Thursday, October 28, 2010

40K: Killzone Impressions

I'm a big fan of Kotaku's review system so I'll try to employ a similar system.

What is it?

In short, Killzone is 40K Skirmish Rule set being written by Jim and his team over at his blog Galaxy in Flames. What do I mean by skirmish? Skirmish seems to boil down to two parts, every model is essentially an independent character, and the model count is generally low (a maximum of 20).

The longer version is that Killzone seeks to create SOGs (Special Operation Groups) whose members are a cut above the regular trooper, marine, or xeno. Each members veterancy is represented by special skills or heightened stat line etc. This idea is furthered by the promise that there will be campaign rule support coming from the gu

Who should care about it?
People who want to reduce their games to under an hour, or want their Guardsmen to be akin to the heroes Dan Abnett writes about (more about that later). With campaign support not far behind this ruleset promises a way to create a stable campaign that is made up of less than 1 hour long games. I happen to be that kind of person, someone who always seems to be looking for a way to take advantage of limited gaming time.

This rule set is also for the people who love heavy terrain on their game tables. From our play testing we really found that 75% terrain coverage really added flavor to the tactics of Killzone.

It can't all be bad/good?

The rule set is clearly in development. There seemed to be a couple of holes here and there, and as a group we were house ruling this and that as it came up. I wouldn't suggest playing the current rules in an unforgiving setting. Call this garage gaming at its finest for the time being. Though there really seems to be some tournament potential here.

Even with the "in development" rules, Killzone is was a well composed .PDF! Scenarios, an entire errata for all current armies, and a basic rule set. Not too shabby! No I take that back, very excellent. When I think of the reality of making a rule set a... well a reality, I am floored at the dedication! These guys love 40k, and they just might be giving others more of a reason to play.

How about that certain "Je ne sais quoi?"

Well in this case it's cinema! Yes I have gone on and on about the quality of cinema in these little war games we all play, and Killzone delivers cinema in loads! My SOG (again that's Special Operations Group) is composed of ghosts, Gaunt's Ghosts to be precise, and as such they are some truly stealthy guardsmen.

I won't go on about how much that theme added to the games I played, but suffice to say that it added a sense of story just by having characters. There's nothing like Larkin putting a long-las round through an enemy snipers eyes after that enemy sniper wounded old Ibrahm Gaunt!

Now I might have taken already created characters and used them for my SOG, but there is no reason I couldn't have created my own elite group. There's just enough of that possibility of adding persistent character mixed with a potential campaign that makes Killzone very attractive to me. In other words, Killzone has the potential to add a little personality to plastic.

Final Thoughts
If you are a hardcore non-garage gamer this rule set just isn't for you. Not yet anyway, the rules just aren't tight enough. If you dream of campaigns, character and story just as much as your tactics then download Killzone today! You won't be disappointed!

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