Saturday, May 14, 2011

Warhammer 40K 6th Edition: Part 1

I apologize for my hiatus. School and work have been keeping me incredibly busy and I haven't had a lot of time to do anything hobby related. Work has finally slowed down a bit and the harder classes are behind me for now, so I can get back to 40K and focus on the hobby. I just want to thank Farseer Frank for taking up the reins again the past few weeks and sharing his tactical insight. I hate the Eldar with a passion and that's thanks to my poor record against his Eldar in 1 on 1 matches. The best I've managed is a draw, but that will hopefully be something I improve on in the future.

I've been reading a bit about the rumored 6th Edition of everyone's favorite game coming out next year and I just want to point out some things I would like to see in the new edition. All of my ties to GW HQ in Nottingham have been severed years ago and I don't know anyone that works there anymore. That being said, these are not "rumors" or an "insider's look". These are just my thoughts on what I think needs improvement going into a 6th Edition. I'll start with 3 and add to it over the coming weeks. In no particular order.

1. Wound Allocation Rules. The current rules are bollocks. Nothing annoys me more than doubling up power weapon wounds on the same model to reduce casualties. Here's an example: I have an Assault Squad with 4 marines left. 3 of the marines are just standard with bolt pistol and close combat weapon and the 4th marine has a flamer. I get charged by a unit of Khorne Berzerkers. I take 2 power weapon wounds and 6 regular wounds. I allocate the 2 power weapon wounds to the poor SoB with the flamer and I roll 6 saves on the remaining 3 marines. This greatly tips the odds in my favor and actually makes it beneficial for the attacker to cause less wounds! Come on Alessio you didn't see this in playtesting?

I hope how they fix this is that allocation works the same way, but you don't do it all at once. You start with any attacks that ignore armor saves and then resolve the rest from highest strength down to lowest. So in the same example from above, 2 of my guys are dead outright. No save. I take the 6 wounds on the remaining 2 troops. That makes sense! This will still allow defenders to avoid taking saves on characters and certain models, but won't result in lost wounds because you decide to put 2 of those power weapon hits on the guy carrying the flamer. Not only that, it will speed things up. Nothing is worse than having a squad with a lot of different wargear and trying to figure out who is saving for what and new players have a VERY hard time with this.

2. Kill Points. I'm REALLY not a fan of Kill Points. In a game where you use equal points on both sides, I don't like that one army can give up a lot more than the other. For starters, Victory Points work a lot better. I kill a 400 point unit I get 400 points. Gee, that makes a lot of sense. I've been in games where my opponent has basically nothing left and I still lose by 1 or 2 Kill Points. And it's not like this is good for list building. It's stupid to build a list around how many points you are going to give up as that has nothing to do with the fluff of the game.

Can you see Dante talking to one of his Captains, "I don't know Tycho. Let's leave all of the tanks behind. Let's just use Jump Packs so our army is less vulnerable." Dumb. What I would like to see is something similar to Victory Points, but round the numbers to the nearest hundred. If I have a unit of Death Company that costs 250 points, they're worth 3 Kill Points. If you want some variety in there, make specific Org choices add to it. HQs are worth an additional 3 Kill Points. Elites are worth an additional 2 Kill Points. Troops, Fast Attack, and Heavy Support are worth an additional 1 Kill Point. That makes a lot more sense. I should get more points for taking out my opponents more powerful troops and his leaders.

Also, you should get points for units that are at half strength or immobilized. As is, Kill Points force you to make tactical decisions that don't make a lot of sense.

"Tycho, fire on that immobilized Rhino!"

Tycho responds incredulously, "Um, what!?"

"We have a better chance of destroying that then we do that unit of Plague Marines. That's an order marine!"

There will always be a way to game the system, but Kill Points can be done in a way that makes a lot more sense and isn't as lopsided.

3. More Missions. The current crop of missions is a joke. 3 missions with 3 different types of deployment? That gives us the huge variety of 9 different game types which as everyone who has been playing 40K for a few weeks knows isn't much. I miss the old days when you bought a new Codex and you got a mission to go along with it. Or what about the cool mission cards from 2nd Edition? When you had no clue what your opponent was trying to do and the game was more exciting.

I do think Battle Missions was a step in the right direction and I hope both it and Planet Strike are mined for ideas when they come around to creating missions. I do like the Stratagem System and I hope to see that in 40K proper. I'd like to see more variety. You can add the dynamic of Attacker vs. Defender or change the Force Organization Chart depending on the mission. The good news is that the new version of Warhammer Fantasy Battle has a bunch of missions. Hopefully we'll get that in the next iteration of Warhammer 40K.

So what do you guys not like about the current edition? What would you like to see changed? Post your thoughts below. Next time I'll talk a bit more about what I'd like to see in 6th Edition and I'll let you know what I've been working on.

Till then,
–The Harrower


  1. Those 3 points are all excellent. I'm less bothered by the lack of mission variety but then I play very rarely, so although I'm personally not particularly affected, it's definitely an area that needs improvement.

    I would like to see more use of universal special rules and standardised language, so rules which do the same thing, or achieve virtually the same thing use the same rule mechanics and words.

    I would also desperately like to see a rule requiring 50% of your units/points/army to start on the board (special missions excepted).

    The time portrayed by the game is an abstraction, and SHOULD be showing the battle between two forces, not periods of inaction when nothing is happening. It should start when the battle starts, and finish when the battle is basically over.

    As with a film or a book: it should start at the beginning of the story, and finish when the story is told. It makes no sense to start the clock before anything is happening, and finish it half way through the battle (because one side decides to deploy half way through the game).

  2. All of the points you made I completely agree with. I think straight victory points would be fine. I think wound allocation needs to be completely reworked.

    I think forcing 50% of an army on the board first turn makes the game more static than necessary and promotes alpha strike lists even more than now. I wouldn't mind if reserves came in on turn 1 and it started on a 3+ though. Maybe everything comes in turn 4 instead of 5.

    I would like to see some actual flier rules like apoc and more advanced mobility options. Anything that adds another dimension to the game and makes things less predictable.

    It would be interesting if instead of force orgs you had percentages like fantasy.

    I think disembark/embark should be its own action and not tied to the unit. I really want to disembark a squad, get the vehicle out of the way, then move the squad.

  3. There's been a ton of talk about how these changes are impacting the game - I know that many players aren't exactly thrilled with this new codex...

  4. @Angelic Despot Never really thought about deployment and it is a good idea. I think 50% is a bit much, but I can see requiring 2 units on the board in the deployment phase.

    @dzer0 I would like to see reinforcements come in sooner. Automatically coming in during turn 4 would be better. I really like the idea of disembark as it's own action. I hate how vehicles always get in the way.