A number of my friends are highly keen on Apocalypse and I've regularly discussed the subject with them, as such as I'm trying to post more regularly I'm considering a regular (perhaps weekly) post about it.
As a start I thought I'd consider Formations as a whole, such as are they needed and why?
Originally I thought that Apocalypse was designed primarily as a means to use large model collections, add some more flavour and interest to your games and allow the use of things not normally allowed (such as Super-Heavies). Over time however it seems some strange things have popped up, one I'd like to discuss is why the high focus on formations when building an apocalypse force?
I'm not saying formations are bad at all, many of them are interesting, fun and add some interest into games (unlike spearhead which in my experience renders the rest of the army as a sort of backdrop, but I digress). Formations are good and are great to use in apocalypse games. *nods*
My point is why a number of players I've seen seem to forget things other than formations & legendary vehicles exist..
Before I give an example I'll note that me & my friends use 5th edition objective capturing rules for our Apocalypse games to keep some infantry focus and give the 'Hold at All Costs' strategic asset a use (important as its one of the assest granted by battle company formations etc), as such only units counting as troops (and not swarms,vehicles etc) are scoring. In 5th edition this isn't hard, especially as we don't restrict HQ's so tis possible to take several characters and make a great many units count as troops.
My example then... A friend of mine was recently building an Apocalypse list and seemed concerned he lacked scoring units in the formations he was planning as he had his heart set on a strategic asset other than Hold at All Costs, so he set about a long search for a formation which included troops units he could use to capture objectives.
Why he couldn't simply include a number of troops units more suited to assisting the rest of the army, rather than units restricted by a formation I'm unsure. I would have also thought that as he lacked scoring units, he'd be better spending all his remaining points on bodies rather than a portion of it on a formation cost.
The flip side of the coin is can you play without formations? I have regularly done this since I play both Sisters of Battle & Grey Knights (which I believe have less than a handful of formations between them, with a Grey Knight one only being usable if the opponent has a greater daemon).. This of course means I often have more models on the field since portions of my points are not spent on formation costs.
Yet on at least one occasion the manager of my local Games Workshop store has limited Apocalypse games to formations only, although he did mention he'd consider home-brewed formations as he agrees that Apocalypse encourages it (I'll note he is actually a lovely guy and is usually quite relaxed, I consider this as exception to his norm).
Is apocalypse no longer about being able to use large model collections or build interesting characterful forces such as a Word Bearers force, led by a Dark Apostle (using chaplain rules from the space marine codex)?
Is it now about buying specific models to complete formations?