The chair creaks as you settle onto it. The candlelight flickers. All around you the ravenous faces of your so-called friends twist in delight as you slowly open the box laid out on the table. Welcome to Dangerous Games! Each week, we'll feature a horror/thriller/monster tabletop game you should be playing. Don't be scared… roll the dice… what's the worst that could happen?
Death Angel: The Card Game
In the deepest confines of space a giant, derelict ship lurches toward humanity. This ship, known as a Space Hulk, is infested with hordes of hibernating aliens. The craft lifelessly drifts through the galaxy as it teems with death and destruction. These creatures, known as Genestealers, are the bump in the night. They're the monster under the bed. They're fast, primal animals that want to destroy all sentient life by infecting humans with their DNA! Luckily for the galaxy, they've sent you and your squad mates in to clean it up.
In Death Angel: The Card Game, one to six players take on the roles of Space Marines sent in to clean up the Genestealer hive. This game is set in the wildly popular Warhammer 40,000 universe, but the gameplay has nothing to do with fiddly little miniatures and tape measurements. It's scary, unrelenting, and hard as hell. The goal in this game is to survive as wave after wave of enemies come at you and your fellow space marines. If you don't all work together everyone will die… and the fate of humanity will begin to look pretty damned bleak.
Each player takes the role of at least two different space marines (more if you're playing solo). The marines are stacked in a column on the table, locations are laid out, and each player chooses from three actions. Basically, a player can support another character, attack the threats as they arrive, or move and activate a special feature of an area.
There are lots of little details and strategy involved, but basically you want to roll low on a six sided die to kill alien monstrosities, you want to help your fellow squad mates do the same, and you want to move to locations that have helpful abilities in them. If you take one hit, your character dies, so this is a hard, fast-paced game. If you can survive the whole slew of aliens, wave after wave of them, you and your teammates win.
While playing this game you will choose a random selection of location cards. These are the cards that tell you how many aliens are creeping out of the darkness and what special abilities may happen. There's plenty of replay value, because you're not using all of the cards from this location deck and the ones you use are always randomized. If it were a board game, it would be like always switching out tiles each time you play.
This is a wickedly fun game. The game feels "stressfully fun" in that you're not hoping to make the best farm, or settle the nicest town; you're barreling down drooling, vicious alien monstrosities who want to turn you into their newest viral host. Also, as mentioned, it's brutally hard. You and your friends will often lose this game, which will only make you want to play it again and again. The instructions need improvement, as they're a jumble of rules, terms you don't understand, and clunky Warhammer lingo (you play as a Blood Angel… I think Space Marine is quite sufficient to describe your character). But if you can get past the rough rule book, you'll be hooked on this game.