The First Apoc Game I Didn’t Enjoy

Today I played my first apocalypse game of the year.  Curiously enough, it was the first Apoc game that I’ve played that I didn’t enjoy.  Rather than doing a break-down of what happened turn by turn, I thought I’d go into the special rules we used, and where I thought the game went right and where it went wrong.

Though I started things off on this post rather negatively, let’s try to focus on the positive.

Things that went well:

My intent was to skip over the things that always seem to go well, but they’re worth mentioning anyway, so I’ll consolidate them into a single bullet point.  We had a great place to play and a good host.  Terrain looked great, and people really pooled their resources together with multiple guys bringing their terrain out to use it for such a game.  We’ve also a good bunch of players, and relatively balanced armies.  Props to all involved for these.  As for things that were unusual this game that I enjoyed:

  1. Split-Deployment:  Firstly, this included a split deployment, with Imperials sandwiched in between two forces (Chaos & Nidz).  In the post-game debrief it seemed that everyone liked this idea, and it was executed fairly well.  The imperials got walled fortifications to hide behind, and were able to consolidate all of their forces in one spot, but they also had to fight on two flanks, which made for balance.  This sort of deployment also ensured that (for the most part) players were focused on certain sections of the board.  Granted, there were exceptions, but at least for Team Evil  (Chaos & Nidz), we didn’t half to run around the board constantly to find out units.
  2. Board Shape: Typically the board will be in a straight line or a L shape, but this time it had a jog in it to make it Z-shaped.  This, coupled with the split deployment (above), extended the line of no-man’s land to increase the point of attack (or at least it made it feel like this). 
  3. Team Balance: Oddly enough we didn’t get overloaded with Imperial players, but we quickly came to a consensus about how to resolve the problem.  The two Necron players joined the Imperials—there was some discussion about whether that was the right solution or not (see below).
  4. No Flank March/Careful Planning:  Not a single person chose either of these assets.  They’re insanely powerful and super annoying, and I was happy to see that nobody took them.  It did, however, mean that very little fighting happened at the back end of either of Team Evil’s deployment areas.
  5. Scoring Each Turn: We took a play out of the playbook of another Apoc game I’d hosted in my garage and decided that objectives would be scored each turn—not just at the end of the game.  While it did inject a little slowness into the game, scoring each turn prevented that last minute grab for objectives.   This encouraged people to hold the objectives the entire game, and seems to be more indicative of who really controlled the game.
  6. Head-Hunting: Scott suggested that each player needed to nominate a single HQ (or other model if no HQ was available) to be the leader.  When those leaders died, the opposing team would score some victory points (I think we finally settled on 3 per leader).  I’m not sure that anyone really made this a goal, but it did happen several times, and people seemed to like it.  There was a problem with this though (Again, see below)
  7. Flyers (or lack thereof): In previous games, flyers have dominated the board.  Since they can basically go anywhere, and are super hard to even hit, they tend to go untouched most of the game.  Though there were a few flyers, they didn’t seem to be rough in this one.  I’m not sure if that’s because these were thunderbolts & storm ravens (instead of vendettas), or they weren’t as coordinated, or what, but they didn’t seem to be so annoying this game.
  8. Theme: Unlike most games, this one seemed to have more theme.  The intent was to try to get Nidz vs. Imperials, but despite the rally cry, only three Nid players showed up (well, technically I showed up as well, but I’m tired of my bugs for now—at least in Apoc).  The fact that we got basically three chaos, three nidz, four imperial and 2 necrons worked out rather well though.  I’m not sure it could’ve been planned better—It would seem that we just lucked into this.
  9. Main Objective:  One “main objective” was added to the center Imperial team’s deployment zone.  It was decided that this would be worth 5VP at the very end, and wouldn’t’ be scored each turn.  I really liked the idea of having some objectives be more valuable.  Though it proved to be contested at the end (a la’ every other Apoc game), it was an interesting twist on things.


Things that I didn’t enjoy:

(Keep in mind that these aren’t necessarily things that went wrong, per se, but rather things I didn’t enjoy so much.  The “solution” to many of these issues certainly has something to do with adjusting my attitude/list building—and I’ll work on that—but others might actually need some tweaking).

  1. Hierophants are nuts.  Yes, they were on my team.  Yes, I supplied two of them.  Yes, they need to be nerfed.  In this gaming club, they play with Hierophants RAW.  In the book, it says they have a “warp field.”  At the time of it’s writing, that gave them a 2+/6++, but now that same rule gives a 3++.  At T9 with 10 wounds and regeneration, that makes those things ricockulous.  This is something I’ve been saying time and time again… though it goes largely unheard.
  2. Arguments:  I play to have fun, but for whatever reason, I managed to get myself into a couple of arguments.  This quickly makes a fun day into a chore—and I think this was the single greatest reason I look back at this day and say I didn’t have any fun.  My key argument opponent was a guy that goes by Mangles. It’s important to note that I think he’s an intelligent guy with a firm grasp of the rules.  I also feel he’s honest, and respectful in his dealings.  The only fundamental “problem,” with him is that he is truly a competitive RAW player and I’m more of a funsy RAI player (and frankly, that isn’t a “problem,” with him, as it’s really just an  issue between us).  Normally, we can just agree to see things differently, but we did bump heads a couple of times during this game.  I even went so far as to call him well an obscenity which is altogether far too common.  He didn’t deserve it, and though I apologized, I’m not sure he accepted.In almost all of the cases, the problems came from the RAW vs. RAI, though in at least one it was from my ignorance, which didn’t make out well since I was already pissy.  Putting aside the issue of my ignorance (which, if you must know considering pre-measuring movement), the other issues were:
    • Can a gargantuan creature ram?  I was of the opinion that a garg can tank shock, and is given an armor value.  His argument was that ramming is a specific kind of tank shock not explicitly conferred to Gargs—despite having a listed armor value.
    • When using an Apoc barrage, do you count hits on models beneath the template as you would normally, or do you resolve each hit individually?  (This technically wasn’t an argument with Mangles, or an argument at all really, but a point of contestation, definitely).
    • Can an immobile vehicle repair it’s immobilized result?  Specifically, I guess the Necron Pylons say that they suffer an immobilized result as they land, so they didn’t start as an immobilized vehicle.  Since spyders can repair now, is it possible to repair the pylon and let it move around the table? 
    • Are fortress walls considered superheavies (and so, you would be automatically pushed back at the end of any turn of combat—thereby denying you the ability to also swing in your opponent’s assault phase)?
    • Necron combo/shenanigans that force all units to move as in difficult terrain and force difficult terrain to be dangerous.  This isn’t a problem with rules, but one I didn’t like.  This isn’t because it was used on me per-se, but since each team seems to always take Recon, it did very little the entire game, other than slow things down.  In this gaming group, phases are strictly timed to 15 minutes each, and having to roll, re-roll, take saves, etc. any time any of your models wants to move is painful, doing it twice is horrendous.  The end result was relatively minimal too.  I wound up taking about a dozen wounds across my force, and I presume the other players were relatively similar.  In effect, this really seems like the JAMMERS asset.  While it does provide a minimal amount of damage, it really sets the game off on the wrong foot.  To be fair, Mangles didn’t have the combo in his original list, and only added this stuff to add in an additional 4k points in order to make up for late-comers.Again, I don’t mean to berate him (or anyone else in this).  The lessons to learn here, more than anywhere else, are probably my own.  Whether I agree or disagree with someone doesn’t matter, it’s how I handle myself, and I did so poorly here.  Again, Mangles, I was out of line and I’m sorry.
  3. Time Consuming Assets: It seems both teams took the “Surgical Raids” asset.  I’ve used this before in
    another apoc game
    , and despite getting five times the damage output, it’s really just a method of slowing down the game.  It seems like it would be fun (and more effective than it is), but it just isn’t.  For example, when Cole did this, I think he managed to wound a single model, and shake a tank for a turn.  The other team did better, as we had more zoanthropes and the like, but I still doubt it was worth the 250 points (or 15 minutes per side) it took to play the asset.  I’d like to see these ineffectual assets that seem to only slow down the game banned.
  4. Army list issues:  Tony and I had played entirely demon forces (well, I added a Plague Tower of Nurgle to protect Epidemius, but otherwise, I was all models straight out of the Daemon book.  Tony played with a formation that forced us to deploy on the table.  This, coupled with the split in armies, made for a rather dour looking objective to us.  We needed to get through the wall, but were severely lacking in shooting.  Between the three chaos players, we had a couple of melta-guns, some Tzeentch bolts, and my super-heavy (which, by the way, was all blast templates, so it couldn’t fire at the walls).  No other ranged weapons we had could damage the walls. This forced us to rely on monstrous creatures to take them down.  The rules for the wall was that a penetrating hit of a 5 or 6 caused the wall to loose a structure point, and walls, gates, & bunkers had 4, 3, and 6 structure points respectively.  They were immobile vehicles, so we hit automatically, but it meant that to score a penetrating hit, with a s5 prince, I had to roll at least a 10 (or a 1/12 chance), and then I had to roll another 5 or 6.  So, the majority of our hope fell upon 8 princes each with a 3% chance per attack to cause (at least) one structure point).  Even with 4 attacks each, that doesn’t make for a very appealing chance.  There were a couple of other units (like Tony’s fiends), and help from a late-showing Tau player that gave us more hope, but it was pretty rough.I’m not super strong at probabilities, but by my calculation, even with all 8 princes charging a wall section (so 5 attacks each), there’s a 32% chance that we do ZERO DAMAGE to the entire wall in a turn.  Since damage is applied in 1’ sections, it seemed like it was going to be turn 3-4 before we broke through.

    You’ll note that I included all of this under the heading “army list issues,” and not “walls are overpowered.”  Practically speaking, they had a good six feet of walls on their side, and they really should’ve wound up paying 250 points per foot, plus additional points for the bastions, but I’m going to overlook that.  The problem here was most likely caused by our army lists.  Really, there wasn’t much we could do against vehicles, and this being an AV14 vehicle, made it super hard for us to hurt it.  I recognized that my list would be weak against vehicles, but I figured someone else on my team would take care of that for me—unfortunately, the rest of my teammates seemed to have the same idea.


  5. Pessimism: I brought this notion up to Tony, as he and I are really pessimists (though his response was “I prefer to think of myself more as a realist.”  I insisted that a good pessimist always says that…  The point being that we’re both a bit negative.  Oddly enough, we each tend to do well in sportsmanship scores (I won best sportsman in the only tourney I’ve ever attended, and Tony seems to win best sportsman at EVERY tourney he attends).  I don’t think that has to do with our pessimism as much as our funsy approach to the game though.However, creating a negative attitude at the start of a game is never a good thing.  Though we both saw our obstacles as almost insurmountable, I tried to stay positive (at least they won’t be shooting us!).  I think this is something that both of us should probably work on…
  6. Starting Late.  The designated schedule was to show up at 8:30 (though our host was a little late), then bid, and start the game by 10.  As is typical when you get a bunch of people together, someone shows up late, and timelines slip.  One player showed up late (albeit still during deployment) and was able to setup.  He was put on the first team to setup, and received far more time than he should’ve had, but that wasn’t the part that really slowed things down.  The downside was that the other team had to put together 4k points of stuff while deploying their own units.   So, they had to coordinate who had what extra models, all while trying to coordinate who goes where & strategy.People showing up late to things is already a pet peeve of mine, but when you’re inconveniencing a dozen other people, there should be repercussions.  I suppose we could’ve just had him wait to come on with reserves in turn 2—that probably would’ve been a fine solution…
  7. Problems with Head-Hunting:  While listed as a positive, it was not without issue.  The key problem here is that Apoc doesn’t have a FoC, so not everyone had an HQ model.  One of our Tyranid players designated his Hierophant as his leader, and since those things are all but unkillable, it didn’t seem fair.  If this rule was to be used again in the future, I think it would be best to change the rule to say “Players must designate one HQ model as their leader.  If they do not have an HQ model, they may designate another non-Super Heavy /Gargantuan Creature as their leader instead.”  Personally, this didn’t make the game less pleasurable for me, but it’s just something I’d recommend changing in the future.
  8. Defenders couldn’t setup in the bunkers:  Sure, they didn’t pay anything for them, but it seemed problematic that they had these great bunkers and they weren’t allowed to deploy inside them.  In one case, the door to the bunker was actually placed OUTSIDE of their city walls.  Obviously, this was an oversight during construction, but painfully, it cost the Imperials dearly as they had placed one of their “no-man’s land” objectives in that bunker, and they never got to score on it.This is somewhat symptomatic of other issues.  I don’t think the bunker should’ve been in no man’s land (it should’ve been part of the fortress).  This would’ve allowed them to deploy in it, and also would’ve prevented them from putting an objective in a spot that we basically couldn’t get to (except with jump infantry, of which we had a total of six flamers in the army). 
  9. I tried to let people enjoy themselves:  I love the concept of being magnanimous, but I don’t think I do well at it in practice.  Us demons were trying to pour through the wall as it came down in small sections, and there were very precious few holes for us.  Though I was in the front, and my nurglings were already up to 17+ on Epidemius’ tally, I had them stand aside so that Tony and Andrew could charge into combat.  The problem was basically those walls proved so hard for us to take down, and all of us effectively had combat armies.  I had Ku’gath & my Plague Tower as my guns—though they weren’t able to fire half of the time because doing so would’ve caused damage to my allies (or otherwise covered them with templates, making it illegal to fire them).  So, I managed to lob off a few rounds.  With most of my army being assault oriented, I managed to get into combat with two of my demon princes (one against a squad of two scarabs, and the other against terminators), and at the very end, I managed to get a single squad of nurglings into combat with a Black Templar squad.  The following units played absolutely no part in combat/shooting for the entire game:
    • Plaguebearers x20
    • Plaguebearers x7
    • Plaguebearers x7
    • Demon Prince
    • Demon Prince
    • Nurglings x 7
    • Nurglings x 7
    • Nurglings x 7
    • Nurglings x 7
    • Nurglings x 7

So, two princes, a squad of nurglings, Ku’gath, and my tank, all managed to do something—albeit very little.   Technically my Doomsday device killed a storm raven on the last turn of the game, but it was pointless at that point–I just wanted to do something with it…. 

My lack of involvement in the game was assuredly my biggest reason why I didn’t enjoy it.  Perhaps I should’ve spoken up more at the beginning when I saw the problems, but I didn’t want to be seen as pessimistic… Instead, when we got through the walls, I knew Tony and Andrew were in similar positions the entire game, so I let them move ahead of me. 

But I wasn’t good at that.  At times I demanded from Andrew that he let me in (him being a good guy, naturally obliged), but eventually I caved and let him take the spot.

So those are my thoughts.  While the good vs. bad is relatively even in number of bullet points (Though assuredly not in length of diatribe), I’m putting this down as the first Apoc game that I played but didn’t enjoy.

Ultimately, the number one factor in my decision has to be that I didn’t get to really play the game.  I was locked down and felt fairly helpless the entire game.  I’m sure it has something to do with my army list (being practically unable to help break down walls is more than a little problem), and something to do with the setup/terrain.  Since I knew we were assaulting a fortified location though, I’m likely to shoulder most of that blame. 

Oh well, live and learn, eh?

For those that are interested, the final score was 21:14 in favor of “Team Evil.”  Though we ultimately won, I don’t take credit for that victory at all (nor do I think that anyone on my side really deserves it).   The only thing we’d done was hold the objective in our deployment zone for the entire game uncontested.  Sure, that turned out to be a total of 10 points, so one could argue that we did win the game–scoring half of our points for the entire game as the other forces actually contested objectives, but the real statement would be that the Imperials lost the game more than we’d won it. 

They put that objective on the nearby bunker in no-man’s land and were never able to hold it (since the door was outside their gate).  That alone cost them 10 points–and the fact that they never came into demon-land to contest the other objective probably cost them the game.  Well, at least that’s my take on it.

33 comments on “The First Apoc Game I Didn’t Enjoy

  1. i think your write up did it justice.

    I had fun and taking the big bugs of yours was the right choice both for fun and for our team. Like you in this game i think my last 3 Apoc games have been very similar in that i somehow manage to do very little playing. 1 game i sat at Scott’s Titans feet and shot a few long range shots, next game i setup on the line with IG and the other team didn’t even deploy on our HALF of the table(the infamous popping smoke on my 3 Baneblades incident i love to bitch about =), game after that i brought Grey Knights and was ignored aside from units that mishapped and were brought to me… In all three games i came away having not had fun, and so i fully understand your feelings.

    I will say i DO NOT enjoy the gamesmanship at apoc games… this is freakin apoc it’s not balanced, it’s not competitive, so stop trying to take it seriously (not u Rob, anyone). I hate it soooo much. Chris and i are friends, i have respect for him as a player, but when he tells me to roll a dice next time instead of dropping it when i just did my eighteenmillionth re-rollable dangerous terrain test on a multi wound Trygon….it sets me off. Have some respect for your fellow players and ease up at an Apoc game.

    Apoc needs a new rule book badly, the whole “do whatever you want” thing is just getting old, and while it works well enough with people all on the same page, it only takes 1 or 2 people out to break it to ruin the game. The rules are full of holes where we get stupid disputes like can my immobile pylon now move cause i repaired it, how does Night Fight work when i pop my solar pulse, ect. ect. In all honesty the Fantasy Storm of Magic expansion is a much better version of “large game” it offers you lots of extra rules to facilitate larger games but doesn’t remove any normal army choice rules, it has specific rules to bring other armies in your collection and even how they will interact with each other depending on their alignment. It all feels much more in control and thought out.

    I think in this game it would have been much better if the complex was smaller and forced the imperials to have a battle line outside the walls(and thus less walls). Overall i was glad to see all the attempts at extra rules though, it was a welcome change in my book. Perhaps we just need a bit better communication about the major changes like the walls, if you had been very much warned about the difficulty they would pose perhaps you and Tony would have brought a few units to deal with it.

    • Do you think the Storm of Magic book is that much better, or do you think it has something to do with the fact that the Apoc book was created for a previous edition, and things have changed since it’s creation? I’m guessing it’s probably a bit of both. While I don’t play WHFB, I poked around the SoM rules, and the fact that it’s a supplement to a normal game probably keeps it from getting completely ridiculous. Perhaps we should tailor that sort of ruleset to 40k? Heck, knowing the Internet, someone out there must’ve already done this somewhere.

      I like your idea about making the complex smaller–but again, the Imperials should’ve been able to deploy on the walls and in the bunkers. It does make for a more realistic battleground, and gives more action to all involved. I’m sure even some of the Imperial players (Scott, for example) felt like they didn’t get to play the game much either. Scott basically just removed casualities from indirect fire/mind controlled titans, and then got assaulted by three players (which I can’t imagine would’ve been that fun). Had he been able to deploy outside of the walls, that might’ve been better for him as well.

      I do like the ideas of mixing up the rules though, and there were some gems in there. Even those things that seemed like failures, aren’t completely so–as they can be tweaked to make for better games in the future.

      • Well certainly Apoc Suffers for it’s age and lack of update to the new edition. However i’m not sure that is the major issue, i think instead the general game is just lacking in rules support. It says it’s designed to allow you to bring every model in your collection, which while a noble goal is also lazy and clearly abusable.

        Apoc suffers because it is likely intended for use with extra player driven unofficial restrictions like we use at your house and not intended for the sort of game we get at Muldoon where it’s come all just bring 4k points and a couple other minor tidbits. Like i’ve said before the only true rule it seems in Apoc is “don’t be gay”…but this is subject to player discretion and so it fails.

        The single biggest limit we do at your Apoc games that drives the game toward being better is enforcing the Org chart and at the same time limiting superheavies/gargants to one per chart taken.

        In SoM you are given a flat 25% of your points to spend on extra SoM stuff like extra monsters, SoM only magic items, and pacts. Pacts are the “bring another separate army” bit, and even they have restrictions on what exactly you can bring. This single choice to actually limit army choices makes it a more controlled environment where players can still expect to face realistic looking armies on the tabletop. The restrictions go much further however, only 2 of any particular SoM monster, exceptions are there too like giants as they’re common for monsters. ect. ect.

        Essentially SoM takes the opposite approach to helping produce larger games then Apoc does, and in the end it’s the right approach. Let players who want to break the rules and bring silly unrealistic forces do so on the approval of their fellow players, nothing stops you from not following the rules if everyone is cool with it. Meanwhile a game supplement produced by the game company should contain rules designed for balance and fun of both sides, it shouldn’t be up to us to house rule things to get some semblance of this.

      • Well, obviously I prefer more balanced forces (evidenced by the fact that I inflict house rules upon our games), but I think that flies in the face of the original intent of Apoc. Apoc is supposed to be a huge game of nonsense with almost no rules (heck, the Apoc book only has about 2-3 pages of new rules in it, right?) In fact, a true Apoc game wouldn’t even have a points limit on it!

        The idea behind Apoc was just to push out and sell new models in droves. I’m not sure if they really did themselves a service by doing this–as they blew out models at cheap prices, making lower margins and stock-piling veteran gamers with more models than they’ll “ever need.” I think Fantasy’s equivalent is a double-take on the same theory, but now they’re learning from their mistakes. I wouldn’t be terribly surprised if they came up with a revision for Apoc in the next couple of years that more closely aligns itself with Storms of Magic.

        By the way, the more I think about it, the more I like the idea of trying to use SoM as a baseline for Apoc rules. Any interest?

  2. Not sure why i can’t reply to your comment.

    Yeah you could try something akin to SoM in 40k.

    Bring legal 40k army.
    In addition get 25% of that army’s total points in Apoc Units/formations for the same army.

    So you like to play 3k at your place.

    Bring 2500 point legal army in all respects.
    get 675 points to spend on Apoc units/formations, this could allow you to get the extra models that wouldn’t fit in your force chart to make up a formation your taking, or it could be single models that are Apoc/imperial Armour only like a Thunderhawk.

    So as an example i bring Nids, in my list i bring a Trygon, Tyranofex, and Mawloc which is the max 3 Heavy Support. I then use my bonus points to purchase the Bioshock brood formation, and two additional Trygons for the formation.

  3. Wow; so many things to comment on! so, I’ll bullet point too.

    1) That set up sure looked nice: thematic and interesting.
    2) The above deliberation on adapting Storm of Magic sure looks interesting too. 3) Although I used to play and enjoy big games of 40K many years ago, and wouldn’t mind doing so again now, I really don’t think I’d enjoy Apocalypse unless I knew there were going to be house rules I approved of. Rob; I wonder if you should make a ‘lite’ version of your rules you can send to hosts of games along with a ‘if you haven’t thought about house rules, would you like to consider these?’ note. Framed as a ‘I’ve hosted lots of games and have learned from disasters what doesn’t work’
    4) The frustrations you and other players seem to have had regarding not getting a game in is an extension (in my opinion) of the the problems with a rules set that is quite flawed even in normal games. The scale of Apocalypse and the relaxation of restrictions just makes it impossible to hide. Some armies (we’ve discussed this before) just don’t seem able to compete / play the game – unless both players are playing a ‘friendly’ and know in advance what kind of army their opponent is likely to bring.
    5) Did you anticipate the trouble you’d have with the walls before you started playing? I mean, I know you must have realised they’d be a challenge, but did you find once you’d started that ‘Oh my God, we’re going to be here all day’? I once played a game with my orks vs a friend’s Tau on a fantastic board. But it was about 75% ‘grand canyon’ style terrain. My opponent was quite perturbed by my insistence that the sheer cliffs count as nothing more than difficult terrain, while the slopes count as absolutely clear terrain. In the end though, it was a close game and was a lot more fun that me doing nothing but shuffling forward a few inches while he indirectly bombarded my boyz packed into a ravine turn after turn, and hovering away any time I looked like getting within 18″ of him.
    – Would it have been possible before the game started to have said ‘hey guys: this clearly isn’t going to be fun for anyone as we’ve only got 4 models that can breach the walls. How about we treat the walls as dangerous/very difficult terrain (and so scalable to all models) instead? And if that looks like it would be overwhelming, then we could start 15″ or 18″ away instead of the normal 12″?’
    – At the very least I would have been arguing for the imperials to be able to start deployed in the bunkers, because, why wouldn’t they? If that was going to give them too much of an advantage, then surely it wouldn’t have been too difficult to come up with something to balance things out?
    6) It does seem to me that the main problem is attitudes, but again, I think this is a problem you get in normal games but amplified in Apocalypse. I just can’t understand why anyone would want to slow the game down for the sake of a few difficult terrain rolls. Surely it’s simple enough to guestimate the likelihood of failure and say ‘around 5% chance of getting killed, so let’s just roll a D20 and on a one, we take a hit and move on’. Or ‘on a 1 we take d6 hits, on anything else, we take a single casualty’. I’m not saying that people who like RAW are evil or shouldn’t play, or anything like that. But i don’t see why they would want to play such a flexible game. Even if they like strict tournament games usually, surely Apocalypse is the time and place to relax?

  4. Wow, that’s a beast of a reply. Some responses:

    3) This was a public Apoc game hosted by our local gaming group. It’s generally far less structured than the games I host. That means that sometimes you wind up with arguments/differing viewpoints, but you also get to see more of everything, and much larger battles. In my garage, we can’t string together more than 2-3 tables, whereas they get massive cinematic battles at the local gaming club. Some good, some bad–and they’re making strides to remove the super abusive stuff from the game to make it more fun for everyone.

    If you’re interested in some basic rules we use each game, I’ve put them up here:

    Granted, I seem to mix in rule variations at each game (like the chess clocks, 4-way game, use of Force Organization charts–all of which I enjoyed) so they’re not always strict adherance to those rules, but that’s a good baseline to me.

    4) Oh, definitely. 40k is such an imbalanced game it’s sickening. If people come to a game with that knowledge in mind, it’s much better. When you get between 10-20 players involved, it’s hard to come to a shared understanding of what should and shouldn’t be used. This isn’t to say we don’t get ridiculous units in my games, but I’d like to think it’s a little less over-the-top. My next game I host I want to do campaign style, where I supply the models, that way I can see how truly “balanced” forces hold up against each other.

    5) Yes, we anticipated problems with the walls. Heck, I anticipated more than that. The fact that there was zero area terrain outside the walls bothered me as well, and I did mention it, but I didn’t want to raise a fuss. Originally, the Necrons were slated to be on Team Evil, so us Demon players simply stated that the ‘crons would be on our side of the map–which would give us easy ways to eat through the walls (scarabs & pylons). Once they moved aside, we expressed concerns that we wouldn’t get through, though the other Chaos player said he could take them down (ironically, we turned out to be more effective at that role than he did).

    Tony and I were the demon players, and we’re also the more pessimistic of the bunch. So, when we saw the walls, we naturally wanted to whine that they’d be too rough. Instead of going ahead with that, I took the tact that it was another challenge, and it’s something we could overcome. I didn’t think it’d happen fast, but I was hopefull that the Tyranids could help out once they got their side of the walls down. I’m glad I didn’t push for changes to the walls though, as they came down far faster than I’d have ever dreamed.

    6) I don’t think attitudes are the main problem–though they certainly complicate things. “Attitude” just has such a negative connotation, so I’m reluctant to say that’s the big deal. Communication is definitely a problem though, as are competing playstyles (ie. RAW vs RAI). Of course the playstyle debate is a big one that rears it’s head in seemingly every event/forum/competition/etc., and communication difficulties emerge wherever there are people.

    When I host my home games I try to mitigate these by inviting like-minded people to play. I don’t think anyone at this last game is a bad person (despite what I might have called them). If anything, the “problem” from earlier in the post was nothing but polite and civil with me. I was the one that resorted to foul language. I was really the problem at the Apoc game.

  5. 3) Ah yes, I remember all your house rules. What I meant was – if you’re attending someone else’s game, if couched in the right terms your experience in which rules can help make a more enjoyable game could make the game more fun not just for you but for everyone. Even highly competitive rules lawyers presumably want a challenge.

    6) When I say attitude, I mean it actually to mean basically what you are calling communication. You’re right – it is a loaded term, but all I really meant was that differing attitudes as to how the game is meant to be played, not that ‘bad’ attitudes were always the problem. Nor did I mean to imply that I thought that anyone you’d mentioned above displayed one, even if I do struggle to understand where some of them are coming from.

    • I make suggestions on how to “improve” their games, and sometimes they’re taken under advisment, and sometimes my suggestions aren’t well loved. Some things they’ve changed since I started hosting Apoc games include the limitation of D weapons, allowing multiple superheavies (previously they limited these, and not D weapons), and scoring VP’s at the end of each player turn (this may or may not stick around). They certainly don’t have to take all of my suggestions, but I feel like I have a chance for input. One thing I can’t get them to adopt is the “only painted models score” option, but I keep working on it! 🙂

    • It’s met with a lot of resistance, but I think it will encourage people to paint their models (perhaps not immediately, but over time). More painted models should make the game prettier, and get us more involved… I think it’s a way to indirectly make the game more fun for everyone.

  6. Wow, like the write up. Shame it didn’t end up being the best experience, but from looking at the rest of the blog it seems that that is the exception.

    A friend and I have just been put in charge of organizing our gaming club’s upcoming Apoc game. Do you have any tips on the organization/logistics side of things?

    Finally, like Gamesmith said, the “only painted units score” rule is pretty sweet. I may steal that.

    • In general, I do like Apoc games, so this certainly was the exception.

      As for pointers in hosting/planning the game, the number one suggestion is to invite good people (see this blog entry on the subject): . Ultimately, surround yourself with good people, and you’ll have fun. Everything else will work itself out.

      Aside from that, I’d advise that you to:

      • Set up some clearly defined rules, and build upon them over time. In my mind, good rules reinforce good behavoir. The rules we use in the games I host can be found here. Feel free to use any/all of them you’d like. It might be wise to also adhere to a specific FAQ (be it GW’s, INAT, etc.), so that there are consistant rules each game.
      • Do something to balance the lists. The easiest thing you can do is to set a points limit per player. This flies in the face of “true Apoc,” but I’d say this is a necessity. I prefer a little more structure as well, so using FoC, or otherwise limiting Superheavies/D Weapons make the game alot more fun to me.
      • Institute some sort of time limits (be them turn based, phase based, or–my personal favorite–chess clocks!)

      Please forgive all of the self-links in this, but if you want more insight into any of them, I’ve already written blog posts about them. Also, if you go into my old posts, you’ll notice that the pictures all seem broken. I’m working to fix that, but if you really want to see them, they all link to the proper place–it’s just the thumbnails that are broken.

      Thanks for dropping by…

  7. 1. I can understand some of your problems with the game. You hade a masive Hand to Hand army that hade no real hope of getting through the walls in time the time we had to play. But you knew the wall were going to be there before you showed up to play so some heavy anti tank in your list would make it a more balanced list. Your Tau and CSM support that did have anti armour weapons and i am sorry but i shot them first. If i didnt i hade no hope of slowing down munch less stoping your lists.

    2. 4th edition rule book, page 70 if you got the book sitting around like i do. In 4th a tank that was tanking shocking pushed all infintry and tanks that have less the its frontal AV. Because Gargantuan Creatures in 4th ed could tank shock they needed an AV to see what tanks and walkers would get out of the way and what would stop the movement. In 5th edition they made tank shocking two differnt effects one that is ment to scater troops and one that is an all or nothing Vs a tank. Giveing Gargantuan Creatures tank shock was a good way to let it get into an army and fight Vs being stoped at the first line of throw away troops. Giveing Gargantuan Creatures Ramming would let them push units out of the way, kill tanks, then assault something else all in one turn. Sorry if i caused a problem but i was fighting for RAI in this case.

    3. Problems with the walls. This was the first time any of us have used them, so it was the first time most of us have looked at the rules and though is that how it works? Of course there will be problems, If we run the same set up again will we have the same problems no. Why, because we will talk them out before the game and come to a common point of view.

    4. The objective scoring. I liked the plan we went with. Now most of Team good was not built to play the mission or didnt understand how it worked. Because we hade 2,000 points of SM show up turn 3 in flyers looking for a turn 5 objective grab. This left all of theis units doing little if anything for the over all game. Now if we use the same rules again there will be more boots on the ground earlyer to get more points.

    5. My Necron list. I built a 4,000 point army to assault the walls, open them up, and hold the door open for the next wave of units. I hade about 3,000 point built to kill units with an armour value, then switched to the defending team holding the walls i planed to wipe out. Crap happends and i played it as is.
    Now when I hade to add in more points. I didnt have many extra models with me so i added in what i hade on hand. Of what i hade did i pick units that would cause problems, Yes. Why because most of my list was going to be doing nothing and i wanted to make up for wasted points. I am sorry if you didnt like it i was acting on the fly and didnt stop to think if i was going over borad with it. BUT as munch as you didn’t like it your list was not stoped by it.

    6. Head Hunting. Loved the idea, would like to keep it for more games. I think your right that the army head needs to be a HQ slot or at the verry least not a Gargantuan Creature or super heavy.

    7. Only painted unit can score. I under stand you have everything you play with painted. I understand it would make the Pics of the game look better. I understand its part of the hobby. And over all it would not effect my lists munch if any. But you are not giving any understanding to the nonhobby gamers. There are lots of people who want nothing more that to play the game and who cairs about the painting crap. Most players with this mind set end up painting up their armys to compeat in torments. Forceing players to paint their armys to play in a game for “fun” is not fair.


    PS: i know my spelling and grammer stink. Its 3AM and work was a pain in the @$$ so i am not going to take time to fix anything above. thanks for your understanding.

      • By 5th edition rules sorry but the ancer is yes. By 4th edition rules the rinho moved out of its way.

      • “Rattler25
        APRIL 30, 2012 @ 10:30 PM
        By 5th edition rules sorry but the ancer is yes. By 4th edition rules the rinho moved out of its way”

        ah and heres where you go wrong, you said your trying to fight for RAI. So why not suggest the vehicle is moved out of the way per the RAI? Saying “well now Gargants are just gonna have to stop at each vehicle they come across” is not RAI at all because it’s not how it worked when it was put in… So you either play the way it was, or bring it into the next editions rules set. Seeing as Ramming is the new rule, its lackluster at best, and as you pointed out stops the Phant from shooting, why argue so much with it? Nothing about ramming says a Gargant can’t do it, a Gargant can tank shock and that’s all thats needed.

        How can you argue so fervently with this, and then bring three Ctan’s with the same exact powers which is shown in the codex to be illegal. Yes Apoc removes pretty much all restrictions, but you’ve spent a good bit telling us they were “all you had with you” that doesn’t mean they have to all be the exact same special rules wise going against clearly stated rules as intended.

    • If i didn’t say it enough at the game, I appreciated you actually comming over the walls that we couldn’t get through so that more of our armies could actually do somthing. Had y’all just lined up on the other side of the field exclusively y’all probably would have won! I know none of my units made it farther than about 18″ past the walls.

    • I’ll back Tony up in that it was nice to have a little something to do. Granted, I don’t think you were coming out to throw us a bone, as those units weren’t worth anything with a giant wall between us either. Still, it gave our team something to do for the first few turns.

  8. Enjoyed reading your thoughts on this post. Lately we’ve been using Apocalypse 40k’s house rules for the most part to make the game more enjoyable. I flat out refuse to let someone bring flank march; one of our buddies wanted to bring 12 dreadnoughts outflanking, lol.


    It wasn’t clear to me – how did you do the hierophant saves? Did you give it a 3+ invulnerable save?

    Did the necron player really want to use difficult terrain on the whole board? I’d limit it to 6×4 or just ask the person not to bring it at all. Bogs everything down. Apocalypse is for funsies, not winning.

    • Thanks. Do you perchance have a list of the house-rules you use? I’m always interested in seeing how other people play and possibly integrating some of their rules into ours. To answer your questions:

      For Hierophant saves in this particular game club, they play buy RAW, which states he has a 2+ armor save and “warp field” (which in the latest codex, gives him a 3++ invulnerable). At my place, we give them a 6+ save (though I can find at least one other reference to us using a 5++ invulnerable save instead).

      As for range of effects, apparently Imperial Armor Apocalypse 2 addresses that. I’m paraphrasing here, and it’s 2nd hand, but I’m told it says something to the effect of: “The Range of Special Abilties; powers that effect the whole table, whole army or have unlimited range intended for use in non-Apoc games will have a range of 72″ from the model in question.” Those rules were supplied by the Necron player, and while he is a bit of a powergamer, he’s definitely RAW and I’ve never had reason to question his honesty. So, it didn’t affect the entire table, but due to the fact that we were concentrated in the center of the table (eg. the fortress), and he had several copies of the models that affected our movement, it was effectively the entire table.

      The “bogs everything down” is precisely the point I was trying to make. It’s not fun for anyone involved–especially when you already play with very tight timed turns.

      • I under stand your problem with the Ctan world scape power and the Diviners powers. That is why i didn’t have them in my 4K list ti start with this game or any other apoc game so far.. They were only added at the last min to fill in extra points needed to balance the teams. Also they were the only extra models i hade with me.

        I would have liked to have thrown down the 15 heavy distroyers they would have helped shoot up the hierophant, but i left them at home. Or mabe some Wariths with wip coils to make the hierophants I1 so the SM power fists hade a hope of doing some damage, but i left them at home. Or mabe 120 warriors to form a gun line to slow down the hords at bouth gates, but i left them at home. Sorry if what i hade left in the bag caused so munch problems, it was not intended list.

        Also note I left all the Night fighting powers at home, the ones that were used were from the other Necron player.

      • Ours are based pretty much on the Apocalypse 40k rules. We try to have no str D weapons because there are entire Xenos armies without them.

        I was thinking about the Hierophant – the 3+ invulnerable save is tough, but having played GK AGAIN recently and having mindstrike missiles used against me – they’d take down the hierophant in a second if you didn’t have a 3+. I think I’ll ask at Apocalypse 40k what they think about that.

      • Grey knights are already ridiculous–why should the Hierophant be the only model in the game that doesn’t instantly die to them?

        In all seriousness though, Giving them a 3++ to mitigate one weapon in the entire game, and making them unbelievably durable against every other weapon seems foolish to me. Wouldn’t it just be easier to rule that the Hierophant isn’t a psyker for that purpose? That way, he doesn’t have a crippling weakness, but he himself isn’t ridiculously hard to kill either.

  9. Augh, last comment. Did your hierophants not have a base? It seems like they’d crumble like that as their legs are so spindly.

  10. Spot on on the game assessment. I stand by my assertion that I’m a realist! Over 1/3 of my army did absolutely nothing the entire game, and I look straight to those AV14 4 Structure Point walls as the primary reason why. Daemons deal with AV 14 by ignoring it completely and moving on to things they can deal with. What kills a Land Raider in the Daemon book? A Bloodthirster? A ST 7 Daemon Prince, Keeper, etc. Sure, in a regular game you bring a few big monsters to deal with them if you need to, but dealing with 6-7 wall portions that you have to penetrate on a 5-6 four different times, not in the cards. By turn 4 I’d already picked up my Khorne Dogs from the board because they’d be no use, and at the beginning of the last turn all 64 of my bloodletters were back in the box, as they were on there way to doing nothing all game also. Even the units that made it through the wall only made it 12-18″ in by the end of the game. When we did get a wall down, we were all fighting to get units through it just so that we could play the game.

    Storm of Magic is far superior. I don’t have a point by point explanation as to why, but it’s better. I never felt completely helpless playing SoM, I can’t say that about Apoc. SoM never made me say “What do you mean I just pick up all these units and remove them? This is 1/2 my army.” It’s probably the force org that keeps it in check. You can always attempt and succeed at dispelling in SoM. Not so much when the D-Weapon wipes out your terminator squad, tactical squad, assault squad, librariand, etc. etc.

    • One might argue that your army just wasn’t prepared to deal with the walls, despite you knowing “fortifications” would be in place. Of course, the demon book just doesn’t have much to deal with av14. In all fairness, very few units/weapons in the game deal with AV14 consistently (aside from melta weapons and scarabs), forcing you to roll a 5+ after you PENETRATE ONLY is worse.

      The lesson to be learned here is how hard it was to beat those walls, and that those walls can be purchased for 250points per foot. You know that means that you should just include them in your next army!

      • Yeah, guess I knew walls were involved before hand and Imperials would be in the middle, but my impression of the walls originally was a basic sort of difficult terrain wall. Not the 4 structure point 250 points per section (that they didn’t have to pay for) walls they used. The theme was cool, but in practice it just didn’t work for me and I wouldn’t do it again.

        It’s probably my fault for not taking the time before hand to determine the 40k meaning of “fortification” and not having a prior understanding of the rules for said fortifications… But you know, real life happens! I don’t think I was the only surprised one though!

      • That’s where I fell in as well. I didn’t know that it would be entirely surrounded with walls that were 14av +4 structure points. Had I known that, I’m sure I’d have changed army composition a bit. 🙂

  11. Was looking around and while I did not read the comment, know that the 3++ is NOT permanent! It is a psyker power, listed AS a psychic power, and CAST as a psychic power. Thus in old 5th it could be hooded. NOW, if you have something that prevents a blessing (such as rolling extra D6 for casting powers), you can prevent it. Prevent it one turn and BAM, lascannon and above it to death in a single turn. merry christmas. 😀 If someone argues it…ask them to name a single always persistent PSYCHIC POWER (as it is listed as such). When they say that doesn’t matter, tell them to deal with it…then blast their 1250 model and cackle evilly. It’s why Eldar are important for Apoc games.

    • Trying to figure out what you’re talking about. I presume you’re referring to the warp field save on the Hierophants? While it is listed as a psychic power, it’s not cast–it simply exists. I’d never considered if it could be dispelled, but since it is a constantly active power, I would assume that it can’t be.

      Is that what you’re referring to?

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