What is Sulk?
Space Hulk was/is a board game by Games Workshop, of which two editions were made. Like many 'standalone' classics from GW (Dark Future, Man'o'War...) it is now out of print. Two expansion sets with new rules were available for the first edition, DeathwingTM and GenestealerTM. These rules have not been implemented yet in Sulk.
The Space Hulk game innovated several concepts that were re-used in later 'mass market' GW board games such as Space CrusadeTM:
- The pieces needed to play are all included in the box.
- The game uses board sections that can be recombined to construct different mission scenarios.
- One ('evil') player has more information than the other because their pieces are represented as blips for part of the game. (This means that the 'good' player must guess the relative strength of the enemy forces in different board areas.)
- The rules are, compared to WarhammerTM 40,000 Rogue Trader for example, very simple. Games last around an hour at maximum.
There are some features unique to Space Hulk first edition ('SH1'):
- The board sections have a semantics (meaning) in the game: flame weapons affect whole sections at once.
- The 'good' player can make moves in the 'evil' player's turn under certain conditions.
- The 'good' player has restricted thinking time each turn -- around three minutes.
The 'good' player in Space Hulk controls a squad or two of Space MarinesTM, human soldiers, in Terminator armour (a thick exoskeleton). The 'evil' player controls endless hordes of Genestealers, vicious aliens, who steadily reinforce throughout the game. The setting is a huge spaceship (hulk) which is infested with Stealers and, as such, poses a threat to humanity.
The Space Marines must skilfully employ their firepower to prevent the numerous Stealers from getting too close. The Genestealers are ferocious in close-quarters combat but can't use ranged weapons at all. Because of the unequal standing of the two sides in many missions, Space Hulk is well suited to match play (where the players switch sides, playing each scenario through twice or more).
Sulk is an emulation of the tabletop experience of SH1 which tries to include every feature. This specifically includes the stopwatch rule, which it seems is lazily implemented, if at all, in real games of SH1.
Sulk is aimed at being extensible in the future, so that once basic functionality is complete there will be the opportunity to add additional Warhammer races and units to the rule base. But these extensions will be built on a rigid interpretation of the original game.