Let’s talk about why you should try out the new Crusade mode.
There are a lot of ways to play Warhammer 40,000. Arguably there are as many ways as there are players, but to simplify things the rules codify a few standard methods. 9th Edition has added a new way to play the game, a semi narrative, semi campaign system known as Crusade. Crusade seems to have flown under the radar a bit, which I feel is a shame, since its an amazing way to play. So lets look at at some reason why its an amazing way to play.
5. A Mix of Matched and Narrative Play
While Crusade is described as narrative play it actually blends the two styles together in a way that I really like. Often narrative play comes off as just matched play but less standardized. People take it as a “do whatever you want” format of game play. And between good friends or in some situations that can be great. However standardization is good in games as it allows strangers, or near stranger to play and help streamline everything. Crusade keeps the game standardized with a solid set of rules. It managed to have the constants and benefits of matched play, while also keep the spirit and unpredictability of narrative play.
4. It Decouples Model Upgrades From Stratagems
40K has a lot of stratagems that upgrade models. From giving them relics or warlord traits, to making them veterans. I’ve always felt was a weird way for stratagems to be used. It made it a lot less clear what stratagems where supposed to do or be, and put these upgrades in a weird area. It also generally meant you’d end up spending a fair few CP on these stratagems and not be able to use as many in game. Crusade does away with this issue. In Crusade you don’t use CP to activate any of these upgrade stratagems, instead you use requisition points, part of the Crusade army building system, to purchase them as permanent upgrades for units. Since your units are persistent between games this works well, and takes away any oddness of having a squad be veterans one battle and then green recruits the next.
3. More CP
Everyone loves having CP and using cool stratagems. Crusade makes sure that players have access to more CP then ever before. It does this in two ways. Firstly by decoupling the pregame upgrades from CP, you’ll pretty much always start the game with full CP, unless you pay to put things in reserve. This will likely net most players a couple of CP. On top of that CP are used to help balance uneven fights. If one player has a less powerful Crusade army then the other, they get extra CP to help make up for that. So start using those stratagems!
I’ve always loved games where you have persistent army and get to watch as it grows and changes over several games. Necromunda and Mordheim are two of my favorite games for just this reason. Crusade allows you to do this on a 40K scale and does it really well. Now, full disclaimer, playing Crusade does require a fair bit of bookkeeping. You do have to keep a separate Crusade Card for each unit and update it each battle. You also have to be honest. However this system has the ability to be very rewarding. Both units and heroes can gain a host of upgrades and buffs over the course of your games, going from fresh faced LT to a bloody handed killing machine. The upgrades are varied enough (and will get more so with faction specific ones) that each unit in your army can be truly unique, and you can tailor it fit your style of theme. From holy tanks, to giving your leader a vortex grenade to each of your sergeants having a bespoke unique and powerful weapon, you can do it all.
1. It’s Perfect for Leagues
Now I don’t think Crusade is perfect for every game. I doubt it really works well for two total strangers to randomly play. Nor does it seem like you’d really want to play your Crusade army against someone without one. It is however perfect for campaigns and seems almost purpose built for leagues. Crusade armies start off relatively small at 50 PL and then grow over time and games as you get more requisition points and add units. This makes it perfect of league play, as players can start small with brand new armies and then slowly build them up over time, tailoring the units to their upgrades and force. Sadly where I live I can’t really do this yet as in person playing it mostly a no-no, but once we are able to gather in groups again, I know this is how I’m going to start playing.
Let us know what you think of Crusade, down in the comments!