Tale of Painters continue it's Apocalypse week (Tesseract review and Rulebook review) with a review of two gaming aids you can purchase: The Apocalypse Templates and Strategic Asset cards. Find out after the jump if you really need these to enjoy Apocalypse.
I thought it was really strange to package the templates in a box. Previous template releases have been in large clamshell packs. The box art on the front is amazing and really gets you excited about the potential of releasing destruction on your enemy's army. Then you open the box and the excitement fades as you gaze upon a plastic bag with a choking hazard message on it... hardly apocalyptic.
Having not choked on the bag, I'm presented with a set of blue plastic pieces. Being able to unclip the templates and make them smaller is brilliant. It's nice to see Games Workshop consider transportation issue.
Once assembled you can see the templates are quite big.
In the picture above I've overlaid the previous Apocalypse Templates. The Helstrom template is the same size. The Apocalyptic Barrage has changed it's shape and now a series of five linked 5" blasts. The previous 7" Massive Blast and 10" Apocalyptic Blast are still viable blast sizes and are included within the new Apocalyptic 15" Mega-blast.
These pictures show you how much damage can be done to an army. You can fit so many models under them. The blue plastic is also really easy to see through. I find it easier to see through then the old green plastic templates.
The previous green templates were a thick green hard plastic which would not bend and could shatter. These new templates are thinner and really flexible. I prefer them, even if they do feel cheaper.
Remember my recent review of 2nd edition 40K? Does anyone else feel like 6th edition is trying to bring back card gaming aids? This set contains 63 cards and the small print includes the words "not suitable for children under 36 months". So, feel free to buy these for your children if they're older than 3 years. Joking aside, they are nicely presented in a plastic see through box which is far nicer then the weird swivel case the 40k psychic powers are presented in.
The cards are printed grey and red on black card. I like the way they've done this so the cards have a black edge when stacked. There are a total of 14 different sets: Space Marines, Blood Angels, Black Templars, Imperium, Imperial Guard, Eldar, Dark Eldar, Tau, Necrons, Orks, Chaos Space Marines, Chaos Daemons, Tyranids and any army. Annoyingly, Black Templar, Blood Angel and Space Marine Cards all use the artwork from the Dark Angels codex but there are no Dark Angel specific cards. Imperium and Imperial Guard cards also share the artwork of a Commissar, would it have been that difficult to use some different art?
The cards feature diagonal cut corners. The cards are uncoated (no varnish) and feature grey and red on one side and only grey on the other. This means the print job is 2 spot colours on one side and single spot colour on the reverse. They would all be planned up on a single sheet. In print terms this is a cheap job, a really cheap job. Cleverly though you think you've getting something special and unique. At £8 for a set of cards this is effectively Games Workshop printing money (in China). To make matters worse the grey on the black is not the easiest thing to read for small type. Even with sharp, close up photography it's a pain to read and even worse in real life.
Conclusion:Are these gaming aids needed? I would say buy a set between you and your friends/club. Individually they're expensive. The cards really aren't needed if you own the book, and certainly don't buy them if you have the iPad Edition. They've been designed to look expensive but are actually extremely cheap to produce, they've sacrificed readability for a larger margin. Templates are good, at £15 a box it's worth splitting the cost with your regular gaming buddy because you only need one set per game.
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