A few weeks ago we were treated to a special holiday surprise from Games Workshop in the form of Crusade of Fire, a standalone 40k campaign, the first we have seen from Games Workshop in over six years. I was extremely excited about the prospect of Games Workshop devoting resources to creating a campaign that teaches players other ways to play the game.

So $41 bucks late,r what can I say now about the limited copy I now have in my hands? Firstly, I can say it is not worth $41 bucks maybe... $25 at most. I knew that going-- as did many others. From the mostly recycled art to the obvious space filler Crusade of Fire doesn't have the depth I expect from a campaign book. If you compare Crusade of Fire to even an average Dungeon & Dragons module you will find it wanting.

With all that negativity said, I still love the book. I hope it sells out so that Games Workshop can build from it and make better books down the road.

Here is a breakdown of each section you can find in Crusade of Fire.

The book is divided up into seven different sections some more useful than others.

It should be noted first; you will need a copy of Planetary Empires if you want to run a mirror of this campaign.

The rules presented are nothing more than an add-on to Planetary Empires.

Contents of Crusade of Fire

  1. The Campaign Rules
  2. The Crusade of Fire
  3. Armies of the Conflict
  4. The Campaign
  5. Burning Skies
  6. Daemon Worlds
  7. The Arena of Death

The Campaign Rules

The rules for the campaign take up six pages with maybe only three pages worth of actual text. Like I said before this is an extension of  the Planetary Empire rules. You start by breaking up players into teams Good, Bad, and the Xenos. After that you each team member places flags with all of Team Bad going first, and random from then on.

There are two major mechanics that separating Crusade of Fire from the Planetary Empire rules.

  • Phases that reveal more territory to conquer and new missions to play.
  • Factional and Personal Trackers the points you earn each turn can be used to fill either track depending on your goals for the campaign.


Planetary Empires uses tiles to create maps for your campaigns.

Flags to mark territory and special buildings for in game bonus forms the basis of Games Workshop studio campaigns.

Controlling buildings and territories for the basis for the points you will get to win the campaign. The building rules are changed from Planetary Empires so Games Workshop can blatantly sell more (Fortifications) stuff to you. The best thing about the campaign rules is players have multiple ways to enjoy their games. You can play for personal glory racking up points towards your personal track and/or for your team. This makes gives players external and internals for each game.

Instead of basing the campaign on one planet you get to fight over multiple planets. This makes it easy for each planet to have its own rules and play styles. It really allows for players to create special missions using both Crusade of Fire and 6th edition campaign rules.

The last section in the campaign rules is nothing, but useless filler for experienced campaigners. Very pedestrian advice for how to run a campaign using a Game Master.

Crusade of Fire

The second section of the book is devoted to giving you the background fluff for the planetary system you are fighting over. The background is nothing to write home about, but does give you good ideas if you plan on running custom missions for battles on specific planets.

Armies of the Conflict

The third section is just pretty pictures of studio armies. Each army has a blurb by the player that created them and is designed to hand out jollies for the Games Workshop staff.

The Campaign

The fourth section is divided by the three phases the Games Workshop studio used to play the campaign. More or less stripped down battle reports that follows Phil Kelly around, as he makes a mockery of all the other players. The real useful information you can find in this section is the extra missions.

  • Voidspan Point
  • The Annihilation Device
  • The Last Rites


Voidspan Point missions is nothing, but an excuse for Games Workshop to use the damn space station they made.

As for the mission itself it is one giant cluster f**k. I mean that in the nicest way. Not only are you supposed to fight in cramped quarters, but you have to deal with lots of random effects.

Between Zero Gravity, Hard Vacuum, The Long Walk, and random Daemon units entering the fray this is one insane mission.

The Annihilation Device is another fun one. This mission is designed for no vehicles as the Forge World Zone Mortalis sets should be used. The mission looks to play a lot like a game of Space Hulk and if you don't have a Mortalis set around I suggest using your Space Hulk tiles instead.

Booby Traps, Access Hatches, and random starting zones makes this mission almost as wild as the first one.


The best part though is if you win the game you get he choice to blow up an entire planet if you want.

The last mission is Last Rites which is an Apocalypse mission that looks pretty standard and since it is Apocalypse I could care less.

Burning Skies

This section details the advance flyer rules. These flyer rules can easily be augmented for either normal 40k games or for one on one flyer fights.

The advance rules are designed to create "Dog-Fights" between flyers. Once flyers are engaged in a dog-fight the fun begins. Divided into three rounds each round has a unique table that is an elaborate, rock, paper scissors. Each army also gets Special Maneuvers that go off if you pass a Leadership test. Then there is Fighter Aces which are basically Warlord traits for you can buy for your Flyers.

The advance flyer rules look fun and something you can do if you have an itch to be the Red Baron.

Daemon Worlds

The rules for Daemon Worlds are a great way to bring a distinct flavor to a game. You start by deciding what Chaos God has possessed the world and from their you move on a random table to determine what hazards the game will have. Imagine a stripped down version of Death Worlds.

This section also supplies another mission called: Escape from the Jaws of Hell.

This mission has you waiting for rescue while the Deamon World tries to eat you. This is a cool mission as you get  victory points based on the individual turns you hold the objective. As well, Deamons appear, attacking both sides, all the while more hazards occur depending on the number of casualties everyone takes.

The Arena of Death

The final section to Crusade of Fire is the rules for Arena combat. This modified Kill Team really stresses how your model faces and is all about movement. You play in a small 2 x 2 area. You use "Manoeuvre Cards" to determine the actions your models take. The game ends either if someone is dead or you win over the crowd.

This is fairly complex set of rules and looks to play quite different from any other game with in a game I have seen. I don't want to pass judgement on it until I play it, but it sure looks like units can win even if they have no chance of winning in a fair fight.

Final Thoughts...

Crusade of Fire on the surface looks like it doesn't have much depth, still you can see the enjoyment the Games Workshop staff had in making this book. If you take the time to actually play dog fights, gladiatorial arenas, or on a Daemon world, then you will find something worthwhile.

The campaign itself does require some tweaking otherwise you are going to spend a LOT of money trying to recreate the GW studio experience. That might be my biggest problem with this product. The campaign itself isn't very accessible, even though it is at times very creative. How many players have the Realm of Battle Zone Mortalis Set? And really, who is going to build the damn floating space port!

If you are willing to tweak the campaign a bit I can see this being a great supplement, but then again why should I spend $41 bucks if I am going to being do so much extra work...

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