Space Crusade box front

Milton Bradley's 1990 Space Crusade board game

Space Crusade is an adventure board game produced by Milton Bradley based on a license from Games Workshop. It was first made in 1990. While produced in the United Kingdom and available in some other countries including Finland, Ireland, France, Denmark, Australia and New Zealand, it was never sold in the North American market. In Germany, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands, it was known as Star Quest. Space Crusade is a sister game to HeroQuest, which was also produced by Milton Bradley and Games Workshop. It uses many of the concepts of the Games Workshop's Space Hulk and Warhammer 40,000 tabletop miniature war games and is set within that same universe, but at a much simpler level of game play. The game was designed by Steven Baker. The original box artwork was by Jim Burns, and the later edition had a cover by David Sque, who is best known for illustrating Roy of the Rovers and, more recently, the Scorer strip in the British Daily Mirror newspaper


The game is designed to be played with 2 to 4 players, taking turns until one wins. One player takes the role of the aliens, controlling all the aliens and monsters on the Space Hulk, which were a mixture of Chaos, Orks, Genestealers and other xenos from Warhammer 40,000. The alien player takes on a significantly reduced role compared with that of a Game Master in traditional role-playing games, with his sole role being to stop the Space Marine players from accomplishing their missions.

The other players serve as the Space Marines, and each controls a squad of 5 Astartes in standard Power Armour, one of whom is a Force Commander. Each squad is further equipped with order commands as well as equipment cards. Space Marines can be armed with different weapons: light weapons allow Astartes to move faster at the cost of reduced firepower. Heavy weapons are represented by specialised red "Heavy Weapons dice" where the usual die numbers have been replaced; 4, 5 and 6 score 1, 2 and 3 damage points respectively. The white Light Weapons dice are similar, except that only 5 and 6 can score 1 and 2 points. Heavy Weapons operate in special ways, such as being able to hit all units in a horizontal line or attacking multiple targets.

The blue squad represents the Ultramarines Chapter of Space Marines, the red squad represents the Blood Angels, and the yellow squad represents the Imperial Fists. All three are First Founding Chapters of the Space Marines, and the Chapter can be recognized by the insignia on the slider board, which accurately represents the standard colors and Chapter badges of the Warhammer 40,000 versions. Each of the Chapters are identical, although the equipment cards for the Blood Angels are specialised in close combat, and the Imperial Fists in the use of ranged Heavy Weapons.

Close combat rules are enforced when two units engaging are next to each other; the controlling player of the two units in combat roll whatever number of dice allowed for that unit, and the highest wins. Otherwise, ranged combat rules are followed so long as there is line-of-sight between the two squares that each unit is occupying: the firing player rolls dice for the weapon being fired, and if the die total is above the armour value of the target, it is dealt a loss to Hit Points.

The squad-based system gives each player greater access for strategy and planning. Most of the game is careful calculations of avoiding line-of-sight, and rushing to attack either from around the corridor, through open doors, or close in with close combat. The mission-based system sometimes allows a player to sacrifice units to score points in order to win.

The Space Marine players have the advantage of heavy weapons, special equipment and high armour point values due to their Power Armour, while the alien player has the advantage of large numbers of pieces and random "Alien Event" cards which may be detrimental to his opponents. The Space Marine Force Commanders have multiple Hit Points and special weapons, making them harder to kill.

Each game consists of the Space Marine players receiving their primary mission, docking and entering the Space Hulk (and later Dreadnought factories), completing their mission before the other Space Marine players, and returning their team back to the docking claw. Points are scored for units killed and missions completed, deducted for units lost. Players with sufficient points at the end of the game (including the Alien Player) can be promoted to the next rank, which gives them access to additional troops or equipment for the subsequent games.

Expansion PacksEdit

Eldar AttackEdit

A boxed expansion set called Eldar Attack introduced the Eldar race with their special abilities intact, including psychic powers. This expansion pack allowed one extra player to control the Eldar miniatures, thus allowing the game to be played by 2-5 people. Of note, one of the alien events allowed the player to select a game board and rotate it to any degree. While this has interesting gameplay effects due to the line-of-sight required for range attacks, in practice it usually ended up with players knocking over doors and miniatures in the process, leading to many players simply ignoring this particular event.

Mission DreadnoughtEdit

Mission Dreadnought was a boxed expansion set for Space Crusade. This expansion pack provided the Space Marine players access to additional Space Marine miniatures, boosting the squad to 6 Astartes and the Force Commander. Space Marines were now allowed to carry extra Heavy Weapons or the Tarantula Sentry Gun. The alien player gains extra heavy Dreadnoughts, which were extremely powerful and capable of wiping out an entire Space Marine squad. The last mission in the additional mission book that came with the set allowed the alien player to continuously construct additional Dreadnoughts for more firepower from the Dreadnought Factory board. The additional bulkhead doors and corridor tiles allowed players to build more interesting board constructions, whereas the initial game was quite limited to either the square 2x2 mode or the long 4x1 mode.

White Dwarf ExpansionsEdit

Two articles about Space Crusade were published in White Dwarf Magazine: one for using Terminators, Space Marine Scout Marines, Ork Nobs, Tyranids and Genestealer Hybrids (White Dwarf, 1991), allowing players to use Warhammer 40,000 miniatures, and one campaign called "Renegade" (White Dwarf, 1992).

Advanced Space CrusadeEdit

Advanced Space Crusade was a modular board game published in 1990 by Games Workshop and Milton Bradley. The premise of the game was that a number of Space Marine Scout squads were boarding a Tyranid ship in order to sabotage its delicate internal biomechanical "organs". The game was superficially similar to Space Hulk in that it used 28 millimetre plastic Citadel Miniatures as play pieces, modular board pieces to represent the innards of the Hive Ship, and had one player controlling the Space Marines while the other controlled the waves of Tyranids, but the game had no greater relationship to Space Crusade than any other game set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe. Without the license from Milton Bradley, many of the components of Advanced Space Crusade were released in 1993's Tyranid Attack, a substantially different board game game.


A simple story accompanied the gameplay from mission-to-mission, drawing the player into an intriguing science-fiction world. This followed the same sort of narrative as its big brother, Space Hulk.

Computer GameEdit

Gremlin Graphics Software, Ltd. released a computer version of the board game in early 1992. It was available on the Atari ST, IBM PC (MS-DOS), Amiga, ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64 and Amstrad and later received an expansion pack, The Voyage Beyond. It is a faithful conversion of the board game, with a board that could be viewed in 2D or isometric projection views (Barker, 1992).

See also Edit

Sources Edit

  • White Dwarf 134 (UK), "Advanced: Space Crusade - Ork Warbands in Advanced Space Crusade," by Jervis Johnson, pp. 66-75
  • White Dwarf 145, (UK) "Renegade," Andrew Kennedy-Skipton, pp. 10-25

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