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Warhammer 40000 Apocalypse: The Turn, Army Building and Command Assets

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Hello everyone !!

Today I'd like to do a small review of the Upcoming Warhammer 40000 Apocalypse.


The main attraction of the box is the book, but Warhammer 40000 Apocalypse comes also with 6 punch sheets for tokens that include a lot of blast markers Objectives, wounds, orders ...Tokens Quality is standard for board games these days, sturdy enough with a satin finish. The Box also have dices. D12 look a bit cheap but the D6 are super heavy and feel very good.
Cards (400) are also included in the box, very good quality and standard GW size.
warhammer 40000 apocalypse review

The box has cards compartment already made so you can filter them by factions for faster deckbuilding!

warhammer 40000 apocalypse review

All good there, as expected from GW!

For the review of the book, We are first going to see the Turn Sequence, then the rules mechanism, and lastly list building. Finally, we will discuss the cards.
Before starting it's important to say that in Warhammer 40000 Apocalypse, units wounds and attacks are not dependents on the number of models in the unit. So it's important to keep in mind that infantry profile represents blocks of models (5 or 10 or more depending on the race). Check all the free warscrolls on the official website to take a look if you want. Now that clear let get to it!

Turn Sequence

warhammer 40000 apocalypse review

As you can see on the image there are only 4 phases in Warhammer 40000 Apocalypse. let's look at them.

The initiative phase

Super simple here, both player Roll a D12 winner have it and then must play first in the action phase. To be honest after reading the rules and making a few tests it doesn't seem that the initiative is too much important.

Order Phase

This is the Most sequenced phase as it is subdivided into 4 extra small phases. Actually one of these small phases is the real Order phase, the 3 other are Maintenance/upkeep phase.

Mark Unit out of Command

One unit more than 12" away from their commander get a marker out of command. Being OFC is bad as you can lose the unit completely on a missed morale roll.

Set up Reinforcement
Some mission, Assets, army rules allow to have units reinforcing the main army. this is done there.

Generate Command Asset
1 Command Asset per turn + 1 per warlord (Heroes and Detachement Commander). Drawn from your own deck of 30 cards. Maximum size hand is 10 and if you run out of cards you shuffle the discard pile.

Issue Orders

Both players place an order face down next to each of their Detachment Commander. There are only 3 orders in this game :

warhammer 40000 apocalypse review

These orders are very generous on the actions allowed, For exemple Advance allow you to move and Shoot or Fight.

Note that Super Heavy can always fight and shoot when they Advance or use Aimed fire order (with all applicable bonus and malus). So an Imperial Knight can advance, shoot, and fight.

It looks like a very long phase but in reality, it's quite fast, you mark Out of command units, place new troops on the battlefield, draw cards, place orders.

Action Phase

The action phase is where the game happens!! Each player takes turn activating one detachment and resolving the order. It's quite refreshing for a GW game that the holy "Move, Shoot, Charge, Fight" phase was forgotten this time.

Another good innovation is that in Warhammer 40000 Apocalypse damage is not applied in the action phase but in a later phase, the Damage phase!
It gives you the chance to use a model even if it gets destroyed.

Damage Phase

In this Phase, you resolve Blast marker suffered during the action phase.
-If one unit with Blast Marker has an Out of Command Marker, remove the unit (wow it's rough). So it's super valuable to attack a target with an out of command token.
-You roll Armor and each failed roll equal one damage marker.
-You roll more morale and gain a damage marker on a fail! (ouch)

note that you have to start with Super Heavy (as they have a chance to explode.)

warhammer 40000 apocalypse review

Then, at last, the turn is over and you start again. Now that you know how a turn is resolved to let take a closer looks at new gameplay mechanism in Warhammer 40000 Apocalypse.

Rules Mechanism

I am not going to describe all the rules but only the "new-ish" one.

Alternate Detachment Activation

When you resolve an order: Advance, Aimed fire, Assault all the Detachment is affected. Therefore it's a lot better to build specialised detachment instead of Jack of All trade. (more details during army building). Additionally, If both players take turns in activating Detachments it could be beneficial to have smalls detachment to avoid exposing too much of your turn in one action. Also, Considering the Damage Phase in this game. Alpha striking is less important than in Warhammer 40000 so it feels a good idea to keep your detachment small and Focused on one Task.

Move Action

A move action is resolved during and Advance order or an Assault Order, the only difference is that Advance allow shoot or fight and Assault Double Move and Fight only. Don't forget all the Detachment have to follow the same order.
This action is interesting because it includes the move. But also the fall back move if you are engaged and want to run and additionally the Pile in move if you are engaged and want to fight. (works like a pile in in AOS)
Note: During a move action you can remove out of command Marker if a unit ends within 12" of a commander after a move.

Shoot Action

Very classic for the most part. The novelty is that units are treated as a whole instead of a sum of models. So a 10 strong Tact squad have 2 bolters attacks + 1 Heavy weapon attack if you bought one. The range and los are mesured from the concerned weapon. That signifies that it's easier to have range and los with Boltguns as they are equipping all your Tactical Marines. You can split fire with no problem but have to announce it before rolling.

Fight Action

Nothing special here, but as for the shooting phase, the number of attacks is not linked to the number of models in BASE TO BASE (also no reach for weapons.) But only one model needs to actually be in BTB to attack with it. It's worth noting that there is no retaliation mechanism if the enemy already used his order this turn.

Wounds Rolls

Another innovation here, you don't use Strength against Toughness in Apocalypse. All weapons have a SAP or SAT stat. SAT is used against Heavy and Super Heavy target, SAP is used against units with the Light Keyword. All rolls are made with D12.

Blast Marker & Armor roll

When a unit is wounded during a fight or a shoot action you place you place a Blast Marker next to it. Blast markers are of 2 size, small or large. Large represent 2 small mixed into one large. Both still deal 1 damage but armor save against small marker are made with a D12 instead of D6 against Large blast marker.
For example, Space Marines have a 6+ save so a Large Blast Marker is a bad news for them.

Units Profiles

In this game, unit are considered as a whole and have an X number of wounds representing all the models. Only Wounds and Attacks numbers are concerned, So you don't remove models from a unit until it is destroyed and a number of attacks don't change until you remove it.

warhammer 40000 apocalypse review

That's it for rules that are really different from Warhammer 40000. Now let's take a look at the Army Building.

Army Building

As you maybe noticed in this review, the game gravitates around Detachment. So it's no surprise that they are the main building block of your army.

There are 2 types of Detachment, Cores and Specials.

-Cores are not limited in number and all grants at least the faction ability.

warhammer 40000 apocalypse review

-Specials Detachment are limited to 3 per 1 core (lol)

warhammer 40000 apocalypse review

Also you have one joker in the form of an Ad Hoc Detachment

warhammer 40000 apocalypse review

The game use Power Rating points system and you can also Roll one Warmaster trait for you big boss ! (yea it's random only)

That cover pretty much all the game, all that left is talking about the cards.

Command Asset

Deck building

As a reminder before the battle you have to build a deck of 30 cards from :
1 specific faction deck - 15 cards in the core set and more to come with the Apocalypse Command Assets
1 Apocalypse general deck : 26 cards

So unless you play with the Apocalypse Command Assets deck you roughly
take 2/3 for the cards available to you.

Also No duplicate!

Drawing & playing cards

Each turn you Draw 1 cards + 1 per warlord on the terrain. Max hand is 10 and you shuffle the discard pile if you are out of card to draw.

Playing cards is quite easy, each card specifies when you can play it . Only limits are: Cards can't be played during an action or during the resolution of a card. Apart from this, it's read an play.e it's written on it.

Cards are super powerful and can change the flow of the battle, to be honest, the rules are a bit light on how to use them. Concepts like a priority or effects pile are not present and it's quite troubling. The method offered in the book to resolve effect timing is roll & alternate resolving card (kind of weak). Although, I don't think it's super important


It's an interesting new take on Apocalypse. To be fair I never really liked the super large games of 40K. Ok it's fun to see how cool is the table, but the actual play is boring and slowwwww as shit. For larger battle, I really prefer to play Epic!
But now the tables have turned, this new version of Apocalypse is really fun and deceptively strategic !! Ok a few General Assets are a tad too strong so it could be a problem on the long run but i am quite optimistic for this game.
Really, the damage & the Order phase change the game completely from what 40k is. So in the end, if you have the money and the models it's a good buy.