In continuing the idea of mixing things up in the Battle for Argos Prime, I decided to vary the missions and objectives as well as the purchasing restrictions and the Strategy Cards. My goal was to create dynamic missions that gave some secrecy in the objectives, as well as explain why multiple armies would be in the same battlefield all at once.
While the principle that two armies meet in battle over a single object works to some degree, it’s harder to justify that when you have multiple armies on each side collaborating together to accomplish a mutual goal. Add to this that Apocalypse typically has six objectives on the board, and the believability on the back story goes kaput.
As everyone knows, there’s more than one way to skin a cat. So, before the game, I sat down with Kris, and again later with Derek to brainstorm alternate ways of handling missions. One theme that I rather liked was again based upon the 2nd edition rules, in that each player (or team) could be dealt a mission card which gave them different objectives to complete (for examples of these cards, check out this post at Galaxy in Flames). We would just need to balance those missions to justify why certain people would team together, and ensure (to the best of our ability) that multiple people would have reasons to contest each others objectives (even if they were unaware they were doing so).
Conceptually, it’s a grand idea, but it’s not the easiest thing to implement. To add yet another twist in the game, the original intent was to modify the Apocalypse rules to have four opposing teams going at the same time.
The thought was that each team would have Major, Minor, and Tertiary objectives, and would score 4, 3, and 2 points for completing each (respectively). Major objectives tended to be of the “hold this objective” scenarios (ex. Protect the Governer while he prepares for Extraction, guard the portal, etc.). Secondary objectives would give people alternate reasons to investigate people’s primaries (Capture the Governer [who could then move around], Use the Portal as a means of bringing at least 10 units onto the board from reserves , etc.). And tertiary objectives were just fun little side-items (kill 5 psykers, etc.)
However, due to our inability to find that elusive 8th player, I chose to sit out. Instead, I acted as a judge for the event (which really helped the game to flow better, given all of the crazy rules that were added). The consequence is I needed to figure out a way to convert rules from a four sided game, back to a two-sided game, without completely reinventing the wheel–or should I call it uninventing the four-sided wheel?
The solution I came up with was to use somewhat standardized Apocalypse objectives, and also give each player their own personal objectives. The thinking behind this was to give people things they could accomplish on their own, thereby justifying why their army was there in the first place, as well as to provide a means for the “losing” team to get their own moral victories.
With only one day before the game, I decided to convert things to standardized objectives. The board had already been deployed, so we used each building as an objective for the armies to conquer. With the backstory being that they’re fighting over the city, this made good sense. However, we had to spread things out a bit, as we used two boards: one being a city, and the other being a nearby woodland. With just buildings being objectives, it gave players no reason to use the woodlands.
To counter this, we also put four bunkers on the board (two in the walls of the imperial palace, and two out in the wilderness), along with a small hut. We also mixed in the ability to destroy some objectives, granting the bunkers av15, and saying they’d be destroyed per the normal vehicle destruction rules. We allowed them to ignore shakes/stuns, and gave them a permanent -1 Armor for the first immobolized result they suffered.
With nine objectives so far, we also converted the “Imperial Sanctum” in the center of the palace as a 10th objective. This left 7 objectives in the city, and 3 in the forest. No, it wasn’t completely balanced, but I’m not known for symmetry in my terrain. The deployment line seperated the palace from the rest of the city, and split the forest in half. The good thing is that each team started with 5 objectives in their deployment area, giving us a clear defender (the side with the palace) and attacker. In the picture above, the bunkers (destroyable objectives) are marked in blue, while the buildings (counts as ruins) are marked in yellow. As always, you can click it for a larger picture.
To round things out, we put out weapons batteries around the board, favoring the defender’s side. These weapons included:
- 2x twin-linked double-barrelled autocannons on each bunker
- 1x Turbo-Lascannon (d3 shots)
- 2x Mortar Batteries (5 shots each)
- 4x Heavy Mortars (across various defending bunkers)
We gave each an AV10, and a BS2, and said that they were “automated defense weapons” which fired if an uncontested friendly model was within 2” of them. Players could choose to fire them at any model in range, rather than just the closest target. It would’ve been nice to give them varied rules, but keeping it simple seemed to be the way to go—since we had already added enough zaniness, and more was sure to come with the Personal objectives…
Well, this post is getting much longer than I had originally planned, so I’ll end it here. I’ll pick up my next post with the Personal objectives, and how they interacted with the Team objectives…