Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War - Dark Crusade hands-on

Whatever excuses you might have for not entering to the real-time strategy cataclysm Warhammer 40,000 Dawn of War, they are wearing dangerously thin.

The series' second expansion, Dark Crusade, rolls out next month, shortly after the recent release of the extremely compelling "Game of the Year" version of the hit original Dawn of War bundled with the Winter Assault expansion for under $30. This comes on top of developer Relic's strategy triumph Company of Heroes this month - shaping up to be one of the most critically acclaimed strategy games of all time. Relic is clearly at the height of their powers.

Dark Crusade takes place on the planet Kronus, which is contested by the original five factions that have returned for this degenerate, bitter war, including: demon-infested Chaos Space Marines, Human Imperial Guard, rowdy Orks, ancient Eldar and Human Space Marines.

Dark Crusade introduces two brand-new factions to Dawn of War - the robotic, gun-happy Tau, and the ancient, monstrous Necron. More on them in just a bit.

Kronus is split into 25 provinces, each giving armies a specific bonus to production, travel, or defense. To win the campaign each and every province must be captured - including six heavily defended home bases for each faction. At the same time, your own base must be kept, or the war is lost.