Kill Team Commander and Warhammer’s Power Problem

Warhammer 40,000 has a power problem. No, I’m not making a comment on the wargaming industry; I’m making a comment on the game itself: a lot of the units are overpowered, there’s a lot of face smashing, and, in some ways just like in a real battle, if you have the bigger army, you are going to win. Now in a traditional Warhammer 40k game, that’s fine. It’s what you would expect, and it’s something that makes the game more interesting. What I don’t like to see is that overpowered unit problem creeping into Kill Team.

Not the commander
But I thought I was the commander!

One of the things that makes Kill Team unique as a game is that it is actually played without a lot of the superpowered units and characters that you get in 40k. Instead, the game is played with models that would normally just be infantry in a battle, but are instead elevated to the position of elite fighters. This works well for the fluff and makes the game itself interesting because it allows you to play in a way that is entirely unique to Kill Team. Then the Kill Team Commander expansion happened.

Just for the record, the Kill Team Commander expansion is not necessary to play the game. You still only need the core manual and the models to play; however, I see the expansion as drifting somewhat away from the spirit, if not the purpose, of the game. Here’s what I mean: the core game revolves around building lists of 100 points worth of models. This means that a core game mechanic is thinking through which models are in your Kill Team and what wargear they are going into the fight with. This fairly strict cap also means that you have to do some strategizing before you even start playing with the team you’ve built, and that kind of thinking can lead you to a lot more creativity in your roster creation.

Commander loosens that cap by doubling the amount of points you can bring to the table. This is, of course, so that you can fit in a brand-new, overpowered unit into your team. Basically, it takes out some of the minimalist game mechanic that, at least as far as I can tell, is what makes Kill Team so interesting. Now compared to a regular 40k game, 200 points is still really small, but I doubling the points like that also makes the game a little more like Warhammer 40k in miniature (no pun intended) instead of a unique game set in the same universe. I like my overpowered units when I’m playing through a game of Warhammer 40,000, but in something like Kill Team, they lose their appeal.

I probably won’t be picking up the expansion any time soon.


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