Saturday, 31 May 2014

Aporaklypse Now Redux

Jamón serrano, tortilla, chicken skewers in sweet chilli sauce.... not your usual mid-game lunch
We broke for lunch in two separate groups.  The Ork team just wandered to a nearby fast food shop and got themselves a sandwich or a sausage roll - aptly Ork, I should think.  Out and back in five minutes, satisfied and ready to rumble.

The Non-Ork Team..... well, we ere in the West End of Glasgow surrounded by students and ponces so nice fare was available. When our first choice of Lebanese proved unavailable, we instead chose a little tapas cafe and has ourselves the sort of aesthete repast appropriate for Officers, high-ranking clergy and worshippers of a god of pleasure.

We ended up taking about half an hour, leading to much confusion.  But we weren't going to let our classy-repast-based culture clash get in the way of resuming our game.

The generals what aren't me survey the battlefield and prepare to restart proceedings.

Things weren't looking great after turn one, but we managed to pull things back.  Chris moved his epic Tesseract Vault into position.

He'd chosen comparatively short-ranged weapons so it needed to get up close and personal

My own army could finally enter the field en masse: two Rhinos, a Contemptor, a bike squad and a Vindicator appeared on flank.

The purple ones appear.
Now, this is not meant to besmirch the good work of the many other models on the table which were fighting to claim objectives...

The generals resolve combat at the back of the table.

...but when the Tesseract Vault opened fire, it was a heck of a morale boost for us.  An apocalypse blast and a hellstorm template clear out units pretty quickly!

See that big unit of Stormboyz?  Not for much longer you don't.
Anyway, my own chaps were far from the front lines but did what they could.  The Orks at the back stopped advancing to the front and turned to face me - surprisingly, I took a full turn of shooting quite easilly.

Unusual good luck for me.
Back in the Non-Ork side, though, we'd managed to reclaim territory.  The two obejctives we held deep in our territory were safe; another was the site of a fierce close combat; and we'd managed to slip St Celestine into the enemy lines with her jump pack and sneak another one now deserted by the advancing Orks.

The fire plumes are objectives, as is the big crater.

At this point turn 2 ended and we had a far shorter coffee break.  We'd managed to win back some objectives, and as objectives are worth more points later in the gmae this played to our advantage.  We didn't count the objective where the closest units were our own melee-fighting chaps, since it seemed if there was a stramash around the objective then it was pretty clearly not in anyone's control.

End Of Turn Two Scores: Orks 8, Non-Orks 8

Turn 3 saw us feeling cocky.  I swept my bikers at full speed now the Lootas were broken and claimed their obejctive in the woods.
This is mine now.

A unit of Sisters came to help me out, and while the Orks could lock us into melee they couldn't kill us all and therefore we could hold the objective.  Upfield the rest of the army could just play a stalling game - and stall they did well, especially when a Fearless unit managed to hold up the Stompa in close combat.

Giant Ork war robot is currently stuck with a priest.

Because of odd game mechanics, the Stompa can kill a few humans every round in combat but a Fearless unit will not break - so the poor thing got tarpitted.  Losing the mega-weapon to destroy our armour the Orks found their advance neutered.

Stuart's Space Marines did some nice close combat crunching to make sure no further objectives were taken, and at that point the Orks found themselves more or less stuffed.


Rory, Charles and Graeme threw everything they could into it but with our time limit almost up the game was going to end after three turns.  With an extra turn or two they could have managed it.... but not today.

My Chaos Lord loses his transport.... but they can't find the power to slay him before the game ends.

End Of Turn Three Scores: Orks 16, Non-Orks 24

So, how would I rate the game?  Well it was an odd one for me since I pretty much was fighting a separate battle to the rest of my team over on the opposite side of the table.  Furthermore, playing with people with far more men on the table than I - Marines are almost always outnumbered two or three to one - and fighting on the less densely packed side created weird turns where I'd be finished ten or fifteen minutes before my compatriots.

That said, playing an Apocalypse game with multiple players a side was a fun experience.  Our venue wasn't terribly expensive to hire out for a day, but gave us loads of room to play in.  Seeing a huge variety of figures on the table was fun - and in some ways, 9,000 points played faster than 7,000 because with multiple players it was easier to run multiple combats at the same time as we administered to our own troops and helped out with others.  "Hey, Charles, can you watch me roll to hit Graeme's Orks?"   "Chris, mind being Stunt-Dave for this Assault?"  In contrast, my first game saw Dave and I have to administer to everything one at a time.

After the battle, the group digest results as they put their toy soldiers away.
I think next time I'd want to use more of the Apocalypse special rules - the Unnatural Disaster table definitely, and probably the Strategic Asset cards as well.  Not sure keeping a whole player's forces off the table is a great idea for /fun/, though from a strategy point of view it has its advantages.  I would like to see more use of reserves in an Apocalypse, though - wonder if you might see that more setting up along long table edges rather than short?

I'm pondering if we might benefit from some sort of custom scenario, perhaps even a Games Master equivalent to police it - though we had no huge problem with rules dilemmas, a pleasant atmosphere of asking opinions, giving benefit of the doubt and trusting to a dice roll keeping things civil.  Still, I'm thinking of the old 1st ed 40K scenarios where a games master provides partial data to either side and then the players discover in game the truth or mistakes in their army's intelligence.

Dave has proposed another game mid-July, so expect more then.  Before that, though, I'll need to get a wee game of 7th Ed in - need to test out the new rules for psykers, scoring and allies....

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