Thursday, 9 February 2017

Warhammer 40k 8th Edition - What about the D6?

Everyone is talking about the rules that might change when 8th Edition drops, but I don’t think that will be the biggest change, especially if the core book will form the basis of both 40k and Age of Darkness, there’s just too many codices, expansions and army books that would need updating. Image result for d6 dice  
No, where I think we’ll see the biggest changes. I think we need to look at the swathe of board games released over the last 12 to 18 months to see where Games Workshop will be making the biggest changes in an effort to speed up the game. 
Games like Space Hulk, although fun, have game dynamics that are very specific and too basic to adopt in standard 40k. I think the two that will be influencing the game the biggest will be Betrayal at Calth and Burning of Prospero, and I think it’ll be the dice we’re rolling and the phases that make up the game that will see the biggest changes. Let’s take a look at these two in more detail.
In Betrayal at Calth we have a game that uses unique D6, but D6 none the less (so could be easily ported to 40k). The attacker’s weapons have a number of D6 associated with them (like 40k). The attacker roles for ‘hits’ or ‘critical hits’, forming a pool of ‘hit’ dice. Where ‘critical hits’ have been rolled, the player can opt to activate a ‘critical effect’ from the weapon in the squad, so if you have a plasma gun, missile launcher and 6 bolters, you can select which of these weapons’ ‘critical’ effect is used.
The number of ‘hits’ is nullified by a number of ‘armour’ roles from the defender, and if the balance is greater than the defender’s ‘stamina’, they die.
In Burning of Prospero we do something very different. Rather than the weapons having a number of D6 to ‘hit’, weapons can have D6, D8, D10 or D12, depending on the strength. And they just have a single dice per weapon. Likewise the defender has a number of ‘armour’ dice equal to the number of attacks, but some of these can be upgraded from D6 to D8, D10 or D12 depending on the armour within your squad. The defender roles and the dice roles are compared, highest against highest, second highest against second highest, etc. Where the defender wins, the attack is nullified. Where they lose, the successful attacks form a pool, and if this pool is larger than the stamina of the defenders, they are removed from play.
 Image result for burning of prospero diceImage result for betrayal at calth dice
Both of these are nice and simple but doesn’t remove the need to role dice (which we all like, don’t pretend you don’t…). What it also does is remove the time needed to refer to ‘to hit’ and ‘to wound’ tables.
What both Betrayal at Calth and Burning of Prospero do is remove and/or combine game phases, instantly speeding the game up. There are nuances in each game but ultimately they have two main phases:
  • a movement phase, which combines movement and charging
  • an attack phase, which combines shooting and close combat
From my experience this is much quicker than playing a separate movement, shooting and assault phase and I can easily see this being adopted.
You could say that by combining the shooting and assault phase, you have less chances to kill the enemy in a 6 turn game, but who says we are going to have 6 turn games in the future? If the game play is much quicker, we just play until one side or the other wins. This does raise questions such as “how do we claim objectives at the end of the game then, if there is no end?” but both boxed games, and Space Hulk generally have rules like “the winner is the person who holds an objective for two turns”, for example. 
In my opinion, both changes in the way we role our dice and mixing up the game phases are easily doable without changing the words about special rules too much so I can easily see the boxed games being trial runs for 8th Edition 40k.
What do you think?
Dave - a blog dedicated to The Horus Heresy and Warhammer 40k

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