SPACE HULK: DEATH ANGEL - THE CARD GAME
by Fantasy Flight GamesPublished in 2010
I already introduced this game in my blog some three years ago, but now - repetitive though it may be - I'm writing another story from the cramped corridors of the Space Hulk.
For a quick recap, Space Hulk: Death Angel is a light spinoff card game from the massive Space Hulk -board game.
Death Angel features a small squad of Space Marine Terminators on board of a Space Hulk called the 'Sin of Damnation'. The Space Hulk is overrun by Genestealers, and the Marines' mission is to push through a few different locations in order to reach their destination. Upon reaching their final location, the Marines have to complete the mission by doing a specific task.
Last time the mission was accomplished when my squad of Marines destroyed two Genestealer Brood Lords in their lair.
Now I have a new squad of 6 Space Marines, divided into three combat teams: Blue team, Red team and Grey team.
Lorenzo also wields a power sword with which he can deliver deadly counter attacks to attacking xenos.
Brother Leon and Brother Valencio form the Red team. Eventhough Leon carries an assault cannon with unmatched firepower, both members of the Red team are also known to be very mobile warriors who are experts at using the terrain to their advantage.
The Grey team is formed by Lexicanium Calistarius, the squad Librarian, and his battle Brother Scipio.
The Grey team is stealthy and cautious, but when the combat begins, Calistarius can use his psionic powers to quickly tear apart large numbers of enemies.
The mission is just about ready to begin, but first I'm going to mention that nowdays I use a "Location Substitutions" -chart, which is an unofficial add-on for Death Angel made by a boardgamegeek.com user "haslo".
This simple and clever chart allows a player to use all of the location cards no matter how many Space Marines are in the squad. In the official rules many of the location cards would never be used when playing with only 6 Space Marines, and I find that a bit dull.
This chart can easily be found in the Files-section of the Death Angel's BGG.com page.
THE MISSION BEGINS:
The boarding torpedo docks the void lock and the squad rushes out.
Brother Scipio takes the point, followed by his team mate Lexicanium Calistarius. Two Genestealers approach from the door to Scipio's left.
The other teams follow, Brother Leon coming in last and readying his assault cannon towards the nearest ventilation duct.
Genestealers are extremely dangerous xenos, and not even the thick Tactical Dreadnought Armour is enough to keep Brother Scipio alive; the squad suffers its first casualty right away!
Another Genestealer appears from the ventilation duct, but Leon easily destroys it.
After a short while, two more xenos come through the door and another pair crawls out from the ventilation duct. The monsters begin to circle around Brother Valencio...
After the rough start, the squad re-organizes and takes a more defensive approach:
Calistarius deploys a power field around the three Genestealers stalking the squad from the left - effectively locking them in place.
Valencio moves to secure the door and Sergeant Lorenzo manages to intimitade the rest of the Genestealers away - for now.
Leon turns around and trains his cannon towards the swarm held in place by Calistarius' power field.
The squad arrives to the main corridor. This corridor is well lit, but infested by a large number of Genestealers. Three appear to the right side of the squad.
The other three on the left side are still trapped in the power field.
The Lexicanium disperses his power field and Leon opens fire. Two of the three Genestealers are slain with the help of Brother Deino's support. Deino also kills another xeno that was engaged in a close combat with him.
One Genestealer attacks Lorenzo, and another one attacks Valencio... Both attacks come from behind of the defending Marines, but the attacks are unsuccessful and the squad suffers no more casualties.
The Genestealers often try to sneak behing the Marines, as it is considerably harder for them to defend in such situations.
Two more xenos appear from a dark corner at the right side of the formation, and another two from a door right next to Leon.
Leon is currently reloading his assault cannon and cannot attack...
Both of the creatures are ripped apart by Calistarius' psionic powers!
The rest of the squad members re-arrange their formation and take better positions against the Genestealers that are now attacking from multiple different locations.
Brother Deino takes Leon's place at the door and scares away the two creatures from there.
More Genestealers crawl out from the ventilation duct, but Brother Leon has now reloaded his assault cannon. He and Valencio slay two of the monsters, but a few still remains...
Lexicanium Calistarius uses his stealth tactics to clear the route out from the main corridor. Only a few Genestealers remain between the formation and the next location.
Sergeant Lorenzo, trying to lead the squad forward, gets attacked by two Genestealers. He kills one of them with his power sword, but the other one gets past his defenses...
The squad leader goes down and the formation is now only four Terminators long.
Brother Valencio takes Lorenzo's place at the point of the formation and uses a special one-use flame attack to incinerate the rest of the Genestealers.
Valencio then leads the formation out from the main corridor and into a wreckage labyrinth of some sort. This new location is very disorienting, and the Marines immediately lose their bearings. Luckily there are no Genestealers present at the moment.
The back of the formation can't see any especially threatening terrains, but it would be an excellent idea to leave this labyrinth behind as quickly as possible.
It's quiet for a while. The squad uses the downtime to re-arrange their formation and to reload their weapons.
Brother Leon secures the door.
The hidden Genestealers in the labyrinth begin to draw closer, but only two make themselves seen. One appears directly behind Brother Leon.
These two Genestealers never get to attack anyone, though, as Calistarius is ready with his psionic attack... The Genestealers are destroyed.
But now more begins to appear. Two xenos appear from both sides of the formation.
Leon, Valencio and Deino open fire! Calistarius uses his stealth tactics once more to simultaneously lead the formation onward. The wreckage labyrinth is quickly left behind, and all of the Genestealers currently in sight are destroyed.
The toxin pumping station.
This is where the mission objective can be resolved. Reports show that there are a total of 14 Genestealers in this facility, and the objective is to kill them all. No more traveling forward or stalling, this is where the final fight will happen!
The squad notices that some of the machinery in the room could be used to flush out the Genestealers that are hiding in the pipes...
Some Genestealers show themselves and attack the Marines. Valencio fends off one xeno's attack, while Deino uses his intimidation to scare off the rest. Deino also tries to operate the control panel in the room, but doesn't manage to power up the machinery.
Lexicanium Calistarius attempts to attack the Genestealer fighting with Brother Valencio, but the creature is out of the psionic attack's range.
More xenos appear to the right, but Brother Leon is ready with his assault cannon.
Three enemies are obliterated by Leon's firepower.
Valencio continues his struggle with the lone Genestealer up front, but neither one manages to kill the other one.
Calistarius switches places with Deino and figures out the usage of the control panel. Four xenos are destroyed by the highly toxic materials in the facility - the right side of the formation is now cleared of the enemies.
Calistarius' stealth tactics also help him to destroy one hidden xeno from the left.
But then three more appear from the left, all the while Leon, Valencio and Deino are still reloading their weapons...
Calistarius' psionic attack is ready, but he is still facing the control panel and doesn't notice what's happening behind him.
Valencio and Leon are attacked, but the Red team won't give in. Deino takes Calistarius' place at the control panel and destroys one of the remaining Genestealers from the left side of the facility.
Calistarius is unable to attack the two Genestealers directly behind him, but he does manage to create a power field around the creatures and tie them in place.
Three xenos are destroyed, leaving only one left to attack Brother Leon. Leon blocks the attack.
One more Genestealer appears behind Brother Valencio. This one is the 14th, so the mission is very close to completion... only these two remain.
But the Marines need to reload and recharge their powers... The Genestealer next to Brother Valencio finally gets through the point man's defenses and kills him! The squad is down to three members.
The other xeno attacks Valencio's team parter Leon, but he manages to fight the enemy off, though only with great difficulties.
Calistarius uses his quick instincts and makes a surprise attack at the two remaining enemies.
One is killed.
And now all the remaining Marines have directed their weapons towards the last surviving Genestealer.
They all attack simultaneously, and the enemy has no chances of survival...
The toxin pumping station is cleared of all threats and the mission is successful - with a meagre 50% mortality rate within the Terminator Squad!
I have written that Space Hulk: Death Angel is a very challenging game, and I usually do lose when I play it... But this time I scored a nice victory.
The beginning of this run demonstrated the brutality of this game: The first Marine died literally during the very first game round! And that's not even an especially rare thing to happen - the mighty Space Marines are very vulnerable in Death Angel. In fact, I gave some numbers about the death possibilities of the Marines in my first Death Angel -review, and they explain why each and every attack made by the Genestealers is too much.
Otherwise this game went rather well. I had the Grey team with me, which might be the best team in the game... Calistarius' psionic attack can be devastating, but their Support- and Move and Activate -cards are very useful as well. Looking for attack power only, Zael's flamer or Claudio's charge (from the last review) are usually better, but the Grey team works extremely well with all of their cards.
Well, so much for that! Check my previous Death Angel -review if you want to read more about this cool little game.