Review: Some More Thoughts on Kill Team
by Ramanan Sivaranjan on February 23, 2020
Evan and I finished our initial Kill Team campaign. His Anthrodact Vat Guard came out ahead against the invading Skitarii Dravidian. I would say things weren’t even close! It was a fun experience, and perhaps a good example of where both of us are at when it comes to war games: disorganized, laid back, and narratively focused.
We played 6 games in total. We decided to end on 6 because our pace of gaming was so slow we needed to call it at some point so we could try something else. In hindsight we likely should have settled on a different structure for our campaign, one with a fixed number of games. If we knew we would only play 6 games, we could have thought through what those 6 games should be. We had a grander and more open ended outline for a campaign structure, which worked well when we remembered the rules we added to Kill Team, but was maybe a bit too ambitious for us. Our games were a mix of pulling stuff from the core rule book and tweaking things a little, or coming up with brand new scenarios specific to our campaign. Our original goal was to be completely bespoke with our scenarios, but we were often figuring things out at the last minute before meeting up. We had good intentions.
The enjoyment of a campaign comes from the small moments that slowly give your minis some character. Some characters were prone to early deaths, constantly missing, etc. My leader, Onthu-Prime turned things around in one of our middle games, becoming a real killing machine. He felt more powerful from then on. In contrast to Onthu-Prime we have Nils 02 of House Shen, the man with a Meltagun. Every game he would die before hitting anyone with it. Finally in the very last game he survived long enough to kill Onthu-Prime! Evan and I both had snipers that would inevitbly end up in these sniper vs sniper shootouts. They would regularly take the other out of action each game.
For the curious, the notes and rules for our entire campaign are available online: The War of the Intolerable Question. They are very rough. One day we will clean them up, i’m sure.
Kill Team was fun, but maybe not quite what Evan and I were looking for? At first blush with its lower model count it felt simpler than Warhammer 40K, but I am not sure this is true. With specialisms and stratagems and other army specific rules the game can get a bit complicated. We would almost always forget the rules for morale. I would regularly forget most of the things the units in my army could do. There are so many rounds of dice rolling when it comes to wounding models. (Warcry simplifies this immensely by giving units bigger wounds totals to differentiate who should survive longer or not.) Once a model had a flesh wouund we’d forget what that impacts or doesn’t. The list goes one. On the other hand, it’s far more rational and straightforward than Necromunda. In that way it’s likely a good middle ground between a game that’s too minimalist, and one that’s overly rules heavy and complicated.
There are a few other games I’ve discovered since we started playing Kill Team that I’m interested in playing.
- Starbreach is a miniatures agnostic ruleset, available for free, that has an interesting activation scheme. (I believe it’s borrowed from Bolt Action, which might also be the proginator of Troika’s initiative system as well.)
- Grimdark Future: Firefight is a skirmish game published by One Page Rules, who make a collection of games that fit on a double sided sheet of paper.
- Using Frostgrave to run a game of Inquisitor seems doable.
Evan and I have been talking about getting back to regular Warhammer 40,000 this year, perhaps slowly building up larger armies than we have played with in the past. I’ve started painting some Sisters of Battle, to expand my hodgepodge of Imperial troops. Who knows what the year will bring.