Those of us transitioning from 5th to 6th have our work cut out for us. It’s really easy to carry over rules we knew from 5th into 6th without thinking about it. Trying to forget everything you know (well not everything), and have learned from the past four years of an edition is no easy feat. So, I just wanted to mention a few things that will make the transition easier and you less prone to mistakes.
This one is easier said than done but read the rules as though you’ve never played a 40K game in your life. Don’t go into reading the rules assuming you know anything. One way I do this is to make sure I read absolutely everything thoroughly. Some things may appear to be the same at a glance but if all you do is glance and skim over it then you’re going to miss out on those subtle changes that drastically effect the game. Same goes for the examples they give, read them all. Even if you understand the rule already, read the example. Repetition is a key to memorization and examples, written or visual, are a great way to recall rules. Personally, I’m a very visual person and so I find the visual examples they give extremely useful for memory recall.
Reference a lot. 6th Edition added a lot of universal special rules (USR’s) and I certainly don’t have them memorized after one read through. What I am doing though is each time I encounter mention of a USR is to go back and read it again. Repetition, repetition, repetition. Same as mentioned above, don’t assume you know the USR just because you knew it in 5th. So many of these rules changed. Constantly make sure you understand how it works in 6th.
Take nothing for granted. Just because your buddy told you that something works a certain way now, don’t take his/her word for it, read it for yourself. This is a general rule of thumb for anything in 40K, not just learning a new edition. The biggest problem I see with people getting rules wrong is someone taught it to them incorrectly and they never bothered to double-check it. That person assumes they were taught correctly and then in turn passes it on to the next player.
Most of us tend to spend more time on the rules that pertain to us, which is natural. I have no chariots in any of my armies and so my understanding of how they function isn’t great. When I face one and it does its chariot-like things then I’ll be referencing the rulebook. Being able to put a rule into physical context like that will help you remember it.
When in doubt, read the rules. I have not played a game under 6th yet but you can be damn sure that when I do that I’ll have my rulebook open and next to me the entire game. If I can’t be 100% sure of something then I’ll have my nose buried in that book looking for the answer. Don’t just go with how you think something works, be sure. I find that I recall rules well when I can mentally reference a game where that rule came into question and how it was handled. I know I’m not the only one either. Making sure you get the rules right the first time will help create an accurate mental catalog.
There is value, however, in getting a rule wrong as well though. If you get a rule wrong the first time you play through then you’ll remember you got it wrong and why it was wrong. You’ll know you got it wrong because after you play a game you’ll be referencing the rulebook. Each game you play should be reinforced with reference. Were you a bit sketchy on the assault rules during your game? Re-read the entire section after the game. Anything you found yourself having to reference in the rulebook during the game should be re-read after the game.
Ultimately it comes down to repetition and that doesn’t mean you need to play more games either. Be proactive, read the rules more than once, focus on areas you’re having a hard time understanding. Build a few lists and reference the rulebook to make sure you understand the impact of the new rules on the units you’re fielding.
Lastly, try to avoid the “Well in 5th edition…” syndrome. Constantly recalling to memory how something used to work is only going to cause confusion and make it hard to imprint how things now work.