This past weekend, our local gaming group put together another Apocalypse game and I, as our resident blogger, have decided to write-up another battle report.
Before the game, it was decided that the teams would be divided into “good guys” (aka Imperials, Eldar, & Tau) vs. “bad guys” (aka. everyone else). When we showed up to find only four bad guys facing down 15 Imperials, it became obvious that the call of Chaos was needed. After losing both Eldar players, along with a couple marines to the dark side, we had our teams…
The Imperials (or, as I like to call them, “Team Win”):
- Me (Ultras & Imperials)
- Zion (Imperial Boom-boom)
- Cole (IG Tanks and flyers)
- Sean (Space Marines)
- Cody (Steel Legion)
- Kurt (Outflanking Space Wolves)
- Dan (Grey Knights)
- Tyson (An entire company of Terminators)
- Aiden (Space Marines)
(Not all armies represented in thumbnails, due to a hurried setup time. My apologies to those players who I didn’t catch. As always, click on any of the thumbnails for larger pics).
The Xenos (aka, “Team, Not So Much”):
- Trevor (Blue Bugs)
- Blaine (Big Bugs)
- Scott (Black Templars)
- Ben (Titan & Bloodthirsters)
- Tony (Blood Angels)
- Sam (Space Marines)
- Jason (World Eaters)
- Andrew (ORKZES!)
- Eldar Andy (not to be confused with Andy Eldar)
- Andy Eldar (both of which played-surprise-Eldar).
Anywho, with a whopping 4,000 points per player, this is the largest game I’ve participated in (and for the record, the largest our gaming group has ever hosted). In the grand scheme of things, 80,000 points of models may not seem like much to some people, but I was more than a little impressed.
Before I begin, let me say that this, like all Apocalypse battle reports on this blog won’t be a true turn by turn breakdown of what transpired, but rather just a glossing over of high points and/or things I managed to snap pictures of. With 19 players on the table, there’s just no way I could catch everything and play my forces. With that in mind, this batrep may seem a little one-sided…
When we bid for first turn, our team had decided we wanted to go first–mostly because we had Zion, which meant that we had an absurd amount of templates. He’s known for bringing a slough of weapon batteries that have something in the range of a 24′ range–ensuring nothing is safe from his wrath. So, we debated on how many minutes to bid for deployment, settling on 13 minutes (despite my vehement struggle to bid 13.5 minutes). The other team bid 30 minutes, giving us an obvious first turn.
The board was laid out in an L shape, that was weighted heavily with objectives on one side. The far end, with the city, had three objectives. There was another on that side of the hills, and the last two were placed on the near end (one in the river, and one in the village). For this reason, I expected most of the carnage to happen in the city.
Sadly, I’d taken a force dedicated around shooty: Snipers, Thunderfire Cannons, Heavy Weapon Teams, and Sternguard. My Jokaero (counts as Tau) got to see their first action as well during this game. To round out the force, I’d taken a Space Marine Ancients Assault Force formation (to get Outflank), and a boatload of assassins: Evesors, Callidi, Culexus, & Deathcult. That’s all the farther I’ll go into my list, as I was just a small part of the whole, and I figured I’ll go into the list in more detail on another post.
Before the game began, I unleashed my Evesors on the opponents, using the Strategic Raids asset from the Officio Assassinorum Execution Force (direct link to GW datasheet here). They didn’t manage to kill anything (except a single Zoanthrope), but they dotted the enemies with wounds here and there, and managed to shake about half of the light tanks on the table. All in all, not bad (though I don’t think they were worth the 700 points or so I’d invested).
Cody had also taken an execution force, but he used the Callidus variety, which enabled us to move several of their units before the game began–including chosing their facing. This worked out to our advantage (in an unbelievable sort of way) in that we were able to turn their super-heavies around to fire at their rear armor. In retrospect it wasn’t a huge advantage because we were rolling high enough to pierce their front armor, but it was convenient that we didn’t have to roll that well.
The very first shot of the game was fired by one of my broadsides. They had a well-modeled beacon and hidden it in a place where really only one model in our force had both the range and clear LoS to it… One happy monkey and a destroyed disruptor beacon later, the tone for the game was set.
About this time, Tyson had deepstruck an entire first company worth of terminators onto the board. I didn’t think anyone owned 100 terminators, let alone had the gall to actually field that many at once… but then again, I underestimated Ty’s first company prowess. I’d seen him field a dozen land raiders before, or a score of dreads. I just hadn’t considered that all of those would effectively suit the first company well. Granted, he had to go over on points, since there was no way to field 100 terminators for 4000 points, including all of the extras and formations, but we just used the extra points from the other players to make it even out.
Anywho, he landed and encircled the “Ork Supa-Mega Zzapgun Rokk Landa” (custom datasheet here)–or was it the Deff Rollin’ Supa-Mega Zapp Gun? (datasheet here). Whatever it was, it was big, and suitably Orky. Meanwhile, several of us were unloading into the rear of the warhound, about the same time that we’d removed the last structure point on our target, an earth-shattering kaboom was heard on the other side of the table as the Ork behemoth went apocalyptic. In that explosion, the following perished:
- 26x Terminators (Sorry Tyson)
- 1x Vindicator
- 1x Land Raider
- MORE HERE
And as soon as that had resolved, the warhound too, went bada-boom, taking with it what was essentially an entire Tyranid force:
- 1x Swarmlord & bodyguard
- 1x Zoanthrope
- 2x Tervigons
- 6x Carnifices
- MORE HERE
In fact, the titan was so devastating to Trevor’s force that only a single Zoanthrope managed to live through the blast. To add insult to injury, the little tyke managed to fail a Perils of the Warp test (and ensuing invulnerable save) during the next round of shooting. It was at this time that the Imperial team started to joke that Team: Xenos would outflank their titans into the heart of our force so that they’d kill us when they exploded and not them…
Two apocalyptic explosions before we were halfway through the first turn seemed like a great start to things. And coupled with Zions pie-plates of doom, the Xenos team was pretty much in shambles before they’d gotten a chance to move.
But they weren’t without recourse. Four of their players had essentially left their entire forces in reserve, which left them with more than one trick up their sleeves. They also seemed to have almost all of the superheavies on their side including four titans, two ork superheavies (and a gargantuan creature), a hellhammer, an Eldar Scorpion and a brass scorpion of Khorne. Compared two Cole’s three baneblades, they seemed to have us outnumbered–at least where the big models are concerned. Sure, we’d already destroyed two, and knocked a few wounds off the Hierophant, but they still had six more behemoths we hadn’t even seen yet…
When our reinforcements came around on turn two, I’d opted to leave my assassins in reserve. This was because I was sure that the opponents had taken the “Ambush” strategic asset, and they’d certainly use it this turn on the other players that were coming in. That ambush took a while to resolve, and I don’t think it actually did much to our army–but I’m sure had I brought in 16 assassins, it would’ve been slightly more devastating to us.
If you’ll excuse me, I’d like to go off-topic briefly about the Ancients Assault Force and say that it shouldn’t be used. Out of the 9 players on our side, a full three of us used the power to gain outflank (a power I’m not terribly thrilled about anyway, since it’s so devastating). Yes, I was one of the ones to do just that, but I won’t be doing it again.
Ok, /rant off.
So, we stayed back and did our best to outshoot the enemy. We really didn’t have much assaulty goodness in our armies, and it seemed that our common theme was to load up on long ranged shooty. Granted, there were exceptions, but for the most part, I think we had a ranged force. It came to bear on the Hierophant (being the only super-heavy left on the board) and managed to take it down on turn two.
Meanwhile, on the left flank, Cole and Zion were basically twiddling their thumbs. Well, that’s not 100% true, since Zion was able to lob his shells basically anywhere he wanted to, and was able to neutralize the khorne forces entirely with a handful of shots. Cole and his contingent of superheavies was just waiting for somethign to do though… In fact, to this point, I think he’d only gotten two dreadnoughts to fire at the entire game.
Until turn 2 came around for the opponents, and the Xenos players (aka, Team “not so much”) instantly became “Team: Superheavy.” They dumped out an Eldar Revenant, Ork Hellhammer, Khorne Brass Scorpion, Eldar Scorpion, and an Imperial Warlord Titan all on that flank. After a turn of shooting, Cole had two baneblades destroyed completely, and the third was missing his baneblade cannon. In short, he didn’t get to play with his expensive toys at all this game.
On the other side of the board, we were busy dealing with the Ork super-heavy flyer, and a Bloodthirster Bloodbath (again, link to GW datasheet here). Actually, I’m not sure if that’s the exact formation, because I don’t remember us taking break tests, but it was about that nasty. Tons of bloodthirsters landing directly in our midst–which definitely gave us something to think about. I questioned the placement of them though, since they were too far from any objectives to really be something of concern, but who am I to look a gift demon in the mouth?
One of our key advantages in this game came in the form of our IG buddies. Between the two of them, they’d fielded 9 (or was it 10) Imperial Vendettas/Valkyries, thereby giving us a ton of highly mobile firepower that was neigh indestructable. Yeah, who would’ve thought that the most powerful codex in the game right now would give us an edge, right? Anywho, they did a fine job of flying around and peppering important targets: taking down the Hierophants, removing shields from Titans. Whatever big targets presented themselves, the good men of the Imperial Navy were there at the front lines.
During our third (And what would be final) turn, we managed to come in from reserves with the rest of our forces and thump various units. Our dreadnoughts came on and removed the Warlord from the game, while our Assassins destroyed Scott’s hammer-unit of Black Templar terminators (lead by a force commander with a Legion Relic), which would effectively give us one more objective at the end of the game. Otherwise, there were various scraps around the table, but nothing that really made a lot of difference in the final outcome of the game.
After we finished our turn, we were informed that it would likely be the last turn of the game. I wasn’t terribly fond of the idea that we’d find out that we’d already played our last turn–because we were expecting to play four full turns, not three. The rationale was that time was running out, and though there was a stated time limit when the battle was organized, I would’ve really liked to have seen a fourth turn. Be that as it may, it was unlikely time would permit another full turn without people expediting their play…
But in the end, that didn’t happen. During the last Xenos turn, they managed to bring on the rest of their forces, though I don’t think they did all that much to change the outcome of the game. By this point, they’d already held everything they were going to, and were too far away from most of the other objectives. Though they did have two options: First, Trevor brought up squads of termagants through his Trygon holes and managed to contest an objective. However there was some debate there, as one of his units became broken, and another pinned. More on that later.
The other way they could affect the game was that Commissar Yarrick had been deemed a target of opportunity by the Black Templar force, allowing them to claim him as a Vital Objective. I’m not sure where that came from–whether it’s a standard Apoc datasheet, or something home-grown. Either way, they had a chance to turn him into a spawn, thereby allowing them to claim one more objective–but they failed their rolls.
At the end of turn three, the game ended…
The game really came down to the Imperials holding just one objective and contesting a handfull more, while the Xenos players clearly held three objectives. When you take into consideration their loss of the legion relic, that gave the Xenos players only a single objective lead–which lead to an interesting debate:
Do pinned units count as scoring units for the purpose of holding objectives? How about broken/fleeing units?
The reason this came up, is there was one “contested” objective with a broken unit of termagaunts contesting a unit of Imperial Guard in a bunker. Though everyone seemed to recall something about broken units holding objectives, we couldn’t seem to find any record of it in the rulebook. We assumed the confusion had to caused by playing multiple editions, and there must’ve certainly been such a rule in 4th edition–which was removed for 5th?
What we finally ruled was that broken units are removed from play at the end of the game, so they were not there to contest, thereby allowing the Imperials to hold a 2nd objective, effectively tying the game. Normally, I’m not a huge fan of ties, but in a game so large, with so many participants, I like to see them. That way, you don’t have 9-10 losers sulking about, but rather 20 players talking about all of the little victories they managed throughout the game.
What I Learned:
- It should be abundantly clear when the last turn of the game comes up. That way nobody feels like they’re getting short-changed at the end of the game. This can be done with a simple announcement before that turn: “Guys, we won’t have enough time to make it more than one more turn…” Or it can be negotiated to stay just a little longer. Extending a game to 6pm doesn’t seem unreasonable to me.
- Strategic Assets that must be represented on the board should be modelled accordingly. Setting up a disruptor beacon that’s a servo skull is ridiculous (shame on us, Imperials). Without a suitable model, people simply shouldn’t be able to play with those assets.
- Strategic Assets aren’t balanced. Not in the remotest sense of the word. I’m not a fan of things like Careful Planning, Flank March, and Disruptor Beacons because they’re so obviously better than the other options that you see them time and time again. I’d favor changing the way assets are purchased, or even forgoing them altogether for something like Strategy Cards.
- Zion is a good guy. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that one of our gamers is cool, since they’re a bunch of good guys, but it took me a while to realize it. I’m not ashamed to admit that I was on the fence after the first Apoc game I played with him. My first impression was caused when I caught him trying to sneak some models onto the board after his team hit the time limit for deployment, and I looked at him as shakey. After playing with him more, he really had a great attitude during the game. His mature stance, and good nature really made me want to play games with ’em more often.
- Gaming club functions should have mandatory fees. Most weeks we pay $2 to play at our club, and our funds go to local school kids so they can go on field trips and such. I’m all for that, but for some reason this requirement doesn’t extend to Apocalypse games. This function was by donation only, so I’m sure most people did donate. I’d like to see this model change to a mandatory payment, say $10 each. This way, they could earn a fair amount of money for the kids, and they could also use the money to buy something like Pizza for everyone, thereby allowing the game to continue through lunch (and give us more time to finish turn 4…. <HINT>). Alternately, making it a pot-luck (but still having donations for the kids) sounds like a swell idea to me.
- Pinned (or at least broken) units shouldn’t count as scoring. It doesn’t say so in the rules–at least that we could find though. This looks like it would make a good house-rule though, as it seems to make sense.
I took a bunch of photos during the game, so I’m going to end this post with thumbnails of spare pics that didn’t make it into the battle report. As always, click them for bigger images, and thanks for stopping by…