Ok, I've been playing miniatures games for a long time, and I have to say, I didn't believe it when I first heard the rumors of the changes in Warhammer 40,000's third edition.
And they were pretty incredible too. Movement values were going to disappear entirely, and replaced by a normal 6" movement, and a faster 12" movement. They were getting rid of the psychic phase entirely. All saving throws were now unmodified, and the whole close combat section of the wargear book was going to be replaced by a couple generic categories.
I mean, that was a pretty far-fetched rumor. Of course, it was 100% true. That was the last time that I was all that skeptical of a rumor about Games Workshop's upcoming plans.
So, the rumor that Warhammer 40,000 will be entering its sixth edition next year doesn't strike me as surprising. It has been four years- which seems like a short lifespan for an edition to me, but it looks like that's the track they're on.
I honestly think that this is a bad time for a new edition-especially if the other rumors about GW's plans for reigning in independent retailers is true. With the introduction of Citadel Finecast and the corresponding price hike-coupled with a ban on European sellers shipping outside of the EU and the increasing awareness of the price differences between neighboring countries... well, 40k fans are feeling a little less loyal than usual.
Last time they introduced a new edition of 40k, they preceded it with the launch of Apocalypse- a throw everything you own on the table format designed to attract veteran players back into 40k. And from what I can tell, it worked- 5th edition went over fairly well.
But we're still waiting to see if they have a similar strategy this time.
As far as the changes go, none of them are as drastic as the changes from 2nd to 3rd edition that I mentioned above. In case you aren't interested in reading the whole article, here's an excerpt:
* the biggest rule changes:
- similar ballistic to hit chart as wound chart: compare BS to target’s speed and unit type. BS 3 hits moving infantry on 4+, but lightning fast jetbikes on 6+ and stationary tank on 2+… HUGE
- victory points are back, but with another twist: you get two victory points if an unit holds an objective for an entire game turn, if a scoring unit holds one, you get three and one if you destroy a squad leader or vehicle
- before the game there is a bidding contest for the opportunity of the first turn, if you bid more strategic points you can go first, but the enemy can spent these points on stratagems as in Cities of Death: 22 generic stratagems – for example for one point you can decide on night fighting or place an automatic gun, for four you can shift your reserves, most expensive stratagems are at 12 points and are really drastic, every unspent point can be used once a game for a reroll
- new turn sequence: prepare-movement-assault-shooting-consolidate
new phase “consolidate” phase for random movements, jetpack movements, pursuits, morale checks/effects and resolving shooting reactions
assault before shooting – big units are real roadblocks!