Warhammer 40,000 has been around for 30 years! Yes, 2017 is the 30th anniversary of the original Warhammer 40K Rogue Trader rules being released. Over those 3 decades various editions of the core rules have come and gone. At the time of writing we are on the 7th edition of the rules and the 8th edition is rumoured to be scheduled for release at some point this year.
Warhammer 40K is a HUGE game. It generally needs to be played on a 6’ x 4’ playing surface, or at least a 4’ x 4’. Buying an army to play a full game is expensive, and the time needed to build all the miniatures and paint them up is extensive.
To gather together a 1,500 point army and start playing with a decent knowledge of the rules will cost you well over £250. A rulebook set is £50. You then need a Codex book for your army, which is anything from £25 to £30. You will then need to spend at least £150 on models and if you want them painted chuck on at least £30 of paints and brushes.
But hey, it’s a hobby and that’s OK. It’s not OK though if you find out after your first few games that it’s not really your cup of tea. Then you are stuck with a load of stuff that needs to go on ebay for a lot less than you paid for it.
This is where a boxed set such as this Kill Team edition comes into its own. Full retail price is £40 and you get pretty much everything you need to get started in the 40K game universe. The key words there are ‘pretty much everything’ which I will elaborate on later.
What’s in the box?
- 32 Page Kill Team Book
- Warhammer 40,000 Rulebook (full version, A5 softback)
- 1 Space Marine Tactical Squad (10 miniatures)
- 1 Tau Empire Fire Warrior Strike Team (13 miniatures)
- Assembly Instructions
Basic Game Overview
Kill Team is a skirmish version of the Warhammer 40,000 tabletop game. Instead of having to build and field large armies of models, in this edition you take control of a small squad and fight against your opponent’s small squad.
This makes for a faster playing experience – you can get a game of Kill Team finished in an hour whereas a full game of 40K can easily last well over 3 hours.
Included in the boxed set are two opposing squads for you to play with. There is a full 10 man Space Marine Tactical Squad and a Tau Fire Warrior Strike Team (13 models).
The models need to be assembled, and this takes time and you will need some glue – plastic model kit glue is best. You will also need a tape measure and a few 6 sided dice.
You will also need a bit of time to familiarise yourself with the rules of Warhammer 40K if you have never played before. Yeah, I know, that means at least 3 or 4 hours of reading and re-reading for homework before you start to play.
What I am basically saying is that this is not a game where you open the box on a Saturday morning and start playing instantly if you are new to Warhammer 40,000.
It is a game though that all of the EH Gaming team love and well worth the investment in time, in our opinion.
What’s it like to play?
So, once you have built the miniatures and managed to acquire a basic grasp of the Warhammer 40K rules you are ready to play your first game.
Playing a game of Kill Team is actually really good fun and almost a perfect introduction to the Warhammer 40K game mechanics. Longer-term players take for granted the way you have to measure for your models to move and aspects of the shooting phase such as line of sight, but for the newcomer this is the perfect sandbox to learn in.
Playing with the smaller number of models allows you to focus on the actual game itself instead of having to take on the role of an army general who is trying to manage vast numbers of models and squads across a large playing surface. That is the level of play that you graduate to from Kill Team if you get hooked!
Kill Team abides by just about all of the main rules and sequences of play that exist in the full game. The only difference is that you play each model in your squad as an individual. For example, in a full scale game of Warhammer 40K you would use a squad of Space Marines as a single unit. They would move together and shoot together (having to all aim at the same target), and would always have to be within 2” of another model within the unit. In Kill Team your Space Marines move and shoot separately so they can effectively split up. One can hide behind a wall and cover a particular area while another can hot foot it across the board to hold a different point. A few more can stick together and then select different enemies to shoot in different positions. It allows for a more flexible and realistic game play experience as in a skirmish (rather than a battle) this is more akin to how a small team of soldiers would operate.
Kill Team does live or die as game though depending on the area that you play on. It is recommended that you play on a 4’ x 4’ area but that isn’t essential in my opinion. To get yourself started just clear the dining table and set up on either side and get into each other. That is the best way to learn the game and makes for an even quicker game.
Once you have done that a couple of times then it is really important that you start to introduce some terrain and areas of cover so that your models have somewhere to hide behind. Terrain and scenery is also really important for blocking the line of sight.
If you continually play on a bare dining table then the game is reduced to who can shoot the furthest. With scenery in the way the models end up getting closer to each other and it becomes a more guerrilla style fighting contest, which is more exciting.
You can buy scenery, you can make scenery, and you can just use stuff from the house to create the effect. A pile of 3 books can become a hill. The cardboard rolls from 2 or 4 toilet rolls can be a clutch of trees or industrial pipes. You can make some walls or basic buildings out of Lego if need be, just do something fairly early on to improve the game.
Inside the Kill Team book that is included with the set there are 6 ready-made missions for you to play, and these are actually very good and provide context to your games. I recommend that you give them a whirl once you are a dab hand at playing the game.
Who would like it?
Anyone who is likely to enjoy Warhammer 40K will like playing Kill team. As I mentioned at the start of this post, throwing yourself into the full version of 40K can be very expensive and time-consuming and when you are that out of pocket it is the wrong time to realise that you don’t actually like playing it.
This is the set I recommend to use to decide whether you are the type of person who wants to go all-in and take up the hobby.
If you have played any type of tabletop miniatures game previously and enjoyed it, such as Deadzone, The Walking Dead All Out War, Infinity or other Games Workshop games then you are likely to enjoy Kill Team.
If you are a parent who is being pestered by one of your children to let them get started with Warhammer 40K then this is the set to buy. If it gather dust and they don’t embrace the game then you will be delighted that the experiment only cost you £40. You will then be pleased when you sell the A5 rulebook on ebay for £15 and the two squads for at least £12 each…making your total loss only £1!!
If you are already a Warhammer 40K player then this boxed set may be good value for you also, depending on which army or armies you currently play with. The Tau Fire Warriors Strike Team that is included with this set is £30 to buy on its own and the Kill Team rule book is at least £7 as a digital version. For a couple of quid more you get a full Space Marine squad worth £25. You also get one of the very handy A5 versions of the rule book if you only have the larger hardback version. Again, sell the bits you don’t need on ebay as there are plenty of ways to get the bits you need and get some of the cash back. The Kill Team book allows any Warhammer 40K player to make up their own squads if you have a Codex already for your army. You can have a lot of Orks in a Kill Team game for example, or maybe it’s a great format for Dark Eldar Wyches to thrive in?
Finally, if you like sci-fi and you like board and tabletop games, you are likely to have fun with this. As indicated already it is a no-risk purchase. If you hate it you will get your money back on ebay!
Kill Team is pretty much the best value introduction to Warhammer 40,000 at only £40. You get a decent amount of models in the box and the full rulebook. It is not a complete ‘everything in the box’ set – you need some cutters to get the models off the sprues and then some glue to stick them together. The assembly instructions for the models though are very good and the quality of the models included are excellent. You also need a few 6-sided dice and a tape measure. As highlighted above, for newcomers there is no way of opening the box and playing straight away. You need to build the models and learn the rules. There are plenty of great videos on YouTube though that will help you to learn how to play if you want to get a headstart, but you do need to start to understand the rulebook so plenty of reading is required.
My one criticism of this Kill Team set is that you don’t get two well balanced squads in this box. Warhammer 40K models all have points assigned to them and you add up the points of your models to get the total value for your army. For example a basic Space Marine in your army is worth 14 points. This points system is how the game attempts to have balance within it. If two armies take to the field with a points cost of 1,000 then it should be a fair fight. In Kill Team the maximum amount of points you can have in your squad is 200. The included Space Marine squad has a value of 190. The included Tau squad has a value of 134!! That difference in points will mean that the Space Marines should win every single time. To balance things up you may need to take a couple of Marines out of your squad or remove 1 Marine and one of the special or heavy weapons. That is a real shame and it is the only real downer with this set. The addition of a couple more Tau models would have moved it closer to a well balance game out of the box. It is a relatively minor quibble though and if you want to be a purist then you will be able to pick up a few extra Tau models cheaply if you look around – again ebay is the first port of call.
On the whole though, Kill Team gets a thumbs up and we’re really pleased that Games Workshop are extending their box set range to help make the full game more accessible via both cost and learning curve.
9 out of 12…pretty darn good!
Publisher: Games Workshop
No. of Players: 2
Recommended Age: 12+
Time To Play: 1 to 1.5 hours