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.