Games Alex Likes: Warhammer 40,000 Kill Team

“I’d love to get into it, but it’s just too expensive.”

These are the words almost everyone has said to me while staring at a game of Warhammer 40,000, and for good reason. Your typical full size game of Warhammer 40,000 (40K) will probably run you over $700 PER PLAYER ($800 if you want to count painting costs). That’s a 65″ 4K TV, 175 Pokemon TCG booster packs, or 41 movie tickets.

To combat this cost barrier to entry, Games Workshop, the publishers of the Warhammer series of games, introduced the latest version of their 40K skirmish rules in Warhammer 40,000: Kill Team. The Kill Team skirmish wargame stripped the requirement of fielding dozens of pricey plastic miniatures down to requiring typically less than 10 (give or take a few).

New players could start playing games for as little as $30-$50 depending on what army or faction they wanted to play, plus the $40 for the core rule book. Unlike 40K, the Kill Team CRB contains all the information you need to start playing with any army with no need to shell out extra cash for an army specific rules codex. While nearly every unit you can use in Kill Team can be used in 40K, the same can’t be said for the other direction. Games Workshop offers specially selected Kill Team starter sets for a majority of the armies available to play, but if you’re looking for more or different stuff I’d suggest checking online to find out what can and can’t be used in the game.

If you’re looking for a stepping stone into the 40K hobby, or if you already play the game, Kill Team doesn’t play identical to its big sibling but is similar enough that it will get you 80% of the way there. The game plays out in turns of 6 phases similar to 40K, with a few changes to how some of those phases work.

Similar to 40K’s three roll attack system (roll to hit, roll to wound, roll to save), Kill Team’s four roll attack system adds the additional step to check to see whether or not a model is taken out of action. When a model’s wounds are reduced to zero, they will roll a die to determine if they are taken out of action or receive a flesh wound. Flesh wounds cause a model to stay in the fight, but become less effective than they normally would be by imposing a penalty for every flesh wound that model has received. Because every model’s stat line in Kill Team is identical to 40K, the flesh wounds rules help give these troop type units more survivability in a game designed to high light the smaller, intimate conflicts of the 41st millennium.

In addition to monetary savings, Kill Team offers space savings as well. Kill Team is played on a 22″ x 30″ foot print, making it a lot easier to find a place to play a game than the 4′ x 6′ recommended area for it’s big sibling. Some starter sets come with game mats and terrain to help players build interesting battle fields while affordable rubberized game mats are available if you’re really looking to glamour up your game. Also smaller compared to 40K is the amount of time it takes to play. My typical 2 player games take about 45-60 minutes in Kill Team while a 2000 point game of 40K could take upwards of 4 hours to complete.

Kill Team offers players a cheaper and quicker way to enter into the Warhammer hobby and community that is both fun and engaging. The same level of strategy and tactics that are employed in 40K can be found in Kill Team in that condensed form. It’s cheaper price point means that, even for veteran players, you can easily pick up a second army to add variety to your games.

Why I Play Warhammer 40,000: Kill Team

I started playing tabletop RPGs like Dungeons and Dragons because I enjoyed beating up monsters. D&D gave me that same that same feeling of playing a tactical combat, which I would normally get out of a video game, but doing so with my friends. Couple this enjoyment with science fiction, simplicity, and good looking miniatures and you have a recipe for almost immediate engagement from me. Warhammer 40,000 ticks all those boxes for me, but where Kill Team shines is its significantly lower entry cost. This is why I play Kill Team. It allows me to more easily field a variety of models from different armies to add variety.

Play this game if…

  • You enjoy tactical and strategic RPG combats.
  • You like games with good looking miniatures.
  • You are looking to jump into the bigger Warhammer hobby on a budget.

Avoid this game if…

  • You are on a budget and can easily get carried away.
  • Building miniatures sounds like torture.
  • You think you’ll have a hard time finding other players.

Where to start?

To start, you or a friend will need to purchase the Kill Time core rule book, which will run about $40. For miniatures, if you’re looking to get started on a tight budget and concerned about how easy building models will be, consider $40 First Strike starter box set (a $60 value). This will give you two armies, the Ultramarines and Death Guard, with special easy to build models and differing play styles. Split the box, (and even the cost of the book) with a friend to get both of you playing quickly and affordably!

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