Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Spirit of the Game

Kirk Damman is the Founder of Siegeworld and an avid Apocalypse player.  He wrote up these guidlines on playing Apocalypse and I think they are worth everyone reading!


The Spirit of the Game


(or rules for how to play Apocalypse so its fun for everyone)

by Kirk Damman


This article is designed for only one purpose, to try and reduce the frustration and hurt some players inevitably have in large “all comers” Apocalypse games. This frustration has many sources and can afflict the most junior to the most veteran of players. It effects those with 3,000 point armies and those with 30,000 point armies. These suggestions are not just to prevent you from getting frustrated, but to prevent you from frustrating others. I suggest anyone who is going to play in any “bring and battle” Apocalypse game abide by them to avoid getting feelings hurt on both sides of no man’s land. You don’t want to have a bad day because you weren’t prepared for what was coming.

1) Do not bring the army you could have, bring the army you actually have (or “WYSIWYG means: what you see is what you get”).

Apocalypse is designed to allow you to use your entire collection of miniatures and to field some units that can’t be fielded elsewhere. It is actually very easy to field your collection but many, many players regularly don’t field their actual armies, they field what their army could be. Simply look at your models and select the appropriate rules based on what they are. That is, play strict WYSIWYG. You should do this even if you regularly don’t use a model that way in smaller games. There is often a temptation to give a unit some small upgrade even though they don’t have it modeled because the points may not matter, or to switch a less than ideal weapon combination into something better because you can. Resist that temptation and play your models the way they are actually modeled, even if this makes them “less than ideal.” Now this isn’t to say don’t treat your cool conversion as what you modeled it to be, just don’t change it to something else entirely because you can.

In a similar vein, if you really want that unit to have that upgrade for the upcoming game, grab your modeling tools and some paint and give them it before the game kicks off. It may be a lot of work to you, but that cool model may actually get you some praise.

2) A proxy is a game piece, not a model (or “do not bring the army you want, bring the army you actually have”)

Apocalypse allows you to field some incredibly powerful units only available in Apocalypse games. Many of these models are very expensive or require a huge effort to scratchbuild.

Because these units are powerful and “cool,” however, many players will want to field something that they don’t have in their collection simply because it can have such a powerful game effect. Resist that temptation. It is very frustrating to someone who has spent a good deal of money on a Forgeworld model or a lot of time making a cool scratchbuild to see others asserting that a cardboard box or a teddy bear is the same thing as what they have. If you would feel ashamed showing your model in a modeling competition or on a modeling forum on the web, it probably shouldn’t be in your army list because it’s a “game piece” not a model. Apocalypse isn’t a game, it’s a model showcase with rules.

In a similar vein, if you have a really cool model that might require bending the rules to be fielded true WYSIWYG, bring it. Most people are always willing to fight something that looks great, even if its not totally “legal”.

3) If it isn’t modeled and painted to fit with your army, why are you bringing it? (or “how to detect when you are about to violate rule 1 or 2”)


As mentioned above, Apocalypse is about fielding your entire army. If your models are still gray plastic, or cardboard, or kid’s toys, are they really a part of your army? Generally, if what you are playing with hasn’t been modeled and painted to be a part of your army, it’s not really a part of it. People who seriously play Apocalypse and have those really cool big armies that others drool over don’t play something simply because it’s good, cool, or different. They play their army because they love their army, warts and all. Generally if what you are bringing isn’t something you cared enough to make a true part of your army, you’re only fielding it because of its rules and are thus about to violate rule 1 or 2.

In a similar vein, if you are new to the game or make an honest effort but just don’t have that much skill when it comes to modeling or painting, most people aren’t going to stop you from coming and playing and aren’t going to be offended by your attempts. The frustration lies in those who don’t care about making something part of an army, not those who want to but simply can’t.

4) Cut yourself first (or “those who are about to die, we salute you.”)

If you have ever studied blade fighting, one of the things that is often suggested is to cut yourself just before the fight. That way, the sting of your opponents blade is less likely to distract you at a critical moment because you always feel the first cut the most.

In Apocalypse many, many of your models will get taken off the battlefield without doing squat. The weapons of the 41st millennium are varied and universally destructive, and Apocalypse adds some that go far, far beyond what is the norm. No matter how hard you worked on that cool unit to be able to field it today, it may never make it to the enemy (or even out of its transport). You need to be prepared for this before you place your first model on the field. If you aren’t ready to see it die, why did you bring it here anyway?

In a similar vein, don’t sulk about how that vortex grenade, titan weapon, or absolutely sick close combat unit that killed off the unit you were intending to toss the vortex grenade, fire the titan weapon, or wipe the floor with your enemy is unfair. It only causes you to feel bad. Everyone else thinks you’re a sore loser.

5) Fight with honor (or “come home with your shield, or on it.”)

You need to treat the game as the spectacle of the gladiator ring and accept that what people remember from the game makes a good photograph, not a military victory. Being scared that your army will get wiped off the board by a more powerful opponent and “hiding” tends to make you bored. On this battlefield, dying spectacularly can be just as much fun as killing spectacularly. You don’t want to avoid the unpredictable and highly devastating aspects of Apocalypse, you want to embrace the chaos and enjoy the game as something that goes beyond what your army may or may not do. Apocalypse games are not about what one player, unit, or side did. It’s about the spectacle of seeing a story come alive in a spectacular fashion.

In a similar vein, as stated in the movie Gladiator, a quick kill is boring. Tabling the enemy tends to earn you the wrath of all the other players, not victory points. Don’t be afraid to let your opponent kill you back so that the show goes on.


Kirk Damman

3 comments:

Steel Thunder Mike said...

This is an excellent article. I would like to post a link to this on our Game Club's forum. Thanks for sharing this information, as we are new to the Apoc setting and are planning more games in the future.

Berks-PA Gaming Club: www.BerksGameClub.com.

Inquisitor Lord Aki said...

Awesome article!

chaplainaerion said...

What's more, I can confirm that Kirk practices what he preaches. He's a great guy and always a joy to see at any event. Thanks for this article, Kirk, and come see us in the Cape again soon!

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