Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Battle Report: Apocalypse!

With the release of Apocalypse, we decided it is high time to have the biggest battle yet. To maximize the insanity, we decided to use every miniature in our collections that we could get our hands on. The battle would be fought on my 9’ x 5’ table, broken out especially for this occasion. Even so, the table is still a bit small considering the amount of miniatures available, so the sides will be wall-to-wall with miniatures. Dividing the forces was pretty clear, although some rationalizing was needed as to why some of the forces would be allied for the battle. Allying Space Marines and Imperial Guard makes obvious sense, and allying them with Eldar and Tau is easy enough to explain. The bad guys…well, that was more difficult. After all, why would Tyranids or Necrons ally themselves with anyone? We decided that for the purposes of the battle, Chaos and Orks had formed a temporary alliance. Chaos had also managed to corrupt some Imperial Guard into fighting for them (we split the Imperial Guard between the two sides to help equalize the points). We also decided that the Chaos Gods (Tzeentch, perhaps) had intervened and managed to “convince” the Tyranid Hive Mind to fight for Chaos. The Necrons…well, no one knows just why they do anything, so suffice it to say they showed up and started firing, and no one bothered to ask questions.

We began using the normal Apocalypse setup rules. The die roll to determine no-man’s land and deployment zones ended up being so close to exactly dividing the table in half, we decided to just split it right down the middle. Since the Forces of Order were ~750 points smaller than Disorder, they got three Strategic Assets to Disorder’s one. We were already behind schedule, so rather than poring over the rulebook to pick the most efficient assets, we randomly determined them. Order got Surgical Raids, Hold at all Costs, and Null Field Generator. Disorder got Flank March.

We bid to determine deployment order, with Order bidding 14 minutes, Disorder bidding 12. Seeing as the armies we just so big, we helped each other with deployment. After time ran out for Disorder’s deployment, and seeing how little we managed to actually get on the table, we tossed the rules out the window, and just deployed the entire force. It looked more impressive that way, and we wouldn’t have to deal with all the reserve rules. It also made Disorder’s strategic asset, Flank March, irrelevant. Once the Forces of Disorder were down, we deployed the Forces of Order. Looking at the sheer mass of miniatures on the table, we tossed the Objectives rules out the window as well. With the table wall-to-wall with miniatures, there was practically no room to place any! Therefore we decided on a straight out slugfest. This made Order’s strategic asset, Hold at all Costs, irrelevant. In the interests of time we also just decided to ignore Order’s Null Field Generator asset, and then promptly forgot about the Surgical Raids asset, but then applied it later.

By the time we were actually ready to start playing, the day was already half over, so in many situations we just tossed out the rules to just get on with playing. I can’t emphasize enough the need to be organized to run a big battle like this. We had army lists printed out and all together in a binder for easy access, tons of dice and templates ready, tables ready to accept casualties and hold drinks, multiple tape measures, and all the codices stacked neatly for easy reference. And still we felt disorganized.

I’m sure that throughout the battle, there we plenty of times that we screwed up and forgot unit X’s special rule, or even basic rules of the game, but we glossed over all that in the interests of keeping the game moving forward, otherwise we’d have been there forever. It’s hard enough to keep the special rules of your particular army in mind, let alone running four or five armies totaling up to 13,000 points all at the same time! Still, the point of the game, Apocalypse especially, is to just have fun, and if some rules are forgotten in the grind, so be it.

We had one additional player show up and provide some more support and help us move things along a little, but for the most part, it was just me and Jacob. In taking notes and pictures, and with all the chaos going on, I know for a fact that there are some mistakes in the maps, but for the most part, they are accurate enough to show most of what happened.

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