Over the holidays, I got to get in a couple nostalgic “Classic Terrain on the Dining Room Table” games of Kill Team with my brother, which was a blast.
One of the games we played I want to talk about a bit, because it’s something I’ve been interested ever since Kill Team: Commanders came out – a single hero unit vs. a standard Kill Team, in contrast to the standard Kill Team + Commander on each side format that book suggests.
A lot of this came out of talking about the narrative of my Adeptus Custodes Kill Team, which is my go-to when I’m traveling, because it’s very, very small (the figures, a set of KT tokens and the dice needed all fit easily in the Kill Team case). Unlike most Kill Teams, which feel like the beginning of a larger fight – disabling a base’s void shields, sabotaging comms, etc., the Custodes feel like the end of an action movie. You’ve fought your way through the base. You have the codes. All you have to do is get back to the extraction point. A blast door slides open, and standing in silhouette are three immense figures in golden armor.
Cue the dramatic music.
So what if it was just one character?
Your plucky band of heretics vs. a Shield-Captain? A rag-tag group of IG, lets call them Faunt’s Fhosts, versus a Chaos Sorcerer.
We termed this “Raid Boss Kill Team”.
Here are my thoughts:
Yes, those are Christmas cookies.
Baked goods make excellent terrain. Don’t @ me.
This Was Actually a Lot of Fun
I was expecting for this to go really badly one way or the other, and be something where we just looked at each other, said “re-rack?” and went with a more standard game. But it turned out to be a lot of fun, and something I definitely think is worth trying out if you’re a Kill Team fan.
This Has To Be Narrative
You’ve got to turn off your competitive, Matched Play impulses for this game. Because yeah, if you go with a hyper-optimized, “You can cram how much plasma into a Guard team?” roster, that Shield-Captain is going to get mowed down in a single turn. But with the right sort of narrative composition, it can be a lot of fun. But this is the kind of game where you plan and talk to your opponent ahead of time, and resist the urge to min-max.
It Ended Up Feeling Weirdly MMO-ish
The “raid” – in this case the IG Kill Team – started hard and did a lot of damage, then once the Shield-Captain got into the thick of things, buffs started collapsing and Guard needed to spread out more, things started to come apart. It felt very much like an MMO raid encounter, where the longer things go the worse they get, and in the later turns you’re trying to dig deep to eek out that last inch of movement, that last to-wound re-roll, etc.
Which brings us to the last thing…
Scenario Choice Matters
We were originally considering the “assassinate the Leader” mission, but with the Custodes as the defenders, and some very, very foolish Guard trying to bring him down. But we realized that wasn’t likely to be fun, because that mission is just “Table me or Lose” with one model. And encourages things that aren’t fun, like my six attack monster hiding in cover.
Reversing that on the other hand, and making it so the Custodian was trying to bring down some enemy of the Imperium, made for a great game, where slaughter was inevitable, but literally kiting the Custodian and feeding him bodies to try to slow him down worked great to allow some misguided fool to slink away into the shadows.
Similarly, one might expect some missions, like anything involving holding objectives, to be pretty auto-lose for the “Raid Boss”. Consider the mission along with the rosters, and again, approach this as collaborative storytelling with your opponent.
So there we are – yet another way to play Kill Team, and one that I think while difficult to set up properly, makes for a really fun and dynamic, as well as tactically tense, game.
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