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40k Apocalypse Review- Wow This Game Got Real!

6 Minute Read
Jul 16 2013

The wait is over, the Apocalypse is NOW!

The new Apocalypse release ends five years of waiting on new rules and heck we even got some new models out of it to boot!

I had chance to really dig into the Apocalypse book over the weekend, and get to know the new slightly more complicated rules, and checkout all the new model kits too.

I even managed to play with a large host of my Eldar Army in a big game that was hosted at the Games Workshop Bowie Battle Bunker for the new release!

Sometimes you just have to push around some models for things to start to fall into place with a new rules set. This book seemed pretty complicated at first, but when the dice got rolling everything seemed to go smoothly (which was a huge relief for me cause I love Apocalypse)!


So the book itself is 287 pages long (which is smaller than the main 40k rulebook), and is written by veteran game designers Jervis Johnson and Phil Kelly (Jervis was the only credit on the expansion “Battle for Pandorax” supplement that was included with the collectors edition).

It’s the first hard-cover rules expansion for Sixith Edition Warhammer 40k, once again with a $75 MSRP just like the main rules set.

In this book the “Apocalypse format” is pretty much re-introduced for a new generation of gamer, and updated to flow with the current Sixth Edition rules set.

Either way it’s a great read and even if you don’t play Apocalypse, it may be worth it to pick one up for the all of the fluff inside on pivotal battles, Heroes / Enemies of the Imperium, and all the big stuff you rarely get to see outside the internet and Games Days.



The book itself is divided into seven sections; an “Introduction to Apocalypse” followed by the “The Rules of Engagement” which dives into how to set up games, the new mission special rules as well as the missions themselves. Unit Entries are presented in the “Apocalypse Formations”, followed by the “Datasheets”section where all the unit combinations that can be fielded for specific in game bonuses are contained.

Next up is the “Miniatures and Hobby Showcase” again the obligatory painted model showcase to inspire us, and finally “War Zone Armageddon” which contains specific rules, and datasheets for that War Zone in particular.  In the very back is the Appendices which take up a respectable ten or so pages but however do not come with fold out reference aids.

With this book, the fluff is pretty much located in each datasheet’s entry, and Armageddon section contains a ton of information more about the wars fought there as well.

What’s New About Apocalypse
The cool thing about the new Apocalypse is that the game designers really expanded on some of the staple aspects of the game from the last edition.

Strategic Assets Cards are back, as well as Datasheets, “D” weapons,  and the ridiculously large damage templates we all love to hate in game.

New to this edition are Formations, Strategic Victory Points, Objectives and “Game Breaks”.  They also tweaked the “D” weapon criteria as to just how damage is received now as well.


Winning Duh…
Now in order to win you need to amass Strategic Victory Points but doing fun things like killing super heavies, holding objectives, or fulfilling special missions from your units’ datasheets.

This victory point system is very similar how you score normal games of 40k, but in a neat little twist instead of using those points to work out a victor to the game, you can spend them to bring back destroyed units or activate certain “Strategic Assets”.

For the Emperor, Gork (or possibly Mork), the Chaos Gods and the Greater Good?
Well that was quite a statement indeed.

In Apocalypse your army can benefit from a one time ability bestowed on them by their supreme deity if certain battlefield conditions are met.  It’s a pretty neat mechanic that will undoubtedly be invoked in many a big game over.

It’s My Party..
Each Warlord has the chance to activate, once per game, a personal ability that while similar to the warlord traits system in 40k, really takes it to the next level. Plus there are special charts for Astartes (both loyal and traitor) to roll on to call upon their primarch’s unique skill set to help them in their finest hour.

Form On Me…
Now there are almost ten different types of Formations, which are basically a way of introducing Force Organisation for Datasheets into Apocalypse.

The Symbol in the upper right corner of each of these datasheets notates what type of Formation these sheets benefit from. In this example these entries are a “Battle Formation” and a “Psychic Choir” respectively.

Think of it like this- a Space Marine Command Squad is an HQ in 40k, but in Apocalypse that same squad would be bigger/ more important gamewise and classified as a “High Command”. It would get special bonuses for being a “High Command” like being able to order a single unit to move triple it’s speed in the movement phase and still being able to assault the same turn, etc.

And is that’s not enough, tanks formations (as well as flyer wings) now have special “Attack Patterns” that they can perform to gain abilities like “Tank Hunter” or “Preferred Enemy” during their turn as well.  The list goes on from there, but you get the idea I’m sure.

Where’s the Tech?
Strategic Assets (available as a convenient pack of cards) make a return as well this time around, but now to activate some of them you must decided to spend precious “Strategic Victory Points” on them in order to activate them.  What will you choose to do?


Wait How Big Did You Say?
The new Apocalypse template is FIFTEEN inches in diameter, and encompasses five, seven, ten, and fifteen inch blast rings into interesting mechanics for damage.

The Apocalyptic Barrage template can now be clipped together and then be positioned to make whatever pattern you see fit before scattering it onto it’s hapless victims.

Interestingly enough, the Hellstorm template hasn’t changed and is about the same size as last edition.

So Stuff Just Dies Then?
The new rules for “D” weapons in Apocalypse are pretty nasty. No longer do you get any sort of save or roll (besides “Look out Sir” which rarely works IMHO) to try to save your models from certain death.  “D” Weapons have their own damage output chart now, and you will find yourself praying that your opponent’s roll a one for their result so your men can emerge relatively unscathed from the ordeal.

From Last to First..
Super Heavies are immune to petty things that would normally disable or slow down lesser sized vehicles. They no longer suffer shaken, stunned, immobilized, or weapon destroyed results. They also now have a set value of “hull points” roughly equal to older versions’ “structure points” times three, that are subtracted when they take glancing or penetrating hits.  But be warned however, when they lose their final hull point, they’re may be hell to pay as the resulting explosion scatters, then is measured FIFTEEN inches in diameter.


Happy Modeling! -MBG

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