Space Hulk – Mission 1 Review


Due to the fact that I have misplaced the cable that connects my camera to my PC I couldn’t take any photos of the Space Hulk board with its completely unpainted miniatures last night. As Servitob has already mentioned we finally managed to give the thing a go. I’d almost forgotten that I had the game considering it arrived, got the stuff punched out of the card stock and the minis assembled within a couple days and the with the chaos of my wife going back to work after the school holidays it got “tidied” away onto a seat under the dining table. Malifaux then dropped through the letterbox and I’ve spent the past week reading through those rules and enjoying the world come to life as I’ve done so. But I digress, this is another Space Hulk post.

The mission book is composed of twelve missions that make up the campaign, it was obvious therefore that we’d start with mission 1 in order to ease us into the game. The map is mainly corridors with only a few rooms at intersections, the mission is affectionately called “Suicide Mission”. You get one squad of the Blood Angels Terminators against the ravening horde of Genestealers, the aim being that you need to use the limited ammo Heavy Flamer to torch the room that is furthest away on the map. You’ve only got 6 shots with the thing so conserving it until that optimal time is just one of the things you’re balancing. You get the Heavy Flamer dude, a Sergeant with Power Sword and 3 dudes armed with Storm Bolters and Power Fists. We played the mission through twice with Servitob commanding the Emperor’s Finest first and then swapping over.

The first time we played (me commanding the alien menace) was a victory to the Marines, i was afflicted with more than a fair share of 1 “blips” (when Genestealers enter play they are represented by a blip token which can be between 1 and 3 actual Genestealers). Being only the second game ever of Space Hulk I also ended up learning respect for Overwatch as my horde of single ‘Stealers got picked off as they were forced to march into a hail of fire to get anywhere near their quarry. I only managed to off one Terminator, it was, however, the Sergeant which meant that Servitob could not repick his Command Point token at the beginning of his turn anymore, although it didn’t seem to really hinder him. After I had collected what I thought was a solid force I marched into combat and got wasted, the Blood Angels then walked through opened the door to the objective room and bathed it in the flames from the Heavy Flamer. Good game and I reckon that I should have held off my attack for another turn or two in order to get more numbers, hindsight is wonderful after all.

We switched sides and I deployed the Marines different to Servitob and likewise he did with his blips. Playing from the other side was interesting as you watch those blips slowly encroach upon your limited forces not knowing what quantity of horrors they contain. Having learnt the value of Overwatch I used it on a couple of guys per turn, usually using my Command Point allocation in order to do so. I lost a Marine early on (protecting the entry room from a Genestealer entryway and another covering the chap who bought it. However, the single most impressive guy was my Sergeant, he gunned down numerous aliens as he led the charge through the Hulk then he sat himself on Guard (the melee version of Overwatch introduced in this new addition) and saw off every single beast that tried to kill him.

Considering that you kill a Genestealer in shooting on a 6 you’d be surprised how often that number appears when you’re rolling two dice. It does remind you of the evac scene in Aliens when Vasquez yells out “Let’s ROCK!” and all hell breaks loose. Eventually as I was getting very worried that I was going to fail I pulled a 6 out of the cup for my turns command points and then checked the required movements I’d need. My Sergeant gunned down the first Genestealer in his way and used the rest of his moves to charge into the oncoming horde, I then spent all my Heavy Flamer guys action points and then all the Command Points by turning up the final corridor, opening the last door and then razing the objective room. It was an all or nothing move for me and it paid off, the tension was palpable at this point, at least one of my Marines was going to get it in the face if I took another turn and the numbers were escalating while mine were quickly dwindling. Luckily the superstar Sergeant showed why he’s the leader with impressive combats all the way. We managed to play through that mission twice in just over an hour and it was a blast.

The second mission’s map is a lot bigger and I think we may be cracking it open tonight to carry on from where we left off yesterday. As I’ve already given a quick overview and review of the rules, now that I’ve played it I can give it a heartfelt 10/10 in terms of gameplay. As the Marines player you really feel up against it, managing your limited resources in order to do something which when you do, feels suitably heroic, especially when you can see the odds stacking against you. The fact that everything you need to play comes in the box is a bonus considering what you need for all other GW games and I am very happy I spent the money and pre-ordered, this is going to be taken out and used at every available opportunity. There were no rules issues or points of contention. We looked up things as and when needed but really, I don’t think (other than the specific weapons rules) we’ll be diving into the rulebook very often. It plays smooth and fast and if anyone can find a copy and is wondering whether to take the plunge, go for it, you won’t regret it!

(For some reason this post was sitting in my Drafts when it should have been published Monday morning).

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