Monday, November 26, 2012

Review of Dark Heaven Apocalypse

Thanks for your email Private wierd, here's a mini-review of DHA for anyone interested.

In DHA every figure has a class, from 1 to 4. Class 1 are the fastest figures, unarmoured flyers. Class 2 is light infantry, and so on to class 4 which is heavy infantry. Every turn you roll for initiative for every player, then the winner moves, shoots and fights with all his class 1 figures, then the player with the second highest initiative does the same and so on for all players, as many players each on their own side as you like. Then of course everybody acts with their class 2 in sequence and so on to class 4's. If your army is mostly class 4 you'll be constantly out-maneuvered by the lighter troops.

All combat and missile fire is an opposed roll, a single d10 is rolled for each figure with stats and a few mods added on to that. In melee the loser is removed, making for very quick battles. You roll for all enemies in base contact until no opposing figures are still touching. Missile fire is a similar opposed roll, if the shooter wins the target is killed, otherwise the shooter misses. Heroes and monsters have a special save factor that lessens the chance they'll be slain from one lucky shot. Another point is this games favour is that there is no record keeping at all. You'll need a sheet to record your stats of course, but once the game starts you won't ever need a pencil or scratch paper.

Spells are also conducted with opposed rolls. Different spells have different penalties to casting depending on how powerful they are. I love this game but the spell system is a bit weak, a lot of the spells are variations on magic missiles, with a few that are more unique.

Where DHA shines is the fact that battles are quick, even with lots of figures. And probably the best part is the simple points system that lets you make stats for any figure you own, meaning anyone with a warhammer army has tons of figures perfectly suited for this game already.

Finding a copy might be hard, DHA was never hugely popular. Reaper Miniatures used to have an earlier version of the game available on their website that was very similar, though I haven't played that version. I can't find it on their site right now, but it must be floating around somewhere.

Anyway, hoped you enjoyed reading this!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Dark Heaven Apocalypse

Here's a real blast from the past, one of my old favourite games: Dark Heaven Apocalypse, by Reaper Miniatures. I played this game heavily until I got into Warhammer 6th edition.

Rulebook and box it came in. The box also had 8 metal miniatures, quick reference sheet,
and a short novel, as well as 2 ten sided dice.
DHA was designed to be generic, and using a simple points system you pick the stats for all your figures, using any figures you happen to own. Half the rulebook is also given over to detailing the world of Avalorr, an optional place for setting your games. It's very detailed with many nations and descriptions of characters with stats. I put up a webpage for this game, back when the web was fairly new and you had to know some HTML to make a webpage. No blogger back then! The online DHA community consisted of my page and two others. That was it.

I wanted to use the beastmen I've been painting lately, so I made stats for them, basing them off black orcs. They were also joined by some suitably powerful chaos knights, "Death Bringer" the mighty evil champion and Malagor the beastman wizard. 5 Chaos Knights, 24 Beastmen and the two characters makes 1683 pts.

They were opposed by the goodly elves, led by Cedric the wizard, joined by 16 archers and 10 Swordmasters. Archery is very deadly in this game, and archers cost many more points than regular infantry. The elves totaled 1646 pts, close enough.

The battle of Vlenden was fought amongst the village of the same name, deserted by the inhabitants when they heard that the horrible Death Bringer and his demented servants were on the way. Battle was swiftly joined.

The beasts had no missile troops, and suffered heavily while advancing into the elvish longbows. Malagor and Cedric cast spells with some effect. Between missile shots and spells, Death Bringer and his beasts were destroyed, only killing a few swordmasters in return. Malagor and his beasts fared a little better but in the end all were killed by spells or arrows by the end of the game. Elvish losses consisted of all 10 swordmasters (most killed by the Death Bringer) and a few archers lost to Malagors magic.

View from the elvish lines, mid game. Cedric leads his troops from atop
his hill, while Death Bringer and his two remaining beasts advance.
Malagor and his beasts are advancing around the house on the right.

A fun game, and quick! DHA games are played to a definite finish (i.e. all of one side wiped out) in a fraction of the time of other games. I've never done it but the designers claim that massive battles with hundreds of figures can be played in as few as 3 hours. I've always wanted to try this, but have never had that many figures. You can also play a 3, 4, or more way free for all, with all sides fighting each other. You don't have to change any rules, it was designed to be able to do this. I've always had a soft spot for DHA and wish it could have been a little more popular. But at least I can still play any time I like! Hope you liked reading about this obscure game.