I Finally Finished Kill Team: Octarius

It may have taken three months instead of the three weeks we planned, but my wife and I have finally finished painting the launch box for the new edition of Kill Team and we are ready to play games in the Octarius Sector. 

I am in a bit of a toxic relationship with Warhammer 40k Kill Team. Theoretically it has all the things that should result in a game that I will love. Kill Team is a skirmish scale miniature wargame with a handful of  fairly unique models. While opening up the opportunity to customize the models for their selected roles, they can also be used in a full scale Warhammer 40k game which was greatly appealing. 

I mean, I started an Adeptus Mechanicus Kill Team, loved building them, painting them and playing them; I ended up with a full 40k army. Totalling over 3000 points. Oops. The basic rules included a system for leveling up your minis much like Necromunda, one of my favorite games of my high school years, allowing them to pick up additional skills and abilities as the game went on. If you were really unlucky, a model that you had used for an entire campaign would succumb to perma-death because you rolled crappy. Sorry. When my plastic army man shot your little toy play piece in the face, well, I thought he would get better. Walk it off, soldier.

Exitor_Core_13 and his kill team. Many of the names from this kill team became the names of Alphas when I built my 40k Army, seemed only right in my head cannon.

So, Why didn’t I love it? What’s my damn problem? 

Well, the problem, if you must know, is that for all that it was, it was not distinct enough. Games Workshop released Kill Team about a year after Warhammer 40k 8th edition. It seemed like a great idea, a micro-scale game of 40k seemingly created as a gateway drug, er, gateway game. Skirmish games require less commitment; less money, less time, less stress when starting out.  It might not be the best team you could muster, but you could start with a single box of miniatures. Enough to give you a taste, and like potato chips, there’s almost no chance you can stick with just one. Soon, you will have more boxes of guys, a full kill team roster, and you’re in the hobby. Then you want another taste, so you check out another 1 box kill team. You can see where this is going..

named after Sicarius himself, Cato was headstrong and usually the first to go down when playing my Ultramarines kill team

That aspect, the intro game idea, was also the root of my issue. It was a great starter game, I get that. But those of us that were looking to grab a small-scale experience to supplement our gaming hobby found, well, more and less than we wanted. The rule system from 8th edition, which was itself a new game streamlined without becoming simple, was just ported over to Kill Team. 

In that way, Games Workshop handicapped themselves and ended up producing a bit of a frankenstein game. They insisted on keeping the same exact stats from their new 40k rules system: it certainly worked for a large scale army game, but when reduced to a dozen models or so, it didn’t hold up. So, they just added to it, and it became cumbersome. When you have a handful of guys with one wound, they would die right away when you do one wound, so, they decided that instead once the model ran out of wounds and should be dead, it would instead make dice rolls more difficult. Sure. Die slow and dramatic like an action movie while making what should be a quick game take longer than necessary. Why not? That makes sense. Far quicker than I expected, my gaming group went back to playing smaller games of 40k if we were strapped for time instead of Kill Team. 

Yes, I have a green light for the Ork side and a blue light for the Krieg side; Octarius set up and ready to play

Fast forward a few years, while my Kill Teams are collecting dust on the shelves, watching me walk by and ignore them unless they were from a squad I was fielding in a proper 40K game, Games Workshop released 9th edition Warhammer 40k. Queue the angelic choir and the glaring lights from above. As many of us assumed, about a year later, plus or minus a little due to the production problems of a post-covid world, 3rd edition Warhammer 40k Kill Team was released. (Yeah, this is 3rd, the last edition was not the first, that was a version that came out as a sort of minor rules section in 4th edition 40k rulebook. End unnecessary tangent).

Oh. What’s this? Look at that, they didn’t do that thing again, they didn’t just reproduce 40k rules and stats, then limit the models to a dozen or so and call it a new game; They made a full on stand alone system this time.

Krieg hiding behind some junk

The new Kill Team Octarius has a lot of things going for it. First off, I have always wanted a Death Korps of Krieg army, running headstrong into enemy fusillades in the name of the Emperor and smiling as they die in his name. Obviously swinging shovels as they do so. But damnit those Forge World models, as attractive as they may be, are monstrously expensive. And that’s coming from me, who already has a dozen playable painted armies and half that many in the works. This box set has a ten man squad of Krieg. In plastic. Plastic! Ha. Screw off resin.

Get your shovels ready, it’s time to die for the Emperor!

Second, the Ork half of the box was so characterful and well designed, that it was like a full-on cardiac event when the Community page announced that they would be usable as is, with all the crazy weapon options, when the 9th edition Ork Codex (sorry, that’s army rulebook for the unindoctrinated).

ready to krump some headz

What’s more, it even came with Ork themed scenery, and I literally cannot remember any non-human architecture released for tabletop terrain by GW proper that wasn’t a one off. 

look at that garbage, err, I mean ork themed terrain

I have two gripes about the new Kill Team, one minor and one no-so much:

My minor gripe: Measuring. It seems cumbersome to move 3 white circles. I get it. The rules can reduce the number of 2 inch moves the model can make, or state that it costs a circle to move over something, or that any unused distance for a white circle is lost Oh, and a white circle is literally just two inches.  But why? Why make it more complicated? Is it just to make sure it feels different then basic movement in their flagship game, Warhammer 40000? Maybe. But I don’t feel that it  helps the game any. Ultimately, it’s not a big deal, it just seems unnecessary. 

My Major issue: Generic crap. The best part of the last edition of Kill Team was the fun you could have with designing your own squad. You could ignore customization, alter the crap out of the models to represent specific specialization, or, like most people, land somewhere in the middle. You would bequeath your models with names, they would get more interesting the more you played; Brother Kronus of my Dark Angels Kill Team had a pension for leaping upon a piece of scenery, and dramatically firing blasts of his meltagun from a completely exposed and ridiculous place. And his boldness paid off. He was taken out of action after being wounded in all the games I played. He spent his time with a few scouts, an intercessor, a missile launcher toting brother and a Sergeant with a chainsword that rarely got ot use it. Then the new edition came out. Oh, sorry. Unless you want to play a team from the new launch box, all your options were removed. What you got was a book of generic rules to play a few of a single type of model. Your teams you spent time and money crafting are no longer valid, have fun playing a few basic soldiers. 

What made it worse was how great the veteran guardsmen and ork Kommandos came out. They were the stars of the Octarius Box set. They had character, cool rules, and some great upgrade options. Somehow, this made the temporary cookie cutter kill team rules more painful, as it was clear that eventually most if not all of the armies would get full rules releases. But, then then the waiting game started. As of the publishing of this article, the Adeptus Mechanicus and the Thousand Sons armies for 40khave full rules for the new edition of Kill Team printed in White Dwarf (468, and 469 respectively), Games Workshops official monthly magazine. And the Tau Pathfinders and Sisters of Battle Novitiates got full rules and upgrade sprues or new models respectively in the 2nd release for Kill Team. This proves that they will eventually release lots of options, but at a sub-optimal speed. 

468 got lost along the way and may have been very hard to find. I eBayed mine from England and got it a few days after it showed up in my FLGS of course

Well, at least I can run a fun multi-faceted Admech Kill team. My time with them was great during the last edition. I hope to have more fun with them in the new Kill Team.  Those issues aside, I am excited for the new edition of the game to move past the generic rules of the compendium release and mature into a characterful and distinct game all of its own. 

Whats next: We bought the Kill Team: Chalnath Boxset about the same time that we finished painting Octarius, so, there’s that…

Kera wanted the Sisters of Battle Novitiates; it was too easy to talk myself into buying the whole box…

[This post was originally published at Otherverse Games & Hobbies]


Obsessive and neurotic collector of little plastic men, novels about the same little plastic men and paints to make the little plastic men pretty. Married to Kera, who puts up with him and pretends that she doesn’t hear him speaking to the little plastic men in between making pew pew noises in the hobby room. Requires adult supervision. A menace to himself but rarely to others. More beard than man

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