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40K COUNTERPOINT: Spacecurves’ Thoughts on 6th Edition Rumors

4 Minute Read
Jul 4 2011
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Hello Everyone,
The regular BOLS readers will know that my articles are usually very specific in purpose, either a tactics class or a battle report, but today I decided to change it up and write an opinion piece. Now that Goatboy had his say – it’s my turn.

The rumors about 6th edition Warhammer 40k have been flying all over the internet, and I’ve been eagerly reading them along with the rest of you.  So what do I think?  They seem very reasonable to me, and  I think they describe some exciting changes.
Do the Rules Make Sense?
So first off, why do I find the rumors credible? Well, the detail and level of self consistency is very high.  Someone would not only have to spend an incredible amount of time to fabricate these rumors, they would also have to be a great game designer.  Everything in there makes perfect sense to me. Foot units now always charge the maximum they could have in 5th ed, no more difficult terrain rolls deciding games.  A simple but effective tiered USR system, suddenly the psyker levels in the grey knight book snap into focus.  Flyer rules will be integrated in the main game, that explains the inflated points cost of the Dark Eldar planes relative to Ravagers.  Squad leaders will be really important and can be sniped more easily, suddenly the option of  Nemesis Warding Staves for Justicars and Ghost Plate for Dark Eldar sergeants make sense.

The list goes on and on, but basically these 6th ed rumors click perfectly with the recent codices.  Is that proof they are accurate? Of course not, but I think it is strong evidence they are close to the real thing.  My guess is most of these rules will be in 6th edition, but some details will change between now and then.  So don’t agonize over specific details, but do pay serious attention to the design philosophy.

What is the Future?
If these rumors are mostly accurate at least in spirit, what kind of game will 6th edition be?  It will undoubtedly be a complete change from 5th.  Nothing about our current metagame, or unit selections, or tournament formats will be relevant once 6th edition comes out.  I think that is great!  New rules and models are what keeps this game fresh, and honestly, after four year of 5th ed, I’m ready for something new. We have no way of knowing whether the game will be better or worse at this point, but I am encouraged by some of these rumors.
First, the elimination of random movement is a huge improvement.  I was very worried that 6th edition would be like 8th edition Warhammer Fantasy, with random charges and random abilities winning the game with one spell/move.  It looks like the designers are moving in the opposite direction, which I think is awesome.
Second, it looks like there will be a lot more action-counter action going on.  You can harry your enemy’s reserves, perform a variety of responses to enemy shooting, overwatch your units when the enemy charges you, etc. Just like everything else I’m sure the details will change between now and printing, but the overall philosophy points to tactical decisions being made by both players during every player turn.  I like the sound of that.
Unification of victory conditions is another big rumor here. No longer is it killpoints OR objectives, instead both will contribute to your overall score.  Basically the game will always have the same goal: get more points than your opponent, but you can score points two ways.  You can kill everything that moves, or control the objectives all game. This should make the lives of tournament organizers much easier.  Killpoints were never very popular, but they were necessary to balance MSU armies.  I think this new system will be a lot better received.  I also notice the rumors say you will get a “killpoint” for killing squad leaders, not the entire squad, which is an interesting twist if it turns out to be true.  Perhaps building an army of snipers will be a viable strategy? Sounds cool to me!
This victory point change would have a big effect on the entire game. Ever since 3rd edition, the first and last turns have been much more important than any other. Alpha strikes and last turn objective grabs are so common we take them for granted.  These rumors suggest that will no longer be the case.  Strategems and enhanced reserves control will probably spell the end of shooting alpha strikes, and you will need to control the objectives all game to score points.
6th In the Balance
So overall I am very encouraged by these rumors.  I think the upcoming Sisters of Battle and Necron codices will give us some more clues about what direction 6th edition is going. At the very least we can be confident this new edition will be something new and exciting, I’m looking forward to it!
-Spacecurves

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