Thank-you to Unforgiven302 for this
- SPACE HULK HISTORY -
Space Hulk was first released in 1989 by Games Workshop. It was an all inclusive boxed game including a rule book, board pieces (or tile sections) miniatures, dice, counters/markers and a mission book. The game was well received by the general public for it's fast pace, simple rules and good narrative.
Games Workshop released further missions, tile pieces, rules and characters in White Dwarf magazine. An expansion pack called, Deathwing included rules for different Space Marine weapons, characters and other features. A second expansion called Genestealer included new rules for different Genestealer types and psychic abilities.
A second edition was released with what were considered better models and tile pieces but with more simplistic rules compared to the original edition. The general consensus is that this version was inferior to the original.
No further expansions after the second edition were released with the exception of a few articles in White Dwarf magazine.
In 2009 the third edition was released by Games Workshop as a "Limited Edition" version of the game for it's 20th anniversary. Newly designed models, tiles, markers/counters, dice, sand timer, rule book and mission book are included in the box. The rules and missions for the game have remained true to the original edition with most of the expansion rules also included. The biggest improvement is with the models and tile pieces. The Space Marine models are fully detailed and no two are the same. The Genestealer models are also superbly done, but unlike the marines, do have repeating models but only due to the fact that you get 20 Genestealer models, including a larger model called a Broodlord.
- IS SPACE HULK A TABLE TOP GAME OR A BOARD GAME? -
Space Hulk is a stand alone game system. It is not a table top game like Warhammer 40,000, but it is also not like any other board game I can think of. Multiple tiles interlock to create a "board" were the action takes place. The board can get quite large so it is best played on a table suitable enough to contain all the board tiles, models and game pieces needed to play. It takes it's roots from Warhammer 40,000 in it's setting, story and models but actual game play and rules are unique.
- WHAT IS A "SPACE HULK" AND WHAT IS THE STORY BEHIND THEM? -
Spaceships, asteroids and other space debris that throughout time, have crashed, attached or otherwise collected together to create one massive "Hulk" that floats throughout space. Think of them as gigantic space dust bunnies! These unguided Hulks are a rare find as they usually are lost in the warp, (a place were time and space do not exist as we know it.) Ships can normally only travel through the warp with the guidance by telepathic navigators who can steer the ship safely through it, and allow the ships to re materialize at a distant location from were it started. The distance traveled by using the warp would take a ship traveling by normal means many months, years or even thousands of years to traverse. But traveling through the warp isn't always safe and ships get lost, caught up in warp storms and get thrown off course never to return. Also, disease and alien infestation may kill the crews, or even mutiny can leave a ship adrift in the warp for millenia. While these abandoned ships float unguided through the warp they crash into each other and collect like so much space junk, only to become massively huge over time. The ships unlucky enough to be taken over by alien infestation are commonly done so by Genestealers.
Space Hulks can rematerialized from the warp or come from deep space without warning, usually at a point were they will cause serious issues with shipping lanes, space travel and even threaten whole worlds and systems with their sheer size and deadly cargo. When these Hulks do re-emerge from the warp or from deep space, they are considered a problem and are inspected and boarded to ensure that any and all threats are removed before salvage operations and further scientific exploration begins. This is where the game begins.
- WHAT FORCES/ARMIES CAN I PLAY? AND HOW MANY PLAYERS DO YOU NEED? -
In the game of Space Hulk you can play as either the slow moving but massively armored and armed Space Marines or as the fast, deadly, innumerable shadow lurking Genestealers armed with razor sharp claws and teeth.
The game is designed for 2 players, but can be accommodated for more if you like.
- GAME PLAY -
Space Hulk is a turn based game that follows 12 preset missions from the missions book. The player controlling the Space Marines is directed to use specific models for each mission along with an objective(s) to complete to gain a victory. The Genestealer player usually has an unlimited amount of Genestealers (unlike the Space Marine player who is not allowed any reinforcements) to try and stop the Space Marines.
The game board is setup with the interlocking tiles supplied in the box as instructed in the mission book. The tiles represent large rooms and corridors. Corridor's only allow for single file movement, like down a narrow hallway were as rooms open up for more movement. Turns, intersections, dead ends and other tiles make up the complete board. Marines are generally set up in a single file corridor marked in the mission book. The Genestealers enter play by assigned entry area's usually located all over the board. The game represents tight, close quarter assault boarding actions by the Marines against an innumerable foe.
Each game turn is represented by a Space marine players action turn and a Genestealer player action turn. Play begins with the Space Marines and when time runs out or all available actions are done the Genestealer players turn begins. the game does not have a preset amount of game turns, as it is based off of mission objectives instead.
The game uses "action points" used for moving, shooting, attacking or interacting with the environment. Space Marines have 4 action points per turn and Genestealers have 6. Action points can only be used during the active players turn. Therefore a Genestealer player cannot make any actions during the Space Marine players turn and vice versa.
Marines may move and shoot for a specific amounts of action points. As these heavily armored Marines are slow to move, due to the amount of action points and how many points it costs to actually move in certain directions. To make up for the lack of mobility they have some serious firepower to even the odds.
On the other hand, Genestealers are fast and agile but lack any ranged weapons so must rely solely on their claws and teeth to attack.
A "Blip" is a marker used to represent the Genestealers as they enter the board and range in value from 1 to 3 Genestealers each. When a blip is revealed on the board to the Space Marine player the appropriate number of Genestealer models replace the blip. These blips may "Lurk" in the entry area's that the Genestealers come into play at thus effectively hiding just out of range of the Space Marines. Being able to lurk just off the board and coming onto the board as a blip keeps the Space Marine player in the dark as to how many actual Genestealers are coming for them.
Doors, devices, ladders and other objects are included in the game and play a vital role in the plot laid out in the mission book.
The Space Marine player is also given "Command Points" to use during the game to perform extra moves or actions during either players turn. These command points are a randomly drawn number ranging from 1 to 6. Each turn the Space Marine player draws a fresh command point tile from a cup or mug and is free to use them as he/she sees fit. If the player goes over the command points drawn, he/she automatically looses the game. Command points are the only exception to taking an action during the opponents turn. Command points can be spent at any point in any players turn.
Marines can place themselves on "Overwatch" and "On guard" at the cost of 2 action points. Going on overwatch allows the Marine player to shoot at any moving object that crosses his line of sight during the Genestealer players turn. During overwatch the Marines weapon can be fire so rapidly it may jam!
When a Space Marine is placed on guard he is anticipating being attacked and braces himself for the hand to hand combat. This ability helps ensure that a Marine may have a second chance at fighting off an attacking Genestealer in hand to hand combat.
Overwatch and on guard are automatically lost at the beginning of the next Marine player turn and must be paid for again with action or command points on a per turn basis.
The Marines are led into battle by a Sergeant or two depending on the mission being played. The Sergeant is a skilled fighter and tactician that can offer more than a regular Marine. Armed with a power sword or thunder hammer he is skilled in close combat. He is also granted a bonus for being such a talented warrior. Another ability is when pulling command points. As long as a Sergeant in on the board you can choose to repick your command point tile for hopefully a better number. Such is the Sergeants power to command the battle!
The rest of the Marines are fitted with Terminator armour and a variety of weapons for various roles. All of them are deadly with ranged firepower, able to drop a foe long before it has a chance to close on him.
A special character called a Librarian is included and is capable of psychic abilities. During missions where the librarian is used he is given 20 psi points to use between three different abilities or to channel into his hand to hand combat weapon.
For the Genestealers they receive a special character also, the Broodlord. This model is larger and more powerful then the usual Genestealer. He is immune to the effect of the flame thrower unit and is also resistant to some psychic attacks. He is also very powerful when in hand to hand combat often dealing out damage that even the most powerful Space Marine model cannot match. He is incredibly tough and can shrug off wounds that would tear apart a normal Genestealer. Due to his extreme nature, his use is limited in the game.
The Space Marine player is also timed during his turn phase using the supplied sand timer. If the timer runs out before the Marine player has completed his actions, he/she must stop and the Genestealer players turn now begins. This adds to the fast paced theme of the game and can make for some very tense moments. Players often find that the timer is more of a hindrance then a benefit to overall game mechanics. It is not uncommon for players to agree to not use the timer as it often goes forgotten after just a few rounds of play anyway.
- WHAT WEAPONS DO THE MARINES AND GENESTEALERS HAVE? -
STORM BOLTER: The most common weapon is the Storm Bolter. The storm bolter may be placed on Overwatch but can also jam. It is the basic weapon for ranged attack. It has unlimited ammunition.
HEAVY FLAMER: The Heavy Flamer is a large flame thrower that can not only target individual Genestealers but also sections of the game board. It is one of the most powerful weapons for removing Genestealers as the number needed on the dice roll is very low. The flames block all line of sight and anyone foolish enough to travel into the raging inferno may get a little crispy! The main drawbacks are it's limited range, ability to harm other Marines and it's limited ammunition.
ASSAULT CANNON: The Assault Cannon is a huge multi barreled rapid firing weapon. It unloads a mass of rounds into it's victims and is very deadly. It can overheat and explode causing the user to be vaporized and anyone nearby to be slain too! It's ammunition is limited also but can be reloaded once during a game. Like the storm bolters, the auto cannon can be placed on overwatch.
The Genestealers have no ranged weapons at all!
CLOSE COMBAT WEAPONS:
POWER FIST: The Power fist is a large glove that has a forcefield generator built into it. When used in close combat it can rip a heavily armored foe to bits. It is the standard close combat weapon for the Marines.
CHAIN FIST: The Chain Fist is just like a power fist but with a chainsaw attachment for cutting through bulkheads and doors. Due to it's extra weight it is treated as a power fist for close combat. It is able to cut through doors automatically unlike any other weapon.
POWER SWORD: The Power Sword is carried by the Sergeant of the squad and is a very deadly instrument. It allows the sergeant to parry an attack from a Genestealer.
LIGHTNING CLAWS The lightning claws are used in pairs and closely resemble power fists with the exception of four long metal claws extending from the knuckles. These are strictly for use in close combat as the wearer fore goes any ranged attacks in favor of better close combat abilities.
THUNDER HAMMER/STORM SHIELD: The Thunder Hammer and Storm Shield is used in conjunction with each other for a powerful attack along with a greater defense. Just like the lightning claws, the user fore goes any ranged attacks in favor of an increased close combat prowess.
FORCE AXE: The Force Axe is used by the Librarian in close combat with great effectiveness. The Librarian may use any of his Psi points to increase to power of the attack when using the force Axe. This cal all but make him invincible... until his psi points run out!
The Genestealers use their long, sharp claws to attack in close combat. This is the only form of attack they have, but they are exceptionally good at it! Don't be fooled, these guys are deadly so keep your distance!
-WHAT MAKES SPACE HULK FUN? -
The fast pace, simple and easy to remember rules, amazingly detailed models and tiles and re-playability all make Space Hulk a high quality game. With the locking tiles you may design an almost unlimited amount of your own missions and boards. It is also a great game due to the fact that a standard missions in the book usually lasts for around 30 minutes after which players will generally switch sides and replay the same mission.
Even though the rules are very simple, the challenge of the game is in how you plan you attack and try to out wit and out play your opponent. Luck also has a good hand in how the game plays too!
- IS IT AS SPACE AND TIME CONSUMING AS MY WARHAMMER 40,000 ARMIES? -
The game doesn't take up a large amount of space or even an entire room unlike a full Warhammer 40,000 army and game table can. Everything fits right back into the box it came in and goes nicely into a cupboard or shelf!
It is not as time consuming as Warhammer 40,000 due to the fact the game is 100% complete right out of the box! No other books, models or accessories are needed to play, it is complete. You can paint the models to match those on the box and in the books, or to match your other models. Or leave them bare, it's totally up to you! Although a nice set of fully painted models just make the game totally "Pop" off the table and add's a nice cosmetic touch.
- DO I NEED TO KNOW ALL ABOUT THE WARHAMMER 40,000 UNIVERSE TO PLAY? -
Not at all! Another nice factor is the ability to bring new players that are unaware of the Warhammer gaming systems into the fold without spending massive amounts of money, time or effort on their part. They can be introduced with a simple yet entertaining game system that may open the door to the hobby of tabletop gaming. Younger children are also capable of participating without the fear of being bogged down with too many rules and options. From my personal experience, my 10 year old son has taken to this game far quicker then he has to Warhammer 40,000 due to the simplistic nature of the game.
- HOW MUCH IS IT AND WERE DO I GET IT? -
The latest release was a limited edition set to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the original game. The cost was $100.00 U.S. dollars.
After it's initial release, Games Workshop quickly sold out of the units set for retail. Soon after, they "found" more copies which they also released for general sales thereby eliminating any more sets through direct sales. To the best of anyone's knowledge, Games Workshop has no plans to reprint the game any time soon.
Although it is not currently listed on their website or for order in a Games Workshop's outlet, it can be found on online auction sites such as Ebay. It can also be found on internet forums in the trading/for sale sections from time to time. Occasionally you may run across a copy in an independent retailer/store, but as it has been released for some time now, it is getting harder and harder to find new, unopened copies or at the MSRP as some people have purchased multiple copies just to resell them at a highly inflated price. As always when dealing with third parties, buyer beware! I highly recommend picking one up if you come across it as it is really worth having!