I was getting kind of down that the big thread on the front page (other than the Necron morass) is one that houses nothing but people who dislike where 6th Edition went and people who enjoy it ranting at each other like some kind of bitchy Ouroboros. I figure there is no reason to crap up a thread specifically for talking about things one dislikes about 6th Edition when we could be talking about what we like about it. As someone who wasn't a fan of the last decade or so of 40k I can comiserate with just wanting to complain about it without having to constantly get shouted down by the vox populi. So let's leave 'em to it and actually discuss things we enjoy about 6th Edition!
Now, quick background from me, but I have been a staunch 2nd Edition player for a while now. I enjoyed the more narrative approach, the higher degree of "Fog of War" randomness that hearkened back to older wargames (including Rogue Trader). I also enjoyed how the bits of the system in 2nd seemed to have more decision points and more interactivity from turn to turn. I gave most every edition a fair shake but I always wandered back to 2nd after realizing the games weren't giving me what I wanted out of a 40k game.
But 6th hooked me early and has managed to keep me so far without me immediately finding half a dozen reasons to ditch it and go back to 2nd again.
But in addition to the re-addition of narrative/weirdness factor (psychic powers, warlord abilities reminiscent of Strategy Cards, etc.) it also (in my eyes) brought back a lot of more interactive system bits that I enjoyed out of 2nd. In the movement phase you have several new tools. Firing heavy weapons on the move (I love this as a new addition) and the ability to keep the heavy weapon stationary while moving the squad (helpful because rotating specific units to the front or back of your unit matters in this addition) and most importantly the way shooting casualties are removed mean that going for flanking or rear attacks can have a variety of effects on a unit. So movement sees more emphasis on maneuver rather than just being simply about range control as it had been before.
In the shooting phase selective firing at specific levels of cover and the previous turn's maneuver can have a large effect on how your shooting goes and as a non-active player, your own maneuvering and position during your last movement phase can also have a large effect. The fix to rapid fire weapons has allowed the engagement envelope to open up to 2nd Edition levels again and now firefights between whole units (not just their heavy weapons) can occur over multiple turns rather than just one (since previously most units with Rapid Fire weapons were on the move so much that they often never fired a shot over 12" and were charged the next enemy turn). So shooting has become a lot more dynamic, but this pales in comparison to how awesome assault became (in my humble opinion of course).
Ah, assault, the phase that decision making forgot. In almost every previous edition, when a unit became locked in combat, your ability to do anything with them other than roll dice ended. But thanks to pile-ins at the initiative step, challenges, and a more selective casualty taking system; assault has become a phase that continues to reward smart use of maneuver and position. You can use challenges as a stalling tactic or for assassination of key characters. You can use selective unit engagement to keep low-initiative units near the edges of combat until they are needed. You can charge units from certain directions to force them to lose specialists. And of course with Overwatch in the mix you actually have to weigh the pros and cons of getting in to combat or staying out and shooting. It is no longer a binary yes/no that only depends on whether you think you can take the enemy squad in hand-to-hand. Properly built defensive units will now be tough nuts to crack and require lateral thinking to properly engage.
And of course, for the first time in over a decade the game actually has a built-in psychic system beyond just a leadership test and rules of Perils of the warp. They made psykers a little more risky to take (which is and always has been very in-setting for 40k) and made it so you may not get the exact tools you wanted (but the tools will almost always be useful; or at least will be once we get books that are designed to use the system). I can't wait to see a codex actually designed to be used with the basic system as all we have right now is a bailing wire and bubblegum solution to work with until proper codices come out.
But enough gushing about the rules. The reason I love 6th Edition is because playing it creates more of those "remember when..." stories than any other edition I have played since 2nd. So part of the point of this thread is to share yours, because part of the reason I love this hobby is the in-game stories that happen, emergently, in general play.
My two favourites so far were a game where my friends had Black Templar running against Space Wolves and a central objective became an utter quagmire as it housed a gravity warping generator. Two Black Templar crusader squads got on to it (along with the EC) and proceeded to re-enact the marine-mountain scene that even the Crimson Fists would be proud of. They held the objective against two Wolf Guard terminator squads tooled for assault. The first contained a generic Wolf Lord and the other contained Grimnar himself. The EC challenged both to combat and killed each of them, only succumbing to his wounds after dispatching Logan in single combat. What remained were a few Initiates and Neophytes standing atop the best and brightest the Space Wolves could throw at them.
My other favourite is one I was on the receiving end of, but I loved it because in any other edition since 1999 I would have continued my steam roll. Belial and his tooled-up command squad dropped in to some ruins near a Tau battle line. The unit quickly tore through a squad of Broadsides and held the objective while an ally moved up troops to take it. The Tau commander and his squad of battlesuits moved toward the flank and fire began to pour in to Belial's squad from every direction. But a combination of 2+ saves and 5+FNP saw a Belial and the Standard Bearer standing tall (both had thunder hammers and storm shields, I figured that was a good bet when facing down a battlesuit squad toting twin-linked fusion guns). The battlesuits made a fairly good roll to shuffle back. I needed a 9 to hit charge range with them, I knew it was a big risk but I went for it... I rolled a 10! But first Overwatch fire needed to be resolved. After a flurry of close rolls I find that I need to save against two attacks. I throw the dice and they come up 1 and 2. Belial and the Standard Bearer rush forward like madmen, but are cut down by a hail of accurate fusion bolts from the Tau commander. It kind of felt like the final battle scene in The Last Samurai. It was worth it just to realize that at that point in older editions I would have been rolling up the Tau line, but this time I was punked by the Tau commander in karmic retribution for all those times he was torn apart in combat over the last several years. I could do nothing but laugh for the next five minutes (the beer helped with this ). It was made slightly more hilarious because earlier in the game my lone Ravenwing sergeant was lost in a similar matter charging a Fire Warrior squad. We decided ill-fated charges were my theme that day.
Oh and I can't forget my own personal moment of glory in the same game. One of my other Deathwing squads is busy dealing with several other Tau units. Earlier in the game the Fire Warrior squad rolled that their objective was booby trapped. But it had failed to go off every turn. In the fourth turn I charge the hapless squad and they go down. That same turn the explosives finally go off... my Deathwing are unscathed but now feel like the A Team. I wish something could explode every time my Deathwing succeed.
I can't wait to play more an see what other oddities occur between our own best laid schemes and what the table decides to throw at us.