Phil and I were wondering about the experience of the ‘ordinary’ soldier in 41st millennium. So many games feature the heroic actions of super human (and Xenos) warriors, but we wanted to know what it was like to be a grunt. What is it like to try to hold the line while a horde of ravening beasts swarm through the ruins of a once proud city of the Imperium? Similarly, what would cause the Hive Mind to withdraw forces from a particular sector?

A large game of Warhammer 40,000 or Epic would tell the story at a grand scale, but we wanted the individual stories, so Kill Team seemed like a decent candidate for that. However, it couldn’t be Kill Team as we normally play it, with an eclectic mix of warriors chosen to fulfil a particular role. Most Kill Teams look more like the Dirty Dozen than a typical squad of ‘grunts’. This would constrain our troop choice to be what might coherently exist on the battlefield, but would it make for a good game?

However, one thing Kill Team misses is that sense of being part of something bigger, so we wanted to layer in some rules for campaigns and attrition. Kill Team’s own campaign rules are… well… basic. The ‘At the Sharp End’ supplement for Chain of Command is serving as our inspiration here. In CoC campaigns you typically have between 1 and 3 platoons available. We’ve a tighter zoom level here, so we’ll have 2-3 squads each. We’re going to apply the At the Sharp End attrition rules: for the losses in a game, roughly 50% are KIA, 25% will miss a game (while they convalesce) and 25% can return immediately. This obviously impacts different factions in 40k differently, whereas CoC only needs to concern itself with humans!

We’re working on adaptations of the ‘men’s opinion’ and ‘C.O.’s rating’ from At the Sharp End to capture the macro situation beyond the localised fighting.

The specific factions we’re looking at are Adeptus Militarum (Tempestus Scions) and Tyranids. Going with the principle of the ‘ordinary squad’ Phil’s Scions are very much that – a group of guys with hot-shot lasguns, a comms guy, a flamer guy and a guy with a hot-shot volley gun. The first squad of Tertus Platoon is led by Tempestor Kolson Tryker. There is a second squad that can be called in.

My Tyranids are a pretty homogeneous bunch: 19 hormagaunts and a Tyranid warrior leading them. The Adeptus Militarum have come to know the warrior as Genotype II-087-EA-θ, The Rending Destroyer. Command thinks monikers like this keep the men sharp, but in reality the Scions have taken to calling him ‘Rendy’, maintaining their sense of humour in even against the onslaught of Tyranids.

Choosing missions that represent the fighting will be important. For now defensive games with the Tyranids attacking (but having more troops overall) is the way we’ll start things. This is a slugfest, so breaking the enemy is needed to secure victory… we’ll see how well that form of mission works. Nothing is fixed in stone… we’ll make this up (and adjust it) as we go along.

We’re fighting on the planet of Cophichi, located in an adjacent sector to Syrlene, where a uprising led by the Sons of the Inheritors (Genestealer Cultists) has taken hold. The fighting on Cophichi will have a direct impact on the fate of a large portion of the Imperium…

Until next time,