|Rolling a 2 for charge|
So how does Close Combat work now? Good news- hitting and wounding hasn't changed :)
OK, there's now 2 sub-phases, Charge and Fight. In the Charge phase, you pick a unit, pick a target, resolve Overwatch, roll charge distance then move (or not.) Now, bear in mind that you can pre-measure at any time, so you will be able to know how risky it is to assault the unit. Also bear in mind that charge distance is random- usually 2D6".
There are a few caveats to declaring a charge. These haven't really changed- you can't assault if you shot with heavy, rapid fire, salvo or ordnance, even if it was snap-fire. Similarly, you can't charge if you ran, went to ground, are falling back, are already in combat. Oh- and you can only charge a unit which you did shoot at in the Shooting Phase- so no "Shoot A/ Charge B" tactics.
Right- Overwatch. this is a Snap-Fire attack (so BS1, all snap-fire restrictions apply) made before the charge roll for distance. This means that all the normal rules for range, LoS, cover and so on apply. However, these shots never force a morale or a pinning check- so you either wipe them out or not. Each unit can only Overwatch once per turn, and can't if they are already engaged. Oh, and 1 final tweak- Template weapons can Overwatch, in which case they do D3 hits rather than firing normally (automatic hits when your unit needs 6's to hit is actually quite good- Flamers are now a decent defensive weapon!)
Simple enough. This is basically a Stand and Shoot reaction, and I think it's fine. Looking at it critically, if 10 Marines with Missile Launcher and Flamer get charged, they will put between 3 and 5 wounds on a charging enemy (on average- without the flamer it drops to 3). Then wounds and saves are rolled, so in effect Overwatch isn't as terrifying as some have made out. It's a nice addition to 40K, and I really like the fact that I'm able to do it, but it most instances I can't see it having a massive impact (luck, of course, can always change that!) It does fit in very nicely with the new narrative style of 40K.
Onto the Charge move and assaulting. The charge distance is now 2d6". Various things such as Fleet and Jump can affect this (more in a later post) but for most model, it's a bit of a gamble. Love it or hate it, thematically in a sci-fi firepower game it makes sense that assaults are a risk. In terms of games design, I can't say I'm the biggest fan of this- although thankfully, most of the Assault armies in 40K have access to fleet in some form, making them a bit more reliable. I haven't played 6th ed much, so it remains to be seen how much of an impact this has...
That said, once you determine how far the unit can move, it's the same as 5th- as many models as possible must get into base-to-base contact, starting with closest model to closest model. Difficult terrain makes charges more difficult- you roll 3d6 and discard the highest die. this means that long range charges are damn sight less likely, and short-range charges are more reliable. It also still makes you I1. If the charge fails, no models are moved- you just stand around waiting to get shot. bear in mind, that whether the charge fails or not, the Overwatch fire still happens, so you could end up just giving away a free round of shooting to your opponent.
Once all charges are resolved, it's fist-to-face time! the player who has priority decides the order of combats to be resolved, and it all happens in Initiative order after that. pile in has changed to activate in Initiative step- this means that models in the fighting rank may get removed and replaced as the combat progresses, giving a nice "swirling melee" feel to the combat. It also means that, since both units pile in, the charge range for the rearmost models in an assaulting unit is essentially extended 3", which goes some way to mitigating the risks of a random charge distance. Models fight if they are base-to-base, or within 2" of a friendly model which is base-to-base, and they fight at full effect.
After that, it's mostly the same as you're used to. the biggest difference is casualties are removed from closest to closest, with the controlling player choosing if there is more than 1 eligible. Wounds are then allocated to that model until the wound pool is dry, or until the model dies. Look Out Sir! still applies in combat (again, those Power Fists get a little saving grace).
Morale checks are based on casualties, same as ever, as are sweeping advances and consolidation. You are now allowed to voluntarily fall back if you cannot hurt the target (no more tying up Ork Boyz with War Walkers then) Oh, and in a multiple assault (being attacked by more than one enemy) you freely allocate attacks, rather than being restricted as previously. On the note of multiple assaults, if you charge 2 or more enemy with 1 unit, not only can both units Overwatch, you also lose the +1A charge bonus. So that's one less trick for assault-based armies to pull.
Overall, I'm undecided on the new combat rules for a few reasons. Firstly, I haven't played enough games yet to judge how viable transports are in 6th Ed- if they can reliably get a unit into assault range, then it could be a game-winning tactic. Similarly, model placement in units (which is at a premium for movement and shooting) might affect how my unit fights in combat- do I want to risk a character not fighting, thus being safe from shooting? I also haven't had any big, complicated combats happen where the new pile-in move will make a difference. On the face it, higher I units now get the advantage in fighting and position- which is great for Xenos players. Exactly how much of an impact this will have remains to be seen.
Comments, as always, are welcome.