Well, here we are. For many of your reading this, Space Crusade is ground zero for you, what some may call a “gateway game”. It certainly was for me. I remember playing this game until the small hours of the morning when I was in my early teens. If Stephen, Michael, Graeme and Keith are reading this blog, I attribute my lifelong interest in wargaming to those evenings spent playing this game.
Over the years I’ve become somewhat of a collector of games and minis. Espeically Rogue Trader and 2nd Ed 40k minis and source books. Recently I was at a friends place who had a copy of Space Crusade floating around. We decided dust it off and roll out a few games. Even today, it’s actually a very playable game. I thoroughly enjoyed it, so I thought it would be fun to get a copy (my original copy being lost to the dim, dark past) I’m going to give it a paint job, using contemporary painting standards and techniques and I’m sure bust out a few games from time to time.
There are plenty of examples of this game for sale on eBay, however its hard to find a good one. After a few weeks of monitoring auctions, I found a copy that looked in pretty good nick. At the time, I felt I really took a bath bidding on the auction. However once it arrived, I realised that I actually picked up a copy as what you may regard as in excellent condition. It even had a brochure on other games that Milton Bradley made back in the 1990s.
Interestingly, and much to their credit, Games Workshop seem to be going back in this “gateway game” introduction philosophy. That is, making stand alone boxed games that give new players a ‘peek’ into the 40k/30k universe. These boxed sets providing new players with a foundation force should they decide to explore the hobby futher and take on the more detailed rules set that is 40k/30k. It is pleasing to see, especially after some of GW’s misadventures over the past few years. Getting into 40k for a new gamer would be a daunting prospect at best, whereas picking up a self contained boxed set, with a 40k lite rules set that is ready to go isn’t.
I have to admit, I’ve been playing a few games of Betrayal at Calth recently (I’m painting the minis, and have gone all out on them: subject of a future post). I have really enjoyed the game play, the rule set being analoguous to 40k, however a lot easier to pick up and very manageable for new players, or veterans alike who just want a fun ‘beer and pizza’ game. Whats more, if new players want to explore 40k after purchasing BaC, they have a solid starter force ready to go. One final remark before I get back to the actaul topic of this post. The game play of BaC. I really like the “activation” style of game play, within a turn, rather than the strict turn style game play of 40k/30k. Not only is an activaiton style more tactical (and realistic, within the confinds of a tabletop game), but it also is more interactive with your opponent and doesn’t lend itself to “alpha strike” armies that strict turn based games encourage. Incidently, activation style game play is a feature of the Epic Armageddon system I’ve been playing a lot of too lately.
Back to the task at hand. Space Crusade… what a cool idea. Space Hulk lite, with all the cool baddies from the 41st millennium and three squads of tooled up space marines from popular chapters cruzing around a space hulk shotting them up!
Let’s take a closer look and refresh our memory at the awesomeness that is Space Crusade…
The box art. Totally hilarious now, even comical. The commanders face… reminiscent of the face of the Salamader Space marine on the cover of “Space Marine” (arguably the first 30k game, interestingly produced in epic scale). Of course, the face of the Salamander on the box art, much like our man here, is irrefutably based on Al Picino’s character in the movie classic “Scarface” during that [in]famous scene “say hello to my little friend” as he fires a 40mm HEDP round from his under mounted M203 at a bunch “home invaders” (respect to the castle doctrine).
Me and my buddies back in the day… So wholesome, the looks of wraped enjoyment while ‘purging the alien’. Space Marines: the defenders of homogeneity since 1986 (GW).
The board sections, way a head of their time. They’re showing their age a little now, but are still solid.
“Assembly Instructions” contained on the underside of the box lid. Very helpful….
As apart of my re-boot of this game, I’m making some new bases for the models. I’ll cast enough of these up for the entire set. Just random bits of stuff from my bits box. The bolter casings are from Secret Weapon. Nice touch.
How far we’ve come. Space Crusade Marine circa ’92.
Like I mentioned at the start of the post, the example I ended up winning at auction was so complete it even had this little pamphlet still in the box.
Battle Plan: Don’t leave your boarding torpedo without one…. The custom dice, now a standard feature in all stand alone boxed sets. Painting guides for your marines. Pretty camp now, but mind blowing back in the day.
Mike McVey blesses us with what used to pass for a painting guide.Well team, there you have it. Don’t expect me to roll this one out at a great rate of knots. It’s just a little project I’d like to keep going and drop a post on every now and again.
Now, I’d really like to hear about your Space Crusade story or, how you got into 40k/30k story. So, if you’re reading this, drop a quick (or lenghtly) comment, I know I’d love to hear it, and I’m sure other readers would too. So, don’t be shy.