Board game review: Space Hulk: Death Angel. The Card Game

November 4, 2012 at 7:25 pm (Board games, Games) (, , , , , , , )


Here’s a kick-off to yet another sub-projects of mine. I plan on giving my impressions of a variety of board games I’ve been playing lately. Specifically I’ve been stockpiling card games. The first of these reviews stars Space Hulk: Death Angel. A Warhammer 40,000 card game by Fantasy Flight Games. This is a 1-6 player game where the players work together to battle aliens and complete their mission.

Presentation

At a first glance, this game is pretty well made. The cards and tokens are packed in a small box and the cardstock is good quality as well. I tend to buy plastic covers for my card games that have cheaply made cards, but I never had to do this with this game. The art on the cards is well done and there is a large variety of great content. Granted, you will see repeat art on the alien cards, but during play I’ve almost never stopped to look at them anyway since they tend to travel in packs. Also they’re aliens; as a human, you probably wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between them anyway.

Gameplay

This is only the second card game I’ve owned and I’ll admit that I had expectations of the gameplay being closer to the Warhammer 40,000 tabletop game (since I’m somewhat of a veteran of that game). Initially it was difficult trying to figure out the flow of the game, and some discrepancies and misunderstandings of the rules caused my group  to get butchered on our first play-through. That being said, once you figure things out there is a lot of combinations and strategies to keep the game interesting. There are six different combat teams that players use, each with different special abilities. Some of these range from being able to block out attacks to being able to wipe out whole swarms of aliens.

The Downside

There are two downsides of this game that I’ve hit; one of these being the fact that it is a dice-based game. There is only one die that players use for combat rolls, and a string of bad luck can wipe out a player from the game early-on, or kill their main heroes leaving a boring sidekick to use for combat. There are some mechanics that allow re-rolls, but it is disheartening to spend your sought-after support tokens just for a string of failed rolls.

The next problem is not so much of an obvious problem. It is a team game, and it takes a bit of planning for a group to craft their victory and avoid character deaths. With this in mind, one advanced player can end up guiding other less experienced players through the game without any input from them. This might not be an issue, and this isn’t exactly a game for board-gamers who get their fill from “Cranium”. However, being handed a die once or twice per turn can only remain interesting for so long.

Summary

Altogether, I had a blast with this game. I’d highly suggest it for anybody who is a fan of co-op card games or fans of the Warhammer 40,000 universe. The quality of the game and its convenient box made it a favourite. Furthermore, additional expansions can be ordered from Fantasy Flight Games to keep the game fresh. Everything from new characters, to new location cards, to an alternate set of aliens are available. Be warned though, the expansions are print-to-order sets. This means that the cardstock is not the same as the original set. Since this is a cardgame where players do not maintain a “hand” of cards though, this is only a minimal annoyance.

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1 Comment

  1. Board game review: Elder Sign « Jake Seigel's Blog said,

    […] cards and all the components. I suppose I just rather would have had a small, thin box like that of Space Hulk: Death Angel so that it would travel easier. Overall, this is a game that regardless of if you like it or not, […]

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