Boardgames: Space Hulk 1st Edition. Games Workshop (1989)

Since we are old men we actually seem to spend more of our time playing boardgames, maybe we like to connect and see people face-to-face, maybe we are just saddos, but either way we probably going to do the odd boardgame review from now on and since I went to the effort of creating a Barry-o-meter I thought I’d bring that out of retirement obscurity.

Players: 2
Set-Up: 10 minutes
Game Length: 30-45 minutes
Rules to learn: Easy
Overall: 4 Barrys

Overview

Spacehulk is pretty much the film Aliens in Boardgame form, it is heavily armed Space Marines in Terminator vs hideous multi-limbed Aliens (Tyranids)  in tight corridors on a beat-up piece of shit space ship (called a Space Hulk). Each game consists of 2 players, where the humans shoot aliens and try to achieve the missions objectives and the Tyranid Genestealers try to murder them.

Playing Floorhammer like a couple of 12 year olds.

Rules

Spacehulk is an easy game to learn, you’re given a 28 page booklet which can be intimidating at first, however the rules are step by step of how the game will pan out. These rules will include pictures and explainers of some of the more complicated rules and how they interact in various scenarios. It took me 10 minutes to read the rules, and 30 minutes to play my first game while explaining the rules to a mate

In the base game there are 6 missions, the missions tend to be get to X point on the map however there is enough variety to keep these six missions interesting especially when you can play as the Space Marines or the Genestealers each providing a completely different objective. As the Genestealers your task is usually kill the enemy, but sometime it is just prevent them getting to X location in a set time. This is done using action points, the Space Marines get 4 action points, where they can move, turn, shoot, open doors, etc, while the Genestealers get 6 and can turn quickly.

Flamers will kill anything on a 2+ and remain in play for a turn

The Space Marines can shoot 4 times and not move, this will make them more accurate, in the edition you shoot once you roll 2 dice, and if one is a 6 the enemy is dead. Shoot twice it is 6s, then 5s, three times you hit on a 4. This means your rapid fire gun becomes more accurate and forces caution. You can choose to use some of your points to go into Overwatch, this allows you to shoot whenever a Tyranid moves in your line of sight, but ANY double roll results in a jam on your gun, require 1 of your 4 actions points being spent to clear it

Genestealer Congalines are a valid tactic, except when the Space Marine luck rolls 5 sixes in a row and no doubles.

To give the genestealers a chance your movement is disguised as until your model is in direct line of site you use blip markers to track your movement. These markers have a secret number on them, which equates to the number of Genestealers that will appear. You move these around, with your opponent not knowing what will be revealed, once line of sight is triggered the blip token is flipped, the number revealed and the aliens placed. This can allow for ambushed to be placed and hopefully trick your opponent into walking a different into certain slaughter.

Provided Equipment

This being a Games Workshop product the miniatures are straight from the Warhammer 40k universe and usuable in the Tabletop game meaning the models are to a very high standard. 10 Terminators, and 30 Genestealers. If you compare these to more modern Games Workshop they are a little cartooney as the current model aesthetic is more grimdark. The plastic is strong, and even though the tyranids look a little flimsy they haven’t broken in 30 years.

The floor tiles are your standard reinforced cardboard, and considering this edition is from 1989 they are in almost perfect condition.

Expansions

Space Hulk received two official expansions, the “Genestealers” (1990) expansion which added Genestealer Cults and generally provides more tactical options for the Genestealer faction. The other being “Deathwing” (1990), which adds Space Marine characters and some additional weapons. Both expansions increased the mission counts by 6 each and adding more terrain pieces.

Price

Being the first edition these are long out of print, so you are looking at the secondhand market and based on current ebay prices you’re looking at between £75-£120 for copy.

In Summary

Space Hulk is easy to pick up and play, and if you are coming back to it after a year or two the rules are going to be easy to remember.

I played with a mate a few times during lockdown and no two games were never the same, we would play one mission as either Space Marines or Genestealers and then swap, sure we’d probably get board playing it once a week forever more but playing a couple of times a year (or more frequent) is perfect given the ease of the rules.

I'm awesome. I write about videogames occasionally but spend most time painting and playing Warhammer in varying formats.

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Posted in Boardgame

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