The Narrative Crusade Philosophy

What makes or breaks a Narrative game play is the philosophy that both players have toward the game. It is very important that both players are on the same page for play style and rules. There should always be a pregame conversation to ensure that everyone has the same expectations.

Army, Not Campaign

The interesting thing with the Crusade framework is that it is all about your army – not the campaign. As such, you develop a narrative for your army, come up with a backstory on what motivates your army.

For example, I have a Raven Guard crusade army that is all about redemption. Lieutenant Torovoc and Brother Librarian Ordus are the only remaining battle brothers from a Raven Guard force that was ambushed by a force of Chaos. Torovoc has second doubts and nightmares that break out of even the thorough Space Marine conditioning. Brother Ordus is watching over Torovoc and helping where he can as Torovoc leads the Umber Redemptio force on Crusade in the Pariah Nexus.

Log It

Keep a log of army’s crusade. In this log you track each unit’s progress, heroic feats, and failures. This is best done by tracking each time a unit competes an agenda item, kills an enemy unit, or is taken out of action. This will make keeping the narrative going during your crusade. I like writing a narrative after action or battle report after every (OK, almost every) game. These don’t have to be turn by turn or action by action, the intent is to get immersed into the narrative of your army.

The Elusive “Balance”

Chasing the elusive game “balance”. You may remember that I may have mentioned that the new Crusade Missions are as balanced as possible for low point games. That doesn’t mean that they are all completely “balanced”. Some missions may not be winnable by your army, that is when you concentrate on your Agendas. Remember that winning the game doesn’t always make that much difference. For example, many missions the Victory Bonus is just an extra Resource Point. That is not much. Also, new armies will not be as powerful as armies that have a few units leveled up. To help this GW has a system that allows the less powerful army (based on Crusade Points) to gain extra Command Points for the game.

Communication Is Key

As stated in the introduction communication is the key to having fun. This communication starts before the players even get to the location to play. Talk to your opponent about what game size, mission, and how competitive of a game you want. Look at each other’s armies and decide on how the board should be set up. If one side has a lots of FLY and the other doesn’t then you should lay out a board that doesn’t give an undo advantage to the side with FLY. Also, try to eliminate the “feel bad” moments in the games. If you don’t, you may find it hard to find games.

Summary

This may seem like a lot of work, but the amount of enjoyment you get out of the crusade depends on the amount of work you put into it. I find it best to get a few like minded players together to do your Crusade.