So, today I took part in an apoc game, which our side lost (as I anticipated) and before this comes across as griping, might I say that I enjoyed the day overall. I am not saying it was a wasted day or that the host was wrong in his approach. He took steps to simplify the game so that the less experienced players could easily take part, and that is his right to do when he is hosting.
I just want to say it felt like a sixth ed apoc game... and revisiting the old style made me more appreciative of the new.
We all remember the old apoc style. Several turns of beating the crap out of each other followed by a last minute dash for the objectives. Well for this scenario we'd be playing with no objectives, just kill points... so while the last minute objective grab was out, the several turns of kicking the crap out of each other would be familiar. Now with three ork players (hordes of cheap easy kill models, that are cheap so you have plenty of them) against a primarily Space Marine opponent (so, fewer much harder to kill models that are more expensive) one of whom we knew had many knights to act as point sinks... This is why I was sceptical about our chances from the moment I got the scenario. For example, I brought 31 units, if I remember correctly. My opponent on the flank I was driving down had 13. Five of these were knights, two were Land Raiders, and one was the hardly easily dispatched Logan Grimnar.
Yet again strength D proved to be too strong for my liking in this game, and when the enemy had 6 strength D shooting attacks per turn, 6 str D combat units, and 8 str D stomping units, against our paltry 2 str D combat/str D stomping units, we were most definitely outgunned in this department, as aptly demonstrated when the Stompa with a 4++ save and 10 hull points evaporated from a single salvo of ONE of the Eldar titans weapons. Far too many of the kill points our team gave away were from cheap characters that were trying to protect our flimsy vehicles... a 15 point mek to try to repair a hull point a turn on a 5+ seems a good idea, but when the Stompa blowing up means the 45 points of "unit" you had inside gifts the enemy as many points as the Stompa did, you aren't looking so clever after all.
Reducing this game to Kill Points also robbed the game of some of the tricky decisions. When you are winning in Strategic objective points by 5 to 3, you might consider sacrificing a point to activate a powerful strategic asset, but you may also decide it isn't worth the risk. When points are flowing so freely, sacrificing a point for an orbital bombardment is a no brainer. If that bombardment kills a single truk it has earned it's points back, any more is a bonus. The final score was 89-73 in the end I believe... do you think any of us would have balked at paying a point for a bombardment there? But if you are leading 5-3 going into the final turn, knowing that unless you get ridiculously lucky and cap either a super heavy or a warlord with that bombardment, you are definitely sacrificing points, then you need to weigh up the decision against what you hope to tactically achieve. If the strategic resource frees your warlord from a combat he is destined to lose, then by all means, that is worth it. If it's just to kill some enemy stuff in the back corner, well how much can they do anyway?
What I love about 7th edition is the move to Maelstrom games, which has you bouncing around from one tactical objective to another, rather than simply trying to steamroller your opponent. Apoc in this edition is similar... sure the objectives are fixed, but the fluidity of the battle may make you decide that one is easier to get than another, especially if you can All Out Attack a unit halfway across the board to intervene in a situation and stop an objective from falling into enemy hands. It is this tactical challenge that I missed today. It went back to being the old target priority game. What can kill me most? Right, kill that first. I had a unit of grots survive the entire game, something they rarely do in a game where they can sit on an objective and serve a purpose. In this game, they were beneath the attention of most people (the only casualties they took all game from when a basilisk shot missed it's target and hit them instead.)
Anyway, there were some highlights to the game for me. My meganobs charging a Stormlord turn 1 and annihilating it in one round of combat was fun. The survivors then charging across and having a go at an invisible warhound was entertaining too (damn invisibility, would have mullered it if that trick hadn't reduced me from 23/25 hits to 5!) Lysander then bounding in to save the titan was fun, the first round of combat going my way thanks to Ghaz 2++ save, but then the second round, invulnerable-less (and shanked for a couple of wounds by an Avatar of Khaine it has to be said) finished Ghaz off, but not before he could deal Lysander a death blow or two... Interrupting HIS finest hour, getting our team a bonus point, which admittedly was kinda lost in such a high scoring game... I also enjoyed my Big Mek flipping a Knight off the table (thankfully, otherwise the reactor overload would have likely ended him and his buddies!) and the inescapable ineptitude of one Imperial sniper who I'm pretty sure achieved NOTHING all game, despite having several chances where "ooh that guy is down to one wound, sniper him and finish him o... oh. you missed." It WAS an enjoyable day.
I just don't miss the old style. And anyone who wants to pine to me about the good old days, I'll be the first to set them straight.
Apart from templates and blasts hitting multiple floors of buildings. Yeah that one I don't know what GW were doing...