10 Great Sci-Fi Board Games

Space Hulk

Cramped horrors await… Games Workshop/Amazon.com

Our grandparents had cowboys and Indians, but we have our space soldiers and alien hordes. From the 1957 novel "Starship Troopers" and the 1986 movie "Aliens" to such modern video game franchises as "Gears of War," we're all about the macho conflict between armored super soldiers and the inhuman threat of insectoid horrors.

That's where "Space Hulk" enters the picture, and many a gamer's heart. The fluff in this one stems from the "Warhammer 40,000" gaming universe, a kind of space-age dark fantasy setting in which "there is only war." One player commands a squad of heavily-armored Space Marines and the other manages innumerable Tyranid Genestealers.

"Space Hulk" leans heavily on tense, claustrophobic combat -- all in the cramped corridors of derelict, alien-infested space ships. The mechanics also give each side a couple of thematically-fitting advantages. The Space Marine player benefits from ranged weaponry, but has to work within a time limit for each turn's moves and actions. This reflects the desperation of their battle. Meanwhile, the Genestealers are limited to melee combat but have no time limit, reflecting their collective hive mind and home court advantage. Heroic last stands and horrific blood baths ensue -- just as "Space Hulk" fans have come to expect.

UK-based Games Workshop published the first edition way back in 1998 and they've been regularly re-releasing it every few years like a film from the Disney Vault. So don't hesitate to grab a copy!

About the Author: Robert Lamb spent his childhood reading books and staring into the woods — first in Newfoundland, Canada and then in rural Tennessee. There was also a long stretch in which he was terrified of alien abduction. He earned a degree in creative writing. He taught high school and then attended journalism school. He wrote for the smallest of small-town newspapers before finally becoming a full-time science writer and podcaster. He’s currently a senior writer at HowStuffWorks and has co-hosted the science podcast Stuff to Blow Your Mind since its inception in 2010. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling with his wife Bonnie, discussing dinosaurs with his son Bastian and crafting the occasional work of fiction.