Tuesday, November 23, 2010

40K Neophyte Review - Death Angel

I have talked often about how challenging it can be to game on a budget.  I have a limited well of money to dip from, and a wide array of interests I could easily spend that money on.  Oh sure occasionally a new computer game will win out over a new unit for 40K, but I have stayed on task with 40K as best I can.  However one area I have not gotten into yet are the Fantasy Flight Games that take the trappings of 40K (and other franchises) and apply them to role playing, board, and card games.  Partly because of the cost, partly because I don't have anybody else to play with, and partly because while they look cool I wasn't sure if they were worth the investment.

Well let me just say that if the other games are as fun as Death Angel, then damn my tiny wallet.

So why did I pick Death Angel as my first FFG game?  Well mostly price, Death Angel is a single boxed card game for $25.  Compared to something like the Horus Heresy Board Game for $100 or the role playing games like Deathwatch that have numerous books to buy with the core book running $60 it was pretty easy.  Also, the game supports one to six players, and it incorporates the beloved Space Hulk board game in a fairly quick to play card game.  So I'm drawn to the source material and it gives me something to play when I can't find anyone else interested in playing.

The game is fairly straightforward as far as setup and gameplay.  There are different decks of cards representing Genestealers, Brood Lords, Space Marines, terrain, location, events, and actions.  Depending on the number of players, will decide which location cards to choose from (they are numbered to determine which numbers will be used in your game).  Each player will pick a group or groups of three Space Marines and then their corresponding Action Cards.  Location cards determine which Terrain cards are used and where they are placed.
 Everything you need to play a game right here, all in 1 little box.

Once the game is set up, then the player utilizes the event cards and action cards to move the Space Marines through the Space Hulk.  The goal is to survive and complete all Location cards without being overrun by Genestealers or Brood Lords.

As is the nature of card games, there is a random element that cannot be accounted for as you never know which Genestealer or Event card will be turned up next.  There is also the roll of the dice to be had too.  Defense and attacks will utilize a combat die to determine if that Space Marine successfully attacks or defends against the Genestealers who are attacking.  If the die roll is bad then you will see your forces slowly depleted.

Strategy comes in to how to use your Action cards, and if you are playing with another player working together so as to not cancel each other's actions out.
8 different types of cards, 2 types of markers, 1 die:  $24.95.  Value of the desk:  Who cares?
Surviving the Genestealer Swarm?  Priceless

The game is not long (I can setup, play a single player game, and put it all away in a lunch hour), so other than needing space to setup the board it is pretty simple to get a quick game in.

In the end I really do enjoy the game.  It's an effectively simple way to get some 40K goodness in when I can't fit a round of the table top or Dawn of War in.  But while it's simple to pick up the rules and game mechanics, it can be a challenge to play so don't think it's going to get boring.  I have yet to find it repetitive, as each game is different.  All in all, it was well worth the investment, and now I'm really eyeballing some of those other Fantasy Flight Games that are available.

Death Angel is available directly from Fantasy Flight Games, retailers like Amazon, or even possibly through your local hobby shop.

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