Unboxing: Space Hulk Board Game

Welcome to the first review on Roemer’s Workshop! Today I’m breaking the trend of being outdated (GW is really giving me a hard time being up-to-date!) and have come up with a relatively new release to present: the Space Hulk miniature board game. Hop in to take a look at what’s inside after the jump.

For those who do not already know, Space Hulk is about missions that a group of élite, genetically engineered super soldiers called Space Marine Terminators undertake onboard a gigantic spaceship called “Space Hulk”, against a swarm of aggressive, intelligent and very much Giger-esque aliens called Tyranid Genestealers. The game is designed for 2 persons, each player taking one side of the conflict to achieve mission objectives. The catch is that the Space Hulk in question is riddled with tight corridors which force the slow-moving, bulky Terminators to often be in single file formation, preventing covering each other and relying on strategy to outsmart the rapid moving and seemingly endless torrent of Genestealers. The following trailer sums up the story pretty nicely:

 

Also, here’s a shot of what an example game looks like:

Man versus Alien in Desperate Battle. What else would you expect from a far future where there's only war?

Man versus Alien in Desperate Battle. What else would you expect from a far future where there’s only war?

The first version of the game came out when I was a little kid in the late 80s and this iteration is the 4th release GW has unleashed on us. It took me some time to get my hands on the game and I was actually really worried that I would never be able to buy it due to the immense interest in it from the fan base. Think about it: every time the game is released it is in limited amounts and every release has something like a 5-10 year gap in between. Naturally, when I got the newsletter e-mail I rushed to the computer to take a look and saw that the US stocks still lasted. Luckily I had some relatives traveling there who were kind enough to bring me the package (along with other goodies) and I happily ordered away. I later found out that the EU preorder was eaten up the same day, but I digress.

Badass, isn't it?

Badass, isn’t it?

Here’s the box in its full glory. First thing that you figure out is that the box itself is really heavy, and I’m talking several kilograms here (kinda made me wince to think I made people carry it all the way from the US to here!). It’s also made of thick cardboard and features a nice assortment of artwork across it, making it both sturdy and beautiful at the same time.

Compared to other boxed sets I own, this one is the toughest looking, and rightfully so:

Now that is good packaging.

Now that is good packaging.

With sprues on top, the kit comes with a nicely arranged set of gaming materials, some packaged separately, with the booklets on the bottom. The models are on a total of 5 sprues: 1 small sprue for the librarian and the C.A.T. unit, 4 larger sprues that contain the Genestealers (3 indigo sprues), “door holders” and the Terminators (1 red sprue). I understand that this is practically a re-release of the 2009 set but still, the models really pop out with their high detail, even challenging some resin minis I’ve come across. Never ceases to amaze me. Anyhow, here’s a few shots of the sprues with close-ups on some models that caught my eye:

While I appreciate the idea that this is mainly a board game and the pieces are designed to be representing two teams with distinctly different colors (hence red for the Blood Angels and indigo for the Tyranids) I think those who intend on painting the minis will have a hard time with priming the models black, especially on the Genestealer front. There’s lots of detail on these fine miniatures that I would really be worried about covering using a spray primer: black on such a dark base color will be difficult to see and adjust. We’ll see how it goes, but I’m pretty sure I’ll stick to the brush for the first few test models.

I admit I’m in this mainly for painting the miniatures but there will be a time when I’ll be playing the game with friends or my wife (if I can get her to be interested that is!) and that’s where the rest of the box becomes important:

The two booklets that come with the game provide the core of the requirements of playing the game: one rulebook that contains the “can dos” and “cannot dos” for each faction and the mission book that provides some variation and guidance for setting up the board and deploying the pieces. Rule-wise I am only familiar with the video game that was released in 2013 but looking over the mission booklet that came with the box, I think they’re either exactly the same or very similar to those in the video game. Thus I reckon the only thing for me (and other gamers out there familiar with it) is to understand the operational issues such as how the timing and the set of dice play a role.

All in all aside from the coloring of the sprues I think the quality of the set is very high if not excellent and makes for both a very cool board game you can play with as well as a set of miniatures with outstanding cast quality for those mainly interested in the hobby side. Recommended to anyone who would get it with the next release, which I am informed again from the newsletters will be in December 2014.

Here’s a parting shot of the bonus from GW, and thanks for dropping by!

2014-10-17 00-37-10

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7 comments

  1. Very nice overview Roemer, thanks!

    I’m really psyched to get my hands on it and start playing, although I’m kinda worried that half of the playing pieces will be stuck in various stages of painting in your workshop when I come back from US 🙂 Well I should be back around New Years, which gives you only (?) 2.5 months so better get on with it!

    Also, what do you say we do a couple of review posts for the actual boardgaming aspect as well? I know I’m going on a bit of a tangent here, but I think miniature and boardgaming hobbies often go well hand-in-hand.

    Take care, Emperor protects!

    Like

    1. Good to see you as a commenter here Xasf!

      2.5 months is definitely cutting it a bit too close now that I’m working on multiple projects with deadlines, but I’ll try to have some models to play around with before you come back. At least the game board comes pre-painted!

      I would love to have a go at that. We could set a guest/joint post resembling a battle report. I know you have some other boardgames in the same universe so if you’re interested you can do recurring posts here too. Send me a draft you got and I’ll gladly pin it here.

      … and don’t you mean the False Emperor?

      Like

      1. False Emperor, you say? http://imgur.com/6OULB8W 🙂

        I think a “battle report” kind of thing would go well, great idea! And yes, at the moment I have 3 more 40K games lying around: Horus Heresy, Conquest and Space Hulk: Death Angel (the card game). And I’m currently bidding on a WHFB game as well, so we’ll have plenty to go on.

        I might even start some previews from here and then we can do playthroughs together later on, let’s keep in touch!

        ++Thought for the day: The guilt of heresy weighs heavy on the soul.++

        Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh yeah, absolutely. He certainly has a lot of potential, I’m sure you’ll do a fantastic job on him!

        Like

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