In Warhammer 40,000, Space Hulk is both a fluff term and a game produced by GW.
A Space Hulk is a hulk of giant space debris, most often Imperial ships that were either destroyed or lost in the warp, fused together and drifting in between space and the warp. Space Hulks are regarded as both dangerous and important for these reasons: lost Imperial technology, information, relics, and entire ships may be recovered from the Hulk; problem is, it will probably be infested by Tyranid Genestealers, a Chaos warband, or Orks, and sometimes stranger things that may threaten the system they are in.
For this reason, if a Space Marine Terminator squad is available, they will venture into the Hulk to both purge it of threats and recover anything of value. If they aren't available, the Space Hulk will usually be destroyed by any available battle ships in the area to prevent anything from getting out of it.
Why they send terminators is beyond our understanding, because Termies:
- Are armed mostly with stormbolters, don't pack nearly enough firepower to deal with most threats and certainly not enough ammo to purge an entire hulk.
- Are huge enough to block entire corridors, so they cannot focus their firepower.
- While that invulnerable save gives them a fighting chance, Termies still get slaughtered by Genestealers the second they come in CQC range.
- Said invulnerable save can also be provided by a simple Refractor Field, which are apparently cheap and numerous enough that they can be issued to every Guard Officer.
- Terminator armour is absurdly expensive and often irreplaceable.
Seriously, a squad of stormtroopers or even guard veterans with flamers and meltaguns would be much, MUCH more effective. See this thread for more arguments on both sides.
The debate's carried over into canon too: in the book 'Death of Integrity', it was mentioned multiple times that Terminator armour had to be used due to the ridiculous amounts of radiation in some parts of the Hulk, enough radiation that would cook Power Armoured Marines in their suits. Once they had accurate seismic scans of the hulk they were able to deploy Devastators and Assault Marines in areas where the radiation was lower, and even space-suited Scouts on the surface to help the Techmarines do shit. Nice to know the guys at Black Library are still awesome.
"What do you mean *they* cut the power? How could they cut the power, man? They're animals!"
- – An example of a typical conversation between space marines in a space hulk
Features two small factions from the 40K universe: Genestealers, a subspecies of Tyranid who tend to infest Space Hulks so they can OM NOM NOM. The other faction is composed of a Space Marine Terminator squad, who enter these hulks to recover long lost technology and pretty much kill everything they see. The game is fucking hardcore for both sides - Genestealers, because they have no ranged weapons and die from so much as a mean look, and Terminators, because they have little mobility, few numbers, and, for all but a select few Terminators, are very vulnerable in close-range combat. (The deficiencies in hand-to-hand can be made up by equipping Terminators with Lightning Claws or the Thunder Hammer and Storm Shield, both added in the Deathwing Expansion.)
A vidya version of it for PC, Mac, and iOS
is coming out CAME out August 15 2013 and produced by an indie studio called Full Control. The single-player campaign features Terminators from the Blood Angels (fortunately, we evaded the Ultramarines and Matt Ward) on the Space Hulk Wrath Of Baal fighting against Genestealers, although there will also be a multiplayer mode that plays more like the board game, along with a cooperative mode allowing multiple players to join forces to fight off CPU-controlled Genestealers. (Technically, it's a remake of the 1993 game, but most fa/tg/guys don't have computers that run Amiga.) It's pretty skub-tastic, and Space Hulk veterans refuse to touch it. We'll let you judge the ups and downs for yourself in this page.
Space Hulk: Reasonable Marines Edition
For those that (rightly) believe that regular power armored veterans can do just about everything Terminators can do, better, the Terminators of the base tabletop game are actually quite easy to count-as with power armored Marines without any changes to the game itself.
- Terminator Sgt with power sword and storm bolter = Veteran Sgt with power sword and boltgun
- Terminator Sgt with thunder hammer and storm shield = Veteran Sgt with thunder hammer and storm shield
- Terminator with storm bolter and power fist = Veteran with boltgun
- Terminator with assault cannon and power fist = Veteran with heavy bolter
- Terminator with heavy flamer and power fist = Veteran with flamer
- Terminator with lightning claws = Veteran with lightning claws
- Terminator Librarian with storm bolter and force axe = Librarian with boltgun and force axe
Around 2014, GW rereleased Space Hulk. Unfortunately, it was a limited release. And expensive.....like 40k starter set expensive. You did get some neat models that could be used in regular 40k, though, as well as four new missions and new board pieces such as boarding torpedoes. However, this pissed off A LOT of people who bought the previous release of space hulk, as it too was a "limited release." A lot of people felt cheated because of this.
Then the 2014 Space Hulk set was rereleased again in fall of 2016. It's still expensive, but this time, there's no indication of it being a limited release. With specialist games like Bloodbowl, Necromunda, and Shadow War: Armageddon being (re)released, this time Space Hulk is likely here to stay. Hopefully.
Fast forward to 2017; after what was thought to be its removal, GW announces the return of Space Hulk, now with expanded rules (through December 2017's White Dwarf) allowing for the use of Genestealer Hybrids and other Genestealer Cult units, such as the Patriarch and Magus.
UPDATE: as of February 2018, it has been removed from their website, completely.
- Alien Assault - A Swedish indie video game that's based around the gameplay of Space Hulk. With enough mods that's listed in the article, you can actually turn the game into Space Hulk, complete with marine chapters, graphics, sounds, and maps.
- Space Hulk (2013) - 2013 video game adaptation
- Space Hulk: Deathwing, now in Unreal Engine, enjoy your trailer (and redirect that money you were going to use in a Titan for a decent PC)!
- The second trailer, with EXTRA-appropriated tango-pop music because Focus Home Interactive knows how to TROLL you with style!
- Assassinorum Execution Force - The latest and greatest board game from GeeDubs, similar in style to Spess Hulk. Actually more similar to X-COM, but whatever.
- Zone Mortalis - A Kill Team module produced by Forge World with lots of halls and corridors. You can pretty much pretend-play space hulk by playing a game Terminators vs. Genestealers. Or play it as Space hulk with anything vs. anything else.
|The Specialist Games of Games Workshop|
| Warhammer 40,000
| Battlefleet Gothic - Epic - Gorkamorka |
Inquisitor - Lost Patrol - Necromunda - Space Hulk
| Warhammer 40,000
| Aeronautica Imperialis - Assassinorum Execution Force |
Adeptus Titanicus - Betrayal at Calth - Shadow War: Armageddon
Necromunda - Kill Team
|Warhammer Fantasy:||Blood Bowl - Man O' War - Mordheim - Warmaster|
|Warhammer: Age of Sigmar:||Gorechosen - Warhammer Underworlds|
|Board Games:||Chaos in the Old World - Relic|