home grown expansion
by Andrzej Cierpicki
So what is Space Hulk? Well, unless you have dropped in here by accident, you probably already know what it's all about. However, just in case you are none the wiser, let me explain. You will have seen the movie Aliens (and if you haven't, go right out and rent/buy it now!) . . . this is a game that's all about big, butch marines, armed to the teeth, going head to head with a brood of scary aliens armed with teeth (not to mention lots of claws). The game captures the visceral excitement of the film nicely (not to mention the desperation of the marines as the swarm of aliens advances ever closer, each creature killed seemingly being replaced by 2 more) and is unusual in the opposing sides being so completely different in abilities and consequently tactics employed. In short, a splendidly accessible fast paced game of monster mayhem!
I was first introduced to Games Workshop's Space Hulk by Nick Alter in 1990 - I was sceptical at first but was quickly converted and became an ardent enthusiast. When Nick left Hong Kong shortly thereafter he bequeathed me his copy and since then it has grown like Topsy. First came the addition of the 2 expansions to the 1st edition game, Genestealer and Deathwing followed not long after, in 1996, by the 2nd edition of the game - a gift from Richard Leeding - to which I added another copy of the game to expand the tile-set. Michael Withington kindly donated me his 2nd edition tile-set not long after. So now I have 3 complete 2nd edition tile-sets, not to mention the additional tiles that I have made up from the inserts in White Dwarf magazine - some 250 tiles in all, enough for endless permutations of monster games of monsters.
The games came with a variety of plastic models and to this I was soon tempted to expand the Genestealers and replace the plastic terminators with metal figures.
However, as with all enjoyable games, there comes at time when the urge to tinker gets the better of me, and this is what this article is all about; a home grown expansion of the basic rules. None of these additions change the original rules of the game, they just provide an additional layer of variety, albeit at the price of some extra complexity, and in return increase the challenge and replay value considerably.
So, without further ado, I offer you the additional charts and tables (in MS Excel format) which are, I hope, self explanatory:
The above will allow you to introduce a variety of additional troop types, including Tyranids armed with ranged weapons, some of which are shown below.
And some more, including some of Games Workshop's second edition figures.
So, how does the game look when played? Well here are a few shots of a recent game held on my dining room table. The map and scenario were generated by me and the final result was a decisive Marine victory - due primarily to the bad guys not getting enough blips each turn! It will be more balanced next time.
UPDATE! Still not convinced? Well, why not give the latest computer version of Space Hulk a try (published in August 2013). This is a great game that is very true to the third edition board game and comes complete with the 12 scenarios from the campaign "Sin of Damnation". In the solo version you can only play the Marines, but the multi-player option allows you to play the Genestealer side. Get more info here.
As an alternative, try "Alien Assault" created by a couple of talented Swedes, Niklas Åstrand & Jörgen Nilsson. This one is simliar to the first edition of Space Hulk and has a mission editor in addition to the several missions included in the download. It's addictive and its free! Download it here.