I haven't been playing much 40k over the past year despite my extensive collection because I'm not a fan of the 6th edition changes (fliers and random charges to name two) and also because I was trying to focus more again on Heavy Gear and specifically this blog. Unfortunately, neither focus has actually gotten me any physical games and only a few Vassal games to try out my blog house rules so I'm back to bringing my 40k army as my "backup" force for trips to the games store. My most common opponent tends to rage quit early in the game as the balance between the two sides swings so wildly with the 40k "I completely go/You completely go" activation and I've unfortunately started to pick up his nasty habit as well. It got me thinking about how to bring unit activation ala Heavy Gear into 6th edition 40k.
Back in early 4th edition 40k (shortly before my old playgroup stopped playing), I came up with and tried a unit activation scheme in 40k that I've been adapting into 6th this past week. I initially planned to try it out this past weekend but my opponent cancelled the night before so it was a 100% X-wing game night instead (no complaints here!). Back in 4th edition, we used the old and now gone strategy rating to determine who would get the choice of first unit activation but that is no longer a viable option (an even had its issues back then). This variant of 40k activation also requires an index card or some other piece of paper marked for each available unit in the game. This card is used both to remember who has already activated for shooting and moving that turn and also in the charge phase as well.
Initiative is determined via a simple opposed d6 roll with a +1 bonus to any side that has less than half the units of the other. The winner chooses whether he or his opponent activates first. Activating consists of moving and shooting two units sequentially with a unit defined as per the rulebook.
The reason I've chosen two units for this is that there is a growing trend for interconnected units in 40k (like Tau markerlights and other firing units) that I don't want to lose. Also, we found out in the worthless transport days of 4th edition that having a tank roll up and not be able to disembark its transported unit before getting destroyed was a bit pointless.
After all units are done activating, charges are secretly declared using face down index cards for the unit. The player who first won initiative declares his first charge and flips over that card. You then resolve overwatch and roll for charge distance as normal. If the unit being charged also declared a charge versus the active unit, you ignore overwatch and instead move the active unit up to half its charge distance and then the charged unit up to half it's rolled charge distance until they meet. If they don't meet after the half distances, repeat the above until they have moved the full distance each. Both units are considered to have charged in this case and gain the +1 attack bonus as well as any other modifiers or rules dependent on charge. After all charges and overwatch shooting is resolved, continue as normal to determine assault attacks/damage and subsequent morale.
The above gives 40k the "cinematic" experience of a Braveheart-like movie charge where two forces meet in the middle while still maintaining the feel of the current 6th edition random charge rolling (not a fan) as well as overwatch. The reason the charges are declared "secretly" with facedown cards is to prevent units that are close combat oriented from determining after the fact that they might reach a unit that just moved into its charge range distance because of its own charge.
Feel free to try out the above (although I'd recommend doing it in a smaller 1500pt game initially) and post any thoughts on it as well. With a single 40k model left in my collection to paint, I'm strangely motivated to start work on my unfortunately invalidated with FiF southern force instead. Hopefully later in the week, I'll muster up the courage to post some pics and updates to my southern gears!