OK, so now you've chosen your army list including your allies and fortifications and your opponent has done the same. You've gotten together for a battle and need to get your mission and set up the table. What's the 6th ed way to do that?
Fighting a Battle - (p.118) There are two tables to start with, a mission table with six possibilities, and a deployment type with three options.
- Deployment types - long table edges, short table edges, or diagonals. In all cases, 24" separation between armies. Outflank could be interesting on the short edge deployment type (or to a lesser degree, the diagonals) as there's a lot more edge for you to come in from. Shooting armies may also like the short edge deployment for the extra room to hide and back up from advancing foes. Fast moving stuff, outflankers, deep strikers and the like may be even more important to close the gap for close-up armies. The short edge deployment also has the largest deployment area in square footage, which may be useful for some armies or plans.
- Most missions have objectives (ie point on board to control at end of game), some with twists like variable value, a number give bonus victory points like kill points for destroying certain types of enemy units, one has a mobile objective.
- All standard missions have three secondary goals - first blood (make first unit kill), kill the enemy warlord (should be fun trying to kill enemy flying monstrous creature warlords), and linebreaker (have unit in enemy DZ at game end). The mission specific objectives are generally worth more, but these can essentially serve as tiebreakers. Look for ways in the early turns to try to make that first kill, snipe the enemy general when you have a chance, and plan to get something to the enemy side late in the game.
- Also of note (p.122) if at the end of any game turn, if one side has no models left on the table, they lose.
- The missions with stationary objectives also have "Mysterious Objectives", when you first get to the objective, consult a table and get things like an objective that might keep blowing up, improved cover saves, better shooting, protection against charges or a way to give the controlling unit Skyfire. Note that only scoring units can make use of the benefits. More on scoring units below. I'm of mixed opinions on mysterious objectives at the moment - part of me is annoyed at extra randomness and bookkeeping during the game (what does that mysterious objective in that mysterious terrain do, and how do they interact again?) that for the most part has only a small impact on the game (and if it was these that really decided the game, would be even more annoyed), while the other part of me is happy to see any extra chance to give my units Skyfire.
- There are also more example missions starting on p.346 (back in the background/modeling/etc. section, so will probably not be in the starter set book) as well as a nice bit about considerations for making your own missions (p.360), ideas for mission special rules (p.366) and special warzone traits like Radioactive Hot Zone (making Gets Hot weapons more dangerous to the user) (p.368). Some nice stuff to spark ideas.
- Troops units count as scoring units
- Other units count as denial units (able to contest objectives)
- If you are a vehicle, are in a vehicle or building, are a swarm, have some special rule preventing you from scoring/denying or are falling back, you cannot score/deny. So no more scoring from inside your metal box, no more late game contesting with speeders/grav tanks etc. (use jetbikes instead now).
- There are missions that expand what's scoring (one to fast attack, one to heavy support) in addition to troops. In these cases, vehicles can be scoring as long as they come from the new category (FA or HS) and are not immobilized. The downside is that having them destroyed also gives up a victory point.
- Night Fighting - mentioned earlier in the series. Instead of rolling for visibility, it gives improved cover saves to targets depending on distance, and prevents firing over 36".
- The old "Dusk and Dawn" style rule makes a comeback, with all standard missions having night fight first turn on a 4+ (roll before deployment). If it is not night first turn, roll again at the start of turn 5 - on a 4+ it is night for the rest of the game (random game length is still used).
- Reserves - Some big changes:
- Can only reserve half (round up) of your units. Units that must start in reserve don't count for the half. A unit and a dedicated transport are treated as one unit for this. Also note that some typical all-reserve armies like Deathwing have special rules that will come into play - half goes into reserve, the other half teleports in turn 1, which is different than being in reserve.
- Start rolling for reserves turn 2, as before.
- 3+ to come in turn 2, 3+ (yes, same roll) turn 3, auto arrive turn 4.
- Unless stated specifically otherwise, models arriving from reserve may not assault the turn they arrive.
- Roll for mission and deployment type.
- Roll off for who gets to pick table side. Note that this does not carry over to who has first turn.
- Set up any purchased fortifications (Bastion, etc.) each player may have.
- Set up terrain.
- "Narrative" setup - set it up in whatever way works for both of you.
- "Alternating" setup -
- Get all your terrain together (or whatever pieces you agree to have available)
- Roll d3 for each 2x2 foot section. This will be the terrain density limit.
- Fortifications (which are already in place by now) count towards this limit.
- Take turns putting terrain down until you meet the limits for the different areas or decide to stop. Three smaller pieces counts as one large piece.
- No terrain within 3" of other terrain.
- When done, shuffle around a bit if desired/other player agrees.
- Set up objectives, if any. Not within 6" of table edge, 12" of another objective, can't be in impassible terrain, in a building or a fortification (which seems odd, as you'd think those would be prime objectives!). If terrain or previously placed objectives make it impossible to place new ones, nudge things the minimum to make the new ones fit.
- Determine Warlord Traits (see p.111).
- Roll off for choice of going first or second. Player who goes first deploys first. Seize the initiative still available.
Also not a big fan of the Reserves changes. I know not everyone was a fan of all- or predominantly- reserve armies, but I liked the option. A number can still be done, but some like the all-jump pack deep strike armies cannot. I think that the speeding up of reserves by making them 3+ turn 2 and making them auto arrive turn 4 was enough to get those armies into the game faster. The no assault from reserves hurts a lot of the units that actually used outflank before, especially as they generally weren't the sturdy type, which is half the reason they went sneaking around in the first place! Some reserves and outflankers will still be useful, but will need to be used and likely built differently. For example, I may still end up with a unit of Kommandos for my Orks, but it may end up as a small unit designed to walk in and deny an objective instead of being a burna/klaw toting combat threat.
Whew! Next up some impressions on the changes as a whole.