Saturday, October 26, 2013

Apocalypse At 'Em

This afternoon's (and morning's) gaming was all about Apocalypse.  My local gaming group is putting together an event for November (Fallpocalypse in Japan on the off chance that's local to you as well).  We figured it might be a good thing to have at least one game under our belts in the new system, so we queued up around 7,500 points a side and braved the weather to chuck some dice.

Get in there.  Mix it up.
As a prelude to talking about the game itself, let me say that in the past, most of my experiences with Apocalypse have been poor.  I have sat around a lot, games have moved unbearably slow, and a variety of poor attitudes from the players have all been contributing factors.  However, this game was a complete 180 degree turnaround.  I spent quite a bit of time just after the game thinking about why that was, and I believe I've been able to suss out a few of the reasons we were successful.

Just Rolling With It
Each of our players were willing to be flexible.  When one of our guys had to decommit on Thursday due to a morning commitment, we adjusted.  I suggested we play the Meat Grinder scenario, and allow his team to take between half and all of their units in their initial wave.  This allowed them to spend the first phase of the game on equal footing.  We loaned a few units across both sides of the board.  We even had two Mephistons on one side, due to a lack of communication, but whatever.  It's Apocalypse.  We just wanted to see this thing happen.

Small Victories
In a game this size, with plenty of ridiculous things happening, "winning" can only matter so much.  The objectives really seem to be there more to provide a reason to go to various points on the board.  Go to those points, forget the larger picture for a second, and wait to see something cool.  One side went Super-heavy hunting with their Assault Terminators, and let me tell you, they found them.  And the Apocalyptic Explosion that went with it.

You can just see Kharn(right), sans-unit, charging alone upfield.
I used a special power to attempt to bring down three flyers in one move.  The environmental condition were "all ranged weapons have 'Gets Hot'", so I possessed a Storm Raven, fired its Lascannon at another Storm Raven, and its Multimelta at a Storm Talon.  To cap off the move, I fired off all the Hurricane Bolters.  My buddy kept saying, "But they're strength four, so you can't do anything," until he finally figured out the joke.  And then his flyers went down.  It was worth a pretty good laugh even if you were on the wrong side of the exchange.

Proper Perspective
All your stuff is going to die.  Accept that fact.  And it is going to go down quickly.  I lost my Keeper of Secrets to bolter fire and angry Fenrisian Wolves.  What the heck?  Oh right, it's too many dice.  This stuff is just gonna happen.  Now, time to move the two Daemon Princes and the Bloodthirster.

Ticking Timebomb
The clock had a major effect and was a huge upgrade.  The 'just plan to shoot your whole day and play until you get to the end' way of doing things was terrible by comparison.  We put a thirty minute cap on player turns.  It might seem like a short time, but of the 12 player turns, I think we got close to the cap twice.  The first turn was something of a leisurely stroll.  Once we realized, "Oh hey, we need to have a bit of a plan and move quickly through movement to get shooting and assault in," our turns were moving quick.  This had the effect of keeping everyone far more engaged as conversations and combats did not drag on like they are wont to.

Keep the Joke Going
Really, there isn't much better to this whole thing than enjoying time spent with friends truly enjoying yourself.  If you're laughing, it's all good.  Even if you're crying.  Nothing is better than rolling a one and a two on a three inch charge, commenting on how it's a good thing that you just made it, then needing a three and coming up double one on the the very next charge.  When the snake eyes are staring back at you, you gotta laugh.

So that is my time of musing.  To sum up for the TLDR crowd:  40K is a game, Apocalypse is an event.  Get out there and blow stuff up.

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