Space Hulk- The Board Game
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Space Hulk- The Board Game

The board game of Space Hulk gained a great deal of attention in the 1980s, developed by Games Workshop. Said to have been inspired from the Alien movie series, the game was set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe, (which was another game brought out by the Games Workshop) a time in the 41st millennium where aliens and creatures of the universe engaged in various wars. The universe of Warhammer is replete with ruined space ships, asteroids, and other space junk continually drifting in and out of the Warp, which is an alternate dimension in the Warhammer universe. A hulk comprises of lost information, technology or hostile life forms that may be dangerous for humankind. This is the reason Space Marine Terminators are regularly sent for patrol to retrieve important data, and kill dangerous entities.

Space Hulk includes a board housing various corridor and room tiles that can be arranged together as in a jigsaw puzzle. These represent the interiors of abandoned space ships. Out of the two players, one is in charge of the Space Marines, and the other of the Genestealers, who are the dangerous attackers. Genestealers are a constant threat, living in hulks, attacking those who come on board and spreading their genetic code to multiply. The player with the Space Marines has to prevent domination of the Genestealers and create a game plan to curb them.

The game comprises of hidden play mechanics, which means opposing players can conceal information regarding their line of attack. Strategy and cunning is used to capture the opponent. The total number of genestealers during game play is hidden from the other player. This is because genestealers appear as "blips", which is misleading, as they can represent 1-3 creatures (or 0-6 in the second edition). The Marine player can utilise a number of "action points" each turn that the genestealer player will not be aware of until they are used up, although in the second edition, these extra points were not hidden any more.

In the basic versions of the game, playing for the genestealers is a simple task. So much so, that Space Hulk could be played as a solo game. Playing against the genestealers or being the marines is tactically challenging and much more interesting. This is because the Space Marines player is forced to employ strategy as there is a time limit for the Space Marine’s turn. The uneven nature of the game can be overcome is players play each game two times, exchanging roles after the first play. This should be done for a fair play, as every game is fast; it takes around 30 minutes per game, coupled with the time limitation faced by the Space Marines, poses a challenge for the marines, but not the genestealers. The expansion packs that came for the First edition of the game added a host of accessories for the genestealer. This included the human-gene stealer, weapons and equipment.

Space Hulk received the Origins Award for Best Fantasy or Science Fiction Board game in the year 1989. The first expansion of the game, Deathwing, won Best Fantasy- Science Fiction Board game in the year 1990.
May 6, 2008, 9:05 am

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