Ya ... ya ... I know everyone and their brother has done a review of the game. I'm not going to do anything extensive as I just finally busted out the game though I pre-ordered it from Games Workshop directly and basically recieved it the day of release in early September, the cost then was 100 bucks, now the game is going for around 150 bucks on ebay and from any retailers who still have them in stock.
Alright the first thing is yes indeed the minis are awesome, the heavy cardstock pieces and tiles are nice and seem made to last. Overall the game is a vast improvement in terms of quality of board and pieces. The rule book and mission book are well laid out and there is some cool flavor for the true fanboys out there.
Personally I'm actually using my own terminators and genestealers and preserving the minis that came with the game for other projects as I have future plans to paint up the genestelers for the game very nicely and I want to use the blood angel termies for my blood angels army next spring (when the new codex is out) so I'll most likely replace those with some old school termies I have. For now my Deathwing termies shall suffice.
For those of you who are familiar with the previous versions of the game it plays pretty much like they did. The genestealers are ultra deadly and the space marines only hope really is to gun them down before they get in close combat (save perhaps the sergeant and lightning claw equipped squad member). So essentially with most missions the basic strategy is to move as fast as you can towards your objective taking care to preserve nice firing lanes. The game really provides some excitement and suspense, it seems like all the missions will likely go down the the wire and the genestealers player really has a heavy advantage. The marine player needs to really have a good plan and some luck on their side to succeed. Overall I'd say the game has a decent degree of replayability. Hopefully we'll see an expansion or two (perhaps from a third party like Fantasy Flight)
The first mission is called "Suicide Mission" and it lives up to its name, overall there are 12 missions with one or two available for download at the GW site (and many new fan generated missions available online from various sources as well). I'll go through the mission with some pictures and quick comments. If you have the game and haven't played it ... get it out and play ... its awesome and you know you want to! If you haven't picked it up yet ... I honestly would pay 150 bucks for this game ... but I'm a hardcore GW fanboy. I don't know if it would be worth that price to a casual fan of GW or just a board game fan who doesn't play GW games, its really fun but there are other games like Decent on the market that might provide just as much fun for a non-GW person and 150 bucks will get you well started into that system. Anyway here is my experience with the first game (against my wife Jessica who usually schools me at whatever game we are playing).
Ok here is a shot of the initial setup of the board. The object of the mission is to get the marine equipped with the heavy flamer into the control room (upper right hand corner of the board). The marine player starts out on the left hand side of the board (where you see the Imperial Aquilas).
Ok here is the action after the genestealers start popping out. I lost a marine right off the bat! Genestealers are BRUTAL in close combat (as they should be). RUN MARINES RUN!
As you can see this mission is "operation don't let the heavy flamer marine die!"
Sarge is down! Sarge is down!! Its looking bleak for the marines! The genestealers just keep coming, at 2 blips per turn and 6 move actions per blip the genestealer has the upper hand for sure!
At this point its all about the storm bolters and sustained fire. Can the marines shoot them down fast enough?
The heavy flamer terminator breaks for the control room and his last surviving battle brother makes a valiant last stand to buy him some time.
The valiant last stand diversion works ... and the marines barely win. It came down to some very lucky blips (only 1 genestealer per blip) towards the end and some amazing shooting by the lone storm bolter wielding terminator. The heavy flamer was used a few times as well. But the control room was incinerated and two battle brothers survived. Had the genestealer player had average luck with the blips and had I rolled non-phenomenally the marines would have had little chance of pulling this one out.
The final carnage ... the marines died valiantly and took hordes of genestealers with them! Awesome time ... super fun ... and the genestealers will undoubtedly be back with vengeance for the remaining 11 missions :) Break your copy out if you haven't tried it yet ... and if you don't own it ... find it ... buy it ... play it!! (and if you want to sell me your minis for say 50 bucks ... leme know ... I'm interested :) ).