When earlier 6th edition 40K rumors (or "rumours" as the Brits call them) came out I was skeptical. Assault before shooting? Multiple levels of a rule? Bidding for first turn? A lot sounded unlikely in the individual and partial glimpses that the rumors teased with. The "Project Prisoner" (a reference to the TV show where the main character is referred to as "Number 6", hence 6th edition) was undoubtedly coming, but in what form was still pretty unclear.
Personally, I thought that 5th edition overall was pretty good, and just needed some tweaks to finish the evolution from 3rd edition, nothing major.
Then the Rover of a leaked copy rolled over us this past week.
There's a lot of talk about whether it's real or a fake going on. I won't get too much into that, but after looking through it, I'm leaning pretty heavily on the side that it's genuine. I expect that there will be some changes (and there need to be some clarifications and some things need to be expanded) before the final release, but as a playtest version it looks pretty convincing.
|The Americans hadn't completely taken over the band yet.|
Over the past few days I've given it a read-through, and wanted to share my impressions with folks on what's different and possible implications if it does turn out to be true. This will be long!
It's a good piece of work, generally well put together and usually consistent.
There are a few typos, some incomplete sentences at the end of some rules and some other things that are placeholders for future detailing like "the restrictions of this action" which is obviously meant to be filled with something later.
There are a few spots that contradict each other, but I think this will all, or at least mostly, be fixed by the time we see final books.
It does a good job of what I would think would be a difficult task - making some major changes to the 40K rules while continuing the 3rd-5th traditions. One of the best parts from a design standpoint to me are the consolidations that are done rules-wise. Instead of making different rules for each type of unit there's been a serious effort at making the rules consistent, and then applying different ones in packages to create unit types. For example, instead of writing out all the rules for Monstrous Creatures and Walkers shooting, they get Multi-targeting (2) and Relentless, indicating that they can fire two heavy weapons on the move, but in a tighter way rules-wise and it leaves room for future designers to play around even more. Along the same lines, there's a good bit of consolidation done making vehicles and based models use the same rules where possible.
There needs to be some more work on cross-referencing - there's a good bit now, but more would be welcome. There are a LOT of special rules and they frequently interact. After a little bit of practice most of it should become second nature, but given how much flipping is likely to be involved early on I'd like to see more page references to relevant rules and/or some good summary sheets for the final product.
There are a number of things that seem to address some of the common complaints about 40K in general and 5th in particular, but I'll touch on those as they arise.
The Game Cycle
Some nice bits here - one, finally using different terms to differentiate game turns from player turns - player turns are still turns, while game turns are game "cycles". There's a decent effort at clarifying what happens when and in what order, something I've wanted more of for some time.
The turn sequence for an individual player is Movement, Assault, Shooting, Consolidation. Consolidation includes a lot of things that used to be done at the start of the turn like rallying broken units which has some pretty big implications. They talk a good bit about being able to do multi-player games (with multiple, equally antithetical sides instead of just team games) and also with being able to do unit by unit back and forth instead of player 1 player 2 back and forth (I move and shoot my land raider, you move and shoot your speeder, I move and assault with my terminators, you shoot with your long fangs, etc.). Some interesting options for different types of games and mission setups.
Universal Special Rules apply to everyone in a unit if even one person has them. No more some do, some don't. Those that don't are no longer USRs, rather Individual Special Rules, hopefully making things clearer.
"Rigid Saves" are the new blanket term for second-chance saves, the most familiar of which is our old friend Feel No Pain. Instant Death and AP 1/2/3 attacks do not allow Rigid. Adding AP3 and the changes to Instant Death further water down FNP, which has become very widespread.
Wound Allocation has changed a bit, with allocation groups based on saves instead of armament and stat lines. So no matter how varied their gear, if they're all 3+ saves, it's all one group. Roll saves in the group as a batch, owning player chooses who to remove so the meltagunner and sarge can usually be last to go. There are some chances for the attacker to do Directed Hits which allow them to allocate unsaved wounds within the armor group, which in turn can be countered by some circumstances. Sometimes it's worthwhile for your special guys to have different saves, sometimes not.
The bigger change comes later with Patch Up in the Consolidation phase. It's still possible during the wounding steps for multi-wound models to have the love spread around, resulting in multiple wounded models. In the Patch Up step, you consolidate the wounds, weakening or even killing off wounded models in order to heal others back to full. This is not optional. So if you have ten nob bikers all with one wound each when you get to this step, say goodbye to five of them but the five remaining will be back to full wounds.
Instant Death has several degrees, inflicting extra wounds instead of removing all wounds, and works at Toughness+X instead of double Toughness. T+4=extra wound, T+5=two extra wounds, T+6=three extra wounds. Eternal Warrior at various levels to counter. The extra toughness for bikes count for this, so a marine captain on a bike would take an extra wound at S9 (5+4). This will be a nice change for some guys but does make S10 better against things like T6 Nid creatures.
Critical Hits are sprinkled throughout, for things like dangerous terrain and exploding vehicles. A Critical Hit does a wound bypassing armor, cover and rigid saves but allowing invulnerable saves. No roll to wound or penetrate required. More on those later.
There are a number of other changes which lead to damage which I'll talk about later, but a quick mention here that when combined a lot of the changes in these rules should make things very bloody. More shots, worse cover, brutal combat resolution, vehicle damage changes - should all combine for faster carnage.
Morale seems a little more involved now, which I know many folks have been looking for. Time and individual units/codices will determine how much it actually matters for most armies. But on the face of it, it looks like morale conditions will be more common, but more forgiving at the same time. You're more likely to get pinned, but being pinned isn't as bad.
Pinning - modifiers for how many wounds you took to a point, and basic Fearless isn't immune (but is effectively Stubborn vs. pinning) so should be more common. Makes the victim Shaken which limits their options but doesn't make them just sit on their thumbs. Here's part of that combining I mentioned, with regular units and vehicles both using the same basic restrictions when they're Shaken. You can still move your basic amount, potentially assault and shoot, but can't do faster moves, can't use multi-targeting, can't do defensive fire, etc. So a Shaken Predator will still be able to roll 6" and shoot one weapon.
Stunned - more like the old pinning, just sit around and do nothing. I don't recall much that leads to this other than the vehicle damage result, but I'm sure more is coming. When stunned you do pretty much nothing, including not fighting back in assaults. So buy those dreads extra armor!
Broken - Some interesting changes. You'll usually Fall Back (move+d6") when you get broken, but after that initial one you're not obligated to keep running. You need a character (unit leader or IC) to rally them, but even while broken they can still do some things and even fight while broken. A couple of interesting things about broken units:
- Surrounded - if can't get away (12") from the enemy by the end of your movement phase, they get destroyed. Since you can move and Run you should be able to get away unless in a really bad position, and units engaged in assault don't count, so you can tie up enemy units with other troops to save the surrounded unit, which sounds really cinematic to me.
- Tactical retreat - if a broken unit moves off the board, it lives to fight another day and doesn't count as destroyed! So sometimes it might be in your interest to have your broken units keep fleeing.
- No restriction on being under 50%, just need the character to rally.
Fearless - various levels that cover different things. For some stages I guess you can call it "Fearless but not all-powerful" or "Fearless, but not stupid". I can see some future units being listed as both Fearless (1) and Stubborn. Implications for various units will depend on what level of Fearless they're assigned during the transition.
With conditions being more common, with affected units being able to still do some things but having various restrictions, you're probably going to want various counters to be able to keep track of everything.
Difficult terrain slows units down, but is not inherently dangerous to vehicles, bikes, etc. So a tank can go 6" through most terrain without problems, but can't go 12" through it, period. No difficult terrain rolls, it just keeps you from doing things that lead to double/triple moves (more on those later).
Dangerous terrain causes those Critical Hits on a 6. On a vehicle, this leads (inv saves permitting) straight to the damage table, so it's possible to be destroyed, not just immobilized. Consolidation type moves ignore terrain effects, including dangerous.
Dense Terrain deals with the issue many have had with woods, etc. If you call it dense, you can't see through it, bypassing normal TLOS rules. So you can hide behind those woods again while still leaving room in the piece to place models. If you are IN the terrain though, it's assumed you're taking up firing positions and can still draw LOS/have LOS drawn to you through the dense terrain.
Special rules/move type let you bypass terrain, the normal jump, etc. Move through Cover lets you run through difficult terrain, and Skilled Rider, etc. lets you ignore dangerous terrain checks altogether.
There's some stuff about moving up levels and stuff, but it's pretty boring. ;-) One other terrain note, barrages can hit lower levels if desired, no longer bouncing off of the top level only.
|Hey, it was the 70's - hardly anyone looked good.|
Different unit types are assigned different move rates. Regular infantry and ground vehicles start at 6", cavalry 7, bikes 8, jump packs 9. Fleet adds 2 to your base move, so Fleet cavalry has a move of 9. This is something that many have wanted for a long time.
Various move action types. Various situations and conditions will restrict what you can do.
Combat move - move basic distance, shoot. Run/Cruise - move double, but don't shoot. So no more waiting until the shooting phase to run, no rolls, it's just double.
Charge - move double, assault. (the assault move is included, no separate assault movement, so regular infantry charges 12" into btb) Terrain does not slow you down when charging. Engage - move normal, assault, able to fire after combat (if you aren't still locked). So a unit of terminators could use Engage to waddle forward 6" into a unit, moosh it with their powerfists, and then shoot their stormbolters at someone else in the Shooting phase. Beasts and cavalry charge triple if not going into terrain, and when combined with fleet makes for some potentially epic charges (27"!).
Things that can move flat out move triple. There are supersonic rules but I'm not going to go into those, suffice it to say that flyer type rules are included for all these big things that have come out lately.
Other things of note in the Movement phase:
- Placing Reserves - will go more into Reserves below, but will quickly note that reserves come onto the table within 6" from the edge (so harder to block off by lining a table edge!) and can act normally - so a devastator squad can come in from reserve and immediately fire its heavy weapons. Nice. Special deployments change things.
- Restore Formation - if you're out of coherency, one of the first things you do is fix it, with specific steps. No muss, no fuss, act normally afterwards.
Pile in - not dependent on unit type/move, basic 6" for all.
Alpha Strike - if defending terrain vs. those without grenades, you attack first. Also if attack a unit already tied up, you attack them first regardless of initiative.
Engaged range expanded to 3" instead of 2".
WS vs. WS chart results expanded, 2+ and 6+ possible now.
Difference between basic attacks (bolter club) and actual close combat weapon (AP6) - yes, HTH weapons have AP. Power weapons, etc. normally listed as AP2. Again, another example of combining mechanics. Pistols can actually be fired (after a fashion) in CC, again getting some AP. Things like plasma pistols don't get AP2, but are Rending. Assault weapons can be used as secondary weapons, so those CC captains can safely take storm bolter/power weapon without losing an attack. If relentless can also use a heavy weapon as a secondary cc weapon! Needs clarification regarding combi-weapons (can a combi-flamer count as a secondary weapon, and if so does it expend its one shot?).
No Retreat - couple big changes.
- NR wounds are critical hits (so no armor saves)!
- NR wounds divided up by side, not unit. So easier to avoid the MC getting killed just because a bunch of gaunts died nearby. Side looses by 6, looser spreads 6 critical hits on units as he sees fit.
- Able to take a type of morale check with penalties to avoid the hits. Basic Fearless still has to roll, Fearless (3) would not.
So if you're going to get into an assault, make sure you win!
Defensive Fire - if you're assaulted and you're not suffering from a condition like Shaken that prevents you from doing so, you can shoot the guys coming in at you. From how I'm reading it, once you're locked you can't do it again, but if you kill the attackers off you can keep doing it. I suspect this might be clarified later to limit it to one defensive fire action per unit. As is, you may want to consider sending in something tough like a carnifex to soak the defensive fire and engage the unit before sending in the more vulnerable guys like genestealers who don't respond to bolters as well.
Overwatch - special rule only some will have, lets you do defensive fire on anything that moves within 12". Again, needs clarification as to how many times it can be done in a single turn.
Fire Sweep - attackers can use flamers/templates in CC, doing d6 hits with the relevant Str and AP.
Attacking Vehicles - immobile will count as WS0, mobile as WS10. WS 0 is hit automatically, hitting WS10 will depend on your own WS, instead of the old flat 4+ or 6+.
Grenades can be used against things like MCs now, but not things that are Mines, like meltabombs. But you can use those Krak grenades against those Trygons now. Various restrictions. Models with actual grenade launchers can use them to use grenades in CC with bonuses.
Characters can use Directed Hits, which swings the power pendulum back to combat monster ICs and away from the powerfist sgts. You can't do so with "coarse" weapons like powerfists though. Power Weapons also grant a 5+ inv parry save in CC. All combined (including making the PW guy a different armor group for wounds) to also swing the pendulum back towards power weapons over fists/hammers.
Various changes, biggest is Evasion, which is compared to the firer's BS, in similar fashion to the to-wound chart, but 1 always misses, 6 always hits.
- Various modifiers, like:
- Jink (things like bikes and fast skimmers) +1EV
- Massive (vehicles) -1EV
- Stationary target -1EV
This has lots of implications, but I think the net effect will be to make shooting generally hit a bit more. It will create the opportunity for lots of decisions and tradeoffs, which is good in a game - stay still in cover, but be hit easier or move, be harder to hit but dish out less firepower yourself?
I think they missed part of a trick here by not rolling cover into the same system. Could have made light cover +1 EV, heavy cover +2 EV, etc. But they kept cover saves instead, though the standard is 5+, and it's harder to claim cover from intervening units now (some units may have a status that keeps them from getting in the way, and they take critical hits for each hit stopped on the protected unit). When firing through intervening units (even if they don't try to be cover) you can't use Directed Hits, so no sniping out banners or meltaguns through other units.
Going to Ground is still around, but can only be applied vs. one unit's attacks. Going to Ground leaves you Shaken (see morale). Walkers and MCs can go to ground too (fluffwise they're bracing for the hits).
Casualties - 25% still causes a check, but it has to be from a single firing unit. So 8 guys who take a wound, then another wound later don't check, but if took two wounds from one firing unit they would.
Rapid fire can shoot normally at full range even on the move, extra shot 12" or less (if relentless, 18"). So a bolter marine can move and shoot once at 24, twice at 12.
Flamers/Template weapons - all work like the Hellhound now, firing some distance away, point template to side if desired. Weapons will have different ranges can do out to, if not noted is 3". Twin-linking adds 6" to that range. So imagine a Vulkan army full of flamers that shoot 9" and then lay template out.
Blast - place template, roll to hit (using BS vs. EV). If hit, template stays in place. If miss, scatters twice what you missed by (use small arrow on HIT side of scatter die if roll HIT). For multiple blasts, you just scatter the first one then walk the others back by placing them in contact with previous one.
Multi-targeting - listed with a number, like multi-targeting (2). Number is the number of weapons you can fire in a firing action, but can only fire each weapon once. If stationary can double that #, so a stationary tank that normally has (2) can fire 4 weapons. Ordnance counts as 2 weapons. Some things like bikes have (1), so it only really applies when they're stationary, taking them to 2.
You embark on transports at the end of the turn, not during normal movement, and this is also when characters join and leave units. Since it's done at the end of your turn, not during your movement, you'll need to really plan ahead with that, and it should help avoid things like the character slingshot.
Aside from ICs, there are basic characters like squad leaders. Squad leaders rally their units, and are also used as the unit fulcrum for many things.
- If out of coherency, coherency restored based on the squad leader
- Position of squad leader used to determine if target in cover or not
- Position of squad leader used to determine which AV arc unit is in
Psykers even without things like Psychic Hoods can do some psychic defense, cancelling things within 24" on a 5+.
Some random bits:
- A number of things can only be done if disembarked, so can't do things like psychic defense or scoring from within vehicles.
- Burst Cannons listed as having 4 shots. Sign of the future?
- Monstrous Creatures double their Str in addition to AP2/2d6 armor pen. Str 10 attacks from MCs should be very common unless they start jacking MC strengths down.
- Meltabombs AP1
- Witchblades Str 7
- Bike toughness boost only vs. shooting, not CC
As noted, many rules consolidated with regular rules.
Biggest changes in damage to vehicles.
Still hit rear AV in CC.
Glance -2, Blast center not on hull -3 (but full Str), tank -1, superheavy -3 (can't use both this and tank modifier). Don't get tank modifier if open topped or hit by AP1 - open topped and AP1 don't add to the roll, they just prevent a potential negative to the roll. I think they missed a trick here, with a Rhino getting a -1 but a dreadnought doesn't?
Hull Breach - once result exhausted, next result of same moves up a step.
Shaken - as described
Stunned - as described. If already Stunned, Hull Breach up to Weapon damage.
Weapon - doesn't actually destroy a weapon, just reduces the multi-targeting value by 1. If already at zero, Hull breach up to Immobilized.
Immobilized - as described. If already immob, hull breach to wrecked.
Explodes - does not leave a crater. d6" explosion, non-vehicle models take a Critical Hit on a 6.
There's some funky stuff with squadrons, letting them try to avoid shaken/stunned/immobilized but if they fail the whole squadron is affected. Big squadrons better able to avoid that damage (5+, +1 per extra vehicle).
Ramming/Tank Shocks consolidated. You can now run over units for actual damage. Tank shock doesn't run units off the table anymore, just makes them Shaken if they fail the test. This can still be useful, as Shaken units can't do things like Defensive Fire, letting you set them up for your other units...
- If embark, morale conditions "healed" - no longer shaken, broken, etc.
- Flamers/templates that overlap fire points can hit the guys inside.
- No free 2" when disembarking, just move from access point
- Can't disembark if vehicle moves over 6" first
- If transport moves first (up to 6), disembarking unit can only make Combat or Engage moves (so no double move like Run or Charge). If Assault vehicle can Cruise and still do Combat/Engage moves.
- So Rhino moves 6, marines hop out using Engage move and go 6" into assault with enemy.
- Land Raider (assault transport) moves 12", marines hop out using engage move and go 6" into assault with enemy.
- Open Topped Trukk moves 6", Orks hop out and Charge 12" into assault with enemy.
- By current reading, can get out, do stuff, and then re-embark in Consolidation phase.
- Fire Points - can only shoot out to 18"
At least at the stage this was written, still using FOC, not %. 2000pts suggested "well-balanced" game.
Roll off to deploy. Guy who will deploy first starts bidding for first turn, wagering Stratagem points. Winner of bidding gets first turn, loser gets the stratagem points. Different stratagems, some pretty good, so you want them. Given enemy will be stationary and easier to hit in first turn, going first good too, especially if you're going to have to deploy first. The bid winner normally doesn't get any stratagems, but if they seize the initiative they get some of them.
A lot of the stratagems are pretty cool, and I only see them adding more over time (I will venture that codices may introduce army-specific ones - just a guess). I think it's a shame that in standard games most of the time only one side gets them. Hopefully missions and players will introduce things like minimums each player gets (like start with 2 points each, bid for more).
As mentioned, when they come on they appear up to 6" in and then act normally. Nice.
You also have more control over reserves. For each unit still in reserve, you get a die to assign each turn. You can assign up to three dice to particular units, so if you want some units but not others, you assign dice to those you want to come in and none to the others. Everything comes in automatically no later than turn 4.
Can make Strike Forces of multiple units - they are rolled for together and come in together, but have a penalty of 1 to the reserve roll and only generate one reserve die for the whole group. Lots of options here. A unit and a non-dedicated transport count as a strike force. A unit and dedicated transport do too, but don't have the -1 penalty.
Deep Strike - if over 18" from enemy, no scatter. If closer, scatter, some terrain danger but no mishap table. Can trigger defensive fire. Can do things like Engage when arrive, so if land close enough can walk into CC if I'm reading it right. Special rules available, like Deep Strike (Heroic) which doesn't trigger defensive fire (hello Vanguard). Deep Strike (Ambush) don't scatter even if placed close - expect things like Lictors to get this, which should allow them to pop up and assault (if they survive panicked defensive fire). If land by beacon like teleport homer or chaos icon don't scatter and don't trigger defensive fire. If land over 18" or by beacon don't have to set up in the tight circle formation; can spread out as you appear.
Outflank - no roll for side, -1 to reserve roll. Scout/Infiltrate still give Outflank.
Scouts - 12" move regardless of type, don't count as moving.
Infiltration - in reserve but arrive in first turn, using deep strike deployment rules! Don't benefit from beacons unless also have the actual deep strike rule themselves. Could lead to some fun stuff popping up all over first turn.
Variable kill points based on cost of unit.
Points for objectives each turn, scoring units score more.
Not going to go into all of them here, but a few points:
- Another aspect of the bidding will be to sometimes go low to avoid letting the enemy get a particular stratagem. Nids and Daemons would love the one that gives everyone frag grenades, for example!
- A number involve adding terrain to the battlefield, like minefields, bastions, extra ruins, craters, etc. so if you use stratagems you may want to have some extra terrain and markers handy.
OK, I think I'll stop there for now. Overall it looks pretty interesting, and I look forward to seeing the final product. It will take some getting used to and it remains to be seen how balance will sort out - a lot of that will depend on what they do in the final version of the updates for each codex (defining what each unit is, what special rules it gets and at what level, etc.)
Hope it was helpful, especially for those who may not have read it yet!