Friday, July 24, 2015

Forbidden Stars, Quick Review

The juggernaut that is Fantasy Flight Games rolls on with another quality product. Forbidden Stars is a Warhammer 40K themed strategic level game of system conquest. It is set in the Herakon Cluster, which had been cut off from the rest of the galaxy by powerful warp storms. Now the storms have abated, and four races rush in to claim the systems of the cluster.

2-4 players choose from the Eldar, Space Marines, Chaos, and Ork factions. The game is up to typical high FFG standards, very nice cards, counters, plastics, and map sections. Each faction gets four different ground force units, and two starship types. Each unit represents larger, more capable and expensive units. For example the Marines have Scouts, Marines, Land Raider, and Warlord Titan.
The map tiles have a olde tyme cartography style to them, which fits in great with the 40K Imperial aesthetic.


The game turned out to be a little more complicated than I thought it would be. That is not a bad thing at all. It has a easy learning curve, and pretty much falls into to place about 2/3 of the way through your first game.

The goal of the game is to claim a number of Objective Tokens, the number needed depends on how many people are playing. Each faction has their own specific Objectives scattered around the map. Each World on the map has ratings for how much material it produces each turn, how many units can be on the world, and any special assets you can receive from controlling it. Each World may also have a single Structure, these help with your tech level, defending the World, or being able build units in that system.  

Each turn is made up of three phases: Planning, Operations, and Refresh. Of course the Planning Phase is the trickiest. So much hinges on the choices you make in this phase. If you did not plan to do something it does not happen. Gathering assets, moving forces, building units or structures, and buying upgrades all depend on you thinking ahead and giving the correct orders.

All this planning turns into action in the Operation Phase. Players take turns executing their orders, and if this leads to combat, this is when it happens. Combat seems a bit much at first, but it is a well designed and quick system. It uses cards (which are upgradable) and dice for resolution.

The Refresh phase is where some fun stuff happens, event cards are played (if you planned it!), material is collected from all the Worlds you control, and Warp Storms move about the map, cutting off some movement avenues, and of course you pick up any Objectives you conquered and see if you have enough to win. The game ends on turn eight if nobody has won yet, and the player with the most objectives then is the victor.
Warlord Jake approves of your little game.
Forbidden Stars is a fun, polished game. The 40K-ness is done well but doesn't override gameplay. I look forward to many more plays of this one.
Highly Recommended to strategy fans.

The Emperor Protects
Some days you just have to look at the Big Picture


  1. Thanks for the overview Marcus! How are the tokens? Are they pretty nice?

  2. The plastic figs are very well done. The only minor quibble is that they are done in soft plastic, so my Eldar Titans and a few of the "flag" type units needed a bit of hot water to straighten them out. Which they all did with ease. I'm sort of thinking of painting them...