This week guest writer, Luke Shiel writes about his love for Space Crusade. What other games have stood the test of time and are long over due a remake?
Beta squad, Alpha company, has been wiped out by a dreadnought aboard alien vessel 547, codename Abomination…. and I'm back, 12 years old, I've seen 'Aliens' even though its an 18 and after months of looking at it in the Argos catalogue, I have it, I have Space Crusade! Three marines armed with Bolters, one with a plasma gun and a commander, rocking a Power Fist and Power Sword combo. I might only be a Sergeant, but I'm the Blood Angels, Lieutenant Primus is an almost dead cert.
Space Crusade is a game like nothing I've ever played before; it's a long way from Mousetrap. I have a team to control not a single character, not a cardboard cut out but plastic miniatures with interchangeable weapons and they are cool! I play, not against but alongside other teams but against a whole hoard of crazy aliens; weedy looking Gretchin bigger bulkier Orks, a full complement of chaos space marines, androids, evil Genestealers and the piece de resistance the dreadnought. Playing on a board that changes for each mission with interesting equipment cards, order cards and hit dice. Space Crusade is what twelve years old me lived for, my every waking hour I was drawing out new maps fantasising about the adventures I was sure to be playing.
Fast forward twenty odd years and I'm reminiscing about the good old times, reliving our grand adventures in the age of strife and I find myself on eBay buying it all over again, with the expansion packs I didn't get to play as a kid all as new with the pieces still in the sprues. Ha! Not for long, that's not what games are for! And you know what? It totally holds up. It's a great game! I've introduced my friends to it, my girlfriend and my kids, one of which is only 10 years old. I can see his imagination flowing, the excitement he shows as he makes his plans, reading through each and every equipment card before finally making his pick only to revisit his choices once he gets to the order cards. I see the fear he has when I flip over an event card and it's the dreaded Genestealer, hoping its not dropping in next to him, making up stories of how it had been tracking him through a vent duct busting out to make its quick attack only to scurry off down the corridor in search of its next victim. This is a great game!
So what's my point? You guessed it; I'm calling out for a remake, a reissue or a new game that truly captures what was unique about this one. Its simple rules that even a 10-year-old can grasp, its quick missions that play through in about an hour or so but that belong to a campaign where the previous games impact the next. I can't be the only one who thinks so. Imagine it remade with the beautiful miniature designs that games workshop are so famous for, we could get rid of the cheap crappy cardboard bits, maybe add an app or something to help with mission design which was always my favourite bit. Maybe you could even use an app instead of blips, but maybe that's too far. We could make a few rule changes that stop boring alien players using crappy exploits to stop players entering the board, "yes it's allowed but I'm pretty sure it shouldn't be." And maybe the world could live on, with new expansions or characters with different mechanics (we tried adding in a Chaplin to great effect)
It seems a shame to me that this fantastic game that both a 10-year-old and his 37-year-old dad can both enjoy should be lost to the annals of time, Hero Quest was great but let us not forget the legions who died on many a dining room table back in 92, let's bring back the crusade.