Friday, August 13, 2010

is that a space hulk in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?

i didn't go to gencon.  everyone of my friends rave about how awesome it was.  it's kinda annoying really, but i'll probably wind up going next year.  even though all the footage online show huge lines of fat bastards wheezing over copies of games that no one else can buy yet.

and i can only image the magnitude of gamer funk and steampunk costume desperation...

but one good thing did come of it.  i had a friend (thanks mike!) pick up a copy of fantasy flight games' death angel.

the game is a cooperative endeavor for 1 to 6 players, who take on the role of imperial space marines tasked with clearing a xenos infestation from the space hulk sin of damnation.

folks familiar with the games workshop property that inspired this little silverline game will know all about marines versus genestealers (or 'stealers).  for the rest of you, imagine this:  space men fight nasty aliens in a derelict ship.  sold yet?  you should be.

i tried two solo games today, and i have to admit it's a helluva challenge and a lot of fun!

here are my thoughts broken down:

  • small and portable like the rest of the silverline.  great quality in the printing of the cards and all components.  as usual. 
  • nice length of game (about an hour to play)
  • gets the environment of space hulk right.  great atmosphere, art, and very tense gameplay.  unlike the board game, the card game has location cards that are marked to illustrate areas where 'stealers are more likely to appear than others, but this doesn't reduce the amount of tension, and as you start to lose marines, it really does become harder and harder to manage your fire lanes and kill the 'stealers before they eat your face.
  • simple gameplay that is pretty straightforward and easy once you learn the way the cards work.
  • a nice cooperative mechanic that allows for a variety of choices for actions that are resolved in a particular order.  fail to be a good team member, and you could be killing not only yourself, but the rest of the squad as well. 
  • nice variety between the various marines allowing a team that is good at shooting and close combat. 
  • the rules booklet.  the layout is awkward and requires some flipping back and forth in the booklet to get a grip on the way the various cards work within the rule system.
  • would like to have either a small zip top bag or tuck box for the components included. 
  • would like the marines have more than a 50% chance of killing something when attacking.  imperial space marines are genetically engineered killing machines.  i would probably suggest having the kill pip (a skull) on 4 of the 6 faces (taking it to 66%) of the die.  to compensate for this the blip piles could contain more 'stealers and each location could "spawn" an additional 'stealer during the event phase.    
overall, it's a lot of fun, and definitely worth your hard earned gaming dollar!