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Space Hulk - Board Game Box Shot

Space Hulk

Space Hulk Contents
image © Games Workshop

From the depths of space an ancient vessel drifts slowly towards the Imperium of Mankind - a space hulk. Within its confines, untold thousands of Genestealers slowly emerge from hibernation. The Space Marines must enter the cramped corridors and tomb-like chambers of the ancient ship to defeat this alien menace.

Space Hulk is a board game for two players, recreating the battles fought between the Space Marines and Genestealers. One player commands the Space Marines as they carry out deadly missions in the ancient Space Hulk, and the other commands the horde of Genestealers opposing them. Space Hulk's fast-paced rules simulate the tense atmosphere of a mission deep inside the cramped confines of a derelict space hulk, where split-second decisions are needed for victory.

User Reviews (20)

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Jungle Elves - Summoner Wars Beta 2.0 Tester
Summoner Wars Fan
Unicorn Clan - Legend of the Five Rings
114 of 121 gamers found this helpful
“Well worth the price.”

I can’t claim to know the entire history of Space Hulk and its multiple editions. I came too late to the boardgaming hobby to experience the earlier versions, but I do know that this game had been considered a classic for a long time, and there was a great deal of excitement when it was rereleased in 2009. Having now played the game multiple times, I can understand what the excitement was all about. Ths is definitely one of the most engaging and intense games I have played.

I have to talk about theme first because the game just oozes theme. For anyone who has seen the movie Aliens, the story will seem very familiar. A small team of space marines is moving through dark, cramped corridors in a derelict space ship while a seemingly never-ending horde of alien monstrosities stalks the halls, seeking to eliminate them. This is combined with the Warhammer 40K universe, so they aren’t just marines, but terminator marines in huge, powered armor suits with stormbolters and chain fists. And the aliens are a swarm of razor-clawed genestealers with a towering broodlord. The marines are always outnumbered and always one die roll away from being shredded, despite their seemingly-impenetrable armor. The game truly does an amazing job of bringing the feel of a “desperate battle” to the table.

The components are just awesome, and they make this one of the best-looking games I have ever played. Included with the set are 23 plastic genestealer models and 12 space marine terminators, all produced with excellent detail, from the chains and trophies on the armor to the pile of skulls at the feet of the broodlord. Even unpainted, the miniatures look great. The modular map is made up over 60 wonderfully-detailed carboard pieces that do an amazing job of presenting the twisting confines of an abandoned wreck. Even the stand-up doors are individualized and come with detailed sturdy plastic stands. From the moment you open the box, you can tell a lot of thought and love went into the making of this game. And a game in progress just looks beautiful sitting on the table.

The gameplay is staightforward and simple to teach. Each unit has action points that can be used each turn. The game does an excellent job of representing the relatively slow movement of the hulking space marines by giving them fewer action points than the genestealers and incorporating a timer into the marine turn. The genestealers are strictly melee, and their superiority is represented by their ability to roll more dice in an attack (the highest numbers are compared). The marines attempt to overcome this with sheer firepower. They have a ranged attack, as well as what is arguably the coolest mechanic in the game: overwatch. Each marine with a bolter or autocannon can spend action points to go into overwatch, which is akin to being on a sort of adrenaline high. When on overwatch, everytime a genestealer makes an action in the marine’s line of sight, the marine takes a shot, but on overwatch, the stormbolter has a potential to jam, which takes an action point to clear. This makes for some really fun moments when the marines are firing down long corridors at aproaching aliens, picking them off one by one, only to have the gun jam as the last one gets closer and closer.

The biggest downside to the game is that it was a one-time limited release and can be difficult to find at an affordable price. Also, there are a limited number of missions included with the game, and some have complained that this limits replayability. In my opinion, creating custom scenarios is easy and fun and greatly adds to the game’s longevity. It is also enjoyable to effectively double the number of scenarios by playing first as one team and then as the other, to experience both sides of the fight.

This game does almost everything right. It really does have a cinematic feel, and I have found myself reliving game moments in my head for days after the last play, thinking about getting just one more lucky roll without my bolter jamming and my marine being ripped to pieces. I would recommend this to anyone. It might take a little effort to get beyond the sticker shock, but if you can afford it, this is truly a classic.

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Miniature Painter
87 of 94 gamers found this helpful
“A classic of Sci-fi gaming”

I’ve been playing Space Hulk since it was first released in 1989. I was an avid player of the Warhammer 40k game so it was natural to pick this up too. Of course, once I started playing it I stopped playing 40k for quite a while as I started doing weekly Space Hulk nights instead. It was totally addicting.

Space Hulk is a two-player, grid-based, tactical combat game based on the Warhammer 40,000 universe. One player takes the role of a squad of Space Marine Terminators, the other plays the implacable aliens – the genestealers.

The board is made up of tiles that represent the inside of an ancient starship (a Space Hulk) and are arranged based on the scenario chosen. The space marines will get a specific objective like “recover the object” or “use the flamethrower in a specific room”. They then have to make their way from their entry point(s), through the interior of the ship to their objective. Of course, the genestealers are there to kill all of the space marines – or at least make it impossible for them to complete their objective.

The squad of space marines is kitted out with a variety of weapons and abilities and learning how to best deploy them is the key to victory. For example, the ****** can lay down a lot of death, but it’s limited in use so you want to make sure not to use it unless you REALLY need it. The storm-bolter can fire in two modes, but in one of them you risk the weapon jamming. Again, this should be saved for times when it’s either necessary or when a jam won’t mean certain death.

The genestealers have it a little easier. They are a swarm so the real key for them to win is to use their overwhelming numbers to their advantage. The marines can’t see exactly where they are to start. To begin with they are merely “blips” on their motion detectors (ala the movie ALIENS). The blips can represent 0 to about 4 aliens so there’s a certain amount of bluffing you can do as the genestealers. In the end your goal is to completely overwhelm the space marines, tearing through their armor with your vicious claws and make sure that they don’t return to their ship.

This edition of the game is absolutely stunning. Each one of the miniatures just oozes with character. They assemble easily and paint up well. The tiles are heavy enough to stop bullets and should last a lifetime. There are also other minis to go with specific scenarios (like a chalice, a dead space marines etc.) that also add to the overall impressiveness of this release. The game is getting collectors prices, but in terms of components, it’s worth it.

This is one of my favorite games of all time. It is replayable but not infinitely so. It will take a while before you learn all of the tactics needed to win for the two sides. The learning curve is much easier on the genestealer side, but even that takes a few games of getting torn apart by bolter fire before figuring out the best way to take out the marines. There’s also a fair amount of luck involved. A good strategy will always lose if the dice are against you.

Having said all that, I still think that this is a game that should be a part of every sci-fi gamer’s collection.

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I'm a Real Person
86 of 93 gamers found this helpful
“Purge the Alien! the Mutant! the Heretic!”

First Thoughts
There are quite a few pieces, 80% of we did not use (we only played the first scenario, “Suicide mission”). The modular “board” is pretty thick, but still seems prone to warping especially with the larger rooms, and this is before it’s even been played once. There are a lot of little tokens (not as much as most FF games though!), which again we did not use as they are not used in the first scenario, but they appeared to be pretty standard thickness and durability.

As for the figures, I thought they’d be sturdier. They are a hard plastic (some flexability) and if I owned it…I would be worried the claws, fingers, and other small extension pieces would break off a little too easily. Aside from that, they looked nice and would be even more awesome if they were painted well (they weren’t painted).

Looking at the two booklets (rules and scnarios) I felt that it might take longer to figure out how to play than to actually play. This could easily be fixed in the rule book, but like most games the instructions are full of fluff and take a while to get to the point. The quick help on the back of the rule book attempts to do this, but there are still many things you have to flip back and forth through to find out.

After Thoughts
After two plays (one on each side), the game seemed like it had potential, especially once both players are comfortable in the rules and don’t have to reference anything (or very little) and can strategize a little better.

In the starter scenario the Marines have to move down some hallways to get to room and then the Marine with the Flamethrower has to “shoot”. Once that’s done the Marines win. The Marines can lose in 3 different ways: 1) The guy with the flamethrower dies, 2) There is no more ammo for the flamethrower, 3) The player using the Marines uses up more Command Points than they are allowed.

I’m not fond of the Command Point system (the Genestealer player keeps track of them), as it just adds an extra step to the game that I find unnecessary.

The Genestealers are the meat of the game, and this is completely biased as Aliens is my all time favorite movie. I’m pretty sure the movie was a huge influence on the game, which I’m totally OK with.

The Genestealers start out as “blips” and are fast (6 “action points”). While they’re in “blip” mode they don’t have to worry about turning so it makes things easier. Once the genestealers have surrounded the marines it’s quite enjoyable to send gene after gene at them and watch your opponent get all nervous.

The Genestealers also get an extra dice for attacking, so they definitely have the advantage in combat (close combat, they don’t do ranged).

Other Stuff
The player starts with 5 marines: 3 grunts, 1 commander, and the flamer. They die pretty easily so it can be a little frustrating when you can’t roll dice well (I can’t roll dice to save my life). Which makes the “combat” in the game a little “blah” and “meh” and “oh..I guess I’m dead”. The Genestealers can essentially continue to build up their forces and each one has more more action points than a marine, so this makes them more enjoyable to play (imo).

Space Hulk uses the system where you can only shoot in your front arc. Which normally would be OK, except that it’s hard to tell which way they’re facing since each model is unique and the direction of their feet isn’t necessarily the direction of their head. This combined with when you make everyone face the same direction (this goes for the Genestealers as well) makes the units overlap onto each other and does not look pretty.

Final Thoughts
One thing I liked about the game is that it can be short (to play) or long depending on the scenario, or you can build your own game and play to how you want to (think Heroscape). The models were nice, the game board appearing sturdy (despite warping).

Worse thing about the game is the combat. It’s lackluster at best. The guy with the powersword can’t even USE it to fight and give a bonus, it just allows him to “parry” >.>

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My First Heart
My First Wish!
My First Favorite!
Gave My First Grade
124 of 136 gamers found this helpful
“I Feel Bad About Owning This Game”

Space Hulk is beautiful. There’s no way anyone can talk about this game without talking about just how beautiful it is. It’s like, every Hollywood starlet who rose to fame because of her looks before she starts using plastic surgery to prevent aging beautiful. Your first crush beautiful.

Let’s break this down even farther. The board is that beautiful (there’s that word again, I might be repeating myself) body. Not only is the art extremely well done and highly evocative of the derelict space ship it represents, and not only is it designed to be highly modular so that you can design your own board setups after you’ve gone through the bunch of stuff that comes with the game, and not only is it on the thickest card board I’ve ever seen in gaming meaning it’s highly durable, but it’s freaking embossed. They took this absolutely gorgeous board and went above and beyond by giving it the textured feel that makes it that one step beyond just great looking. Nobody even asked for anything like that, but everyone who bought the game that I’ve talked to is in awe of it.

If the board is that great body, the minis for this game are the million dollar face. Like any true beauty, she likes to wear some make up even though she doesn’t need it, so the minis have some assembly required and aren’t painted. Don’t let that fool you in the slightest. These are the most highly detailed, well done minis I’ve ever seen in board games. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen minis in minis’ games this well done and I’ve seen a lot of those. There’s little wisps of ribbon on some of these figures and they have writing on them. That’s intense with how small we’re talking that a small feature on the small mini has tiny writing – just unbelievable.

After all this wonderful talk over just how amazingly beautiful (yep, definitely using it too much) this game looks we’ve got to talk about the rules.

There’s nothing wrong with the rules, they look beautiful too, it’s just that they’re the feet in this analogy and nobody really likes the feet unless you’re one of those weirdos who gets off on that. More power to ya, I say, but the rules didn’t feel as polished and honed as the visuals did for this game. The game plays well, but it felt like it could have been that little bit tighter to make this a game worth playing even if it didn’t have all this awesome eye-candy. As it is, the game is mostly made by the quality of the components and the rules make for a good game that’d be worth buying with components not as good, but I wouldn’t have bought it (my gaming budget is tight, so I have to be picky). It’d still be a game I wouldn’t ever mind playing, I just wouldn’t have bought it.

Now we do have to talk about the one problem I have with this game. This is the wart that keeps drawing your attention to her left hand instead of her face. It’s small, and she’s done some things to make it smaller, but it’s still there. For me, it’s the size of the minis versus the size of the spaces on the board.

They just don’t work well together. The aliens are all the same kind of alien, but there are a bunch of different sculpts that are amazing and that don’t fit on a single space on the board, so when you’ve got a bunch of aliens coming at the space marines and they already know how many are out there, you’ve got this awesome lineup of marines in big battle armor with all these cool weapons looking down these claustrophobic corridors at all these aliens…who aren’t facing the right way. Since they don’t fit you’re putting them sideways and not really on their space and you keep using the sculpt that has one bursting out of the floor because it actually fits in a space. It’s not a very big thing, but it is kind of disappointing to be stuck with when you’re playing the aliens.

If you’re wondering why I gave the game a lower replay value than might seem warranted given the board’s modularity, it’s based off of what comes in the box and the support that Games Workshop provides, which is to say, pretty much none. The game is highly re-playable if you’re willing to put in the time tweaking your own scenarios until they’re balanced enough, or if you don’t mind weeding through what others players have done to get the good stuff, but what comes with the game will eventually run out if you play a lot and although replaying scenarios from both sides adds to everything, eventually you’ll just have played enough times through.

There’s plenty of scenarios in the box, so it would take a whole lot of plays to hit that point.

So that’s the game – it’s a beautiful woman who didn’t need a surgeon to get to that point, but she’s got a heck of a nasty mother.

Mom, in this case, is the game’s price. If you can find a store that still has copies, MSRP is $100. And, as is most likely, if you’re not able to find that magical store the game will cost upwards of $300 on eBay. The price is why I feel bad about owning the game. I got it when it first came out and actually paid less than MSRP. Anybody who sees this game and wants it can’t have that because Games Workshop is a company run by soulless lawyers (least it feels that way because of how they treat their customers) and the game is not being made anymore. I hope you find that magical store with copies still going for only MSRP – it may be pricey, but the shear beauty of this game makes it worth it. Good luck, searchers.

The High Points:
Unbelievably Beautifully Made
Solid Rules (they could have been better, but really, that’s only a complaint because the rules aren’t as well done as the game components)
Worth Every Cent (but climbing prices the longer this is out of print make that harder and harder to stay true for anyone else)

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I Am What I Am
74 of 83 gamers found this helpful
“Space Hulk 3rd Edition – Kicking Ass And Taking Names Since 1989”

Every once in a great while a game comes along that transcends time and space, and manages to transport the player into the universe the game resides in. Right through the looking gl***, down the rabbit hole, and into a world of the designer’s making where you find yourself gritting your teeth as your heroes face insurmountable odds and are staring death in the face at every turn. Any game that gives you this experience is clearly a cut above the rest, but to do it over and over again throughout hundreds of plays, well, that’s simply bloody brilliant. You just don’t get anything like that these days, normally, but out of the abyss was recently pulled such a work of sheer brilliance and timeless perfection that I felt it my duty to make sure that every one of my readers knows that this game should not be passed up for any reason. The game is the 3rd edition of the one, and the only, Space Hulk.

I know many of you hate Games Workshop for what they did to their fan base by writing letters of “cease and desist” en masse like an indigent forging stolen checks for cheap liquor all around town. I understand the reasons that many of you may despise them like a bee sting to the *******, but this is not a valid reason to preclude you from acquiring a copy of this game, even if you have to sell a lung to do it. Space Hulk may be the single greatest board game ever made, and the 3rd edition is a work of art that is both a beauty to behold and is far less a game than an experience. Any game that has the ability to make you care about the characters as if you were personally related to them and cause you to sweat profusely from its intense, maddening feel is just too amazing to p*** up simply because the guys who produced it have a bunch of overzealous, cockweasely barristers. You just need to shed your nerd-rage and get a copy, and that’s that.

Allow me to get into the history of Space Hulk briefly before getting deeper into this latest iteration, to provide some perspective on how this all came about: Twenty years ago in 1989, Games Workshop produced a game that would forever change the way that people viewed wargames, and it was magnificent. It contained a level of quality that was unrivalled at the time for a stand-alone board game, containing myriad interlocking modular tiles that were amazingly illustrated, even by today’s standards, and a mountain of plastic soldiers and aliens that surpassed anything on the market then and is easily on par with the best games available today.

Space Hulk’s box had the tagline of “Man Versus Alien In Desperate Battle”, which is without a doubt the single most bad *** tagline for a game ever. Better yet, it was completely true to the gameplay. Although complex both in theme and interactive mechanics, the game was actually quite easy to play, with rules that were completely ahead of their time in effective and elegant simplicity as well as tactical accuracy. The concept was simple: Space Marines were to board a derelict, giant conglomeration of parts that were equally spaceship and celestial body, called a “Space Hulk”. These Marines’ mission was to embark upon a righteous and glorious campaign to rid the Hulk of a terrifying scourge; a seemingly infinite horde of alien horrors, the Genestealers, and to recover any alien technology.

These missions had the undermanned Space Marines plodding along narrow corridors with far too many entries and corners to effectively defend, facing Genestealer aliens who craved nothing more than to claw open the Marines’ armored suits and tear their throats out just to hear a last dying gasp of, “Emperor, why have you abandoned me?” The sheer level of intensity when a line of Genestealers is moving forward was enough to make the toughest gamer sweat, and that alone made it unique, and what made it the masterpiece it was.

Two expansions were released shortly after the initial printing of Space Hulk, both of which changed the game substantially. The first was called “Deathwing”, which focused on bolstering the Marines capabilities via new weapons, and more importantly, with the inclusion of a new character, the Librarian, who was equipped with arcane powers. The expansion also included expanded rules as well as a new set of missions which really provided a unique new scope to the game. The second expansion was called Genestealers, and had new Genestealer forces called Hybrids, as well as expanding the game via a complete package of psychic combat rules.

During the time before the 2nd edition of Space Hulk was released, both the White Dwarf and Citadel Journals magazines expanded the game even further with some new rules and scenarios. Much of this was later reprinted along with a good deal of new materials in what became the Holy Grail of Space Hulk, the much sought-after compendium called “Space Hulk Campaigns”, which was a hardcover publication initially in 1991 and was later reprinted in paperback in 1993.

Fast forward to 1996, and out came the 2nd edition of Space Hulk. It was again a visual masterpiece, with highly detailed miniatures and a new array of even better looking tiles, but the rule changes made in this version were so massive and actually took quite a bit from the original recipe that it was largely used by the owners only for the upgraded art, tiles, and models while continuing to play with the 1st edition rules. I mean, they even changed the tagline, which was a move of the highest level of stupidity I can imagine. That being said, the artwork was a great improvement over the already exceptional original, so it sold reasonably well, but then died on the vine despite a large, rabid fan base.

Finally, after a tremendously long 13 year hiatus, the 3rd edition of Space Hulk was released in September of 2009, and it’s simply the best iteration of what is arguably the best board game ever made. The miniatures are beyond compare and put even the best models that Fantasy Flight has to shame. Instead of each faction having identical models, almost every Space Marine is completely unique, as are the Genestealers. Although the models are the best that I have ever seen in my 26+ years of gaming, the modular tiles are, without reservation, the most utterly superb game artwork ever envisioned by man. They’re masterfully embossed, with the space separations and thematic artwork raised several 32# paper thicknesses higher than the depressions. To top off the embossing, the glossy tiles are amazingly well drawn and absolutely give you the feel of a dark, desolate, abandoned freighter. In short, everything in this new edition is truly in a cl*** of its own and should be viewed as the metric by which all other games are judged. The rules took a step back to the original 1st edition, with many of the 2nd edition rules being relegated to the scrap heap of history, but new rules were added as well, making this game as close to perfect as I can imagine.

Now that you know the history of Space Hulk, let’s move onto the components. When you crack open the game, you’ll be met by what feels like hundreds of 9×11 sheets of markers, terrain tiles, some very cool looking dice, an hourgl***, and the best part, several sprues of plastic figures that hold untold legions of Space Marines, Genestealers, and some campaign items such as a small robot, a chalice, and a fallen Marine on a throne. Although none of the models are painted, they are of the highest caliber of sculpting and are reasonably easy to assemble, provided you’ve had even a pittance of experience in your lifetime in the art of building models.

There are also two books within; one is the rulebook that explain the mechanics of the game and the other is the campaign book that walks you through the missions, in a narrative and exciting format, complete with illustrations that show you exactly how to assemble the portion of the hulk that you’re planning to cleanse. On the back of one book is an excellent quick reference guide that helps resolve almost every possible query you might have during play, and the other book contains a portrait of each of the Marines, perfectly painted, as a guide to use should you decide to paint your troops. The box art is astoundingly good, and along the edges reside photos of fully painted Genestealers should you elect to paint them as well. If I recall, there’s even a reference on which precise paints and inks to use in order to duplicate the magnificently painted sculptures.

It is very difficult to explain what the object of Space Hulk is due to the “sandbox” nature of the game system, so I’ll discuss the game in generalizations. The tiles are laid out in either a prescribed configuration or one of your own design, and the players mark the entry points for the Marines, the entry points for the Genestealers, and the objective which the Marines are attempting to fulfill, depending on the scenario chosen. All of these points are indicated via the wonderful markers provided within the game, and if the scenario calls for finding a specific item, you may place those models in the appropriate area.

The concepts of the game are essentially unchanged from its first iteration, with the Marines starting their assault in a predetermined room or rooms, and the Genestealers starting out as “blips” on the Marines’ scanners, indicated by blip tokens which the Genestealer moves in lieu of models. This mechanic allows the Genestealer player to move forces without revealing how many individual units of its forces are represented by the circular blip marker until a Marine views it directly within its line of sight. When a blip is seen by a Marine, the Genestealer player immediately reveals it and places the indicated number of models in the adjacent spaces. Further, while the Genestealer player can take as long as they want to plot and execute the insidious plan of wanton destruction upon the Marines, the Marine player is limited in the amount of time that can be spent on any given turn by the included sand timer, giving a level of tension and urgency that is not often found in wargames.During their turn the Marines can perform certain actions, such as moving, turning, and firing upon the enemy, where the Genestealers are limited, mainly, to moving and attacking Marines that are adjacent. Marines have ranged attacks, but up close and personal the Genestealers are simply unstoppable. If a Marine gets attacked by a Genestealer, the odds are very, very slim that they’ll survive, which again adds to the incredibly tense feel of Space Hulk. This forces the Genestealer and Marine players to play completely different strategies, and adds to the already limitless replayability by allowing players to switch sides between matches and get a completely different experience.

All that being said, the true magic of the game is in two mechanics that set the bar for all games that followed: The overwatch mechanic and the command point mechanic. Overwatch is a special game condition that costs a Marine a certain amount of action points to initiate and allows a Marine to take a shot at a target any time that anything comes into that Marine’s line of sight, as well as any time something within that line of sight moves or takes any other action. The downside of overwatch mode is that if a Marine rolls doubles while taking shots, his gun jams. At that point, he must use the other mechanic, command points, to clear the jam and continue firing, provided he has command points remaining.

This simple mechanic adds a level of tension to the game that is unparalleled in any other game I’ve ever played, and is incredibly well executed. When a Genestealer is rushing toward a Marine and his gun jams, the Marine player will truly become panicked at the prospect of his Marine being torn to pieces, invoking true emotion, which is rare at best in a boardgame. It’s simply a cut above any other tactical combat mechanic I’ve ever seen.

The other interesting mechanic, the command point system, is a randomly assigned amount of extra actions that are allotted to the Marine side that can be used at any time to perform any legal action. This can be used during the Marine’s turn, or alternatively, to interrupt the Genestealer player’s turn. This mechanic gives the Marines a tactical advantage, but the overwhelming advantages granted the Genestealers due to their infinite supply of units and unlimited turn time are still formidable at best, and downright insurmountable at worst.

In short, this game is amazing, groundbreaking, and has a legacy that is simply unrivalled in wargames both modern and classic. If you don’t own this game, you need to, and if you think you won’t like it, you’re probably going to be pleasantly surprised.

Things That Make Space Hulk The Sistene Chapel Of Boardgaming:
*Overwatch is a marvel of game design and provides a level of pure intensity that is simply unequalled
*The art, components, models, and every single bit within the box is absolutely of the highest possible caliber of design, manufacture and execution
*The theme is so strong in this game you may actually have dreams of walking the catwalks and corridors of a Space Hulk
*The rules and mechanics are so well explained in the rulebook that one play will be enough to have you completely understand the game
*Every single decision you make is important and relevant to the outcome of the game
*The luck factor is definitely in Space Hulk, but it’s not just a dicefest in Chanceland

Things That Sadden The Emperor:
*The MSRP of the game is USD$100.00, which is a **** of a lot of money
*The Marine player usually loses, which can disenchant the simple-minded
*Games Workshop makes this, and they are being a bunch of ********** lately

This is to boardgames what Biz Markie is to beatboxing. It is the Muhammed Ali of squad-based tactical wargames, and as I said before, I believe it to be one of the best games ever made. If you’re a complete eurolitest that has a genetic predisposition to hate dice, theme, and fun, you may not enjoy this game, but I hear farming is nice.
5/5 Stars

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Mage Wars fan
46 of 52 gamers found this helpful

1. The Components
Space Hulk is a little on the expensive side, but for those used to playing with Games Workshop stuff, it’s kind of old hat to drop $100 on something like this. That rather high cost being introduced makes me want to scream, “BUT WAIT! IT’S WORTH IT!!!!” Because, for people who love the Warhammer 40k Universe, and really for people who just enjoy a great game with amazing components, it is worth it. If you pay any attention at all to the “Hot” image feed, you’ll see a slew of Space Hulk components. One of the reasons I decided to get this game was because I wanted some awesome components, which they are, but you really don’t understand how great they are, until you’ve seen them in person. The figures are top notch quality. Honestly, I thought the detail and poses were better than many of my Warhammer 40k minis. The Terminator Squad has some awesome figures, and great detail that can be added by a skilled painter. The Tyranids are in the same vein, with some awesome looking figures that add some cool variety to the Genestealer mass. If you’d like to take a closer look at some of the components, just go to the image section of this game, and drool to your heart’s content. It’s important to note, for those who don’t know, that if you buy this game, you will have to assemble your own figures, and, if you wish, you can paint them. For my own personal, I used a Krylon plastic primer, color satin. This made painting very easy. To paint the rest of the30-40 figures, it took me around 18 hours. Maybe I’m slow, but I’m not the most experienced and I took a lot of time particularly on the Terminators. But anyone familiar with Games Workshop knows about great minis. One thing you wouldn’t expect, is the quality of the other components. The board is made up of cardboard room and corridor tiles that you rotate depending upon which mission you’re playing. These cardboard tiles are amazing quality. I was honestly shocked by how nice the tiles were. They have some great artwork, and will stand up to lots of wear and tear. So in conclusion of the components, you get some of the best components I’ve ever seen. Does that make it easier to swallow that $100 price tag? That’s up to you.

2. The Theme
Space Hulk is set in the Warhammer 40k Universe, which for those inexperience with it, has stories of humanity in the distant future where there is nothing but war with their own corruption, demonic forces, and the threat of alien races.
For those who don’t know, the basic story behind Space Hulk is that a derelict ship has coasted into range of a human world. The mightiest warriors of the Imperium of Man, the Space Marines, are sent to destroy the alien threat aboard the giant Space Hulk, so that the human techpriests can extract valuable lost technologies from the Space Hulk. I know there’s more to the story, you hardcore 40kers, but for those from the outside, that’s pretty much the basics. You play as either the Space Marines or the Tyranid Genestealers battling over objectives onboard the giant ship.
This game has a great theme, and it plays so well within the theme. I love a good game, but a game with really no theme, that tries to pretend it has one, or perhaps is too abstract, frustrates me, just a tiny bit. I’d rather have a good game with no theme, that a game with a painted on theme. But personally I believe the best work the theme right into the game, which Space Hulk has done perfectly. When I’m playing as the Space Marines, I feel a slight desperation everytime one of my few soldiers goes down. And I really feel like a commander, splitting up my different Space Marines to protect, or assault, different areas of the forgotten cruiser. When I play as the aliens, I feel like my many soldiers are basically very disposable. A game that gets you to think differently, and think within the theme, is a great game, which Space Hulk does, and it does it within a very fun, addicting game.

3. The Concept
Space Hulk is, for lack of a better description, a dungeon crawler game. As either side, you’ll venture through the corridors and long-lost rooms of the drifting labyrinth. Really, the concept, or the point of the game, changes depending upon what mission you’re playing. But basically, the Space Marines will have an objective, say to reach a certain room, or recover an artifact, and the Tyranids are attempting to stop them by killing them. While it might sound a little repetitive with 12 missions, it’s not. Each mission changes your squad of Marines, causing you to play the game a little differently. So the concept is great.

4. The Ending
Really, Space Hulk, gets closer to the ending depending upon how you play. If you move quicker, take riskier moves as the Marines, you’d get closer to your objective faster, but you might put your squad in danger. Most board games get a lot tenser as the game progresses, but Space Hulk is intense the entire game. Each turn that passes, really each action that is taken, especially by the alien player, is usually a huge deal. Lots of times, the Marines will barely close in on their objective, or the aliens will barely kill them off before they can. Unless one player is at a much higher skill level, or one is extremely lucky, the game should be intense and interesting.

5. The Game play
I’ve really covered most of this section in little bits sprinkled throughout the review. But, essentially, each player will move their different figures throughout the board, attempting to complete their missions and objectives. Each turn begins with the Space Marine player drawing a random command counter, which allows them to take extra actions either during their turn, or in response to actions that the Genestealers perform during their turn. This counter will span from numbers 1-6, and only the Space Marine player is allowed to see it. After drawing this counter, the Space Marine player has a timer turned which designates the time they have to take the rest of their turn in. Each Space Marine has 4 Actions to take each turn, but some actions, like backing up, and firing a Flame Thrower, cost 2 actions. So the Space Marines make their moves, and pass to the Tyranid player. The Tyranid player then takes a number of re-enforcement “blips” and moves them, along with the figures and blips already on the board. These “blips” represent a number of tyranids from 1-3, that only the Genestealer player knows until it is revealed by choice or by being seen by a Marine. This allows the Genestealer player a real element of surprise at times. So the game moves like that basically, back and forth, with the aliens attempting to close the gaps to get past the Marines powerful ranged Storm Bolters, and rip them apart with tooth and claw.

6. Replayability
Each mission offers a lot of replayability, and there are lots of custom maps here on the geek. Also you can design your own. But the custom maps included with the game in the mission book are very fun, and offer much more replayability than other games I’ve played with fixed maps and missions.

7. The “Luck” Factor
Those who read my reviews know how much I hate games with dice, really in any form. I suppose Space Hulk doesn’t bother me, even though dice determine the combat outcomes, mostly because there are some modifiers to make it less luck based. For instance, if a Space Marine shoots at the same target multiple times, he can hit on more numbers than if he shoots simply once. So is there luck involved? Yes, but this luck is minimal in my opinion.

Space Hulk is a great game. Actually, I’d probably put it as easily my favorite game right now. Maybe this will change, but I hope not, because I love seeing my beautifully painted pieces on the table

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Knight Beta 1.0 Tester
52 of 65 gamers found this helpful
“In space no one can hear you scream.”

The term “Space Hulk”, from which the game gets its name, is used in Warhammer 40,000 universe for ancient, derelict starships, asteroids, and other assorted space junk drifting in and out of the Warp that eventually merges into one massive form, ranging from the size of a small moon to a large planet.

The game is notable for its hidden play mechanics, from which it derives much of its playability and tension. The actual number of Genestealers in play is hidden from the Marine player, because the Genestealers come into play as “blips” which can represent 0-6 creatures (in the current editions of the game).

Playing the Genestealers is very straightforward; so simple, in fact, that Space Hulk is quite playable as a solo game. Space Marines on the other hand is tactically challenging, partly because the Space Marines player is constrained by a time limit for his turn.

Over all I highly recommend this game to everyone, 40k fan or not.

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Vanguard Beta 1.0 Tester
I Play This One a LOT
48 of 86 gamers found this helpful
“An extreamley well designed game!”

I can’t say enough good things about the newest edition of Space Hulk. The production quality is amazing on all the game components. So much so, that the figures are often used by Warhammer 40k players in their tabletop armies. I have heard some complaints as to the need to assemble the figs, but personally I view this as a minor inconvenience. You’ll only ever have to do it once.

With all the variant missions available the re playability is high. The detail put into the back story is also remarkable, allowing you to become attached to specific characters. Great artwork also helps put a pretty face on this already remarkable game.

It may take a little bit to get used to the rules on this one, but overall it’s not that bad. Play through a few times and you’ll get it. My recommendation is grab a few friends and give this one a go.

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Movie Lover
Miniature Painter
Sentinels of the Multiverse fan
48 of 87 gamers found this helpful
“GW, shut up and take my money!”

I have played GW games for years and have enjoyed them in various degrees over time. This game however is a whole different animal for what GW normally produces. I have played other versions of this game in the past and enjoyed them, so when this was announced I knew I should grab it. I was not disapointed!

In short this game is alot of fun. It is fast paced (compared to GW other products, as well as some board games), exciting and comes with some beautiful models. All and all I am very pleased with my purchase, though to be honest I split it with a friends, so the toal cost to me was lower then normal. Again compared to other GW games its actually cheap (I don’t wanna think of how much money I stunk into 40K over the years).

Having played a few games thus far I am enjoying the missions, rules and game play. Though I must say some missions do seem impossible to win as the Genestealers, it is never the less an enjoyable experience.

I have already begun working on houserules with some friends to play with Imperial Guard, Orks, Eldar, Necrons and Tau in the place of either the Genestealers or Terminators.

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Gamer - Level 5
Critic - Level 3
Novice Advisor
50 of 91 gamers found this helpful
“Perfect design, but flawed concept”

First and foremost, I have to say that the components of this game are some of the most gorgeous I’ve ever seen for any game, ever. Makes me want to find a way to give it a 6th star.

The missions add replay, and it’s good 2 player fun, but I feel there are inherent flaws in the concept that limit the fun you can have with the game.

The two main problems are that there’s too much focus on keeping an eye on every spot of the board (similar problem to Descent’s), and more importantly, with so much emphasis on which direction you’re facing, combined with your inability to pass each other in hallways, the characters in the game move more like tanks than people in suits. It just doesn’t work for me.

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35 of 69 gamers found this helpful
“On the edge of your seat tension”

Love this game, yea there’s only X missions but you technically can double that as its fun to play both sides and see how the strategy changes. The tension you get sometimes as the Marines can be incredible just hoping that when you round that corner the blip you see on your radar reveals a single Genestealer, as opposed to a swarm of 3. Then you panic fire hoping to wipe them clean hitting 1 or 2 as you see some coming at you from the left corridor now too, please let them faulter as they attempt to rip you to shreds.

This is a great game, very well executed, the models are incredible as well as the board. I recommend this to anyone who can find it for a reasonable price.

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Gamer - Level 2
25 of 66 gamers found this helpful
“Fantastic 2-player fun.”

If you like science fiction, space marines, and/or aliens, then this game is for you. Beautifully produced game whose theme meshes perfectly with game play. The game must be played in order to fully appreciate the experience. Could not be more highly recommended.

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Reviewed My First Game
27 of 72 gamers found this helpful
“For the Emperor!”

This is, hands down, the best sci-fi themed game I have ever played. Each side must employ completely different strategies to win. As a fan of the 40K universe, this game was a must own for me.

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Gamer - Level 3
29 of 80 gamers found this helpful
“A Classic Re-Issued”

A fast, easy to learn game with plenty of strategy and decisions. The figures and modular board set a standard that no one else has matched. Get it while you can.

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27 of 80 gamers found this helpful
“Aliens !”

this is one of the best games that brings the feeling of the Alien movie into a boardgame !

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Rated 25 Games
31 of 94 gamers found this helpful
“Good tension-filled game”

The game’s components are top notch. The game play is fairly simple once taught. My only negative side to this game is due to my own tastes. I prefer a bit “more” to my games. Maybe the game is too simple for me but again, the game is still fun to play. Seeing the many blips “on the screen” coming towards you down the hallway is some really tension filled fun.

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30 of 100 gamers found this helpful
“A great sci-fi thematic miniatures game.”

It really doesn’t get much better than this. If your a fan of the Aliens movies or of 40K you will love this game. In its 3rd edition, the only flaw is the miniatures are not made at times to fit the square spaces of the game tiles. They can be awkward and facing is not always clear. A personal complaint I have is a lack of a whole new scenario book. Most of the missions are regurgitations of previous versions. Components and minis are have high production value and the gameplay gives you that intense feeling of dread that comes with alien creatures lurking around every corner.

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30 of 108 gamers found this helpful
“One of the better GW games.”

Good all around fun game.

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28 of 105 gamers found this helpful
“Great game!!”

Loved the original, and this is a great revamp!!

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29 of 113 gamers found this helpful
“Space Marines & Genestealers”

Really fun game, but the setup takes way to long.


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