Inside the Box is an in-depth look at the contents of a board game. It covers the quality, quantity, and aesthetic value of what is found inside the game box.
Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game is a mouthful. It’s also a one of the latest games in Fantasy Flight’s Silver Line series. A group of games that are on the “lighter side” and can be “set up and played within an hour.” These games are generally found in small boxes and have relatively small price tags: Death Angel can be picked up for only $20-25. In this game the players use squads of space marines cooperatively to fight off the alien horde. Here’s a look at what you get.
The box cover sums up the game well: two space marines being swarmed by what seems like an unlimited number of genestealers.
The great artwork continues on all of the components – most of which are cards. There are 128 cards that are divided into 7 card types:
• Each Genestealer and Brood Lord card is used to represent an enemy alien unit. These creatures are vile and frightening and you certainly don’t want to mess with them. Each card also has a symbol on it to help with gameplay.
• The Action and Space Marine cards represent your forces. These guys look tough enough to take on anything. The marines are broken into 6 different combat teams represented by 6 different colors. The action cards also have a symbol on them, but this symbol isn’t found on the corresponding marine cards. Because the colors aren’t vivid or don’t contrast enough to be easily differentiated this makes game play a little difficult at times. Not putting the symbols on the marines was a big mistake.
• The space marines fight and move through the levels through the use of Location and Terrain cards. Although the some of the Terrain cards you see the most, like the Vent or Corridor, are a bit boring, the Artefact looks good. There are also 3 different randomly chosen location cards for each level to allow for lots of replayability.
• The last deck of cards is the Event deck. These cards are resolved at the end of each round to spawn new enemies. They also offer up some special events that can help or hurt the team.
The only other components is one counter sheet with support and combat team tokens and a die.
The combat tokens only purpose is to be placed in front of each player to remind the others of what units are his. The main feature is the symbol of their units, which as I already mentioned, should have been included on the marine cards. The support token guns are simple but effective. The custom die included in the game goes from 0-5 (and you thought rolling a 1 was bad!) as well as having three sides with skulls on them. This one die can then be used for the various types of rolls used in the game. This die is also very cool – it is certainly the coolest die I own.
The rules are… well… Fantasy Flight rules. For whatever reason this company makes great looking games, but their rulebooks have always been a problem for me. I think my main problem is that their rules don’t read front to back. They offer the game rules in more of a summary format and then direct you to other pages for more details. In theory this should be great. But for whatever reason I felt like I was constantly searching for sections and pages, then flipping back to remember why I was trying to find them. For example, just to setup the game you need to flip back and forth 8 times. I think if the rules were presented in a more linear fashion they would make for an easier read.
Overall, the presentation of the game is fantastic. There are almost as many unique artworks as there are cards in the decks. The cards and token quality is very good and did I mention the die is cool? The rules can be grasped after one or two plays so they aren’t a deal breaker. The non-colorblind friendly marine cards are a big disappointment especially considering they created symbols and chose not to use them. However, I certainly felt like I got my money’s worth and I look forward to checking out some of their other Silver Line games.