A peek into creating a Space Hulk mission

Written by Scott H. (Guest Author), January 9th, 2018

Over the past year and a half my friend and I have been playing missions that I've created for use in our games of Space Hulk. After our most recent game, he asked me to do a write up on how I create each mission. I want to point out that a lot of the process I use is based off of the feedback he gave to me on my first attempt at creating a mission.

The process:
I typically start out with what model, board piece or game mechanic (or combination thereof) that I want to see in the mission and build up from there. I sit down at the table, pull out the map tiles and lay them out until I have the general map. I complete that whole thing on the table then, on a very limited basis, play test it to at least get an idea that it will work.

After I lay out the initial board, I start counting the distance (in squares) from each Genestealer entry point to the Space Marine entry point. I try and keep this metric to around seventeen. This isn’t a hard and fast number, but it's something I've found works for our missions.

I move the first Marine model to see how far a model will get before contact is made with a Genestealer (or bug). Sometimes I actually roll for Command Points but mostly I use 5 or 6 for a best case scenario. Based on this, I move board pieces around.

Building in certain aspects
I avoid making the mission a straight out sprint for the Marine player. Certain parts may involve a sprint, but I try and put enough twists and turns in between them that the Marine player can’t just blow through the map on Action Points and Command Points alone. I also factor in that the Marine player will, on average, roll enough Command Points to move and do stuff at a good clip.

There should be multiple paths for the Genestealer player to get at the Marines. The Marine player can “lock” one part down but shouldn’t be able to stem the tide, only re-route it. Since almost all of our missions use the flamer model, I also move that guy around to see where and what he can lock down to make sure other routes exist for the bugs.

That said, I also avoid creating an easy path for the Genestealer player to create a two front war. I don’t mean eliminate the possibility, but this should only happen based on the decisions made by the Marine player, not baked in to the mission.

The overall goal of the mission

I like to make the Marine player “do something” at the objective point vs. just getting off the map. By adding that extra step it creates a bit more tension for the Marine player.

And that is what the missions are all about... tension. I want to create a mission where the Marine player is sweating almost every step of the way. The Marines can accomplish each mission’s objective, but only by making sound tactical decisions throughout the game. One wrong move or action and the bugs will eat your lunch.

There's a lot more in the sausage making of each mission, but I those are the major points. The most important part of the process: play testing it.

"No plan survives contact with the enemy." – Helmuth Von Moltke (the elder)

The mission that I create is the “beta” version and through play testing, we hammer it to death before getting to a final product. Sometimes we make minor changes, but oftentimes the whole map changes. Once it is done, we have a fun, playable and winnable mission.

I hope you enjoyed the look into the mind of someone who's generated some incredible Space Hulk missions. I'm in the process of getting some of his missions converted into PDFs that I'll be able to post here for folks to download in the future.-Ron

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IMAGE: What it looks like when a mission goes through playtest revisions. GW blips.
KEYWORDS: Space Hulk, missions, create, scenario