Chaos World Apocalypse 2013 (My First 6th Ed Apoc Game)

WH39999Apoc2013 (31) (Large)Just over two weeks ago, I had the privelage to play in my first Apocalypse game of 2013, which is also the first APoc game I’ve played in 6th edition (and, if Faeit’s rumors are at all true, it may be the last Apoc game I play under the current rulebook).  Unlike my last attempt at Apoc, I actually enjoyed this game quite thoroughly, though I didn’t play a big part in the game as a whole (which, quite possibly, is the reason why I enjoyed myself that much more).

For most of the game, I was squirreled away into a corner of the board, defending a single objective with some help from Dan & his Grey Knights.  Because of that, I was largely unaware of what was going on with the game as a whole, but I’ll do my best to write up what I recall.

The game was scheduled to be another thematic Chaos battle (in commemoration of the newly released codicies), with one side playing the forces of Chaos and the other was supposed to be represented with the forces of good.  Naturally, these things are difficult to balance out, so we wound up breaking into more traditional “Good vs. Evil” roles.  Of the fifteen players that showed, we had:

Team Good:

  1. Ultramarines & PDF (played by me)
  2. Grey Knights (Dan)
  3. Space Wolves (Randall)
  4. Imperial Guard (Zion)
  5. Imperial Guard (Zion minion #1)
  6. Generic Space Marines (Sean)
  7. Steel Legion Imperial Guard (Cody)
  8. Crimson Fists (I forget…)

Team Evil:

  1. WH39999Apoc2013 (22) (Large)Orks (Zion’s minion #2)
  2. Tyranids (Tim)
  3. Necrons (Mangles)
  4. Necrons (I forget…)
  5. Chaos Space Marines (Khorne) (Andy)
  6. Chaos Space Marines (Khorne) (Andrew)
  7. Space Wolves (I never trusted those guys…) (Kurt)

Seeing as we only really had 2x Chaos Players, it proved to be fairly appalling for a themed game.  I would’ve liked to have brought my Chaos, but as they’re not 100% painted, I didn’t feel right bringing them in.  Besides, I had some 3-D printed big guns that have no other purpose in life than raining terror in Apocalypse games…

My list:

  • WH39999Apoc2013 (49) (Large)HQ:
    • Pedro Cantor
    • Captain Lysander
  • Elites:
    • 5x Terminators w/ Thunderhammer & Stormshield
    • 5x Sternguard w/ Lascannon x2
    • 5x Sternguard w/ Missile Launcher x2
    • 5x Sternguard w/ Missile Launcher x2
    • 5x Sternguard w/ Heavy Plasma x2
    • Thunderfire Cannon
    • Thunderfire Cannon
    • Thunderfire Cannon
  • Troops:
    • WH39999Apoc2013 (16) (Large)10x Tactical Marines w/ Flamer, Missile Launcher, & Power Sword
    • 10x Tactical Marines w/ Plasma, Lascannon, & Powerfist
    • 3x IG Heavy Weapon Teams w/ Lascannons
    • 3x IG Heavy Weapon Teams w/ Lascannons
    • 3x IG Heavy Weapon Teams w/ Lascannons
    • 3x IG Heavy Weapon Teams w/ Lascannons
    • 3x IG Heavy Weapon Teams w/ Lascannons
    • 10x Penal Legion Troopers
  • Fast Attack:
    • 1x Attack Bike w/ Multi-melta
    • 1x Attack Bike w/ Multi-melta
  • Heavy Support:
    • 1x Imperial Artillery Carriage w/ Earthshaker Cannon & 4x Extra Crew
    • 1x Imperial Artillery Carriage w/ Earthshaker Cannon & 4x Extra Crew
    • 1x Imperial Artillery Carriage w/ Earthshaker Cannon & 4x Extra Crew
    • 1x Imperial Artillery Carriage w/ Earthshaker Cannon & 4x Extra Crew
    • WH39999Apoc2013 (24) (Large)1x Imperial Artillery Carriage w/ Earthshaker Cannon & 4x Extra Crew
    • 1x Imperial Artillery Carriage w/ Earthshaker Cannon & 4x Extra Crew
    • 1x Imperial Artillery Carriage w/ Manticore Cannon & 4x Extra Crew
    • 1x Imperial Artillery Carriage w/ Manticore Cannon & 4x Extra Crew
    • 1x Imperial Artillery Carriage w/ Manticore Cannon & 4x Extra Crew
  • Fortifications:
    • Aegis Defense Line w/ Quad Gun
    • Aegis Defense Line w/ Quad Gun
    • Imperial Bastion w/ Icarus Lascannon

As you can see, I went heavy into shooting, with almost nothing for assault/counter assaults.   I figured that I could leave those to other people to handle.  I also wanted to play with my newly painted fortifications (seeing as I’ve never used any of them for my marines, and never even seen a bastion used at all).

My force was supposed to be representative of a combined Imperial Ultramar Planetary Defense Force.  It consisted largely of IG units, with a few small squads of marines thrown in for good measure.  I was originally hoping to throw in more IG weapon teams, but with so many models being used as ablative wounds for the big weapon platforms, I simply ran out of painted models.  That’s certainly something I’m going to have to fix in the future…

Otherwise, I threw in Sternguard to give me some heavy weapons (they’re cheaper than devastators, and scoring to boot—with Pedro’s help, of course), and by the time I was throwing in Lysander, the Terminators, and the Vindicator, I was really scraping the bottom of the barrel.  I could’ve thrown in some assault marines, or more characters, but I wanted something that could survive (and/or kill) some of the big nasties that the game was sure to be home to.

Setup:

WH39999Apoc2013 (17) (Large)My team was debating whether to go first or second, and ultimately opted to try to go first.  In the urge to get their time quickest, they opted to bid 20 minutes for deployment, whereas the other team bid 30 minutes (someone always goes for the full 30 minutes, by the way).  We chose the side with the shorter buildings based upon the notion that it had less open areas (so it would’ve been harder to shoot the enemy there).  Frankly, I’d have preferred the taller buildings for better LoS, but it wasn’t a huge deal, so no worries.  For Assets, we all took an assorted variety of the usual suspects: Recon, Flank March, Teleport Disruptors, etc.  I wound up taking the shield asset, but the guys with the tanks on the other end of the board figured they needed it more than me (which turned out to be true).

For a unique twist, we crafted up some chaos portals (originally used as Doomsday devices) that—for this game—served as a means to allow non-vehicle units to be redployed across the battlefield.  A unit could enter any portal and then nominate another to exit.  They then rolled a die, and on anything but a 1, they got to come out of the portal they wanted.  If a 1 was rolled, they came out a random portal instead.  The rules for using a portal was that the unit must “embark” into a portal, and then “disembark” out the other side (in the same turn).

These added a chaotic flair to the game, as well as allowed more movement between the sides.  There was concern because the two sides were distinctly separate with just a few bridges interconnecting them.  This made for the possibility of fighting to get gummed up on the bridges, and then nobody would be able to do anything.  The portals (theoretically) helped alleviate this, although they were seldom used during the game.  Still, it was a neat inclusion, and I’m happy we did it.

WH39999Apoc2013 (19) (Large)As for the actual portals themselves, I came up with the design and patterns, and shipped them off to our resident toy-king, Zion who, armed with a laser cutter, made short work of creating the works out of basswood.  Then, I just had to assemble and paint them up for the game.  Originally, he had cut me 5 of the 6 required, but I only found enough time to properly paint up four of those.  Oh well, this gives me a project to work on over the summer, right?

As for objectives, we “strategically” placed three objectives per the Apoc rules: each time placed one in their own setup area, one in the enemy zone, and one in “no-man’s land.”  When we were placing them, we contemplated doing so in a way that would be advantageous for us, but as I got to place two of them for our team, I opted for placement that would make things more fun for everyone.  Some people would’ve had me place them in locations that were nearly impossible for our opponents to take, or to place them in clumps that our hardest units could hold.  Instead, I spread them out as evenly as possible to ensure that the entire battlefield had something to fight over.

Not everyone had the same idea though, so that left the left flank with a bunch of objectives to fight over, and only one on the entire right half of the table…

The Game:

During setup, I had deployed in the far right corner near the lone objective in no-man’s land, opting to keep all of my stuff relatively close together so that I could remember where it was, and had time to fire it all.  In previous games, I’ve made the mistake of spreading out, and that only serves to make things more difficult to keep track of and—since the local gaming club uses timed phases—it almost always results in half of my units not being able to fire.

WH39999Apoc2013 (40) (Large)Dan put a couple of units of his Grey Knights nearby, and Cody dropped three (unpainted *gasp*) chimeras in the middle of my units.  Across from me, one of Zion’s minions (whose name escapes me at the moment) dropped three squads of Nobz, a ton of Deffkoptas and a massive Green Tide in front of me.

Effectively, this was the entire game to me: I shoot at Orks, orks die and move forward.  During my first round of shooting, I dropped all of my templates on the orks, and wasn’t paying attention.  Despite all of my shooting, I wasn’t seeming to do all that much damage.  It turns out that he was taking armor saves and FNP saves against all of my artillery—which slowed things down and made him surprisingly durable! J

After that first round, he was thinned down considerably.  The first shot of the second round zero’d in on the BigMek, who died the death, and the rest eradicated greenskins everywhere.  By the third round, he was in charge range, and met with a wall of Grey Knights.  Really, from that point on, I had almost nothing left to shoot at for the remainder of the game.

This wasn’t for lack of range (my platforms could fire almost 240”), but because a Necron player on the other side of the board fired off a Night Fighting bubble which prevented me from shooting into it.  Some of our players got frustrated by this, but I wasn’t terribly phased.  First of all, we had three IG players on my side (including myself), which would’ve pounded the snot out of our enemies had we gotten he chance.  Sure, this meant that I wasted half of my turns almost completely, but it made for a close game.

The only thing I would’ve changed about the night-fighting rule is that they allowed the ability to extend six feet out from the model causing it.  In past games, I thought it was ruled that we would allow it to be a 6’ diameter, and not a 6’ radius.  Effectively speaking, a 200 point model that makes night fight for multiple turns over a 113 square foot area seems pretty powerful (considering that the standard gaming gable is only 48 square feet).  Actually, when it comes down to it mathematically, limiting it to a 4’ diameter is almost perfect: allowing it to cover 50 square feet at that range.

Anywho, the little night-fight bubble effectively made it so I couldn’t shoot anything aside from the Orks (which made it into an assault eventually) until the very last turn: at which point I dropped some templates on a few choice targets, but overall had very little impact on the game.

Notable incidents that I recall seeing (but not really being a part of included):

  • A Necron Titan being destroyed on the first turn before it got a chance to do anything.  I believe it went Apocalyptic and destroyed all sorts of things nearby.
  • A sneaky push by a small group of Lictors, a subterranean swarm, and some troops out of a nearby portal lead to the chaos team wiping us off one of our objectives for a turn.  By the way, I didn’t tell my team mates this, but I saw the Lictors come in and even helped our enemies place them in a spot where we couldn’t see them—then I didn’t’ warn my team mates that it was happening.  I figured they were suitably sneaky and should be able to get away with stuff like that—they’re fricken’ chameleons!
  • Only one flyer (a dragon) seemed to come on the board anywhere near me.  He choose the wrong location though, and I gunned him down with two Quad-cannons.  The only damage he wound up doing was killing off a couple of sternguard veterans with his vector strike that turn before he crashed and burned.

Aftermath:

WH39999Apoc2013 (61) (Large)As stated, I pretty much only faced the Ork army for the entire game.  Aside from them, the only player that directed aggression towards me was Andrew—who paid the price for killing two of my marines upon entering, and he killed an attack bike over two rounds assaulting with a massive squad of berserkers.  I don’t take any blame for that though, as I foolishly allowed Sean to control my attack bike for two turns.  During those turns, he choose to let me attack bike take the assault instead of using his nearby counter-assault bike squads to wipe them out.

Aside from that, nobody dared even fire at my brave boys in blue.  In addition to those four brave marines (the attack bike & gunner are one model, but two distinct marines), I had a brave plasma gunner die to his own friendly fire.  In total, five marines died during this bloody battle.

Yeah, um… this wasn’t exactly the high-death count I expected…

The final score?  Well, it was Imperials: 8 to Chaos: 8.  I rejoiced at seeing a tie (especially because I didn’t think it possible with how the points were being scored), but some people really wanted to see a winner, so they reverted to extra points awarded for “Slay the Warlord.”  However, some armies didn’t even have an HQ in them, and I dont’ recall this ever coming up prior to that exact moment.  With Warlord points added, my team, the Imperials, would’ve won; however, I think that’s bogus, and will happily call it a tie.

What I Learned:

  1. Having fun takes planning.  Relinquishing myself to only being able to affect one small corner of the board made certain that I had less impact on the game as a whole, but really meant that I was able to manage what I was doing and really who I was playing with.  It meant that I wasn’t stressing about time limits, etc. and made things more pleasurable throughout.
  2. Painted armies really do make things better.  Throughout the game, I kept finding myself looking down in disdain at the three unpainted chimeras in the middle of my forces.  Aside from them, I had a large corner of the board swathed in BLOO, and it really looked fantastic.  I would love to see a game where everything was painted…
  3. Sniping with artillery is great.  The only thing about the Orks that was bothersome was the BigMek and his invulnerable save.  The answer was really to snipe him with my large blasts.  That meant that the first direct hit on him that I landed really did him in.  Though he was still able to Look Out Sir on a 2+, he had to make seven of them as the hits were taking from the center of the circle out.
  4. There are discrepancies with weapons.  For instance, I was using the latest rules for forgeworld artillery pieces (which gives them toughness instead of an AV value), but in those rules, Medusa seem to have a more normal profile than in previous iterations.  As a result, I was firing my medusa’s 10 feet instead of the three feet that’s written in the IG codex.  Depending upon which iteration of the rules you’re using, it can make vast differences to the outcome.  I probably should’ve been using rules for artillery emplacements, but I couldn’t’ find them anywhere.  Instead I used the rules from FW, but then asked our resident artillery specialist for ranges.  By the end of the game, Kurt had showed me that the rules weren’t the same as they used to be…
  5. Limited area effects should be more limited.  “Area Effects” such as those caused by units that, in a normal game, would cover the entire board, are probably best represented by allowing them in a 4’ bubble (if they’re to be restricted at all).
  6. Scoring should be decided ahead of time.  And it should be fair to everyone.  I’m a huge proponent of totaling up points at the end of every turn so it isn’t a last minute objective grab; however, we were totalling up points at the end of every game turn (not player turn), which meant that our opponents had a distinct advantage on scoring.  Likewise, at the end, the seemingly reactive addition of Warlord points detracted a bit from the game.  If it’s going to be included, that’s fine, but it should clear from the start…

As is expected in games of this size, I have too many pictures to include for just one post.  So, please feel free to click on any of the thumbnails below for more…

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14 comments on “Chaos World Apocalypse 2013 (My First 6th Ed Apoc Game)

  1. That’s a great looking set up – I love the haunted cityscape look. Although those see-through, invisible ghost buildings are taking it a bit far… What’s going on with them?

    Your army looks fantastic, and some of those red Khorne units and the painted necron army looked great too. Oh, and the Tyranids also I really liked. Would be keen to see some more photos of them, if you have any, or if the player has a blog you could link to.

    Roughly what proportion of the armies were painted, would you say?

    Oh, one thing that struck me about your army’s bases – particularly seeing them on the white table: the black rims look pretty obvious. As you’ve gone for a snow theme (even if not uniformly blanketed in the stuff), I think repainting the rims white would add significantly to the appearance.

    Those were brave players balancing all of that expensive kit on those good looking, but oh, so fragile looking bridges!

    How much preparation went into this game before the day, do you know? Presumably a fair amount to get players to turn up, place booked, scenery in place, etc. Was there any attempt to co-ordinate who would bring what armies? I do think it’s a shame when the theme gets lost under the pile of unrelated stuff that gets put in to play, even when individually those players’ armies may look great.

    • Agreed. the camo nets on the tanks was a nice touch and It’s always refreshing to see painted armies on the table but trying to be ready for any battle table is a little tricky. Perhaps the answer lies in more time being spent on making decent gaming surfaces besides just a quick layer of felt.

      • Yes, it does look like there were quite a lot of good models on the board. A good gaming table makes such a massive difference to the enjoyability of the game. In some ways even more than having painted miniatures. The first time I played a game on a decent board (in recent years) I was amazed at how good it looked, even though most of my army was grey plastic. It certainly inspired me to pick painted models when choosing army lists (where possible), and even to do a bit of painting.

        For that reason, I’ve been looking around for / thinking about making some sort of gaming board for myself, in the hope of inspiring myself to play more games and do more army painting. So the timing of this kickstarter project is I think quite fortuitous: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1084069684/tablescapes-by-secret-weapon-miniatures

        Oh dear, my poor wallet…

      • Yeah, I got a kick out of the camo nets. I had contemplated something a little more work intensive in the past, but this simple effect worked out relatively well–and far cheaper/easier than I would’ve done.

    • I think the inviso buildings were just an experiment in laser cutting. I’ve seen them before, but I think the intent was to paint them up–it just never happened just yet. On the topic of Tim’s ‘nidz, I’m afraid I don’t have any more pics, and I don’t think he has a blog. He also has some pretty Biel Tan Eldar–if you look back at older Apoc games, those are probably his.

      As for the black trim on my bases, that’s fairly deliberate. I’d looked at several colors as an attempt to blend in, but the black is pretty stark and served to lift the models off the tabletop. It gave me a clear deliniation of where my model stopped, and draws the eye. Certainly, they don’t blend in because of it, but that was actually intentional. Perhaps it was a bad decision–but I never found an alternative that I liked.

      The bridges were crazy sturdy. They were like 1/2″ plywood, reinforced on the sides, and they had screws sunk into either edge of the tables. There were quite a few times where they were bumped by people hastily moving underneath them and coming up too fast (which was another problem entirely), but they never came undone or had any accidents–other than models flying off the tables due to the force of people knocking them around.

      On the topic of preparation, I’d say it wasn’t much more than one brainstorming session, plus the arts and crafts time to create the buildings, bridges, & portals. There was a forum post open several months in advance where people could’ve planned their army selection, but the problem with this sort of themed games is always the same. If you have a game where only 1/10th of the available armies are supposed to represent one side of the table, it’s really hard to get a bunch of people involved–unless one side plays with a lopsided amount of points per player, etc. With the exception of perhaps marine players (all varieties included), I can’t think of an army that could possibly hold one half of the table in any reasonably balanced gaming group.

      • All in all still good coverage of events and great photos. It’s always nice to see big games. Your force looked pretty swell and remarkably small. Must have been interesting playing such an immobile army.

      • I actually really loved the static nature of it. Since they use 15 minute phases, it always feels rushed when moving units. In general, I moved my vindicator and maybe the attack bikes during the movement phase. I was only in assault with a single attack bike for the entire game, so that was painless too. Shooting phases were pretty full, but that only happened 1/6th of the game, so again, no biggie…

        For a guy that likes to talk about 40k as much as I like to play it, it was a pretty ideal situation. 🙂

  2. If you’re satisfied with your bases, then no questions you should stick with them as they are. I guess it’s just particularly noticeable on a white playing area – particularly when you then have snow on the bases too.

    That’s interesting that the bridges were so solid. They don’t look it, but it makes sense. Had they not been, I’d have been amazed if anything would have survived!

    As for armies, I get what you’re saying, and it’s definitely preferable to have a big game with lots of players (especially if you’re doing Apocalypse) to a small game with hardly any players because the match up is bad. However, in my experience, most people have several armies. I would have thought that most people would appreciate voluntarily limiting themselves to playing with a certain one of their armies in the knowledge that others were doing so too. Even if you couldn’t have everyone on the non-imperial side playing the same thing, it would still be good to have likely alliances and a background story that explains the set up.

    Part of the payoff of course, is that next time around, you can organise a game where all the eldar players, or all the tyranid players get to join up. Leading to some very unusual games. 4 or 5 tyranid armies together look a lot cooler than 1 or 2 mixed in with orks, chaos and eldar. Likewise, lots of ork armies together look better than a mix.

  3. As for the nifty boards… You’re right: the pricing is comparable. I think that roughly speaking you’ll get an 8×4 board for the price of a 6×4 GW board. However, it wasn’t the (considerable) price that GW charge that’s been putting me off. As much as I like the Realm of Battle board in some ways, it’s just not what I wanted. I’ve been willing to pay the money, but not for a product that hasn’t really been what I wanted.

    The Secret Weapon boards for a start are much flatter, which I think actually gives more options and more variety, as you don’t have the same corner hill pieces to accomodate every time. Each tile is only 1’x1′ rather than 2’x2′, meaning that – especially if you have more than the minimum number of tiles you need – you have more options for moving stuff around. Plus, as there will be several different themed boards, you’ll be able to match different tiles together to achieve different results.

    I think also that it will be easier to make homemade board ’tiles’ that slot into gaps left in one of these boards much easier than it will be to make RoB-sized tiles.

    I’m well aware that I’m paying premium prices for a luxury product, but I don’t have the equipment or skill to make a modular board of my own. And in the long run, I’ll be glad to have a good looking board to play on, and an incentive to make some new terrain to place on it.

    I just hope they’ll turn out as well as I hope they will!

    • I’m paying attention to the kickstarter. I’m interested to see what stretch goals they announce. I won’t put it completely out of the realm of possibility, but I suspect I’ll pass (I couldn’t justify the citadel table either). Still, it’s always fun to dream..

  4. I’m also paying close attention, as the boards I’m most interested in are the the more ambitious stretch goals – namely, the ruined temple and the desert. However, I would like the urban sets too. And (going back to one of the reasons I’m interested), I like the idea of being able to run a road through the middle of a different terrain type.

    So I’ll hold my breath and hope…

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