After breaking down and buying the new 6th Edition rulebook (I always tell myself I'll just wait for the small one to come out with the box game...) I took the new rules for a test run in a small 1,000 point game of my Orks versus my buddy Justin's Imperial Guard. Afterwards we concluded that we didn't get the full 6th Edition flavor in the small game we played, but I figured it'd be worth documenting the more noteworthy points of the battle.
We ended up fighting the Emperor's Will mission (which is just like Capture and Control from 5th) with rather hastily generated army lists. Neither of us had played 40k in nearly two years since we've been more preoccupied with Fantasy, so we were both pretty rusty. This was more of a hindrance for me given the issues that Ork armies have nowadays and in hindsight the list I took was so bad I won't even comment on it since this post is supposed to be a report on the new rules and not my shitty generalship (full disclosure, Justin gave the Orks a wupping just like Wesley Willis wupped Batman's ass).
Moving along, the warlord traits we rolled ended up being utterly useless. My Warboss got furious charge... which he already has. Justin's CO gained the ability to re-roll failed reserve rolls, but he elected to put everything on the board with guns blazing out of the gate.
The change that stood out the most during our game was vehicle damage. Hull points make vehicles feel more balanced. Orks obviously have a hard time with armor, but with the opportunity to whittle down an enemy tank it seems like you get slightly more out of what little anti-armor you have instead of having to get lucky with a good roll on the damage table. It's satisfying when you tell your opponent you're about to unload on his tank that is hanging on to life by a single hull point!
On other fronts, the new casualty removal system is surprisingly easy to use, even when you have a mixed up mob of Ork Nobs. I'm a not huge of fan of the reduction to cover saves, but I can live with it. Mysterious objectives are a fun additional, particularly when the one in your deployment zone gives you a bonus to cover saves! Pre-measuring is good and makes perfect sense (it's the 41 millennium, I would think genetically-engineered-super-soldier-space-marines would have a good grasp on the range of their bolters so they don't waste ammo on out of range enemies). Getting random charge distances for this seems like a fair trade. I'm also a big fan of the snap-shot rule.
The one element that I don't like is having to generate random terrain effects in the middle of the game. I understand the idea is that your warriors do not know what dangers lurk in that dense, foreboding alien jungle, but having to consult a terrain chart every time a unit comes into contact with mysterious terrain interrupts the flow of the game. A simpler rule would have been something along the lines of rolling doubles for difficult terrain tests inflicts damage on the unit. That way, there's less chart consulting and having to mark terrain features with paper scraps during the game, ruining the atheistic of the board. You might think I'm being hypocritical considering my positive views on random objective effects, but the objective rule are more streamlined considering there's only one chart. It also seems that most of the mysterious terrain effects are just "narrative" ways to get your dudes killed faster.
In closing, from the perspective of a casual 40k player whose main squeeze is fantasy, I think 6th Edition is positive step for the game.
On a more important note, this post marks the two year anniversary of my blog! To mark to occasion, I give you a photo of a Ork dreadnaught I made from an Imperial Guard sentinel and a spattering of other bits. He's kicked more ass than any other unit in my Ork army.