More than most new games premiered by Games Workshop, Kill Team, which made its debut this summer, really seems to have taken sectors of the wargaming world by storm.
I tend to gauge these things by my Twitter feed. And while you’ll see folks still, of course, playing Age of Sigmar, 40K, the latest “new hotness” (in this case, Titanicus – though mostly what I’ve seen is people assembling their models; I’ve yet to see any photos of games played come across my timeline) and also a selection of “independent” and historical games, Kill Team is ruling. Everybody seems to be building it, painting it, playing it, talking about it.
We saw similar phenomena with previous GW skirmish offerings – to wit: AoS Skirmish, Necromunda and Shadow War: Armageddon – but the excitement around Kill Team seem to have longer legs. I haven’t seen anyone, for instance, playing or discussing Skirmish and Shadow War on my timeline, and while Necromunda still seems to be popular, part of that is stoked by the continuing releases of materials and new minis.
In short, it looks like Kill Team – for the uninitiated, a skirmish version of 40k played on a 22 inch-by-30 inch board packed with terrain – is here to stay, especially with the recent release of the revamped Rogue Trader and the promise of more releases to come over an unspecified period of years.
Kill Team fits well into the absolute barrage of new crowd-pleasing GW releases this year, starting with the second edition of AoS and moving to the present day. It presents a simplified but still crunchy version of the current 40k rules set, and the ability to create characters for your teams and to run campaigns where you can expand and change your roster as needed, and advance members of your team as they gain experience.
In this, Kill Team isn’t particularly new or revolutionary. Other skirmish games exist, and have similar mechanics for running campaigns, gaining experience, improving fighters, and so forth – Frostgrave, the popular fantasy skirmish game by Osprey Publishing, comes readily to mind.
In the games I’ve played, part of the draw of Kill Team (and something, again, present in other games) is the small model count. So far, I’ve yet to field more than 11 models in a team, and I can easily use models I already had in my collection. I also appreciate the well-written rules set, and I like how it differs from 40K (most notably in the alternative activations that take place in the game, in every phase, after movement, as opposed to the massive turns in 40k and AoS where one player does everything, and then their opponent takes their massive all-encompassing turn). The mechanics for team members taking injury and for handling morale are interesting as well.
What sets Kill Team apart from other games, really, is the fact that it’s set in the 40k universe and, as such, has full GW support, with terrain and components that help make it fun and flashy. Since teams are reasonably easy to assemble, and customization is encouraged, you find yourself maybe taking a look at factions in the 40k setting that you’d never field as a full army, but maybe you’d build a 10-man team to have fun with.
I’m enjoying Kill Team, and I’ll likely be playing it for the long haul. I’ll also be interested if it draws players into other skirmish games down the road.
About the Author;
Peter Kuebeck is a writer, gamer and award-winning mini-painter living in the Midwest. He wages a constant battle against the ever-growing tide of unpainted minis in his basement, and occasionally GMs role-playing game sessions with friends. Catch his hobby shenanigans on Twitter at @popculturecube