Category Archives: Space Hulk

The Fun of Space Hulk – Sergeant Thumpy and the Assault Cannon

The past few weeks have been a little quite here at the floating citadel.  I think many of us are still recovering from the excitement and excess of the holidays and have slipped into the rainy misery that is January 2011.  To try and lighten our moods one of my friends invited me round to play one of GWs most iconic games – Space Hulk.  It doesn’t get played much despite there being more than one copy owned amongst us.  I also introduced him to the much loved Death Angel card game, but that’s not important right now.

It has been so long since either of us played that we had to re-read most of the rules.  We chose the 2nd mission in the book – Exterminate.  In this mission the board is set up with plenty of long, straight corridors and half a dozen rooms.  The Space Marine player gets Sergeant Thumpy and his thunder hammer/storm shield combo, Brother Leon with the assault cannon, a terminator with a storm bolter and chainfist and 2 regular terminators.  The Genestealer player gets a limited number of blips and the general idea is to wipe each other out.

We rolled off to see who had which side (I went with my favourite aliens).  The Space Marine player has to deploy each of his terminators in a different room, whilst the Genestealers come on two blips at a time.  Once deployed, battle commenced.  Sergeant Thumpy (being ever so brave) was deployed in a room with two exits, only one of which Genestealers could actually come through as the other door led to a three square long dead-end (I’m guessing it’s the space hulk’s toilet).  So what does Thumpy do? Charge forward to lead his men into battle? Nope he spends most of the game sitting on the bog, leaving the other guys to it.

Elsewhere in the hulk the aliens are gathering.  The storm bolter terminators proved to be excellent shots, especially when on overwatch and all the Genestealers that ran down corridors seemed to get shot to pieces.  One brave marine decides to move forwards in an attempt to block the Genestealer’s entry points, but then his bolter jammed and he was quickly cut down.  Upon hearing the cries of his dying comrade, Thumpy makes sure that the door’s lock is nice and strong.

The rest of the marines move themselves into good overwatch positions and start mowing down the hoards.  Plenty of blips start to mass in one area, but in a moment when the hive mind seems to have been distracted by a glass of DP they all turn out to be single ‘stealers and the assault cannon sees them all off.  Thumpy thinks they must be doing well.  It’s at this point that the Genestealers start to get the upper hand.  The assault cannon runs out of ammo and has to reloaded and a few rooms away another terminator sees his storm bolter jam just before he sees the inside of a Genestealer’s mouth.  A lone blip starts to move towards Thumpy.

With the assault cannon reloaded, this brave hero of the Imperium starts redecorating the corridors a nice shade of ichor purple whilst the last remaining storm bolter marine watches his back and does some redecorating of his own.  There are now no more aliens left to enter the hulk, but that blip’s getting closer Thumpy . . .

A sudden on-rush of Genestealers takes down the last of the storm bolter terminators whilst  Sergeant Thumpy hears someone knock on the door of the lavy.  Deciding that it must be one of his own men wishing to make use of the facilities he opens the door and sees not one, not two but three Genestealers staring back at him.  The first ‘stealer is splatted into the floor by a swing of the thunder hammer, but the other two teach Thumpy the same lesson that Sigourney Weaver learned; that there’s nowhere to hide on a space hulk full of aliens.

At at this point that Brother Leon of the Assault Cannon has an awful feeling of being alone.  His gun has only 6 shots left and there are 5 Genestealers still out there.  He backs himself a room and awaits the onslaught.  Genestealers come pouring through the door and he shoots all of them down.  Only 3 shots left and two Genestealers.  It seems possible.  He hears nothing coming and so steps out cautiously into the corridor.  In the distance Thumpy’s killers are moving fast through the rooms to get to him.  They round the room and appear in the corridor.  The assault cannon sings and downs the first one; two shots left.  The second misses!! 1 shot, 1 Genestealer left and it’s getting very close.  He aims carefully and the Genestealer becomes paste on the wall.  Leon decides that he needs to change his armour “that was close!”

Well that’s a slightly dramatised account of the game.  For me it was one of the most fun games I’ve played in a while and one of the rare occasions when the game all comes down to the last dice roll.

6InchMove Reviews – Space Hulk Death Angel

As mentioned in Servitob’s post recently, after availing ourself of some gaming at everyone’s new favourite venue, we tried out a new offering from Fantasy Flight Games. These are the same guys responsible for making the “need a bank loan to afford it” Horus Heresy board game. Death Angel comes a little more wallet friendly and a little more space friendly too as it’s a card game that fits into quite a tidy hand-sized box.

The basic premise of this game is that it is Space Hulk with cards. Trying to imagine how you get the razor edged tension of a Genestealer infested derelict with its cramped and confined spaces may be a little difficult but rest assured that FFG have managed to pull this off. Every player is on the side of the Space Marines and you control at least one Combat Team of Space Marine Terminators, the game can be played with anywhere from 1 to 6 players and the number of players defines how many combat teams there are. Each combat team is composed of two terminators, a normal Storm Bolter and Power fist chap and another special weapon one.

Each game starts with a location and this will define the starting locations (a deck of cards are provided that bring various locations, some of these have active components that you can use) as well as telling you how many Genestealers are likely to be coming to eat your face at any particular moment. You assemble a mission from a small selection of cards, picking them in accordance with instructions given on the starting location for your size of game. You will not know what you have to do to complete the mission until you move to the final location, from the games that we have played so far, the chances are you will not reach that final location.

The game turn is split into a number of phases, every turn starts off with the Space Marines deciding which one of their 3 different actions they are going to take. Each Combat Team has a set of 3 cards, there is a “Move & Activate” action, an “Attack” action and a “Support” action. Each combat team gets to play one, you can discuss with the team what you want to do but cannot specify which card you are going to play, also, you cannot play the same action two turns in a row. This means you need to think ahead as well as thinking of what the rest of the team are really going to do with their actions. Each action card has a number on it and when they are revealed you resolve them in order. This then plays out as to whether the Terminators swap places, activate terrain items, attack any Genestealers that are around or lie in wait for something.

After this the Genestealers attack if there are any on the board engaged with a Terminator, this is probably around 95% of the time, the more Genestealers fighting a Marine the greater the chance he will be chopped into kibble. After this the player who use the lowest number action pulls an event card and plays it. This spawns more Genestealers and generally screws at least one of the Terminators in some way, this event also gives directions as to where any existing Genestealers move to as they may try to get behind the Marines.

Each spawning of Genestealers comes from a blip pile on either side of the formation of Terminators, once a blip pile is emptied the players move to a new location which shifts the terrain cards around and spawns a new set of blips, some of the terrain also has an “Upon Entering” effect which comes into play. There are 4 locations per mission and as they are randomly pulled from decks you are not always guaranteed to get the same terrain or the same final mission. Once you get to the final location victory conditions are presented to the team, complete those and you win. Out of the three games the 6 Inch Move team have played so far we have completed the mission only once, when my Assault Cannon Terminator used his attack card to unleash three shots into a swarm of Genestealers, shredding the two regular guys and then popping a Broodlord. Servitob then clubbed the final Broodlord and we won, another turn and we probably would have been red paste on the decking.

The game does play quite quickly, you are trying to cut through the Genestealers as fast as possible in order to get to the next location, all the while every event card is spawning more gribblies that can tear you limb from limb. What takes the time is the individual players deciding which actions they need to take, but as you win and lose as a team you want to try to co-ordinate what you are doing. That doesn’t stop someone who is surrounded by Genestealers from playing his “Move & Activate” and then swapping places with a “mate” who is all of a sudden plucked from a position of safety into the clutches of almost certain death. In any given game you can guarantee that a lot of the Marines are going to die, the one game we won we were reduced to only three Terminator when we started with 6, the majority being eaten by massive swarms, but on occasion even a lone ‘Stealer can be a lethal adversary.

I picked up this game after reading a review from a forum I frequent, it recommended picking it up on sight as it was very good. I was lucky enough to get the last copy from our local game store and I’m glad I did. The box is small and transport friendly so if you don’t fancy carting models and terrain about this gives a great game that can be played in around an hour, depending on how many players you have. There is only one criticism I would make and that is that the rules aren’t always clear and we made a large number of mistakes in our first game, a few more illustrations of the layout wouldn’t go amiss, but overall I think this is a really great release.

It may be hard to get hold of now as I understand that it sold really well and there is no certainty that there will be another run, but if you can find a copy it is well worth the price of admission and in the few games that we have played so far it has been a lot of fun.

ZombiePirate gives it a solid 4.5 Alien Gribblies out of 5.

Zappy Pew Pew From The Church Of Gaming – Firestorm Armada

Hey googlebots! We managed to get our grubby 6InchMove mitts on a tremendous gaming venue this weekend – inside a converted church! I’ll spare you all the obvious corny puns on prayers to the dice gods etcetera.

Dealing with Aquans? You need a fishing trawler, you do.

A good night was had by all, and consisted of myself and Carabus eating chips, drinking DPZ and generally heckling Admiral ZombiePirateXXX and Big Chief Gribblin as they played one of the closest Firestorm Armada battles in a while. It was probably close because for once I wasn’t playing and wiping the vast floor that is space with the tears and wreckage of my destroyed opponents. Oh yeah, I play Terrans.

“So Mr Evil Space Goat, you think you’ve scored a critical hit hmm? Let me roll for shields. And now let me reroll my sixes. Hmm, no damage to me this time!”

The game came down to the two remaining Battleships. The Aquan battleship has massive armour and can shrug off damage that would wreck others. Unfortunately, it didn’t quite have the staying power of the Dindrenzi. The big double hulled superglue nightmare of construction just kept soaking the hits until the last Aquan had pulled the flush chain on his escape pod. Down to the last hull point!

We also played a new Space Hulk card game called Death Angel. Poker with genestealers? Would they get dealt extra hands? Stick around to find out…

Conventions in Gaming – Luck

Last night availed the inhabitants of the 6 Inch Move floating citadel to yet another unplanned gaming rendezvous. Due to permission/absence/voodoo sacrifices of wives and girlfriends Castle Servitob was once more transformed into the vacuum of deep space. Both Space Hulk and Firestorm Armada got some table time.

This would the first outing for Gribblin’s new Aquan fleet, the first time any of us had seen the fleet played. Like a burk I forgot the flight stands for my fleet so the salty fleet went up against the torpedo happy Terrans. This post is not going to be a battle report, I will leave that to either of the participants to regale you all with tales of bold tactical manoeuvre and world-destroying firepower. What I do want to talk about though was aptly highlighted during one turn of this game. Look away now if you don’t want to read some spoilers. Feel free to read again once the italics end.

At the start of the game Gribblin deployed his fleet quite spread out, hoping to use the cover of a reasonable asteroid belt that spread across the middle of the table. Misjudging his distances and the alternating activation turn method that Firestorm uses saw his Cruisers zoom ahead unsupported by the rest of his fleet. This gave Servitob an opporunity for some early smackdown which he delivered forthrightly. By turn 2 the Aquans had no Cruisers left and with the fleet heading towards the Battleship things were already looking bleak for Capt. Birdseye and crew. However, we are all aware of how fickle the tides of fate are. Shortly after losing all of his Cruisers gribblin engineered a range band 2 broadside against the Terran Battleship, dice were rolled, hits were counted. Enough were rolled to cause a critical hit on the Terran capital ship, Servitob rolled the dice for his shields and, for once, they did not negate enough of the shots to prevent the critical hit. Gribblin eagerly grabbed his 2D6 for rolling on the critical table and was rewarded with a double 6! For those of you unaware of the Firestorm game either a double one or a double six cause the ship to explode, in this case as its main reactor is hit and causes the Firestorm version of a warp core breach. An undamaged battleship reduced to smouldering space flotsam in a single salvo. This changed the course of the game and Gribblin ended up wiping the Terrans from the table after a few more turns.

What this demonstration goes to show is that in many cases luck can be a major deciding factor in the winners and losers of our hobby. I am sure we can all recount sordid tales of the desertion of Lady Luck, when the cruel dice gods decide that we will roll ones and twos when we need high numbers and fives and sixes when we need low. Servitob did manage to cause a decompression on Gribblin’s Battleship in retaliation, venting liquid like an octagenarian granny, and on the following turn rolled the only number that kept the decompression going. However, when those dice are rolled, we are purely in the hands of the law of averages, hoping that we can do enough. As any gamer will tell you though, the law of averages mean squat. I can think of many instances where rolling a bunch of dice has either resulted in a massive haul of 1’s and 2’s or 5’s and 6’s, those middle numbers can be mightily elusive.

Although luck cannot be counted upon it’s actually just as much a part of our games as the terrain and models we use or the tactics or strategy we try to employ. Also, we cannot rely upon it deserting our foes either, although the phrase “Fortune Favors the Bold” does play out on occasion and some games even encourage an aggressive stance during play. Sometimes the right luck at the right time can really swing the fortunes of an entire conflict, just as in the example given above. I’ve seen units perform heroic last stands against superior enemies just because of the dice they managed to roll. After all, the games we play are not just pushing some toy soldiers around a table, at least I hope they aren’t. I would hope that each game is a story written in our memories. Thus it is that we can picture in our minds eye Sgt. Thumpy of the Blood Angels beating down countless hordes of Genestealers (well, 13) protecting a narrow corridor with nothing but a Storm Shield and Thunder Hammer for company. The Tau Fire Warriors standing atop their wrecked Devilfish fighting hand to hand with vile Necron Flayed Ones and surviving turn after turn without taking casualties. The Ork Boyz mob cruising around in their Trukk killing a Carnifex with a drive-by pistol storm. The poor Wood Elf alter kindred Noble who heroically charged into a Great Unclean One only to have his magical talisman fail on the first turn from the one attack the Daemon was allowed to make.

All these moments are the ones that get discussed for years afterwards, an event that should not have happened but, due to the luck of the dice, did. While Malifaux moves away from the dice mechanic, getting a hand full of the right cards to Cheat Fate is also full of chance, we cannot escape the luck that sometimes graces our battlefields. In some cases we may be the one of the receiving end of the misfortune, but even though I might moan and whine like a bitch when the dice desert me, beyond that I am happy that we have these systems where but one roll of the dice can dramatically change how things are going and give us excited memories that we carry with us of great times spent amongst friends.

Lcuk can be the best of friends, or a cold-hearted traitor and this gaming ZombiePirate wouldn’t change that for the world!

Happy New Year and a Glimpse Into the (Brief) Future

I have three of four posts running around in my head at the moment and I do realise that it is the 6th day of the new decade and this is the first time that I am actually posting up something. Christmas and New Year was busy and now my wife’s birthday is in 4 days and I have yet to get anything at all. She doesn’t have any hobbies so I was thinking of forcing encouraging her to start one, however, I don’t think 1500pts of Imperial Guard is really her thing.

Anyways, back to those topics, over the festive period a number of things happened which lead nicely into things I need to post on the blog. You’re already heard Servitob’s expose on Sgt Thumpy, the Thunder Hammer armed Terminator from Space Hulk. We played mission 3 over Christmas and this one chap managed to kill thirteen Genestealers in close combat before finally biting the big one, an impressive tally. In the next game where opponents switched sides (Gribblin was getting his gribble on in the first game taking the filthy alien scum against Servitob doing his best to get his marines killed to a man) Gribblin showed that he too had a Space Marine hero recruited, Joe Storm Bolter, bog standard Terminator who must have wracked up at least 30 solo bolter kills guarding a spawn point. Evntually his luck (or ammo) failed him and he got his face torn off, either way we had two memorable games that will live on.

The same day saw the debut of Firestorm Armada, my own Dindrenzi Fleet took on nBreaker’s Sorylians. I must say that we had a lot of fun with it, I plan on writing up another post detailing the experience we had with our first run of what is definitely not Uncharted Seas in space. Winning my first ever solo game using a Spartan Games ruleset hasn’t tinted my glasses though.

After the hilarity of New Years entertaining friends we took our newest tabletop gaming compatriots on their first trip to Warhammer World in Nottingham, the geek mecca of the Games Workshop world. Our Hajj saw my Orks take on Gribblin’s Eldar, a first for both armies played on the tables in the gaming hall, we took a couple of photos so I may post them up and finally get around to changing the custom header on the website. I have been asked to write-up this report from the Orks point of view. It was a great game and vastly enjoyable. I won’t ruin the outcome by telling you the result, wait for an Orky themed battle report.

Gribblin is of course counting down the last 10 days before his Xenos of cheese get an update, I am thinking things are going to be bigger and gribblier but still killable with a tide of green and I am working on refining my Orks army list, not specifically to counter the Nids, just changes that I feel need to be made on some levels and a few other things I want to try out on another.

Something completely non-blog related too, I got to see Avatar over the Christmas break, if you haven’t seen it yet you need to. I saw it in 2D and am pretty happy I did, there is so much going on that seeing it in 3D probably would have caused my head to explode! There is an opportunity to maybe go and see it again tomorrow and I am chomping at the bit to go back for another slice of Pandora. It gets a massive 10 Zombies out of 10 best film that I have seen in a long time.

I should hopefully get a proper post up later this afternoon, either the next of the “First” Impressions for Firestorm or the Orky report from Saturday’s trip to Nottingham.

Things happening in 2010… we’ll see if I can paint an army and I’ll also see if we can get more tutorials and pictures of just what we use around these parts.

Happy New Year and Happy Gaming from the 6 Inch Move team.

Space Hulk Mission III – Rescue

*Fiction Based On A Night of Playing Mission III*

It had been a wild party. Sergeant Thumpy was entering his 51st year of service in the Blood Angels, and frankly everyone needed an excuse to have some fun. They had been stuck on this derelict space hulk for the best part of three months and things were getting boring. When Thumpy thought about it, he quite liked his job. But the hours could drag on a bit, and the seconds themselves could be quite dull, but on the whole he was content to be a Space Marine Sergeant of the first company. Mind you, he wasn’t so sure joining the Blood Angels had been such a good move. They were forever posted to these damned space hulks. It’s all they ever seemed to do nowadays. Not like those Imperial Fists who generally spent their days polishing their uniforms and relaxing in some ridiculously luxurious palaces under some weak cover story they were guarding the place. Thumpy had a pen friend in the Ultramarines who often sent him post cards from sunny seaside towns and glorious beach worlds. But not the Blood Angels. More space hulks, more multilimbed corpse nibblers to bash.

The party had reached a frenzy over the course of about three days, and one thing was now certain, the place was a mess. Not a normal alien infested type of mess, but a real booze and curry type of mess only achievable in the absence of females. Not that anyone really cared, except Sergeant Colin. However, tidying up was yet another way to relieve the boredom and satisfy his OCD, so Sergeant Colin had left his quarters with a squad two days ago in search of cleaning supplies.

The radio crackled into life.
“Thumpy, come in, this is Colin.”
“Report, Sergeant.” “Brother Steve has found a janitors closet on deck 3 west, he reports he has found an operational vacuum cleaner.” “Good work Colin, I will tell the men and bring a squad to assist. Thumpy out.”
Thumpy immediately got dressed and assembled a squad from the space marines who were no longer passed out. He picked up his massive thunderhammer and storm shield. This truly was an awesome weapon. He had used it for several years, and it’s mighty power had trashed many hotel rooms and wrecked many hire cars whilst on deployments around the galaxy. Why on terra did the quartermaster issue it to him for hulk duty he had no idea. Within the tight confines of a corridor you barely had room to scratch your armored butt, let alone swing a six foot hammer.

“Sergeant Colin, report.”
“I hear you, Sergeant. Brother Billy Bob is showing us his latest dance moves.” “What type?” “Latin jazz, will keep you posted.” “Keep up the good work, but keep an eye out for xenos.” “Will do.”

Between Sergeant Thumpy and the vacuum cleaner stood a horde of unco-operative genestealers. He would have to bash his way through. Luckily, Brother Keith had remembered to bring an assault cannon. Soon the walls were pasted with purple blood.

“This is Sergeant Colin, we are now at critical dancing mass, and we have you in visual. Brother Phil has found an old set of disco lights and a Girl’s Aloud disc relic and we are really getting down.” “I see you Sergeant Colin, you are quite a mover. We will look for refreshments on our way.”

Thumpy opened a door off the corridor. He could hear the bass bumping and see flashing lights ahead. Behind the door lurked a stinking horror. The stench was appalling. He retched in pain as his nostrils filled with toxic gas. He could smell fried chicken, combined with peri-peri. It was obviously coming from an ancient blocked drain which had had thousands of years to fester. Immediately the music down the corridor stopped as marines stopped dancing and clawed for fresh air. The party was over for now. It was at times like this that Thumpy really wished Sergeants could wear helmets. With only a vacuum cleaner to clean up this mess it was going to be a long night.

Great Things in 2009

It’s nearly the end of the year, so here are some of my gaming highlights of 2009:

The Uncharted Seas

Spartan Games’ seafaring fantasy game is excellent. I don’t know when it first came out, but I came across it in 2009. It’s quick, simple and fun. It is on a parallel with one of my favourites, Silent Death (click here for info), for quick and enjoyable games. Unfortunately however, I feel a tempest is brewing for this game, and it will probably sink without trace within the near future. The game was inevitably released with a few flaws and balance issues. Sadly Spartan Games have been about as fast as an asthmatic sloth in releasing corrections and updates.

Space Hulk

Hooray for retro gaming! Space Hulk made a return in 2009, just as we had all forgotten how great it was. The main difference is that this version looks awesome. The boards and models are fantastic, adding much to an already atmospheric game. A big power fisted thumbs up!

We're Back, Baby!

World Of Warcraft Random Dungeon Tool

Well I cringe to include this one but it really has almost overnight revolutionised this grandaddy of MMORPGs. No longer do we wait for ages to get a group. No longer do we have to trek miles to a summoning stone. Just when you think WoW is getting stale, Blizzard go and pull this kind of stunt. I’ll happily wait a bit longer for Diablo 3 now!

ZombiePirateXXX is Going To Paint An Army!

OK so it’s not actually happened yet, but all you readers were witness to ZombiePirateXXX’s solemn promise to never play Warhammer Fantasy until he had a painted army. Man, the day he flops it will be a glorious day indeed, for his painting skills are legendary. I have visions of bright lights and hosts of angels singing ‘Hallelujah!’, followed by Gribblin giving him a good trouncing.

OK that’s it for now folks, feel free to add more!

Space Hulk – Mission 2 Review

After many weeks of waiting the day finally arrived that we broke out the boards and setup the rather enormous map for Space Hulk’s second mission, the adequately named “Exterminate”. It took Servitob and myself around twenty minutes in order to actually set the board up as it uses most of the pieces from the set and it’s lucky that our dining table extends as we needed the space to accommodate all the floor plan. In this mission, like the first one, you have a single squad of Marines, however, this time you get a Chainfist, an Assault Cannon and the Sergeant with Thunder Hammer and Storm Shield rather than a third Power Fist, the Heavy Flamer and the Power Sword Sergeant. Although there are  a lot of corridors there are also a number of rooms and the players take it in turns placing one of the Terminators in any of the rooms (unless previously occupied) facing in any direction. This inevitably leads to the Marine player putting his dudes down in the most advantageous positions while the Genestealer player tries to fux with them.

In terms of the Genestealer menace all the “2” blips are removed and you make a shuffled stack of all the “1” and “3” blips, you get two a turn but nothing to start the game with. We did our usual of one player is Marines and then switch sides and refight the battle. This can mean that the person playing the Genestealers second may be granted a better insight into how to win, but I will not excuse myself like that, I had the dice curse where the vast majority of my rolls were a 3 or less and that is never good.

First time through I was the ‘Stealers, the Marines have to get within 6 squares of each of the 2 areas that the Genestealers can enter (thereby splitting the squad up) or wipe out everything that comes at them. Genestealers simply need to kill all Humans. So, first time we play through and I stand off the Assault Cannon for most of the game. I manage to dispatch the Space Marine Sergeant who is hovering at the top of the board supported by a Storm Bolter armed squadmate. I tried to move a massive swarm this way and then catch the others from behind while amassing another force to their front. Let’s just say it didn’t work, or it could have done if Servitob wasn’t rolling 5’s or 6’s all the time with alarming regularity. I lost wave after wave of aliens without even getting close. Every time I managed to jam the overwatching Storm Bolters he’d always managed to pull out the counter that would allow him to unjam it before blasting more Genestealer to redecorate the walls. I lost by virtue of the fact all the Stealers were wiped out. My mistake was not throwing bodies at the Assault Cannon, if I had done this then it would have depleted its ammo faster and I’d have had a change to get in there and cause some damage.

When we switched roles things went very different. My own Sergeant saw off some aliens in close combat before getting whooped while Servitob learnt from my mistakes and threw bodies at the Assault Cannon, it ran out of ammo and my very first shot after reloading was 3 2’s which caused the thing to explode killing the Marine… pretty much summed up my day. After that it was a war of attrition that I was destined to lose. I jammed, had no Command Points to unjam, or threw dice so low things walked through a hail of fire and straight into combat. These things happen but it was still getting tense towards the end as a single Terminator remained gunning down Genestealers before finally being overwhelmed.

Bring on Mission 3…

Space Hulk – Your Levis are Mine!

So, played some more Space Hulk versus ZombiePirateXXX today, Mission II – Exterminate.  It was the first time the ‘stealers have won in our multiple games and I think I learned a thing or two about how to get your claws and teeth into the meaty goodness underneath that terminator armour.

1)  Don’t allow your boys in blue to stroll towards a marine with a storm bolter on overwatch.  Duh.

2)  Pile on any close combat marines.  Yeah, they have loads of bonuses and those thunder hammers can give you a right headache, but eventually the marine will become distracted, flunk out and roll a one.

3)  Given the choice of rushing banzai style towards a storm bolter or assault cannon, go for the assault cannon.  They are prime gribbly mulchers, but there’s a good chance they won’t kill you all, run out of ammo, reload, then explode for your amusement.  Especially if you are playing against ZombiePirateXXX.

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).