Warhammer 40,000: Kill Team is a squad sized skirmish Gaiden Game that sees small units of elite warriors battle each other while attempting to complete covert missions.
There have been a number of different versions of the Kill Team rules over the years, beginning with a short set of alternate rules in the 4th Edition Warhammer 40,000 Rulebook that altered the core game's rules for the smaller skirmish-based battles. When 4th Edition was updated to 5th Edition, the Kill Team rules were removed but a number of events adapted their own Kill Team rules. In 2016 Kill Team received its first boxed game release that used the 7th Edition Warhammer 40,000 rules as a base with alterations included in the box set's supplemental rulebook. 2018 saw the release of the first standalone Kill Team game that based its rules on the 8th Edition of Warhammer 40,000 but included them in its own full Core Manual. The 2018 version of the game has received a number of supplements of its own including Kill Team: Rogue Trader and Kill Team: Commanders in 2018, and the competitive gaming expansion Kill Team: Arena released in 2019.
Kill Team takes place in the Warhammer 40,000 setting and follows the same tropes as its parent game. Tropes unique to the game itself include:
- Badass Crew: All versions of the game see the player take command of a small squad of troopers, specifically chosen to perform covert and high priority missions, often behind enemy lines, often accompanied by specialist soldiers with skills particularly suited to the mission. Over the course of a campaign, the Kill Team can become even more badass by earning Experience Points that can be spent on extra skills.
- Battle Trophy: Kroot are well known for collecting trophies from those opponents who have impressed them enough to contribute their DNA to the Kroot's genetic makeup, and the members of Kroot Mercenary Kill Teamsnote are no exception. The 2018 Edition of the game represents this with the Prestigious Trophy Kroot Tactic that, when used, means that a Carnivore is immune to Nerve tests after killing an enemy Leader.
- Booby Trap: One of the actions that Kill Teams can make during the pre-battle Scouting Phase of the 2018 Edition of the game is to 'Plant Traps'. These traps can be placed in terrain features, doing mortal wounds to any enemy models that move through that terrain piece.
- Combat Medic: Medic specialists are just as capable as their fellows in battle but are also able to boost the resilience of members of the kill team and, with the right skills, heal their comrade's injuries.
- Combat Pragmatist: Dirty Fighter specialists from the 2016 Edition of the standalone game are experts at using every trick in the book to gain an advantage in combat. In-game this was represented by the specialist being able to take skills such as Blinding Distraction, Low Blow or Poisoned Weapons.
- Communications Officer: The background information for the 2018 game's Comms specialist mentions them being the relay between the Kill Team and their allies and commanders. This is represented in the game by the Command Relay Level 3 Comms skill that can refund Command Points.
- Elite Mooks: The Doom Squadnote upgrade for Brute squads in the 4th Edition Warhammer 40,000 version of the rules represent enemy troops who had been specially trained for close combat, making them more powerful than your average Mook. In-game these powerful troops had superior close combat stats to other Brute squads.
- Elite Tweak: Heavily encouraged by the 2018 version rules via Specialists. In most standard and competitive "Matched Play" set up a player's deployed team must include one Leader specialist and may include up to three different specialists after that. Campaign play opens up the ability to level your units up, with the unit costing more points with each level. In general, every specialism favors certain play-styles, unit types, and gear, such as Sniper to increase the the chance of hitting with a high strength or damage weapon, or Demolition with auto-hit weapon such as flamers or weapons which ignore cover penalties to hit. Then there are outside the box combinations such as combining Sniper with weapons that risk damaging the unit on a hit roll of 1, such as overcharged plasma guns, to make them safer to fire by allowing a free re-roll. Or Demolitions with a model using a sniper rifle type weapon that inflicts additional wounds on a wound roll of 6+, since Demolitions has multiple traits and tactics which boost the final result.
- Experience Points: The campaign rules for the 2018 Edition of Kill Team includes an experience point system to allow a player's specialists, and fire teams of regular fighters, to advance in level and gain experience. Specialists gain an experience point for taking part in a battle, as well as for using one of their specialist Tactics, and when they gain enough points to go up a level, they can choose a skill from their unique skill tree. Fire Teams meanwhile gain experience points for killing enemy models and surviving a battle with every member of the Team gaining a random advancement (such as extra Movement or re-rolls for various actions) for each level they gain.
- Improbable Aiming Skills: Weapon specialists from the 2016 game and Sniper specialists from the 2018 version can take a number of skills that increase the effectiveness of their ranged attacks above that of their fellow warriors, enabling them to fire accurately beyond the usual effective range of their weapon, hit the most vulnerable part of an enemy with pinpoint accuracy or pick out targets in cover as if they were standing in the open.
- Laser Hallway: One of the upgrades available to Brute squads in 4th Edition Warhammer 40,000 version of Kill-Team is the Las-Trap, sophisticated alarms, represented by red string markers in the game itself, that made it more likely for the Kill-team to be discovered if they touch them.
- Mooks: The 2004 Kill-Team rules in the 4th Edition Warhammer 40,000 rulebook saw the elite Kill-team go up against enemy Mooks known as Brute squads. These Brute squads consisted of a number of enemy rank and file troops who generally outnumbered the Kill-team but were less competent in combat.
- Mook Lieutenant: The Brute squads from the 4th Edition Warhammer 40,000 version of the Kill-Team rules are led by a Boss, a sergeant level character who replaces one of the rank-and-file Brutes. Bosses were intended to add to the narrative elements of a Kill-team game, becoming the target of assassination missions for instance, as well as adding to the difficulty of the game for the Kill-team player.
- Only a Flesh Wound: Like many Games Workshop Gaiden Games, when a model looses their last wound in the 2018 Edition get to make an Injury Roll to see what happens; if successful they "walk it off" and continue to function without being removed as casualty. However such wounds still deal damage, and models with flesh wounds have a harder time hitting the enemy, dodging fire and on subsequent Injury Rolls have a harder time "walking it off". Space Marines (and their Chaos Counterparts) have a special rule that lets them shrug off their first flesh wound's penalties, while Necron's Reanimation Protocols can let them instantly revive on the worst possible Injury roll.
- Poisoned Weapons:
- In the 2016 game, Dirty Fighter specialists were able to poison their weapons so that they always had at least a 50% chance of wounding any non-vehicle foe.
- The Level 3 Medic Skill Toxin Synthesiser, from the 2018 Edition of the game, represents the specialist creating dangerous substances that his comrades can use to coat their weapons, giving them a better chance of wounding their enemies.
- Self-Destruct Mechanism: One of the upgrades available for the Brute player in the 4th Edition Warhammer 40,000 version of the game is the 'Doomsday Device', a weapon of last resort designed to destroy the battlefield to prevent the Kill-team from completing their mission. The Brute player could activate this device once there were more Kill-team models on the board then Brutes, resulting in a random chance of the battlefield exploding at the beginning of each turn.
- Target Spotter:
- In the 2018 Edition of the standalone game, Scout specialists with the Level 3 Skill Vanguard are able to relay targeting information to their comrades, granting them re-rolls to hit against enemy models close to the Scout.
- The 2018 Edition's Comms Specialist is able to use scanners, radio positioning and other equipment to accurately identify the position of enemy troops. In-game this is represented by a number of skills and Tactics that boost the shooting abilities of nearby allies with.
- Several of the 2018 game's factions have access to equipment, such as the auspex available to Astartes Tactical Sergeants and the markerlights used by T'au Pathfinders, that can be used to target enemy troops to give the wielder's allies bonuses to their shooting.
- Throw Down the Bomblet: Level 2 Demolition Specialists in Kill Team 2018 are able to take the Grenadier skill, making any grenade weapon they use more likely to hit their enemies, to represent their expertise with such explosives.
- Torture Technician: 2018 Edition Medic specialists with the Interrogator Level 3 Skill are able to use their abilities to gain Intelligence during a campaign.
- Videogame Flamethrowers Suck: Averted even more than in the parent game. As well as retaining the main game's automatic hits, the 2018 Kill Team rules make the weapon's short range less of an issue than in Warhammer 40,000 due to smaller playing area. In addition to this, the Demolitions specialist has access to the Level 2 skill Pyromaniac that increases the likelihood of wounding with flamer weapons. Their main weakness remains that their lack of armor penetration.