Sometimes just putting all your models on the table is just not enough. Then it is time to get together with around 20 of your gaming buddies and battle it out. Which is just what we have been doing these last few years on the Saturday night of Arcanacon and plan to do so again in 2014.
Our experience is that as the number of players grows, so can the complexity. To get around this, a lot of the planning suggestions in the Apocalypse rule book can be put to good use. One other thing I think is useful is to not be too fancy with the mission. Given I tend to forget about any special rules anyway (I can do that?), sometimes less in the mission the better. For regular games this could quickly become dull, but for something that happens once a year, then simplicity can be a good thing. Bellum Honoris is my draft mission for a big Apocalypse match.
Bellum Honoris – Apocalypse Mission Briefing
The long campaign has come down to this moment – the forces are concentrated, negotiation is not possible with such anathema. Battle will be joined and to the victors go the bragging rights.
Use a theme, it looks awesome, we have a tradition of Imperial versus Chaos, with15,000 points per side shared among a recommended 10 players.
Players do not have to have equal points and apocalypse formations cannot be shared across players. Super-heavies (including flyers and gargantuan creatures) cannot exceed 3,000 points.
Imperial to be selected from any combination of Space Marines, Blood Angles, Space Wolves, Dark Angles, Grey Knights, Sisters of Battle, or Imperial Guard.
Chaos must be selected from Chaos Space Marines, Chaos Daemons, or Imperial (Rebel) Guard.
Individual players are free to mix and match from any of the listed codices for their side.
Apocalypse formations and vehicles may be selected from the Apocalypse rule book as well as the apocalypse war zone books Damnos and Pandorax.
Special characters are unique and only one of each may be fielded per side. If duplicates are discovered, they must challenge each other – if not within charge range, roll to see which one teleports to within charge range of the other.
Each side must select one of their Warlords to be their force’s Warmaster.
Roll-off. The winner decides which table half each side will deploy in.
Take turns to place Strategic Objectives, roll-off to see who places the first objective.
Roll-off. The winner of the roll-off deploys first. They may deploy anywhere on their half of the table that is more than 9” away from the border between the two table halves, or may be kept in Strategic Reserve. Deployment is restricted to 20 minutes. Any models not deployed within this time are deemed to be part of the Strategic Reserve.
The opposing side then deploys. They may deploy anywhere on their half of the table that is more than 9” away from the border between the two table halves, or may be kept in Strategic Reserve. Deployment is restricted to 15 minutes for the side deploying second. Any models not deployed within this time are deemed to be part of the Strategic Reserve.
After both sides have deployed, Infiltrators may deploy and Scouts redeploy using their special rules. Each side has a maximum of 3 minutes to perform Infiltrate or Scout actions.
Roll a die. On a roll of 1 to 4 the side that deployed first has the first turn. On a roll of 5 or 6 the side that deployed second has the first turn.
The battle will continue until the time limit is reached. We must be out of the venue by XX (we have to find this out), and this must include pack-up, clean-up and post match bragging.
Each turn has a specified period of time that will be agreed prior to the start of the game. Unfinished business remains unfinished and play moves on.
The side that has the most Strategic Victory Points at the end of the game wins the Bellum Honoris. If both sides have an equal number of points then the battle is a draw.
Mission special rules
Divine Intervention, Finest Hour, Strategic Assets, Strategic Objectives, Strategic Reserves, Strategic Victory Points (modified as below)
Set up the terrain for the battle in any mutually agreeable manner.
Mission Special Rules
Divine Intervention and Finest Hour are as per Apocalypse rule book
Strategic Assets As per the Apocalypse rule book, except each side is allocated 5 strategic assets at the start of the game. Victory points can be used to purchase additional assets during breaks as normal.
Strategic Assets selected at the start of the game cannot be the same as any Strategic Assets selected at the start of the prior year’s match. This does not apply to 2014, nor to Assets purchased during a game.
Strategic Objectives Each side must place three strategic objectives. Roll a die to see which side places the first objective. Each side must place one objective in each zone: one in their deployment zone, one in the enemy deployment zone and one in no-man’s land. A strategic objective must not be placed within 12” of another objective or within 12” of any table edge.
Mysterious objectives are not used in Bellum Honoris.
Contesting Objectives. Any unit can contest an objective with the exception of dedicated transports. A unit embarked on a transport may contest an objective. To hold or contest an objective a unit must have a model within 3” of the objective. A given unit can only hold a single objective -no conga lines!- specify which objective is being held if this situation arises.
Strategic Reserves, Strategic Victory Points are as per Apocalypse rule book
Vehicle Damage Damage results other than “Explodes!” are ignored for all vehicles, not just super-heavy vehicles. Hull Points will still need to be tracked.
Other special rules:
Any global effect from a Codex which applies to the opposing player will only affect a single nominated player, not the entire side.
The Warp Storm table from Codex Daemons will not be used.
With a few tweaks, this is basically the Apoc. mission we played most recently, which seemed to go OK. It is kind of a stripped down Exterminatas, with a few other restrictions designed to keep play flowing.
So I’ve had some feedback (offline, sigh!) that this mission will work OK for our big bash. What I figure is that with 10 a side and limited time we need to strip back the mission to the basics to get as much playing and as little book keeping as possible. There are three additions that I want to make to Bellum Honoris:
1. No fortifications. No hiding in terrain in Apoc – get out and get stuck in.
2. Divine intervention takes too much book keeping. With Imperial versus Chaos the trigger events mirror each other, so I think we will just agree that the warmaster can call DI from turn 3 onwards 3. Along with not using the warp storm table for daemons, don’t roll for gifts, instead just take the default option for any lesser, greater gifts, etc.
(thanks to Ryan from GW for his suggestions and feedback)