Space Hulk: Tactics

Space Hulk: Tactics

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ExBeeOne Oct 1, 2018 @ 2:22pm
Ten Tips for Terminators
Brothers.

I preordered Space Hulk: Tactics for PS4, and therefore I'm not participating in the current Beta. I'm a Space Hulk: Tactics noob. Or your money back.
Yet, I can't seem to Focus (pun intended) on anything else. I watch every video, read every article, register every forum all while gigling manically, now for ten days straight - it's radical!
But I would like to help if I can. It sounds like the game is Hard. And I'm so thrilled to hear it.
Previous Space Hulk A.I.'s have failed sanguinistically, in portraying the terrifying intelligence of the Genestealer race. Truly wonderful, the mind of a Broodlord is – and I can't wait to finally meet him!
Back on point, I sense some frustration, and I can totally relate. Space Hulk can be brutal. That feeling, of having nowhere to run. Of not being *able* to run. Of things looking grim, right from the get-go. Of shadows and blood and nightmares in the dark. Nightmares, that all come true.
Having nothing meaningful to do today (except the giggling), I thought I'd write up a guide, of sorts. A few tips for new players who might be struggling.
The White Power Ranger already posted an excellent guide, “Beginners Tips for Terminator Players”, based on his first impressions upon Beta release. It holds Chapter-specific tips, explains the new card-system while highlighting stronger and weaker ones, and has general guidelines for advancing and defending. I’d consider it a must-read. You can find it here:

https://steamcommunity.com/app/492230/discussions/0/3393916911747365671/

My focus will be on Basic Play. I am not participating in the Beta and I haven’t had a chance to play Tactics yet.
Some of these tips will probably not work out, and for that I apologize. There are lots of situations now, that will make things much more complex. The card system looks excellent and the possibilities for loadout-customization and, subsequently, the squadmembers’ ability to really support each other tactically, has been expanded almost indefinitely.
I can’t wait to get hands on, and see how it all balances out.

My relation to the game: I live in Denmark. [Scanners show no activity]. I bought my Space Hulk when I was 14 years old. That was 29 years ago. Damn.
I have the Deathwing and Genestealer expansion sets, and to this day I still enjoy a game whenever possible; whenever I meet someone brave enough. - "Courageous is probably the nicest word for stupid."
I completed the Space Hulk videogames for PC and console, and in my humble opinion, none of them got it right; Ascension was way off target and Deathwing was a bug-filled first-person shooter. I get that that’s what Terminators do.. but these games got nothing on the original board game!
I never played two thousand hours of Space Hulk. Lol, that would be silly! 2.000. Get a life, dude, haha! But surely I played a thousand. And except for a few 3-shot Overwatches with no points left for jam, I regret nothing.
Sorrow, is the way of the Xenomorph filth. And they shall be cleansed!
We must endure. We fight not just for ourselves, but for those who came before us.
Onwards, Brothers!

Vengeance is at hand.



TIP #1 [MOVE] IT!

Oh, really? Yes, really! I don’t know the card-system to it’s full extent yet (at all), but I imagine I will start every game as Marine, by burning the card that gives me the most Squad Action Points, plain and simple. No matter how valuable.
Any given map will have certain tactical key-positions. Rooms, Junctions and Corners specifically. Reaching these spots, before the Stealer player swarm the corridors, is the key to success.
Consider this example:
Turn 1. Sergeant Gregorius is first. He uses his four Action Points to: [Move Forward. Open Door. Move Forward. Turn.]
Not unreasonable, right? We then spend two Action Points with each of our remaining Marines to [Move Forward] twice, and get in line behind the Sergeant.

If we press End Turn here, we should keep two things in mind:

1. We just lost. Eight unspent Action Points in Turn 1, is an absolute non-starter.
The Sergeant probably should have [Move Forward] diagonally, instead of [Turn], depending on the layout.
And where were those Squad Action Points? Always convert!

2. We also just made another, perhaps even more important, mistake: We should have been shooting at the door, while moving the Sergeant forward, for the first time. Which leads me to


TIP #2 [MOVE & FIRE] WHENEVER POSSIBLE

A door is a Genestealer’s best friend - and by extension, a Marine’s worst enemy.
There are fewer exceptions to this than you would think, and as the Genestealers build up strength, there will be less time, and less incentive, for you to attack the doors.
Train yourself to max out each turn, especially during those first turns when there are still no Stealers in sight, and destroy as many doors as possible.
As the game progresses, keep “zooming out” and checking your options. Maybe the Sergeant doesn’t have to shoot at that Genestealer. Perhaps this guy over here 10 squares away, who was about to [TURN] anyway, can kill the same target for free, using [TURN & FIRE]. Then he should obviously act first.
In the first edition, Marines didn’t get Sustained Fire Bonus if they [MOVE & FIRE] and then [FIRE]. They would have to be standing still during both shots, in order for the second shot to be Sustained.
This was changed, either in one of the later editions, or during the digital adaptations. Either way, it makes [MOVE & FIRE] even more important. To put it another way:

Standing still and shooting a Storm Bolter at a Genestealer (1 AP) is generally something that should be avoided.

There are exceptions of course, the most obvious being after you [MOVE & FIRE], [TURN & FIRE] or [MOVE BACKWARDS & FIRE] and you miss, you will often want to stand still for the second shot, to get the Sustained Fire Bonus. But your first shots, should generally be made in combination with a move. Because


TIP #3 THE MISSION COMES FIRST

"Every time I'm faced with a decision, I close my eyes and see the same picture. Whenever I consider a move, I ask myself, 'Will this action make this picture a reality?' ... and I only act if the answer is yes. A picture of me, having completed the Mission Objective.”

The win conditions for the Marine player is very rarely to kill Genestealers. And while satisfactory to an almost religious degree, you should restrain yourself whenever possible.
This is important; and it is easy to forget, in the heat of battle.
Think of the Hivemind as a hydra. Whenever you kill a Stealer, expect two others to soon take it’s place.
The Stealers will be coming at a pace the Marines simply cannot match. Their only chance is to get stuff done and get the hell out.
A typical game of Space Hulk might see one or two of your Marines trying to reach objectives or power-positions, as fast as possible, using most of your Squad Action Points, while the other three or four Marines move slower, (over)watch the corridors, block entry areas, and provide tactical support.
It all depends on the Map and the Mission, of course, sometimes you will be forced to navigate in a tighter formation. That’s when you gotta


TIP #4 GET IN THERE!

Three Marines moving down a corridor is Fodder. Three Marines in a room is a Fortress.

Advancing your squad from room to room can be a great strategy on some Maps, but it requires timing, good positioning and Squad Action Points.
Get into the flow of moving diagonally into rooms, and to shoot diagonally, to get those doors down as fast as possible; be smart about targeting while using [MOVE & FIRE]. For example:
Three Marines occupy a corridor, facing an open door leading into a room. The room has three closed doors.
As you [MOVE..] your first Marine into the doorway [..& FIRE], shoot diagonally, at one of the side-doors. Not the door straight ahead!
The Marines behind you, can target the one straight ahead, as they move forward, so let them deal with that one, instead of all of you shooting the same door. I hope that made sense. It’s often the small things that makes the difference.
Once inside, setting up the best overlapping overwatch, positioning yourself in the corners etc. is something that will come quickly, as you gain experience.


Last edited by ExBeeOne; Oct 2, 2018 @ 3:53am
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ExBeeOne Oct 1, 2018 @ 2:22pm 
TIP #5 USE THE FLAMER

I read in a different post, that the Flamer in it’s current state is flawed (to say the least).
It has a 3x3 template, with the target-square being the center-square. This means, that if a Stealer is right in front of the Flamer, and the Flamer shoots, he will kill himself as well as the Stealer.
This is silly and not the way Flamers ever worked in Space Hulk, but I’m confident it’ll be fixed.
Even in it’s current state thou, I would still go with the Flamer, over the Assault Cannon or the Plasma!
Being able to “shoot around corners”, and to neutralize a Broodlord hiding as a Blip is in itself quite powerful. But the ability to block stealer movement completely through a section, is probably the most powerful wrench in the Terminator toolbox.
I would guess, that about half the Flames I ever fired, had no targets! They were played merely as blockers.
Sometimes the Stealer player will come at you, from mainly one direction, without much backup from different Entry Areas. Or maybe the Stealer player just placed three Blips at the Entry Point you had Blocked, waiting to overwhelm you on the next turn. This is when the Marine Player can really utilize the Flamer, blocking the movement of a dozen Stealers, while his Brothers rushes for the next room.


TIP #6 SIX, IS FOR STEALERS

1-2-3-4-5-6-*there*. It’s okay to place my Marine *there*.
When in doubt, pull up the map, count to 6 and check how far the Stealer can actually get. With a bit of practice, this will take you just a few seconds.
As a general rule, one might claim that: “In any given turn, the primary objective for the Marine player, is to position his Marines, so that no Genestealer can attack a Marine, without the Marine player getting at least two shots off.”
This is closely related to overwatch, of course, but positioning is just as important.
Sometimes it’s best to get as far ahead as possible, even if you expect a Genestealer to move right next to you, on his next turn. Other times, its better to hang back, and let them come.
Make sure to always count, using the shortest route – it doesn’t cost the Genestealers any Action Points to [TURN].


TIP #7 SEVEN, IS FOR BLIPS

Closely related to the previous tip, this one might be obvious:
If a Marine is 6 squares from a Genestealer, he is “safe”. But if he is 6 squares from a Blip, that Blip could convert into 2 or 3 Genestealers, and place the extra models one square closer to the Marine, allowing one of them to reach him.
As a Marine player you should be very mindful of this.
Don’t ever position Marines so that Stealers can attack uncontested. Terminators are horrible at close combat.

A note on Space Hulk melee: I realize that Tactics features the Blood Angels, and that there are quite a few melee-oriented cards.
The problem is, most Terminator melee-weapons suck, compared to a Genestealer’s claws; Power Sword and Lightning Claws are still big underdogs, compared to the relative safety of a Storm Bolter.
If you insist on going melee, I would strongly recommend the Thunder Hammer and Storm Shield. But for me, the upkeep in form of buffs required, and the risks involved, makes it it just not worth it, compared to Ol’ Faithful.
Also, keep your Guard up with your melee-Marines. Don’t attack, like, ever. Let the Genestealers attack while on Guard, and you will last much longer.
There are exceptions to this. Backstabbing or "Side-stabbing" a Stealer will force the model to just turn around to face it's attacker, if it wins the dice-roll (If not, it dies, of course). You can then switch to another Marine and attack the same Stealer in melee, to force it, once again, to turn around (or die). Then switch back to the first Marine, and hit the Stealer again. Back and forth they'd go, taking turns using their Powerfists.
This can be a viable, allthough desperate, strategy for Flamers and Assault Cannons who have run out of ammo.


TIP #8 BLOCKING ENTRY AREAS

Some maps will make it hard to utilize this, but you should always be mindful of the possibility.
Blocking an Entry Area at the right time, could turn the tide of battle.
From what I heard, this is not covered well at all, in the tutorial, so here is the official rule:

"MANDATORY LURKING
If a Marine is six, or fewer, squares away from the square next to the Entry Area, Stealers and Blips cannot enter the map on the turn they are placed, they must Lurk, for at least one Turn.
On the next Turn however, they may enter as normal. Count by the shortest possible route, ignoring facing, doors, flames, intervening models or Blips.
If a Blip or Stealer was already Lurking in the Entry Area when the Marine moved to within six spaces, it can enter play immediately. It does not have to Lurk an additional Turn because the Marine showed up – he’ll just have to take his chances.
Important: Blips are never forced to Lurk for more than one Turn. They can always move on the second or subsequent Turns (though they don’t have to move if they don’t want to).”


This not only enables you to delay the Stealer reinforcements. Depending on your opponent, and the nearby layout of the Hulk, you can use this to create “reinforcement-decoys”.
Because one thing is certain: If you block an Entry Area, the Stealer player will surely put Blips there - restraint, is hardly the way of the Xenomorph.
But he won’t be able to move them in, until the next turn. That’s when you get out of the way, pull up the Flamer, and let him hose that burning promethium towards the Entry Point, all night long, giving your other Marines time to move up.


TIP #9 OVERWATCH

Overwatch is such a big part of Space Hulk, that it can be hard to give any specific advice.
Some spots that seem too risky, might be your best option elsewhere. It will always come down to the situation.
Practice and experience will get you there. Some things to keep in mind thou:

- If you carry a ranged weapon and don’t end your turn in overwatch (or have other Marines covering you in overwatch), make sure no Genestealer can reach and attack you - 6 is for Stealers, 7 is for Blips. Make sure!

- If you leave Action Points unspent, after going into overwatch, your Marines will automatically use those leftover Action Points to clear jams and resume fire, during the Genestealer turn. If a Marine has no leftover Action Points, he will use any leftover Squad Action Points, to clear the jam.

- Your weapons will jam 16.7% of the time. I want to say that you should always leave a few Action Points or Squad Action Points unspent, to make sure you don’t jam out, but sometimes spending those points is actually better, and sometimes there just aren’t enough Action Points to go around. Space Hulk makes an art of picking the lesser evil, and these are some of the spots that really bring out the intensity and paranoia. The good stuff.

- Overlapping overwatch (as in, two, or more, Marines covering the same squares and/or each other) is very powerful. Look to set these up, in Rooms and Junctions, and remember, all weapons can fire diagonally.

- All maps have power-positions. Getting a Marine set up early, in a corner, somewhere well inside the map, (preferably with looong, straight corridors leading to the nearest Entry Points), can make all the difference (see TIP #1). Learn to spot these power-positions early, and make a plan. Sometimes it will be a single room, at the center of the maze that looks to become a strategic hot-spot. Get there fast! Sometimes it will be at crossroads, forcing you to really capitalize on [MOVE & FIRE] and [TURN & FIRE] as much as overwatch.

- In a 2-shot overwatch position, you have 69.1% chance to kill the enemy, before he attacks. That’s not good, so only use 2-shot overwatch as a last resort. 2x2 overlapping overwatch is much, much better, and fairly easy to setup in most rooms and junctions. For the record, 1-shot overwatch is out of the question, unless you are taunting. Hopefully there is a better option.

- A Marine standing in a doorway leading into a room, will get three shots against any attacker that enters. Keep in mind, the Genestealers cannot attack diagonally.

- In some situations, don’t overdo overwatch. Consider not doing it, if the Marine is safe from harm. The reason for this, is a good Stealer player will spot your weaknesses, or key-targets, throw everything at your other Marines, forcing them to jam and spend Squad Action Points unjamming, and then, when you are all out of those, switch to his main force and commence the “real” attack. This becomes advanced strategy, but it’s something to be aware of. And it finally leads us to


TIP #10 SACRIFICES & TAUNTS

I mentioned taunting your opponent in combination with Blocking Entry Areas, challenging him to place his Blips there, then potentially shutting it down with Flames or Barrier, denying those Stealers access to the map all-together.
Redirect, is another ploy, you can try. I’m looking forward to seing how the A.I. and human opponents will respond to this, but the idea is to manipulate your opponent into placing Blips, or moving his units away from those of your Marines who are on objective duty or who are in trouble.
Usually it involves giving something up, making the Stealer player an offer he can’t resist.
Let’s say you’ve had a Marine cover your backs successfully, and he has all but run out of enemies to shoot at. During the last Conversion, your opponent didn’t even place Blips down there. But what if that Marine suddenly turns left, and rushes forward three squares, to a spot, where the Stealer-player could divert some forces to get right up in his face, on the next turn? Would he be able to resist?
Or maybe even leave him vulnerable; set him up for a 1-shot overwatch, in a spot where the Stealer would actually get an attack in? If I was playing the Stealer side, I would be very tempted, if not enraged, to try for such a kill. And that could be a mistake.
A small temptation, can mean a big break elsewhere. Did I mention that the mission comes first? Allthou, sometimes

It’s game over, man. It’s game over.
One of your guys might find himself separated from the group, two blips and a stealer lurking around the corner, another one crawling up from behind.
Keep cool, count to six, and consider your options. It’s hard to outrun the Stealers. But if you have a head-start, it’s not impossible.
It can even be better to turn your back to the Stealers and run away, forcing them to spend Action Points to chase you down, than to unjam, shoot one of them and then just sit there, duck style.
Sometimes Guarding will be better.
Sometimes [MOVE BACKWARDS] followed by [OVERWATCH] will.
Take your time in these "impossible "spots. Anything you can do, to buy that Marine one more Turn, or if he can't be saved, at least lead the Stealer(s) as far away from your main force as possible.
Again, it’s the little things. I’ve had several games come down to a single square.
Always keep the objectives in mind. And learn to spot when a sacrifice might be needed.
The old creed “Never leave a soldier behind” is for the fainthearted. And Terminators are not. Rescue missions are doomed - don’t get sentimental.
This is Space Hulk.


Thank you for reading. Comments are more than welcome.

ExBeeOne
Last edited by ExBeeOne; Oct 4, 2018 @ 6:16am
(PG)War4Ever Oct 1, 2018 @ 3:34pm 
Solid tips for anyone who may be struggling with the marines, wasn't a single point I disagreed on. Number 1 being my favourite, I think a lot of people just get bogged down because they're moving to slowly.
shadowsfm Oct 1, 2018 @ 3:44pm 
as i read his post i'm imagining him rapping
Larkis Oct 1, 2018 @ 11:03pm 
Very good posts. :)

Dome additional advice, the Marine-AI seems to be very good. It seems to follow all that rules. So a new player should start Singleplayer of the genstealers first to learn steengths, weaknesses and strategies from the Marine AI.
I am a mute Oct 2, 2018 @ 3:08am 
The fundamental mechanics of this game is very balanced. Even more so than the original table-top game.

This is the first iteration of Space Hulk where I think they can expand the game beyond the same setting, and actually succeed.

Those that feel the "balance" is wrong, need to realize what type of game this is. If you want to compelete a map, you need to make sure you spend all you AP wisely, and that you bring the right type of Terminators to the fight.

I am currently rocking 2 heavy weapon, 1 plasma, and 1 flamer.
كريس Oct 2, 2018 @ 5:07am 
I am not sure how you can look at the leaderboard and say that the game is balanced. It's not like the genestealers don't have their own their own strategies and cards either.
ExBeeOne Oct 4, 2018 @ 2:57am 
Thanks guys.

I think this early on, Leaderboards are not an indication of balance, at all. If the game were to reach a 50/50 win rate on the boards, something would be horribly wrong. And that is because the Terminator-side in Space Hulk is much, much harder to play, than the Genestealer side. People need to learn how unforgiving this game can be. That a single blunder will usually launch an avalance of terror, and likely cause you to lose within minutes.

If you let a thousand people play the boardgame for the first time, their results would probably match what we see here, that the Marines only win, like one in five games.
AymeriX Oct 4, 2018 @ 4:47am 
Awsome guide. Thank you !
Greg Oct 4, 2018 @ 5:24am 
Great list.
Question re melee - is there a benefit to back or side stabbing? I've not picked up on it if there is.

Thanks
Gut Oct 4, 2018 @ 5:30am 
Originally posted by Greg:
Great list.
Question re melee - is there a benefit to back or side stabbing? I've not picked up on it if there is.

Thanks

AFAIK there is no direct benefit but lot of melee gear gives bonus only against a facing opponent, so you can negate them with back stabbing.
Last edited by Gut; Oct 4, 2018 @ 5:31am
ExBeeOne Oct 4, 2018 @ 5:35am 
Originally posted by Greg:
Question re melee - is there a benefit to back or side stabbing? I've not picked up on it if there is.

There is. In order to properly defend itself, a model has to be facing it's attacker. If it is not, it can not kill it's opponent! If it wins the dice-roll, if will merely be turned around to face it's attacker.
This goes for both Terminators and Genestealers.

Remember, in melee-combat, it doesn't matter who initiates the attack. By default, Marines roll one dice, Genestealers roll three. The single highest dice wins and kill the opponent. But as mentioned, only if facing that opponent.
Last edited by ExBeeOne; Nov 19, 2018 @ 1:04am
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Date Posted: Oct 1, 2018 @ 2:22pm
Posts: 13