Sunday before last saw me back in the pub for another round of first edition Space Hulk! Once again, I took on the role of the genestealers, while my two gaming buddies each took a squad of marines (played here by Steel Legion and Karskin troops). We played 'Mission Five: Decoy' from the main Mission Book. I can't remember ever playing this mission before, but selected it because it just fit on the pub table!
The mission tasks the marines with getting 5 of their 10 guys across the table and out the exit. In truth, I thought the marines blew it in the opening turns of the game, when they got bottled-necked at an early cross roads and had their flamers stuck in the middle. I perhaps didn't go after them quite as hard as I could have at that moment, but I have always been more of a games master than a competitor*. Anyway, the game is still notoriously hard for the marines, even when the stealer player isn't the smartest.
We also adopted one house rule for the game, saying that when a flamer trooper runs out of ammo, they can switch to a pistol, which only rolled one die, hitting on a 6. This actually proved crucial in the late game, as the Steel Legion flame trooper racked up an impressive number of pistol kills, defending a crucial corner before finally being taken down (that's him with the plasma gun in the photo!).
In the end, the marines just managed to get the 5th guy off before everyone else was dragged down by aliens. Another turn, or a bad command points draw on that last turn, and they wouldn't have made it.
I am continually impressed by how this very old game design continues to deliver great play experiences.
* In my defence, the cover of the first edition box proudly proclaims the game to be '3D Role-Play'. Though Rick Priestly once told me that they only put that on there because RPGs were so big at the time.