Tuesday, October 2, 2012

6th edition 40K impressions, continued: Winning

So 6th ed has been out for a few months, and having played a number of games now I've formed some opinions, as have we all by now I'm sure.  Here's mine, let's see what we might agree or disagree on.

I think that there are several major factors that influence how "good" an army is.

Core game rules, and how that army interacts with them.
Scenario rules and victory conditions.

Army specific rules and costs, especially relative to others.
Here I'm only going to really delve into the first two - core rules and how you win.
Let's start with how you win.  There are lots of variations, but they all boil down to holding objectives and killing units, and these are both involved in ALL basic scenarios.

In most standard book scenarios you get points from objectives - usually static, sometimes mobile (Relic).  You have to have scoring units to get these points, but not necessarily to deny them to your enemy.  You also have a limited version in ALL scenarios - Linebreaker, which essentially turns your enemy's deployment zone into a large one-point objective that you can take with a scoring or denial unit which can't be denied by the enemy.

You also get points from killing stuff.  It's the main thing in one mission (Purge the Alien) but limited forms exist in ALL scenarios.  In Big Guns Never Tire and The Scouring you get points for killing Heavy Support and Fast Attack, respectively, and in all scenarios you can get points for the first unit kill (First Blood) and killing the enemy leader (Slay the Warlord).  It's possible sometimes to earn more than one point with a single kill, like if you get First Blood by killing an enemy FA in The Scouring, which would earn you two points.

So, in every scenario you have two ways to get points - objectives and killing stuff.  The differences are just a matter of degree and individual capability - which method or combination will get you more points in the end?

To that end, there are several basic abilities that you need to account for in order to get those points.

*Killing their stuff - not only does it get you points, it keeps them from holding or contesting objectives, and they can't kill your stuff if they're dead.  Shooting, assault, psychic powers, special rules.  This gets you First Blood and Slay the Warlord points plus the various forms of Kill Points and can keep the enemy from scoring/denying objectives.

*Keeping them from killing your stuff - various ways to do it, provided by the core rules and your army.  Killing them first, damage avoidance (LOS, toughness, snap fire only, saves, mass of wounds, etc.) in all its various forms.  This lets you survive long enough to score or deny objectives as well as deny them the various points from killing stuff.

*Mobility - Do you have some scoring/denial unit that can get to where it needs to be for Linebreaker?  You don't need an amazingly mobile army, but some helps.  Given that in most of the objective games you can put half in your own DZ you can secure those with pretty static scoring units.

Let's look at some of these things in combination.

We want some mobility and a way to hop into the enemy DZ later in the game.  Fast moving units or alternative deployment types like Deep Strike or Outflank can all work.

We want to kill their stuff, especially first so that we can get the First Blood point.  That would tend to lean towards shooting - make sure you have enough firepower to reach across the table early on.  We want to be able to hit anything, so some method of countering the various resiliency strategies is useful - mass of fire or skyfire to handle flyers, ways around cover, ways around good saves, etc.

We want to keep our stuff alive, partly to deny them points.  So resilient units, however you do it, especially those that won't give up that First Blood point, and either an extremely resilient HQ for the Warlord or one that stays back in a support role instead of getting up in the enemy's face and guns that will end up giving up a point (or more) to the enemy.

Sure, he's tough, but he's just one radium gun away from giving up a VP.

So what kind of army do we want?
*Good firepower, able to deal with a variety of enemy units and do at least some of it very early.  Example good unit - Manticore.  Able to hide and still do its thing, reach across the table and hit vulnerable units from turn one.
*Resilient units, especially scoring and denial ones, able to avoid giving up points to the enemy and capable of surviving on objectives.  Example good unit - Full unit of Ork Boyz.  You can kill them, sure, but it's hard to do it all at once, especially early.
*HQ that's either a total beatstick or that hides and stays out of trouble.  Example good unit - Eldrad.  Able to stay far away from the enemy while helping his own units survive and making it easier for them to kill the enemy.
*Some mobility to be able to achieve Linebreaker and potentially deny enemy objectives if distribution goes against you (odd number in Crusade or Big Guns Never Tire, unfavorable values in The Scouring).  Example good unit - Necrons delivered via invasion beams.  Coming from Reserve, being in fast transport that can avoid most fire and go back into Reserve if desired until needed, able to drop off pretty much wherever needed.
A lot is the same from 5th edition - you wanted scoring units, a way to kill the enemy and avoid getting killed yourself, and some mobility to grab objectives.  But I do feel it's a little different now - with Seize Ground tending to group objectives towards the middle, and no way to get extra points in Capture and Control other than on the two objectives, the need for mobility was greater in 5th.  With First Blood, getting the alpha strike in is more important now.  Assault can still be decisive, but with improved rapid fire, worse cover in some instances and overwatch shooting got some significant boosts, plus it's a lot easier to be able to shoot in turn one vs. being able to assault and wipe a unit out in turn one.

To really boil it down: Hit them first.  Don't die.  Be able to be at the right place at the right time.

Agree?  Disagree?  Blindingly obvious?  
Does your army meet these requirements?  
Do you find yourself missing something and giving up points you could avoid?
What armies and types of armies do you feel meets them more easily?


  1. I generally agree. I think that the hope of the 'spam-farm' disappearing is gone, but at least we'll see a little more variety as fast attack and heavy support can be a bit more key.

    I am much more in love with what I refer to as the 'dramatic' rules being added- things like random charge distance, warlord traits, leaping off of tall buildings, and character challenges. I don't think these made the game any better in terms of power or efficiency (well, without a cost of course), but I do think they added to the game that aspect of thinking 'outside the dice box'.

    Overall, I totally agree with the article. Nice thoughts!

  2. I have seen a large increase in the number of troop units that are being played. Some of this is due to allies and double foc requirements, but it is putting a lot more infantry on the board. So killing infantry units, and a lot of them is important in this edition. With more troops I am seeing lists that focus on troops and elites, or troops and heavy support, the later being the most common types. In a sense this is creating a much different dynamic on the tabletop that what we saw in 6th edition, where armies often consisted of units in almost every type of foc slot.

  3. @agemmanjw - The dramatic things you mentioned can certainly be taken advantage of and planned for/against! Check out Fritz40K's recent article on mysterious objectives as an example.

    @Natfka - Are you seeing that across the board, or just more in the armies that already have stronger troops? I know that for myself the opportunity of allies to let me stretch certain FOC slots is interesting, like with my planned Eldar/DE corsairs, being able to take three Eldar HS AND a DE heavy flyer is appealing.

    Good thoughts both, thanks!


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