Why we're excited for Warhammer: Kill Team

Warhammer 40000: Kill Team is almost here, finally releasing this Saturday, and we’re beyond thrilled at the response to it. Like many of you, I’m sure, we were originally a bit hesitant to jump into another boxed game from the folks at Games Workshop, but once we cracked that Starter Set and started running demos last week, the hesitation turned into excitement, and, within minutes of finishing my first game, I was already writing up my first personal kill team using my Plague Marines. The game is tight, the rules are easy to learn, and the skirmish warfare is just… so… damn… fun.

But there’s a few things that make it really stand out for us.

The rules truly allow for fast-paced combat

The Kill Team rules take the standard Warhammer 40000 rules and turn them on their head. Instead of taking a whole turn at a time, Kill Team features a mixed one-to-one system that sounds a little complex, but ultimately removes so much of the downtime you usually face in miniature games. Your turns usually go as follows:

  • Roll for initiative, highest goes first
  • First Player moves their units, choosing to move, advance/run, charge, or ready
  • Second Player does the same
  • Psychic Powers are resolved, starting with the first player and going back and forth per psyker
  • Shooting is resolved - Starting with any readied units, the first player shoots with a unit, then the second player, then the first, then the second… continuing until all readied units have shot, then doing the same for unreadied models (so those that moved or advanced)
  • Fighting is resolved - Much like the shooting phase, starting with any charging units, the first player makes their attacks, then the second player chooses a charging unit to make their attacks, back and forth, until all charging models have attacked, and then again, the same for models that didn’t charge but are in range for close combat.
  • Finally nerve tests happen, checking to see if any injured models are too scared to fight effectively, and if the whole squad breaks down

There’s a few more detailed rules for cover, charge reactions, nerve test modifiers, even jumping off buildings to get into the fray faster, which are all explained in the manual, but that should give you a clear run down of a game.

The best bit? A two-player game really does take no longer than 45 minutes. We were testing it out last week using only 60 point kill teams (the regular game goes up to 100 points) and found that a four player game took around an hour (10/10… will do it again).

There is a narrative component to your kill team

In the Core Manual, not only has Games Workshop included the profiles of every available model and weapon for Kill Team, but they have also included several randomising tables at the start of each faction to help you build your squad-members’ names and personalities. These may not seem like much, but each unit’s datacard asks for a name and, in some cases, a demeanour, and it felt really great randomly rolling for a “Reeking Horror” demeanour for Gurloch the Reeking, my team’s resident plague-spreading melee fighter.

The naming and personalisation of these models subtle endears them to you, which, in turn, makes their victories so much sweeter, and the defeats more heartbreaking.

Once you add in the Narrative campaign mode, your named characters start to grow and gain their own experience, skills and abilities, further endearing them to you.

Loadouts match the current kits

I understand that this may be a touch contentious in the Warhammer community, but the limitation of equipment and weapon loadouts to what is available in the purchasable kits is one of the greatest ideas for the games uptake. The most asked question during the demo weekend was “Where can I start?” We were able to point new players directly to the unit kits on our shelf.

And just like that, several new players not only joined kill team, but into the whole miniature wargaming hobby through a single kit. Now, as they play more Kill Team, and experience with new squad models, they’ll maybe purchase another kit, and maybe another. Then, it’s not a big step into the overall Warhammer 40000 mini game. Just like that, we have more players in this great hobby.

If you haven’t already, make sure you get your preorder for Kill Team in as fast as possible, and, if you have the Kill Team itch, come along to our first Kill Team Tournament on Sunday August 12.