40K 6th Edition Rumors, and My Opinions (Part I)

Okay, I just read through some of the rule changes that will supposedly happen in 6th edition (found here). Honestly, I'm not big on the rumor mills... but these are interesting. For the sake of this article, I'm going to assume that the rumors are true and share a bit of how I perceive the changes. Copied stuff is in bold... my comments are in italics.

* first 6th edition codexes, but release before or with rulebook, small release with single or two waves: Black Templars (1 waves: 2x plactic, 2x Finecast), Tau (1 wave: 3x plastic boxes, 4x Finecast), Necrons (2 waves)
Tau, Necrons, Black Templars... meh... I don't really care. I guess my brother will get some new toys for his Tau army. I might buy some Necrons to paint up as Coalition Skelebots.
* first real 6th edition codex: Codex Chaos Legions, really big release in three waves, doesn’t invalidate Codex Chaos Space Marines which gets extensive White Dwarf update as Codex Renegade Space Marines
I'm not really up on the fluff, but is this a new Chaos Daemons book? If so, that would be cool. But a White Dwarf codex is even more intriguing, especially if it can function as a standalone codex. I'd be willing to buy a White Dwarf if I could use the contents to build a little combat patrol army or something.
* two starter sets, each with rules, dices, movement markers, mission booklet, one with Dark Angels and fitting scenery, the other with Black Legion and Chaos scenery. You can combine both to play the campaign or use one set alone to play a selection of dumbed down scenarios against every other force, first starter set that comes with a model for a well established special character
I find this pretty cool... especially since my Blood Angels use a lot of Dark Angels bits. I wonder if I'll be able to grab some cheap stuff from this set for my collection?
* 6th edition is finished rulewise for some time now, the overall goal is to fix some of the long time problems of the game system. Expect a lot more fundamental improvements than last edition. The rules were even more ambitious at some stage of development, but didn’t get approved as they were too far away from the established rules. The main designer left company and his successors brought the rules back in line with the existing codexes. The rules are nonetheless a bigger step forward than from 4th to 5th. Changes are so big that the next edition relies partial on erratas to fix old codexes. Development relied heavily on feedback of veteran playtesters. You can see some results of this new approach by the way the FAQs were handled in the last months. All codexes since Codex Tyranids were written with the new rules in mind, especially the new mission and reserve structure.
I wasn't around for the 4th-5th switch, so I can't comment much here. I hope that this is true and that the new rules have been kept in mind for new codices for quite some time now. That will make the switch much easier to understand and handle.
* The main design goals are: one book to rule them all, heroic characters, visceral combat, streamlined mechanism, cleaned up presentation and strategy before chance
Streamlined mechanism... sounds like the switch from D&D 2e - D&D 3e. The funny thing is that things seem pretty streamlined as it is. The only thing that bugs me is the difference between the to-hit charts in shooting and assault. Either way, though, the more streamlined the system is, the fewer times you have to open the book during each game... and that's definitely a plus. 
* strong narrative focus on Chaos, perspective shifting from the Empire to the struggle between free races and the Warp
I like this approach. I never liked the xenophobia that humans in 40K have. Let's all team up to fight the daemons! Maybe a change in fluff could lead to the emperor seeing the need to form temporary alliances with the Eldar and Tau... humans would still hate them, of course, but they'd be more willing to work alongside them.
* 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

Yeah, this is a big deal. It seems complicated though, and against the "streamline stuff" goal mentioned above. Similar to hit chart and wound chart? And that has something to do with the speed of the defender? It makes sense for the to hit chart to reference speed, but the wound chart? Something tells me that this bullet point should have been split into two for more clarity.

- 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

As an Eldar player, I enjoy the last second objective grabs... but I understand why others don't. I'm cool with this change. Making objectives relevant on turns other than the last seems cool.

- 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

I like this a lot more than simply rolling off. It does seem a little complicated, but the idea that you can use unspent points for rerolls during the game gives you a very simplistic mechanic to use if you don't want the hassle of the strategems (and will be great for new players!).
- 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!

I really don't like this rule. I don't know how it will function in-game, but the first thing I think of is all of my Assault 2 weapons losing their one advantage over Rapid Fire weapons. What's the point if I can't shoot before I assault? It also takes away the trick I like to use when other people shoot me before assaulting: removing casualties from the front lines so that they are just out of range! I don't like this one at all. I wouldn't mind seeing players get a choice of which phases come in which order during their turns. Maybe I want to shoot before I move... that sure would be nice sometimes! And it would give Eldar jetbikes a true shoot and run capability. Right now, they can only move 12" and run away 6" after shooting. There are a lot of things that can cover that distance and assault them the next turn... orks on a Waaaagh! come to mind.

There are more "leaks" in a comment that I'll give my opinions on in a future post... this one has grown too long already! Overall, I like the suggested changes. Do I believe they're true? I don't know. I would like to believe that they are... or that these ideas were at least playtested. Either way, I'm excited to see what's coming down the line over the next few years... especially if there's a new Eldar codex in the lineup somewhere!

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