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Subject: How does this game hold up today? rss

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Erik Tengblad
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So I'm a bit tempted to pre-order the newly announced reprint, but having never played the game before I'm curious about how the game holds up against more modern board games of the same type? I hear SH being talked about in reverent tones, but it always seem to be when people reference playing the game in their youth.
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Joseph LaClair
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The game was released in 1989, not sure when the 2nd edition was released and the 3rd in 2009. Each edition has some rules changes with most who came in in 1989 preferring 1st edition rules. In any case the different rules allow you modify the game to your taste.

Space Hulk has been compared to many games but was the first of it's kind. It has been compared to many games but there are few that are like Space Hulk.it's been compared to Claustrophobia but they really are nothing alike. The closest in my mind is Legions of Steel but it's out of print and you do not hear the praise for that game that you do for Space Hulk.

It holds up well and is probably hands down better than most of the games that it is compared to.

It's rules are simple and easy to understand and yet it is full of meaningful choices. There is also a good amount of luck. I feel it is the perfect balance between strategy and luck.

This is not a campaign driven game but rather a series of one off games, if that is not your thing then you may not enjoy this as much possible.
It has been said that each scenario is a puzzle that once solved offers no replayability. I agree with the puzzle aspect but disagree with the replayability. You can try different tactics and different load outs per scenario.

There is a reason it is still heavily sought after all these years and it isn't simply nostalgia. It has been and probably always will be my all time favorite game, and I have a fairly hefty collection.
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Henrik Schmidt
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I tried the computer game and was very disappointed fast. The computer game is a true representation of the boardgame according to some reviews.

By biggest gripe was that the marines are running in a conga line most of the time due to the narrow corridors and that there is very little strategy involved for them. Is there more to the game ?
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Andrew B
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LarkinVB wrote:
I tried the computer game and was very disappointed fast. The computer game is a true representation of the boardgame according to some reviews.

By biggest gripe was that the marines are running in a conga line most of the time due to the narrow corridors and that there is very little strategy involved for them. Is there more to the game ?


That is true, however, I think this is one of the cases where a digital version was not needed or appropriate. The game functions well as a boardgame and should be played like that.

The strategy is not huge, the rules are not very complex, there's plenty of luck, but that's the point. It's a game with meaningful decisions that still has a lot of chaos in it. It is one of the most traditional American style games.

If you want a head to head game of strategy play an abstract. This game's all about the atmosphere and feeling and it succeeds at that.

Just checked Erik's game ratings, I think this one would work for you. It's always hard to say, but it might be worth a shot, you could probably easily trade it away after if you do not enjoy it.
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Yiorgos Golfinopoulos
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I went to great lengths to find a 3rd edition, never having played the game before. After playing the first four missions I got bored and I resold it.

Too much luck, meager choices and the atmosphere begins to fade after a while despite the excellent components and setting.

So I don't think that it holds up very well today. In fact I think that if one takes away the great toy value and the nostalgia factor there's not much left to work with. Those things aside, if the game were released for the first time today, I think that it would go mostly unnoticed.

That's just my opinion of course, coming from my personal experience. I don't mean to bash the game and I am certainly not a hater. Many people like it even if I didn't.

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Kevin Outlaw
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Personally, I love Space Hulk.

The game is incredibly tense for the marine player. Your turns are timed, so you only have a few seconds to organise your team. And the corridors are so narrow, once you file into one, you cannot change the order of your troops...

The narrow corridor fighting is brutal, and because your terminators are so slow (it takes an action just to turn to your left or right), it is difficult to defend your rear.

And you will fear crossroads, where you normally have to leave some of your troops standing guard, knowing they are sacrificing themselves, and hoping their guns won't jam as the aliens surge forwards.

Of course, you don't even know what enemies you are fighting until you draw line of sight. They are just "blips" on the board that could represent one alien, or many massed together.

You truly get the sense that you are a unit of incredibly slow soldiers who are prepared to (and must) die for the cause in the face of countless enemies.

Playing as the genestealers is completely different. They move quickly, in any direction, and there are dozens of them. But you can't just run mindlessly at the marines or you will suffer severe casualties. You need to mass in the darkness, bide your time, and then surge forward in a large group when the marine player makes a bad choice.

Yeah. I love this game.

It has plenty of luck in it, but it is also a puzzle. There is an optimum way to play each mission, but it normally takes many games to get it right. Mistakes are penalised severely (seriously, the difference between winning and losing could be placing your marine one square to far forwards), and good play does dramatically improve your odds (although dice can also fudge your day up).

I bought third edition last time round. I don't intend upgrading - I don't see the need. And I sure as hell won't buy those iBook missions. But I believe the base game is solid. It is a little rough around the edges, but it is still more fun than most of my other games.

(And it is totally different to Claustrophobia, by the way; which is also an excellent game.)
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The computer game is a tricky one as, although it represents the game very well on paper, it somehow feels different due (IMHO) to expectations we have of such games. The computer game turned the turn timer off by default (which was a really weird decision), and the experience felt a little removed. I think SH is one of those games where you need to immerse yourself in it in ways that a screen experience doesn't allow.

In the board game the aliens really feel like they're moving fast through the corridors of the derelict space ship and, if they reach you, their claws are almost tangible. The marines on the other hand are "conga line" clunky and this disparity adds a lot of the flavour to the game. The struggle to mobilise their firepower before the enemy hits (with the added tension of time-limited turns and the beautiful "overwatch" mechanic) creates an electric tension that makes this game the classic that it is. The disparity between movement styles of the aliens and marines in the board game somehow feels less significant in the computer game.

The replayability is a problem after a while with the basic missions, but I got years and years of packed weekends with 1st edition as we designed so many of our own from scratch, vast maps and unbeatable odds. Glorious.

How much of this is nostalgia? Well I recently have played a number of GW games from the years when they weren't a blight on the industry and when by "hobby" they seemed to be comfortable with fan-made content. Out of all these Space Hulk stood up the best, and I have played 3rd edition to bits. I've even ordered the new one (for hulk diversity rather than the extra missions/parts), even though it pains me to give money to GW.
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John "Omega" Williams
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LarkinVB wrote:
I tried the computer game and was very disappointed fast. The computer game is a true representation of the boardgame according to some reviews.

By biggest gripe was that the marines are running in a conga line most of the time due to the narrow corridors and that there is very little strategy involved for them. Is there more to the game ?


Alien Assault is the true representation of Space Hulk as it originally was Space Hulk and GW pulled the deal at the 11th hour forcing a retheme at GWs order.

As for Space Hulk holding up. It holds up as well as any game out there. Which it it simply is. It has easy rules and this is one of its strengths. Its pretty straightforward though and lacks the variety and added options of Warhammer Quest.

You can find rules summaries or Alien Assault online and I believe GW had the rules online once. Doubt they do now.
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Marc Bennett
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jphien wrote:
The closest in my mind is Legions of Steel but it's out of print.


wow that brought back memories! I really enjoyed space hulk but I loved legions of steel.
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-=::) Dante (::=-
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While there will always be passionate evangelists for a game this venerable, a lot of people, including many with nostalgic affection for it, feel it's seriously outclassed by many of it's successors:

http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1055206/level-7-omega-protoc...

http://boardgamegeek.com/video/36544/level-7-omega-protocol/...
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John "Omega" Williams
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Personally I think Project Pandora: Grim Cargo does a great job of being Space Hulk without being Space Hulk.
 
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Vasilis
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The game is TOTALLY outclassed by newer games.
Level 7: Omega Protocol for example blows it out of the water easily.

Even the new Star Wars: Imperial Assault seems to be in a better place based on the info we've seen so far.


Having said that, Space Hulk has a kick-ass theme and it has one thing going for it which still is No.1. It's tense, claustrophobic and creates "adrenaline situations". The strategy and tactics are low, it is outclassed in that regard.

For me there are two reasons to like this game:

a} If you enjoy the claustrophobic theme and tense die rolls.
b} If you want the miniatures anyway.

If you want a TACTICAL game, there are way better games now though. So think this through if you are on the fence as the game is not cheap.

P.S. An extra special reason not to like this game IMHO is that GW essentially tricked their customers in a false sense of urgency during 2009 with the artificial "limited supply" of the game and now that they probably have financial problems they want to make quick money by re-selling the same "limited" reprint of the game. Moreover, they even went the extra mile by putting a few gimmicks inside the new box to make "old" 2009 owners feel bad about their apparently incomplete version of the game and rethink about buying this one too.

They also sell extra scenarios for iOS {are they even balanced? I'm not so sure about that} for outrageous prices AND making you think about getting X Space Marine Terminators to play them!

This move is entirely a "we are out of money and we need cash NOW" situation in my eyes. I firmly believe that they didn't plan to release Space Hulk again up until the point that their financials went sideways and they realized they can get a nice boost of fresh cash with this reprint.

For this reason alone one may choose to NOT buy this game and go give his hard-earned money to other companies and get a similar if not better experience in the same game genre.

Just my 2 cents.
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Kevin Outlaw
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Omega2064 wrote:
Personally I think Project Pandora: Grim Cargo does a great job of being Space Hulk without being Space Hulk.


Never tried Project Pandora. I remember being intrigued, but reading a lot of negative comments.

I tried Incursion, which has many similarities with Space Hulk, and I really didn't enjoy it at all.

 
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Ian McCarthy
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Omega2064 wrote:
LarkinVB wrote:
I tried the computer game and was very disappointed fast. The computer game is a true representation of the boardgame according to some reviews.

By biggest gripe was that the marines are running in a conga line most of the time due to the narrow corridors and that there is very little strategy involved for them. Is there more to the game ?


Alien Assault is the true representation of Space Hulk as it originally was Space Hulk and GW pulled the deal at the 11th hour forcing a retheme at GWs order.

As for Space Hulk holding up. It holds up as well as any game out there. Which it it simply is. It has easy rules and this is one of its strengths. Its pretty straightforward though and lacks the variety and added options of Warhammer Quest.

You can find rules summaries or Alien Assault online and I believe GW had the rules online once. Doubt they do now.


Alien Assault is a decent amateur attempt to imitate Space Hulk, but the lack of move and fire, no time pressure, and the ability to activate all your marines simultaneously makes it feel like all the intensity of the board game has been sapped out of it. I played several missions of both the original Space Hulk version and the latest Alien Assault game and it was diverting, but it is in no way a true representation of Space Hulk. One day I will try the new iOS/PC version.
 
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There are games that have nuiances in their rules that make them a a little superior over Space Hulk, Claustrophobia is a good example. In space Hulk the marines go into overwatch in both Melee and shooting, but Genestealers can't. A Space Marine can force a genestealer to stop and roll against and re-roll any misses, genestealers don't get that oppurtunity. I've seen plodding Space Marines, in my games, perpendicullarly walk past quick, agile genestealers!
In Claustrophobia, that action on the same tile, will immediately start combat.
Spave Hulk is a little outdated, but for nostalgia factors, it's good for the soul.
 
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a few thoughts on some comments:

Space Hulk as a reference game
Because of its simplicity, because of its unique high pressure and split time decisions qualities it will always stay unique and be a model for everybody to look up to when designing the game.
Becasue of that the game mechanics can never get old, because they are a universal , time defying perfection. Like chess if you like.

Space Hulk as a starting point for other games.
This happen so many times.
- Seeing something Space-Hulk like. (exclamation sign blinks in my brain)
- trying to calm myself, thinking rationally (trying to stomp the blinking sign)
- exploring the fluff (if its well done, im sold already ergo: incursion)
- reading the rules (assuming it is generously (sic!) provided by the venerable publisher.) We all know one can't really say how the game plays through only reading the pdf but still...
- Buying the game and being utterly dissapointed.

Somebody commented about how he didnt like incursion. Thats a typical example of a game , which through addition of badly designed cards ruined the Space Hulk tension. Exactly as the aforementioned Alien Assault did with the simultaneous movement. Believe it - if you are so close to perfection, its so easy to ruin it by bad design decisions. Even if they look like a brilliant idea in your pdf. Think about it in terms of music - nobody adds anythign to Mozart. And the copycats of the time make you stop listening to their "creations" after a few seconds.

The rules for Space Hulk has been written by one man Richard Halliwell. When complaining about the other unsuccessfull games, it is only fair to say that Games Workshop has only produced the inferior versions of Space Hulks following the 1ed.
Every later edition had a minimal changes to the basic rules which were always detrimental to the game experience. It is easy to see, that these rules had only been changed for the sake of putting something new in a new edition. They are always unnecessary and often straightforward bugged (like a flamer in 2 ed.) These "new" rules must have always been a product of some nameless idiot lemming closed in a GW boxed office, and Richard Halliwell had never anything to do with the later editons.
Even if apparent rules changes seem miniscule, they have a profound influence on a gaming experience, which has been a very polished product to start with. Also, any gripes with "bad space hulk rules" are only relevant to later editions.
The new rulebooks were also full of unclear subjects , requiring FAQ, a feat in itself considering how simple the original rules are and the editorial possibilites nowadays. (computers anybody?)
Thats why i strongly urge you to immediately throw the rulebook into the garbage bin and enjoy the 1st edition rules written by Richard Halliwell (omg i want to write "Garfield" every time ;D). The 1st edition rules also have the advantage of being most clear and conscise, are very easily printable and are devoid of superfluous overblown text structure so common nowadays. Any rules from new editions (like a boarding tiles or elevator which is BTW nothing new) can of course be immediately used in 1ed.

PS - Apart from aforementioned reasons, every rule change in later editions also made Space Hulk easier for Marines. Thats is unacceptable! Squeal and play the game how it was meant to be played ;D
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Bryce K. Nielsen
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NuMystic wrote:
While there will always be passionate evangelists for a game this venerable, a lot of people, including many with nostalgic affection for it, feel it's seriously outclassed by many of it's successors:

http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/1055206/level-7-omega-protoc...

http://boardgamegeek.com/video/36544/level-7-omega-protocol/...

Ha! Thanks for referencing my review

I put L7OP as "a hair better" than Space Hulk, but honestly rethinking it, I think Space Hulk is just slightly better in the 1v1 arena while L7OP offers a ton more in the 1vMany arena. It's hard to beat the [b]timer[/i] in Space Hulk. It adds so much tension to the gameplay that makes it so incredibly fun to play. But yes, overall L7OP is a better game. Plays very smoothly, has ability to have up to 6 players, a lot of great customizations, etc.

But having said that, and going back to the OP's question, I think Space Hulk still holds up well as a modern game.

-shnar
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One point to remember is that the 2009 version made to the top 10 of BGG what is no small feat. It held its own not only against other similar games but also against the universe of games in the BGG database. It was only when GW threatened BGG with a legal action that retaliatory ratings took Space Hulk out for good.
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this thread did some good , i want to obtain Level 7 [Omega Protocol]. I knew nothing about this game before and it looks very interesting indeed. But can somebody please tell me why oh why is is THAT expensive? i am in europe and i have to shell out for it at least 85 eu, its the cheapest offer on Amazon ATM.
Even pretty expensive Plaid Hat games cost 70 eu here. But they are worth it.
What is the reason for this abnormally high price? Is this game out of print or is 85-90 eu a normal price for this game?

i can't help comparing it to some other games and both the content and the price are not satisfactory in my opinion. Either make make much better quality content and charge for it proudly or scale down the price accordingly to the (poor) components quality you offer. There was a discussion once with Robert Florence about the passing of times when one paid extraorbitant amount of money not for the components but for the idea. i am not sure whether it is the case here. The "photo is too blurry" ;D
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-=::) Dante (::=-
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dorelas wrote:
What is the reason for this abnormally high price? Is this game out of print or is 85-90 eu a normal price for this game?


Sounds like they don't have a proper distribution partner for your market. It's still in print and sells for ~58 USD here.
 
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Ben Kyo
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Very well. Approach each mission as a puzzle, then try to react in 2 minute windows to the dice screwing up all your plans.

It does not play like a tactical miniatures game. Do not expect it to, and you easily be able to see how it stands up to (and surpasses) many modern board games.
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Mattias Elfström
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LarkinVB wrote:
I tried the computer game and was very disappointed fast. The computer game is a true representation of the boardgame according to some reviews.

By biggest gripe was that the marines are running in a conga line most of the time due to the narrow corridors and that there is very little strategy involved for them. Is there more to the game ?

The iOS Game is almost an exact representation of the board game. As can be seen there the game is tense and exciting, but has almost no strategy at all. That being said it will probably be a few plays before the players realise how to play the game well.

The reason for there being almost no strategy is the simplistic rules and narrow maps. The choices you have usually boil down to how many spaces you leave open in your line of sight and how many actions points to keep for clearing jams.

Even if the rules are simple the game is fairly fiddly to set up and play. The models are slightly too large to fit close to each other.

All that being said the game is very good looking, has some charm and appeals to young gamers.

PS I always felt that the space marines looked quite silly. I had to replace mine with more serious looking models...

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It holds up fine. In many ways it's stripped down design feels very elegant and modern.
Problem is it is too stripped down. While it has a lot of randomness due to attack rolls of the marines there is no real chaos which makes the ame static and repetitive. It's fantastic for 6 or so plays, but about halfway throught the mission book you are done.
Really it's just a puzzle game for the marines. After a while you just feel like you can look at the map, quickly work out the 'optimal way' to play the map and just go through the motions. If the plan goes to shit early due to a few bad rolls and you lose a marine it's usually hard to impossible to recover from as the marines as they are so slow to react. So the game gets static.
The genestealers on the other hand are brainless and boring to play. Anyone who biches about Dungeonmaster/overlord roles but recomends this game needs their head read, this is one of the most boring 'evil' roll games there is next to heroquest (which making adventers for is more fun.)
Overall it's a great game to pull out once a blue moon, but why you would play it over the much superior games that have come since then is beyond me. If you don't own clausrtophobia forget this and get that - there is much more play in that box.
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Erik Tengblad
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Thanks for the replies everyone. As I already own a few two player minis games (like Klaustrophobia) I think I will pass on SH. You all just saved me $125.
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Christoffer Wahlsten
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Bowmangr wrote:
Level 7: Omega Protocol for example blows it out of the water easily.


Just wanted to say thanks for bringing this game to my attention. Had never heard of it before today and now that I've looked into it, it's on the top of my must get-list!
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