I got to play Apocalypse for the first time in ages over the weekend. I might get into what I brought (3,855 points of painted Dark Angels, 145 of unpainted Dark Angels) and how it went (tied); we’ll have to see. Mostly, the undertaking was an exercise in making clear how essential planning is with an Apocalypse game.
One of the problems we ran into was with what I’m going to call First Turn Deployment. What I’m talking about is how half of the Drop Pods in a Space Marine army and half of the Deep Striking Terminators in a Dark Angels army don’t actually get deployed at the start the game on the table, but instead get to enter the game at the beginning of the first turn. Chaos Daemons are the ultimate example of this, in that they don’t even get to choose to start models on the table and, instead, must Deep Strike half of their army during their turn.
One of the players was relatively new to the game and was playing Chaos Daemons. Their team bid 10 minutes to deploy…. which ultimately became nearly an hour and a half as the Daemon player took over an hour to Deep Strike their initial wave of troops into the battle.
Mind you, this was unintentional. The Daemon player wasn’t trying to take all morning putting their troops down, and she wasn’t trying to abuse the bid/deployment rules. It just ended up that way.
It is a problem, however, because Apocalypse needs to move… and frankly it’s unreasonable for a Daemon army to be able to bid zero minutes (ensuring that they go first) and then spend 45 minutes actually deploying their troops. So, I’ve come up with two solutions (and have been presented with a related Apocalypse house rule that also addresses this):
If you have units that are placed on the table after initial deployment or at the start of your first turn, you may not spend more time on these deployments than you bid for your initial deployment.
I’ve expanded the initial wording a little bit to account for Infiltration.
If your team bids 10 minutes to deploy, they get 10 minutes to do their initial setup and then 10 minutes to do any first turn deployment. This is still a good deal, as it effectively doubles your deployment time, but it does cap how long you can spend.
If you have units that are placed on the table after initial deployment or at the start of your first turn, the amount of time you bid to deploy is shared between your initial deployment and and subsquent “first turn” deployments.
This one is significantly more restrictive but even more fair, I think, to players without first turn deployments. If you bid, for example, 25 minutes to deploy and take 20 minutes doing your initial deployment… then you only have 5 minutes to do any first turn deployments.
suggested the third option, which is what’s in use at Games Workshop stores during their megabattles. It doesn’t explicitly address this issue, but it does cover it.
Players have a set amount of time per turn. Bringing in units past the initial deployment counts against that time.
In other words, if you take too long doing your first turn deployment you won’t have time to shoot, run or assault.
This is certainly the easiest to implement but seems a mite punitive towards armies like Daemons who really don’t have a choice about the first turn deployment thing.
That said, there is something very attractive about turn time limits. If we’d gone with 30 minute turns, we’d have gotten 6 rounds in instead of 3… but sometimes it simply isn’t feasible. (If we’d gone for 30 minute turns, this weekend’s game would have been a complete disaster.)
What do people think? Alternative approaches to this problem?