Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Eyeballing the Rumours

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 clich├ęd 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.


  1. By the sounds of it I would say the allies list will be like the one in the 8th book which no one uses e.g. a guideline for fluff or campaign.

    Well that's what I hope :P

    1. I hope so too. It depends whether it falls in the main body of the rules for Army List construction.

      If it is just an add-on then I suspect I'll be more comfortable. I wouldn't be keen to see - GK army with Allied Necron Lord with Retinue on Command Barge

  2. Well judging by the WD allies are back in, no details they just mention it.
    Some other things for WD
    Fliers can only be hit on a 6
    Structure points are in for vehicals with a space marine dread getting 3 and a ghost ark getting 4. Each penetrating hit removes a structure point, with damage results stacking.
    Overwatch is back in, but your BS is reduced to 1.
    There is aireal combat, ie fliers are better shooting fliers, and some sort of aa ability which allows you to hit on a 4+ instead of 6+
    You can purchase structures as part of your list
    Psyhic powers are randomly generated, but you can still use the ones you purchase in your book, or mix it up. You dont even have to generate powers from the same deck (theres 6). Rapid fire changes. Theres mention of necrons being able to rapidfire on the move at max range. No details so far.

    1. Yep read all those.

      I guess my question is do these extra layers make 40k a better "game" or are they just extra boxes ticked.

      The key for me will be the streamlining of fundamental mechanisms so that a concentration on tactics is rewarded.

      My hope is that you don't have a swathe of bolt-ons that outweigh input on the games basics e.g. does the basic game need flyers, allies, the ability to buy fortifications etc.

      I'm hoping they have spent more time on the rules around the various phases, terrain/LOS rules, missions, etc

    2. Yeah I agree with your sentiments. I got the destinct feeling they where trying to sell more terrain with all the new special rules and adds for them....
      I am interested to see how these new flier rules work, as imo it is one aspect of 5th that was lacking

  3. 8th cleaned up a bunch of things, but it also added more depth to existing mechanics (turning some of them on their heads in the process). Certainly with 40k this has been the general design ethos of GW since the end of 4th edition when the minimalist 'less is more' approach that Jervis masterminded fell on its face (see Orks, Chaos Marines, Dark Angels). The 5th edition books all added new and interesting stuff which for the most part was actually pretty balanced, and its certainly not a surprise to see the same thing happening to the core ruleset as well.

    So far I haven't seen anything overly terrible, even allowing for the fact that we haven't seen the full picture yet. Random charges looks pretty likely (multiple sources) but its not going to be as bad as Fantasy randomness if you still get your movement first. Allies could break the game but that's a pretty easy thing to fix for tournaments. FoW already has options for units to buy fortifications built into the game which works well and its not something I see being overpowered at this stage (40k is still a game which favours mobile armies).

    I agree that making sure the foundation mechanics of phases (I really hope there is a proper 'start of turn' phase), terrain etc is always going to be more important. Missions wise apparently there are more, with more deployment types (including a short edge to short edge deployment, which made me cringe).

    1. The proof will be in the pudding. I'm really hoping that there will be a mix of cleaning up - Start of Turn phase etc - as you say and a re-wrie of other parts.

      Really want there to be is just the best in terms of removing crapola. I like the mechs I've seen for Assaults....