Sunday 21 September 2014

Review - Space Hulk: Death Angel - Mission Pack 1

In the first week of September 2014, Games Workshop announced the reissue of the seminal sci-fi board game, Space Hulk. To celebrate, all this week AlwaysBoardNeverBoring has been running Space Hulk themed reviews in a feature imaginatively called "Space Hulk Week." In the final instalment, we take a look at the Mission Pack 1 expansion for the Death Angel card game.

Space Hulk: Death Angel - Mission Pack 1

Space Hulk: Death Angel - Mission Pack 1
Designed by Corey Konieczka and Andrew Meredith
Published by Fantasy Flight Games
For 1-6 players (in conjunction with the Death Angel base game)

Variety is the spice of life.

And like with many spices, if you add too much, you are going to get burned.

Don't believe me?

Just ask any bigamist who has to go Christmas shopping (Tony Ferrino understands).

Better yet, try adding the Mission Pack 1 expansion to your games of Death Angel.

You thought the game was tough before? Forget it. Add the contents of this expansion and you aren't just turning up the heat. You're blowing up the promethium tank and stripping to your underpants for the ultimate tan.

And yet, the truth of the matter is, this expansion adds very little content at all: Just 12 new location cards (including two objective locations for specific end-game scenarios), one new terrain card, and four cards depicting a new type of alien called an adrenal genestealer (basically, an alien who had one too many espressos).

So really, you are getting just 17 new cards to play with. But like all good spices, a little goes a long way.

The Mission Pack 1 expansion is the kind of expansion I like. It doesn't really change the way the game plays at all, it just gives you more variety and options. As the name suggests, it offers a series of new locations that string together in the same way as the original locations from the base game to create variable missions. However, you do not simply mix these locations in with the base game cards. You have to make a choice when you start: are you going to play a base game mission, or an expansion mission?

It is a shame that you cannot mix the old and new cards together for even more mission combinations; but keeping the mission cards separate is an acceptable compromise to get around the fact that the expansion cards are not of the same quality as the cards found in the base game. (The Death Angel expansions use Fantasy Flight Games' print on demand service, so the cards are smooth rather than linen-finished, and the cardstock is thinner. That being said, I still think they are really good quality; and they shuffle like my nan doing the Cha Cha Slide.)

Space Hulk: Death Angel - Mission Pack 1 location cards
Void Vault sounds like a cure for constipation to me...

The new missions work in exactly the same way as always, so there are no additional rules to learn in that respect. However, two new threats are swirled into the mix of an already pretty threat-heavy game. First, you have to face the terrifying prospect of adrenal genestealers. They spawn at specific locations, and basically don't stop hitting you until they draw blood. The other new threat is a terrain feature called a hull breach. I am sure you can imagine what happens when your space marines stand too close to that.

And that's basically it: two new objectives, numerous locations, and a few nasty surprises for space marines who think the base game is just a touch too easy.

So, is this an indispensable purchase?

No. Not really. There isn't anything in this expansion that is technically necessary.

But then, it isn't necessary to cook with spices either...

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