With the imminent release of 6th Edition 40k, the rumours are now starting to come thick and fast. I essentially sat out 5th Edition and so I am being very careful to not pre-judge the new ruleset. I am keen to get the book and then sit down and assess it on its merits. However being human, it is hard to ignore what is being ‘leaked’ onto the net.
Last night I read through pages of rumours to try and get an idea of what we may be in for. I must admit that there are a number of things that give me a degree of unease at this early juncture.
Let’s get the easy one out of the way. The rumoured “Allies” rules sound ghey. I came to the game in 3rd Edition and all I heard were horror stories of Space Marines allied with Eldar etc. It looks like time heals all wounds. The Apocalypse “bring all your models” and Storm of Magic “it doesn’t matter who you are, here have a monster” just doesn’t do it for me. I’m sure that there will be restrictions around things but let’s strip away the hype. The armies 40k uses are essentially skirmish armies anyway – typically 20-120 models. Is there really a need to introduce allies at the size of game most people play. Sure, 10000 points plus but doing at this level really will just open up the game to clichéd combos being included to plug holes in the efficiency of your base army.
The second thing I’ve noticed is what appear to be added levels of complexity. Complexity might not be the right word, I’m not sure. However there appears from the rumours that new mechanisms have been (re)introduced – overwatch, hull points, AP on CCW – that may give the veneer of greater complexity but it is important that they also actually add something meaningful to the game. Once seen it is important that they give a positive answer to the question “Is it a better way?”
For me games work when the mechanisms are simple and straightforward, leaving you to focus on strategy and tactics. To this end 8th Edition was a big winner (for some) by removing the fiddliness from the game shifting it from micro-measurement/spatial awareness to risk management. I hope that 40k has not gone the opposite way where convoluted mechanisms/bookkeeping and the exploitation of combos become key skill categories.
We’ll know more come Saturday.