Friday, 19 September 2014

Review - Space Hulk: Death Angel - Tyranid Enemy Pack

In the first week of September 2014, Games Workshop announced the release of a new edition of Space Hulk. To honour this occasion, AlwaysBoardNeverBoring is running a series of Space Hulk themed reviews. Next up is an expansion for Space Hulk: Death Angel.

Space Hulk: Death Angel - Tyranid Enemy Pack


Space Hulk: Death Angel - Tyranid Enemy Pack
Designed by Brady Sadler
Published by Fantasy Flight Games
For 1 - 6 players (in conjunction with the Death Angel base game)

You know Space Hulk, right? It's that game where you send a team of heavily armed and armoured marines into the wreckage of a spaceship, and then watch hopelessly as an army of genestealers go all Jackie Chan on the poor sods.

Yeah. I love that game.

Well, you know Space Hulk: Death Angel, right? It's that game where you send a team of heavily armed and armoured marines into the wreckage of a spaceship, and then watch hopelessly as an army of genestealers go all Steven Seagal on the poor sods.

Yeah. I love that game too.

Well, you know one thing I have never thought when playing either of those games?

I have never thought, "Man, I wish these enemies were a bit more Bruce Lee."

I may not have thought it, but someone at Fantasy Flight Games sure did, and the Death Angel - Tyranid Enemy Pack expansion is the proof: A set of cards that takes a brutally tough game and ratchets the hurt levels from "wet towel on the ass" up to "stepping on an electrical plug with no shoes on."

Now, I don't often do expansions. They tend to add extra rules to games I already love, and they end up overegging the pudding. However, the Tyranid Enemy Pack is an expansion done right. It is simply a new deck of tyranid cards that replaces the existing genestealer deck. It is completely modular, allowing you to swap it in and out without any fuss, and it does not change any of the core rules. 

(As an aside, it is worth noting that, as this expansion is from Fantasy Flight Game's print on demand service, the cardstock is not the same as the cardstock used in the base game. The cards are smooth, rather than linen-finished, and there is a small amount of feathering around the edges where they were cut. Having said that, the cards shuffle like silk, and they are still really nice to handle. Furthermore, you never shuffle base game cards and expansion cards together, so the difference in card quality does not impact gameplay in any way.)

The main purpose of the tyranids is to add some variety to the way the enemies act during a game. While the genestealers in the base game all do exactly the same thing, the tyranids are a completely different kettle of piranhas. Now, as you trudge through the claustrophobic ruins of the hulk, you are going to meet a host of different foes, each with a rather delightful and evocative name:

The Raveners, which get multiple attacks; the Rippers, which chase down marines mercilessly; the Lictors, which are sneaky b*stards; and the Hormagaunts, which may bring additional tyranids to the party when they show up.

Sounds like fun, right?

And it is fun, if you like getting the beating of your life.

Space Hulk: Death Angel - Tyranid Enemy Pack cards
The gang's all here... to tear your face off.


But if you're craving an even greater challenge, you can introduce one of the four new objectives that ship with this expansion. Just shuffle the four objectives and randomly draw one instead of using the objective locations from the base game. Simple.

If only winning the objectives was so easy.

You see, each new objective represents a Hive Lord you need to kill: A gigantic, ferocious, unstoppable killing machine with slavering jaws, immense talons, and a thirst for terminator blood.

Having trouble picturing it?

Imagine the alien queen from Aliens.

Got it?

Right, now imagine you left your powerloader at home.

Space Hulk: Death Angel - Tyranid Enemy Pack Mawloc
The Mawloc is one of the toughest adversaries.


Ultimately, the Tyranid Enemy Pack is an expansion for people who want a horrific challenge.

It piles on the pressure.

It pounds you mercilessly with enemies that are stronger, faster, and cleverer than the original genestealers.

It makes you suffer.

It makes you feel hopeless.

But then, it's an expansion for a Space Hulk game. What did you expect?

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