Kill Team: first impressions from a casual, part 2

Hey all, Danny from TFG Radio here, and today, I am looking more at the new Kill Team Octarius that is coming next month. I love small-scale, skirmish wargames, so I am definitely awaiting any new information about Kill Team. As the main “rules” person for my small KT group, I need to know all I can about the newest version of such a storied game. Let’s dig in:

We got a little bit more insight into Kill Team, particularly actions and roster building.  The idea of Activation Points is not bad and certainly not unique to the gaming world.  Having a set number of Activation Points per model depending on its inherent value is a good way to delineate factions and models in terms of their overall skill and power.  It makes sense that the standard would be 2 (move and shoot, move and fight being the most reductive war game design), but opening up to 3 or even 4 for a Custodes does show how certain models are just much more combat effective. 

It does make me wonder already about AP economy, namely is it better to have 10 models with 20 AP essentially or 5 models with 15 AP?  You get more raw activations with a horde setup, but then being able to Move (1 AP), Charge (1 AP) and then Fight (1 AP) could be far more impactful since a Space Marine or Custode can essentially move and then move again to get into melee range.  A Guardsmen can only move and fight although if you do a Charge action, do you have to swing? Otherwise, moving and then charging, even with no AP to fight, could be a great way to lock down a shooting model, depending on how shooting and such works.   

Part of this too is that we haven’t seen special actions, which could be huge depending on the model.  Having those extra AP where you can still move, maybe shoot, and then do something useful like a buff or debuff could very much be more effective than just moving and either shooting or using a special ability, more so than losing out on the total AP Pool of your team.

It is far too early to tell, but in general, it does make me think about how the battle of fewer but more concentrated AP will work against more but diluted AP.  That said, the World Eater in me is quite happy about the idea of moving, charging, and fighting in one activation.

Speaking of teams, the team creation is very much a different direction, but that doesn’t make it bad.  The whole “there are no points” certainly caught me off guard, and points are such a foundational design space that it feels a bit too avant-garde of GW. While I greatly enjoy Age of Sigmar 3.0, 1.0 and the whole “No points, just play” wasn’t entirely successful to say the least.  That said, from what we’ve seen, there are some guardrails installed here to keep the game balanced.  Having each Faction essentially have a pre-set list of what can and cannot be taken matters, and while it feels a bit less personal than previous versions, from a balance perspective, it is necessary. 

From their example, you can take 1 Nob and just 9 regular Orks, but you can also take 1 Nob and 9 specialists like a Snipa and Bomb Squig.  Without seeing the specific rules for each as well, we can assume a Bomb Squig explodes, so it probably doesn’t help much on the mission, it is hard to say if it is worth taking Boyz at all over the specialized Orks.  This is part of internal balance as why take a regular Boy over a specialist unless the Boy has some inherent bonus for being just a standard trooper? While having set rosters between factions does help keep the ecology of the factions in balance, it can make the internal balance between different choices much more stark, meaning it becomes all the more obvious why you always take A over B. Again, all too early to tell.

The Astra Militarum team is interesting as it states that you get to use 2 Fire Teams, so 14 models total in two groups of 7, so you could have 2 plasma, 2 flamer, and 2 sniper (or some other combination). I am curious how much flexibility or multiple Fire Team archetypes there are going to be per Faction. Thinking as a Tyranid player, there is certainly a difference between running a lot of bodies versus running Genestealers, Warriors, and Lictors.  It makes me wonder if there will be different rosters that you can choose per faction or if each faction generally has one roster to use to make their fireteams or not.  I would hope for the former, but we’ll find out soon enough.

The Kill Team Compendium book will certainly be essential for anyone who has already played Kill Team as it has all the rules for bringing in the other factions.  A main rulebook and a compendium isn’t too big of a barrier for new folk who may already have a small collection of models, so that’s never bad. The latest article does state that most Factions will be present, but again, my curiosity is about how many different rosters a faction may get.  Looking at the Custode datasheet, they are part of the Talons of the Emperor, so Custodes and Sisters of Silence, and it looks like you can only take two at most in a single fire team, so again, you have to wonder about how it works out to have 2 models with 4 actions against up to 14 models with 2 actions.  That said, a 2+ save and WS/BS 2+ is pretty sweet in Kill Team, and their special rule certainly makes them extra killy in melee while also able to save dice to defend.

In any case, this new Kill Team is certainly going to be a very different beast than other GW games, and that alone is worthy of some attention.  I am at bare minimum going to get the Compendium and the Rule Book, but hey, the boxset has great models and some great terrain.  I do hope we can see more of these rosters for factions, and I especially hope that there are different rosters per faction for a variety of builds.  I will certainly be ready for when pre-orders go up on Frontline.

Thanks as always for reading, and well, play games and be nice to each other!

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About Danny Ruiz

Long-long time 40K player, one of the original triumvirate of head 40K judges at LVO, writer, educator, tyranid-enthusiast, disciple of Angron, man about town, afflicted with faction ADD.
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11 months ago

Looks like move and shoot or charge and fight will be the main 2 actions for 2 activation models.

Rob Butcher
Rob Butcher
11 months ago

Rosters of 20 have always been in the game. Dave Saunders did three hours about them on Warhammer Tv back in August/September 2018, showing what he had in each faction (free on Twitch to watch.) I built and tried out the Astartes Roster in a number of competitions. It worked well.

28 activations of green troops who can’t hit a barn-door OR a smaller number of kill-shots?? This is one time that simple maths doesn’t work – the analysis needs to be wider.

Compared to v1 where if you charged that was all you could do – failing the charge meant you moved the distance on the dice – I like the new idea (? borrowed from WarCry?)

Having more activations for Astartes and Custodes is an elegant solution in the world of many 2+ or 3+ to hit models. I wonder if they’ll be able to shoot or fight twice ??

v1 had too many special rules/cards (written by Dave Saunders who also write the card/models game of Underworlds). I’m hoping there’s a lot fewer in v2. Our games needed a 6×4′ board to hold all the cards and a 30×22″ game board.

Remember the Ork rules previewed are for Ork Commandoes – boyz be will different. After all these Kill teams are built around what’s in the box. Whereas v1 had loopholes – 12 plasma AdMil comes to mind. You were relying on terrain, charging and your opponent rolling bady to win or even enjoy the game against that kind of firepower.

Looks like move and shoot or charge and fight will be the main 2 actions for 2 activation models.

Would love your thoughts, please comment.x