So Kill Teams got a digital release. Let's take a look at that.
This is a short review this time because honestly, the book is pretty short, counting only 31 pages long for the iPad. It doesn't really have sections but I'll still be tackling it in order as usual, but rather than breaking it all into chunks with my thoughts through out I'm going to just overview the whole book and then give my thoughts at the very end.
The book opens its content with a bit of lore with Harker and his men running fighting a group of Kroot in the jungle. It's honestly on par with most GW fiction bits. Pretty decent read, and a lot longer that I expected for an intro bit of lore.
This is of course followed by the first introduction to the actual Kill Teams premise: it's a skirmish version of 40k where all the models you use act independently of each other.
So what goes into your Kill Team? 0-2 Troops, 0-1 Elites, 0-1 Fast Attack all totaling 200 points or less. There are other rules that you need to follow too though:
- You need at least 4 models that aren't vehicles in a legal Kill Team list.
- You can't take any models with more than 3 wounds or 3 hull points.
- You can't take any vehicles whose combined armour values (Front Armor, Side Armor and Rear Armor added together) add up to more than 33.
- You can't take flyers.
- You can't have any models with a 2+ armor save.
Warlord Traits make an appearance as Leader Traits in Kill Teams as your highest leadership model is automatically the your Leader, unless there is a tie, then you pick one as long as it's not a Beast or Swarm unit. If they aren't an Independent Character or Character they become one. These Leader traits are:
- D3+2 non-vehicle models have the outflank rule
- Seize the Initiative on a 4+
- +1 Victory Point if your leader kills the Enemy Leader in a Challenge
- Your Leader's Command Range is increased to 12" (more on that in a bit)
- Your Leader gains a special rule from the Specialist Category, but it can't be the same category as your other Specialists (more on that as well)
- Your Leader gains the Zealot special rule
So what are Specialists? Well 3 Non-Vehicle models in your army must choose a specialist category to choose a special rule from. No specialist can choose rules from the same category though. The categories, and their rules are:
- Combat Specialist: Counter-attack, Furious Charge, Hammer of Wrath, Hatred, Instant Death**, Rage, Rampage
- Weapon Specialist: Haywire, Ignores Cover, Master-crafted***, Pinning*, Rending*, Sniper, Split Fire****, Tank Hunter*
- Dirty Fighter Specialist: Blind**, Concussive**, Fear, Fleshbane**, Monster Hunter, Poisoned (4+)*, Rending**, Shred**, Soul Blaze
- Indomitable Specialist: Adamantium Will, Crusader, Eternal Warrior, Fearless, Feel No Pain, Relentless, Strikedown**, Stubborn
- Guerrilla Specialist: Fleet, Hit & Run, Infiltrate, Move Through Cover, Night Vision, Preferred Enemy, Scout, Stealth
** Close Combat Attacks Only
*** Only applies to one weapon that the Specialist is carrying
**** Models with this rule can target 2 different enemy models with its shooting attacks (no test required), but the number of shots at each model must be clearly stated before rolling To-Hit.
So we know the basic rules for setting up your Kill Team, so how do you play?
First off, you play on a 4x4' table, so the battle field is smaller than your average game, to compensate for the size of the forces involved. Second, while models are purcased as part of units as normal (to include following the same restrictions) but each model acts as a seperate unit, even if they're purchased as wargear options like Tau Drones. Independent Characters can't even join other models to form units. Now all models who are part of a unit that has a dedicated transport can use it, but only those models can start in the Dedicated Transport. To add to the restrictions, only models that are Outflanking can start in reserves. No Deep Striking or entering Ongoing Reserves allowed. But on the flip-side, all models, unless they have a rule that says otherwise, are scoring, even vehicles. The last major rule to take note of is that the Brotherhood of Psykers rule is null and void. So spamming Psychic Battle Squads isn't really an effective strategy to win with.
Now the rules don't end there, but that is the end of the restrictions (save for some codex specific ones). So what does that leave? Break Tests and Command Range. First the Break Tests must be taken if you've lost half or more of your total number of models at the start of each Movement phase. Fearless models automatically pass, and models with And They Shall Know No Fear re-roll failed Break Tests. The models that pass keep fighting as normal, but models that fail are removed automatically as if they were a casualty. Command Range is the other big rule to be aware of. Normally it's limited to 6", and it's only listed use is making models in it's range automatically pass their Break Tests if your commander passes his. Sorry, no sharing of leadership here.
Now I did mention codex specific restrictions, and here they are:
- Chaos Daemons: You don't use the Warp Storm Table
- Chaos Space Marines: Champion of Chaos rule is not used
- Necrons: Reanimation Protocols is changed so that a model is replaced with a token that must be within 2" of a friendly Necron model (not counting other tokens) to attempt to reanimate.
- Dark Eldar: Pain tokens for all friendly Dark Eldar models gain a Pain Token for every 5 non-vehicle casualties they cause. Necrons casualties only count if they don't/can't Reanimate.
And I'm bet some people are wondering if Secondary Objectives make a return here, and they indeed do, with bonus Victory Points for killing your opponent's Leader, Linebreaker, First Blood and Break the Enemy where you gain a Victory Point for completely destroying half your opponent's models.
Of course Kill Teams also brings us Missions, 6 of them in fact. Here's a brief run down of each:
- Forward Push: 3 Objectives worth 1 Victory Point
- Alone in the Dark: 3 Objectives worth 1 Victory Point with Night Fight in effect for the entire game. Additionally when deploying your models, you roll a die, and each one that rolls a 1 or a 2 gains the Outflank rule and is put into the reserves. On a 3+ the model is deployed as normal in the controlling player's deployment zone but can't be within 3" of another model.
- Head Hunt: 1 Victory Point for each enemy Specialist killed, 3 Victory Points for killing the enemy Leader
- Infiltrate the Camp: One player is the Attacker and the other is the Defender. The Attacker gets 1 Victory Point for each model that leaves the table through the Defender's table edge, the Defender gains 1 Victor Point for every 3 models they kill or completely destroy. Additionally the Attacker can't Outflank or Turbo-boost their models.
- Secure the High Ground: Basically a King of the Hill style game where you 1 Victory Point for each model whose base is completely within the boundaries of the hill terrain piece.
- Supply Drop: 6 Objective Markers are placed on the table and then are scattered (stopping 1" of the table edge). One of these is the Primary Drop that is being fought over (determined by rolling a 6 on a D6, or it being the only remaining drop left) when you end the movement phase within 1" of one of the Objective Markers. On a 1-5 the Objective is just removed from play, additionally if the Primary Drop is discovered all the other markers are removed from play). The Primary Drop is worth 3 Victory Points.
So that's all the book has to offer, so what do I think?
Well I've played the old Kill Team ruleset I think a lot of strives were made to really iron out how the game is balanced and really make it feel more like the small scale battle it is. I do wonder how Ymgarl Genestealers work with this, but that looks like it'll be changing in the release for Tyranids so that's not a huge issue. It really feels like a step up from the previous Kill Team rules, and really fits the current edition a lot better. I really like this and think if you like Kill Teams, or just want an option to play smaller games that this might be a decent purchase. It's $12.99 in the US for the iPad version and $11.99 for the Black Library version, so it's not even that expensive.
Now, honestly I'd say that Kill Teams might be a good tournament format to work with since you could do it on a smaller table, and in shorter amounts of time and really balance out the options people take. The flip side is of course that it really puts a limit on the kinds of things you could play and honestly I don't know how the tournament community would react to this as a mode of play. Especially since it'd require everyone to have the rules, which at this point are digital only.
In short, I really think that this is a nice update to a ruleset that was needing it and a great option for people who don't want to deal with the scale of larger games, or just want to try 40k on a smaller level. If it tickles your fancy then I'd pick it up. And no, I didn't cover everything for those missions here so you'll need to pick it up if you want to play it. And honestly, it's a cheap expansion and well worth the few bucks it costs if you're into what it offers.