As this is my first exposure to the game of Space Hulk in any of it's incarnations, I've got quite a bit to comment on. Let me first echo the words of most gamers out there and say that this game is awesome! Truly one of GW's best products - I hope it doesn't end here. I think it would be a tremendously bad business decision on their part. Give the people what they want - more Space Hulk!!!!
Okay enough of that. On to what my thoughts are on the game. The overall quality of the product is definitely first rate. Not hard to see why it was priced at $100!! Nicely sculpted models and well designed tiles and counters.
These are some of the best space marine models ever to come off GW's line. The detail is phenomenal and the poses are truly heroic. With regard to the space marines each model is unique with no duplicates. The space marine sprues had all components numbers, so it was impossible to mix up the parts. Everything snapped together well and each part fit tightly. No need to glue anything. The only down side I had with the models is there are too many smaller badges and decorations that could snap off if one isn't careful. I suggest packing them away and using standard kits as stand-ins if your playing the game with a younger crowd. If GW is serious about not producing any more sets, it would be a shame to damage such well crafted pieces. I used a small dab of Krazy Glue to reinforce any delicate stems or decorations. The Genestealer models are a bit more forgiving and there are 11 poses (except for the Broodlord, which is unique) with two of each sculpt. Also, these all fit together nicely with little or no trouble. The set that I had showed very little flash or mold lines.
Again, definitely first rate work. Very thick card stock with great detail on the tiles. I thought that I would find it difficult to set up the game board, but the Mission Book (despite the smaller image) was sharp enough to identify each tile for placement. So it was pretty easy getting the map set up. I separated the tiles into categories (rooms, 3 space corridors, 4 space corridors, T-junctions, etc). Then it was easier to hunt down the proper pieces. When punching out each counter or tile, I would suggest punching it out from the bottom up. It seems there less of a risk of ripping off the top later of the counter.
I found the rules very clear and there was, in my opinion very little content that could be misinterpreted or misunderstood. Almost every aspect of the rules were covered in text as well as full color visual examples. Even a neanderthal like me could understand them. All actions were clearly identified for ease of reference. If you're looking to preserve the boxed set, run to Kinko's, get some copies and throw 'em in sheet protectors. Also, a quick reference sheet on the back really helps speed up game play. The rules are quick to pick up, which is good. I tried a couple of games out with my oldest daughter and we ran through it in stages. First, just getting the hang of the turn sequence and combat. Then running through it again (same mission) and adding the other rules like Overwatch and Guard. For right now, we don't use the timer until we get the rules down.
What can I say, the fluff is freakin' awesome. In fact, after reading that, I jumped online and bought a copy of the Space Hulk Novel. There's just the right amount of backgound to get a non-40k player hooked. There was also some history on the Blood Angels chapter. Those creative players could easily come up with a similar background for alternate chapters in order to play the game. Each mission (there's twelve) is laid out with a full color page for the map set up. Finally, the Mission Book contains a background for each of the Terminator models.
The box bottom has color images of many of the models and a small Painting Guide, showing which colors were used for the models. I like the bone colored dice, although, other players might use their own set of dice if the color doesn't suit them. The time is a simple hourglass, but the word out there is that it isn't really a full three minutes, so you might consider an egg time or stop watch.
Final Comments - All in all, I really love this game and it was definitely worth every penny of my investment. I went through a couple of games and it can be quite addictive. Can't wait to take another crack at it. I'm going to read through the rules again to see what I missed or got wrong and then have another go at it. I'll hold off on painting them for now. I'm thinking of an alternate color scheme for the genestealers. I definitely recommend this game for every GW fan and I sincerely hope that this isn't the last we see of Space Hulk from Games Workshop. But hey, how about re-doing Warhammer Quest!!