Cover of the first edition of Space Hulk
Space Hulk is a board game by Games Workshop, first released in 1989, and re-released in 2009. The game is set in their Warhammer 40,000 universe and draws a certain degree of inspiration from the Alien movies.
The term "Space Hulk", from which the game gets its name, is used within the Warhammer 40,000 universe for any masses of ancient, derelict starships, asteroids, and other assorted space junk drifting in and out of the Warp that eventually merges into one massive form, ranging from the size of a small moon to a large planet, which drift through the territory of the Imperium. Because a hulk may contain bits of lost information or technology, or hostile life forms that pose a threat to mankind, the Imperium often sends teams to search for and secure these entities. The hulk may not stay in real space for very long, eventually slipping back into the Warp, so retrieval operations must be rapid and efficient.
Genestealers often make homes of these hulks and attack those who come aboard in order to spread their genetic code further afield, as their role is to act as a vanguard for the main invasion of Tyranids. These hulks could spread Genestealer infestations among planets of the Imperium, yet they are far too massive to destroy from the outside. The Imperium instead has to send an investigative force of Space Marine Terminators against such a coven.
A third edition of Space Hulk was released by Games Workshop on September 5, 2009.
The game is set on a board made up of various board sections which represent corridors and rooms and which can be freely arranged and locked together like a jigsaw puzzle to represent the interior of derelict space ships. One player controls the Space Marines, and the other player controls the Genestealers.
The game is notable for its hidden play mechanics, from which it derives much of its playability and tension. The actual number of Genestealers in play is hidden from the Marine player, because the Genestealers come into play as "blips" which can represent: 1-3 creatures - or 0-6 in the Deathwing and Genestealer expansions - in the 1st edition; 0-6 creatures in the 2nd edition; and 1-3 creatures in the 3rd edition. On the other hand, the Marine player has a number of "command points" available each turn which are only revealed to the Genestealer player after they are used up. (In the second edition, the extra points were not hidden from the Genestealer player.)
Space Hulk won the Origins Award for Best Fantasy or Science Fiction Boardgame of 1989. Its first expansion, Deathwing, won Best Fantasy or Science Fiction Boardgame of 1990.
In the basic versions of the game, playing the Genestealers is very straightforward; so simple, in fact, that Space Hulk is quite playable as a solo game. Playing the marines on the other hand is engaging and tactically challenging - partly because the Space Marines player is constrained by a time limit for his turn. To overcome this shortfall, players are encouraged to play each game twice, swapping roles after the first play. The fairly fast play time (around half an hour per game), driven by the Space Marines time limitation, makes this a reasonable solution. The expansion packs for the First edition add human-genestealer hybrids, which can carry weapons and equipment, to the Genestealer player's forces, adding more depth for the Genestealer side.
1st Edition 
The 1989 edition of Space Hulk.
The Basic Game 
Expansions to the Basic Game 
The 1st edition was further expanded with additional scenarios and rules in articles in the magazines White Dwarf and Citadel Journal. The early articles from White Dwarf were collected and published as two separate expansion packs, and most of the later articles from White Dwarf were collected and published as a book.
- Deathwing, a box set, released in 1990 and focused on the Deathwing Company (First Company) of the Dark Angels Space Marines chapter, which is notable among the Imperium as the only First Company to be composed solely of Terminators. The expansion pack also - among other things - featured rules for the Space Marine player to play the game solo, and rules for additional Space Marine weapons, Space Marine Librarians, new features, and included additional board sections.
- Genestealer, a box set, was released in 1990 and introduced the Genestealer Cult which includes Genestealer Hybrids, the Magus, and the Patriarch. This greatly expanded the tactical possibilities for the Genestealer player. The expansion pack also - among other things - featured rules for an elaborate system of psychic combat, and included additional board sections.
- Space Hulk Campaigns, a hardback book, was released in 1991 and later reprinted as a paperback (1993). It contained much of the material published in White Dwarf, including rules for Traitor Terminators, and rules for Space Marines in Power Armour, and included additional board sections.
2nd Edition 
The 1996 edition of Space Hulk.
The Basic Game 
This edition featured better board artwork and models. It featured two identical plastic five-man Terminator squads with standard weaponry (4 carry storm bolters while 1 has the heavy flamer, 4 have power gloves except the sergeant who has a powersword).
The 2nd edition significantly simplified the rules compared to those of the 1st edition, and it offered less opportunity for expansion, due to the specific dice used by the rules. A critical change was made to the Command Point system, no longer allowing them to be used in the enemy turn, altering the strategic complexity of the game. The rules for the flamer were also changed, and the difference between the standard weapons and the area effect flamer was reduced.
Expansions to the Basic Game 
Although the 2nd edition had no expansion packs, additional scenarios and board sections were released in the magazine White Dwarf, such as "Fangs of Fenris" which involves Wolf Guard Terminators of the Space Wolves Space Marines Chapter, and "Defilement of Honour" which involves rules for air ducts - a new kind of board section which allows Genestealers to move off the main board and back onto it from one place to another place.
Kill-Team Rules for Warhammer 40,000 4th Edition 
As Games Workshop no longer supported the 1st or 2nd editions of Space Hulk, the company published suggestions as to how the game could be reenacted using the Kill-Team rules found in the 4th edition of the Warhammer 40,000 rulebook.
3rd Edition 
On August 17, 2009 an official re-release of the Space Hulk board game was confirmed and listed for pre-order on the Games Workshop web site, to be released on September 5, 2009. The mail order stocks sold out three days before release, and most Games Workshop retail outlets were sold out within a week of release. Games Workshop announced no plans to reprint the game as it was intended to be a limited release.
The models for the 3rd edition were new sculpts and designed specifically for Space Hulk, instead of being shared with the sets for the tabletop game Warhammer 40,000. Advancements in sculpting and moulding have allowed Games Workshop's Alex Hedström to add a greater level of detail to the figures. Each of the twelve models representing Terminators has a distinct appearance, such as Brother Omnio being shown consulting a scanner mounted in his Power Fist. The Genestealers are shown in varied poses, with one bursting up from the floor and another climbing down from the wall. The card counters and the board sections of the game have been made using new debossing techniques which can apply shallow depressions into the cardboard. These board sections are additionally much thicker and heavier than the previous stock. The Games Workshop studio and box art represents the Blood Angels Space Marine Chapter.
The Basic Game 
The rules were modernised to some extent, but were largely similar to those of the 1st edition. One critical rule change was that a Marine jamming his weapon on overwatch does not lose the overwatch status. Also, a new rule, allowing a Marine to go on guard (essentially a Close Combat version of overwatch), was added.
Three computer games were made based on the board game, the first, Space Hulk, for the PC and Amiga; and the second, Space Hulk: Vengeance of the Blood Angels for the PC, PlayStation, Sega Saturn, and 3DO consoles. Both of these were tactical action shooters based on the boardgame rather than reproductions of the boardgame. In 2008, a small group of hobbyists released a PC conversion of the board game, along with assorted scenarios, for free over the Internet. However, within a month the game was removed from the developers' site. They noted that the web download traffic was creating problems, and that Games Workshop were threatening legal action due to THQ's current ownership of the Warhammer 40,000 video game license. According to the development team, their attempts to negotiate for the release of the game with THQ were refused, resulting in the game being rebranded under the name "Alien Assault". On the 10th of december 2012 Games Workshop announced an upcoming release in 2013 of Space Hulk by Copenhagen based game developer Full Control ApS
Mobile phone 
A fan-made game called NetHulk is currently available as freeware. It allows two players to compete head-to-head over an internet or LAN connection, or in a hotseat mode. The game's rules do not strictly adhere to the board game, but are a hybrid of the first and second editions. QSpacehulk is another fan-made freeware available which strictly follows the rules of the second edition.
Card games 
Space Hulk: Death Angel - The Card Game 
The Basic Game 
The game is a card game - although it also uses a special die - for 1 to 6 players.
Expansions to the Basic Game 
Four expansion packs has since followed the initial release of the main game.
- Death Angel: Mission Pack 1 Expansion
- Death Angel: Space Marine Pack 1 Expansion
- Death Angel: Tyranid Enemy Pack
- Death Angel: Deathwing Space Marine Pack
In Warhammer 40,000 
In Warhammer 40,000, the term "space hulk" is used to refer to any massive derelict space ship. Due to the shifting, immaterial nature of the Warp, an otherworldly realm through which ships may travel between the stars far quicker than through real space, some space hulks are jumbled and twisted agglomerations of multiple vessels lost to the Warp throughout centuries and millenia. Space hulks may house more than just Genestealers; other threats aboard can include human followers of the dark gods of Chaos, nightmarish Warp Daemons, and Orks who use space hulks as their "standard" method of interstellar travel. As a corollary, Space Marine Terminators have also fought Genestealers in other settings with narrow corridors in more locales than just space ships; for instance during Hive Fleet Kraken's invasion which instigated an uprising on the Imperial planet Ichar IV, Ultramarines Terminators eliminated a Genestealer Cult in a crypt beneath the rebel-held cathedral.
Space Hulk was one of the first introductions of Genestealers, and although subsequent games have included them as part of the overall Tyranid army, a force composed purely of Genestealers can still be fielded as a sub-type of the Tyranid army, in what is known as a Genestealer cult.
Space Marines Terminators were originally only used in Space Hulk-type scenarios and not the open battlefield, but in response to high demand, rules were added for their deployment in conventional Warhammer 40,000 battles. The plastic five-man Terminator squads with standard armament (4 carry storm bolters while 1 has the heavy flamer, 4 have power fists except the sergeant who has a powersword) were initially only found in the Space Hulk board game, but they were released as a separate box set in 1997 for players who wanted them for Warhammer 40,000 battles. Previously, the only standalone Terminators were available as expensive metal figures in box sets and blister packs. The metal Terminators continued to be sold alongside their plastic counterparts for some time as they contained exclusive weapon/equipment combinations and ornaments not found in their plastic counterparts, such as assault cannons and lightning claws, and Chapter-specific sets for the Dark Angels Deathwing and Space Wolves Wolf Guard. In the 2000s, however, Games Workshop phased out metal Terminator figures altogether, and the plastic Terminator box sets now contain sufficient parts to allow the full variety of weapon and equipment options to be modeled.
See also 
- Space Hulk Rules. Games Workshop. 1989. ISBN 1-869893-69-7. - included in the game box
- Deathwing Rules & Missions. Games Workshop. 1990. - included in the expansion box
- Genestealer Rules and Missions. Games Workshop. 1990. - included in the expansion box
- Space Hulk Campaigns (softback ed.). Games Workshop. 1993. ISBN 1-872372-65-1.
- "Space Hulk: Solitaire". Geocities.com. 1999-02-22. Archived from the original on 2009-10-25. Retrieved 2009-06-07.
- "Solo Rules | Space Hulk". BoardGameGeek. 2007-12-18. Retrieved 2009-06-07.
- UK White Dwarf WD197 05/1996
- "Space Hulk Kill-team rules". Games Workshop. Retrieved 2008-04-29.
- "Space Hulk Update". Games Workshop. Retrieved 2009-09-03.
- "Space Hulk". Games Workshop. Retrieved 2009-08-17.
- UK White Dwarf WD257 09/09
- "Space Hulk". Teardown. Retrieved 2008-03-10.
- "Rebranding of TDSH". Teardown. Retrieved 2009-08-08.
- "Space Hulk computer game announcement".
- "Space Hulk". GameSpot. Retrieved 2007-03-08.
- "Failure is Not an Option". Fantasy Flight Games. Retrieved 2010-05-16.