This is answering the request for an analysis of the BYB missions, i.e. what you generally play at your local store. I've split the post into two parts as we've looked at the differences in concepts emphasised by the missions and then the missions themselves (part 2). I'll throw a 3++ twist on it and be looking at how to make the missions a bit more viable for tournament play (i.e. 3++con) and how the deployments affect each mission type. Before we look at each mission we'll look at a few changes from 5th. Things like Random Game Length and Seize the Initiative are still in which is good to see - that was a very good mechanic which got a lot of unnecessary complaining.
Each missions is now scored based upon Victory Points - not Victory Points as we know it but Victory Points as a new Victory Points. Just to be difficult. In each game units and objectives are assigned a Victory Point value with secondary parameters providing further opportunities to gather Victory Points. Whoever has the most Victory Points at the end of the game is the winner. By using this concept it feels like Games Workshop is trying to generate less draws - a good thing to be sure.
Competitive Take - I like the concept - it allows one to give objectives different importance values without being random. At the end of the day though the W/L tier system is better at producing straight winners compared to the new Victory Point system. With some tweaks based on the main BYB missions I imagine one could get something very similar to the Feast of Blade missions where there are a lot of battle point modifiers which makes it unlikely to have a draw but one could also, with some work, work this into the tiered system as well I believe. Either way, more freedom in how games are won is good as it opens more strategic options though for newer players who don't know what old Victory Points is, using that as a tie-breaker could require more explanation.
Now in all missions but a completely different mechanic and implementation. First, it's not about being able to see someone anymore, it's about the type of cover save bonus they get. The further away they are, the better the cover and if they are more than 36" away, you can't shoot at all. A better system overall as it takes a bit of the randomness and guesswork out of it but against armies with mass searchlights, well it doesn't do much early in the game.
So Night Fighting works one of two ways - either you get it the first turn (4+ before deployment) OR you keep rolling once you get to Turn 5 - anytime it's a 4+ the rules are used for the rest of the game.
Due to the changes in the Night Fight mechanic, this randomness isn't really that much of an issue - most armies can deal with it during the list creation phase for example and you know if Night Fight is happening before you begin the game or not. If not, you know it'll likely happen at some point towards the end of the game and can therefore prepare.
Competitive Take - I imagine some sort of removal of the randomness of the mechanic will be brought in. Whether this is the TO rolls for each game as a whole (unwieldy tbh as what happens when one game finishes really early and forces that roll and thus other tables know what will happen with Night Fight if it didn't start Turn 1) or simply apply them to individual missions (i.e. Missions 1,3,5 have Night Fight Turn 1, Mission 2,4,6 have it start Turn 5/6/7, etc.). One could also modify the randomness (i.e. Missions 1,3,5 have Night Fight Turn 1, Missions 2,4,6 roll for Night Fight from Turn 5 as per normal). I'm liking this option the best as it means you can pair it with appropriate missions for the most tactical challenge but again, the basic system works okay as well.
Only half the army can be reserved (plus whatever units must be held in reserve such as Drop Pods or Flyers) which limits the ability of some armies to work on avoiding alpha-strikes, etc. Kinda annoying, particularly when one can see the counter for this as 'Night Fight might happen Turn 1!' Either way, fully reserving is no longer a thing - so beware. Beyond this, reserves work the same but are more reliable - always coming in on a 3+ with any unit remaining in reserves coming in automatically Turn 4. This is clearly trying to ensure players are engaging in the game for the majority of the game rather than leaving units behind to capture objectives, using null deployments, avoiding alpha-strikes, etc.
Anything coming in from reserves can no longer make assaults or use special abilities which must be used at the start of the turn (note: Logan's special rule can still be used as there is a codex specific FAQ for it currentrly) and a unit cannot be forced to not move on (i.e. bad terrain rolls, immobilised, cannot fit, etc.).
Objectives are very different from before and as we shall see in the missions, much more promininent. In terms of deploying them they can now go anywhere on the board except 6" from the board edge (down from 12") or within 12" of another objective (same as before). This gives you more options where to place objectives and with no assaulting from table edges, greater ability to defend objectives close to board edges. This also unfortunately can move objectives out of midfield and into player deployment zones more regularly - greater emphasis on movement and engaging your opponent but perhaps less on tabletop control. The major differences are how objectives are denied - they are still scored by non-vehicle, non-swarm, non-falling back Troops OUTSIDE of vehicles but the same restrictions mins being a Troops unit apply to denial units. This means vehicles can no longer contest (aka deny) objectives.
Competitive Take - Mysterious objectives are out in terms of applying the random effects though again, a TO could apply effects as he sees fit on a game-wide basis (before the games are played) or within the mission pack themselves.
Secondaries are used in all the missions and add some extra Victory Points you can get to try and help break ties. I'd personally like to see more and a better balance (i.e. six total where four can be achieved just as readily for each other and one each where the player going first has an edge and the player going second has an edge).
First Blood - This has been discussed a bit already but whoever goes first generally has an advantage here, assuming they aren't playing against a KP-denial or foot based list. It's generally pretty easy to kill one thing in the first Turn, even when Night Fight is in play except against those types of armies. This is the only secondary which can be achieved by one player
Competitive Take - This can give a big advantage to anyone going first except against specific lists so changing this where if any player kills a unit in the first turn earns this bonus can help modify that a little bit. Both players can still earn it and defend against it and there's still a relatively even reward/loss between going first and second.
Slay the Warlord - A pretty standard concept seen a lot as a battle point bonus or straight secondary in tournaments worldwide. As a single part of an ability to win a game - it's not bad. There isn't a huge emphasis placed on it within the scheme of things (i.e. it's worth the same as one unit killed or 1/3 of an objective) so armies which have a weaker warlord aren't penalised too much whilst armies with a durable warlord aren't benefited too much.
Linebreaker - Get a scoring or denial unit into the enemy's backfield. Awesome - it's emphasising what 6th is already trying to emphasis (mobility) and giving you a bit of extra boost if you're actually working towards this within your army and on the tabletop. Both players can achieve this relatively easily but denying your opponent this option is a bit trickier. If you can do this and get into their deployment zone, you can effectively get a two Victory Point swing based on mobility alone.
What 6th is all about:
What we see here and in the six missions we shall cover in the next post, is that 6th puts an even greater emphasis on objective missions (five out of six want you to capture something) which puts further emphasis on Troops (five out of six missions Troops win you games) whilst also emphasising Heavy Support & Fast Attack as scoring options as well (one out of those five missions each). Either way, in three missions you have a minimum of three objectives each and quite often more and in an extra mission only your Troops can win you the game. This is 50% compared to 33% from before and reads a lot more like NOVA five-objective always game. If you haven't gotten the memo, Troops are important.
Secondaries as part of the BYB are also forcing players to look at a bigger picture. This isn't as big as what is seen in most major tournaments where draws are not wanted but it's a move in that direction - if you focus only on the primary your opponent might nick the win by focusing on the whole.
MSU & vehicles combined with rule changes are in an interesting place. MSU is only given the shaft in one mission really where what is essentially Kill Points is used. However, vehicles cannot score (unless Fast Attack or Heavy Support in individual missions) and can never contest and with hull points are more reliable in being destroyed (again, this isn't a nerf, it's a change in how they operate). Running a list with 1000 points locked up in vehicles now isn't going to be as viable as that's half your army which cannot score or contest and isn't as LOL durable as before. This will likely see a redaction to more Hybrid lists and/or mech lists with larger units - i.e. generally what you saw towards the end of 5th edition anyway.
6th edition is also really putting a greater emphasis on movement & mobility. First the tactical advantages in movement and model placement and then in missions where objectives are more spread out (can be placed within 6" of table edges) and unable to be held by single units. What we're seeing here with Troops & mobility is an evolution of what 5th edition was though with a slight removal of significance on midfield to ensure more fragile/shooting/mobility based armies didn't have to grind it out against armies designed to do that (again, objectives closer to edge and more of them per game on average).
Next post we'll look at the missions & deployment combinations with mini-cheat sheets and how they might be modified or these concepts applied to 6th edition tournament missions.