The sheer mountainous pile I am contributing to of Kill Team products in my hobby space is a growing concern. Plenty of it I was able to justify, though. I simply had to get a few varying Kill Teams so my games didn’t feel too samey. I certainly had to grab one of the carry cases for getting my models around, as well. However, as I sit here perusing the Commanders rulebook I find myself pondering if this will actually become a mainstay in my experience with the game system. I’m not overly sold on what it brings to the table, though I’ve enjoyed what I’ve tried.
Expanding Within Kill Team
Let’s have a look at what Commanders actually contains. Purchasing the expansion set you’ll come upon the 120-page rule book, some tactic cards, a handful of psychic cards and datacards alongside a small token sheet. I confess, the price for me felt a little higher than it should have been. The quality’s good, it’s nigh impossible to accuse Games Workshop of shipping poor products these days. However, if we look at a Codex coming hardback, we’re getting a softback book and a handful of extra for around 30% added to the cost.
The price aside, the book itself is as previously stated very nice to look at. Full colour, wonderfully detailed pages, drenched in wonderful artwork. There’s a surprising amount of content in here at 120 pages. For what is inside the book, anyone who is fully committed to Kill Team since its launch will not be disappointed.
Adding options to a game system provides intangible appeal. Allow players the chance to play their way to build elements the way they wish to. Commanders contributes to this rather comfortably. With the 16 factions of Kill Team each getting at least one Commander to add their roster. This adds a pleasantly fresh cordial into what was an already satisfying and tall drink of skirmish warfare without tipping the game upside down. These Commanders can range from the brutal Ork Warboss to the cunning and sadistic Drukhari Succubus, along with everything in-between. Alongside the release of the expansion set are boxed Commanders, mostly featuring models already available along with tokens and cards for their use within Kill Team.
How these new characters work in Kill Team isn’t a vast departure from other characters within the game system. Commanders, in fact, work more or less very similarly. The big differences are down to a few key things. Firstly, they can be immensely powerful with a plethora of them rocking into fights with four wounds from the get-go. They even get their own specialisms, tactics and traits. Armed typically with devastating weaponry or bone-crushing abilities, they are a powerhouse unto themselves.
At least, some of them. As an example, the Ork Warboss can have nearby Ork models charge on 3D6 as opposed to 2D6 standard, disregarding the lowest dice rolled. This can be a big difference when coupled with the ‘Ere We Go rule for a team that should get into combat as quickly as possible. Whereas the Painboy can allow nearby models to negate wounds on the roll of a 6+. That’s fairly tepid when you look at it, especially with most Orks having armour values of 6+, too. I believe there’ll be some safer Commanders you’ll see quite often and some that’ll rarely see the light of day.
The cluster of missions included in the Commanders book also provide some new kicks to be had within Kill Team. One such mission, which happens to be my favourite, has an entire Kill Team attempt to take out the enemy team comprised of a lone Commander. This would conjure up some stellar narrative games within my gaming group. (Hell Yes! – Ed)
I can picture the dire fights in the name of glory and destruction in my head now. An entire team of Guardsman desperately pouring lasgun fire into an oncoming Necron Overlord as he slowly and ceaselessly advances, Voidscythe in-grip. The missions, all relying on Commanders being in-play, suit their purpose well and do make for some exciting games. The gameplay remains relatively unchanged with your Kill Team still being the core of the game experience, especially in campaigns. Couple this with your own named character leading your Kill Team into the fray and the Commanders expansion may indeed see plenty of table time within your local gaming circles.
However, it isn’t vital and whilst it does add yet another layer of enjoyment to Kill Team it does also slap on another “Don’t forget” post-it note on my carry case. Should I wish to use my desired commander, ensuring my opponent/s agree to such games I need to bring yet more gubbins to my games.
You might think me nitpicky for moaning that I need to take another book to my Kill Team games for Commanders. Yet here I am with more tokens, more cards, and another rulebook to carry with me to my games. I’m hoping Kill Team doesn’t end up going down the Necromunda Underhive route in this regard. There’s only so much time I’m happy flicking through a handful of books throughout my games before I find myself longing for a simple, less cumbersome system. After all, that’s what brought me to Kill Team in the first place.