|The Genestealer menace, complete with Hybrids and a Magus|
Two of these are games I owned as a child and, while I still have figures/board/bits leftover, they've long since been cannibalised, damaged and otherwise rendered unplayable. Getting copies of them means I can play them "properly" again. The other is a game I didn't purchase before and managed to finally find at a reasonable price.
These games are....
|Space Crusade, HeroQuest and Space Hulk.|
- Space Crusade was my intro into GW games back in the day, a 1991 Christmas present that started me on this whole miniatures thing. This battered copy on eBay has all the cards and tokens from the core game and Mission: Dreadnought. It doesn't come with any figures, but improvising with the Marines/Orks/Dreadnoughts/etc that I do still have makes this little problem. It's actually very similar to Space Hulk in concept and some game mechanics but very much simplified to make it kid-friendly
- HeroQuest was my next step from Space Crusade, another kid-aimed entry game but this time with a dungeon crawly theme. This was very popular in normal toy shops - many supplements were released as well as choose-your-own-adventure books and other such paraphernalia. This copy is complete and comes from the astoundingly kind Paul, an Oldhammer gentleman I recently met online and who gifted me this because he had already obtained his own complete copy. I am very much in his debt for this act of generosity!
- Finally, Space Hulk, the third edition from 2009, all complete with some very minor damage to figures (all fixed with glue) for about half the going rate on eBay. Alas, Games Workshop made this a limited edition release and the fourth edition in 2014 was equally limited, leading to it selling out in hours online and sealed untouched copies going for insane prices on eBay. Getting my hands on a copy for a non insane price has been a goal for a while, but I've always failed - including one time when I had to withdraw a bit because the COMPLETE SPACE HULK was, in very small writing in the description, complete apart from the figures. Good times. :-P
|The cover to the 2009 edition.|
Basic principle of the game is that one player plays a small team of veteran Space Marines in Terminator Armour - heavy powered armour used for boarding actions and the like. The other controls a much larger horde of Genestealers, cunning alien beasts with razor-sharp claws. Within the confines of wrecked space crafts (the Hulks of the game titles) the Space Marines try to complete their missions to recover artifacts, rescue comrades, destroy vessels or what have you while dealing with wave after wave of monster.
|Second edition cover from the 90s - the version I saw on the shop shelves growing up.|
Below the cut we'll cover what happened when Sister Superior and I played a game!
|All the game components, punched and glues|
For Sister Superior and I's first game, she took the Genestealers and I took the Terminators. We played mission one, "Suicide Mission", in which the objective of the Terminators is to get into the control (top right of picture) and use their flamethrower Terminator to destroy the computers therein. Three normal Storm Bolter Terminators (think machine guns) and one Sergeant must protect the flamer until he gets into position.
The genestealer, meanwhile, must swarm around me and find a way to wipe out my team and in particular my flamethrower.
|Starting setup. Objective is in the top right room; the purple arrows mark the places where Genestealers can enter the board|
On any given turn, each figure has a finite amount of points they can spend on actions. These must be used to move, turn, shoot, open doors and the like. The densely armoured Terminators have 4 points per turn, while the nimbler Genestealers have 6. You will note at the start of the game no Genestealers are on the table - they usuually move onto the table over the course of the game, a couple at a time.
Space Hulk is not a "fair" game in the sense that isn't the same for either player - most people consider it biased towards the Genestealer player, but in a fairly open way rather than it being a curel surprise. The Terminators have ranged combat and can shoot the Genestealers at range, but in melee combat the Genestealers will devour and eat Marines no problem. There is a time limit for the Space Marine turn - a little egg timer comes with the game - which wasn't too hard in a five Marine mission but would get tougher with ten or twelve figures to juggle. However, no such limit for the Genestealers, who can take their time to murder you!
|Three blips closing in on me.|
|Oh dear, that counter was 3. My sergeant tries to hold off the oncoming horde with his Storm Bolter|
Perhaps more problematic, mission one is rough. The Genestealer starts with 2 blips and gets 2 per turn, which in a small board seemed to produce total lockdown of aliens around every corner very quickly. The mission design guides I mention earlier suggest that a mission with this few Marines (and with only really one unusual weapon) shouldn't be facing this many opponents, but the intro mission thinks differently!
|I get surrounded by Genestealers and blips, my rear guard wiped out. I'm only ten or so squares into the map!|
|The flamethrower buys me time, but it's not a long term solution.|
|Sister Superior whoops as she claims a victory.|
The game is quick enough that we were able to start again, switching sides. Unfortunately things didn't go much better - Sister Superior in fact couldn't get her Flametheower out of the first room before I had surrounded her with blips and let the Genestealers swarm her poision. It was a bit grim, but at least i redeemed my win/loss record a bit!
|An even quicker alien nomming takes place|
Of course this game brings more figures to paint, not exactly what I need. Sister Superior has occasionally joined me in painting - she is far slower but far neater than I. She seems slightly taken by the Genestealers and I'm thinking of gifting them to her as a project. She's experimenting with a white body/red claws colour scheme - let's see how that turns out on the test figure.
|Original 80s Space Hulk art, from the game's supplements|