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This was my first time playing Death Angel in a while. I had been hoping to get it to the table with some friends, but opportunities never arose and so I decided to test out the expansions I picked up at Salute! this year with a single player game. Rather than introducing them one at a time I couldn't help chucking everything together and seeing what happened.
I used Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game – Mission Pack 1, Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game: Space Marine Pack 1 and Space Hulk: Death Angel – The Card Game: Tyranid Enemy Pack. I made sure that I was using both of the two new Combat Teams (Chaplain and Cyclone Missile Launcher), and and used the new Location cards from with a Tyranid Enemy Pack final encounter. I also replaced the Genestealers with Tyranids, of course.
'Begin as you mean to continue, Brother Metraen, in the Emperor's name.'
I was out of the Void Lock quickly. The 'Cyclonic Volley' attack effect on the new Brother Adron card is very useful as it allows you to remove up to 3 Tyranids in a swarm, regardless of facing, a number of positions away equal to the roll of a dice (0 has no effect). Keeping Adron central, and sheltered from attack, allowed for the quick squashing of swarms before they became too large to handle. I rolled well on attack, scoring skulls as required, which helped. I also managed to travel empty thanks to a Door with several tokens on.
'To me Raziel. To you Kaphael.'
The second location was the Locomotivus, a new card that enables you to activate the control panel to switch the position and facing of the activating Marine with any other Marine in the formation, who can then also change facing. This musical chairs, combined with me destroying the Promethium Tank and Spore Chimney Locations early on, enabled a slow, controlled clearance of the location. So far so good. My good rolling continued (I hardly missed an attack roll) and the enemies obligingly refused to get in the way with irritating placement.
'Sergeant Lorenzo? Weren't you supposed to be behind me?'
Location three was the Tenebro Maze, and its 'switch the positions of the Marines at the top and bottom of the formation, then change the facing of each other Marine in the formation' caused me my first serious headache. Obviously my Marines were disorientated from all the Locomotivusing in the previous Location. I'd just had two large spawns in a row and I lost Brother Metraen (Black Team generic Marine) to an flank attack early. Fortunately the wonderful abilities of the Blue and Black Teams' Support Cards (Blue allows Lorenzo to remove an attacker whenever a skull is rolled while defending, and Black gives each Marine +1 to their defending roll for each Support Token they had), plus some rather fortunate dice rolling in defense, got me through without further loss. It was at this point that I remembered that a single player game gives you one less location...
'Again? Leave some for the rest of us Brother Adron.'
The final Location was Deathleaper, who spawns in a swarm with 2 other Tyranids. To win you just have to kill him, but you have to kill everything else in his swarm first. This turned out to be horribly anti-climactic, as he spawned within range of Cyclonic Volley which took him out, along with his two companions, before that swarm could grow. So ended the smoothest game of Death Angel I've ever played.
Playing alone has several advantages, of course, the main one being that you can select the actions of your teams to compliment one another rather than overlapping or conflicting, but even so this game went almost uncannily smoothly. If I needed a skull, it appeared. If I needed a good roll on defense, there it was. The bad event cards didn't hurt me and the good ones really helped. I made several good decisions, which helped, but I certainly can't claim sole responsibility for how well this went.
It's hard to draw meaningful conclusions about the expansions based on a game where everything bar a single dice roll went my way. I not sure I saw the expansions functioning entirely 'as intended' due to an abnormal share of lucky dice, but I certainly enjoyed the additions to the game. The Tyranids make the enemy swarms more dynamic and interesting as several have special text that enables a second attack or drains Support Tokens. While this certainly makes your life harder under normal conditions, it does make the swarms feel more realistic to this gamer. The new Marines seemed useful and sufficiently different to justify their inclusion, though I still can't help but feel that certain combinations of Combat Teams just work far better than others. The new Locations in the Mission Pack were the least glamorous addition, but possibly my favourite, as that part of the game can get quite stale through repetition.
I'll be trying out the expansions again soon, hopefully under less serene conditions, but, on a quick first impression, I'm enjoying what they add to the base game.
aurax golden chubby dragon
The new orange team is awesome in attack, not only the cyclonic volley is probably the best weapon in the game, but also the support action (double token) is great in its simplicity, and the move action is the best moving action bar the yellow team one (speaking about moving, not about special effects).
The black team seriously lacks firepower – it is the team with less killing potential- but it is great in defense if you have the chance to power them up with tokens. You can alternate between the stunning attack from chaplain and the easy defense roll from the support action, so your black marines can become an unkillable wall.
If you combined those two teams with the blue team, the one probably most versatile and useful when fighting tyranids, you had a winning combo from the start. Still, tyranids are badass, I specially hate raveners – they eat your support tokens. So well done, don't deny your own merit, those “good decisions” you mentioned are probably the reason of your victory