Kill Team: A Great Experience

Let me start by saying I’ve been playing all iterations of Games Workshop games since the 90’s.  And as you can guess from the title, this isn’t a bitter post of a disgruntled veteran. I saw Warhammer Fantasy grow and become bloated and epic and amazing all at the same time, and witness its ultimate transformation into what it is today: Age of Sigmar.  I won’t get into that whole debate because it’s been beaten to death, but my short answer is: it was a good thing.  Similarly, I saw 40k change over these years (for the better, believe me) with more rules, units, and powerful Lords of War.  These weren’t the same games I first started playing when I was a boy!  

So when Kill Team was released, I was thrilled!  A small scale unit-on-unit fight with simpler-than-Mordheim styled rules for individual actions.  My play time these past 10 years has been limited to say the least, with my personal life and becoming a proper adult (and husband, and father!) all taking precedence (as mighty as the God emperor is, he won’t pay my bills!).  I saw Kill Team games as a perfect opportunity to dip my toes back into actual play without committing hours to the endeavor.   I bought the box game, built some marines (to add to my growing Imperial Fist army, of course), and learned the few unique rules to this game set – simple enough!  I then brought the idea to my gaming group at work (remember, I’m a high school teacher with both students and faculty colleagues that play), and they took to the idea, eager to create their own lists.  

Six Sternguard from the Imperial Fist 1st Company stand in defiance of a daemonic incursion.

I gave everyone (eight players) a week to formulate a list and present it to me for checking, as I’m the rules authority in the club as no other faculty member has bothered to learn the rules since 3rd Edition, but that’s another story.  We decided on using a simple, single-elimination bracket to play a tournament and throw my usual desire for narrative out the window for ease of play.  I would loan out two of my armies (Daemons, Renegades) to allow new students to play.  His would be a learning experience for many, and a refresher in competitive play for myself.  The lineup looked like this:

  • Imperial Fists (Space Marines)
  • Bad Moonz (Orks)
  • Ulthwé (Eldar)
  • Tyranids
  • Black Legion (Chaos Space Marines)
  • 177th Stygian Cataphracts (IA:13 Renegades)
  • The Bloodbourne (Khorne Daemonkin)
  • Tau

We did a very unofficial seeding based on player ability, army strength, and performance in our last tournament (we did a smaller standard 40k tournament earlier in the semester). The bracket looked a little like this after the second round:

After I handily beat the Khorne Daemonkin, I was matched up with the Tyranids.  It was a tough fight, but I won by forcing the retreat of much of his army.  My paltry six Sternguard were massively outnumbered.  After the game, it dawned on me that I forgot to check the Tyranids list, and he “forgot” to add the points of many of his weapon upgrades, which had me up against a 300+ point force!   I gave the Tyranid player (a colleague) the benefit of the doubt, but I’m glad I won the game so I wouldn’t have had to raise accusations and look like a sore loser in front of the students.  I have no problem losing for the sake of the kid’s enjoyment, but I want it to be a proper loss!  Lessons learned all around.

Disciplined hellfire and kraken rounds won the day, here!

Ultimately the Renegades beat the jetbike-heavy Eldar list in a surprise finish (many of Nurgles blessings were bestowed that day!), which meant I was facing my own army in the finals – a list I made to specifically be a pain in the ass.  The Nurgle Renegades had quite the force, with:

  • 18x Guardsmen
  • 2x Autocannon Chimeras (!) with Heavy Bolter hull weapons 
  • 1x Plasma gun guardsman
  • 1x Grenade launcher guardsman 

Coupled with various Feel No Pain and other flavorful special rules from IA:13, I had a very tough fight in front of me (remember, I only have SIX models and a Rhino!).  I had to try and kill 10 Guardsmen to get a route check – but that’s a minimum of two turns of enemy shooting at me, which wasn’t a pretty vision.  To make a long story short, I got very lucky, blowing up a Chimera (and vaporizing a handful of the passengers in the process!) with a well placed combi-meta shot.  My Sternguard picked off a few more guardsmen before suffering a casualty myself – but in the end my plan to force a rout worked.  I won the field!  I controlled 2/3 of objectives, got First Blood and Slay the Warlord, and ran the enemy off.  The Emperor will be pleased that his loyal sons have defended this ruin in his name.

A shot of the two Chimeras prior to actual deployment. It looks a lot scarier with twenty guardsmen out there!

Overall, I am very pleased with Kill Team and the style of play that it offers.  It’s fast paced, exciting, very cinematic (forging the narrative!), and most importantly: fun!  We played our games in 45 minute lunch breaks, with some of the more complex games taking two lunch periods – these aren’t long, drawn out affairs that are bogged down with minutiae.  Granted, I had to recheck some rules myself, as we demonstrated the game to spectators, so the games could have gone a little faster all things considered.  I can’t wait to incorporate these games into our overarching campaign!

Tell me what y’all think of Kill Team!  Like it, hate it?  Do you use any house rules you think we should know about?  Let me hear it in the comments!

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