Space Crusade

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Space Crusade
Space crusade box.jpg
Space Crusade box art (version by David Sque)
Manufacturer(s) Milton Bradley and Games Workshop
Designer(s) Steven Baker
Illustrator(s) Jim Burns and David Sque
Publisher(s) Milton Bradley
Years active 1990
Players 2 to 4
Random chance Dice

Space Crusade is an adventure board game produced by Milton Bradley together with Games Workshop and was first made in 1990. While produced in the UK and available in some other countries including Finland, Ireland, France, Denmark, Australia and New Zealand, it was never sold in North America. In Germany, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands, it is known as Star Quest.

It 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 games, 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,[1] who is best known for illustrating Roy of the Rovers and, more recently, the Scorer strip in the Daily Mirror.


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 aliens 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 its sole role being to stop the marine players from accomplishing their missions.

The other players are marine players, and each controls a squad of 5 Space Marines in standard power armour, one of whom is a Commander. Each squad is further equipped with order commands as well as equipment cards. Marines can be armed with different weapons: light weapons allow marines 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, the red squad represents the Blood Angels, and the yellow squad represents the Imperial Fists. All three are founding chapters of the Space Marines, and the chapter can be recognized by the insignia on the slider board, and accurately represents the standard colors 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 use of ranged heavy weapons.

Close range 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 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 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 marine Commanders have multiple Hit Points and special weapons, making them harder to kill.

Each game consists of the marine players receiving their primary mission, docking and entering the space hulk (and later dreadnought factories), completing their mission before the other 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 order or equipments for the subsequent games.


English Space Crusade Aliens Orks & Gretchin Chaos Marines Genestealers / Clones Imperial Fists Ultramarines Blood Angels
Danish Space Crusade N/A N/A Kaos Mariner Genrøvere (gene robbers) Imperiets Næve Ultramarinerne Blodengle
Dutch Starquest Ruimtelingen
Ork & Mutant Kosmosmariniers Genenjatters ("Gene Filchers") Vuistmeesters
("Fist Masters")
("Blood Tasters")
German StarQuest Chaos Robotlings Orks & Gridlings Chaos Krieger Symbionten / Klon Imperial Fists
Blood Angels
Italian Star Quest N/A N/A N/A Ladri genetici (genetic robbers) Pugno d'Acciaio ("Steel Fist") N/A Angeli Sanguinari
("Bloodthirsty Angels")
Spanish Cruzada Estelar
("Star Crusade")
N/A N/A N/A Robagenes (gene robbers) Destacamento Gualda (Golden Detachment) Azules (Blue Detachment) Destacamento Grana (Crimson Detachment)
Greek Σταυροφορία στο Διάστημα"
("Crusade in Space")
N/A Όρκ & Γκριτσίν Πεζοναύτες του Χάους Γονιδιοκλέφτες Αυτοκρατορικές γροθιές Σούπερ πεζοναύτες Αιμοχαρείς Άγγελοι
Finnish N/A N/A Clones N/A Genemonsters Space Judges Sky Terminators Blood Angels

The game was also translated into a Danish version and released by the company 'MB Spil'. While most units had Danish names, the name of the game itself remained unchanged. Most names are translated more or less directly into Danish.


The Dutch translation of the game was titled "Star Quest", and featured fairly liberal translations of both the space marines and many of the aliens' names. For example, gretchin were translated as "mutanten" (mutants), "Dreadnought" as "Durfal" (roughly meaning "one who dares to do anything", in other words "one who dreads nothing") and space marines as "Melkwegmariniers" (lit. Milky Way marines).(galaxy translated to Dutch is melkweg)


The Finnish translation calls the aliens "clones" collectively, but this is given no further explanation. The Dreadnoughts are also called "Devastators" and "clone ships". The alien enemies are said to be the descendants of Morcar's forces in the rule book.


The German version of the game was published under the name StarQuest to tie-in with Hero-Quest, which, at that time, was very popular amongst German children.

The translation tones down most of the violent game elements: The aliens are "chaos robots", not living creatures. A player does not kill a robot, the robot is merely removed from this dimension or gets caught by the effects of the weapons and is not harmed at all. Although for example the "Assault Cannon" can quite easily be recognized as a type of machine gun, in the German version it is called "Zero Time Gun" and its effect is explained as "time bubbles" slowing down the enemy.

The German version has names for the troops, instead of the name change of the chapters.

  • GSG - 19 (Ultramarines)
  • GSG - Musketiere (Imperial Fists)
  • GSG - Tiger (Blood Angels)

The Greek translation is called "Σταυροφορία στο Διάστημα" which is a translation of the original name (literally "Crusade in Space").


The Italian version of the game is called Starquest, often written Star Quest, just like the Dutch and the German ones. Most of the aliens' names are literally translated (with the exceptions of "Dreadnought" and "Gretchin"). Finally, the pseudo-Latin in the manual is converted to actual Latin.


The Spanish translation is called Cruzada Estelar, a translation of "Star Crusade". The Spanish version also suffered a mis-translation of armour as "armamento" (weaponry) instead of "armadura", meaning that the Marines' armour value was not explicitly given.

Rules Clarification (English Version)[edit]

There are some rules and events in this game that the rulebook does not clearly explain, or is vague enough in descriptions that mis-understandings are common among players. The following list should help the player understand them.

• One of the Alien Event Cards reads ‘The Ork fires as though he has a Devastator…’. In the rule book a ‘Devastator’ is not listed as a possible weapon choice. The clue however is in the story located in the rulebook. On page 18 of the rulebook the space marines encounter a Dreadnought, ‘Kanner’ is then ordered to bring the Devastator to destroy the Dreadnought. If you read back through the story ‘Kanner’ is found to be the Space Marine with the Plasma Gun.

• When firing the Plasma Gun at the Dreadnought, check to see if the plasma beam passes through the Dreadnought on two squares. Because the Plasma Gun hits every single square in its beam with the total of the two dice, it is possible to hit the Dreadnought twice in a single shot effectively causing double damage. This also fits the story in the Rule Book where the Plasma Gun appears to be the preferred weapon against the Dreadnought, and also gives the Imperial Fists commander a needed boost against the Dreadnought when taking the combi-weapon equipment card. However, in Mission Dreadnought, the rulebook is more explicit in explaining that the Extra-Heavy Weapons, which also can cause damage to more than one square, affect only single miniatures, regardless of how many squares this miniature takes up. This includes Tarantulas (which take up two squares) but NOT the attached Marine operator, who is still considered a separate miniature.

• If applying damage to squares rather than miniatures, the missile launcher can cause multiple hits on the Dreadnought; however, if you consider that each square occupied by the Dreadnought is armour value 4, then only the centre of the missile blast has a chance to damage the Dreadnought and the outer blast cannot hurt it at all because individual hits cannot be added up. This is not true of the Conversion Beam in Mission Dreadnought however, which have a maximum damage score of 9 points with a surrounding blast of 8 points.

• When firing from the Dreadnought, you can fire the heavy weapons from any square occupied by the Dreadnought. This is because the facing of the model is not important in this game and the Dreadnought does not need to be facing the target.

• When playing order and some equipment cards, some of them clearly affect individual Marines such as ones with Bolters, or ones with heavy weapons while others affect ‘all of your Marine miniatures’ such as the Move and Fire order cards and the Melta Bomb equipment card. However, there is an argument for and against including the Commander as a ‘Marine’ because the words Commander, Marine and Player are not used clearly or consistently enough thought the rulebook, order cards, equipment cards and event cards causing confusion.[2] Because the Commander is very powerful, allowing or disallowing him to partake in the orders can have a large impact on the game. One possible answer to the argument is found in the video game version of the game. In the video game version the Commander can give orders such as ‘Fire’ and can partake in the order he is giving out.

• The equipment cards show the assault cannon with firing lines in each of the eight directions. This was meant to summarise visually that the assault cannon can hit anything that can be seen, but it is possible to mis-understand this as the assault cannon being able to only fire in eight straight directions, like the plasma gun. The assault cannon can hit any miniature within line of sight. If any are removed and there are still damage points to be spent from the roll, any miniatures that then are within line of sight can then be targeted. This is clearly explained within the rulebook.

• It is possible to make the mistake that hand-to-hand combat works exactly like shooting in that it is a roll against Armour points, even though the rulebook is again very clear that it is a simple die roll against a die roll—Armour is not counted. Normally it is very difficult for the alien player to kill a Space Marine by shooting at it (with the exception of androids and Heavy Weapons), but relatively easy to kill one in close combat. (An Ork attacking a Space Marine in close combat, for example, normally has an equal chance of killing him than being killed itself.) This disparity may account for some players accidentally not applying close combat rules, or even preferring not to do so.

• Neither the rulebook nor the graphical equipment cards describe how a Space Marine armed with a heavy weapon defends himself in close combat or how many dice he rolls. This may lead to players believing that he does not roll any dice in close combat at all. In the video game, a heavy weapon-armed Marine rolls two light weapons dice in close combat, the same as bolter-armed Marines, but do not benefit from equipment cards that improve Bolter close combat.

Expansion games and sequels[edit]

Eldar Attack[edit]

A boxed expansion set that introduced Eldar with special abilities 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 allows the player to select a game board and rotate it to any degree. While this has interesting gameplay due to the line of sight required for range attacks, in practice it usually ends up with players knocking over doors and miniatures in the process, leading to many players simply ignoring this particular event.[citation needed]

Mission Dreadnought[edit]

A boxed expansion set.

This expansion pack gives the marine player access to additional space marine miniatures, boosting the squad to 6 space marines and the commander. Space marines may carry extra heavy weapons or the tarantula mobile turret.

The alien player gains extra heavy dreadnoughts, which are extremely powerful and capable of wiping out an entire squad. The last mission in the additional mission book allows the alien player to continuously construct additional dreadnoughts for more firepower from the dreadnought factory board.

The additional bulkhead doors and corridor tiles allows players to build more interesting board constructions, whereas the initial game is quite limited to either the square 2x2 mode or the long 4x1 mode.

White Dwarf[edit]

Two articles about Space Crusade were published in White Dwarf: one for using Terminators, Space Marine Scouts, Ork Mobs, Tyranids and Genestealer Hybrids (White Dwarf 134, 1991), allowing players to use Warhammer 40,000 miniatures, and one campaign called 'Renegade' (White Dwarf 145, 1992).

Advanced Space Crusade[edit]

Advanced Space Crusade was a modular board game published in 1990 by Games Workshop and Milton Bradley. The premise of the game is that a number of Space Marine scout squads are boarding a Tyranid ship in order to sabotage its delicate internal "organs". The game is superficially similar to Space Hulk in that it uses 28 mm plastic Citadel Miniatures as play pieces, uses modular board pieces to represent the innards of the Hive ship, and has one player controlling the Marines while the other controls waves of Tyranids, but has 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 game.

Video game[edit]

Gremlin Graphics Software Ltd. released a video game version of the game in early 1992. It was available on Atari ST, IBM PC (MS-DOS), Amiga, ZX Spectrum, Commodore 64 and Amstrad and later received an expansion, The Voyage Beyond. It is a faithful conversion of the boardgame, with a board that could be viewed in 2D or isometric projection views (Barker, 1992). The ZX Spectrum version was voted number 24 in the Your Sinclair Readers' Top 100 Games of All Time.[3]


  • Barker, Linda (March 1992). "Space Crusade". Your Sinclair (75). 
  • "(title unknown)". White Dwarf: UK Edition (134). February 1991. ISSN 0265-8712. 
  • "Renegade". White Dwarf: UK Edition (145). January 1992. ISSN 0265-8712. 
  1. ^ Sque, David. "David Sque Illustrations — Board Games". 
  2. ^ <>
  3. ^ "Readers' Top 100 Games of All Time". Your Sinclair. September 1993. 

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