Book Review: Crusade of Fire

My good friend John recently bought Crusade of Fire, Games Workshop’s latest addition of book materials for Warhammer 40k 6th Edition gaming supplements. After receiving it, he did a thorough review and was kind of enough to share his thoughts with me to share on Cranky Old Gamer.

Check out the review below – enjoy!

Review follows:

I recently pre-ordered a copy of “Crusade of Fire” from Games Workshop. When I purchased it, I wasn’t all that interested in the campaign rules, though I was hoping for a good read, and was more interested in the bunker combat and void combat rules, as well as hoping that the new flyer rules would help with some of the problems flyers have in the current rules set.

My first impression of the book is that it was very thin, especially for the price, and it clocks in at 96 pages. Production values-wise, I don’t believe there is any new art in the book, it’s all recycled from the main rulebook, and Codex Chaos. The book starts with an overview of the campaign, and the campaign rules. The campaign is very sparse in story content, essentially a warp storm subsides and opens up a new sector of space, Imperial forces launch a crusade to reclaim the sector and finds entrenched chaos forces. A third party (led by Dark Eldar, but seemingly having Necrons present throughout the campaign) tries to seize advantage of the conflict for their own gain. The first minus of the book comes up here, and I did not see this in any of the previews from GW, Planetary Empires is required to play the campaign. There’s a section of Strategic Objectives, and Grand Warlord Traits (traits for the overall army commander, though oddly enough the force led by the Dark Eldar does not have access to any traits) that are only useable with Planetary Empires. There’s also short blurbs about the planets in the sector.

The armies the studio used to play the campaign are next, and geez, are there lots of marines. There are 9 armies in total, four marines of various flavor (vanilla, Space Wolves and Blood Angels all represent), 4 Chaos Marines and 1 Dark Eldar. Some of the armies are quite good, in particular Kevin Chin’s Imperial fists are amazing.

By far the bulk of the book is the campaign, and it goes through various stages with a big climax battle at each one. I really liked the outer space scenery of “Boarding the Space Station:, a battle occurring across several asteroids linked by stations and towers. The scenario rules for void combat and bunker combat are in this section, and the rules are pretty uninspired. The rules are basically taken from FW’s Zone Mortalis, but extremely striped down, borrowing minimal aspects of each. There’s really no point in using this book in place of the far more fleshed out ZM rules. I do like one of the scenarios a lot, armies battling to gain access to a bunker where a powerful weapon is located. You utilize one board for every two armies, and each board has an entrance to the bunker (a Zone Mortalis) where at the center of the bunker is a weapon. I would definitely like to try this.

Next up are the new flyer rules, and in my opinion they’re all terrible. All it does is introduce a rock/paper/scissors mechanic to flyer mechanics. I have no desire to ever implement these. It also introduces “fighter ace” upgrades, which are for the most terribly thought out. First up, Dark Eldar, one of the few armies with a non-FW flyer, have no ace upgrades. Next, lots of the upgrades are useless due to the rules and/or army constructions. For instance, the necrons have one that allows them to re-roll 1’s to hit, and all of their flyer weapons are twin-linked or use blast templates. Orks have one that allows them to fire one extra weapon a turn, but there are no ork flyers with five weapons to take advantage of this. And a roll on the table for an ace upgrade is very expensive point-wise, so I can’t imagine anyone actually do this.

Coming towards the end there’s rules for fighting on a Daemon World. It reminds me of the Deathworld hazards published in White Dwarf a few months ago. It’s a hazard table, and then some rules for Daemonic possession. There’s a scenario associated with it involving trying to escape the daemonworld.

Last section is arena rules. It introduces a card mechanic to a fight between characters, and to be honest, I don’t see myself ever playing this.

Overall, I can’t recommend this, the campaign is unimaginative, and the price tag is too high for a couple of good scenarios and a ton of filler.

Leave a Reply