With this, the fifth (and final) post on the subject, we’ll finally get to learn who won our latest Apocalypse game. In case you missed the earlier posts we have:
- The Army Composition Rules
- Special Rules used during the game (personal objectives, changes to standard objectives, & painting benefits)
- The Army Lists of those that played
- Detailed results of Personal Objectives
The hope is that this post will serve as sort of the battle report for the game, tying up loose ends, and giving a general idea of what transpired. We won’t be going over a detailed account of everything that happened because, quite frankly, I didn’t catch most of the game. In my experience, when you’re involved in a game of that magnitude, it’s hard to catch all of the little nuances, especially when working under a time crunch like chess clocks. Luckily, Kurt has helped contribute some tidbits that I may have otherwise missed, so I’ll integrate his observations into this wrap-up as well (thanks, Kurt).
Pre Deployment Tasks
We started off by doling out copies of the rules to be played and answering various questions. Other formalities normal to any game also took place, including determining warlord powers, psychic powers, and the like.
We also handed out Strategy Cards as I had suggested before, since I was a little uneasy about the new strategic assets. In total, I believe we handed out three or four to each player, and let them know that they could share them amongst players on their team. Then we passed out the “personal objectives” and finished up by setting the chess clocks to allow each team to play for four hours and each player chose a “painted army benefit.” The list of who chose what was as follows:
- Stealth – Rob, Kurt, Simon, Danny, & Cole
- Adamantium Will – Blaine, Sam, & Sean
In total, that probably says something about a balance issue between the available abilities. The fact that nobody took Hammer of Wrath doesn’t surprise me too much (it would be best suited to a horde army, and nobody had one), but that nobody took Move Through Cover seems quite peculiar, as I find that to be a rather good ability. I guess I’ll have to tweak these if we wind up using a “painted model benefit” in future games.
Anywho, after randomly determining the teams and choosing Warmasters for the sides (Sam for the unholy forces and Me for all that is just and pure in the universe), we diced off for deployment. Their side won the roll and opted to pick the outside of the L, and to setup/go first.
Setup & Deployment
One thing that should be mentioned about the setup of the game, is that Blaine and I wound up setting up the table in advance of the game. We weren’t going for balance per se, but rather cool looking board states. After we set things up, we did wind up tweaking some of the buildings positions so that it wasn’t too incredibly lopsided. In the end though, the outside of the board got some great high ground and what turned out to be a larger deployment zone.
We tried to balance the value of the sides by skewing the starting line (which we’d normally do as a straight line, but in this game we bent it halfway), and we also put an imbalance in the position and location of the objectives. In total, I believe we placed somewhere in the realm of 25 objectives (give or take). The balance was slightly skewed so that their side had just 9 objectives and we had 11, with the other five sitting in “no man’s land.”
With the sides taken, Team Evil deployed their forces. In essence, Simon and Blaine deployed on our right flank, and Danny deployed on his own on the left. Sam’s army, consisting entirely of drop pods, stayed off the table. I knew that I would take a while to deploy, so I began setting up when the other team was still going (maybe even before them). I wound up sticking many of my units (including the big siege platforms) on the right side of the table because that was the only part with space. In truth, I also wanted to put more of my other units over there, not only for space concerns, but because I was so terrified of Danny’s C’Tan. It turned out that cramming our side’s 12,000+ points into our deployment zone made it difficult to deploy everything of mine into the corner, so I wound up spreading things across the table (in case you’re wondering, our side did have 16k of points, but much of Cole’s army deep struck as did a few other stray units of ours).
- Someone on our team had gotten the strategic asset card that said we can seize the initiative on a 4+ instead of a 6+.
- Sean had brought Bjorn, who gave us an additional +1 to the roll.
- Cole had brought Coteaz, whose special rule would allow us to re-roll.
So, what was supposed to be a single 6+ roll turned into a 3+ with a reroll. Even I couldn’t screw that up!
(For those that are wondering: I didn’t screw it up). There was no way it was a planned combination, but that sort of thing is precisely why I don’t like to make teams before the game. Some people might engineer such combos into their list, whereas I never would’ve dreamed it up.
Before the game started, people had a few strategy cards that they opted to play before the game. Team Evil wound up playing a card on Sean’s space wolves that prevented him from performing a charge during the first turn, and Sam played a card that gave every unit in his army +1 Leadership for the entire game (a card, that I generally think of as bad, but every time someone uses it, it always seems to make some sort of difference in the game. I know that Sam passed a few leadership checks simply because of that bonus).
Kurt also had a card that allowed one of his units to fire a single salvo at the enemy. He was going to use it on his Reaver titan, but I suggested that he didn’t–in order to tone down the craziness (or cheese factor) of the game. He opted to put it on a warhound (the “Fenrisian Strider”) instead. That shot was the one that immobilized or stunned pretty much all of the chaos vehicles of Simon’s on the right flank and wound up causing a wicked bottleneck over there. That was also the shot that wound up really hurting my chances to ever commandeer a vehicle with “Grand Theft Rhino.”
So rather than a blow by blow, I figured I’d talk about some of the key points in the game that I recall.
We opened by rolling on the “Master of Disaster” table (before the game, Blaine and I had already chosen the table: Magma Storm. This wasn’t because it was terribly thematic, or even overly interesting, but because it was the first one we found where we didnt’ have to have a ton of other models–demons or zombies–to add complexity to the table. While I could’ve called Cole to have him bring my old Skaven models to represent either, they wouldn’t have been painted and it would’ve detracted from the aesthetics of the game). Another note about the Master of Disaster table is that we weren’t always true to it. The first problem we had was that I mistakenly told the group that “Airborne Inferno” was -1 BS and not -1 Armor save, which changes the way the game plays significantly. We realized it after the first turn and decided to just keep playing with the -1 BS for the rest of the game. We also forgot to roll on the table entirely for at least one turn.
I can say that the times we did roll on the table, nobody from our team ever got to be the Master of Disaster. I don’t recall precisely who got to assign the damage, but I know Simon thumped us once and someone else thumped Sean’s titan. All in all, I’m not sure the disasters really added anything to the game.
On the first turn, we wound up deep striking many of our units. I had a trio of dreads in pods show up, as did Sean, but the bulk of our first movement phase was really consumed with practically Cole’s entire Grey Knight strike force deep striking in. If I recall correctly, he lost one squad to the warp (presumably on some sort of vacation to go visit papa Draigo), but otherwise his deep striking proved to be fairly accurate.
One of my dreads squared up against a Defiler, but his multi-melta didn’t find it’s mark. That eventually led to a battle over a couple of turns, which he wouldn’t survive. Another dread dropped in and harassed a squad of Necron warriors on an objective. I knew he wouldn’t live through the battle, but his job was really to prevent them from scoring an easy objective, and he managed to pester them for two turns, so I count that as a mission accomplished. My real pride and joy (as far as the dreads are concerned) was my Ironclad. He dropped down into an unfortunate location near a massive squad of Simon’s cultists (again, harassing them off an easy objective). That bad part is that his pod had deviated in such a fashion that he had to leave his back armor exposed to the entire Tyrand Hive Fleet. Fortunately for me, Blaine didn’t seem to see him as much of a threat and only took a single pot shot at him with a hive guard, causing minimal damage. This left him to charge into the cultists (which drew their objective in to him), and he wound up tying them up for several turns before ultimately running them down with the aid of Kurt’s Thunderwolves. During that fight, that scrappy defiler waded into combat as well, but the Ironclads initiative proved too much for him.
Speaking of Thunderwolves, Kurt had taken a formation that gave him the ability to outflank (and charge on the turn they arrived) with his wolves. This isn’t terribly surprising as Kurt has always taken this sort of thing, either as a strategic asset, or as a formation of dreadnoughts. Still, this was a new way to bring it. He wound up showing up behind a confused Tyranid line on the second turn. This was only possible because they had surged forward towards our lines enough to leave a nice gap behind them. Frankly, I was pretty impressed by their ability to take out Tyranid Monstrous Creatures–though this was an oversight on my part, because why wouldn’t a flock of S10 power fists do that?
While the bugs were having problems with the space puppies, Simon’s chosen didn’t seem to mind them so much. Squads of dogs would charge into a seemingly innocuous squad of Chaos Space Marines only to find that they were armed with a bevvy of flamers.
No dogs survived to make that charge.
On the other side of the board, things were relatively quiet to start with. Half of my force and much of Sean’s was squaring off against Danny and things looked relatively evenly matched, but we were absolutely terrified of that C’Tan. During his first shooting phase, we found out why, as he poured 30+ shots into our army. By the second turn, he had painted a giant target on his head, and more shots were pouring out into him (though not terribly effectively). Still, Danny wound up hiding him in a nearby chapel for his next turn (presumably preparing to charge or do some other crazy necron shenanigans), but a lucky shot from Sean’s D-weapon put an end to that. He went apocalyptic and caused all sorts of damage on our side of the table, though I escaped largely unscathed (due to everyone being in cover).
Speaking of Necron shenanigans, Danny had the named character that always seems to make an appearance in Apoc games (Anrakyr the Traveller, I believe?). Whatever he’s called, he was the one that can take control over an enemy unit and shoot it as if it was his own. Unfailingly, this guy always seems to swoop over and commandeer an enemy titan and wreak havoc on the board. Danny managed to position his unit in such a way that he was in cover, and out of the way of most anything we had that could stop him. I think that after an extra turn of shooting, Kurt managed to position several warhounds in such a way as to finally eliminate him.
In retrospect, I think we should probably house-rule that guy in Apoc games as well. For somewhere around 150 points, Danny was able to take control over a 1000+ point model for two turns of a five turn game (or was it four turns?). Frankly, that’s just nuts. Granted, he can be killed, but it’s never very easy and, in the games I’ve seen, it generally takes two turns to do it (or entirely too much focused firepower). I’m not sure how to house-rule it. Perhaps:
- He can’t take over superheavies at all
- He can only take over a super heavy once per game
- He can take over one weapon of a super heavy per turn
I’d really lean towards the latter. It still makes him really powerful, but not absolutely ridiculous for his points cost.
Anywho, in our game, Kurt’s Reaver unloaded on his own thunderwolves, but they were not eradicated due to Kurt’s penchant for Stormshields and his pre-game decision not to arm himself with any D-Weapons for balance reasons.
The other Necron shenanigans I recall from the game was Danny’s Necron Lord on his cosmic skateboard chariot thing. Danny just couldn’t fail a “will be back” roll on that guy. I don’t recall exactly how many times he had died during the game, but we were talking about it at the end, and I remember him dying (and coming back) more times than we had actual turns of the game. I think I managed to kill him once with a couple of really lucky autocannon shots that somehow skirted around his 2+ armor save, but I’m not sure what else had killed him during the game (probably a little bit of everything). I recall wondering how he could die more times than we had chances to shoot at him, but someone pointed out that he managed to come back at the end of some shooting phases only to be charged by something and die in assault.
There was also an encounter with three Necron death croissants in our backfield. Danny had managed to kill off any of my heavy weapon teams in the area, but he parked remarkably close to my weapon batteries. As I had “Grand Theft Rhino” as my objective, I tried to have my crew abandon my guns to commandeer his transports, but Danny found the rule that said they couldn’t willingly abandon their gun. Drat. That was my last chance to actually steal a transport. Oooh-de-lally. 😦
On the second turn, Sam decided to bring his entire force in drop pods right into my face. By the end of the game, I don’t think I had a single model alive within two feet of his models, but I was ok with it because I wasn’t playing to live–I was playing to win. You see, during deployment I had positioned units on top of all of the objectives on that side of the board. By the time Sam had dropped down on his first turn, he didn’t manage to kill me off any of the objectives with shooting, so I forwent my own shooting phase to permanently harvest the points. This meant that I had scored seven objectives by the end of our second turn, and there wasn’t all that much left on that side of the table (at least in our deployment zone) that was worth fighting over. So, while Sam decimated me with his space marines, it was largely in vain.
For the record though, I think he had a tremendous amount of fun slaughtering me.
For Tyranids, besides his ability to seemingly dispel everything he wanted for the entire game, the only real massive victory I remember seeing was when he used his Flyrant (warlord) to charge in and kill off Njal Stormcaller. He was aided during this endeavor by his personal objective which allowed him to steal Njal’s attempt to power up Force and used it against the psyker (though it didn’t prove to be the deciding factor). Later in the battle, Kurt wound up charging his warlord (Harald Deathwolf) in to avenge the psyker’s death and used the only Herioc Intervention that was unleashed during the game to slay they Tyrant. Later, Harald would stumble out in front of some less-than-friendly Necron ships and perish under a massive valley of gauss weaponry.
Since we’re talking about dueling warlords, now seems like a good point to bring up the trials of Marneus Calgar.
At the beginning of the game, I didn’t know where to place him. As our team’s warlord, I figured he must be worth extra victory points to kill him off, so I wanted to protect him in some way. I didn’t, however, want to make him play the coward. That dichotomy lead me to deploy him last of all of my units, and I ultimately yielded to Kurt’s request to deploy him as a “rear guard” (as belittling as that sounds) to protect the backs of his Titans. Conceptually, it seemed sound enough, but that just didn’t seem like the right move for such an important character.
What eventually happened is that Simon got brave (and lucky) with a deep strike of Abaddon, and landed squarely in our backfield. This prepared us for a showdown between that vile creature and all that is good and holy in a mini-recreation of the fight between Horus & the Emperor.
Ok, so I’m just riffing this all off the top of my head, but that sentence is ringing amazingly true. You see, I wound up getting the charge because he had deep struck down. Before combat, I wound up playing the strategy card “Traitor” which caused his terminator sergeant to strike one blow (no wound) against Abaddon and then scurry off the battlefield, leaving the big guy alone for the challenge. It was then that I wound up comparing the statlines of our two warlords and didn’t like Marneus’ odds of winning a challenge between the two, so I wound up accepting the challenge with my sacrificial Chaplain (ie. “Sanguinus”). Unlike the tale with the Emperor, my chaplain lived to tell the tale, taking only a single unsaved wound. Elsewhere in the battle, two of my terminators fell in combat, but it was a small price to pay to wipe out his entire squad and do a couple of spill-over wounds to Abaddon.
The combat was looking great for my next turn: I was locked in, so I couldn’t be shot at, and Abaddon, with his one wound remaining was staring down the handle of a squad full of thunderhammers, and that’s when Kurt stole my glory.
He played the card “Assassin” which managed to do a single AP2 wound on Abaddon who had just left his squad, thereby killing him and taking away all of my glory. Bad Kurt!
In my head, I like to think that the real assassin was Marneus Calgar, BLOO blood extraordinaire. That lead to Team Evil playing the Reinforcements card to bring Abaddon back, and Cole throwing the Premonition card to prevent it. I always love these large exchanges of card on card battles that culminate in a big tipping point.
Let’s see… was there anything else that was a real defining moment in the game? I’m sure there was and I’m just missing it.
Oh yeah. In thumbing through the pictures I took I stumbled across this one of a Hierophant bearing down on a couple of guardsmen manning weapon platforms. I remember thinking how silly this seemed, but my guardsmen were really tearing up their units, so they were eradicated during the course of the game. I’m not sure that sending a Hierphant to kill four of the Imperium’s not-so-finest was really necessary, but it made me chuckle enough to take a photo of it. I think these guys wound up shrugging off a volley of his S10 shots from behind their wall, and met their grizzly fate at the end of his scything talons.
Sadly, the game was several weeks ago and I’m only getting around to writing it up now. This is largely to do with procrastination, but also to do with the fact that I was out of town and working long hours for the past two weeks. So, I’m going to say that this was the bulk of what happened during the game. Of course, I’d invite any of the participants to point out discrepancies in my memory.
Team Good wound up running out of time at the end of the game, allowing the other guys the option to play one last turn. I’m not sure if they wound up exercising that option or not. I know it was discussed, but I think we had all had a long day of playing and opted to call it there (well, after they said which objectives they would’ve grabbed during their last turn). The only thing left to do was to count up the score.
So here’s the total:
|Team Good||Team Evil|
|Super Heavies Destroyed||2||3|
|Other (Warmaster Slain?)||1||0|
I’m looking at a picture of the scoreboard, and for the life of me, I can’t figure out what the “other” category is for. Oh, perhaps that’s a bonus point awarded for killing the enemy’s warmaster?
In short, It was a pretty decisive victory for team good. Honestly though, I prefer it when the games are a bit closer (or even end in a tie). My hopes are that a good time is had by all, and it’s hard to have fun when you’re getting blown out. I’d like to think that everyone enjoyed themselves during the game, and I think we did a good job in surrounding ourselves with fun players and making one of the most visually appealing games of 40k I’ve ever played in. So yeah, I would’ve liked to have seen the score closer in the end, but as long as everyone has fun, I’m ok with an occasional blow-out.
By the way, I’ve fallen out of favor with the idea of posting team photos, but it’s something we did way back in one of the first Apoc games I ever hosted, and Blaine’s wife managed to snag some pictures of the team before the game, so I figured I’d post them. Might as well, right?
Also, there are some other photos of the game pictured below. As always, feel free to click on any of them to see larger pics. Thanks again for stopping by, and extra thanks to the following:
- Thanks to Simon for help preparing the game and coming up with personal objectives.
- Thanks to Brandon for assistance coming up with personal objectives as well (maybe next time you can actually play!). Extra thanks for all of his help preparing the terrain for the game in the months leading up to it.
- Thanks to Blaine for assistance with setup and balancing the sides
- Thanks to Kurt for additional photos and help remembering some of the major events of the game.
- Thanks to everyone that came and participated.
What I Learned:
Oh, and I almost forgot, I should put up another “What I learned” section as I normally do for battle reports:
- When changing fundamental rules (like how you score objectives), it should probably be a little more obvious. While I handed out rule-sheets to everyone, by the end of the game, it was fairly clear to me that people weren’t following the exact rules (specifically that they had to be in base to base with the objective to pick it up). It’s probably worth reading them aloud to the whole group prior to starting.
- Painted models and terrain really does go a long way in creating a fun game.
- Anrakyr the Traveller should probably be house-ruled to be less ridiculous. Again, I like the idea that he can only control one gun from a superheavy.
- I need to vary up my Apoc lists. I find that I use the big guns in every game that I play Imperials because that’s the only time I can–and that’s the only time the IG weapon teams come out (for largely the same reason). I have plenty of other marines though that should wind up seeing the table. This means that I need to work on painting up my tanks and such.