We all went to Warhammer World to play with little plastic men and tanks and this is the record of those events… at least, the interesting ones, we’ll leave out the bits about the M1.
As is typical for me, this post is slightly scattergun, consisting as it does of three parts:
1. A Battle Report
2. Our thoughts on 8th Edition 40K
3. The reflections of a General new to apocalypse
Just to add to the schizophrenic feel of the post, the battle report has been co-written by myself and Charlie. So if it makes no sense, it’s Charlie’s fault*.
|Guard taking up defensive positions
Essentially, the Thousand Sons and some corrupt Imperial Guard lackeys were attempting to summon Baraqiel, a terribly scary daemon prince of scariness. How to power said infernal ritual? By sacrificing the poor little orphans of Saint Bernisia’s 'Home for Tragically Troubled Youths'. Unfortunately for Team Evil, a Farseer of Iyanden predicted all this naughtiness and tipped off the Emperor’s finest.
Thus, when the Thousand Sons descended on the orphanage, they found it empty. Then, the Loyalist (and Eldar) forces sprung their trap. Realising the only way to survive was to press on and somehow summon the daemon anyway, the Thousand Sons began the ritual and sent their minions (the Imperial Guard) off after the psychic signature of the poor ickle orphans, who were being kept safe and sound in the nearby Arbites precinct.
So, we had two objectives: one building in the Chaos deployment zone where the sorcerers were doing their naughty ritual, and the Arbites precinct in the Imperial deployment zone where the orphans were being protected by the ghost-like Raven Guard and filthy, filthy xenos (Em’s Eldar), ensuring that the orphans were probably traumatised out of their tiny brains whatever happened.
Charlie: Having noticed that the rebel scum were packing a full squadron of basilisks, the Raven Guard sent all four of their flyers after them and crippled the artillery in turn one, finishing them off in their next shooting phase. This was met with much booing, wailing and gnashing of teeth by the rebel scum, who sent a Knaughty Knight™ to wreak chaingunny revenge. Cue fireballs and the Black Hawk Down soundtrack. The only flyer to emerge from the flank attack was a storm raven, which flew the entire length of the table and got right up behind the traitor Shadowsword before the Thousand Sons sorcerers took it out to a lovely seaside restaurant.
|Raven Guard flyers wipe out the artillery
Mark: On the right flank, the Blood Angels took the tactically nuanced decision to drive straight at the enemy at top speed. Unfortunately, they drove directly into both a Shadowsword and an Iron Warriors column – which they didn’t even know Maisey possessed. Needless to say, Michael Bay happened and the advance ground to a halt.
|Blood Angels and Iron Warriors armoured columns collide.
The Blood Angels made an early grab for the objective, driving their column of bikes straight into the teeth of 70 lasguns and 16 heavier weapons. They killed a single power guard squad before being destroyed in the ensuing carnage. Heroic sacrifice at its finest.
|Blood Angels bikes roar towards the Chaos objective
Charlie: As a teenager I spent many games slaughtering Tom’s (Raven Guard general) various armies with Eldar firepower. To say that he enjoyed watching Emma’s Iyanden Pixies slaughtering my units from afar with bright lances is… an understatement. I think one of his eyes was twitching. He had a toothy grin. I had some very broken vehicles. In classic Eldar style, Emma was careful to ensure that her human allies took most of the returning punishment, and her army emerged largely unscathed (but for that one time the Shadowsword expressed itself all over her fire prism).
Mark: The Tzeentch force, bolstered by two Hellbrutes, a Defiler and a somewhat deluded Imperial Knight boldly captured the middle the battlefield, only to find there was nothing there. After helping to shoot down the Raven Guard flyers and realising just how far away from the objective they were; they boldly came back again.
|Chaos advancing into the teeth of the Eldar guns.
|And turning to shoot Space Birds out of the air.
Mark: On the right flank, devoid of imagination, the traitor guard sat down and shot anything that got close. In doing so, they deployed an astonishing numbers of dice for a tiny amount of kill. This got so pronounced that we had to commandeer another gaming table JUST TO ROLL DICE ON.
|Traitor guard about to deploy dakka
Elsewhere, Dave (it’s just a headache) Noxifer – the traitor guard’s primaris psyker - cunningly concealed the shadowsword with his psychic powers, making an already pretty tanky tank hard to spot as well.
|Nothing beats psychic camo
At the top of the Chaos objective, the traitor guard commander stood up to survey the battle, only to be hit three times in the chest by sniper slugs from the hidden Raven Guard scouts. The Commander spent the rest of the game wheezing out commands in the Regimental ambulance.
|Sneaky Raven Guard pump holes in the guard commander
Mark: Predictably, the Blood Angel’s advance ground to halt in a vicious knife fight with Iron Warriors tanks and the supporting Shadowsword.
|Iron warriors survey the destruction of the Blood Angels column
The Raven Guard flanking force continued along the Chaos back lines, gradually getting whittled down until only the Storm Raven remained.
|The Storm Eagle goes down to Russ fire
|The Imperium welcomes careful flyers
Meanwhile, their static backline who were busy protecting orphans entertained themselves by bouncing krak missiles off the Shadowsword's casement.
|Op: Won't somebody think of the children.
Charlie: The guard mostly stood still and got shot at. Classic. Of particular note was the
compensation wagon shadowsword, which did exactly what you’d expect:
one-shotted a tank each turn before a combination of multiple angry enemies (and
a bright lance) managed to bring it low in the final turn. As Tom pointed out,
this was the perfect result; I got the satisfaction of slaughtering tanks, and
they got the satisfaction of sweet, sweet revenge.
|Shadowsword + Bright Lance =
|Sudden absence of Shadowsword
Mark: The cunningly laid plans of Tzeentch went
when the deep striking force (consisting of guard
veterans and elite terminators amongst others) could find absolutely nowhere to
deploy on the opponent’s side of the table. As such, they settled for second
best by teleporting around their objective – thus ensuring that the enemy
absolutely could not take it; but also meaning that there was no chance of capturing the enemies’ objective either.
|Tzeentch forces scramble to redeploy to the enemy objective
|Veterans advance behind the Iron Warriors column
|Tzeentch marines secure the ceremony site
Realistically, this forced the game into a draw, and with kick-out time approaching at Warhammer World, all that was left to be done was count the dead, arrange counselling for the orphans and fill out vehicle requisition forms for Chapter Master Dante.
Section 2 - Thoughts on Apocalypse in 8th Ed
These are our collected thoughts on playing large games with the 8th edition rules. Overall, our experience of Apocalypse in 8th edition was a positive one – we managed to get 4 full turns into about 4 ½ hours and we didn’t have to be forcibly removed from Warhammer World, still trying to throw dice.
We did pretty well - we managed to keep each player turn for a 350 power level (7000 points in old money) game to half an hour – with very little time spent over that. One turn exceeded that, but only because of strategic decisions of a pootley nature.
Game speed was impressive. It seems a massive improvement for apocalypse that units die, there’s less tracking of damage effects and morale means units go and don’t come back. We doubt very much whether we'd have been able to do that in the previous edition of 40K.
Tanks feel much more resilient (when there isn’t a Shadowsword pointing at them) and entire columns don’t just evaporate anymore because of lucky penetrating hits.
No templates is a massive improvement – it makes movement easier for the opposition as there’s no need for anal retentive model placing, shooting becomes a lot faster and infantry can be viable again.
Pre thinking command points and stratagems helps things over along faster – the thinking phase is much shorter when you know exactly what your cunning plan is going to be.
Splitting fire makes perfect sense – particularly for vehicles with a mix of anti-tank and anti-infantry weapons. Why would a tank ever fire it’s machine gun at the same armoured target the main gun is pointing at?
The most time consuming element of the movement phase is still infantry – transports will speed this up. Otherwise, given the lack of blast markers – maybe it’s time to start using movement trays for bigger games.
Deep strike bubbles is the only really slow point - One bad turn added an extra ten minutes compared with the prior turn and still couldn't be completed inside of 40 min. Perhaps spending some time in each turn observing the situation so that nasty surprise change of plans can be avoided is a learning point?
Section 3 –
Thoughts of a New Apocalypse General
Having just been wowed and inspired by the epic displays in the exhibition centre, and fuelled up on all-day breakfast food and Trollbrew from Bugman’s, I was all set for my first Apocalypse scale game of 40k.
The armies made an impressive sight lined up across the incredibly sexy ‘Spirals’ gaming board. As the Apocalypse newbie, I’ve got to say, the larger format is definitely a whole new kettle of fish (or should that be ‘kettle of bouncing nerds’) to the usual 1v1 gaming I’m used to. I’ve also never experienced the enforced military discipline of turn time limits! It doesn’t leave much time for thumbing through rule books and making cups of tea…
My ‘allies’ (cough) the Blood angels went careening off up the right flank (once they figured out how to maneuver out of their self-inflicted traffic jam) and Tom’s Raven Guard scouts literally disappeared into the board while his flyers skipped over terrain to open up on the far left flank.
My Eldar had an easy ride to be honest, left to stand firm and guard our own objective. My main challenge for the game was resisting the urge to squeak my Waveserperts forward a teensy bit to get some more attacks in. It left me with a totally undeserved feeling of satisfaction as my line of yellow barely took a scratch for the first two turns, but thanks to the tasty Aeldari Missile and Bright Lance range, they managed to dish out a decent bit of damage. And then the Shadowsword happened to my Fire Prism, causing it to promptly disappear in a puff of smoke. I was suddenly jolted back to the reality of all the serious firepower on the other side of the board (something Jeff and Tom had full and unrelenting knowledge of!)
In a moment of weakness I sent forth a unit of five Wraithguard in a vain attempt to support Jeff. They did not last long. Everything else yellow stayed put, however, and my will-power was rewarded in turn 3 when the positioning of various Eldar units and Jeff’s whirlwind close to our objective helped thwart a deep strike of Chaos Terminators right up our jacksey.
They came. They measured. They groaned and fled back into the warp.
My Five Top Tips for Apocalypse Newbies:
- Fuel up on breakfast food.
- Stay caffeinated.
- Bring army data sheets.
- Watch the clock.
- Watch your six!