New series - well an extension of the Articles in 6th series! Vehicles were huge in 5th so how they transfer to 6th is obviously a very important topic. This series will look at a bunch of the rules which affect vehicles and their transition across editions. This will allow a summary post at the end which should hopefully make an easy reference point for future recollection.
Hull Points are one of the biggest changes for 6th edition and it really has one major impact: destroying vehicles is more RELIABLE. Repeat this to yourselves over and over as this is the key point of understanding the impact of hull points on vehicles.
So looking at Hull Points from a very basic sense. On average, the number of penetrating hits to drop a vehicle is the same. Most vehicles have been given three hull points so anything which is a closed vehicle required three normal pentrating hits to be destroyed on averagein 5th. This is the exact same in 6th except for any vehicles which are open-topped and not two Hull Points (stronger) or AV14 with four hull points (stronger). However, these percentages are off-set by the 1/6 chance of each pentetrating hit out-right destroying a vehicle on the damage table. This is not off-set by much however and that's before we get to AP2/1 weapons - which are basically the same as before in terms of chances to destroy a vehicle outright. Rather, the greatest off-set comes from Glances. Previously, you were generally impervious to continuous glances. An opponent required, at a minimum, three weapon destroy/imobilise results to Wreck a vehicle with a weapon which due to averages, generally required nine Glances. Compare that to three now.
And this is where the Hull Points system really kicks in - Glances do lasting damage, even if you would have just shaken a vehicle before. The net result is vehicles are weaker in terms of durability from sustained firepower mostly due to glances removing Hull Points. Ultimately vehicles are more reliable to remove from play and overall, easier thanks to Glances removing Hull Points.
So what does this mean for vehicles in general? Tiny changes. Tiny changes which have huge impacts. This is what we will cover in this series but don't expect vehicles to survive as much as they used to or soak up as much firepower as they used to. The main bit here is the firepowe soaking. Again, the durability changes aren't severe (like say 4th edition where every single penetrating hit had a 50% chance to remove the vehicle from play; every single hit) but the ability to soak firepower is...vastly diminished. Most games in 5th ended with barely functioning vehicles anyway - this is more likely in 6th edition but what is less likely is single vehicles to take insane amounts of firepower and just keep on trucking. There's a ceiling each vehicle has set by their Hull Points value - once that ceiling is hit, no matter the dice rolls after that, the vehicle is no more. This is the biggest impact of Hull Points - at some point that extra dice roll on the vehicle damage table becomes unnecessary as the vehicle has been attritioned away. Vehicles can still soak firepower through normal means - missed shots, failure to glance/penetrate, etc. but the old 3++ save the 5th edition vehicle damage table brought in, it isn't in play all the time anymore.
And this makes vehicles more reliable to bring down and predicates everything they can do from this point on... So, vehicles are generally a bit weaker in terms of raw durability and basic statistics and are a lot more reliable in being taken down.
Next post we'll cover the damage table.