Friday, December 31, 2010

"Balanced" armies and how you build an Apoc Force

Valkyries have been the topic of discussion at the Apocalypse40k.com Forums.  And a few people have complained they are too strong.  Well, they ARE strong.  But there are plenty of strong units in Apoc.

First, make sure you are using the Imperial Armor Volume 1 & 2 Rules Updates on the Forgeworld download page.  The link is permanently fixed to the right column of this blog too.

Here is where Forgeword has noted that a Valkyrie is a Flyer in games of Apoc.  You will also find that a Hydra is given an AA mount.  So they actually balanced these out pretty well.

And this brings up the need for a discussion of "balanced" armies and how you grow your armies. 

TYPES OF ARMIES

There are 3 different types of Apocalypse armies I see out there.  The big 40K army, the 40K army enlarged for Apocalypse and the Apocalypse army that is built from the ground up for Apoc games.

Now the first type I don't see many of, because before Apocalypse, there wasn't a whole lot of reason to have 10,000 points of an army.  Oh some of us did, but not a lot.  Often these players have added to these armies for Apocalypse, but not with an eye towards Apocalypse.  They think of big games and so build every codex unit they ever wanted, maybe add a War Machine, but the army lacks balance.   And balance is critical to a good Apocalypse army.

I am sure many of us took the middle approach.  We had a 40K army and then started adding units that we felt we needed after playing Apocalypse and seeing what we lacked.   And that is a good approach.  It is iterative, intelligent, probably fits our budget and is measured. It also allows you to respond to threats.

The final approach is what I wound up with.  Last year I started a new army, the Crimson Templars, and built it from the ground up for Apocalypse.  I built it for 5,000 point + games.  And now it totals over 25,000 points including Titans, IG, and an Air Force.  

Now, the difference between the good Apocalypse armies and the just average ones, is a combination of good planning, good choice in units and the aforementioned balance.

GROWING YOUR ARMY

When I started playing Apoc I was using the middle approach.  I had a Dark Angels army I was using and the first thing I did was add a unit of  Combi-melta armed Sternguard.  I needed to be able to Drop Pod them in and take out Titans.  And it worked well.  First mission they took out a Warhound.   But then I moved and 40K took a back seat.  I moved to Newport Beach, CA and started playing at the Los Angeles, Games Workshop Battle Bunker.  And there I started the SoCal Apocalypse club.

James Bell's original Red Templar, now my Force Commander

So a year ago, I decided that I wanted a whole new army.  I had being working on a color scheme and the new Bunker manager, James Bell, who is an amazing painter, had this 5 man squad that was EXACTLY what I had been thinking of.  I wanted to use Templar Iconography, but wanted them dark red with white helms and shoulder pads.

Since then I have steadily built up my army to include everything I think you need to have a balanced army:

1)  TROOPS  -  The basis of any army. You need Troops to take objectives.  Our house rule is anything with a WS that is not a Gargantuam Creature or has structure points can take an objective.  So Terminators, Assault Troops, Dreadnoughts all are good choices.

And in Apocalypse, always think INVUNERABLE SAVE.  So TH/SS Termies are awesome.  I now have 30.  Plus a full Battle Company.  And lots of IG.

2)  AT  -  You must have a ton of Anti-Tank weapons.  Everyone loves bringing their tanks, Titans and Warmachines.  You must have an army that can take out enemy Titans and Warmachines.  Think MELTA.

3)  FLYERS  -  This is the best way to apply firepower to any part of the board.  You must have Flyers to be competitive.

4)  AA  -  Well, if Flyers are important, taking out the enemy Flyers is just as important.  And most everyone I know ignores this.  I just don't see much AA out there! 

5)  WARMACHINES  -  Titans, Super Heavy Tanks, this stuff is hard to kill, and you need to force your opponent to deal with them.  Baneblades are the default.  They are awesome.  Titans are for the very big games.  I only bring mine when the other team has theirs.


OK, next we will discuss how to take these basics and go about building a fun, competitive Apoc Army.

Alec

You know you are in trouble when the newbie girl is talking smack to you in her first Apoc game!



Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Valkyries in Apocalypse


Valkyries are obviously very popular in 40K as well as Apocalypse.  Not only are they cool models, they are very useful units to have in both games.  I personally have 6 Vendettas and 3 Vultures in my army.  In Apocalypse you must have both air power and AA in order to deal with all threats.

The strength of these platforms comes from their ability to apply firepower ANYWHERE on the table.  Plus they hit side armor on vehicles.   

But rather then writing about what these units can do, I want to clarify how you play the Valkyrie in Apocalypse as there is often confusion.

LATEST RULES

The most important part of using Valkyries in Apocalypse is to understand that the latest rules for the Valkyrie, that make the Valkyrie a flyer in Apocalypse and which  update the Imperial Guard codex and Imperial Armor Volume One (where the Valk first appeared) are on the Forgeworld website here:


VALKYRIE AIRBORNE ASSAULT CARRIER . . . . . . . . .100 PTS
Armour
BS Front Side Rear
Valkyrie 3 12 12 10
Options:
• Any Valkyrie may replace its multi-laser with:
- Lascannon . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15 pts
• Any Valkyrie may exchange both its Hellstrike missiles for:
- Two multiple rocket pods . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .30 pts
• Any Valkyrie may take a pair of sponsons armed with:
- Heavy bolters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10 pts

*In games of Apocalypse the Valkyrie is treated as a Flyer with hover mode.

Grav Chute Insertion
If the Valkyrie has moved flat out, passengers may still
disembark, but they must do so as follows. Nominate any
point which the Valkyrie or Vendetta moved over and deploy
the squad as if it were deep striking onto that point. If the
unit scatters, every model must immediately take a
dangerous terrain test. If any of the models cannot be
deployed, the unit is destroyed as described in the 1-2 result
on the Deep Strike Mishap table.


So it is always good to follow the Forgeworld updates as they are pretty good at keeping their rules up to date.  The Imperial Armor Volume 2 update, is actually in V 3 now.  The above rules supersede the Imperial Guard Codex as well.

HOUSE RULES

Now, the only problem here is that it make the Valkyrie the only flyer besides a Thunderhawk with Armor 12.  (An Manta has armor 13/12/11 but is 2,000 points!)  And the Thunderhawk is an orbital lander with ceramite shielding.  No way a standard planet-based flyer has the same armor.  So, for game purposes, we have adopted a House Rule at SoCal Apocalypse making a Valkyrie that is treated as a Flyer as armor 10.  So we allow you to use your Valkyrie as EITHER an Armor 10 flyer, or an armor 12 skimmer. 

This has proven a great, very well balanced house rule and most gamers have no problem with this.  It makes a lot of sense, and every Apoc game club I play with has adopted this house rule.   


There is a discussion on this on the Apocalypse40K forum and needless to say, there are many opinions on how to treat Valkyries.

Alec

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Fellblades of Tom McBride

Many of you already know of Tom McBride who goes by "Machinator" on many forums including the apocalypse40k forum.  He is a scratchbuilder/caster extraordinaire and has built some amazing models that he now offers resin conversion kits for.  

His first was the Blood Angels Fellblade.  Fellblades are the pre-heresy Space Marine super-heavy tanks.  I bought one of his conversion kits and the tank is finished and waiting for paint.  I have to say, Tom's pieces are AMAZING, the fit is perfect, better than even Forgeworld, and the finished project looks amazing.  It will make its first appearance at The Big Game.  Here are photos of Tom's, which he sadly sold on eBay before I knew about it!


One of the best parts of this conversion is the rear end, which on a Baneblade is VERY weak.  I am now using these conversion parts on all Baneblades I make.

You can buy conversion parts for this and other Fellblades on Tom's eBay store here.  

Here is my kit after assembly:


So please support Tom and buy his parts!  

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Big Game - The Biggest Apocalypse Battle in History!




Well, if you are reading this blog, you probably know about The Big Game.  But here is the official press release anyway.


The World's Biggest Apocalypse Battle to be fought world wide!

On January 22nd, 2011, an Apocalypse battle will take place in five different countries over three continents and over a dozen locations in the USA.  Organized by the SoCal Apocalypse club and the Apocalypse40K.com forum and titled The Big Game, this battle will be happening at all four U.S. Games Workshop Battle Bunkers, Warhammer World in the UK, Norway, Greece and various locations in the USA.  The main game will be held at the Games Workshop Los Angeles Battle Bunker, which expects to have close to a million points fighting it out over 80 sq. ft. of table space.

"We have 4 of the biggest Apocalypse clubs in the USA participating in this event." says Alec Peters, the event organizer and the head of SoCal Apocalypse, the Apocalypse club that is running the event at the L.A. Battle Bunker.  So not only do we have all 4 U.S. GW Battle Bunkers involved, but Siegeworld (who really started the mega-apocalypse craze) from St. Louis, Apoc-Eclipse from North Carolina and For the Emperor from Texas are all hosting games.  Siegeworld will be heading up to the Chicago Bunker, Apoc-Eclipse will be hosting their game at All Fun & Games in Apex, NC and For The Emperor will be hosting their game at their facility.  In addition, almost a dozen stores from around the US are joining in.

"Any store or club that wants to participate can, all they need to do is contact me or join the Apocalypse40k.com forums and sign up.  All the locations will be using the same objective scoring system, and all the points will be tallied together at the end of the night to determine the winner." said Peters, who is used to running big events

"This has gotten a huge amount of traction and support in the Apocalypse community." said Peters.  "James Bell, the L.A. Battle Bunker manager has been awesome in spearheading the effort with the other bunkers and promoting the event.  He is basically turning over all 22 tables in his store for this event.  And we will be adding more tables as we think we are going to be busting at the seams."

SoCal Apocalypse started in 2009 and has taken off because of its attitude of cooperating with the other major Apocalypse clubs across the USA.  "When I contacted the guys at Siegeworld, things really started to cook.  Those guys are NUTS, and their games are so big they play on a warehouse floor!  Siegworld came up with a system to record the biggest games of Apocalypse and so all the major Apocalypse clubs have adopted the records and we are basically setting down how you go about and beat them.  The more clubs trying to beat the records the better!"


For more information on The Big Game , contact:

Alec Peters
alec@propworx.com
404-918-1701


The Current Apocalypse World Records are:

Most Points in a Single Game

This requires all models to participate in a continuous game on one table, interconnected or otherwise. All models must be painted (3 colors + based) and the game must last 4+ turns over an unbroken time period (eg-with some breaks, but no "pause and come back the next day"). The record was set by Siegeworld in St. Louis MO. on 8/14/10 at 382,000 points

Most Points in a Single Battle

Similar to the above, but models don't need to be painted, and two or more disconnected tables. Anything goes so long as it is interrelated and simultaneous. Allows for multi-location play, discontinuous tables, unpainted minis, etc. No turn requirements. The record was held by Siegeworld at 433,000 points (also the first group to play a 400k game of 40k), but was surpassed in September, 2010 at GMI Games in Riverside, CA with 520,000 points.

Most Tank Models in a Single Battle

Anything with an AV, MCs, and GCs count as one, so long as they're painted. Single battlefield as per the first record and no turn limit (Siegeworld did not break this record) GW Manchester UK holds the title with 2,562 models.

Most Minis in a Single Battle


See Most Points in a Single Battle. Same restrictions apply. This record is anything goes so long as it is interrelated and simultaneous. A miniature is counted as any piece which has its own base or does not use a base. Essentially, if it can be moved on its own (thus a swarm base is a single miniature). Siegeworld is the current holder of the record, at 6,500 minis done in St. Louis MO. on 8/14/10.      

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Welcome to my World....

 
For those of you who don't know me, my name is Alec Peters, and I run SoCal Apocalypse, the Los Angeles GW Battle Bunker based Apocalypse club. I also write the Star Trek Prop, Costume & Auction Blog, which is all about screen-used Star Trek props & costumes, which I have been writing for 4 years. I have over 5,000 unique readers a month and my hobby lead me to start a business, Propworx, which is an auction house that works directly with Hollywood studios to sell the props & costumes of their movies and TV shows after they are done. We handled the Battlestar Galactica auctions for NBC/Universal, the Iron Man auction for Marvel Studios, Stargate for MGM and Star Trek for CBS.

I live in Newport Beach CA and play in three different Apocalypse groups in Southern California: my SoCal Apocalypse club at the LA Bunker, John Macomber's Apoc group in San Diego (they run the Broadside Bash 40K tournament too) and Wayne Clark's monthly Apoc club out in Ontario (as in Ontario, CA, not Ontario Canada!).  

I have a pretty big Space Marine army but I simply don't have the time, skill or inclination to paint the army, so I hired some amazing painters to do so.

The vehicles have been painted by Golden Demon winner Aaron Lovejoy and the figures have been painted by future Golden Demon winner Toby Wearing. They have both done a ton of work this past year and helped me build my Crimson Templars up to over 10,000 points. I integrated a Blood Angels successor army, the Templars Sanguine, in as well, which is currently about 5,000 points.  I have a back story for this chapter that I will be publishing soon as part of The Big Game.


On top of that I have my first army, Dark Angels (8,000 points) which I painted.  A Demonhunters army (5,000 points) painted by Aaron Lovejoy, and my favorite army, my Sisters of Battle (5,000 points), painted by Anne Forester back in 2001.  

Well, that is not totally true.  My new favorite army is Dave Taylor's legendary Legio Custodes army, which I won on eBay recently.  When I saw this army in White Dwarf years ago, I fell in love with it and the army is now proudly displayed at the Games Workshop Los Angeles Battle Bunker.  I can't tell you how excited I am to own this army.  It is not just amazingly beautiful, but a piece of 40K lore.


I also recently added 12,000 points of Imperial Guard due to my good friend Wayne Clark, who has one of the biggest IG armies in the US (he has about 750 guardsman just with lasguns!).

All these armies will have photos posted after the big game, as I have a photographer coming to photograph set up day (Friday) as well as game day (Saturday).

Well, that is enough for today.  I hope you now know who is wasting your time!

And remember, when all is said and done, we are basically boys playing with toy soldiers.


Alec

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Welcome to the Apocalypse40K Blog!

Well, after the Apocalypse40k.com Forums started to gain some serious traction, I thought it would be a good time to launch a blog to work in conjunction with it.

Apocalypse is has developed into the most pervasive and successful Warhammer 40,000 expansion ever. It is a game in and of itself and played almost exclusively by 40K players all over the world.

So why is Apocalypse so successful?

1) We want big games!

There is a whole generation of 40K players who aren't interested in small, tournament-sized games of 40K. It gets routine, and often, too competitive.
My Atlanta gaming group played a huge game every Christmas since 2001. We didn't play in between much unless they were big games. We ALWAYS wanted to play big games, and Apocalypse was exactly what we wanted.

2) We want to play with all our toys!

Well, thanks to Forgeworld, we have LOTS of them. Flyers, Titans, Super Heavies, we love buying and building the stuff and we want a HUGE universe of stuff.
Those of us who are adults and have disposable income, want to buy more and more of the cool stuff. We are like kids at Christmas every time the Forgeworld newsletter comes out.



The Siegeworld annual event in St. Louis rents a warehouse!

3) Big games are more social and have more fun stuff happening. We want to have fun. Big games are more fun for so many reasons. You can build a story, you can blow more stuff up, and you can play with all those cool units you have. The games are events, and when you break for dinner, you can sit and chat about what has been happening in the game and not worry about winning or losing. The social part of gaming is very important to me and I know it is to my friends.

4) The Warhammer 40K Universe is getting deeper and richer.

The Horus Heresy novels have helped breath new life into the Black Library and the fluff of the Warhammer 40,000 universe. They are simply the best 40K novels ever. Boring Space Marines now have color and depth. Primarchs have come to life, characters are interesting and you see why Space Marines can be so different. And you actually LIKE Horus before his fall!

It gives us ideas, and makes us want to game more. Look at all the pre-heresy armies now.

Plus, Apoc has given rise to a whole cottage industry of conversion parts for figures and vehicles. Resin is becoming King, and not just with Forgeworld.
And I see conversions that are insane on sites like Works in Progress and Apocalypse 40K.


Tom McBride's (Machinator) awesome Fellblade conversion kit

So this is the age of Apocalypse. It is changing the face of Games Workshop and the way we play. This blog is all about Apocalypse.

Alec

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