Review: Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game


Designer:  Corey Konieczka
Year: 2010
Publisher: Fantasy Flight Games
Players: 1-6
Game Type: Action Movement Card Game

A cooperative game where the players attempt to clean out an infestation of hostile aliens from a derelict spaceship. Set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe, players take on the roles of Space Marines pitted against hordes of Genestealers.  

Players choose from six different combat teams, each consisting of two Space Marines with different abilities. Each player receives three Action cards for each of his combat teams. After all of the Space Marines have fallen into formation, prepare for the first wave of Genestealers.  

Game play is quick and easy to learn. Each game is played over a series of rounds, broken up into phases. During the Choose Actions Phase, each player must secretly determine which of the following Action cards they wish to play on their Space Marines: Support, Attack, or Move + Activate. You can't pick the same Action card next round, so choose wisely.  

Action resolution keeps all players involved while the overwhelming odds inspire them to work together to survive. The Action Resolution Phase consists of each player revealing and carrying out their chosen Action. The lowest number card goes first, which means Attacks are resolved after Supports. Support tokens enable Space Marines to re-roll, so make sure to cover your fellow Blood Angels.  

The Genestealer Attack Phase happens after all the Actions have been resolved, so hopefully you thinned out the swarms since you have to roll higher than the number of Genestealers in the swarm to successfully defend. Finally, an Event card is drawn to spawn more alien adversaries. Once all the Genestealers have emerged from the darkness, its time to move forward, drawing a new location card. And then it's back into the fight!

What is in the box.
SETUP
Setup for Death Angel is relatively simple, but will take about 10-15 minutes. You will need to choose 3 starting teams (colors, 2 characters each), setup the team action area, then sort and randomly choose the four rooms you will hopefully get to go into. Next you will layout your team in a random order in a vertical column, then choose an event card and place the Genestealers. The game takes a good deal of space for a card game too, so be warned.

GAMEPLAY
I won't be able to lend much to explaining multiplayer play, as I only did the solo version, but there are a good deal of similarities from what I understand. You goal is to kill all Genestealers, which you will do through the available actions for each team. The actions are basically Attack, Move and Support, and each team can not repeat the same action on back to back turns.

With the Attack action, you will simply attack in the direction you are facing, left or right. Attacks are done with a special D6, and rolling a skull will result in a Genestealer death. Certain Marines have a range attack, and can attack even if a Genestealer is not in their lane, but they have to be facing in the correct direction, which leads to choosing the move action.

With the Move action, you can move up and down the vertical column, and flip which way you are facing. So you might not be able to attack on a certain turn, but you can get your team into better placement for the next round.

The final action is Support. With Support you are are able to lend a hand to other troops of different colors, by using support tokens. These will allow for reroll's on attacks or when being attacked.

After the player phase the Genestealers will attack. For the enemy attack you roll the same D6, but instead of worrying about a skull showing up, you just need to roll a better number than the number of Genestealers that are attacking. So if two are attacking you need to roll a 3 or higher. Any hit, means death of the Marine, unless you have a support token on that character and can reroll.

The Final phase is the event phase. Draw an Event Card, do what it says, and then place new Genestealers in the rooms it says. Then you start the next round.

Solo game setup.
SOLO PLAY
I can really only see this game being fun for solo play, because of all the cursing you will do. Much like Xenoshyft, this game is brutal. A 1 in 6 chance of rolling a zero during an attack and your down a Marine. Start spewing those bad words, next round you roll a 1 and dead again... $#!^%(.... Oh look you rolled a zero again... !Y&*(^!(*&(^*&%!)*(&!. I'd probably punch someone if I was playing with them, so trust me, this game is all about the solo play, and it's fun.


FINAL THOUGHTS
Now be warned, if you are just learning about this game, it's not as easy to come by as it once was. When I first learned about it, not too long ago, people were saying it's only a $25 game... well I paid $30, and now it's even higher. Due to the license leaving Fantasy Flight, it's not supposed to reprint any time soon, and with the rise of Solo Gaming, thanks to the Facebook group's popularity, this is becoming a tough one to get your hands on.

The replayability is REALLY HIGH, as you randomly choose the 4 locations, enemies are randomized, cards are shuffled, etc. It may be the same premise again and again, but it's different, and you are always trying to coordinate your cast, to try and even make it to the final 2 bosses.

If you are easily frustrated with games, this might not be for you, but if you can handle losing again and again and again... it'll be worth every penny when the victory finally rolls around. For me, this is a must own game for any Solo gamer.

SCORE
4.5 out of 5 Solo's

PROS
* Good strategy
* Great replay value
* Great artwork

CONS
* Becoming harder to find for a good price
* Hard as hell to win


Game Soundtrack Sponsored by Metal Blade Records: 
Execration - Return to the Void
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DecapDan Royer DecapDan Royer Author

2 comments:

  1. Nice review. Do you have Space Marine Pack #1 ? If so, how much does it add to the game. I was able to pick up a set of the game with all the expansions save that one and I'm curious how much effort to put into finding it.

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    Replies
    1. I wish I had any of them. Sadly no, I haven't found a good deal online for any of the expansions, but I am always on the lookout for a good deal on them.

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