Friday, March 12, 2010

Review: Battle Missions Kill Team

In the 40K 4th ed. hardback rule book we found one of my all time favorite ways to play 40K: Kill Team. There were all sorts of great rules for sneaking about and executing a special operations mission. The major drawback to this mission in 4th ed. was that there were about 3 pages of rules that made Kill Team a game unto itself.

The new Battle Missions Book has taken on this mission, and given it some new life. I feel that in the new book we are loosing some of the flavor of the old Kill Team mission. The ability to create kits, build your team from different codex entries, and really customize your team will be fondly missed by me. On the other hand the simplicity of the new mission really makes all that is now missing seem pretty insignificant.

What makes this mission simpler than what was in the last edition is that the game plays like any other game of 40K with some subtle changes. Most noticeably is that the games are 200 point affairs, which really changes the game. Second the table is smaller. Third force organization is not the same. Fourth every model is its own stand alone unit, and finally victory conditions are different. The way one wins the game is the most unique part of this mission and it is what makes this mission work because once an army is reduced to half or less of its model it starts taking leadership checks that get worse to see if they loose.

The knee jerk reaction when first looking at this mission is to take a big bad single expensive model with a few guys as support, which is a huge mistake. It is a mistake because the way the victory conditions work. A canny player will handle the weaker units first and then let the leadership plus concentrated fire deal with the big bad. The real trick to playing this mission well is to find the right balancing point between staying power of models, volume of fire (number of shots any one model can deliver) and number of models.

The staying power of any one model is evident at the 200 point level because every model counts. You will begin to see that marines really are worth their 16 points a model and that while guard will die quickly in the open they have a tremendous amount of shots they can bring to bear.

Because every model is a unit unto itself volume of fire is important. Thankfully a single model can split their shots onto multiple models, which makes rapid fire weapons pretty good. The single-shot guns have their purpose like dealing with the occasional multi wound model. Templates and weapons with blast will work very well as will multi shot weapons.  In this area I would look at flamer and a Missile Launcher. This will allow you to deal with the occasional vehicle and large horde armies

The minimum number of models in an army will probably be 5 models, which will be fine because those will typically be elite veteran power armor units. The largest force will be the 50 grot horde. From what I’ve experienced so far the sweet spot seems to be between 10 and 20 models, but do not discount any number because 5 elite marines will be rough for any opponent, but if you are able to swamp them with a large volume of fire you might be looking at them taking leadership test from the start of the game.

Something to be aware of is assault is very dangerous for a variety of reasons. Since each model is its own unit you must get into base to base. The 2” rule doesn’t apply. Assaults will most likely be over in a single round which opens the assaulter up to being counter assaulted by a greater number of models. I would only use assault to clear out a model that survived shooting, and that presents a smaller risk of return fire or counter assault.

Named unit upgrade characters can be useful, but many of them convey a bonus onto their unit, which will not apply because each model is an independent unit. Also with Reserves being strictly forbidden, Lictors, Snikrot, Marbo, Assasins and outflank loose some of their usefulness. This means you’re paying points for something you can’t use.

Here are some sample forces for playing this mission.

Codex Dark Angels:

9 Tactical Marines w/Missile Launcher and Flamer

1 Veteran Sergeant w/ Plasma Pistol and Melta Bombs

Codex Space Marine:

9 Scout Marines w/ Missile Launcher, 3 Shot Guns, 3 Sniper Rifles, 2 Bolters Camo Cloaks

1 Scout Sergeant w/ Plasma Pistol and Melta Bombs

Codex Orks:

15 Ork ‘ard Boyz w/ Shootas and 1 big Shoota

1 Ork Nob ‘ard Boy w/ Power Klaw and ‘eavy Armor

I hope this was helpful for those looking at this mission. Tell us about your experiences with Kill Team or the other missions in the Battle Missions book. 



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