Sunday, 10 September 2017

Skirmishes in the Shadow War

Welcome back to the Vault once again!  The wonderful hobby butterfly has well and truly struck home this week with a visit to the war torn planet of Armageddon and a game set in the heart of the Shadow War.  Whilst we are in transit to planet side, we'll take a little detour to consider *how* we choose the miniatures we decide to play on the tabletop.

My gaming time over the last couple of weeks has been fairly plentiful, and I managed to fit in 3(!) whole games of 40K with my Dark Eldar list as various friends and I prepare for Octoberfest. There has also been the associated agonising of list choices (always a fun part of the preparation for any tournament), with many many messages bouncing around the Internet as people prepare their Army Lists of Ultimate Killiness for a day of competitive gaming.

This is pretty much how I choose all my armies and units for 40K; will they be effective on the tabletop? And whilst this is a perfectly valid way of building a collection it can lead to a fair amount of spam (repeating unit choices) in my lists.

I know a lot of hobbyists who focus on modelling and painting , and they choose the models they like the look of (don't get me wrong; I've always chosen factions I like the aesthetics of).

A bunch of the club regulars invited me to play a game of Shadow War Armageddon; this is a skirmish system with set of campaign rules set in the 40K universe. I'd not really paid this game much attention before as I enjoy 40K Kill Team which ticks a lot of the same boxes game wise (sans campaign rules), but given the opportunity to join in I decided to give it a go!

And with no idea of the rules I decided to pick my faction based purely based on the looks of the models. I love the appearance of Tyranids, so a quick download of the Nid gang rules told me I would need some Tyranid Warriors. One impulse purchase and some quick hobby later I was ready!

Hive Fleet Varchilde

Alpha Bug

Trooper Bugs back to back
Fast forward to club night and I'm playing against Neil's Dark Angel Scout force. We roll a random scenario called Hit & Run. Neil is the Attacker with a secret objective to achieve, and I'm the Defender, needing to prevent the Dark Angels from achieving their goal.

Whilst there was a lot of flicking through the rule book this quickly turned into a tense narrative game!

The lone Nid guard deployed, hidden from the advancing Scouts

The Scouts split up, sending a man down each flank whilst the Sniper, Heavy Bolter and leader held their ground

Alpha Bug appears from reserve and ambushes the Sniper Scout, cutting him to small chunks.

Similarly the guard trooper catches the scout advancing on the right flank, scything him down.

The other advancing Scout continues to run forward; the secret mission is revealed as he makes for the far board edge!

The Alpha Bug has been gunned down by the Heavy Bolter, so the two Trooper bugs advance on the running Scout under a hail of bolter fire as they try to stop the Space Marines achieving their orders! 

The Scout makes a break across open ground... 

...only to be dropped to the ground by Tyranid bio-weapon fire! The injured Scout drags his broken body across the remaining ground, crawling his way to safety. The Space Marines win!

After the game Neil and I rolled for the recovery (or not) of our injured troops, sorted out skill advances for our warriors and contemplated how to advance our Kill Teams going forward to the next game. This was a lot of fun.

So having played Shadow War, what do I think (especially compared to Kill Team).

  • I really like the Shadow War scenarios and Campaign system; these are a lot more thematic than Kill Team.
  • I'm not sold on the Shadow War rules yet; they seem needlessly complex in places. I like that Kill Team uses the regular 40K rules; so there is less to learn!
  • The units available to use in Shadow War are quite limited; there is a lot more variety available in Kill Team.
In summary, both have their positives; Kill Team is great for one off, quick and dirty gaming sessions whilst a lot of the fun from Shadow War comes from linking the games together in a campaign. 

The more astute among you will have realised that Kill Team is a 7th edition supplement; fear not as I've been working on some modifications for 8th edition which I will post in a future article.

And I now need to consider some reinforcements to join the Bugs (Ravenors look lovely)! Happy gaming until next time.


  1. Sorry Bryan, I was really busy this weekend and so didn't get chance to send you my photos.

    I enjoyed kill team as it reminded me of necromunda and since Shadow war uses necromunda rules with 40k models, it's something I'm excited about.

    It will be interesting to see if there is ever an official 8th edition kill team as with no special rules there are no operatives.

    Kill team gives you more choices for units to take which is one of the disappointing aspects of Shadow war.

    If you ever fancy a game of kill team (7th or 8th) let me know.


  2. Hi Neil. I got keen and blogged the game anyway. If you want to send a few pics over I can edit them into the article.

    I've got a cunning plan for 8th ed Kill Team: Command Points and Specialist Stratagems.

    And I'm definitely up for a game again soon, the Bugs want a second crack at your Scouts.