Space Hulk

Boardgame Review

Space Hulk, Games Workshop 0331.

Space Hulk is a 3D role-playing game set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe. The boxed set comes with plastic wargame figures of Imperial Space Marines and Tyranid Genestealers, and colour printed cardstock “dungeon” floor tiles representing corridors and rooms of a “space hulk”, a derelict space ship, asteroid, or similar mass of space debris. Aggressive alien species are using space hulks to invade human space, and Space Marines of the Blood Angels Chapter are sent on search & destroy missions to clear them.


  • Title: Space Hulk – Man versus Alien in desperate Battle
  • Period: Science Fiction
  • Type: Skirmish Wargame
  • Time Scale: none given
  • Ground Scale: 30 mm = 1 map square
  • Troop Scale: 1 figure = 1 man
  • Miniatures
    • 10 Imperial Space Marines
    • 20 Tyranid Genestealers
  • Modular Game Board: 49 room and corridor sections
  • Counters: doors and markers on 4-colour printed cardstock
  • Dice: 5 six-sided dice
  • Game Designers: Richard Halliwell, Dean Bass
  • Format: 28-page rule book, 32 pages of missions and background
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Games Workshop Ltd., Nottingham, UK
  • Published: 1989
  • Age: 14 to Adult

Space Hulk Rules

  • Introduction
  • How to play this Game
  • Getting ready for Play
  • Turn Sequence
  • The Timer
  • The Action Phase
  • Marine Command Points
  • Movement
  • Marine Shooting
  • Close Assault
  • Blips
  • Doors
  • Summary of Play

Space Hulk Missions & Background

  • The Return
  • How to play the Missions
  • Mission One: Suicide Mission
  • Mission Two: Exterminate
  • Mission Three: Rescue
  • Mission Four: Cleanse and Burn
  • Mission Five: Decoy
  • Mission Six: Defend
  • The Fall of Darvon VI
  • Genestealers
  • The Imperium
  • The Imperial Hierarchy
  • The Warriors of the Imperium
  • The Galaxy of the Imperium
  • Alien Races and external Threats
  • The Legion Astartes


Space Hulk received much praise for its game system, it was named “Best Fantasy or Science Fiction Boardgame” at the Origins Game Fair 1989 and “Best Board Game” at Origins 2009. Hidden movement, variable command points, the Space Marine player‘s 3 minute time limit per turn, and the changeable game board make Space Hulk an engaging and tactically challenging game.

The modular, interlocking, colour printed corridor and room tiles are nicely detailed and they can be used to create a variety of different game boards to play on. In 1990, Games Workshop published “Genestealer” and “Deathwing” expansion sets which included more rooms and corridors to create ever bigger space hulks to fight over.

There are five identical sprues of miniatures with four Genestealers and two Space Marines, each in a single pose. The Genestealers have separate arms which need to be glued into slots on either side of the Genestealer body. The Marines are issued five separate heavy flamer nozzles which clip onto the heavy bolter to convert bolter-armed Marines to Flamer Marines. Two Marines are promoted to Marine Sergeants by mounting them on black slotta-bases, whereas their troopers are on red or grey bases to differentiate 1st and 2nd squad. If the miniatures are painted and based, Marine Sergeants are identified by red helmets or, if the chapter colour is red, by a differently coloured or trimmed pauldron on the left shoulder.

The 4-coloured painting instructions on the side of box recommend a 5:1 mixture of »Moody Blue« and »Chaos Black« as the Genestealer base colour, and »Worm Purple« for the head, hands, and ribbed areas of the body; »Red Gore« is used for the Marine power armour, and »Sunburst Yellow« with »Moody Blue« trim for the power glove. In addition, there are basic instructions for shading, washing, and drybrushing the blue, purple, red, and yellow surfaces.

The 1st edition of Space Hulk sold out years ago. Second-hand prices currently range from 150 GBP for a used copy with unpainted or badly painted miniatures all the way up to 700 GBP for a 1st edition Space Hulk in mint condition.

Wargame Rules