Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Six Things I Learned about Playing Apocalypse

Last Friday I played my first Apocalypse game. I was definitely fun, but more than anything it was a learning experience. I thought I'd share some of my observations.

First off, let me explain how I came to participate in this battle. A friend of mine suggested to his gamer friends that we all take a day off of work to have a huge mega-battle. I was skeptical at first, but eventually gave into peer-pressure.

We had seven people total. We ran two boards: one 6'x4' and one 8'x6'. I partnered up with another Chaos player named Dan against Brian's 4,000pts of Orks. The other table was an alliance of Necrons, Tau, and Eldar with an Imperial Callidus Assassin for good measure. This unlikely union faced off against a team of Tau and Imperial guard.

Unfortunately, we got stuck on the small table. Here's a picture of our forces after set-up:

I'd like to point out several a couple things. First off, Brian's excellent scratch-built stompa. Also, remember, all those trucks and what-not were full of Orks.

Bottom line, it was a slaughter. It really was a green tide.

OK, so here are 6 things I learned in this first game:

1. You need to build an Apocalypse Army. Dan and I basically threw together a force from what miniatures we had available whereas Brian had a huge, well-defined force. The Orks were an Apocalypse Army: Chaos was two 40K armies. This goes hand-in hand with my next point...

2. You need to use Datasheets. Brain was using three: Speed Freaks, Mek Stompa, and Skullhama Battle Fortress. We had none. I've been working on a tide of spawn, but it's not ready. Neither of us had anything to really threaten those killer units.

3. Know your ally. This is not to disparage Dan, who I met five minutes before we started playing. He was a real cool to play with and a nice guy (and his army, unlike mine, was completely painted). I just wish we could have coordinated before hand so that we had a sense of what we were doing. A ten minute discussion before the game probably won't cut it.

4. Play fast as possible. Seriously, games like this take a long time. I think generally, I play pretty fast. I make decisions fast and I move from phase to phase as quick as possible. This means I probably make a lot of mistakes, but I'd rather see more things actually happen during the course of a game than think about what could possibly happen over the course of a game.

5. Know what you're fighting for. This is complicated and I plan to write more about this in the future. Plus, the basic point applies to regular 40K games as well. I think game-playing is so much more enjoyable when you are playing to a story or background. Maybe I'm just a RPGer at heart, but I don't find pointless destruction entertaining. This is not to say that I don't find the strategic challenge of 40K fun. I do; I just like more.

6. Apocalypse is about planning as much as it is about playing. I have to say I got away with very little pre-game work. Still, the guys who organized this put a lot of work into getting people, tables, models and terrain together. Plus Aaron was nice enough to open his home to us. He even provided coffee and a deli tray:

My hat goes off to the all the people who planned this day-off event.

I hope to play more Apocalypse in the future as time allows.

Here a few more pictures from the game:
ORKS!! And...

More Orks!

Here's a picture of the backside of the only fully-painted unit I fielded. OK, I need to go paint now...


The Hammer said...

That may be the only painted unit, but it looks frikkin' awesome!! Keep up the great work.

Scott said...

Thank you. I should have that second squad finished soon. I spent most of Tuesday night of this week working on my Terminator lord. Then I have to put together the rest of the terminators.

what i need o do is take a break from building and get painting done.

Matt said...

I recently played my first Apoc game too. Couldn't agree more with the points you made, especially about playing to a back-story.

For my next game we are planning two new boards, one that is a ship in orbit, the other a bunker complex on an imperial planet.

If you capture the center room on the ship you get orbital bombardments on the planet, there are also drop pods on the ship to land on the planet.

So it's risk reward when you deploy forces, having to split your army between the boarding action and the ground conflict.