Space Hulk – Session Recap – “Exterminate”

Space Hulk

In the far future, mankind’s glory is dying out, but a few embers burn brightly. The Blood Angels are one of these embers, a Space Marine chapter in the service of the Empire. They now find themselves inside of a “space hulk”, a colossal derelict which drifts through the void, made up of innumerable vessels that have been pressed together over millennia, and they are fighting for their lives. Their enemies are the ferocious genestealers, and as they swarm through the space hulk, the marines must use their wits and their superior but limited weaponry in order to seek vengeance for their lost brothers, and perhaps escape alive.

Space Hulk is a game designed for two players by Games Workshop. It pits a small contingent of heavily armed space marines against the genestealer swarms in a fast paced battle spread out over twelve chapters. The game itself has a claustrophobic feel, and a tense atmosphere. Perfect for a month of horror themed games! This is the third edition of the Space Hulk game, and was a limited release. The entire print run has been sold out, but for those with the means and the drive, it shouldn’t be too hard to track down this game.

Recently, GFG South took the first two scenarios of Space Hulk for a test drive. I helmed the Genestealers and played rules encyclopedia, while Justin commanded squads of Space Marines. Before we jump into our record of the second scenario, “Exterminate”, one particularly important game mechanic should be mentioned. While the Genestealers have an unlimited amount of time to perform their actions, the Marines have only three minutes every turn to perform all of their available actions. This adds a tenseness to the game, as well as simulating the heightened speed and sense of the Genestealers.

For reference, in our first game, the Marines were the victors. Make no mistake though, the game is designed to be challenging for both sides, but particularly difficult for the Space Marines. In our first game the Marines won by a thread.

For those who have become interested, bear in mind that the avoidance of mechanics discussions is intentional.  The rules and mechanics in Space Hulk are important, but they are there to help convey the feelings of the Marines you control. An extreme sense of claustrophobia, imminent dread, and the knowledge that you are always fighting against the odds; the game is about experiencing these as your friend gleefully shreds your men in an unrelenting melee assault. This game channels sources like the Alien films, and sticks it into the dark and desperate setting of Warhammer 40k.

If you can track this down and are more of an alien horror rather than supernatural horror kind of person, this might be the perfect Halloween game for you. And for those of you who want something a bit more classic, look for my review of Fury of Dracula later this month.

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