Tuesday, 20 September 2016
Kill Team review - celebrating Games Workshop's new approach and designing my next kill team.
Welcome to my 'review' of the Kill Team revised rules, along with my own thoughts on the approach we've seen from Games Workshop recently, and the thought processes behind my latest kill team. Oh yes, and I'm running a kill team campaign - see how at the end of the article!
Kill Team review
Ok, so let's start with the basics shall we? What's changed? Well if I'm being brutally honest, not much. The missions in the book are identical to the previous version, as are the majority of the rules. Specialists have been neatened up a bit with a few extra things thrown in, but on the whole you won't see much change if you had the previous edition. That I think is one reason why we've seen this updated for free if you had the previous digital version - it's got a new look and lots of whizzy interactive bits, but the content is basically the same.
Kill Team really wasn't broken before anyway, so I'm really glad they haven't changed too much, my club has really embraced the rules through our Dirty Sevens events so I think a lot of our guys have experience of it. What we've also noticed is that kill team games are often close, and are still pretty tactical despite the limited model count, though I think our closest game ever involved myself and my marines taking on Mj and his Grey Knights. The two teams fought each other to a standstill (lie still?) with the last two members striking fatal blows on each other simultaneously.
Here's a brief rundown therefore of the rules.
Teams must be selected to a points limit of 200, cannot include 2+ armour, any models with more than 3 wounds, or vehicles with a combined armour value of more than 33. Units are selected as normal from a codex, so must adhere to the minimum unit size, and thing like camo cloaks for example must still be bought on a per unit basis rather than equipping individual models.
There is also a force organisation chart in place for kill teams, meaning you cannot take heavy support or HQ choices in your list, and are limited to a maximum of 2 troops units, 1 fast attack and 1 elite.
Each kill team must select three specialists, and must consist of at least 4 non vehicle models. The specialists may choose a benefit from one of five lists, though no two specialists can choose from the same list. Each team also has a leader assigned, who gains specific benefits.
GW's new approach
I really like the recent approach of GW to the community and their games. It's something I hear/read a lot all over the place and it really seems like they've taken on board previous criticism and are now forging their own (far more sensible) path to the future. Whilst it's only reasonable to expect a barely changed book to be updated digitally for free, I can't help but think the previous regime would have still charged you for it.
FAQ's, freebies, new white dwarf, out leaking the leakers, re-releasing the specialist games - these are all very good things GW, please keep them coming (and especially things like codex deathwatch and genestealer cults)!
Designing a Kill Team
Ok, so let's get down to the detail of this shall we?
There are lots of things to balance when designing your kill team, not least of which is the need to allocate specialists. What I find a really significant factor therefore is to include as many models as possible that already come with those special rules. Equally though, you must balance model count vs ability, speed vs resilience, and combat vs shooting.
This will be a space marine kill team, and I tend to find that 8-10 models is realistically about as many as you can fit into a list. I'm going for a combination of the above factors here, I want some mobility and combat capability, mixed with solid, powerful shooting and resilience.
For mobility I decided to go with a bike squad. They're relatively cheap and can take a nice mix of weapons without needing to take 'filler' models just equipped with boltguns. I took two special weapon bearers therefore, giving one a grav gun for lots of armour-ignoring shots, and the second gets a plasma gun. Now I know plasma isn't quite what it used to be with the advent of grav, but its high strength gives it a place in kill team where you quite often see light vehicles kicking around, being annoying. Combat would be dealt with by the sergeant, who I splashed out on a little, upgrading him to a veteran for an extra attack and giving him a lightning claw to re-roll wounds.
That squad is fairly pricey now at 118 for 3 guys, so I decided to bulk out the rest of the team with a scout squad to ensure I would have at least 8 models. Once again, the variety of kit available to the scout squad meant I wouldn't be hampered by having to fill out models with useless equipment. I gave the squad camo cloaks, meaning that if I kept to ruins they would have an effective 3+ save, and two of them took sniper rifles. A third I gave a missile launcher (not very stealthy I know) so that I'd got some nasty backup firepower in case I came up against much power armour (ha, as if you wouldn't) whilst I would be able to give that model a specialist skill to ignore cover, spelling almost certain doom for most things it hit with krak missiles. At that point I'd basically run out of points, so the scout sergeant and last member of the squad would be given shotguns to provide some close range shooting mixed in with the ability to give backup assault power if needed. These guys would be my objective claimers, secondary assault units if needed and all around protection for my backfield shooters if not.
There's no real choice about who my kill team leader is to be, so he'll be the veteran sergeant on the bike.
Kill Team Campaign
To celebrate the re-release of this supplement therefore I decided I needed to run something at my club. Now for those of you who follow the blog you'll probably have seen my kill team events before, but this time I wanted to do something significant. Whilst the Dirty Sevens events are great fun, there's nothing to link the games or give any detail to them, and they don't encourage the sort of narrative style event that kill team actually represents.
So I figured, why not incorporate the 40k rules for kill team with the injury rules from Necromunda, and run a kill team campaign? I figured there would be six rounds, each using one of the missions from the rulebook. Each kill team would therefore fight every other kill team using each of the scenarios in the book, but after each night, members of the kill teams who had been recorded as a casualty throughout the night could be more seriously injured, or killed, and could pick up skills and advances as the campaign progressed.
Now I've not quite nailed down all the details yet, but each kill would grant experience and once a level is reached, either a stat increase or a skill could be gained. I'll also be encouraging the players to make the most of the opportunity to create a backstory for their teams too, though this won't be a requirement.