Brian Hall
United States
Ohio
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My first instinct upon reading the rules to Space Hulk 4th Edition when it was first released was that things had been made much too easy for the marines. Being able to instantly go back on overwatch after clearing a jam, and having sustained fire for overwatch seemed to be geared toward making the game easier for marine players, and I didn't really like that. I found this sentiment in many online forums, including those here on BGG.

So, after thinking this for awhile, I decided to put the rules of each version to the test. I own the 1st, 2nd, and 4th editions of Space Hulk, and I decided to play the same mission from each edition one after the other. I'm sure this is not 100% foolproof, and I may get slightly different results if I try this again, but overall, it changed my mind a little about the rule tweaks in 3rd and 4th edition. It's a given that the rules were tweaked to make things easier for the marines, but based on my experiment, the difference is not as bad as I thought it was.

This was done with 2 experienced Space Hulk players. We played Suicide Mission in each of the 3 editions that we compared. Each game was done with both players taking turns as marines and genestealers.

First of all, we started with, of course, 1st edition. We used the 1st edition components and strictly stuck to 1st edition rules. In both games, the genestealer player won, so we won a game apiece. For each of us, the marines got up near "the corner", but didn't get much further before the flamer was killed.

A couple of days later, we set up the same mission using the 4th edition components and again, stuck strictly to the rules of 4th edition. This time, for both marine players, we got closer to the target room that needs to be flamed, and both of us made it past "the corner", but in both games, the genestealer player won. So in 4th, the marines definitely had a little easier time, but not so much that the space marines had an easy time.

Then a few days later, we did the exact same thing using 2nd edition components and rules. This time, I actually won as the space marines, but my dice rolls seemed to be particularly good that day, especially with the sergeant in close combat. When I played as the genestealers, I won without too much trouble, and killed the flamer when he was about 3 spaces from "the corner."

So from the experience we had, there's no question that 4th edition was a little easier on the marines, but it wasn't as big of a difference as I had previously thought. I used to love the aspect that Space Hulk was supposed to be a struggle for the marines, and I had thought that 4th made it too easy. I now think that what felt like the game being easier was as much to do with the fact that I've gotten better as a player over the years as it does with the tweaked rules. Again, the newer rules definitely make things easier on the marines, but it wasn't such a big deal that the marines won without much trouble, and in fact in our experiment, as I previously mentioned, the marines lost both games in 4th.

So now I'm much more comfortable using the 4th edition rules as is, seeing that while helpful to the marines, the changes didn't have as much of an effect as I thought. I like each ruleset enough that I'll still probably use the ruleset of whichever box I get out to play with for variety, but I like each different ruleset for what it is.
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sacha cauvin
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Interesting, we have been playing for years and rules changes have not seemed to change the outcome lots.

I like your experiment.
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Philip Lodge
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It does get easier for the marines but the Genestealers get more blips (I believe) to counter balance, turning it into a shoot fest, in a game that is already a heavy dice roller, overwatch, move 1 space roll, move 1 space roll, over and over. Did it really need to get more arcade like?

We played 4th ed OW rules etc, 1st ed mission, Marine player new to the game, Genestealers lost. That's when I may have dreamed up that Genestealers were meant to have an extra blip.

There is a Strategy for the 1st mission on here some where. Makes it a win for the Marines almost every time, unless your rolls are extremely bad vs extremely lucky Stealers. Pretty much all 'experienced' Marines would play it that way but I'm not experienced and forget how it goes.
 
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Richard Talbot
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When you say "instantly go back on overwatch after clearing a jam", you still have to wait for another Stealer action before you can spend another CP to clear the jam. So, in affect the Stealer gets a move without being shot at I'm just clarifying this for my own benefit and checking to see if that is how you play it?
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Brian Hall
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RichyT wrote:
When you say "instantly go back on overwatch after clearing a jam", you still have to wait for another Stealer action before you can spend another CP to clear the jam. So, in affect the Stealer gets a move without being shot at I'm just clarifying this for my own benefit and checking to see if that is how you play it?


Once you get an overwatch shot and jam, on the NEXT genestealer move in LOS, you can spend a CP to clear the jam, and go back on overwatch with no additional CP expenditure (in 1st edition you had to spend 2 more CPs to go back on overwatch on the following genestealer action). Then, on the next genestealer action that the marine can see, you can shoot in overwatch again.
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