Last year I bought Warhammer 40,000: Conquest, Fantasy Flight’s two-player card game of interplanetary warfare in the Warhammer 40K universe, and enjoyed it quite a bit. But as much fun as it was, it wasn’t what I really wanted — a multi-player game of large scale strategic conflict in the stars.
So I was excited to discover today that Fantasy Flight has recently released Forbidden Stars, a competitive board game of interplanetary war set in the Warhammer 40,000 universe, and it looks to be exactly what I was hoping for. The base set features four iconic 40K factions: the loyalit Ultramarines Space Marines, Craft world Iyanden Elder, Evil Sunz Orks, and World Eaters Chaos Space Marines. Each faction has its own range of units and unique combat, event, and upgrade cards.
While I miss some of the other colorful factions in the 40K universe — such as Tyranids, Dark Eldar, and Tau — doubtless they will be included in later expansions.
The game uses the familiar moveable tile system, to give every conflict a unique scope and landscape (see the pic of the board below). The huge box comes packed with over 140 sculpted plastic pieces — always one of the delights of a Fantasy Flight game — and custom dice.
There was some concern in certain quarters that, following their acquisition by Asmodee last November, Fantasy Flight would lose some of its creative spark. That certainly doesn’t seem to be the case.
Fantasy Flight first dabbled with the Warhammer 40K license with a line of excellent role playing games, including Dark Heresy, Only War, and the superb Rogue Trader, one of the best space RPGs I’ve ever played. They have stopped producing supplements for the RPGs (and cleared out much of their back stock with a huge sale late last year), and have now turned their energies to board games. This is the third Warhammer 40K board game to be released by Fantasy Flight (the first two were Relic and Conquest), and this one seems by far the most ambitious.
Here’s a snapshot of a sample game configuration (click for bigger version):
And here’s the description:
The shifting Warp Storms that surround the lost Herakon Cluster have finally abated, leaving ancient treasures and planets open to the rest of the galaxy. Now, the great factions of the galaxy mobilize their fleets and race to establish a foothold. The reward for successful domination is beyond calculation, and the price for conquering this sector will be paid in lives.
Forbidden Stars challenges you and up to three other players to take command of a mighty fighting force: the Ultramarines chapter of Space Marines, the Eldar of Craftworld Iyanden, the Evil Sunz Ork clan, or the World Eaters Warband of the Chaos Space Marines. Each faction offers unique armies and play styles, but your goal remains the same – to claim the key objectives selected for your faction. These objective tokens are scattered throughout the Herakon Cluster, but your opponents are sure to defend your objectives against you. You’ll need to build massive armies and command them in unending war to best your enemies and claim your objectives. The fight for the Herakon Cluster is brutal and bloody, and you will either stride triumphant over the bodies of your fallen foes, or they will do the same to you.
Our recent Warhammer coverage includes:
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Forbidden Stars was published by Fantasy Flight Games on June 18 2015. It is designed for 2-4 pages ages 14 and up, and it retails for $99. Get more information at the website.
See all our recent fantasy game coverage here.