Kill Team: Starter Set – Review

Where I am sat, it is as if there has been some kind of bizarre rip in time-space. Six months ago, I received a sample copy of Kill Team: Octarius for review, and fortunately, the gameplay provided a fun and cinematic experience. Sadly, the same cannot be said regarding the Kill Team: Compendium. The new Kill Team: Starter Set is to be released half a year later as a more cost-effective option for those looking to dive into Kill Team for the first time. However, I can’t help but ask – what took so long?

Within the Kill Team: Starter Set comes very similar components to the full Octarius box. You get everything that you need to play (models, scenery, rules, gauges, dice, etc). The only things missing compared to the previous box are the sprawling Ork Octarius buildings and the Octarius supplement book. The Starter Set, as its name suggests, looks to act as the ideal jumping-off point for those looking to take their first plunge into Kill Team and is more of a Kill Team: Octarius-lite.

It has to be said, the box art is spectacular with a fascinating array of hues and tones.

Fresh Meat

From what I can see, what is included in the box is identical to their counterparts in the Octarius box. Other than the paper game mat (as opposed to a cardboard one), there are two notable exceptions. Within the Kill Team: Starter Set there is a Recruit Edition rulebook. Whether this was always intended to come along or was spurred into creation post-launch of Kill Team: Octarius, I’m not sure – but it’s a wonderful addition.

The Recruit Edition rulebook acts as a “read me first” rulebook for anyone looking to get into Kill Team or potentially even tabletop wargaming as a whole. The rules are concisely displayed with lots of colourful and enticing images to suck players in.

The early part of this book has individual missions that both players engage in and these act to introduce the core rules of the game system bit by bit. These begin with the basic actions and turn structure, and progress to things such as the order system. The latter mission is exceptionally welcome since, once Kill Team: Octarius landed, the Conceal and Engage orders felt quite muddy. There was a fair bit of confusion that took a while to land correctly with players from what I could tell and this will help to stop those mistakes from being repeated.

As my wise ol’ dad always says – RTFM.

Generally, the Recruit Edition rulebook of the Kill Team: Starter Set is crucial for new players as it provides a fool-proof, comprehensive way to teach newcomers how to play. However, there’s a small addition to the Starter Set that I’m a particular fan of.

Great Things…

This box is unquestionably aimed at those who haven’t dabbled in Kill Team up to now. Thus, for veteran players such as myself, there’s little reason to acquire the Kill Team: Starter Set. However, one of my favourite things happens to be and aforementioned “little reason”. There’s a slimmed-down version of the Core Rulebook included in the Kill Team: Starter Set. An almost pocket-version reminiscent of what we’ve seen recently released with sets such as the Age of Sigmar Extremis set.

The little book is exceptionally handy and encapsulates Kill Team very nicely. Core elements of tabletop wargaming that we know and love, without needing heaps of space to enjoy or store. This small book is hardly a reason to go out and buy the entire set, but it’s a very welcome inclusion that new and old players will certainly appreciate – I’m sure. This furthers my hope that Necromunda and its tomes-upon-tomes soon follow the same route.

Kill Team: Starter Set Core Rules – Small book, big punch.

Unfortunately, it’s not all good news when it comes to the Kill Team: Starter Set. Although, it isn’t the box or its content that I hold particular discontent towards, but the decisions behind and outside of the box. The Octarius book that contains the full rules for both Kill Team: Starter Set teams is not included and is sold seperately. The exclusion only encourages players to heed my sour feelings about the Compendium and the slow, agonising wait for other factions to get their full rules to imbue a sense of individuality with each faction/Kill Team. Until we get these, I fear most factions in Kill Team will not enjoy the true meaning of the game in providing a unique experience for each player and the Kill Teams that they deploy.

Octarius was *SO* last year

The main factor that leaves me scratching my head at this point regarding the Kill Team: Starter Set is the timing of its release. Why now? Why around six months after the release of the gargantuan Kill Team: Octarius box? It would feel more sensible to release this shortly after the Octarius box came to an end. Part of me wishes to implore clemency in that the last couple of years haven’t been easy for anyone considering world events. There could be any reason for this strange gap including but not limited to COVID, logistical issues incurred by large barges clogging canals, scheduling difficulties, etc.

However, the timing just feels so very off and is further emphasised by so many things. We’ve already had Kill Team: Chalnath which introduced two brand new Kill Teams, leaving the Orks and Krieg feeling somewhat outdated. The Nachmund season of Warhammer 40,000 is merely weeks away, leaving Octarius as something of an afterthought as far as settings go – at least, for players who choose to keep up with that sort of thing.

The Krieg and Ork models are, in fact, due to come out as separate kits alongside this release, so there’s not even the exclusivity of the models within that would act as a justified reason to rush out and grab the box.

There’s a considerable amount of plastic within the box, even without the full terrain set from Kill Team: Octarius.

With all that I have in front of me, the Kill Team: Starter Set looks to act as an entryway for new players into tabletop wargaming as a skirmish system, and potentially to bring new players into Warhammer 40,000 as a whole. It certainly achieves this more effectively and most definitely with improved value compared to Kill Team: Octarius.

Unfortunately, it feels like something of an afterthought. We’ll almost assuredly have a new Kill Team box shown off imminently to coincide with Nachmund. Nonetheless, the big bang of Kill Team has been and gone, leaving the Kill Team: Starter Set playing what seems to be an unusually needless game of catch-up.

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This article was originally written by the author for The Unrelenting Brush blog in affiliation with Boards and Swords Hobbies.

Note – Games Workshop supplied us with a copy of the Kill Team: Starter Set for this review content.

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