneokun from Pathfinder, tells us How to win at Apocalypse (with any army)
- Crimson Fist at E-Ville Armory explains What it takes to make a big game good (Must Read!)
- Cole over at 08ak1 has some ideas that include obligatory donkey punches…
- Angelic Despot pointed out that BoLS had a decent writeup of 11 things to consider when hosting an Apoc game
- Sadly, that’s all I’ve come up with for now, but if you have a good post on how to make an Apoc game run smoothly, please let me know!
A few more of the decent pics I took of the game can be found below: