Advanced Space Crusade

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Advanced Space Crusade

Postby The Other Dave on Fri Feb 27, 2015 3:40 pm

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So for the past… wow, looking at my painting log thread, two and a half years, I’ve been quietly plugging away at collecting and painting all the models I need to play Advanced Space Crusade, and actually basically finished and got some games played in late 2013. As you’ll know if you’ve looked at the hobby log, I’ve recently come back to the project with a couple models designed to allow me to work further to rebalance the game and make it more fun, so I’m starting to think about playing again.

But I sort of realized that a lot of folks here probably don’t really know what the heck Advanced Space Crusade is, since it was a minor game that GW put out back in (checking the copyright page) friggin’ 1990 and didn’t stick around too long. So, since we’re now in the habit of making introduce-my-game threads, here is one.

Hist’ry

First off, what often confuses people is that GW had a couple games in that period with the Space Crusade name. There was Space Crusade, put out jointly by Milton Bradley and GW, and Advanced Space Crusade, put out by GW alone. (This does mirror the situation with HeroQuest and Advanced HeroQuest, which is a whole nother can of worms, as they say.) Space Crusade was by far the more popular game, largely I suppose because of the MB connection and marketing, so most people think I’m talking about that game when I talk about this one. (I’ve actually never played Space Crusade, although I understand it was good fun.) To make things more confusing, most of the ASC components were re-used in a later game called Tyranid Attack.

So, Advanced Space Crusade, then. What’s the deal? It’s actually, I think, a really interesting game, historically-speaking. Basically, the premise is that you have Space Marines (and, with some rules from White Dwarfs of the era, Guard or Orks) boarding Tyranid spaceships, still in semi-hibernation as they emerge from deep space, in order to sabotage them by destroying major organs. But what’s really interesting is that this game is basically the first appearance of Tyranids as we know them today, with 9-foot-tall Tyranid Warriors with Deathspitters and Boneswords, and Genestealers as Tyranid creatures and all that. There’s a bunch of stuff that didn’t really survive into second edition 40K – mind slaves, zoats, teleporter worms (they live mostly in warpspace, see, and you climb in one end and out the other, unless you’re not a Tyranid in which case you just get digested), squigs-as-tyranid-modified-orks-that-the-orks-thought-were-cute-and-adopted, cool stuff that we all miss like that. But really it’s the genesis of the modern ‘Nid.

The Game

It’s a Jervis Johnson joint, although (if I remember right) one he’s not particularly proud of, and the game mechanics do have their warts, which I’ll talk about shortly – but overall Mr. Johnson is a good designer and it’s a solid game. Most importantly, and very 1990’s-ly, you get a whole mess of components.

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And look!

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It uses D12s! How awesome is that? (I’m a sucker for D12s. The dodecahedron is by far my favorite regular icosahedron.)

So the game starts off with the Marine player choosing a force up to a certain points value, which determines the size of the game. A 300-point game can probably be finished in an hour or two at most (the set came with enough models for 300 points), while the biggest 1800-point games would probably take a Long Time. The Tyranid player doesn’t actually get to choose their forces, instead drawing lettered blips at random from a cup after deciding what letters correspond to what choices from their force list (all choices being equal points – one tyranid warror, two genestealers, and so on). At the start of the game, the Marine has the points advantage, by 50%, but the Tyranid player gets reinforcements as the Marine player explores the ship, while Marine casualties are permanent – there’s some luck involved here, as if the Marine player finds their primary objective quickly and/or the Tyranid player rolls poorly for reinforcements, the battle will be a steamroller for the Marines, and vice versa. The idea, I suppose, is that it balances out over several games, or across several lines of attack in bigger games. Oh yeah, exploration. The Marine player has little decks of cards, and each exploring squad reveals a card per turn. This might be an objective, which will lead to a battle, or an ambush, or a trap, or a passage deeper into the ship, or nothing at all. They start in the exterior of the ship and have to find a special card that takes them deep into the bowels of the thing where the primary objectives lurk. The goal is to win some number of primary objectives battles, based on the size of the game.

Oh! Objectives look like this. Yes, one of them is a giant sphincter. Yes, if the Marines capture the sphincter they can use it to bring in reinforcements from off-ship. Yes, that’s kind of gross.

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Fighting battles is actually pretty similar to, say, Space Hulk. It’s on a grid, and each model gets a certain number of action points a turn, which it can use to move, shoot, attack in hand-to-hand, and so on. Shooting rolls to beat the target’s armor, hand-to-hand rolls to beat the other guy’s hand-to-hand dice. It’s a solid enough system. There’s overwatch, and grenades, and taking cover and such, and one slightly-broken mechanic, reactions, where even guys not on overwatch can interrupt the opponent’s turn and, say, shoot them in the face with a boltgun. The marines are generally excellent at reacting…
(A cool thing about the battles is that the board is procedurally generated using the 7 tiles you see in the picture, so every battle has a different layout – which is secret from the Marine player until he explores it.)

So there are issues! Reactions is one, points balance is another. 2 Termagants cost the same as 2 Genestealers, really? A captain in terminator armor costs the same as a chaplain in power armor? Tyranid reinforcements don’t scale with Marine points values? On the whole, the RAW favors the Marines pretty strongly, and I’ve kludged together a few houserules that I think bring balance back in line. (I think it comes down to the fact that the game was probably not playtested much beyond the box contents – smaller games with just scouts versus warriors – so stuff like Marines in power armor, terminators, proto-termagants and the like are not balanced so well.) But I probably need to test the changes! So, who wants to?

Look at some of the pictures of the dudes I painted! Look at them!

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Miniatures painted in 2018:
28mm: 83 infantry, 6 vehicles, 2 buildings, assorted other terrain-y bits
Currently focusing on: 40K, Shadespire, Age of Sigmar?, Malifaux
My twitter is pretty hobby-heavy: vivanagoya
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Re: Advanced Space Crusade

Postby Spevna on Fri Feb 27, 2015 10:46 pm

For anyone interested, here's what a tyranid looked like in the Rogue Trader book.

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ASC really created tyranid as we know them today, and also added the connection to genestealers too.
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Re: Advanced Space Crusade

Postby The Other Dave on Fri Feb 27, 2015 11:47 pm

There was even a prototype model done up, although I don't think it ever went into production.

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Hanging out with orks, for some reason?
Miniatures painted in 2018:
28mm: 83 infantry, 6 vehicles, 2 buildings, assorted other terrain-y bits
Currently focusing on: 40K, Shadespire, Age of Sigmar?, Malifaux
My twitter is pretty hobby-heavy: vivanagoya
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Re: Advanced Space Crusade

Postby job on Fri Feb 27, 2015 11:50 pm

Man, your game board with the painted marines and tyranids mounted on clear plastics bases looks terrific. I hope there's an opportunity sometime for me to try it out.
Models Painted, 2014
24 10mm vehicles, 30 10mm figures
11 15mm vehicles, 71 15mm models, 4 guns
124 28mm models
9 28mm vehicles or monsters (1 Sturmgeschetz III, 1 Sdkfz 250/9, 1 Panzer V, 2 gyroflyers, 1 Rhino, 1 Daemon Prince, 1 Defiler, 1 Helbrute)
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Re: Advanced Space Crusade

Postby Spevna on Sat Feb 28, 2015 3:56 am

The Other Dave wrote:There was even a prototype model done up, although I don't think it ever went into production.

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Hanging out with orks, for some reason?


I don't think it was ever intended to be part of a force per se, more like a part of the GM controlled flora and fauna.

Funnily enough, I have all the other minis in that picture :)
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Re: Advanced Space Crusade

Postby me_in_japan on Sat Feb 28, 2015 8:19 am

I believe agp has the proto-nid mini. I thiiiink so, anyway.
2018 totals
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Re: Advanced Space Crusade

Postby The Other Dave on Sat Feb 28, 2015 9:26 am

job wrote:Man, your game board with the painted marines and tyranids mounted on clear plastics bases looks terrific. I hope there's an opportunity sometime for me to try it out.

Certainly! Just say when and I'll bring the stuff to Joshin sometime.
Miniatures painted in 2018:
28mm: 83 infantry, 6 vehicles, 2 buildings, assorted other terrain-y bits
Currently focusing on: 40K, Shadespire, Age of Sigmar?, Malifaux
My twitter is pretty hobby-heavy: vivanagoya
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The Other Dave
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Re: Advanced Space Crusade

Postby The Other Dave on Sun Mar 01, 2015 1:28 am

I finished up my painting, so more pictures! Plus some discussion that might give you an idea of how the rules work a bit.

Forces of the Imperium: Scythes of the Emperor

As I said in the hobby log thread, I chose this chapter mostly because it features prominently in the fiction as the chapter that the invading (and then unknown) Tyranids basically wiped out - so my handful of models could be seen as all that remains of the chapter.

Heroes
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50 points for the Captain or 100 for the Commander. Their stats aren't stellar - the same as a sergeant for a tactical and terminator squad, respectively - but they give a big bonus to your extra actions roll, which does what you might expect. Like in Space Hulk, you get a random number of bonus actions each turn to distribute among your models as you see fit, letting models act twice. A good thing. They also have a fate point each, which lets them either change one of their own dice rolls to a 12, or an enemy dice roll effecting them directly to a 1, once per game.

Scouts
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100 points for the squad. Hey, they're scouts. More lightly armored but faster than marines in power armor - "faster" both in terms of how far they can move during a battle, and in terms of exploration in the strategic phase, the latter being useful for getting to your objective before too many Tyranids wake up. The heavy bolter is equipped with hellfire shells, which will make even the most heavily-armored Tyranids' day a bad one.

Space Marines
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150 points for a 5-man squad of either assault marines, tactical marines with a plasma gun or tactical marines with a missile launcher. Good armor, good reactions, good shooting, as you'd expect from marines. Assault marines with their twin bolt pistols can roll 2 dice in both shooting and hand-to-hand, as opposed to tactical marines' single die, but can't take aimed fire shots which means they can struggle with more heavily-armored opponents. (There's 2 kinds of shooting, snap fire and aimed fire - you can snap fire a bunch of times a turn, but aimed fire takes your whole action. Assault marine snap fire rolls 2 dice, takes the highest, and adds 1, while tactical marine aimed fire is 1 die plus 3. The 2 points can make a difference!)

Terminators
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300 points for the squad. Slow, tough, shooty, good in hand-to-hand, everything you expect terminators to be. They're almost-but-not-quite-impervious to small arms fire - termagants and orks need to roll a 12 to kill them with aimed fire, and can't at all with snap fire - but not quite invulnerable in hand-to-hand. Termagants even, for example, roll 2 dice, take the highest, and add 4, while terminators roll 1 die and add 7, higher score kills the other, so even gaunts have a chance. Genestealers roll 3 dice and add 5 to the highest - pretty dangerous.
Last edited by The Other Dave on Sun Mar 01, 2015 2:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
Miniatures painted in 2018:
28mm: 83 infantry, 6 vehicles, 2 buildings, assorted other terrain-y bits
Currently focusing on: 40K, Shadespire, Age of Sigmar?, Malifaux
My twitter is pretty hobby-heavy: vivanagoya
User avatar
The Other Dave
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Joined: Tue May 18, 2010 3:46 am
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Re: Advanced Space Crusade

Postby The Other Dave on Sun Mar 01, 2015 1:49 am

The Hive Fleet


As I said in the OP, Tyranids don't quite get to choose their forces. They have a sort of "blip roster" - they have a bunch of lettered blips in a cup, and before the game begins they decide what letters correspond to what kinds of tyranids - so A through D, say, might be Warriors, while E through H might be Genestealers. Then at the start of the game they draw blips up to a certain point value - 2/3 of the Marines' starting points, at 40 points a blip, meaning that if the marines start with 300 points they'd draw 5 blips to start. Then each turn they roll to see how many blips worth of Tyranids wake up from hibernation - at the 300 point level, it's a 50-50 chance of 1 blip or nothing. I've jiggered the reinforcements rolls so that, on average, Tyranids will get points parity with Marines at about the same time that, on average, the Marines would find their primary objective, making it a bit of a race against time for both forces.

Tyranid Warriors
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1 model per blip, and pretty scary. Deathspitters get a whopping +5 to their dice roll, which means they'll kill scouts in the open on a 3+ (on a D12, remember), and even terminators on a 9 or more. 2D+6 in hand to hand, and 11 armor, meaning bolters on snap fire will only kill them on an 11 or 12.

Genestealers
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2 models per blip. These are still Rogue Trader Genestealers, with their toughness 4 and 2 wounds, so they're pretty durable at armor 10, the same as marines! Scary dudes, but you still don't want them getting shot at if you can help it.

Hormagaunts
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3 models per blip. I'm using the rules for the "grabber-slasher," a weird Tyranid thing that is sadly no longer with us, basically an ork head with a big arm coming out the top of its head. But they have armor comparable to termagants and attack by leaping through the air at their enemies, so I reckon it's a pretty good fit. Pretty dangerous in hand-to-hand, but squishy.

Termagants
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3 models per blip. Pretty bad, but they have a shooting attack, which the Nids are short on, and you get a bunch of them. The termagants we know and love, basically.

Mind Slaves

One of the things that didn't make it to second edition is the idea of Slaver Crabs, brain parasites that take over captured enemies' minds and put them under hive mind control. Tyranids can basically trade starting Tyranid blips for Mind Slave blips - these don't go in the reinforcements pool, so when they're dead they don't come back.

Orks
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Trade 2 starting blips for a squad of 5. These are first edition orks, so they're neither especially good in hand to hand nor especially bad at shooting. You get a bunch of them, and they have grenades, which can be useful.

Chaos Space Marines
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Trade 4 starting blips for a squad of 5. Same stats as Marines, so some welcome shooting power, plus grenades.
Miniatures painted in 2018:
28mm: 83 infantry, 6 vehicles, 2 buildings, assorted other terrain-y bits
Currently focusing on: 40K, Shadespire, Age of Sigmar?, Malifaux
My twitter is pretty hobby-heavy: vivanagoya
User avatar
The Other Dave
Destroyer of Worlds
 
Posts: 3283
Joined: Tue May 18, 2010 3:46 am
Location: Nagoya

Re: Advanced Space Crusade

Postby job on Sun Mar 01, 2015 6:21 am

The Other Dave wrote:
job wrote:Man, your game board with the painted marines and tyranids mounted on clear plastics bases looks terrific. I hope there's an opportunity sometime for me to try it out.

Certainly! Just say when and I'll bring the stuff to Joshin sometime.

I owe you at least one game of DZC, but I could pay you the interest in this game gladly.
Models Painted, 2014
24 10mm vehicles, 30 10mm figures
11 15mm vehicles, 71 15mm models, 4 guns
124 28mm models
9 28mm vehicles or monsters (1 Sturmgeschetz III, 1 Sdkfz 250/9, 1 Panzer V, 2 gyroflyers, 1 Rhino, 1 Daemon Prince, 1 Defiler, 1 Helbrute)
User avatar
job
Destroyer of Worlds
 
Posts: 3109
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