In the previous article, I discussed how we decided to alter the standard Apoc missions, but I also alluded to the fact that we’d be using personalized missions for each player. This allowed me to use the missions I had originally designed for the 4-team Apocalypse game, with some slight modifications.
Again, the idea behind personal objectives was to:
- Give a plausible reason why each team was at the battle and perhaps some insight as to why they’d be on the team they were.
- Give players a method to achieve a moral victory, even if their team lost.
Our first iterations of personalized missions included the fairly generic solutions that anyone could come up with: Hold this point, capture this unit, keep your units alive, etc. What I really wanted was something dynamic and fun—something nobody was going to be able to guess.
So, after some brain storming, the missions we opted for were:
“Scattered across the battlefield are six informants, each of which holds a vital clue to the reasons behind the recent uprising, each of which has been secretly numbered. At the beginning of the game, roll a die. At the end of the game, if you have a model in base-to-base with this informant, and no other players have a model within 2” of him, roll a die. On a roll of a 6+, you receive a personal victory. You may add +1 to the die roll for each additional informant you have questioned during the course of the game.
(6 total informants)
- In Defense of Defense
“You win a minor objective if no bunkers (friend or foe) have been wrecked or destroyed. Immobilized results have no effect.”
(4 Total bunkers)
“Abstinence is the best policy. At the end of the game, roll a die. On a roll of 7+, you receive a personal victory. You may add +1 to the die roll for each unit you have that has not shot, or participated in an assault for the entire game.”
- Grand Theft: Rhino
“Your infantry units and Independent Characters can embark on enemy transports as if they were your own. Once embarked, you have full control of the vehicle, but may not fire any of it’s weapons.At the end of the game roll a die. On the roll of a 7+, you win a personal victory. You may add +1 to the die roll for each vehicle commandeered during the course of the game.”
- One Shall Stand
“You win a personal victory if you have an unbroken scoring unit within the Imperial Sanctum at the end of the game and no other units (friend or foe) are within 2” of the objective. You also receive the “All Out War” Strategy Card:ALL OUT WAR:
“Play this card at any time. From this point on, any unit within the Imperial Sanctum can shoot or assault any other unit within the sanctum.”
- Silence Their Guns
At the end of the game, you win a personal victory if all of the weapons platforms in the opponent’s deployment zone have been destroyed.
(18 total objectives in 4 clusters)
Not all of the missions are created equally, but in an attempt to create six completely unique missions, I don’t think it would be possible to make them equal. Each of the missions provided a unique purpose for their commander.
They also gave more reasons for players to deploy and play on the wooded side of the board. Despite having less total objectives, three of the players would have to have at least some units over there in order to complete their minor objectives.
As an added challenge, nobody was allowed to share their missions with anyone. Players were encouraged to coerce their teammates to help them complete their objectives, but had to do so through subversive methods.
In no place was this better displayed than with Cole, our attacker who drew “Silence Their Guns.” He stormed across the battlefield on the wooded side to take out the mortar batteries and the nearby bunker. Whenever a teammate had a spare long-range weapon, he’d hint at how devastating the enemy artillery was, or the value of destroying the enemy’s bunkers (which would, in turn, disable any weapons platforms they had with them). His conniving was masterful, though his team wasn’t easily manipulated by his suggestions. In the end though, he was one of only two player who achieved his victory conditions.
The place where these missions were most at odds was in the early game. Kris drew “Pacifism” and chose to deploy his rhinos filled with troops into positions inside the Imperial Palace that couldn’t be easily targeted. His plan seemed to be to hide them throughout the game, and get an automatic victory for having six units (3 units + 3 vehicles) which hadn’t fought. Meanwhile, Sam sat outside the palace walls with “Grand Theft: Rhino.” Since Kris had the only transports, he had a bulls-eye painted on him. Sam’s plan seemed hinged upon Kris pulling his rhinos out of the castle (a logical conclusion), and then jumping in the transports when Kris disembarked. Little did he know, Kris never intended to move… But Blaine drew “One Shall Stand” and dropped a formation of stealers, along with another of Hive Tyrants right into the middle of things… mucking it up for everyone.
From an outsiders perspective, it was great watching people make these seemingly odd plays on the table, while their friends surely must’ve been wondering what the heck was going on. Perhaps they were all too tied up with their own missions though?
As stated above, the game ended with only two players completing their personal victories: Cole destroyed all of the defender’s weapon platforms, and Dan managed to sneak units into every crevasse of the board to talk to each informant. In case you’re wondering the others failed because:
- In Defense of Defense – Two of his own bunkers fell. The idea behind this objective was a meta-game, with the intent being that you would defend your own bunkers, and talk your team-mates out of attacking the enemies (in favor of juicier targets). Once Cole outflanked with melta-guns (in order to destroy the weapons atop the bunker), it was all over…
- Pacifism – A solid enough plan, but Blaine’s need to hold the Sanctum ensured that this was the worst possible spot on the board to play pacifist.
- Grand Theft: Rhino – My personal favorite mission as it added some over-the-top wackiness to the game (and had a cool name, to boot). The real downfall here is that there just weren’t many transports in the game. With only 4 transports total (three of which hid inside the palace), the odds were stacked against Sam.
- One Shall Stand – I’d like to blame the loss on the fact that Blaine never declared ALL OUT WAR! Really though, he was looking pretty good right up until the final two turns of the game, when Dan dropped a massive Grey Knight Terminator squad right into the Sanctum in order to talk to one of the informants…
All in all, the personal objectives were a great success. Everyone involved loved the idea, and had a good time trying to complete them. Next time, I might try to make them a little easier though… but then again, I might not!
“Goals” poster from www.despair.com. It’s important to note that no competitive jerks were present in the game, it’s just a funny poster. 🙂