Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Death To Edition Warriors! (And Some More Space Hulk Analysis)

From Dork Tower, long running nerd gag comic.
You will recall my large collection of roleplaying games, overflowing out a bookcase and ever expanding physically and electronically.  A somewhat out of date list puts the total number games at over 100 covering a variety of different genres including high fantasy, gritty fantasy, horror, superheroes, hard sci-fi, space opera, time travel, romance, wrestling, historical, historical prostitutes, non-anthropomorphic rabbits and Enid Blyton.

A reminder of what this looks like.

 The observant amongst you will have noticed, both amongst the list and in the picture, that more than one game has multiple editions of it recorded.  Dungeons and Dragons in particular I have a lot of different editions for, plus a few editions of Paranoia and Pendragon.  This also applies to wargames where I have various different editions of Warhammer, 40K and Blood Bowl, including versions from before I started playing that I sought out on ebay.

I mention this because being somewhat broad in edition taste can be... unusual.  Every new edition of an RPG or wargame is the end of the world for some people and there's some very long running spats online regarding particular changes - D&D 3rd to 4th Edition, Warhammer 3rd to 4th Edition, Vampire The Masquerade to Vampire The Requiem.  Obviously I have opinions - Masquerade both mechanically and fluff-wise doesn't float my boat - but I get a lot less heated about it than some people.
From Penny Arcade.

It's just as well, really, because there's a lot you can learn about your favourite games by reading older editions.  Sometimes there's stuff from editions you haven't played that appeals to you, sometimes you can see why they got rid of it and appreciate the new one more.

And sometimes... sometimes you can end up thinking your opinion on a Space Hulk mission might be backed up by history.

Space Hulk 2nd Edition, the advert picture
 Here's Space Hulk 2nd edition, for example.  The 90s version of the game, it's mechanically very similar to 1st, 3rd and 4th - all game changes have been quite minor over the years, the bulk of the work being in making the models and board pieces prettier.

Mission 1: Suicide Mission
Here's the first mission from it, "Suicide Mission". I have reason to believe it's the same in 1st edition as well, but let's go with this as this scan is what I have to hand.

What happens when we flip it upside down?

 uoissiW əqiɔinS :1 uoissiW
Does it look familiar to anyone?

Mission 1: Suicide Mission
How about now?

Mission 1: Suicide Mission
 Yes, the first mission in Space Hulk stays the same between these editions.  (Fourth edition still has Suicide Mission but makes it Mission 2, adding a new starting mission.)  Other missions are also the same or similar but right now I'm only interested in the one we played last week.

You may recall that Sister Superior and I had problems in this mission - neither of us could get the Space Marines in very far before Genesteralers swarmed from all sides.  The flamethrower marine snuffed it after the bulk of his bodyguards were dead and it was game over for the forces of Terra.

I hypothesized the problem was how many Genestealers there were, and that the mission design guidelines in Space Hulk supplements wouldn't make anywhere near this many of enemies if I made this mission myself....

By my count there's 18 points of Marines on the table, so it should be substantially fewer Genestealers than my book told me.
Curiously, however, the 90s edition of Space Hulk seems to agree with me.  There may be rules tweaks between the two playing a factor, but the difficulty of the mission as written is slightly less in 2nd Ed.

Although you can read them in the above scans, I enclose a copy of the relevant areas cut and pasted together for ease of reference.

Compare and contrast.
Although some commentators on the blog and Facebook suggested the mission was doable, I did see people suggest this mission in particular had problems.  I'm torn between trying Suicide Mission again with the lower blip count or just jumping on to Mission 2 and seeing if things behave better with a more sensible blip-to-marine ratio, or perhaps just with a larger play space to explore.

All in all, it's another reason not to be an edition warrior and to take an interest in all editions of games.  Which reminds me, Paul and I are still due a game of Warhammer 40,000 1st Edition....

Don't Be This Guy!

No comments:

Post a Comment