I played a bit of the first Space Hulk on the PC. Awesome game during its time, great graphics, sound and real time action with great atmosphere. It was based on the turn-based boardgame. Elite space marine Terminators board ancient hulks of derelict space craft to purge the presence of alien Genestealers.

I am not surrounded, merely in a target-rich environment.

Recently I had the chance to play Space Hulk with the board game rules on the PC. As its name SpaceHulk-SP suggests, it's single player only with control of the Blood Angels terminators. The game comes with Space Hulk 2nd Ed rules which it's based on. All 18 missions in 3 campaigns are from the original board game. It's straightforward fast paced action.

BASICS

There's two sides, the Space Marine(SM) Terminators and the Tyrannid Gene Stealers(GS).

Turn based battle takes place on square tile maps. GSs are faster, with 6 action points(AP). SM terminators have 4 AP each. However they benefit from tactical advice through comms with their commander. At the start of each turn SMs get 1d6(one six-sided die) Command points(CP), which are bonus action points that any Marine can use. Most actions take 1 AP, moving a square, turning 90 degrees, starting melee, shooting, opening a door... It takes 2 AP to move backwards. GS have greater mobility, turning right angles for free, 180 degrees for 1 AP. They can strafe to the side for 1 AP while SMs can't.

Why don't they use transparent bases? Grass everywhere?Most SM terminators wield Storm Bolters(SB). Each SM squad of 5 terminators has only one SM carrying a heavy flamer(HF). They are all equiped with a power fist for close combat, except for the Sergeant of the squad, who uses a power sword instead. Storm bolters come with unlimited ammo, I guess they come with lotsa clips. The heavy flamer has limited fuel.

"In addition to its formidable protective value, Terminator Armour has its own built-in weaponry: a Storm Bolter and a Powerglove. The Storm Bolter is a multi-chambered, short- barrelled development of the trusty standard bolter already used by the Legiones Astartes. It shoots at a faster rate than the original weapon, allowing it to lay down a curtain of fire. It is also quite short, partly because it is built into the exo-armour, making it an ideal dose combat weapon."

 

CLOSE COMBAT

SM termies can shoot, while genestealers can't. GSs kick terminator ass in melee. Here's the rules for melee, a GS or SM can start melee by spending an AP when an enemy is right in front of them. SMs get to roll 1d6 while GSs roll 3d6 and take the highest die. No one dies on a tie, the one with the higher score kills the other, unless he is the defender and facing away from the attacker. In this case, he doesn't kill the attacker but turns to face the attacker.

The SM Sergeant gets two bonuses for using a power sword instead of a power fist. He gets one point bonus to his 1d6 and may choose to parry, rerolling one of the GS's 3d6. If attacked from the side or back, the power sword confers no bonus(1d6 as usual).

NORMAL SHOOTING(STORM BOLTER)

Shooting a SB costs 1 AP, 2 Shooting dice are rolled, each with 1/6 chance of killing a GS, or destroying a door when shooting at one. Firing when moving forward or backward also costs 1 AP.

SUSTAINED FIRE

When remaining stationary while firing, if his initial shot miss the target, his next  shots at the same same target while remaining stationary are more accurate as the Terminator adjusts his aim. This is called sustained fire. The 2 Shooting dice have 2/6 chance of hitting each during sustained fire. Moving or changing target breaks sustained fire.

OVERWATCH

Space Marines with storm bolters can stand guard, firing bursts at Genestealers when they advance on the SMs. Spending 2 AP allows a SM with SB to enter Overwatch. When in Overwatch the SM will fire at GSs advancing in his fire arc, up to 12 squares away, during the GS phase of a turn. Shooting is resolved as usual, Overwatch never gets bonus for sustained fire as it involves wild bursts at signs of movement. Also this may lead to jamming. A weapon jam has a 1/6 chance of occuring each time the SM fires in Overwatch. The Stormbolter cannot fire when jammed till it is cleared(1 AP), effectively ending Overwatch fire.

An overkill occurs when both shooting dice hit a target. The target and another GS or door adjacent to it are destroyed.

Doors block line-of-sight. They can be opened or closed for 1 AP as usual. Doors can be shot(SB only) or bashed open(1/6 chance for both SM and GS).  Its best for SM to blast them open as they block LOS, and GSs may try to close them for cover while advancing.

SHOOTING(HEAVY FLAMER)

The heavy flamer(HF) starts with a full tank of 12 flame counters. A flame counter can flame a square, flaming the square with two counters keeps it alight during the GS's phase, blocking access to it. 2 AP is spent to fire the flamer, and you can place up to as many flame counters as you have left, but squares flamed must be adjacent to each other and within 12 squares range. A GS caught in a flaming square has a 5/6 chance of dying. In most missions the HF will have a spare tank, reloading costs 4 AP.

"Burn the heretic. Kill the mutant. Purge the unclean."

 

 

GS gain a certain number of reinforcements per turn(depending on the mission) in the form of blips, scanner traces. A blip contains 0-6 GSs. Blips arrive through entry points. When a blip lurks, it means that the blip remains in the entry point. Lurking can be voluntary, or forced for a turn when a SM is within 6 squares of the entry point.

In certain missions there will be bulkheads at GS spawn points. These bulkheads can be closed(just like doors), sealing the entry points.

Here's the background for the 1st campaign:

SIN OF DAMNATION

The chance sighting of a hulk, apparently inert, and drifting through real space, was the first since a disastrous Blood Angels engagement over six hundred years ago. The hulk was spotted by a Rogue Trader who was exploring the edge of the Segmentum Obscura. Its captain approached the hulk but, fortunately for the Imperium, decided against a boarding action. Instead, he returned to human space, and notified Battlefleet Obscura.

From the Rogue Trader's data, the vessel was conclusively identified as a Genestealer-infested space hulk and code-named 'Sin of Damnation'. Like its predecessor, the vessel was still dormant, relying on its near invisibility to escape detection. Like all hulks, it was a unique combination of technologies. The ship's origins could span galaxies and hundreds of millennia. Intact, it could yield enormous value to the Imperium.

Three Gothic class battlecruisers were despatched to investigate - the Intolerance, the Indestructability and the Righteous Power. As the ships travelled towards the hulk an astropathic request for help was broadcast, which was promptly answered by the Blood Angels. Their First Company was on its way back to Baal, and could easily make a diversion. The Blood Angels arrived a few hours after the Imperial ships, and the commanders immediately held a conference on the flagship, Intolerance. It was decided to attempt a boarding action, and, if this failed, the hulk would be fusion bombed down to a fine powder by the three Imperial battlecruisers.

Suicide Mission

As the blunt nose of the Chapter's boarding craft smashed through the steel skin of the space hulk, the Intolerance blazed the alien vessel with a great burst of radiation. The flash of data was quickly analysed by the onboard computers to give the Imperial forces their first detailed view of the inner layout of the space hulk. On the dark green view-screens of the bridge the skeletal passages and chambers glowed with a ghostly white light. Commander Bellisario pointed to one of the groups of glowing dots clustered around the outer levels of the hulk.

"These match up with the protuberances on the outside of the hulk", he said. "They appear to be small boarding craft, perhaps escape pods. We cannot risk any planet-side contamination - no Genestealers can be allowed to escape. It is imperative that the pods are destroyed or disabled before we launch our main attack".

Within minutes, the next wave of data from the scanners had fleshed out the three dimensional floorplan of the hulk. Wide spectra analysis revealed a fine red network of active power conduits, and, more ominously, hundreds of blobs of cold blue - cryogenics chambers.

Computer analysis predicted that the escape pods were all linked to a central control room situated well beyond the defensive perimiter, in the centre of several larger, cryogenic clusters. Any squad moving into the area was unlikely to get out alive, but Commander Bellisario ordered a squad to attack immediately. The Space Marines could afford to delay no longer...

Summary

The Space Marines are attempting to deliver a flamer hit on the Launch Control Room.

Space Marine Objectives

Squad Lanarte must deliver a flamer hit to every floor tile in the Launch Control Room in the south-west. All flamer hits must be made on the same turn.

The Space Marines lose if the Space Marine carrying the flamer is killed, or has less than nine flamer shots left.

The Space Marines move first.

Opposition Forces

There are two blips at the beginning of the mission, with a further blip arriving every turn. The Blips use any entry area, but may be forced to lurk for a single turn if a Space Marine is within six floor tiles of the entry area.

SUICIDE MISSION

TURN 1

SM terminator squad starts in a single file, the Sergeant Lanartes leading, followed by Crowe, Deitrich, Drake and Hicks. Drake is armed with the heavy flamer. The Sergeant moves towards the north corridor, the rest of the SMs advance forward.

Blips start showing up on the scanners. 

TURN 2

Crowe opens the door to expose 2 Genestealers.

Crowe fires his Storm Bolter and kills a Genestealer. He enters Overwatch. SGT Lanarte opens the door leading to the north corridor and enters Overwatch.

A Genestealer charges towards SGT Lanartes and gets shot down.
Crowe guns down 3 Genestealers heading for him.

TURN 3

Crowe kills another Genestealer, the corridors are clear and the SMs advance. (Total Kills(TK):6)

A blip approaches from the northwest spawn point.

TURN 4

Crowe moves to cover the northwest spawn point, revealing the blip is a false signal(0 GS). He backs up to allow Deitrich line-of-sight west down the corridor.

A Genestealer appears, moving south after Crowe.

TURN 5

Crowe kills the Genestealer coming at him with ease and enters Overwatch. Deitrich Overwatches west down the corridor. Drake and Hicks head south towards the objective. (TK:7)

SGT Lanartes is still covering the same corridor as another Genestealer attacks, and gets his second kill. (TK:8)

TURN 6

Drake continues towards the Launch Control room. Hicks overwatches the 2nd corridor leading towards the west spawn point.

A Genestealer dashes into his field of fire and SGT Lanartes makes his 3rd kill. (TK:9)

TURN 7

Drake reaches the Launch Control room and incinerates the place with his heavy flamer.

First mission complete, easy one. Move quickly to cover the few entry point before the GSs mass and the job is done. Time for the second mission.

Exterminate

Commander Bellisario paced across the bridge of the Intolerance to where the Techmarines clustered round the view screen, studying the layout of the space hulk. The Space Marines had succeeded in destroying the launch control room, but at the cost of an entire squad of Terminators. Bellisario hadn't been alive at the time of the Blood Angels' first encounter with a space hulk six hundred years ago, when the First Company had been virtually wiped out, but he felt the burden of their loss reaching out to him across the centuries. Now he hoped to avenge their deaths, and finally lay their souls at peace.

The ship's layout had been analysed, and the likely routes for an alien advance had all been plotted. It was calculated that the first enemy attacks would be delivered from a cryogenic cluster a kilometre away from the landing area. Sealing a key junction along this route should block the route. A squad of Space Marines had been sent to the junction, 300 metres beyond the projected perimeter defences. Here, it was hoped, they could cover the beachhead area by slowing down the rate of enemy reinforcement.

The advancing Space Marines reached the junction and spread out to check the nearby rooms for unspotted aliens. The sweep was finished with only seconds to spare. By the time the Space Marines reported the area secure, several hundred Genestealers were converging on their position. The Terminators were outnumbered by over sixty to one, and it was obvious that it was only a matter of minutes before they were wiped out.

Summary

The Space Marine squad is clearly doomed. It is only a matter of time before it is destroyed by the numberless hordes of rampaging Genestealers. The Space Marines have one overriding desire: to take out as many Stealers as they can before they go down.

Space Marine Objectives

Squad Cyrano must must kill at least 30 Genestealers before being destroyed.

The Space Marines move first.

Opposition Forces

There are no blips at the beginning of the mission. Two blips will arrive every turn. Blips will not lurk, but may not use any entry point within six floor tiles of any Marine.

EXTERMINATE

Right this doesn't sound hard, just kill 30 Genestealers.

TURN 1

The squad starts out scattered. From left to right, the SMs are Hurd(HF), Corrin, Tobias, Vincis and SGT Cyrano.

SGT Cyrano faces south and tears 2 doors apart with his Storm Bolter. Vincis moves to support Cyrano, as there is another corridor leading to the south entry points to cover. Corrin will have to cover west, with Tobias moving to support him. I figured I won't need the Heavy Flamer and left Hurd where he was.

A blip approaches from the west and one blip turns up from the south as well.

TURN 2

Tobias and Vincis are still moving to support. Corrin opens the door leading to the west corridor, revealing the west blip, 3 Genestealers.

Corrin opens fire furiously(5 shots) but kills only one Genestealer. He enters Overwatch, ready for the approaching Genestealers.

The 2 Genestealers race down the long corridor against Corrin's salvos of bolt fire. Corrin looses four long bursts and nails one GS. SGT Cyrano notices a GS creeping ahead and fires his Storm Bolter, missing and jamming his weapon. 2 Genestealers head towards him.

TURN 3

Corrin unleashes a hail of bolt fire that kill both the third Genestealer, and another behind it. He enters OW.

SGT Cyrano clears his weapon and mows down the two advancing Genestealers. Another Genestealer waits patiently around the corridor.

Corrin makes out motion in the distance and fires, not hitting anything significant.

To the south, the Genestealer decides its time to round the corner, but two quick bursts from SGT Cyrano proves it wrong.

TURN 4

Corrin fires down the long west passage terminating two more of the xenos. Scanners indicate that more Genestealers have closed from another passage. I decide the west corridor can't be held, and Corrin falls back to the middle of the room, turning to face the south door of the room. Tobias advances but his line-of-sight to the west corridor is blocked by Corrin, darn. Tobias enters OW. Vincis has reached the other south passage.

A Genestealer makes its way down the west corridor while 3 GeneStealers have closed via another passage.

To the south, SGT Cyrano kills a Genestealer while on OW, jamming his gun in the process.(Total kills, TK:10, SGT Cyrano having 4 kills, Corrin with 6.)

TURN 5

Vincis guards the other passage leading to the south entry points. Corrin heads south, and turns around, entering OW. I'm planning for the ordnance of the two Terminators, Tobias and Corrin, to pour into the room from the east and south to hold back the genestealers. Tobias kills a GS in the west corridor and enters OW again. (TK=11)

A Genestealer starts to enter the room. Tobias sprays at it, walking bolt fire towards it... and his bolter jams. The Genestealer moves into the corner of the room away from the open doors. It sensed a heavy Terminator to its right. Prodding a panel carefully with its claw, it closed the south door on Corrin. The situation looks bad, the Genestealer threatens both Tobias and Corrin. Hmm this is starting to sound like chess.

TURN 6

Corrin could back up and go on OW, but backing up one square only barely helps, and Tobias is in a nasty spot too. I decide to advance Corrin to kill the Genestealer in the room, while Tobias on OW cover Corrin from other Genestealers. I have 3 CP this turn. Corrin opens the door, advances and faces the GS(total 4 AP), firing 3 bursts at it(3 CP). The Genestealer survives. Uh oh. Tobias clears and enters OW. Turns out I have to use my Heavy flamer after all. Hurd moves, facing the room, ready to cleanse and burn.

(Side note: It turns out I moved Corrin badly, reading the rules carefully so I could write this report, it turns out I could have moved to the open door, and the GS would be on a diagonal in my arc of fire, and I could have had two more shots at it. Oh well.)

The Genestealer slices and dices Corrin, and zips forward, dodging Tobia's shots. Tobias falls beneath the rushing Genestealer's claws. Terminators 11, Genestealers 2. It turns back into the room to go after Hurd. Two Genestealers come to its aid.

TURN 7

Hurd marches forth to the open doorway, eager to avenge his brother marines. He torches the 3 Genestealers in the room(TK:14).

SGT Cyrano kills a Genestealer approaching from the south(SGT Cyrano has 5 kills, TK:15). The Genestealers in the west area advance in the absence of bolt fire. A Genestealer enters the room, the one behind it closes the door for cover.

TURN 8

Hurd moves up to the Genestealer in the room and incinerates it, denying the Genestealers entry to the room with the intense flames(Hurd has 4 kills, TK:16).

A Genestealer runs into the south corridor Vincis guarding. I was kinda glad to see it, if Vincis didn't get to fire a single shot I would have felt stupid sending him to guard the spot. Anyway Vincis misses his shots on OW. 

TURN 9

Hurd sets alight a Genestealer using a single flame counter (Hurd has 5 kills, TK:17), turns around and runs(3 flamer counters left). Vincis tears the Genestealer ahead of him apart with explosive bolts(TK:18). A Genestealer gets right behind Hurd, barely missing him.

TURN 10

Hurd turns around and flames the Genestealer(6 kills for Hurd, TK:19). he has only 2 flame counters left in tank so he's lucky the blip behind the fried Genestealer is actually zero genestealers.

SGT Cyrano fires 3 bursts on OW at a Genestealer approaching from the south, making no kills. Easy job he has.

TURN 11

I got 4 CP this turn.

Cyrano kills the GS in 3 shots(6 kills for sarge, TK:20) and reenters OW, 3 CP left. Hurd flames(2 AP) the lead Genestealer of an approaching swarm with his last 2 counters, stopping the Tyrannids at the cross-junction. Tank empty, Hurd uses his only spare tank and reloads(needs 4 AP, so I used 2 remaining AP and 2 CP). Hurd has purged 7 xenos, TK:21.

On OW, SGT Cyrano kills 2 more Genestealers(8 kills for Sarge, TK:23). He's like a Terrorist camping in a good spot with a PPG.

TURN 12

Hurd continues to fall back.

Sarge on OW misses attacking Genestealer from the south. To the west 3 Genestealers enter the room where much killing has occurred.

TURN 13

Sarge kills it with 2 bursts, snaps back to OW. (9 kills for Cyrano, TK:24)

Hurd keeps the room clean of Genestealers, burning the 3 Genestealers who are in a neat single file. He torches the last Genestealer with 2 flame counters, holding the other Genestealers off. (10 kills for Hurd, TK:27)

A Genestealer decides to take the long way round.

TURN 14

Just 3 kills from my objective, I see a chance to lure the Tyrannids forward and get them bunched up so I can torch them. I advance Hurd forward, closing outside their reach.

The Tyrannid swarm advances relentlessly.

TURN 15

Hurd moves into the doorway, emptying his tank, and he unleashes a huge and steady gout of flame down the passage, killing 5 Genestealers. 15 kills for Hurd, TK:32. Mission success!

I think I wouldn't have lost any Terminators if I didn't screw up my movement, or backed up earlier, or maybe started off defending further back. Maybe I could have held the room initially, with the heavy flamer in it to back up.

Right, that's the first two missions of eighteen missions in SpaceHulk-SP. I found the game fun, never having played the boardgame before, and having a chance to experience a close approximation. The boardgame should be great too, fudging dice rolls, taunting others... Seriously I think a time limit is usually set for a player's moves, leading to potential screwups.

Here's links to Warhammer 40K fluff on the Space Marine Terminators and Tyrannid Genestealers. Starcraft's based on Warhammer 40k and there's much similarities between the Zerg and the Tyrannids.

http://www.criticalhit.co.uk/w40krp/wd145_tyranids.shtml

http://www.criticalhit.co.uk/w40krp/WD109_Terminator_Squads.shtml

Thank you readers, I hope you enjoyed my report.