Sunday, February 17, 2013

6th Edition 40K - You're Doing It Wrong! (maybe) - Pre-Game Sequence

We've all done it. When you play a game with your mates you either both assume a rule stayed the same in 6th or else one of you is sure you've read it and the other doesn't question it. Not such a big deal in friendly games but can lead to problems at tournaments. You end up making your battle plans based on those assumed rules and it's only when you execute your strategy that your opponent goes "hang on, you can't do that anymore". This is partly why I like going to tournaments. I can't remember a time when I got through an entire tournament without having to look something up.

One point that's worth making here is that some things are FAQ'd and people aren't up-to-date with them. Keeping abreast of the rules is key to tournament play. Before any tournament I always read through the latest FAQs of the rulebook and my army's codex. I also do my best to keep an eye on all the other FAQs, which comes in handy when I referee at Blog Wars. Anyway, here's a list of rules you might be doing wrong. I'm hoping to make this a regular segment so feel free to send in any you've come across.

1) Two Roll-Offs
This is something that comes up more than anything else. When you read the pre-game sequence people often miss that there are two roll-offs. Straight after rolling for the type of deployment you roll off to see who picks their zone first. You then deploy fortifications, place terrain (in theory), place objectives, determine warlord traits, generate powers etc.

You then roll off again to see who will deploy first and take the first turn. This changes the way you think about objective deployment as you can't be sure you're going first when you do it but you can put the majority of objectives in your half if you won the first roll-off.

2) Mysterious Objectives
Whilst people tend to just ignore this rule. All objectives are mysterious. It's not an optional part of the game like mysterious terrain is. With the exception of one result they're fairly good for your scoring units. Skyfire Nexus can be particularly helpful in the right situation. Just remember, whilst any unit that moves within 3" can trigger the objective, only units that actually control it (i.e. scoring units) can take advantage of the Mysterious Objectives result.

Some tournaments ban the use of this feature but most do not. Top players will probably not bother rolling for it but them's the rules and I intend to play them.

3) Generating Psychic Powers
Unless otherwise specified in the unit entry or FAQ, psykers swap ALL of their codex powers for the random powers. You can't pick and choose. The main thing people get wrong here though is the use of Primaris powers. You roll for powers one at a time. After rolling each power you can choose to swap for the Primaris. You then roll for the second and if you've already taken the Primaris in that discipline you must take the new power you generated.

4) Night Fighting
Whilst there are some people that will NEVER forget to roll for Night Fighting (I'm thinking DE players here). Most people will simply forget. The other thing people seem to do wrong is roll for Night Fighting just before they start moving. The actual roll is just before you starte Deployment. This can make a big difference as you might want to deploy further back to try and get the benefit from Stealth/Shrouded.

The final thing that I'm sure pretty much everyone (myself included) forgets is that if you didn't get Night Fighting at the start of the game you should be rolling again in turns 5, 6 and 7 until you activate it. If you do activate it on turn 5+ then it comes into affect for the remainder of the game. This could have a huge effect on the outcome of games and it's something I'd say the majority of us aren't doing.

5) Reserves
Firstly, I'm sure all of us now know that you can no longer charge after arriving from reserve but it's worth keeping an eye on your opponent! Anyway, the point I'm making here is that only 50% of your units can choose to be in Reserve. The thing that people forget here is that a unit and it's transport are counted together i.e. 1 unit not 2 for the purpose of working out 50%. Equally important is that units that MUST be in reserve don't count towards this total. For example, if you have 10 units including a flyer and a drop pod then you could place upto 4 of your remaining units in reserve too (i.e. half of 8).

Something that was also the case in 5th but was often forgotten is that when you place something in reserve you have to decide how it will arrive. You can't say something is Deep Striking and then choose to walk it on when it arrives.

6) Scout Moves aren't Moves at all!
This is a big deal for skimmers, bikes, etc. Anything that relies on moving for a cover save. In 5th edition Scouts got a bonus move before turn one. Now they get a redeployment, which depending on their unit type is either 6" or 12". You can't turbo-boost or go flat-out during your Scout redeployment and because it's a redeployment terrain doesn't affect you at all (except you can't redeploy into impassable terrain of course).

One other thing about Scouts. If you choose to make a Scout redeployment (stop calling it a Scout move so you remember) you CAN'T CHARGE IN THE FIRST TURN. I've put it in caps because it's a big deal for some units. With a Scout redeploy, 12" move and then random charge it's easy for units like bikes to get into combat on the first turn but they can't do it. Frustrating for me with my Black Knights etc but them's the rules.

I'm not trying to be a rules Nazi here, it's not really a crime to make assumptions about rules but it does mean that you might be making a unit better (or worse) than it should be. The key thing at tournaments is never to simply take your opponent's word for it. Personally I'd never take offence if someone wanted to double check in the rulebook. At the end of the day we all make assumptions and being called on them is how we get a better grasp on the rules.

The best way to avoid this sort of thing being an issue is to check with your opponent before you do something. Obviously you don't want to reveal a tactic but there are situations where it can help. For example, before you finish moving a unit, check your opponent agrees that they'll be able to see their target, that it won't get a cover save and/or which models will be in range. That way when you get to the shooting phase you won't end up in an argument along the lines of "well I'd have never left it there if I'd known they couldn't see that unit".

Conversely, if you can see your opponent setting up to do something that you know will break the rules, tell them before they go onto the next phase. For example, "you do know if you rapid fire you'll not be able to charge right?". Whilst I wouldn't expect this sort of thing on the top tables I try to do it in my other games. I'd rather win a game knowing that I'd played it better than my opponent rather than they just forgot to do something. If neither of us remember then fine.

A good example of this is letting your opponent do psychic powers when he's moved something. Technically some should be cast at the start of the turn (Blessings, Maledictions, etc) but you know they'd have done it if they'd remembered. Obviously there's a limit. If you've told them twice and they still forget in turn 3 then there's an argument for not reminding them anymore. Just remember it's a two way street. If you forget to do something later they're far more likely to let you off than if you were an arsehole about something they forgot.

Ultimately, we all want to play on a level playing field. The rules (whether you like them or not) are theoretically designed to be balanced (I did say theoretically) so if we play as closely to the real thing as possible we're playing it how it was intended to be played. It's only a game but I'd prefer to play it correctly!

Oh and if I've got something wrong here I'd be grateful if you tell me!!


  1. Good reminders! I'm guilty of forgetting about night fighting kicking in from turn 5 onwards, do it all the time. I often leave tokens next to my turn counter dice to remind me about reserves and tally vp's, but manage to forget about night fighting! I think I need to get a large black dice...

  2. Good stuff. I'll be working up a short version cue card, I think; there's a surprising amount to remember in 40K.6.

  3. I think i will be making a reminder card for myself containing all of the above in preparation for Blog Wars 5.....

  4. I always forget night fight before deployment!

  5. Good reminders, I always forgot some of them, as the roll off to deploy first. usually the one that gets to pick sides just go first as well. need to check that.


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