Important Stuff

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A reasonably unbiased opinion on 6th Edition (Maybe).

I don't like change.

The saying "If it ain't broke don't fix it" seems entirely fine as a philosophy to me.  Of course with Games Workshop involved we need to also add the slightly paraphrased saying "If it ain't broke don't break it..."

As pretty much all 40K players who have been paying attention are aware a certain 'document' has hit the internet which is supposed to be the 6th edition rule-set (or an early play-test copy of it at least). The fact that it's full of grammatical errors and spelling mistakes doesn't necessarily mean that it's not genuine as lets be honest there are a great many finished codices out there that are fucking full of them. Based on various information sources I am led to believe that 'early test copy' is the most likely explanation and I'm going to discuss it based on that basic premise.

The interwebs reaction to it has been the usual split into two camps...

Camp 1.
Oh, No it's the death of 40K. I'm quitting the hobby forever before Games workshop go bankrupt due to the shittyness of the new system.

Camp 2.
It's the most awesome thing ever in the history of everything...Of course it's worth remembering that there are people out there who would buy ten lumps of shit in bags for £100 a bag if Games Workshops logo was on the front. You know the sort.....They'll be the guys defending fine-cast and/or claiming that the reason a model is under-pointed and overpowered has nothing to do with the fact that GW want to sell a bazillion of the fuckers...

After first reading it* I decided that I was in Camp 1.5.

* I actually have more than one version so perhaps reading 'them' would be more accurate, lol.

Camp 1.5
There's some good ideas in there but just as many stupid ones.....

Lets Have a Look Then.
Mentally add the statement "If it's genuine..." to the beginning of most of the following as I can't be bothered to prefix every statement with it myself.

Phase Shifting.
Here's one of the big ones...You effectively move and 'Assault' in the same phase.

No longer can you 'soften up' a unit by filling it full of Bolt Pistol or 'Assault' weapon fire. The fact that I'm lucky to kill a single Ork (Let alone anything useful) with my 'pre-charge' pistol fire makes this change less of a blow than it might have been had I the ability to roll higher than a 2 ;-) Also worth noting is that units now appear to have different movement rates (rather than an an 'across the board' 6") which makes sense I suppose but probably means I'll be bouncing dice off people's heads for over-moving a lot more than I did previously.

Another nice change to this phase is the ability to use pistol weapons in assault and apparently your going to get to use the pistol weapons strength and AP should you elect to do so which may make Plasma Pistols into a viable weapon option now. This will however make Marines even more effective in combat against lightly armed opponents due to the Bolt Weapons AP of 5.....

The one other bit of rule change that caught my eye was that units charging into an existing combat gain bonuses to Initiative (they count as 10 I believe) to represent the element of surprise that such an attack would benefit from. This at least gives crappier units a chance to influence a combat rather than being butchered the moment they arrive before they get a chance to attack.

Wound allocation has now moved backwards towards the 4th edition 'Heavy/Special weapon and Sergeant are going to be last to die' which is a disappointment to me. It does go to show however that if half a dozen fuckwits whine about something for long enough then Games Workshop will eventually cave in and change their minds about it.....

There are a lot more basic changes than that but those are the ones that interested me most. My overall criticism of these changes is that 'stand and shoot' armies will be just as common (and just as boring) as they were before.

and on the subject of shooting at shit.....

How Fucking Fast is That Fucker.
We now have a new thing to spend weeks explaining to small children (and less intelligent grown-ups) who start in the hobby...namely 'Evasion'. In basic terms your chance to hit something is going to depend on circumstances in addition to your Ballistic Skill Characteristic. Though I understand the logic of certain things being more difficult to hit than others I find the system they've (apparently) chosen to be unnecessarily complicated.

An interesting addition to a units shooting ability is that you can now put certain units into 'overwatch' which effectively gives them a 'Mystic' style out of phase shooting attack against units that appear in range. This is unfortunately another rule that's going to move the game even further into the 'shooty rather than punchy' school of list design.

I don't like this bit at all but that might be because I don't get the point of including it, I just don't get it or because it's a fuckload of bollocks.....

I think this is how it works.....Basically you 'bid' a number of strategy points to go first and whoever 'wins' goes first and then the other guy gets to spend the points on a number of abilities ranging from giving a unit tank-hunters right up to being able to make it 'Night-fight' for the whole game. I've already come up with about thirty game-breaking unit + 'Stratagem' combos and I haven't even looked that hard. I can almost see why this was included but whoever designed it apparently hasn't read any codex unit entry.....ever.....

Everyone's Invited to the Party.
This version of the rulebook seems to have rules that cover pretty much everything, including Super-Heavies, Titans and Gargantuan creatures. How they fit into a Force Organisation Chart Is a mystery to me but they are referenced on multiple occasions throughout the various rules sections. Perhaps this is an attempt to do away with things like 'apocalypse' so as to provide a single ruleset to cover everything. "One book to rule them all" as one pundit amusingly described it.....

I think that'll do for now. There are changes to special rules, missions, consolidation and a number of other areas that will change the way you play and I have no intention of going through them all but the point I'm trying to make is that change isn't necessarily bad unless it's being changed just to change something.

In Conclusion.
It's easy to be cynical about the changes if you believe this to be anywhere close to being genuine. It's not unreasonable to adopt the opinion that they've taken the units that people don't normally buy and suddenly made them better in order to increase sales, that they've made it possible to viably include units that are (by an amazing coincidence) the most expensive that the company produces, that they've just swapped one set of boring mono-builds for a completely different set of mono-builds etc. and the evidence would support this opinion.

The other option is that they've attempted to create a more dynamic set of rules with far greater options than before in an attempt to breathe new life into the system.....

I'm inclined towards the first conclusion but then I am a fucking cynical bastard ;-)

Thoughts and comments are (as usual) most welcome.