Space Hulk: Tactics is a video game adaptation of the board game Space Hulk, set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe, bringing a unique twist to the cult classic formula. The game is developed by Cyanide Studio and was published by Focus Home Interactive.
After a bloody campaign, the Space Marines of the Blood Angels chapter are diverted from their way home by a distress call: the forge world of Gorgonum signals the appearance of a space hulk -a gigantic mass of lost ships and other debris drifting through space- on a collision course with the world. The Space Hulk is full of ancient precious artefacts lost over time but is also home to the deadly Genestealers, ferocious six-limbed xenos whose talons can rend through the toughest armor. Captain Ubaldo thus commands his battle barge the Blood Crusader to stop at Gorgonum and orders Sergeant Tahariel's squad to destroy it. It falls to a single squad of Blood Angels to explore the Space Hulk, retrieve what they can, purge the xenos filth from the Space Hulk's entrails and finally put an end of the threat this Space Hulk poses for the Imperium.
Space Hulk: Tactics is based on the rules of the popular board game: it is a turn-based tactical game in which one or two players control two sides: first a squad of five Space Marines in Terminator armour, slow and cumbersome but equipped with firearms, second a swarm of Genestealers, coming in numbers and deadly in close quarters. The Space Marines must navigate a maze of corridors full of hazard, trying to cover every angle to protect themselves, while the Genestealer seek to annihilate the Space Marines. Each character on the map is alloted a set number of actions points, counting how many things a character can do during their turn (move, attack, watch over a position or use a special skill). The game is given a fresh new spin in the form of the unique Card system. Cards provide more ways to customize your squad and allow you to turn the tide of battle with buffs that trigger game-changing effects when used at the right moment, or that can be converted in order to perform more actions or bring in reinforcements.
Test your skills against other players in the expansive online competitive multiplayer. Command a swarm of Genestealers or a custom squad of different unit types from one of four Space Marine Chapters available the Blood Angels, the Space Wolves, the Ultramarines, and the Dark Angels. The game includes a built-in intuitive map creation tool, to design your own original maps with custom objectives, and share them with other players!
The game was released for PC and consoles on October 10, 2018.
This game contains examples of:
- Actually Four Mooks: The first things you'll see are "blips" on the map that indicate a presence. However, these blips can easily turn into a group of two or three genestealers.
- An Ax To Grind: Librarians come with a Force Axe, which aren't great weapons on their own but can be powered up with the "Axe Channelling" spell, giving them the ability to always kill their opponents at close range.
- Armor Is Useless: Despite wearing Terminator armour, one of the heaviest available to Space Marines, the genestealers' rending talons can easily cut through it and kill a Terminator in close quarters. That said there is also no reason why an armour that is favorably compared to that of tanks should be vulnerable to a few automated turrets. Supplementary lore points out that the Terminator armours are used when exploring a Space Hulk because they are designed for protection against environment hazards like radiations.
- Back-to-Back Badasses: When surrounded, players can perfectly place their Terminators back-to-back to cover all possible angles of approach. This formation leaves no weakness although it is slowed by the Marine that must walk backward.
- Barrier Warrior: Librarians have the ability to project a psychic barrier through the "Force Barrier" spell, turning a tile into an unpassable obstacle. This allows Space Marines to block a corridor and facilitates the defence of their positions.
- Bling of War: The Space Marines you play are the elite of their Chapters, clad in some of the oldest and most venerable armours they can field. Each Terminator will proudly bear the heraldry of their chapters and well as any ornemental honor they can put on their armour.
- Bottomless Magazines: Storm Bolters and Plasma cannons play this trope straight, although the Plasma Cannons' unlimited ammo is justified as the weapons contain miniature suns. However, the assault cannons and heavy flamer do have limited ammunition to alleviate their strengths.
- The Brute: Bulwark Genestealers, strains that are tankier and more resilient than the other genestealer strains at the cost of speed/action points.
- Capture the Flag: One type of mission is for the squad of Space Marine to retrieve a random asset for the chapter, obliging the squad to move through the map.
- Chainsaw Good: Assault Terminators can field a chainfist, which isn't particularly useful against Genestealers but can easily clear rubble. Chainfist are situational weapons that are best used in maps where clearing rubble and other obstacles rapidly is key.
- Close-Range Combatant: Assault Terminators are specialized in close-quarter combats, thanks to their better hand weapons, they do stand a good chance against Genestealers in close-quarter combats but have little ranged ability.
- Cthulhu Manoid: Reapermorph Genestealers.
- Do Not Run with a Gun: Averted for Terminators armed with storm bolters, who may fire and move as a single action. Their armor is designed to absorb recoil from small arms and stabilize weapons during motion, allowing them to maintain accuracy while displacing.
- Drop the Hammer: Sergeants can come with a Thunder Hammer, engulfed in a powerful energy field. This powerful weapons makes Sergeants more than able to fight Genestealers at close range.
- Dungeon Crawling: The gameplay is essentially this, with a team of distinguisable warriors exploring a maze to retrieve treasures and slay monsters.
- Fire-Breathing Weapon: Heavy weapon bearers can field a heavy flamer that projects flames over an area, potentially killing several adjacent Genestealers, and also setting the hit tiles on fire, thus blocking the way. Its main drawback is a limited number of shots (6), preventing you from abusing it.
- Fragile Speedster: In contrast to the Terminators, Genestealers are agile and quick on their feet. They have 6 action points and thus can run from up to 6 tiles. Reapermorph Genestealers, with 8 action points, are even faster. That said, they all go down in one hit from any weapon.
- Gatling Good: Heavy weapon bearers can field an assault cannon, a multibarreled gun that shoots hails of bullets. It is designed for tremendous fire rate and thus doesn't jam and uses three dice to determine the result of a hit roll. On the other hand, it can explode, has limited ammunition (20 shots) and must be reloaded after 10 shots, leaving the bearer vulnerable for a turn.
- Heroes Prefer Swords: The default weapon of Sergeants is a Power Sword, which gives a bonus during an assault.
- Hold the Line: Some missions involve the Blood Angels having to contain a Genestealer attack for a set number of turns. Some twists include having to reach a point in the map and then defend it, and the layout of the map being changed when rubble is cleared, or the defenders being isolated from each other at first.
- Large and in Charge: Broodlords are noticeably bigger than normal Genestealers, although they are just as vulnerable to bolts and chain weapons.
- Late to the Tragedy: The Blood Angels stumble upon the corpse of some of their cousins from the Ultramarines, Dark Angels and Space Wolves, who have been killed by the Genestealers. Said tragedy can be played out in the Genestealer campaign.
- Long-Range Fighter: Heavy weapon bearers come to battle with some of the most powerful firearms available to a Space Marine. They have powerful shots and can easily deny a zone, but they are pretty much dead if a Genestealer comes close to them.
- McGuffin: One of the plot threads is the Blood Angels' efforts to retrieve a precious relic that the Emperor Himself once touched. Its spiritual worth is so great the Blood Angels are ready to delay actions to save a Forge World to retrieve this. Apart from its worth, it has no impact on the story and the player doesn't even get to see what it looks like.
- The Medic: Terminator squads can include an Apothecary, one of the few Space Marines trained in medicine and surgery. Thanks to him, you can heal an adjacent brother and deny his death. The Apothecary also qualifies as a Combat Medic since he's a Space Marine with a gun, but he's still relatively weak compared to other Terminators and the Genestealers, making him more of a support unit.
- More Dakka: Heavy weapon bearers' default firearm is the storm bolter, basically two bolters put together that shoot a hail of bolts. It is reliable but has no particular strenths either. Also, Space Marines can enter Overwatch, making them fire at will against anything that moves in their line of sight. Overwatch is an essential part of defending oneself against the Genestealers but sustained fire can cause jams or worse to the weapons.
- Names to Run Away from Really Fast: The Space Hulk featured in the game is called "The Forsaken Doom".
- No Campaign for the Wicked: Averted. The Genestealers have their own campaign that reveals how they've evolved some of their special strains and how they've overcome Terminator squads from several chapters.
- One-Hit Point Wonder: Every model, save the Bulwark Genestealers, have basically one hit point.
- Plasma Cannon: Heavy weapon bearers can field a plasma cannon, shooting hot ball of superheated matter that explodes after a while, dealing damage over a zone. It has unlimited ammunition but suffers from Explosive Overclocking, potentially killing your bearer if he's unlucky.
- Party Scattering: At one point of the campaign, a warp storm teleports your squad and scatters its members across a large zone of the Space Hulk. The next mission is about reuniting with others.
- Portal Network: The Space Hulk contains sections coming from Aeldari ships, which come with a network of webway portals. Two portals are always linked to each other, and anyone passing through them will safely go to the other side (unless the tile is blocked).
- P.O.V. Cam: It is possible to play the game using the point of view of individual squadmates, but the isometric view that displays the whole map is more useful.
- Powered Armor: The Space Marines' Tactical Dreadnought Armor aka "Terminator". These heavy armor are some of the sturdiest armours a Space Marine can wield and are so precious only the elite of a Chapter are allowed to use them. Unfortunately, the Genestealers can claw through these armor easily.
- Power Fist: The majority of the Space Marines are armed with these. Unfortunately for them, a huge, cumbersome armored gauntlet capable of punching a hole in a tank really isn't the best weapon for swatting a fragile, fast-moving space bug that can rip your helmeted head clean-off your shoulders faster than you can blink.
- Psychic Powers: Lexicanium Hagios, the 11th-Hour Ranger of the campaign, is a Librarian (a Space Marine using psychic powers). His psychic powers prove to be really useful in the later stages of the campaign.
- Reliably Unreliable Guns: Firearms can jam during firing when the bearer rolls a double. This can spell deep trouble as you have to spend action points to unjam it, making you lose time at the worsts of moment.
- Sensor Suspense: Genestealers first appears as blips on the map. You can see the position of the blip but you cannot know what that blip is exactly or how many genestealers it represents until the xenos are revealed.
- Sentry Gun: The automated security system of Imperium sections may still be active and corridors will be watched by automated turrets that will shoot anyone. They represent a hazard until a brother reaches the control console and reprograms the turrets, in which case they will overwatch for you.
- Sergeant Rock: Sergeant Tahariel is the leader of the squad of Space Marine that explore the Dreadnought. Armed with the deadlieast close range weapons and having useful Cards, the Sergeant is both a powerhouse and a critical member that offers a lot of tactical advantages to the Space Marines.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: The Blood Angels clash with Inquisitor Jost von Marburg, who keeps pestering the Space Marines for his studies of the Genestealers whereas the Blood Angels would rather have them all killed immediately. Moreover, Fabricator General Weyldran Lyrzek is exasperated that the previous two are not focused on protecting his world and sends in bombing runs that hinder the Blood Angels' efforts.
- Timed Mission: Some mission require that you fulfill your objectives (cleansing a map or retrieving an artefact) within a set number of turns.
- Villain Teleportation: Broodlord have the ability to directly go from one point of the map to another by using a special ability. Although it is described as the Broodlord moving through the ducts, its in-game effect is pretty much that of teleportation.
- Zerg Rush: A viable tactic for Genestealers is to amass around a corner and try to rush into the Space Marines in the same turn. This tactic works because sustained fire increases the chance of guns jamming and only one Space Marine at a time can defend one corridor.
- Wolverine Claws: Assault Terminators can use power claws, allowing them a partial reroll during assault. They lose their firearms but are much more reliable at close-quarters.