Thursday, September 2, 2010

Entering the Killzone

Let me start by saying that the mystery of the Simpsons dice has been solved. Very special thanks go to Sons of Taurus! As a result of his generosity and good will, I'm sure these fantastic dice are loaded with positive mojo and as such I expect great things from them. Thank you so much, you embiggen our hobby with your kindness. This has been for me a truly cromulent experience!

Now as it so happens, Sons of Taurus has recently become formally involved in a project that I am really excited about and he has been working to develop it further. Since returning home from vacation I have been eagerly catching up on all the latest developments with Big Jim's 40k skirmish undertaking, Special Operations: Killzone. I think he's hit gaming-gold with this one and I'm thrilled to see such a cool fan-driven project come together like this. I never understood why Games Workshop kept Necromunda locked up in the Hive, endlessly fighting fairly mundane gang conflicts when there was so much potential for expansion with the inclusion of xenos, Chaos, and the various Imperial military types. I believe Killzone will do an excellent job filling this vacancy in the Warhammer 40,000 universe and I can hardly wait to see what Big Jim and his dedicated Rules Committee do next.

It seems like there's been a lot going on with Killzone recently and that it has generated significant interest with fellow gamers. The updated ruleset is due to be released soon, Big Jim has hit the podcast waves to promote and discuss his creation over at Imperial Vox Cast, and now b.smoove of A Gentleman's Ones reports that he is cooking up some sort of Killzone event extravaganza for Adepticon 2011. Awesome, right?

This has all been too much for me to resist and it appears that I have now fully caught the Killzone fire. It's therefore a fine time to start thinking about a Special Ops team of my own. While I hope to begin trying out the Killzone rules using miniatures already in my collection, what really has gotten me excited is the prospect of putting together a small force specifically for this new skirmish system. Painting the Blisstonian 9th is still my priority but I believe this will be a really fun side project to work on alongside the main army as it presents the opportunity to model and paint a unique batch of characterful individuals. Here then is my idea for my first Killzone team, The Baker's Dozen:

Blisstonian 9th - Special Operations Group, "Baker's Dozen"

Concept: For my first SOG team I want to do something inspired by the "rag-tag bunch of misfits" type of ensemble cast that was a staple of so many classic war movies (the most obvious example of which being The Dirty Dozen). Every model should be unique in terms of overall classification, weaponry, equipment, et cetera. There should be no duplicates, each member of the team must be an individual and a specialist of some sort, and movie cliches are encouraged. The team must be generally related to my current Simpsons army project, the Blisstonian 9th, but separate enough to have its own identity. I do not want to just repurpose models previously assembled but to instead take advantage of this chance to do something new.

Background: SOG "Baker's Dozen" is comprised of those members of the Blisstonian 9th who have been assigned to the most hazardous duties available at Sector 7G. Having each earned Plant Manager Burns' displeasure for a variety of probably minor offenses, these men have been pulled together to deal with the worst that Imperial industry of the 41st millennium has to offer. They're the guys who fill and handle the toxic waste barrels, who risk their lives and sanity in maintaining the Sector's haunted steam tunnel labyrinths, and who are called upon to clear out Burns' corpse-hatch when it becomes clogged. The soldiers who survive these traumatic ordeals become strong and are toughened by the harshness of their daily existence. Out of necessity they develop survival and combat skills not found amongst the other members of their regiment tasked with serving 7G. These factors, as well as their expendable nature due to having unwisely angered Burns in the past, make this group ideal candidates for whatever commando raids and suicide missions are required for the defense of Sector 7G.

Modeling: I'm sticking with the Imperial Guard for this team and want it to be visually connected to my Blisstonian 9th army project, but nonetheless distinct as befitting such a specialized unit. My standard Blisstonians are built using Cadian Shock models with Pig Iron Kolony Militia heads, so to change up my approach a little I plan on building the Baker's Dozen special ops team using the more muscular parts found in the various Catachan kits and then topped off with Pig Iron Kolony Rebel heads. Thus they will be similarly gas-masked as the other Blisstonians and should still be recognizable as Imperial Guardsmen, but otherwise will hopefully look more like the collection of specialized action heroes that I envision.

Points Level: To determine the size of my Killzone SOG team, the range suggested in the current set of rules goes from 175 up to 250 points maximum. My team will therefore be built for the high-end of that scale but it should be simple enough to adapt for smaller games by simply removing team members in excess of the agreed points total. Obviously in such cases Baker's Dozen has taken some casualties on the way in to their objective and thus not everyone has survived for the big, exciting finale. Oh well, at least they'll still get shown posthumously in the tearful closing montage.

Theme upgrade: NA, none purchased

SOG List, "Baker's Dozen"- 250 total points:
Veteran Sergeant (Team Leader): plasma pistol, power fist, frag and krak grenades, Refractor field - 47 points

Veteran: lasgun, close combat weapon, frag and krak grenades, Vox caster - 12 points

Veteran: lasgun, close combat weapon, frag and krak grenades, Medipack - 15 points

Veteran: lasgun, close combat weapon, frag and krak grenades, Commando - 17 points

Veteran: shotgun, close combat weapon, frag and krak grenades, Brawler - 10 points

Veteran: lasgun, close combat weapon, frag and krak grenades, Blade Master - 15 points

Veteran: lasgun, close combat weapon, frag and krak grenades, Resilient - 10 points

Veteran: lasgun, close combat weapon, frag and krak grenades, Targeter - 10 points

Veteran: sniper rifle, close combat weapon, frag and krak grenades - 12 points

Veteran: meltagun, close combat weapon, frag and krak grenades - 17 points

Veteran: plasma gun, close combat weapon, frag and krak grenades - 22 points

Veteran: heavy flamer, close combat weapon, frag and krak grenades - 27 points

Scout Sentinel: multi-laser, Searchlight - 36 points

Questions and Assumptions: While working out the details for my SOG, I encountered a few things which I was unsure how to handle per the current set of Killzone rules. I could have been sensible and just waited a few more days for the next ruleset and its accompanying codex-specific errata to be released, but where's the fun in that? In putting together my list for the team, I have therefore made a number of assumptions and guesses based on what I hope will soon be clarified. My two main questions concern the points value of my team leader and the inclusion of some items of equipment available in the IG Codex but so far not mentioned in the Killzone documents. I'd love to hear from any members of the Rules Committee should you happen to take note of this.

Specifically, if individual IG Veterans cost 7 points apiece (starting cost for a basic unit of Veterans is 70 points and consists of ten models), would the Veteran Sergeant cost the same in a Killzone team or do I need to pay a premium for him due to his improved stat-line? For this initial list making attempt I assumed a starting cost of only 7 points as I could not find any further guidance regarding this question. The other big assumption I made concerns the points cost of equipment available to those units from which I've selected my SOG but which are not covered in any of the Killzone rules. I have no idea if these items (the squad's vox caster and the Sentinel's searchlight) will ever make it into the rules, and if they do get included in the future, I certainly don't know if they will be costed the same as they are in the Codex. As this is only my first team and Killzone is still in playtesting, I felt it would be okay to go ahead and include them in my list paying the cost given in the Guard book. I don't see this being a major problem as I can just ignore the items if need be and accept the slight penalty in wasted points. I do hope, however, that more pieces of specialized gear will eventually find their way into Killzone as I think that would be a neat way of further personalizing our teams.

Okay, that it's for my initial thoughts on Special Operations: Killzone. I'd appreciate any feedback in general, but I'm especially interested in hearing about those possibly incorrect assumptions I made in putting together my team. Of course if I missed any other areas in which I did not properly select my team or calculate its cost, please let me know what I need to do to be in compliance with the rules. I'm excited about getting to try out Killzone and I'm very grateful to Big Jim for initiating and orchestrating this project, as well as to those of you distinguished gamers volunteering your efforts as part of the Rules Committee. Thank you for enriching my hobby experience.


  1. Tremendous post. I should warn you, Killzone is addictive.

  2. I think this may have finally pushed me to read up on Killzone, well once the updated rules are out anyway.

    Great post too. I have no list advice as I neither know IG or even the basics of Killzone. However, it's easy to see you're excited about it and the background you have is cool. You've put a lot of thought into this.

  3. First of all, I'm glad you like the dice; hope they serve you and the Blisstonians well!

    As for your KZ questions, I don't remember what the specific costs would be, but IIRC yes you'll end up paying a premium for the leaders with a slightly reduced cost per squaddie. Vox casters will be involved, but without anyone to actually give orders I don't think it would do anything unless you houserule something or make some custom scenario where you need to call something in. I'm sure there will be a number of KZ missions in the dark, so a searchlight could be very handy!

  4. Big Jim and crew have done a fantastic job on the rules for this game. 40K has been looking for a quality set of rules for the skirmish level for a long time.

  5. @ b.smoove - Thanks, I'm looking forward to a lot of Killzone fun!

    @ Thor - Thank you! I'm glad I could share some of my growing enthusiasm for Killzone. I'm curious to hear your thoughts on it once they make the new rules available.

    @ sonsoftaurus - Thank you, thank you, thank you! And thanks for the Killzone answers. I thought the Sergeant would probably be more, I just had no clue how much so I left it a 7 to allow me to start playing with team lists.

    Interesting about the vox, I wasn't sure if/how orders would be included in the skirmish context. The teams radio-guy is one of those cliched movie characters I wanted to model so I may leave it in and simply ignore the kit. Those things always seem to be bullet magnets anyways. That would at least free up some points to help pay for the Sergeant's additional cost. I also like the idea of it being needed somehow for the mission but otherwise not having an in-game effects. Hmmm.... something about houseruling the houserules has a lot if appeal for me. ; )

    @ Magilla Gurilla - I totally agree, Mags. I'm thankful for the creative heavy lifting of others, and I think it's very cool to see this type of collaborative success as it unfolds.