Apocalypse Un-Boxing - Thanks Goldmine Games!

Hello Readers,
I know I have been away for awhile and you have my apologies.

I am back, and I have the new Apocalypse Game in my hands, and I will walk you through some of the cooler items in the game...

Thanks to Goldmine Games for promptly getting my copy to me on Saturday at the opening bell!

I bought the main game, a set of cards for the IMPERIAL GUARD (I don't know what this "Astra Militarum" stuff is), and what I thought was an "extra set" of Command Cards. 

There is a TON of stuff in the box, and I won't provide an exact count here, but WOW, tokens, tokens, and more tokens. There are more than enough for...
1. Marking Commanders and Units that are "Out of Command"
2. Orders - Aim, Advance, Assault
3. Blasts - Small and Large
4. Damage/Wounds
5. Objectives

Then Cards, Cards, and more Cards...
300 in all, split between factions and subfactions, then some cards work for multiple factions, and a large number of "universal" cards.

These cards are buffs and special events that you throw in to randomize the action. They are pretty fun to look through and imagine the in game effects, and I can tell you from just the 2 games I have played, the effects do not disappoint.

There is a problem though, I'll get to that in a minute..

But first! The Data Cards...
The data cards for the factions are nicely printed and presented, but they do not include any Forgeworld units and the sheets themselves are available as a free download, so not really an essential item, and since I use a lot of Forgeworld stuff, the card deck feels incomplete. YMMV.

The Command Asset Cards, the Expansion, and the problem...

You see, there are no duplicates in the set that comes with the starter, and everywhere I read, this was supposed to be "the extra set" so each side in a game could pull from their own deck.


This is an "Expansion Deck". It has no cards in common with the base set.  Now, don't get me wrong, the new cards are cool and include the "Vortex" missile (shown above), and who doesn't like a battle with Warp Energy being flung around like cheap movie popcorn?


How do you divide these cards between players/sides in a game?
Now I admit, this is a non-issue when both side have a copy of Apocalypse and Expansion Command Cards, but Games Workshop said I only need one copy of the game, so they started it...

The rulebook says each side/player is supposed to build a deck of 30 cards. These cards come from the faction specific and universal cards. 
Now, let's assume (to explain by example)  you are preparing to play a game of Space Marines versus Tyranids. The Space Marine player will pull some of his deck from the Space Marine specific cards and then want a few (or a dozen) from the universal cards to comprise his deck of 30. Same for the Tyranid player (except, of course, he will use Tyranid specific cards).
The rules say the players will make a common pile of the universal cards they each want and then shuffle and deal them out evenly to each faction..


How does this work? How do we determine "common" wants? The rules offer no further detail. Do I pick first, and then my opponent goes through my universal picks? That seems like a big advantage... he gets a peek at the part of my deck made up of the universal cards and pulls stuff that's really valuable to me.

Also, after we split the common wants, the players' decks are no longer composed of 30 cards. Do I pick again? Do I have to let my opponent examine my new picks and create a new common pile? Do we just start the game with <30 cards? Again, the rules offer no explanation.

Worse yet, take a step back to the common pile. If we deal those cards out between us, and since now my deck is short, can I go back into his deck to look for my second choices?

I think the simple solution is to shuffle the universal cards and deal out the common cards into 2 piles BEFORE ANY PICKS ARE MADE. One pile for each player, then each player picks through their half to complete their deck. What's left from each pile, let's call those the unwanteds.
The players switch unwanted piles, and they can trade out any cards from their deck if they find something more useful to them from their opponent's unwanteds.

Like I said, not a problem if each side has a copy, but GW made the claim 1 box of Apoc was enough to run a game. There are "enough" cards, but there needs to be a much more detailed explanation of how to "share" cards. I sense a "clarification" coming very quickly.

Ok, hands down, this game is really, really fun.
Stuff moves, dies, alternating turn order and crazy rando stuff happening with the Command Cards, it offers the complete experience.

The mechanic where damage effects are calculated at the end of the turn is brilliant.. you get scenes like this...
Everybody is dishing out the damage. All those blast markers are the hits and wounds inflicted through the turn. THEN, at then end, everyone attempts their saves, and effects are resolved...

Holy bejeesus!

I highly recommend getting Apoc if you like big battles, with the qualification about the Command Cards, I think this is a really well done an thought out game from GW.

Let me know if you fine folks have any questions...
Thanks for looking!


  1. First off "WELCOME BACK!!!!" I have the Apocalypse book one and two, my plan is to convert it to Stargrunt II system for my hordes of 15s . You think this might be worth my while to pick up?

    1. Thanks Don!
      If you are looking for a tactical wargame, this will not really fit the bill, if OTOH you are looking for something cinematic this is perfect. The cards not only disrupt the cation, the are descriptive, so from a "Narrative Game" standpoint it plays very strong.

      Don't get me wrong , there are many decision points, and good planning does pay off (it's not completely random) but it plays more like Star Wars Episode 1, Battle of Naboo, than the Battle of Hoth in "Empire Strikes Back.

      Does that make sense?

    2. Yeah that sounds right for what I intend to do, thanks!

  2. Welcome back mate, & I'll start by saying its not at all like GW to goof things up on the rules side of things ;) I think the solution you present is the way to go & tbh I think using the one deck between the two players is a better way then each having his own, as you'll never be sure for what cards you'll get.

    1. One set of cards would definitely further randomize the action.
      I think even moreso, you could determine how much influence the cards have on the game.
      Two separate sets - full influence
      One set - less influence
      One set, only common pile - least influence.

      ...and you could set the chaos to taste ;)

  3. Thanks for the review Maj!

    Assuming that the card issue specified above is zero-sum, do you reckon this version of Apocalypse would work for smaller armies, for example a two player game using standard 40k tournament forces (1500 or 2000pts, or whatever that value is currently)?

    What about a four player game, each with a fairly standard 40k army?

    I'm always interested in something that gives the thematic fix in a shorter period of time, but if that reduces decision making below a certain level its not worth it.

    This edition looks like potentially far more fun than previous versions. It's tempting.

    1. It would work for standard 2,000 point 40k Army. Think of the base mechanics like "Kings of War". It is element based and the combat steps are abstracted up a level.

      However, you are going to want to reconfigure a 40k army somewhat. Essentially, you draw a Command card for every Detachment (well, for each Detachment that has a Character in Command). The result is that he game encourages breaking up that 40k Army into several smaller Detachments to get more Combat Cards.

      Also, "Special Weapons" are essentially abstracted out, but "Heavy Weapons" become more important. There are other small details like that. So, yes a 40k Army is a viable force, but reconfigured somewhat.

      It's a blast. The cards really bring back some of the RT feel since the effects are jarring enough to pull you out of the "Plan, Execute, React" mindset of a "serious" tactical game.

      4 players, each with a regular 40k army would make a great game.

    2. Thanks for answering my questions MG. I split the cost of a set with a buddy today, hopefully there is some fun to be had there :)

  4. Hey! You are back!

    And thanks for the overview of the game. Maybe the way to solve the problem is to draft cards? I.e. make a mega deck, split it into the number of segments equal to players, everyone takes a card, pass the segment to the left and continue until you end up with 30 cards?

    1. Yep, I'm back. I've been gaming, just haven't been able to put it to the keyboard.
      I think your idea would work as well as mine. You just have to make sure what constitutes the "Draft Deck" .

      Like if you have a psyker and I don't, then "universal" Psychic Powers shouldn't be in the deck, since the only reason I would take them is to keep them from you. But if we both have Psykers then those cards should be in the Draft Deck.

      ..and so on..

      Good to hear from you and it's good to be back.


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