Forbidden Stars is the newest Games Workshop IP game to be released by Fantasy Flight Games… WHY FANTASY FLIGHT WHY?! Two of my favourite things, come together to make more awesome things, my wallet can’t take any more of this!
Anyway, I digress. Forbidden Stars is a 2 – 4 player strategy game where you pit the forces of the Imperium, Chaos, Eldar or Da Orkz against each other for galactic domination.
Ostensibly a conquest game, a la , Risk and games of that ilk, FS also seems to take a nod at one of Fantasy Flight’s first big ventures, twilight Imperium, with modular tiles, resource management and lots of minis, ranging from Scouts to tanks to Titans and Heavy battleships. All things I love, and, as is standard with nearly all Fantasy flight games, you are awash with Cards, tokens and dials.. they do love tokens and dials.
Having decided to play a game of descent that day, only for a bunch of people not to turn up, my much diminished group decided to try out a new acquisition.
None of us had played FS before and it was very much a case of learn as we went along, and, despite some minor ambiguities and some misinterpretations of the rules… I miss Interpreted the ruwels… (cartmenez voice) it went pretty well.
QUICK RUN DOWN
You each have separate order tokens that you place 4 of (each in turn, one at a time) in the centre of each system tile, now big deal you may say, but its all about stacking and debating what you opponent is going to do.. if I put down a ‘Dominate’ order to increase my resources in the area, with the plan to build after on my second order but an opponent drops his/her order tile on top of mine, he goes first and I have to sit helplessly as they invades my system and hope I can hold out before i can reinforce.
There are three sets of Cards in FS, two of which are unique to each faction and can be used to add bonuses to your attacks / defence and the Third is an event deck, which can be turned in return for an order token, giving random effects to the board.
As tokens go, there are 3 main types, consisting of resource tokens to allow you to buy units and upgrade cards; Forge tokens that allow you to build higher tier units like: Land raiders and titans and reinforcement tokens that give you some needed support in certain crucial planets / sectors.
Combat consist of picking a card from your hand and rolling the dice. The dice themselves consisting of Skulls for defence, Bolters for attack and Aquilas for morale (morale only comes into it if you hit a 3rd round of attacks)
The attacker rolls the dice for his units, adds up his bolters and the bonuses on his card, the defender does the same but counts up skulls and then the difference is the amount of casualties.
If the attacks go on for 3 round and there is no winner then every one counts up the number of aquilla (the eagles) on their dice and cards and the person with the least…runs away; simplz.
RULES AND GAME PLAY
Rules are set out step by step, with elaborations in the glossary, nothing is overly complicated and after a while we got the main nack of what we were doing, without having to refer to them much.. although we did make a huge mistake with regard reinforcements and were stockpiling them like canned food in an apocalypse. Making the battle sizes pretty epic at times; something we agreed wasn’t actually a bad thing because, despite the setting, epic warfare in the 41st millennium, the game lacks scale in my opinion, something again reduced by the time limit, which is only 8 turns.
This, of course, is personal preference. I enjoy bigger and longer games, I enjoy building up forces and trying to work out weaknesses in the enemies defences and this game, as much as that is an option to a point, you are very aware of the time limit and the fact that you have to get a certain amount of objectives as well as stopping others getting theirs , which may, in a few occasion be on planets you control.
Don’t get me wrong, the time limit and the limited size of forces does force you to engage faster, making for faster quicker games and in our case a very interesting and hard fought last couple of turns, but again, personal preference, if you are going to have a game set with an epic back drop, give the player the option to make it, well.. epic!
Now I appreciate that this is just the initial box set and there is a lot of scope for add-ons, as is fantasy flight tradition: Tau, Necrons, Tyranids and of course all the different Imperial factions. and its not a super fast game, even with the rules down to pat, as people take a lot of time debating what orders they are going to play; a mechanic I really enjoyed.
But even so I feel that games like this should not be restrictive and should maybe include advanced rules for longer play, more rounds and larger forces; don’t want to spend a lot of money on units plastic models FF? Then follow the Axis and Allies model and have tokens that represent different amounts; done!
Minor preferences aside the game is very enjoyable and the meandering warp storms that block your way to certain routes on a turn by turn basis help give a sense of randomness to proceedings and stacked orders make you anticipate what the other players are likely to do and react accordingly.
We all enjoyed playing Forbidden Stars. Its easy enough to pick up, its not a super short game nor is it very long, it does have some scale, depending on how many players there are, the Minis are nice and there is, of course, a lot of room for expansions; which I personally am looking forward to.
All in all I cant fault it more than some options for a larger / longer play style but again with expansions coming out this could, and most likely will, be addressed,
Definitely worth the £65 price tag.