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Warhammer, 40000: Kill Team- Review
look, it’s a slow newsweek, okay?
Today we’re going to be doing something a little different, looking at a tabletop game for those who feel they need something physical in their lives. If you’re into sci-fantasy or games like Halo and Doom chances are you’ve probably heard comparisons to the infamous Space Marines of Warhammer 40k. The series itself is a vast gothic space fantasy with plenty of games to its name, though getting into it can be quite daunting.
That’s where Kill Team comes in. For new fans the game is a great jumping-on point for Warhammer 40K as well as tabletop gaming in general. Players can build Kill Teams- squads of elite soldiers a la XCOM and play quick matches with 2-4 players that can range from quick skirmishes to king-of-the-hill type battles.
Though a starter set is sold for the game, it isn’t entirely necessary for the Kill Team experience. The starter set comes with two factions- the mysterious tech-worshipping Adeptus Mechanicus, and the Genestealer Cults. The game uses the same Citadel Miniatures used for regular games of Warhammer 40k.
If you’re comfortable with building from one of the other factions, a standard box of infantry will cost you within the RM100-150 price range, with one box usually giving you the amount of troops you’ll need. The models themselves look amazing, and the customization options and room for personalizations definitely make you feel proud of your little plastic lads as you march them off to be violently charged by mad clowns.
If you wanted to get into the game, however, I would recommend going to a hobby store such as the Warhammer store in Publika or Wira Games in Subang Jaya to have one of the staff teach you to play via a demo game, as the textwall of a rulebook can be quite intimidating to most.
Not included: A Friend who likes Genestealer Cults
Before you hit the table and start your match, you have to first build your Kill Team. The game has 16 playable factions to choose from, from the powerful Space Marines to the mysterious Cultist Clowns of Cegorach to the ruinous forces of Chaos. From there, using assigned points (This is where getting a rulebook, or at least borrowing one from your local game store comes into play) to build your kill teams to about 100 points each. These points can be spent on either fielding cheaper units with standard-issue equipment or massive beatstick of specialists with high-powered sniper rifles or big murder swords.
Games of Kill Team are advertised as being much faster-paced than the regular 40k Tabletop. The game adds interactive terrain such as cooling vents to prevent your guns from overheating, and objectives like sabotaging generators. The game is split up into 3 phases: Movement, Shooting and Assault. While you move your entire kill team at once, the shooting phase does alternating shooting, allowing a more responsive style of combat to come into play (my own snipers have been shot at many a time before given the chance to ever fire for themselves)
Much like XCOM and other squad shooters of its ilk, use of terrain is paramount as you’re going to want to stack the cards against your opponent as much as possible, by partially obscuring your model to make it harder to hit, staying out of their weapons range or blocking line of sight altogether (Just remember you shoot, too).
Given the heavier focus on individuals in Kill Team, I have to say I quite enjoy the combat system. On paper it can sound daunting, but once you get into the rhythm of it the dice rolling involved can become second nature. The many playable factions in this game mean that you’re probably going to find one that suits your fancy, either by play style or simply enjoying their aesthetic and lore.
“guys who dropped their sword? We talked about leaving these things lying around, jeez”
Kill Team is all about the customization of your bespoke kill team. Rather than simply assembling a team and taking them out to battle, the game has you flesh out your squad with plenty of options for names, backstory and even the history of the kill team itself. I really like the addition of specialisations- giving certain units in your squad certain specialisations allows them to gain passive abilities that help them perform their roles better.
There’s also plenty of options on how you wish to play, too. The game allows for narrative play- you and your friends can do pre-made missions or even make your own, should you so wish it. If you’re entered in a league at your local store, you can roll off your units at the end of a game to gain experience and possibly even bring back some of your dead teammates.
For maximum enjoyment, I highly recommend occasionally shunting the instructions of your models to build the way you want. A large part of the enjoyment of kill team is how it becomes a mini-fashion show for your models, and I think that’s the game’s greatest strength. As a 40k regular it can be exhausting to show off an entire legion of models, but a small set of them allows for greater appreciation of the amount of dates cancelled by building this team.
With all the focus on customisation and personalisation, Kill Team is a pretty good game for fans of fluff and lore. Making and naming your own teams gives you a great sense of ownership of the team, and at the end of the day that’s one of the big reasons to keep playing the game. There has been talk of further expansions for the game, but no news on whether it means new units for the current factions or new factions altogether (Noticing a severe lack of Ynnari, Games Workshop).
All in all, Kill Team is a great entry point for wargaming and Warhammer 40k. Its lower barrier to entry than the regular tabletop makes it a lot easier to get to, with one box of infantry usually being enough for most factions. Games can last about an hour plus if you faff about with checking rules and arguing on terminology, and the sheer amount of ways to build a kill team from within a faction make sure that your bespoke kill team feels unique to you.
The game also eats at your mental real estate with its whole model-building/team composition component, so that even if you suck at actually playing the game, at least you can have a cool team of models proudly sitting on your shelf.