If you didn't see the news on Saturday, Apocalypse is back and it's bigger than ever! New engines of war such as the Tesseract Vault and the Khorne Lord of Skulls tear up the battlefield, massive fortifications and gun emplacements lay waste to encroaching armies and new formations march to war to bring death and destruction to their foes. On top of all the new models there's also a new set of rules for playing Apocalypse battles, all of which are contained within the Apocalypse Rulebook.
An Apocalypse battle is your opportunity to play a massive game using as many of your Warhammer 40,000 miniatures as you can feasibly fit on the battlefield. Many of us have pretty large collections of miniatures and the thought of several vast armies on one big gaming table can seem a little daunting. Apocalypse is designed to make such huge games not only immensely fun, but easy to play too, allowing you to bathe in the carnage of war and enjoy yourself rather than worry about logistics.
One of the big additions to Apocalypse battles are super-heavy vehicles. Such huge war machines make for excellent army centrepieces and look great alongside any army. The Apocalypse Rulebook includes datasheets for all of these behemoths, including the Baneblade, the Tesseract Vault and the Khorne Lord of Skulls, plus even more formation datasheets for Forge World models such as Warhound Titans and Revenant Titans. These mighty war machines carry some of the most powerful weapons in Warhammer 40,000, some of them so powerful, in fact, that they require much larger blast templates, like the one with the 15-inch diameter below.
With such devastating firepower tearing up the battlefield it makes you feel a bit sorry for the humble troopers that make up the majority of your army. Fortunately Apocalypse isn't just about big guns. Strategic Assets are chosen by each player at the start of the game, allowing you to call down orbital bombardments, throw up force fields or summon daemonic allies to your cause. They're entertaining additions to the game that, when played at the right time, can mean the difference between victory and defeat.
Your Warlords also get some interesting bonuses in the form of the Finest Hour special rule. There's nothing quite so inspiring as a mighty hero directing the battle from the front line, taking the fight to the enemy and leaving ruination in their wake. That is their Finest Hour. On top of their normal Warlord Trait, your Warlord has access to Exemplar Traits, which boost their fighting prowess and tactical skills immeasurably. Just make sure your commander survives their Finest Hour though, because nothing is less inspiring to the troops than seeing their commander blow to smithereens.
Another fun addition is Divine Intervention - when the gods themselves take interest in your battle. To win their approval you'll have to exemplify your army on the battlefield; the forces of Chaos must murder everything in their path to attract the attention of the Dark Gods, while Imperial Forces are granted the Emperor's protection when enough of them die. It's a clever rule that changes the dynamic of the latter stages of the game, enabling your troops to fight harder and better in the closing stages of the engagement so that they go out with a bang rather than a whimper. That can be especially useful, as the longer the game lasts, the more dangerous the Unnatural Disasters will become. Apocalypse battles really are the final conflict that determines the fate of a world and weapons are brought to bear that could, in theory, destroy the entire planet. This is why many Apocalypse battles are fought in the midst of swirling psychic storms, meteor strikes, volcanic eruptions or even an Exterminatus. You can see the effect that a total seismic collapse has on our battlefield in July's White Dwarf battle report.