I have loved the 40k models and universe since I was 11 years old and taught myself english, usind my dad’s dictionary in order to read the rules (Wow… That’s like 27 Imperial Standard Years ago) and I think I’ve played maybe a maximum of 5 games since 2nd. ed. that I’ve really enjoyed. I’ve been on a long break for the last 5-6 years. And I got to thinking - why is that? I love the models and I love the universe, why not the game?
For one, it takes too long for me to play a standard 200o pts. game. I may have a mild case of ADD (my friends who see me switch army projects once a month would agree), but I get bored about halfway through a game and I would rather be doing something else with my limited spare time than be bored.
Two, the armies required are too big - the few armies I’ve managed to finish took me a couple of years each, and I’m too much of a hobby butterfly with too little time these days to make such a commitment.
Three, (related to the first point), there’s too much waiting around doing nothing but making armour saves during my opponent’s turn for my taste. I love other modern games’ takes on alternating activation, and wanted that in my 40k.
So the answer is simple: Play smaller games. With the arrival of 9th ed. and the Combat Patrol format, my interest was piqued and I started looking into 40k again. In the long break I’ve had from 40k, I’ve gotten super into Warcry - I love the format and especially the alternating activations. So I sat down and tried to combine my favourite parts of Warcry with 40k, hopefully without completely destroying 40k in the process - I’ve tried to change as few rules as possible, although some (like the charge being 6+D6”) is a personal preference - I like close combat a lot and the randomness of a charge being between 2 and 12” is a bit too much for my taste.
Why not just Kill Team, then? Well, I like the idea of Kill Team a lot, but there’s a lot about the game I don’t like; the flesh wound mechanic, that a lot of turns basically nothing happens (due to shots missed, not wounding, being saved by armour or just ending up as the aforementioned Flesh Wounds). Also, I like the big hero characters of 40k, as well as walkers, and most of them are too powerful for Kill Team. So, this is my happy medium.
Anyway, the resulting product is Altactis. I’m pretty certain I’ll enjoy this game, and it would be very cool if you would too - at least that’s why I’ve spent a lot of time trying to make these rules as accesible as possible.
JUST. HAVE. FUN.
Really. It IS just a game. It’s meant to be fun, to tell a story, to have a great time with friends, to justify having spent obscene amounts of money on little plastic men, show your awesome paintjobs and conversions off, and all that.
40k has never been a bulletproof or particularly balanced ruleset. Some people find mathhammer, hardcore competetive 40k and breaking a ruleset fun. More power to them. This is not the ruleset for them, and here’s why;
Even a standard game of 2000 pts 40k game can be skewed or massively unbalanced by taking advantage of the rules, finding a dubiously worded rule, cracking a list, etc, or just by difference in how powerful the faction is. The 25 Power/500 pts Combat Patrol format even more so.
Sure, you can take a Plagueburst Crawler (T8, 12 wounds, 3+/5++/Disgustingly Resilient) and laugh at your opponent trying to even bring it down to 6 wounds - or you can choose a unit that actually makes sense in this format, like infantry or walkers, who would have a role in accomplishing a small but important skirmish mission. Some units (like the Plagueburst Crawler) are clearly made for a much larger game, where your opponent has the firepower to bring it to it’s knees, or a battlefield large enough to work around it. Use your common sense when choosing your list, and make something that is fun for you AND your opponent.
Altactis, having deployment before missions are found, add another random element to the games. Some people enjoy this tactical challenge, others find it infuriating. You can either choose to embrace the chaos of it, or just switch them around. Your choice - I like an element of chaos and it’s my game. ;-)
With that said, even experienced players can be surprised by how tough a list can be to beat or how unfair a mission can be with a particular deployment and/or lists, and if you and your opponent stumble upon something that is wildly unbalanced, it’s totally cool to call it or finish the game, text the wife and say you’ll be home late, replace a few units, and rack the models up again for another game - it only takes an hour or so, and just write it off as experience. It’s just a game, after all.