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First game done, thoughts on the game

Chaos Astra Militarum Grey Knights Apocalypse

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#1
Iron_Within

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Warhammer 40,000 Apocalypse, a review

 

I've managed to have my first game of apocalypse, and barring getting rules wrong (which I did a bit) I'm just putting my first thoughts on the game.

 

The game rules really smoothly in terms of design, tbh it feels better than 40k for that. Removing no models till the damage phase heavily shifts the dynamic of the game, and also makes the damage phase truly terrifying, (I went from yay! I'm winning! On the first turn to “oh god I have screwed this!” by the end of the first turns damage phase.)

 

The card system for command assets I think works really well, it has randomised the buffs you can get in a way that means that overwhelming overlapping buffs is somewhat difficult.

 

That said, you need two sets of cards really to play, I felt rather hampered by having to share and overall deck of cards.

 

In my game it was Chaos Space Marines vs, Imperial Guard and Grey Knights. My initial takeaway was Guard are good in apocalypse for one reason: Command assets. Like 40k and CP, they can easily max out their command assets, which makes Imperial alliance (and likely other alliance, e.g. Chaos, I won't use “Soup” as it's not really accurate at this scale) rather strong. I suspect this was because we played 200 power, at higher levels their ability to affects things will decrease, but at that size the Imperial size maxed out their hand to 12 cards a turn while the Chaos Space Marine side struggled. I would say at game smaller than 300 power it might be an idea to limit the size of the Command Asset cards players can hold at one time, but that's an initial impression.

 

Nothing in the sides felt rubbish, there were no units that felt dispropotionately powerful. The Grey Knights took Paladin Terminators, which combined with the “Force” card made them insanely powerful for one turn (their SAP becomining 2+). However this didn't feel bad, and certainly didn't feel cheesy; it felt like they had the impact that their sudden arrival would have, it felt thematic. At 25 power they are on par with an Imperial Knight and so they were a scary unit. In general, Terminators feel much better than in 40k, they are bricks. On that note, larger units generally feel better than smaller units, MSU perform poorly from game experience.

 

Garrisoning troops; well we did the rules slightly wrong in our game, but on re-reading the rules, it seems like a largely elegant system. The one thing I wouldn't bother with is their suggestion to place each individual models. We as players knew by eyesight how many models could fit in the terrain piece, so rather than mess about with indivdual model placement, we simply declared it and that was that, otherwise you're dealing with removing 40 models from their movement trays and putting them in terrain.

 

The major downside of the game I would say was that of characters. I don't the game accomadates characters very well; they are very fragile and very easy to snipe out with regular weapons. Their -1 to hit on light characters offers no protection whatsoever in real terms as taking an aimed fire order negates this from what I could see. Daemon Princes as they don't have this benefit had their life expectancy measured in seconds as they were immediately sniped off the board by artillery. On that note, characters vs artillery reminds me of 7th edition as barrage weapons are the best thing to pick out characters that are hiding, which seems bad and counter intuitive to intent. The oddest part is characters when they garrison, as you measure from the base of the structure regardless who you target, characters were immediately sniped out, as if everyone could immediately hit the character with their shots when they were hiding in ruins. The Warmaster of the Chaos side was sniped out when garrisoning in this way, again by sniper Basilisks.

I would personally house rule Light characters to not be able to be targetted if they are garissoning with other units and flat out not be able to be targetted if they are not the closest target, like 40k.

 

Overall, save the issue with characters, I like the rules of apocalypse, the activation system preferential to the normal “I-go-you-go” of 40k.

 


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#2
Nusquam

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My experience was similar. We played Glory Seeker so we ignored characters as they weren't PL10+ for VPs. In games where they matter I'm considering maybe trying a rule where characters attach to units like 7th and the unit dies before the character takes damage. Then in their next activation they can rejoin another squad. Gives your opponent a chance to shoot them if theyre caught out. Kind of like units are dedicated transports for characters; they can "embark" into other infantry units.

 

Alternating activation and damage at the end felt great. Deck building was good; we proxied duplicate cards using factions we didn't take. IE we both had knights and no Orks so I took the 1:1 Ork:Knight House Reroll Cards in my deck. Some generic assets feel mandatory like Armor of Contempt; its way too good to never take and you get 1 copy on the box. Draft pick or shuffling isn't a good solution. Really wish they sold the core card separately instead of the 100 additional you can buy. We're going to buy 400 clear sleeves and use scrap paper for proxy cards.

 

My opponents Castellan had the Stealth Adept WMT so I never was able to shoot it once. We're house ruling this to non-titanic units only.

 

Over all loved it


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#3
Interrogator Stobz

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Best Character rules idea ever, so much better than the way 8th handles it. I'll try to convince my group to adopt a similar rule as you Nus.


Edited by Interrogator Stobz, 12 July 2019 - 08:18 PM.

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#4
Iron_Within

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My experience was similar. We played Glory Seeker so we ignored characters as they weren't PL10+ for VPs. In games where they matter I'm considering maybe trying a rule where characters attach to units like 7th and the unit dies before the character takes damage. Then in their next activation they can rejoin another squad. Gives your opponent a chance to shoot them if theyre caught out. Kind of like units are dedicated transports for characters; they can "embark" into other infantry units.

 

That sounds cool, certainly the best idea I've heard so far. I'm guessing that the sniper rule or being the closest model would bypass this though? Otherwise part of me thinks it would make Characters too survivable. 

 

My main annoyance has been sniping artillery and things that should not really be targeting them (hello mr Basilisk, I see you brought your friendly sniper the Turbo laser Warhound along to kill characters hiding), and that garrisoning makes them more vulnerable not less (because you target the structure, and Light characters already have the obscured rule, it makes them weaker). 

An alternative idea is "small arms" and melee weapons use the current normal rules (-1 to hit unless closest target), and Heavy cannot target Light characters at all unless they're the closest target. When Garrisoning Light characters cannot be targeted by shooting at all if there is a unit (not another character) garrisoning the are with them.

 

Under the current rules, just elect not to ever garrison characters and have them hide under a rock with their bubble aura - but that doesn't stop sniper basilisks.


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“From Iron cometh strength. From strength cometh will. From will cometh faith. From faith cometh honour. From honour cometh iron. This is the Unbreakable Litany. And may it forever be so."

The 144th Grand Company "The Reforged" fight in the http://alephsector.blogspot.co.uk/


#5
Nusquam

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Yeah there would be ways around it like sniper. The goal is to prevent things like basilisks from being the best character killers in the game. I can't see an officer surrounded by staff tanking a basilisk shell and everyone else not even hurt. Sniper would allow you to target a character that is garrisoned as well. Everything else has to eat through a squad first.


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#6
Lysere

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Redundant characters, bodyguards, and transports are all great ways to protect characters. Transports in particular are great for holding your backup characters since they can't be forced out until the end of a round. That and deepstrike allows for good ways to never have all of your characters vulnerable.
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#7
Nusquam

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It's not that you can't hide them, and by extension potentially lose out on their buffs, it's that once they're on the field artillery is better at killing them than snipers are. Bodyguards help but not everything has them. Doesn't feel right, feels like an unintended rules exploit.

 

Maybe we go simpler and Barrage can't target Light Characters because they're too small a target. Iron_Within might be onto something with Heavy weapons not able to target them unless they're closest as well. Simple fixes that help with immersion.


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#8
Interrogator Stobz

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The bad character targeting rules of the last couple of years is one of the reasons we need templates back again.

 

Artillery is a really really really dangerous asset and absolutely should be able to hit multiple targets and do massive damage to anything without heavy armour or being really tough, including characters standing in the open (whether in cover or not).

Artillery is the sledgehammer of the battlefield and should not be able to snipe one dude among many and thereby doing all their damage in one place, they should share their damage across an area and multiple units in that area, including characters under the hammer.

Immersion is helped by them being dangerous, fear of large guns is good.

 

But in keeping with immersion Arty is slow to adjust their fire relative to other units; in rules terms to help balance things something like adjusting the 'shoot at anything within range on the table' rule to be only able to target units seen either directly by the Arty unit or by friendly forces with comms to the Arty units; maybe in their detachment for example and maybe taking the place of the spotting units own shooting as it takes effort and time to call fire. This would create a bunch of cool tactical problems for players trying to get the right units line of sight to the Arty targets.

 

Armies in the scale of Apoc should look to neutralize enemy artillery as soon as possible, with air assets, counter artillery, deep striking and sneaky units or plain old fashioned Titan overkill. Hamstringing the lethality of Arty is not the right thing to do for Apoc or 8th for that matter, making them harder to use is that best solution.

 

Titan weapons in 8th Ed 40k Apoc were totally ineffective at killing infantry when they should have been leaving craters and corpses wherever they shot. 2D6 shots on two weapons is rubbish, might be lucky to kill 10 infantry. What should be happening is if it can see you, you should die, Titans cost the same or more than a whole normal 40k army to field. The 8th Ed way was, a 2000-6000pt Titan can see the unarmored 60 pt 4W human standing in the open behind a small squad of five non-character dudes and somehow could not shoot him at all, not at all, so much rules fail. Whilst you would not generally want to waste a turbo laser on one dude, not having the option was stupid beyond reasoning. That one dude might actually be a Daemon Prince after all.

If it's not clear, I prefer the new Apoc rules to the 8th Ed version tongue.png but agree they still need work.

 

Nus' thoughts about joining characters to a single unit or having bodyguards to tank wounding hits, along with bringing back templates was (and hopefully one day will be again) the best mechanism in all iterations of 40k, that's why it survived so long as a mechanism. 8th has got it wrong, Apoc and KT have unfortunately followed suit because some folks couldn't be honest with their template use or mucked around and took too long when using them.

 

TL/DR: Bring back templates, bring back joining characters to units.

 

Or feel free to disagree, it's all good.


Edited by Interrogator Stobz, 17 July 2019 - 08:59 AM.

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#9
Da-Rock

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The bad character targeting rules of the last couple of years is one of the reasons we need templates back again.

 

Artillery is a really really really dangerous asset and absolutely should be able to hit multiple targets and do massive damage to anything without heavy armour or being really tough, including characters standing in the open (whether in cover or not).

Artillery is the sledgehammer of the battlefield and should not be able to snipe one dude among many and thereby doing all their damage in one place, they should share their damage across an area and multiple units in that area, including characters under the hammer.

Immersion is helped by them being dangerous, fear of large guns is good.

 

But in keeping with immersion Arty is slow to adjust their fire relative to other units; in rules terms to help balance things something like adjusting the 'shoot at anything within range on the table' rule to be only able to target units seen either directly by the Arty unit or by friendly forces with comms to the Arty units; maybe in their detachment for example and maybe taking the place of the spotting units own shooting as it takes effort and time to call fire. This would create a bunch of cool tactical problems for players trying to get the right units line of sight to the Arty targets.

 

Armies in the scale of Apoc should look to neutralize enemy artillery as soon as possible, with air assets, counter artillery, deep striking and sneaky units or plain old fashioned Titan overkill. Hamstringing the lethality of Arty is not the right thing to do for Apoc or 8th for that matter, making them harder to use is that best solution.

 

Titan weapons in 8th Ed 40k Apoc were totally ineffective at killing infantry when they should have been leaving craters and corpses wherever they shot. 2D6 shots on two weapons is rubbish, might be lucky to kill 10 infantry. What should be happening is if it can see you, you should die, Titans cost the same or more than a whole normal 40k army to field. The 8th Ed way was, a 2000-6000pt Titan can see the unarmored 60 pt 4W human standing in the open behind a small squad of five non-character dudes and somehow could not shoot him at all, not at all, so much rules fail. Whilst you would not generally want to waste a turbo laser on one dude, not having the option was stupid beyond reasoning. That one dude might actually be a Daemon Prince after all.

If it's not clear, I prefer the new Apoc rules to the 8th Ed version tongue.png but agree they still need work.

 

Nus' thoughts about joining characters to a single unit or having bodyguards to tank wounding hits, along with bringing back templates was (and hopefully one day will be again) the best mechanism in all iterations of 40k, that's why it survived so long as a mechanism. 8th has got it wrong, Apoc and KT have unfortunately followed suit because some folks couldn't be honest with their template use or mucked around and took too long when using them.

 

TL/DR: Bring back templates, bring back joining characters to units.

 

Or feel free to disagree, it's all good.

 

 

 

Loved what you said.  I agree on every count.

 

I must admit when 8th cut out templates I was happy at first as they took so long and I hated the abilities to move the center point all around etc, but now I miss it.  Artillery is often a mission point in hundreds of video games, movies (band of brothers) and in real life, .....so having it be a big deal in Apoc makes so much sense.  rolleyesclean.gif 


Edited by Da-Rock, 19 July 2019 - 06:05 PM.

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#10
sfPanzer

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In my game it was Chaos Space Marines vs, Imperial Guard and Grey Knights. My initial takeaway was Guard are good in apocalypse for one reason: Command assets. Like 40k and CP, they can easily max out their command assets, which makes Imperial alliance (and likely other alliance, e.g. Chaos, I won't use “Soup” as it's not really accurate at this scale) rather strong. I suspect this was because we played 200 power, at higher levels their ability to affects things will decrease, but at that size the Imperial size maxed out their hand to 12 cards a turn while the Chaos Space Marine side struggled. I would say at game smaller than 300 power it might be an idea to limit the size of the Command Asset cards players can hold at one time, but that's an initial impression.

 

 

If I recall correctly the amount of Command Assets a player can hold at a time are capped at 10 by default. ;)


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#11
Iron_Within

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In my game it was Chaos Space Marines vs, Imperial Guard and Grey Knights. My initial takeaway was Guard are good in apocalypse for one reason: Command assets. Like 40k and CP, they can easily max out their command assets, which makes Imperial alliance (and likely other alliance, e.g. Chaos, I won't use “Soup” as it's not really accurate at this scale) rather strong. I suspect this was because we played 200 power, at higher levels their ability to affects things will decrease, but at that size the Imperial size maxed out their hand to 12 cards a turn while the Chaos Space Marine side struggled. I would say at game smaller than 300 power it might be an idea to limit the size of the Command Asset cards players can hold at one time, but that's an initial impression.

 

 

If I recall correctly the amount of Command Assets a player can hold at a time are capped at 10 by default. msn-wink.gif

 

 

It is, there is a Warmaster trait that allows you to hold 12. What the Imperial Guard asset allowed them to do was burn through their entire deck of 30 in 3 turns and in turn 4 and 5 they got their most devastating assets again.

 

Though it has to be said that we were playing at 200 power, so I think this made command assets more powerful I think. However in larger games IG will have more characters and ability to keep their command deck cycling.


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“From Iron cometh strength. From strength cometh will. From will cometh faith. From faith cometh honour. From honour cometh iron. This is the Unbreakable Litany. And may it forever be so."

The 144th Grand Company "The Reforged" fight in the http://alephsector.blogspot.co.uk/


#12
Da-Rock

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In my game it was Chaos Space Marines vs, Imperial Guard and Grey Knights. My initial takeaway was Guard are good in apocalypse for one reason: Command assets. Like 40k and CP, they can easily max out their command assets, which makes Imperial alliance (and likely other alliance, e.g. Chaos, I won't use “Soup” as it's not really accurate at this scale) rather strong. I suspect this was because we played 200 power, at higher levels their ability to affects things will decrease, but at that size the Imperial size maxed out their hand to 12 cards a turn while the Chaos Space Marine side struggled. I would say at game smaller than 300 power it might be an idea to limit the size of the Command Asset cards players can hold at one time, but that's an initial impression.

 

 

If I recall correctly the amount of Command Assets a player can hold at a time are capped at 10 by default. msn-wink.gif

 

 

 

Currently it is wonky because you can draw 30 cards if you built a dumb list to do that and you can play any amount of cards.  The rule of 10 comes at the end of turn.  So on your next turn, (if all warlords are still alive) you can draw the 20 cards and and play as many again.  

 

I personally don't play with people that would ever do that.  It needs to be fixed and capped at 10 at any time.......fixes like that and the Plasma Blastgun on the Relic Contemptor dread will eventually be fixed, (although I do love using x2 Plasma Blastguns at no extra cost to replace 2 storm bolters).  :-)

 


Edited by Da-Rock, 22 July 2019 - 08:37 PM.


#13
Sherrypie

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Rule of ten happens at the end of the phase, not turn. So if you want to maximize, play as much as you can in the Orders phase (not much) and select the best 10 for the rest of the turn.

The small hitch with the plan seems to currently be that small detachments that generate those huge draws are reasonably useless otherwise and bleed potential victory points easier. It isn't certain yet if there's any substantial advantage of spending a lot on the draw engine and pumping the real units (1/3 of your army or some such) versus just taking good detachments that benefit more evenly from the more modest amounts you draw. Personally, I'm not really worried the drawcalypse style would be too much of a problem in-game.
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#14
Iron_Within

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So I'm a few games into Apocalypse now. I'm somewhat annoyed that GW have not released any sort of Errata/FAQ, I sort of dread this is a one of release they'll forget about.

 

Anyway. The bane of my life remains "sniper" artillery. I get deeply annoyed at things that are far too gamey over thematic and sniper artillery was something I hated in 7th. Every game Artillery have sniped at characters rather than targetting units. It's irritating as there appears to be no redundancy or way of stopping it save hiding in a transport. Latest game had 4 Basilisks, 1 Manticore and Artillery train. First turn the Manticore blew everything at characters, used the reload asset next turn and did the same thing.

 

I am happy with Characters taking a back seat role to big stuff, I like that, but them being a free kill is very irritating.


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“From Iron cometh strength. From strength cometh will. From will cometh faith. From faith cometh honour. From honour cometh iron. This is the Unbreakable Litany. And may it forever be so."

The 144th Grand Company "The Reforged" fight in the http://alephsector.blogspot.co.uk/


#15
Frostglaive

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Got my first game in last weekend. And for the most part, I'm impressed. It was Marines vs Marines, 300 PL. The game took about 3 hours or so, which I'm happy with. The rules were fairly easy to pick up on. A few oddball moments of confusion, but that's to be expected with new games and whatnot. Overall, I was impressed.

 

The issues my buddy and I noticed were the cards being capped at 10 at the end of the turn like a couple of you guys already pointed out. We agreed to cap at 10 at the start of the turn instead, when we drew our cards. Which I think will be the standard fix for most people. The other issue, as Iron Within has been pointing out already, is the character sniping, especially with barrage weapons. While in our game it wasn't a real problem due to there only being 3 models on the table with barrage, it was something we noticed could be an issue. Me personally, I think GW will errata this in the future. But my group will look into our own house rule fix for it in the meantime. I'm not too worried about it to be honest, at least in my local meta.

 

All in all though, I'm happy with the game. And I'm looking forward to playing it more.


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#16
Cheex

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The issues my buddy and I noticed were the cards being capped at 10 at the end of the turn like a couple of you guys already pointed out.

 

But it's not the end of the turn; it's the end of the phase.

 

So, as soon as the Orders phase is over, you discard your command asset pile down to 10.







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