Thursday, January 17, 2013

6th Edition Theory – Boots on the Ground

Some of you will remember that in my recent I’m back post I mentioned I’d be delving deeper into some of my thoughts on 6th edition. One of those thoughts was that there were going to be an increased number of models on a per army basis for successful armies in 6th edition. Well here are some of my expanded thoughts on the subject J

I think a critical thing to understand is that I’m not talking about physical models on the table. I’m talking about an increased total number of models in the army as a whole. I’m not saying go all infantry (unless you hate painting vehicles) as I think transports and vehicles still have a place.

So why more boots on the ground? There are a couple of reasons.

1)     6th edition is a lot more deadly in the shooting phase. There are more shots being fired and unit enhancers are easier to come by. The changes to rapid fire and the addition of snapfire for heavy weapons means a lot more mobile firepower. Mobile firepower means more people dying in the 13”-24” band that was, in 5th, pretty much the land of Grey Knights only.

2)     Changes to wound allocation mean that you’re going to lose heavy/special/character models more frequently in smaller squads.

3)     Other changes to wound allocation have heavily impacted multi-wound units as there is no more bouncing wounds around.

4)     The addition of overwatch and the changes to charging are going to impact unit sizes.

5)     The 16.5% reduction in KP oriented missions.

6)     Possibility of First Blood

What do these changes really mean based on the points above?

The increased death dealing in the 13”-24” range means you’ll see more infantry oriented armies as they can advance and keep up a healthy weight of fire. Generally cutting vehicles will tend to net you more infantry so you’re looking at bigger armies. And you’re going to need more shots to deal with the increased number of bodies. It’s kinda cyclical.

The changes to wound allocation mean you’re going to either want more models to cover your special/heavy/character or if that’s not possible you’re going to want more units that contain those special/heavy/character models. Granted this is a balancing act. Sometimes it’s the bodies that matter and sometimes it’s the weapons hidden in the bodies. That’ll greatly depend on what the rest of what you’re bringing to the table looks like. In either case though, more bodies again J

Mass fire units can now knock down multi-wound model units. It’s not like 5th edition and even pre-FAQ 6th where they can run all over and you need to deal the entire number of models in the squad plus one in wounds before they start losing models.

For assault based armies you’re going to need more models. You’re going to need to be able to survive more incoming firepower and need be able to survive getting close enough that losing a few models to overwatch doesn’t prevent you from reaching assault.

And lastly, the changes to the scenarios in 6th indicate a direction away from kill point missions and a push even farther toward objective holding. Naturally the more objective holders you have the better position you’re in but this couples with the next point of first blood nicely as you want units that are difficult to remove from the table. I’ve seen a few games now in tournaments where first blood isn’t actually achieved until turn 2-3 instead of on turn 1. Why? People are bringing larger units and rolling their vehicles on if they’ve got second turn.

Basically 6th edition encourages large model count armies. Not saying that elite armies can’t compete but I’m finding that I’m feeling a little light on models if I don’t have 60+ models where in 5th I only felt that way under 40. With the addition of allies and the ability to tie in elite units into mob armies or mob units into elite armies I think you’ll see the general model count continue to rise. Which is ok because with the number of dice rolled in shooting now and it’s increased deadliness if they didn’t the game might not last the full number of turns.

So what do you guys think? Is 6th more oriented toward larger lists or has it remained largely the same? And don’t go into vehicles and transports yet. That’s a different topic for me in how they currently fit in the game and no, they aren’t dead! J