Games Workshop’s new version of Apocalypse goes up for pre-order this weekend, and I’m a bit intrigued by it.

Where previous versions of Apocalypse were expansions for Warhammer 40000, this time it is an entirely new game system designed to handle huge games quickly. Based on the previews, Apocalypse will play a lot different than 40k in order to allow games with huge numbers of miniatures in a reasonable game length. Entire units share a wounds characteristic so that players won’t remove models from a squad to mark casualties. For example, an entire tactical squad with 5 marines only has 1 wound in Apocalypse. The turn structure is also drastically different than 40k with activations alternating by detachment and all damage being applied at the end of a round. That seems intended to remove some of the first turn advantage present with 40k’s turn structure and it also seems like it will introduce some ambiguity in when a player has put enough wounds on a big model to actually take it down since the saves are made at the end of the round too.

All of the datasheets for units in Apocalypse are available as free pdf downloads here. I was surprised to see how many units were included with units like Gellerpox Infected, Elucidian Starstriders, and Blackstone Fortress explorers all getting stats for the new game. The Warhammer Community site has also been publishing per-faction previews here. If your curious about the game, I recommend checking out both of those.

The datasheets are more of a departure from 40k datasheets than Kill Team’s datasheets. A lot of this is due to the game’s scale with entire units acting like single models, but other classic parts of the stat line have changed too. For example, rather than comparing a weapon’s strength against a target’s toughness, weapons now have SAP (Strength against Personnel) and SAT (Strength against Tanks) stats with no need for toughness values. Saves for units have also been adjusted so that they represent the mix of armor, invulnerable saves, and toughness in a single stat.

For balance, Apocalypse is using a system where each unit has a points cost. The costs look similar to 40k’s power levels, but have a bit more places where wargear options change a unit’s cost than I remember seeing in 40k power level. My 1500pt army of Fulminators primaris marines ends up as a 87pt force in Apocalypse.

Fulminators

  • Captain Adtonitus – HQ – Primaris Captain – 6
  • Lieutenant Zephrus – HQ – Primaris Lieutenant – 4
  • Lieutenant Tempus – HQ – Primaris Lieutenant – 4
  • 2nd Company, Squad I – Troops – Intercessor Squad – 6
  • 2nd Company, Squad II – Troops – Intercessor Squad – 6
  • 2nd Company, Squad III – Troops – Intercessor Squad – 6
  • 2nd Company, Squad V – Elites – Aggressor Squad – 8
  • Brother Allus – Elites – Primaris Ancient – 4
  • Brother Audric – Elites – Redemptor Dreadnought – 11
  • 2nd Company, Squad VIII – Fast Attack – Inceptor Squad – 11
  • 2nd Company, Squad X – Heavy Support – Hellblaster Squad – 7
  • Repulsor – Dedicated Transport – Repulsor – 14

I’m still undecided on whether I’ll pick up a copy of Apocalypse. While the rules sound interesting, I’m not sure whether I’d want to play much with that number of miniatures. Most of my 40k armies are in the 1000-1500pts range, so the only real Apocalypse-scale force I could muster would be mixed Imperium. Mixing my space marines, imperial guard, adeptus mechanicus, and knights would definitely be a force worthy of Apocalypse, but I also kind of dread packing and carrying that number of miniatures to a game. I wonder how well the game system will work with multiple players on each side since that might be a way to make it easier to get together enough miniatures for a huge battle.

From a game design perspective, I am really enjoying seeing the adaptations to 40k’s rules that have shown up in Kill Team and Apocalypse. I’m curious how many of them originated as potential directions for 8th edition that ended up not being used and whether we’ll see any of them carry forward into 40k’s next edition some time in the future.

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