Screw 7th Edition: Warhammer 40K 6.5 Edition

(Note that the curses and ideas of one raving lunatic do not necessarily reflect those of Creative Twilight itself.)

With 7th edition Warhammer 40K looming on the horizon, my blood boiling and pocket book moaning, I have come up with some suggested rule fixin’s that will neutralize the need for such an obvious, insulting money-grab.  With a few minor tweaks, 6th edition could be pretty damn good.  (Of course there’s no “perfect” version, and my personal ideas here are no exception to that.)

Also note that not everything I have some degree of disagreement with is addressed here, but I can live with the other aspects and/or don’t have a better suggestion.  Also note that I am not familiar with Apoc, Escalation, and all the other expansion texts that have come out.  As far as I’m concerned, those expensive hardback expansion rules are all good to go, as agreed upon by those players standing at the table that night or organizing the tournament.  Period.  No need to print yet another expensive tome just to get them all inside the same cover and collect taxes on them again.

In fact, my 40K 6.5 edition (let’s call it “40K Fred”) alterations could be issued as a thin, inexpensive paperback/ebook at a reasonably low price, thus no need to rake all GW’s loyal and already abused customers any further than we already have been.

1. Force Organization Chart:

The golden rule here is, whatever those folks playing decide to do, that’s good for them.  If you want to go Apocalypse, Unbound, take whatever, that’s fine, go for it.  Barring that, I like the standard, balanced chart with its minimum 1 HQ, 2 Troops, but with the following standing order:

— One (and only one, maximum) Force Org slot can be traded for another among all but the Troops categories.  Thus, you can decide to turn one of these into any other of these: HQ, Elite, Fast Attack, and Heavy Support.

For example, you might decide you’re not going to take a 3rd Elite unit, but would like a 3rd HQ model.  Or you only need one HQ but want another Heavy choice.  You can trade one for one, as long as neither is a Troop slot.  (It’d be too easy to give up one of six Troops for something better.)  You need not use all Force Org slots to do this; you can take just one Elite and still take four Heavies (hell, you weren’t using that other Elite anyway, right, so why not?)


2. Allies:

While we’re at it, let’s alter the allies just a bit.  Actually, I’m not going to rehash an allies chart here, but I would alter it some.  I do like the allies contingent force org limits as is too.  My only changes would be:

— The chart needs reworking in general.  Mainly, I’d limit battle brothers to racially/historically sensible match-ups (for example, Tau being battle bros with Eldar???  I guess Tau just needed a friend?).  I’d also allow for Genestealer Cults, which would need some additional rules and minimum units, but would allow Tyranids to ally with guard, tau, and whatever else might make sense for infiltrating isolated planets.  (In fact, Guard could ally with just about anybody; I can see a storyline where they get corrupted or influenced by just about all the others.  Except maybe Necrons.  It’d take some desperate and evil forces to ally with them.)

— Battle Brothers CAN share transport vehicles.  How stupid is it that winning the battle might hinge on getting a unit of guardsmen safely across no man’s land but the marines would refuse to take them there???  Just dumb.

3.  Ambush:

Assault units took several hits in the 6th edition.  Not only can you shoot at them first (which is fine, I like the overwatch rules), but when your sneaky assault units outflank or come off a transport they are required to stand around to be shot before doing anything else.  Terrible, and neutralizes the very things that some units where designed to do.  The solution: An “Ambush Roll.”

— An Ambush Roll is an Initiative Check.  Units coming in from reserve or disembarking* from transports may attempt to assault in the same turn but must prove quick enough of mind and body to pull it off.  This is accomplished by an Initiative check.  If they pass, they may declare an assault as normal this turn.  If not, they cannot.

— *Units disembarking from transports must do so BEFORE the vehicle moves this turn.  If they disembark before the vehicle moves, they do so up to 6″ from the hatch as their move and then act as normal this turn, meaning they can shoot/run and declare a charge, provided they pass an Ambush check.  If the vehicle moves before they disembark, they can shoot/run but not assault.  This does not apply to assault vehicles and open-topped transports (no ambush check needed for them).

I think this is a good compromise for this situation.  It makes it possible that a unit won’t be able to assault, but doesn’t outright prohibit it.  Thus your sneaky assault units don’t have to stand by a full turn to be killed before performing the very job you brought them to do.


4. Challenges:

I’ve been struggling to find a better way to do this ever since it came out.  I think I have one here, adding a few details without trying to revamp the whole system.

— The winner of a challenge (meaning they kill their opponent) adds an additional +1 to the total number of wounds for combat resolution when determining who won the combat round.  Thus a challenge between champions has some weight and a morale benefit for the winning side.

— Refusing a Challenge:  Sometimes a hero might wish to refuse.  It isn’t that he’s a coward and ashamed, it just isn’t a good tactical move.  After all, a greater daemon or avatar wouldn’t cower in shame from a lowly IG sergeant, they just wouldn’t want to waste their time with them.  However, the loud-mouthed IG sergeant might still convince them to take him on and him alone.  If a challenged character wants to refuse, both sides roll a D6 and add the characters’ Leadership scores.  If the challenger’s total equals or ties the challengee, the challengee cannot refuse and must fight him.  If the challengee’s score beats the challenger, he manages to avoid/dismiss the fight but at a minor cost: he now must act last in the combat, effectively at Initiative Zero.  He still gets to fight, but everyone else this round will act first.  (The Challenger, having proven the bravest and fiercest of the bunch, acts normally without penalty.)


5. Vehicle Damage – Glancing Hits:

This is perhaps with worst new rule in 6th edition, reducing your heavily armored tanks and walkers to cannon fodder to be taken down by basic infantry squads.  In 5th edition, a glancing hit slowed the vehicle but wouldn’t destroy it.  I have here a compromise between the two that I think works nicely:

— When a glancing hit is caused against a vehicle, roll a D6 on the following table:

1Crew Shaken, 1 Hull Point damage
2 – 3Crew Shaken, no hull point damage
4 – 5Crew Stunned, no hull point damage
6Crew Stunned, 1 Hull Point damage

* Open-Topped always add +1 to the roll (thus pushing toward Stunned and HP damage).

* In addition, AP 1 hits add or subtract one (+/-1) from the die roll to manipulate the result.

Thus a glancing hit always shakes or stuns the crew and there’s a 1 of 3 chance it’ll do a hull point as well, but it’s not automatic.  And the chart is easy to remember: 1 and 6 = hull point, 1-3 shaken, 4-6 stun.  And the most powerful weapons (AP1) get a +/-1 bonus.  BAM, easy-peasy!


And there you go!  FIVE measly alterations and suddenly 7th edition is unnecessary, as is gouging GW’s loyal customers for another $80 book!  It could be issued in White Dwarf or even as a light-weight pamphlet.  Although I do like the sound of this rumored changing objectives card deck thingie.  Let’s throw them all in the same issue of White Dwarf and be done with it, shall we?

Now let’s play some Fred!

J. D. Brink

Brink’s Chaos Theory

Fugitives of Purgatory

  • Not bad. The ambush idea is good and I completely agree there. In general, seeing assault become a more feasible phase is a good thing.

    They certainly could have patched up 6th but we all knew they wouldn’t. Honestly, I’m good with it though. I feel 6th was alright but not great, I far preferred 5th. Sometimes it takes a big overhaul to really address the issues and root them out. I’m hoping that’s what they’ve done.

  • eriochrome

    The book set is 85 dollars. I guess the next starter set will be at 115 base price (not price for limited edition with extra mini like last time).

  • JD Brink

    I liked 5th too. That’s where I came back in from 1st way back in the day as a kid. I liked the simplicity of 5th. There are things I like about 6th over 5th, a few, a handful, maybe, but… honestly not excited for 7th. At all. (In case you couldn’t tell.) But hell, I’m going to be isolated in Japan with no one to play with anyway, so why should I care? :)

    • I think 7th has potential but obviously we need to see it all first. It could be the only potential is from the leaks and the rest is crap. Then again, some think the leaks are what is shaping it up to be lousy.

      The fact is we have a 120+ page rulebook coming out and no real idea the impact.

      How long are you in Japan? Maybe by the time you hit the States again things will be under control :)

  • Harry

    Your ideas work better for me than the new rules – I mean now overwatch is on BS 2? With a ten man squad depending on what you are charging you’ve already lost two men; assault isn’t going to be beneficial. Also removing a force organisation chart with the seventh is crazy, games will not have a basis and in my opinion wont be as fair. Go back to the fifth I say!

    • JD Brink

      Thanks, Harry, greatly appreciated!
      And I hadn’t heard that overwatch was going to be on 2s now! So orks are no worse in overwatch?? You’re right, if that proves true than assault units will take an even BIGGER HIT in this edition! I hope that’s not true. Hitting on 6s seems fair enough for shooting on the opponent’s turn. You should be able to get 1 or 2, but not a 1/3 of them hitting.
      I’m all for playing our own versions of whatever edition. I don’t play tourneys anyway. The sense that everyone is obligated to play the new edition is depressing and not necessarily so.

      • The rumor is -2 BS, so Marines would become BS2 and hit on 5’s where of course Orks would become BS6 and still need 6’s.

        I also heard a rumor that if you overwatch then you will only be snap firing the next turn. It sounds better in theory than reality I think. If someone is close to you and wants to charge then you’ll overwatch knowing you’ll either be dead next turn or stuck in combat, so snap firing means nothing. If they are say 10″ out you might consider not overwatching so you can fire at normal BS when they fail the charge (if they do), but that’s about as strategic as that will get and doesn’t offset being overwatched at a higher BS than in 6th where it was 6’s for everyone.

        • JD Brink

          That’s interesting. I can see the logic in all that, but you’re right, may be better in theory than practice. But I knid of like it. When 6th came out I was kind of annoyed that orks were only slightly worse off while everyone else, who are better shots, were now hitting at the same as those who couldn’t hit the broad side of a tank in the first place. As lnog as the snap fire next turn came with it. otherwise overwatch at a higher success rate might be too powerful.

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