Monday, June 18, 2012

Designer Diary 4: What to view as (Assault) Cannon in Space Hulk: XT?

Before delving into melee, I feel I must first touch on another topic: what parts of Space Hulk do I view as core elements of the game? Now, while I will be going more in depth in the near future looking at each of the previous editions and many of the supplements, for the time I will summarize it here, so that I may get back to the discussion of close assault on Wednesday.

First Edition Space Hulk was masterfully done, and elegant in its simplicity. Death Wing added more variety by way of missions and Space Marine weapons without really adding difficulty. Finally, Genestealer added Hybrids, which brought an interesting new element to the game, but also helped to balance it. However, the expanded psychic rules introduced slowed down and muddied gameplay.

First Edition extras from White Dwarf generally ended up in new expansions, and in general were high quality. The real exception here was the campaign in WD 158, which made Space Wolf terminators somehow more badass than all others, giving them 5 AP and +1 to melee. Reminds me of a time when a certain 40K race got entirely eaten by Tyranids because of favoritism and internal politicking…

First Edition articles appearing in the Citadel Journal were another matter. These were obviously playtested sparingly, and written more for the sake of having content then expanding the game in a balanced manner. While some interesting elements were added, the fact that anything remotely resembling point values or a way to use these new models in the game regularly were not included again showcased this rather well.

Second Edition took a simple but effective game and dummed it down for marketing purposes. White Dwarf supplements attempting to re-introduce Deathwing weapons in Second Edition is a perfect example of how poorly this worked. A number of nifty new missions were added throughout its lifespan, however, as well as the simple yet clever rules for using air ducts.

Third Edition in many ways went back to the classic rules of First Edition. Some simple changes were made that were not necessary but made the game simpler for new Marine players, such as jamming/unjamming on overwatch, sustained fire, and line of sight. Other minor tweaks were also made for no apparent reason that interfered with using the full rules set of First Edition, such as Guard and the rules for wounding a Broodlord. However, while most of the changes made were either unneeded or unbalancing, the updated take on psychic rules was decidedly well done, even if only used by the Space Marines.

So, in summary, I view (in general) the following elements as being the core foundation of Space Hulk: XT.
First Edition, Deathwing, Genestealer (minus the psychic cards) and the majority of White Dwarf content, as well as a rare few selected elements from Citadel Journal (such as the effect of using a power axe).
Second Edition Terminator models, because they’re easy to make stop-motion movies with.
The basic elements presented in Third Edition for psychic rules (which I have already put a good deal of work into expanding, as seen by the Hellfire card below).

As I stated, I will be addressing each Edition separately and in greater depth in the future. However, if you have any questions or comments about my brief synopsis above, please feel free to ask and I shall elaborate further.


Wednesday: Melee combat. No, for real this time!

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