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Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Long lost hulk of legend sighted again?

Rumours confirmed?
Andy sent me an email the other day, tipping me to threads at the Bell of Lost Souls and Ain't It Cool News, between them the first sources to claim authoritative off-the-record confirmation of rumours of which I was already aware, namely that GW plans a 3rd quarter 2009 release date for a 3rd edition of their legendary boardgame, Space Hulk.

Rumours of the return of Space Hulk aren't new. Readers who knew JMcL63 before RD/KA! might remember my story from Trollslayer.net, of Jervis Johnson telling me, at GD UK 2004, about discussions at GW that might mean a possible future for this great boardgame. Clearly Jervis was then talking about something real going on, as witness this story at the Warseer forums, dating back nearly 2 years.

Regular readers might remember my lengthy 'rash of enthusiasm' for this long-lost classic (#1, #2 and #3). The more curious might even've checked my BGG profile, where Space Hulk is recorded as my 4th most played game ever. So I share the fond memories of so many who commented on the story over at The Bell of Lost Souls.

What I don't share is the oft-expressed preference for the 1st edition, which seems to come down to the matter of the timer more often than not. We can only hope therefore, that the Warseer story gives us a true picture of what we can expect from what is already an eagerly anticipated release, namely that the timer rules will be included because GW can source digital timers cheaply enough to include them in one of their own products.

Another major theme of discussion has been precisely which Terminator models GW will choose to use:
I imagine that the snap-together models will be the way that the company wants to go, but that's not so much of an issue for me in any case.

What intrigue me most are the rumours I've read about the new Space Hulk board parts. People are suggesting that GW will be doing these in plastic instead of the jigcut card with which we're all so familiar. Various reasons for this were mooted, but 2 stood out for me:
  • It'd solve the problem of the printer's films lost in the move to the Lenton site (a story Jervis told me too IIRC, back in 2004).
  • It'd prove cheaper to make plastic parts in house than it would to subcontract the production of the card parts (the recent revival of the Mighty Empires supplement to WFB suggests that this is true).
I have mixed feelings about this. Sure, moulded plastic hulk parts could look very pretty. But they'd need to be painted to get the best out of them, and they wouldn't be backward compatible with 1st or 2nd edition board parts.

The former bugs me because I'm just not the painter I used to be. Having to paint the board as well as anything else tends to defeat the purpose of my investment in boardgames - namely that the publisher does all the design work for you; all the more so since I'd never manage to get moulded plastic board parts to look as good as did the full-colour board parts from the 2nd edition. And the latter'd bug me because I have a large collection of 1st and 2nd edition Space Hulk parts.

Whatever the truth of these rumours, and whatever a putative Space Hulk 3rd edition might look like, one thing is for sure: the game will sell like hot cakes, and fans old and new will celebrate the revival of this red-headed stepchild of the 40K gaming universe. We live in hope! ;)
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