Playing EPIC Armageddon at Guildford Games Club

Hi, I’m Dave and I play Epic Armageddon at the GGC. I’m putting together this article to try and encourage more people to play this great game and maybe perhaps entice some more people from outside the club to come on down and give it a go.

But, who am I and why do you care what I have to say? I used to play Warhammer back when I was a teenager but I gave up on it when I headed off to University and got a job and all that life stuff. After a while though I ended up getting the itch to play a wargame again and went looking for something to suit my needs. I wanted something that had lots of options and strategic play but with a – comparatively – low cost and that would not take up too much space to store.

I went looking for 10 and 6mm games as those would give me plenty of models for a decent price and would be pretty easy to fit a big army into a shoe box or cake tin, perfect!

Then I found a 6mm game that mixed those perks with a setting I already knew and had enjoyed before so I set out to try and find a game.

I reached out to the GGC (as they were local to me) and found that there were a few players about and jumped right in under the tutelage of Matt. Now I own 5 full armies (oops!) and am building another 2 (what is wrong with me…), have played at tournaments (and placed alright) and spent time coming up with different scenarios or ways of integrating other 40k set games into narrative events alongside Epic. Chances are if you want to play Epic at the GGC we’ll have a conversation at some point!

Now enough of my pointless blather, on to the real reason you’re here.

What is Epic Armageddon?

Epic Armageddon is a 6mm scale mass combat game set in the sci-fi (sci-fantasy?) universe of Warhammer 40k from Games Workshop. It’s the most recent incarnation of a set of rules originating in Adeptus Titanicus and Space Marine. It is, however, not that recent. The rules were originally published around 2004, underwent some FAQs and updated for a while and then were dropped by Games Workshop.

The game typically plays out with a player controlling multiple company level formations fighting over objectives on the field with a focus on securing objectives rather than being the last man standing (though being the last man standing does kind of help…). Now, you may be wondering ‘what do you mean by ‘company level formations’?

Let’s take a quick look at a Steel Legion Imperial Guard mechanised infantry company as an example. You get a command stand (5 models), 12 stands of regular infantry (5 models per stand, 60 models total) and 7 chimera to transport them so 65 guardsmen and 7 tanks. Normally you’d have two or more of these companies and then half a dozen or more supporting elements too.

Space Marines might bring 30 tactical marines (6 stands) and three Rhinos as a single formation so fielding entire marine companies from the 1st to the 10th is entirely plausible in a standard game.

Fielding 10-12 formations per player is fairly standard for a game

Basically it does what the Apocalypse style games of WH40k do just with 6mm models and notably less cost!

e9hgrr.jpg

How does it play?

Epic Armageddon plays using an ‘alternating activations’ style turn system where one player chooses one of their formations, gives it an order, resolves that order in its entirety and then passes control over to their opponent who does the same, selecting one of their formations, giving an order, resolving and passing back. Turn continues until all the formations of both players have had a chance to receive and carry out an order and then the turn ends and the cycle begins again. The primary benefit of this system is that it means players are able to more rapidly react to one another’s actions and reduces the time between each player getting to do something.

Most games play out over the course of 3 turns and games usually take 2.5-3 hours to play through.

Scenarios vary the victory conditions but in a standard game players fight over achieving 5 objectives, only one of which requires actively destroying the enemy (though…come one…you brought that big shiny gun so you may as well use it anyway…) while the rest revolve around controlling specific points on the table or denying your opponent access to your half of the table. Broadly this encourages planning out how you will achieve the various objectives and playing to those rather than going for a giant orgy of death in the middle of the board and also diversifies how valuable units are encouraging more choices in army construction.

The resolution of actions such as moving and shooting is nothing revolutionary and should be fairly comfortable to most wargamers and simple to pick up for those new to it. The models stat lines are simplified compared to wh40k and follows trends used by many other games of this scale. It is designed to allow the seamless and balanced interaction of units of very different power and scope within the same force and in opposition to one another covering air, land and space wth units able to enter and leave the table (and return again!) throughout the game.

You roll a small handful of d6s, need to equal or exceed the numbers on your models stat line to have an effect and the opponent rolls a save to not die.

Movement and the control of space on the table is critical and many formations have surprising speed, able to cover 90cm+ in a single activation on a table that is typically 180cm by 120cm thus attacks can be sweeping and quick and forces can reposition in response to threats rapidly thus making the ability to block or control the movement of an opponent with your own (often lighter, scouting) troops essential, especially considering the control of objectives on the table requires board position to achieve.

Psychology is abstracted from the individual unit level and up to the company/formation level through a mechanic called Blast Markers. You accumulate these by taking damage and coming under fire and they represent the confusion, panic and disruption that units face in combat. As your formations accumulate them they degrade in performance and may refuse to follow orders until accumulating too many and withdrawing. As the controlling player you have methods to remove these Blast Markers to restore your formations to combat readiness.

It uses a point system combined with semi-fixed formations and upgrades. By which I mean you don’t buy ‘two leman russ, a basilisk and four imperial guard infantry stands’ to make a formation in a pick and mix style. Instead you’d buy an ‘Imperial Guard Leman Russ Company’ that comes with 9 leman russ and 1 leman russ vanquisher for a fixed number of points and could then add on some upgrades (such as hellhounds for close support, infantry, etc.). The common game sizes are 3000-5000 points and there are some variant rules for playing at particularly small sizes (100pts or so).

Wait, isn’t this game dead?

Yes and no. Yes in that Games Workshop has desupported it after a period of general neglect. No in that the community playing the game has not gone away and has instead taken up the mantle of updating, balancing and producing models for it themselves.

New armies and updated armies are released every year. New 6mm miniatures are produced every year. Tournaments are held consistently, especially in the UK but across the world as well. Communities on facebook and internet forums are alive and well and who know if your local game club will have people who played back in the day to dust off old models or buy new manufacturers latest creations?

How do I get started? What do I need?

Rules, models, space and an opponent! (which is probably less than helpful…you knew that already…)

Luckily the rules are available online for free here:

http://epic-uk.co.uk/wp/rules/

All of the army lists (that are balanced for tournament play if that’s your thing) are here:

http://epic-uk.co.uk/wp/army-lists/

There are several manufacturers of 6mm sci fi models that can be used as well as a good search on eBay or buy and sell pages on Facebook

If you need an opponent or would like to try the game out why not ask on the Guildford games Club Facebook page! :

Guildford Games Club Facebook Group

Otherwise there is a major community hub: Taccomms 

Taccomms has all sorts of development and playtest lists so if there’s not the specific thing you’re looking for on the ‘approved’ lists page then perhaps there will be something more to your taste in development somewhere?

There’s no way I can paint something that small!

This is a common comment and I think you’re selling yourself short! Painting at 6mm is NOT the same as painting at 15, 28, 30 or larger scales and I think you’ll find that you can do a satisfying job without too much difficulty.

IMG_0233

I plan on putting together a simple article on how to paint to a game table ready standard at 6mm (I’m no artist, I just want models that look alright on the table!) but generally you can get away with a few tips to get started:

  1. ink washes are good
  2. drybrushing is better
  3. don’t worry about painting all the details, the thing is 6mm tall and you’ll be playing from around 24 inches away, think anyone is going to notice you didn’t paint the belt pouches!?
  4. brighter shades or strongly contrasting colours work better at these smaller scales
  5. don’t neglect your basing, often times a competently based stand will make even a simple scrappy paint job look great on the table

Epic at Guildford Games Club

At Guildford Games Club there are several Epic players and usually a game or two being played every few weeks. By my count there are 5-6 frequent players with experience ranging from a handful of games to finishing in the winning UK team at the European Epic Championship and players whose interest’s span the breadth from just putting some models on the table and having a dust up to tournament tuning of their lists so there’ll probably be someone who matches your preferred gaming style too

Best way to get involved is to just post on Guildford Games Club Facebook Group

In closing and future plans

Hopefully there’s something useful for you here, maybe piquing your interest in giving Epic a go for the first time or rooting around in the bottom of that cupboard for that box from 1997 you remember is back there somewhere…

I would like to write a few more articles looking at some of the different facets of epic, from painting to playing and maybe even throwing up a few scenarios so maybe I’ll get around to writing those up and putting them here.

Happy gaming!

EPIC Armageddon Hub

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