New Apocalypse Warhammer 40k Review - The Hub
The Smell of Napalm in the Morning . . .
Murphy, here, giving you a quick review of the brand new Apocalypse rulebook. Read on to find out what this new book is all about and what's inside!
It has been five years since we've seen the last update of the Apocalypse rules for Warhammer 40k. A lot has changed since then, most notably the release of 40k's 6th edition. We have nearly half a dozen new army codexis, a slew of new game vocabulary (Overwatch, Fortifications, and Allies for example), and a couple of supplements of various quality.
What we've lacked was a slick new book with updated rules for those expensive models sitting on our shelves gathering dust . . . you know, that old Titan you got second hand years ago, or perhaps that sixth Landraider you always meant to finish painting. Well, dust off those models and prepare to throw down. Apocalypse has come.
What's Inside . . .
First of all, the new Apocalypse book is massive. It clocks in at 296 pages and features color rich pages throughout, filled with pictures of massive battles, tables, charts, crunch and fluff. I have been a big fan of the new 40k books released for 6th edition and the Apocalypse book is, so far, my hands-down favorite.
So what's inside? Let's take a look at exactly what you will find in this massive tome.
Introduction - 7 pages
This section covers the basics: What, Who, Where, When, and Why. The last question, How, is covered in the next section. What I want to cover here are some basic concepts or concerns about Apocalypse in general.
First, there is still no Force Organization. Literally, the designers have said in the book "bring every/any model in your collection". Not only do Apocalypse games not use Force Organization charts, your army can also break the 0-1 or 0-X limits on units that are listed as such in your codex. The only restriction is that you must use standard unit sizes.
Secondly, with 6th edition came Allies, and with Apocalypse this has been taken a step further. The rules say specifically that you can bring units from two or more different codexes as you like. Remember that little allies box in the main 40k rule book that said "Come the Apocalypse"? Well, it's come and anything goes. Now, units in the same force that would normally be considered "Come the Apocalypse" are treated as Desperate Allies.
Another interesting note: the designers don't recommend that players use detailed army rosters. Models should be equipped "as is" so that all players (including the owning player!) can know what's-what at a glance and not waste time digging through army lists. Obviously, there may need to be some book keeping, as it's hard to model every piece of wargear your characters can take . . . but digging through five pages of army rosters to see if your tac squad had a flamer or a meltagun is something that should be avoided.
One last note, Apocalypse battles aren't designed to played as a points match. Literally, you can just "size up" the armies involved and get going. It is recommended that players start off adding up points to get the hang of it, but experienced players will quickly be able to know what looks equal. There are mechanics in place to give the smaller force an advantage in the game.
Rules of Engagement - 40 pages
Next we have the rules of Apocalypse. This is where most of the "crunch" is at in the game. So what's changed from from the old edition of Apocalypse? Well, there's honestly a lot of little changes and additions of some new special rules. It's best just to read the new rules in their entirety and see how they all fit together! Let's look at the Table of Contents for this chapter:
- The Mission
- The Armies
- The Battlefield
- Game Length
- First Turn
- Victory Conditions
- Mission Special Rules
- Mission Special Rules - Part 2 - Finest Hour and Sons of the Primarch
- Mission Special Rules - Part 3 - Strategic Assets, Reserves, and Unnatural Disasters
- Apocalypse Missions (6 missions)
- Organizing the Apocalypse
Apocalypse Formations - 127 pages
Let me make this clear: you can use any unit you like in a game of Apocalypse. Whatever you bring in a normal game of 40k is what you can also bring to an Apocalypse game. However, there are collections of units that are either so powerful or so large that they only make an appearance in Apocalypse games. These units or collection of units are called Formations, and they often bring with them special rules.
- Armored Spearheads - collection of vehicles
- Flyer Wings - collection of Flyers
- Battle Formations - collection of infantry units and support
- High Commands - HQ units grouped together
- Massive Fortifications - almost invincible fortifications
- Psychic Choirs - collection of psykers
- Super-heavy Vehicles
- Super-heavy Walkers - Titans!
- Super-heavy Flyers
- Gargantuan Creatures
- Flying Gargantuan Creatures
I already have two articles detailing many of the Apocalypse Formations. Check them out to see what models you will need to bring. The second half of the list will be written shortly.
- Apocalypse Formations - List and Rules - Part 1
- Apocalypse Formations - List and Rules - Part 2
- Apocalypse Formations - List and Rules - Part 3 - Orks and Necrons
- Apocalypse Formations - List and Rules - Part 4 - Space Marines!
Next there is an explanation of Apocalyptic Weapons, including an explanation of the massive Apocalypse Templates, the largest of which is an astounding 15" diameter! You can purchase the entire set of Apocalypse Templates from GW, but there is a guide for making your own in the back of the book. Note, there is not a photocopy template for use (as some of the templates are too large even for that!), but they do give you the specific dimensions for you to construct an equal set.
Next are the list of Apocalypse Datasheets available. Again, you can use any model or unit you like in your Apocalypse games, but certain models have no 6th edition stats yet (like the Ork Stompa), or groups of models that gather together to gain special benefits. For instance, if you bring an entire Space Marine Company, that is a Battle Formation, and the units in that formation gain a special advantage!
The Apocalypse book gives datasheets for every force in the Warhammer 40k universe. The only exception to this are the Sister of Battle, which are mentioned in the book, but have no special formations of their own. Arch Cannonesses do not fear, however! As a valued member of the Imperium, Sisters of Battle are of course allowed to field any model from the Imperium list. . . Of course, being Apocalypse, they could also have a pet Hive Tyrant, so go figure!
Would you like a list of the Super-Heavies included in this book? Why not . . .
- Baneblade - super-heavy tank
- Banehammer - super-heavy tank
- Banesword - super-heavy tank
- Doomhammer - super-heavy tank
- Hellhammer - super-heavy tank
- Shadowsword - super-heavy tank
- Stormlord - super-heavy tank
- Stormsword - super-heavy tank
- Thunderhawk Gunship - super-heavy flyer
- Reaver Battle Titan - super-heavy walker (found in Armageddon section)
- Warhound Scout Titan - super-heavy walker (found in Armageddon section)
- Fortress of Arrogance - super-heavy vehicle (found in Armageddon section)
Forces of Chaos
- Khorne Lord of Skulls
- Of course, they can use the Reaver and Warhound titans mentioned above, but there are no chaos variants given.
- Gargantuan Squiggoth - gargantuan creature
- Stompa - super-heavy walker
- Big Mek Stompa - super-heavy walker (from the Armageddon section)
- Skullhamma Battle Fortress - super-heavy vehicle (from the Armageddon section)
Eldar and Dark Eldar
- Phantom Titan - super-heavy walker
- Revenant Titan - super-heavy walker
- Barbed Hierodule - gargantuan creature
- Harriden - gargantuan flying creature
- Hierophant Bio-titan - gargantuan creature
- Obelisk - super-heavy vehicle (skimmer)
- Tesseract Vault - super-heavy vehicle (skimmer)
- Transcendent C'tan - gargantuan creature
These are not super-heavy vehicles, but are rather super fortifications that can by taken by any force. These are new models produced by GW and it has been noted that their specific rules are included as datasheets inside the box. However, some of the rules have been included in the Apocalypse rulebook.
- Macro-cannon Aquila Strongpoint
- Vortex Missile Aquila Strongponit
I will be making detailed reviews of many of these Datasheets as the hours allow it. Check back for when these links will go active!
Miniatures & Hobby Showcase - 35 pages
The next section of the book is the Miniatures and Hobby Showcase. Yes, this is the obligatory series of photographs of awesome models and battle scenes. To be honest, this is the section of most army codexes that I skim over. It's funny because I'm an avid painter and modeler, but I've usually seen pictures of any given model a hundred times before I've seen it in the codex.
The Armageddon book is a little different, as several of the pictures are grandiose. For instance, they have a shot of the entire Ultramarines chapter gathered together. Literally, the entire 1,000 man chapter plus vehicles. It is an awe inspiring photograph! There are also pictures of big tanks, titans, and battle scenes, which are all very cool.
Beyond the photo gallery, there are several pages of advice and guidance about collecting an Apocalypse army and show cases a few "behind the scenes" thoughts from the designers and their collections. They have small section on battlefields, terrain, and objective markers. It's nice information, thought I'd love to see more of this kind of hobby advice (maybe in an ebook coming soon?).
Warzone: Armageddon - 50 pages
The next section of the Apocalypse book was really unexpected. They've included the first in a series of new supplements called Warzones, which will be historical Apocalypse campaigns from the history of the 40 universe. Warzone: Armageddon follows the Third War for Armageddon; the fierce battle between the Imperium and the ork warlord Ghazghkull Thraka's union of hundreds of ork warbands.
This section of the book is a fantastic read. Of course, there is background information on the sector and its bloody history, including full color pictures of Imperial and Ork heraldry, maps, character bios, and even basic information on the Titan Legions involved.
Background is nice, but then they give us some battles to play. First, they give us one historical mission: the Breakout from Volcanus. This mission is pretty in-depth and gives a specific battlefield layout to play on and specific forces that were used for the Imperium and Ork sides. Obviously, you don't have to use the exact forces listed here, but it was neat that they provided a guideline. They even have a fold-out photograph of their battle in progress.
Beyond that there are three more "generic" missions with an Armageddon flare. The only stipulation is that one army must be composed of Imperial units and the other with Ork units. The missions are called:
- The Boiling Seas - Orks make a shore invasion to surprised Imperial defenders.
- The Season of Fire - using the new Season of Fire unnatural disaster table.
- The Rok - Imperial units can gain victory points by destroying an ork Rok transport.
There are some new Armageddon dangerous terrain features and two new Unnatural Disasters listed, to give the battles a distinct flair. On top of that, there are new Armageddon Strategic Assets, Finest Hours, and even Formations such as the Black Templar's Sons of Grimaldus or Snikrot's Red Skull Kommandos.
The only thing missing is any kind of campaign system. My theory is that Apocalypse battles take long enough, trying to tie multiple Apocalypse battles into any kind of week-by-week campaign may just be too much to figure out . . . or at least to include in a book already this full. Despite any mechanics for linked-battles or campaign resources, I really liked this section of the book. If I can find enough Ork players, I think this might be the first battle we play.
What part of Apocalypse battles draws you in?
Appendices - 12 pages
The book finishes up by giving us a few pages of background on the Titan Legions and Ork Stompas, just fluff about various titan types and battles. Next we have several pages of reference tables, pretty much every table in the book is repeated here. Then there is a page with dimensions for the Apocalypse templates and then an Index.
That's about it . . . except for it isn't! There is so much in this book, that I probably have a dozen more articles that I will be writing explaining different parts in more detail. Check back at this article for live links as they appear to get more in-depth analysis on Formations, Datasheets, and Strategic Assests, and more.
So thank you for reading, check back often, and check out some of my other 6th edition Warhammer 40k articles linked to below. Drop a comment down below and let me know what you're looking forward to the most. Maybe I'll write that article next!