Tabletop…uhh, Wednesday?

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Surprisingly, a lifetime of analog gaming has done little to prepare me for dealing with digital problems. I must’ve rolled every die I owned and played every spell card I could get my hands on, but I just couldn’t make the stars align so that Tabletop Tuesday could happen on…you know…Tuesday. I apologize for this scheduling hiccup.

Without further ado, let’s take a joureny 38,000 years into the future and take a look at a fantastic (albeit hard) little co-op game called…

death-angel-logo-horizontal

 

Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game is a co-operative card game for 1-6 players by Fantasy Flight Games.  It plays in about 30 minutes, but new players should be prepared to double that for their first time through.

Components: Fantasy Flight can always be counted on for solid components and this game is no exception. The cards are a nice, sturdy stock, and the art is very crisp and fresh while capturing the grim darkness of the Warhammer 40,000 setting. The rulebook is another story and is definitely a step back for FFG in terms of layout and comprehension.  It’s worth noting that the two Print on Demand expansions available for the the game use a lighter, more flimsy card stock that just does not match up with what comes in the base game.  This however, does not affect play.

oSL13-cardfan

Rules: The poor layout of the rulebook only adds to the confusion of a ruleset that requires at least one game devoted solely to learning how to play. After stumbling through a few turns (both solo and with friends) I finally got comfortable with how a turn is supposed to be played andonce the ball gets rolling, SH:DA does a good job of capturing the feel of an elite team of Space Marines beset on all sides by horrifying alien creatures.
Gameplay: My experience with the game varies. As a solo game (once I got the hang of the rules) it plays quick and easy. With a group, things tend to run a little longer due to the small space the game occupies and the fact that players generally gravitate towards discussing the best courses of action. In both cases, SH:DA succeeds in delivering tense moments where success or failure hinges upon a die roll. The luck factor is mitigated some by the ability to gain re-rolls, but sometimes you’ll lose a team member in the blink of an eye.  If a player loses both of their team members, then they are eliminated from the game completely – a huge black mark for me.
Overall: This game is well worth the price of entry for something to pack up and play either with a few people or by oneself – especially if you’re a 40k fan. However, there are several other games that will scratch the same itch with less frustration at the rules and without the possibility of player elimination.The aforementioned Print on Demand expansions (Marine Pack 1Mission Pack 1, Tyranid Enemy Pack and Deathwing Space Marine Pack) add some nice new options to the game and are well worth picking up, but do little to mitigate the luck/elimination factors.
While it might sounds like I don’t think too highly of this game, I have to say that it holds a place of honor in my collection.  It’s random and difficult and the rules are frustratingly stacked against the players, but it’s a very satisfying experience to go through – even when you lose horribly to a horde of Tyranid horrors so large that you never had any hope of defeating them.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
According to his peers, Ryan plays far too many board games, an awful lot of role-playing games, and occasionally makes time for video games. If asked his opinion, he would just laugh and wish for more hours in the day to create characters and place meeples. On the rare occasion he isn't rolling dice, he's reading comics or watching movies. He eats and sleeps between initiative steps

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