Sunday, 28 July 2013

Micromanaging the Apocalypse

Or GM-ing a test game of Apoc to see what works

So today opportunity presented itself for a quick test game of Apoc. Far sooner than I anticipated, but I'm not going to look a gift horse in the mouth. With the short notice nature of the game not many people could attend, and we ended up with just three players, playing roughly 7000 points per side. Classic Chaos versus Imperials match up.

Unnatural Disasters

We firstly eliminated some options from the table. We didn't have the spare daemons for a warp rift, nor did we want the LOS block it would bring. I do think we could do the Zombie Apocalypse game, as we have a load of Z-company zombies from when we ran the Get to the Choppa scenario. However I'm trying to keep things simple for now. And one of the gamers had played some apoc on Saturday and found that after he'd pissed off an inquisitor there wasn't much left on either team come turn 5...

That left three, and the random roll gave us the Seismic Table.

Now this was quite a fun little table. The first turn it created a line of dangerous terrain, but unluckily for the Imperial side the effected units had Move Through Cover so ignored it. In the second turn, it did far better, destroying two Bastions, knocking a point of armour off the third, and obliterating the skyshield landing pad (along with a dread, half a vanguard squad, and forced a plaguemarine squad to bail out fast) Turn three it took some more armour points off the last surviving Bastion. As we only ended up having time for a short game this was all it could do, so even if we'd allowed Exterminatus to be a possibility, it wouldn't have got out of hand. Course, if we'd managed to get through the turns a little quicker and get to the turn 5 I had envisaged, then the chances of anything surviving this far would have been unlikely in the extreme...

Finest Hour

These allowed for some fun little tricks, although the idea of making a warlord particularly epic for a short spell didn't really happen. Most of the finest hours were more strategic in nature. They do also make the calling warlord something of a target, and I will admit to falling at fault here in advising the Imperial side - my first thought had been to throw everything at the finest hour daemon prince, but in the end I suggested throwing a couple squads of Legion of the Damned at Abaddon. Get the Warmaster point and PREVENT him from calling his finest hour. Sadly it was not to be. His terminator bodyguard was wiped out, and the daemon prince was taken down to 2 wounds. Shows the my old guard way to be true, if you want something to die throw statistically twice as much as you need to kill at it - just to be sure.


I thought the scoring system was good. It was fairly even at the end of session 1, though at the end of session 2 chaos were firmly in control and took the lead. Of course with the Imperials having the last turn they had the opportunity to sneak the win with objectives now being worth 3 points a pop. The imperial side got close, but with some tenacious plague marines holding out against everything that could be thrown at them, and one chaos held objective too far from ANYTHING that could get there, they couldn't capture the 5 they needed. The alternative route was killing Abaddon and the super heavy, but with Abaddon locked in combat the two squads that charged him were a forlorn hope... a forlorn hope that was made irrelevent by the epic fail of the match.

Epic Fail of the Match

Two vanguard veterans, both armed with power fists, having survived their timely intervention that destroyed one super heavy, took stock in the lee of a building. A crackle of communication came through from their leader... they were being ordered into an all out attack. Using every ounce of power their jetpacks could give them, they burned till their fuel cells ran dry. They soared across the battlefield, covering several times the normal safe jump distance. Despite a rough landing for one, they survived and found themselves sat on an objective, taking control of it from the enemy Baneblade. Seeing the Baneblade was already the worse for wear, they charged up to it and with an epic feat of strength, managed to TOSS the baneblade!!! Sadly as the two heroes were high fiving each other it got dark... funny, there wasn't meant to be an eclipse today...

As the chaos forces surveyed the wreckage of their super heavy that had once been guarding the objective, they wondered what had killed it... and why whoever killed it hadn't taken control of the objective as the battle reached it's zenith... and what the hell was that yellow foot doing sticking out beneath the wreckage of the baneblade?

Divine Intervention

In this game, the divine intervention was easy to keep track of - the requirements for both sides were the same. However, the Imperial side didn't reach the threshold to call on the Emperors assistance till the final turn. By then the fearless and Furious Charge were fairly meaningless. It does look like a fun mechanic, and as long as you keep track of things that die as they happen, and know in advance what the threshold is, there is no reason why this cannot work in a non-GM game.

Strength D

We didn't have that many strength D weapons around, so the OP nature of this weapon didn't really come into it. I'll have to leave that test for another time.

Super Heavies

Something I like about this, is the super heavies keep on ticking till they are dead. It makes things a lot easier not having to balance different coloured dice on different guns to represent different effects. Plus with the new damage results you won't get one lucky melta shot 666ing your arse to death in one hit, which is a bit of a relief.

Super Heavy Walkers

Now a query did come up with this one. SH Walkers are treated as walkers in all respects, which means they can pivot in the shooting phase. Not an issue with a walker, it pivots, shoots, job done. It assaults what it shot. However with a super heavy walker, if it pivots to shoot one target, can it then pivot around and shoot something else? I was dubious about this - I felt that as a Baneblade declared all it's shooting and then resolved them all technically simultaneously, then the super heavy walker should also resolve it's fire simultaneously - ie, while facing in the same direction. However the players made the case that the Super Heavy Walker in question, the new Khorne monstrosity, had an upper torso that looked quite a bit more mobile than it's belly gun. Not liking the idea of an abuse of rules where you could fire a big gun at one target then turn to shoot something else to protect (relatively) vulnerable rear armour, I ruled that while they could engage different targets in different directions, the vehicle facing would end up towards whatever the belly gun shot at. I'll look into this a little more to see if I can get anything clearer on it before the next game.

Orbital Strike

This was the biggest bone of contention in the game. One of the players was absolutely adamant I was wrong in this ruling and argued the point forcefully, to the point that the other two players accepted my ruling and carried on gaming while we continued to debate the point. As GM, I forced my way on this one. This solution won't be available in every game, so we will need to investigate it further.

Basically, it comes down to the strategic asset, orbital bombardment. It states that "a friendly warlord makes a shooting attack with the following profile" which is for an apocalyptic mega blast with infinite range and a juicy str D centre. The background is that he calls upon a ship in orbit to take a shot at a target he nominates.

Now there were a few points of contention here. First, LOS. Is it required? It doesn't say it's required. However if you can nominate any unit on the board, why bother mention a warlord making a shooting attack? Why give an unlimited range? Why not just say "pick a target unit on the board" if you can shoot anywhere? My rationale behind this is that the ship in orbit can't exactly tell what the biggest threat to the tactical situation is on the ground. They require the commander on the ground to give the order to blast the living shit out of the corner of grid 7 to prevent a flank being overrun.

However, once we had agreed to use a warlords LOS there was then the issue of scatter. I believed the warlord chose the target, but the firing was done by some lackey on a cruiser miles above the surface - why would they use his BS to modify the scatter? I used the older rules from the Space Marine Codex and the Guard codex to back me up here - the models that can call down bombardments don't get to modify the scatter by their BS. It isn't them shooting, they are just saying roughly where to shoot. And this is where we came to the disagreement. It doesn't say anywhere in the asset that it doesn't use the warlords BS for scatter - he is firing therefore he get's to modify. It's as if the gun is being fired by him. Now under read as written I think my friend has a point, but under read as intended I think it is ridiculous. To illustrate my point, a warlord using read as written can not only modify the scatter, he could potentially fire UNDER scenery - killing the enemy he can see hiding under a skyshield landing pad, while leaving the troops on top unscathed. Now please do tell me how in the hell a battleship in orbit is supposed to pull off that particular trick shot?

Anyway, we eagerly await an FAQ on that one, as I don't think either of us is going to convince the other on this one. Any thoughts anyone?

And Finally

Just scrolling through some apocalyptic pictures to break up this essay a little, I found this beautiful model...

However, there's just something about that pose... I want to get one, and convert it so the hands are on the hips...

Then the pelvic thruuuuuust....


  1. On the orbital strike, I don;t have the exact rules but based of what you said:

    If the warlord is making the shooting attack, and it isn't ordnance barrage/have a special rule, then he needs line of sight. It also means that the distance will be modified by his ballistic skill, again, unless it is ordnance barrage or has another special rule.

    As for shooting the bottom of buildings. If it is ordnance ( not necessarily barrage ) , I believe that it can only hit the top level of buildings.

    For the walkers, all shooting from a model is declared simultaneously , so they can pick as many targets as they want for their weapons, but can only pivot once, as you pivot 'when firing a walker's weapons', not before firing each weapon.

  2. Well even despite the disagreement it was a fun game and it flowed much better than I thought with all the new stuff. next time even players would be better. Hopefully we can get another one in soon as I have lots of new toys for my Chaos marine/daemon army

  3. Oh and the super heavy walker thing is still iffy in my mind especially being locked in combat, most can stomp but because the khorne beasty has tracks I think he should just be able to smash you up then drive over your face. and the shooting thing defo needs a faq to resolve

  4. I was discussing this last point with the lord of skulls with Rich F and GW staff and we noticed between us which we seem to have forgotten that the Lord is allowed to tank shock. This sort of implies you cant lock it in combat as next turn it can just declare its tank shocking and run you over. I would assume its similar to chariots in that it can declare a charge but cant be locked. But until the faq this is still just assumption.