On May 22nd, we played an Apocalypse game; three weeks and seven blog posts later, I’m finally getting around to posting the battle report. Granted, I already made some pretty extensive blog posts on the thought that went into planning the game, and use of alternate strategy cards and missions, but I haven’t done a proper accounting of the nifty things that happened during the game. During this battle report, I’ll be refering to many of the strategy cards that were used, as many of the defining moments of the game, seemed to revolve around them. Some of the images have the specific cards in them, otherwise, if you want to know more about them, check out my earlier post on the subject.
Like my report on our previous Apocalypse games, this won’t be a play-by-play of the entire game, but rather, a walkthrough of some of the more interesting portions that I remember. And, as always, all the pictures just thumbnails. Click on them for bigger images.
The game began with us randomly determining sides. Normally, when we play larger games, we divide into logical sides based upon force choice (eg. Imperials vs. Aliens, Bugs vs. Everyone, etc.). In this game, I’d decided to randomize team selections for a couple of reasons. First, it ensured that people that always seem to be paired up together had a chance to face off against each other. Secondly, it forced each player to bring a balanced list. When you know who your allies are ahead of time, you can plan together to have them make up for any deficiencies in your own list. Since we were using personal objectives for each army, it made sense that they might not know the intricacies of who they were allied with. In hindsight, it worked out alright, but it was hard to justify in fluffy-fashion why there was a Tyranid player on each side. Harder still was the justification of why the Grey Knights were teaming up with both Nids and Relictors (including Daemonhosts)…
Right off the bat, the Strategy Cards started making an appearance, with one team receiving the Brilliant Strategy card–which failed to have any effect on the game, along with a Surprise Assault (which, oddly enough, wasn’t played against the ‘Nid player in charge range, but the Grey Knights?), and Divine Inspiration for the Imperial Guard. In retaliation, the defenders played Virus Outbreak, and a Delayed the attacker’s manticore (which would later succumb to the Malfunction card as well, and lose its main weapon in the process). In short, we had dealt out 24 cards for use during the game, and almost a quarter were played before the game officially began.
Another quarter of the cards were played in a frenzied attempt to alternately kill (and save) a Librarian on the wooded half of the board. During his first shooting phase, he attempted a psychic test to deep strike into the thick of battle. Unfortunately, he scattered into a friendly unit and wound up with a terrible mishap. In reply, Kris threw out a SAVED! card to allow his model to miraculously survive. By the next shooting phase, the attackers used Battlefield Confusion to have a nearby unit of Grey Knights gun him down. Despite his terminator armor, he managed to fail two armor saves and be removed from the table. Well, that is until Look Out Sir, Aaarrgh! was thrown and one of the brave Grey Knights took the bullet for him. Later, out of spite, the attackers tried again to kill him with Fear the Warp, but he shrugged that off as well. Ultimately he did finally meet his doom at the hand of Logan Grimnar (who had grown tired of duking it out for a solid three turns of combat with Pedro Kantor)…
At the onset, Hive Fleet Vespula (controlled by Norn Queen Simon) lined virtually every one of his units 6″ away from the starting point, set to charge into the heart of the attacker. Despite his scarey forces, the bugs didn’t fare too well. A carnifex charged into a squad of terminators and didn’t even get off a single attack. His warriors died slower, to nearby grey hunters, but they did little more than hold off the attackers until the Grey Knights could come to help.
Indeed, Simon’s force looked decimated at several different points in the game, because he came on in waves. At the first turn, he’d faired poorly against the Wolves, so then he outflanked his stealer formation onto the rear of the board. Though the asset says nothing specifically about giving the unit outflank, it seemed appropriate to treat it the same. As a result, one of his lictors turned into a squad of rippers (courtesy of Blaine’s Parasite of Mortrex). After some horrible leadership tests, most of these units lay broken and scattered, until he was able to bring his Trygon and Ravener formation onto the board–who managed to live until the last turn… but at least one squad had the good sense to hide in a building and capture one of the objectives!
One of the really interesting things Simon wound up doing was charging his Hive Tyrant into combat with a slough of marines. Without an invulnerable save, he was no match for their powerfists, and went down swinging. As he died, Simon played the Last Gasp card, which allowed him to make one last shooting attack before he perished. Smartly, he chose to use the psychic attack “Leech Essence,” which promptly sucked an AP2 wound out of a marine and allowed the Tyrant to keep on fighting. I doubt that I would’ve thought of doing that. So, kudos to Simon for most original use of a Strategy Card in this game. 🙂
Elsewhere on the battlefield, Kris pounded the attackers with his automated weapons platforms. When I had setup the board, I gave the defenders eighteen weapons platforms, and the attackers only two. I figured the unequal numbers wouldn’t make a big difference because the weapons were only BS2, and the vast majority of them were simple mortars. Despite that, Kris swore that the mortars did more damage than the rest of his army (though I think that has something to do with the fact that he was playing Pacifist and hiding in the imperial palace…
But, as I alluded to in the write-up on personalized missions, he was going to wind up fighting with his units whether he wanted to or not. Cole’s Penal Legion took a running charge at the rhino and bent it completely out of shape due to Furious Charge. Then, Blaine added insult to injury by charging it with genestealers, who would’ve blown it up, if it weren’t for the Ablative Armor card. Control of the palace was spiraling out of control though, and the rhino soon blew up, killing most of it’s occupants who were forced to try an emergency disembarkation.
By the last turn, the Defenders had managed to secure four objectives, while contesting four others. The remaining two objectives were bunkers in the wooded area, and were held or destroyed by the Attackers. At this point I figured it was a done deal, but the attackers did have the last say…
During that turn, through a serious of wild attempts, they managed to accomplish what seemed to be impossible. They had managed to destroy one of the palatial bunkers outright, and eradicated the tactical squad that was holding the other, along with contesting a third one of the objectives previously held by the defense. Furthermore, of the three objectives that the were contested previously, three of them were cleared of defenders. The final result: 4 to 1 attackers!
I was really surprised at how close it was at the end, and how few units survived. One unusual thing about this game that I haven’t talked much about was the fact that everyone was limited to no more than 33 armor per vehicle, which left things out like super-heavies, and even landraiders & predators. Without those big guns, I figured the war of infantry would leave more survivors, but it was quite the opposite.
All in all, a good time was had by all, including some people saying it was the best Apoc game they’ve ever played. Some of the things people seemed to like were:
- No super heavy spam
- No Ordnance spam
- No D weapon spam
- Secret Card powers instead of assets
- Secret missions
But I know the real reason was the players. Thanks to everyone who came, and thanks to anyone who comes and reads this post, or any other blog post. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to plan another game for July 24th.
Anyone else want to attend?