We've been a bit without a blog and in the time since my last one, I've played a few of my first games of 6th edition.
Whilst I've not played enough games to pass true judgement on 6th edition (plenty of other people have on their blogs) I thought I'd get some of my feelings towards the edition into words...
1. Lots of faffing.
Now, this is always going to happen with a new edition. Lots of unfamiliarity, lots of new / changed things to memorise and also, lots of things to read and re-read to avoid playing incorrect rules or rules how they were played in 5th edition.
I've read the book a fair bit, read a lot of thoughts and rules commentaries on blogs and then find myself spending half my gaming time on a Monday night turning backwards and forwards in the rulebook, going from the rules for Beasts, to the rules for Difficult Terrain, back to Beasts to compare wording and look for clarification.
All this combined with the necessary hefty FAQs released, means my games are spent with my nose in the book, rather than rolling dice.
This is a minor one, and one I thought was just my mentality, but when I pull the tape measure out to check a distance or see if I'm in range to fire a weapon - I feel like I'm cheating.
Part of the fun I had in 40k was becoming a good eye for range guessing and judgement. However, I have found it to be really helpful at times and stop the issue of moving somewhere (like a Raider out in the open) and then finding yourself an inch short.
3. Heavy focus on Shooting
I don't want to come across as a negative "the sky is falling!" type, but I think my Slugga Boyz days are numbered, probably the same with Hormagaunts and other such fodder Assault units. People will argue they are, people will argue they aren't - that's your own opinion.
Part of this comes from Overwatch (come to that in a minute) and the other part I think comes from certain circumstances such as Cover dropping to a 5+ in the majority and emphasis on Flyers, that these units can do nothing to.
It seems to me that this edition is geared towards shootier armies, with dedicated assault units, as opposed to armies that rely heavily on assault. I can only imagine what sort of pasting my Daemons of Khorne will take when I bring them out.
Maybe when I play using my Orks or Khorne Daemons I'll see it's not so bad - I doubt it - but maybe?
This seems like a Marmite rule to me, some people really love it and others absolutely hate it. Admittedly, you'll always hit on a 6 which limits the hits you'll take, but there'll always be that above average roll of the dice.
So far, there's not been TONS of casualties come from Overwatch fire. Usually 1 a time, but I think the mechanic itself needs to be prepared for rather than shooting any unit charging you, all the time.
One idea me and Sanguinius talked about was you having to forgoe shooting and declare you are Overwatching. If this wasn't fair enough, then by forgoing shooting you get to fire at full BS.
All in all, I don't mind Overwatch that much when I'm using certain armies, but I find allowing a unit to shoot twice (albeit as BS1) still favours the unit being charged, rather than the charger.
I dread to think what would have happened if I'd charged a unit of Broadsides on Monday night, with their twin-linked shots and other shenanigans. Whereas in previous editions, charging them would have been a good option to tie them up.
To me, 6th edition has a LOT more mobility around the board.
In 3rd, 4th and 5th editions, the fact you couldn't move any of the unit if you wanted to fire a heavy weapon was killer. Now the fact you can move other guys, but declare your Heavy Bolter team to be standing still.
And this combined with the fact most heavy weapons can move and fire at Snap Shot means you get away from the 2 gunline setup that plagued past editions, with people too scared to move a squad because then the heavy weapon couldn't fire.
On top of this, I think all missions have the "Line Breaker" objective, which favours mobility as well.
6. Random Charge
Another marmite thing that goes back to the pre-measuring point. I liked the feeling of gauging a charge distance just right and getting into base contact.
Nowadays though, nothing is certain though and all it takes is a bad dice roll to scupper your plans. Which again, makes me think that the game is weighted more towards shooting. You always know your guns range, but your assault range is anywhere between 2" and 12".
On the flip side though, you can increase and even double your charge distance from 5th edition. Which is pretty cool, especially when you manage to pull it off!
7. Flyers and Flying Monstrous Creatures
I've barely given these a thought in my first games. Each time I try and read those pages in the rulebook I just think to myself that they've overly complicated.
Different flight modes, moving on and off the board, etc. etc. As well as keeping track of all the usual vehicle or MC rules attached to them. If I get to play a few balanced games with them (i.e. No 6 Necron Croissant list of doom) then maybe my opinion will change.
At the moment though, I find myself actively avoiding these rules and choosing armies that don't have access to them, or that I don't own the models for - like my Squats and Dark Eldar (no flyer models)
Seems like this new edition is geared towards these though, as they're all shiney, new and people want / are expected to buy them. So there's no avoiding them in short.
8. Psychic Powers
Here's something I was really interested in to begin with as I loved the Magic stuff in Fantasy. For the time being though, I've not used an army with a Psyker, or never got around to using the psychic power for him.
But the opinion of people is that new psychic powers are "Devstating". Which makes me think about leaving my Orks, and other armies with no Psykers or psychic defence, on the shelf for a while.
I'll be giving my Dark Angles a bash with some psychic powers, as their Codex ones are terrible (until they get the new codex) and when I eventually get around to my Eldar I'll give them a try there too.
Similarly to Flyers though, I find myself going cross-eyed reading the Psychic section. The words go into my brain, then straight back out.
This is a contentious subject before the release of the rulebook. Lots of people were kicking off about it (and still are), but I think it's the best thing for the game until such a time when all the Codexes are FAQed, updated or WD updated to have a flyer, anti-air unit or weapons and either a Psyker or an Anti-Psyker.
I'm on the fence again with this one...
First off, I love the idea of allies from a modelling and painting point of view. It lets me add very small collections of models to paint up and ally into my forces. For example, I'm wanting to add a squad of Firewarriors and a Tau HQ onto my painting backlog. And then it'll probably spiral into adding a unit of Battlesuits, then a unit of Pathfinders, then I might as well add in a squad of Broadsides yeah? And then I fancied adding some of the cooler Grey Knight units into my Guard - HQ, squad of Termies, a small GK squad, Dreadknight and Storm Raven.
See how quickly it spirals into me going from spending £20 to £120?
My counter to it though, is if someone says to me "I'm taking Eldar to tournament X" and then shows up with an Eldar army, supported by Dark Eldar flyer, Lady Malys and whatever else, I feel a bit meh about it.
My major gripe though is when it becomes a massive Cheese-off with what you can get away with in the allies, such as Grey Knights and Necrons? Gimme a break.
I can remember a time when the entire Internet was up in arms over a Blood Angel / Necron team up in a half page bit of fluff, but they're more than happy to let that unholy alliance continue.
Maybe it's just me stuck in my ways though?
10. Game Size and Length
The final point on my first commentary on the tour of 6th edition is about the game size itself.
In past editions, 2000 points has been the top end of what I was willing to play (Apocalypse excluded) and could, at a push, get 2k game done on a club night in a decent amount of time.
In this edition however, 2000 points seems a big stretch to fit into a 2 hour 30 time limit at a tournament, as has been mentioned from people's experiences at the first of the 6th ed tournaments. And also, to fit this comfortably into a game at the club that doesn't end after Midnight.
I've enjoyed my 2 games at 1500 points and think that's the optimum points level for a decent game that doesn't last until Tuesday morning. 1500 also limits the amount of Allies that can be taken (or at least, limits the amount of points spent in your primary force) in my opinion.
There'll still be tournaments and players pushing for bigger games than that ("I want to get these toys into my list and 1500 just isn't enough!!!" etc.).
The amount of new special rules, rolling, initiative step movements, checks, objective rolls, pre-measuring, umming and aahing over decisions, checking rules for Fortifications, how far did that Flyer move? etc. all mean for a slower, but more detailed game.
So that turned out to be a bit more wordy than I was expecting... It was only supposed to be a quick blog but it's turned into War and Peace.
Anyway, that's my thoughts on 6th edition so far. I am enjoying it a lot, but the best way I've heard it described is "6th Edition is a new game that GW lets you use your old toys for". If you think of it that way it eases things a bit.
But I'm sure the more I play, the more I'll get into it and lose my 5th edition mentality.