|"Full stride!" Legio Mortis moves to engage some deluded "loyalists" during a game of "Adeptus Titanicus"|
The Scenario & Set Up
|Poster featuring the official spokesperson for Legio Mortis...|
Each side had three Titans - one Warlord, one Reaver and one Warhound. The Warlords were the beautiful new models from the box set, while the Reavers and Warhounds you see here are private sculpts, not commercially available (which is why they are so small - but it still worked fine overall). GW has released a Reaver model, and I expect the Warhounds will be out before too long.
|Preliminary deployments complete - Loyalists at the top of the photo, Rebels at the bottom - and the Imperial Governor's facility in the middle (planetary officials likely cowering in a sub-basement).|
The table was 4' x 4' - I wanted to a) test the assertion by the designers that the game worked well on a smaller space b) ensure we had room on the tables for the nice, but cumbersome, "terminals", and c) have the Titans killing each other right from the first turn...
Missiles flew! Reactor were pushed! Machine spirits were awakened! Orders were issued! In all, we managed to play five turns before folks had to call it a night, and...none of the Titans were knocked out!?
|Legio Mortis Warlord providing covering fire|
But the lads were rolling hot with both saving throws (meaning the Void shields hung around longer than expected) and had good luck with the reactor dice, meaning that reactors were pushed, but there were no melt-down incidents, which was a disappointment for me, but good news for the Titan crews :)
|Dave's Warhound tried to find some cover amid the buildings, but John's loyalist Warhound was hunting it down as the game ended.|
|Final dispositions - you can see the Warlords hardly moved, while the duelling Reavers were closing in on each other in the middle.|
In the end, the game was a stalemate, although both Reavers were going to need some time in the repair docks...
Thoughts On The Rules & Other Ephemera
Overall, I really like the new game. The rules are fun and clever - so often the case with GW rules that are not 40k rules. It was our first time playing, and I'm sure we missed opportunities for nuance and perhaps some clever tactics which might come with more experience, but really in a first game like this you want to get used to the basics first while enjoying the models, and this was a good chance to do just that.
|Reaver moves to engage the enemy...hopefully before being blown to bits - this fellow lost his shields many times, and suffered a couple of critical hits...but he was still upright at the end of the game!|
I'll start with the dice. With the new box set, you get a whole set of really nice dice! Some are superfluous - like custom D6s (you will already have a ton of those, but I'm a sucker for dice with logos in place of the "6", so, nice to have). A couple of D10s. Fine. Nice to have, but I already have a bunch of those too. BUT, there are the order dice...specific to the game, good to have (I could improvise with the old order dice from Epic or Battlefleet Gothic, but there are a couple specific symbols for Adeptus Titanicus, so good to have). Then, there is the hit location dice. Oh, and the scatter dice. Oh - and these are very important - the reactor dice.
What is the problem, you say? They are all the same !@#!@#ing colour! It is a huge pain to try and pick the hit location dice out of the order dice, or find the reactor dice or scatter dice. Yes, generally, be careful and organized with your dice on the table, but come on! One of the best lines from the game last night was the deadpan suggestion by one of the guys that GW keep the dice the same colour in order to try and keep the cost of the game down....ROFL.
|Warhound hunting prey...|
Ok. Enough about dice. How about the table size? Well, whatever the rules designers claim in the book, a 4' x 4' table size is kinda lame for this game. Even a small number of Titans should spread out into a more standard 6' x 4', in order to give the Princeps - particularly those commanding the towering Warlord Titans - a reason to maneuver a little. Between the "Apocalypse Missile Launchers" and the "Bellicosa Volcano Cannons" the Warlords had little reason to move, even with the intervening buildings on the table, thanks to the very long range of the weapons.
So you need more room. This brings me to the "terminals". They are very nice, yes they are! But they consume substantial wargaming-table real estate - we only had a total of six Titans in action, and the space the "terminals" took up was a not-insubstantial pain in the ass. When combined with the need - in my opinion - for at least a 6' x 4' gaming surface, you will need to make accommodations for your gaming space to deal with this if you want to play this game, . This may, or may not, be a big deal depending on where and how you game, but plan for it. The "terminals" will need to be somewhere the players can see them and keep track of them as they move the markers.
|The "terminals" for "Adeptus Titanicus" - very pretty, but they soak up a LOT of space in your gaming table/area.|
Now I pick on GW a lot, for a lot of good reasons - and dumb writing is a good reason. But dumb writing is hardly limited to GW. Go try and read about forming squares in the first edition of the "Black Powder" rules, or the patrol phase in "Chain of Command", or to understand just about any basic aspect of "Tomorrow's War"...and those are all excellent rule sets (try them all!)...bad writing happens, no matter the intentions. It is almost always a product of the fact that game rules are written and reviewed by those that developed and tested them...so when the rules are proof-read, well, it will all seem obvious, as you already know the rules, right? This leads to baffling explanations of simple concepts, or concepts which are not explained, because those who proof-read assumed others would know the rules as well as they do. I know this is an issue, because I do this all the time in my day-to-day work, and our business is constantly trying to guard against the problems it can cause...problems like the "blast" rule in "Adeptus Titanicus".
Those of us who have played GW games over the years have experienced many of the little variances they inflict on how to use weapons that use the round blast effect templates. The core elements are consistent - a round template, a direction dice, and a dice (or number of dice) for the "scatter". The GW "scatter dice" itself is almost ubiquitous in every gaming collection.
These core components have been consistent over the years, but the specific steps involved in using them always seem to be something the rules writers at GW feel compelled to fiddle with - they can't seem to help themselves, and each new edition/new rule set that makes use of these same basic tools always has some slight difference in process.
And so, the explanation of the "Blast" special rule for weapons on p. 38 of "Adeptus Titanicus" could be part of a court filing by one of President Trump's lawyers...I would share the whole section here, but I don't want to be sued by GW, so I'll limit it to one quote:
"Then, check to see whether the central hole is within range and arc. If it is not within arc, the shot is wasted and has no effect. If it is not within range, do not roll To Hit - each shot will scatter as follows:"
The section goes on to explain a scatter mechanism any GW gamer would be familiar with. Which is fine. It notes that even a "hit" result on the scatter die is still a scatter (using the little arrow on the "hit" symbol - again, a familiar GW mechanism). But...what about if the the shot IS within arc AND within range?
I wish I could tell you. Do you just make a ballistic skill shot like normal? Do you still use the scatter die, but count the "hit" symbol as a hit, with no scatter? I don't know, and the rules, as far as I can tell, seem to assume you just know what to do...so they don't specify.
This came up a lot last night, as the Volcano Cannons are "Blast" weapons, so every time the Warlords opened fire, we needed to go through this..I ended up forcing the guys to use the scatter die process regardless, and then still rolling to hit with their ballistic skill after. Which, now that I think about it, is kinda dumb, and surely wrong...but I'm not sure what I should have done, at least by the letter of the rules...
Further confusion - if you get the centre of the blast marker over the model, it counts as two "hits"...yet the Volcano cannon is listed as getting 1 die for attacks - so do you still get two dice if you land the centre of the template, or does that "1" in this instance mean only one template? I'm not sure.
And this issue is really forced to the forefront, because all you have for your Warlords right now are Volcano Cannons! I feel I must again express frustration at how GW saw fit to only include a single weapon load out in the Warlord kit, which retails for over $200 CAD. For now at least, we are stuck with these stupid Volcano Cannons on our Warlords...so I need to figure this out.
What did I do wrong here? I'm sure my approach was the wrong one. Is there an official answer? Did I miss a page where this was explained (this is possible - I am quite dense!) - let me know, fellow gamers...
For Next Time
|Huge Warlord Titan for Legio Gryphonicus in action last night.|
Still, after last night, I can see how the Knights must be important in this game. With their ability to maneuver, the Knights might get close enough to cause some serious aggravation to the other side. I may never embrace the stupid Knight Households ("Oh look, here comes Lord Humperfeather from House Pony-tickles"), but I had better get those Knights painted up - a couple banners will add a neat dynamic to the next "Adeptus Titanicus" game.
So there was some venting here, but again - the bottom line, I certainly enjoyed the game, and I hope the other fellows did too. I look forward to more games of "Adeptus Titanicus" through the end of the year! Overall it's a neat set of rules, and Titans blasting each other to bits is a lot of fun.
Big thanks to Dallas for hosting, and to Dallas, Byron, Dave and John for playing last night. The reactors are powered down for now, but I hope we can try the game again sometime soon!