Earlier this month, a few of us got together for an evening of Kill Team, the new, skirmish-sized wargame set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe.
Longtime readers will know that I absolutely adore skirmish gaming for a variety of reasons: games require a small number of figures, which allows you to really spend time making your warband look great. Also, games are usually a bit shorter than typical wargames. And skirmish games really shine in campaign play, and I was pleased to see that Kill Team appears to have a well developed campaign system contained in the core manual.
For our game, we set up a cramped urban battlefield with lots of back alleys and elevated positions, along with a few cratered open spaces (the term “killing field” came to mind). From a narrative standpoint, the game was set in Saint Scythia Starport, a major urban area on the planet of Caluphel Prime. The factions operating planetside are jockeying for control of the starport, so this game represented their stealthy maneuvers.
I was joined by two fellow gamers for this game. Paul and John had arrived earlier in the day and managed to squeeze in a game prior to my arrival, so they were thoroughly blooded by the experience and ready to head back into the fray. Here’s the one photo from their game, showing John’s stalwart Imperial Guard mopping up Paul’s Tyranids.
I brought my Night Lords to the table, and it quickly became clear that adding a third player changed up the whole game dynamic. Initiative became even more important as players tried to predict and anticipate the moves of not one, but two opposing players.
We scattered a few objective markers on the table, quickly ran through the scouting phase (which allows for some nifty pre-battle stuff like laying booby traps, advancing into cover, etc) and then got to the meat of the engagement.
My Night Lords started in some decent elevated terrain, which offered a good field of fire for Murdock Dreadmantle, the Chaos marine gunner wielding a fearsome heavy bolter.
In the foreground you can see Vanthus, the Traitor’s Heart, who is the aspiring champion for my warband. Elsewhere, my squad advanced cautiously, sticking to the shadows and waiting until the enemy presented itself.
And about that enemy. Paul put a something like a dozen Tyranid models on the table, seemingly more than enough to deal with my Chaos Marines and John’s Imperial Guard. Here’s a look at the chittering xenos horrors as they began deploying from their starting area.
Gagh, talk about a target rich environment!
With the objective scattered widely around the battlefield, many small firefights quickly erupted. Here’s a look at John’s Imperial Guardsmen covering each other as they advanced toward the skulking Tyranids.
The battlefield for Kill Team is intentionally small, which creates a tense pressure cooker type of game, where most guns can shoot the entire length of the battlefield and melee clashes are inevitable.
In our game, the three factions traded blows and shots until as the action ratcheted up. My Night Lords took the lead in victory points on a pivotal turn when Yugravian the Impacable, my mighty icon bearer, raced forward to seize an objective shortly before he was swarmed with Tyranids. Here’s a look at his final stand.
The sniveling cultist with him was known only as The Grub. His true name mattered not, as both Yugravian and the Grub were mere morsels of biomass for the slavering Tyranid swarm…
Despite the glorious demise of Yugravian and The Grub, the Night Lords wisely decided to retreat before their losses became insurmountable. In game terms, John and I both decided to quit the field as Paul’s Tyranids had amassed a strategic advantage and were threatening an outright bloodbath. Since we were using the campaign rules, we wanted to keep our teams intact if possible — and that meant a tactical retreat!
So Paul secured victory, but I still wanted to share this final photo of Vanthus, the Traitor’s Heart, as a he charged the Imperial lines. Hoist your power swords and reap some trophy skulls — the Night Lords have come for you!
Afterward we discussed the game. We loved the way Kill Team players — the alternating activations added a LOT of tactical depth, and the tactics really encouraged innovative gameplay. It seemed like we never managed to carry over unspent command points from turn to turn, so a lot of the more expensive tactics were essentially out of reach for us.
We also agreed that the tabletop looked completely badass in every possible way. The terrain from the Kill Team boxed set looks nice with a basic paint job, and I was able to augment the battlefield with some items from my massive personal terrain collection. And of course, the our warbands looked fantastic, with nary an unpainted model to be seen anywhere. Only the finest quality gaming for readers of Comrade’s Wargames.
Bottom line: Kill Team is fast, fun, and eminently replayable. We’ll play this one again soon!