The Lost Lighthouse Reviews: Forbidden Stars

“This is the way the world ends, not with a bang but with a whimper”. Now, T.S. Elliot was a smart cookie, but he got it wrong here. The (many) worlds will end with a metric f**k ton of Orks, Chaos, Marines and Eldar ripping them apart with orbital bombardments. On the grim, dark future, there is no whimpering!

Forbidden Stars, where do I start? I could say “amazing components, exquisite board, and a great rules set” but when it comes to Fantasy Flight Games, it tends to be a given. Forbidden Stars is all those things and more, don’t get me wrong. The game pieces look like they could perfectly fit into epic or battlefleet gothic. FFG are not letting down the 40k license, they are representing! I particularly like the “titan” sized pieces.

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Oh, I almost forgot the board. You know I saying everything in this game is beautiful? Well the tiles are even nicer! They look like a wonderfully painted star chart. Almost too whimsical for the 40k universe.

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Now lets not praise this game too much, it has its flaws, but all games do. With FFGs recent 2 book system (one for the core rules, the other for referencing in-game), the initial read through can be a bit arduous. Over all I like the 2 book system for longevity but doesn’t do much for the first game. Secondly, to me the combat system seems a bit fractured. Trying to explain it to people was the most difficult part. Again, after a few actual combats it sinks in and works. Sadly, messing up your first few combats might screw you over for the rest of the game, and it’s not a short game at that! But I’m nit-picking. I do love this game.

The game is split into 3 phases. The planning phase, the operation phase and the refresh phase.

The planning phase is pretty self explanatory. Each player plans their moves for phase two. You do this by selecting one of your order tiles and placing it on a tile. The cool bit is, someone else can place there order on top of yours. Meaning you can’t resolve your order until they resolve their one that’s on top. Evan player puts down 4 order tiles, you get two copies of each order.

Order consist of the following (I’ve written a very basic summary):

1) Deploy. You build units, then structures. Structures include factories (you need these to build units), bastions (fortifications to help you hold worlds) and cities (needed to make the bigger and more killinger units!)

2) Strategize. Lets you upgrade your orders and improve your combat deck

3) Dominate. You harvest any assets your friendly worlds have. Such as extra money, reinforcements and forge tokens (you need these to build to best two units). You also get to activate your special faction power.

4) Advance. This is your move order. I found movement to be a little confusing at first, but after a couple of games I got it. Basically, if worlds are adjacent your troops can move to them. But if there is a void section (open space) you need to have a friendly ship in that space to allow them to move through it.

The Refresh phase sees you collecting materiel (Forbidden Stars currency), rallying units and, the coolest bit, moving the warp storms. These little strips of hell can make or break your plans! No units can move through them, so they may stop your invasion in a heart beat.

Your aim for the game is to pick up little objective tokens (which is the first step of the refresh phase). If you pick up as many as there are players, you win the game.

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I highly recommend this game. It’s awesome! Even if you’re not a fan of the 40k universe, it’s worth it!

Gary

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