We are finally on the cusp of 6th edition for 40k. and its about time.
there have been hundreds and hundreds of rumors flying around. will these new edition bring balance to the game? who knows, probably not. It is extremely hard to balance a complex miniature wargame while keeping it unique. At the club, there is a strong contingent forming to playing Mordheim. the fantasy game where you roleplay a warband and you can level up your different models, etc. Honestly, it is much fun but some of the rules for the bands seem a bit.... stale.. to say the least. they were written about 7-8 years ago and has not gotten any support from GW. Some internet fans have tried to design more factions and updated rules but even those seem a little much, lets just say, its very easy to see which factions said rule maker liked to play and which ones he could care less about.
What is the point?
Well, some of us have started delving into revamping certain factions for Mordheim. giving them back something unique to how they play. but there has been much talk of balance. and.. balancing the balance versus uniqueness/style of an army.
The ultimate balance, as we seen is chess. it is completely a mirror match. each player has the same peices, the game board is always exactly the same, and the winning conditions are exactly the same. the only thing chess tests is individual tactics and strategy.
so how does one now add some individuality to a game?
dice is a good place. now, all of a sudden, we introduce and element of chance in the game. maybe that rook cannot just move in and take out that bishop. Now, maybe that bishop wins the fight. oh snap! what now? Now, you have to work some new strategies. you have to have back up plans, you have to play precentages... well.. how likely is that bishop to live and what if he does lose? then what?
the game becomes very complex very fast. It also makes the game very exciting. you can cheer on your units as they fight your opponent. you never know when you can pull out that under dog move. However, this comes with a price. you will lose some of your competitive audience because now the game has become unpredictable. competitive players do not like random 'chance' events. they want to know that if I do this move, than this will happen. cause and effect.
From my recent tournament experience, 40k has become very much cause and effect. I can look across the table at what my opponent has brought and I can pretty well determine how the game will play out. and likewise he can look at my army and see the same. We really do not even have to play the game. Granted, I am doing a good deal of generalizing here, but on the whole, I think it is true. It is one of the reasons why there has been such a strong push for warhammer fantasy at the club this past 6 months. our guys simply look at what is being presented on the table and say, eh, played that fight before, and I don't have any interest in doing it again. I know I am going to win or lose in this manner and I'd rather just not play that game.
Fantasy however, has introduced many of us to a new level of chance in a game. there are so many rules and things you must roll for in WHFB that is has become fun again for all of us. down to spells you receive, the winds of magic, the charging, fleeing, and running down of units. warmachines, giants, you name it. everything has a chance to work or not work. the spell has a chance to go off, not go off, or go off and damage you in the process. now 40k does have some elements of the random, but not to this level.
The rumors for 6th edition in general appear to be placing some of these more random/chance elements back into the wargame, which I believe will make the experience more enjoyable for those playing it. Sure it will probably lose some of its competitive edge but at the same time gain a ton of uniqueness and fun and enjoyment to the game. That is trade I, and most players, will make every time.
So bring on the 6th edition, and more 'chances' of things to happen, that are out of my control. Lets let the dice gods have more a say in the game rather than the list hammering calculators. It is the dawn of a new day!
- Brother C