You begin with a small tribe. As you expand your farms and mines, you lay the groundwork for technological advancements, better governments, and grand wonders. Your military might supports your political skill as you guide your civilization to greatness.
Hundreds of cards provide endless variability. Various historical figures can lead your civilization in numerous directions. Use Napoleon`s tactics to conquer your foes, then switch to the thoughtful power of Albert Einstein. Wonders such as the Hanging Gardens and the Transcontinental Railroad give each civilization its own character. And the card-drawing system ensures that every game will be unique.
The game goes in 4 rounds. The first A round ends quickly in 2 turns to provide players the initial unique setup. The following I, II and III Era rounds are a lot longer but technically fairly the same as the only difference between them is that cards are getting gradually stronger and in III era you get cards with some endgame bonuses.
Every turn a player uses his political and military actions defined by his government type and represented by white and red cubes. He uses action cubes to buy and play economical or research cards, hire workers, construct buildings, hire troops and play political cards to declare wars, assault your opponets, propose the treaties or play the events.
The winner is the one who scores the most victory points through the game eras by playing cards, constructing buildings and harrassing other players.
The game is long to explain and has a lot of minor details hard to remember, but generally it`s quite easy and worth playing.
The game itself is very reactive as player needs to constantly adopt to the available cards and can not plan the strategy too far ahead. Card picks of other players make it harder to plan your turn in advance. It results as analysis paralysis especially when you have 6+ action cubes. Deck slides too fast and sometimes cards you reveal at the end of your turn are being taken before your next turn and there is only 2 copies of each card in the deck.
I like having lots of options in the game and in Through the Ages you do have it together with constant lack of resources. However overproductive economy is also punished by the game engine and if happens in an early game, then you are pretty much screwed for the rest of the game.
After playing several times I found out that RNG plays a major role in this game. Cards which add extra political actions provide a huge advantage to players able to buy them. I.e. during first round an extra white cube equals 25% extra actions for the owner and considering the random deck order, other players might not be able to get a similar card to play.
What I did not like is that you sometimes know that you have lost the game in II era and you still need to play another 1-2 hours without any motivation. If you are not able to get the right amount of cards with action cubes or develop a science in the early game – there is no point to continue playing.
The game leaves mixed feelings as sometimes it`s fun to play and sometimes you just wait it to finish by being screwed by RNG in early game. However if I lose I always want to play it again to try out some different strategy…
|Easy to play
|Epic feeling due to the game theme.
|High replayability. You never know what will you play.
|Lots of options every turn.
|The game is very long. Best play with 3 people and it`s still long.
|Occasional analysis paralysis. Long downtime.
|Many options, but science and political action technologies is the only key to win.
|Hard to learn. Many details to keep in mind.
|You can lose the game in the middle by not getting necessary cards due to RNGesus.
|Not a noob friendly game. Doesn`t forgive bad choices.
|Era cards just have scaled stats and there is no real difference between them.
Forbidden Stars challenges you and up to three other players to take command of a mighty fighting force. Each of four factions offer 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 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.
During setup phase you pick yourself a race 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 race provides different units, technologies and a racial ability.
You play 8 rounds and must collect mission tokens spread among the galaxies. Some of them to be found on the planets occupied by opposing players and the only way to obtain them is fighting through.
Every round in a turn order players distributes 4 orders orders on the map. Orders in every solar system are stacked together and resolved from top to bottom. This gives players opportunity to block orders of other players and ruin their plans.
There are 4 types of orders:
Combat is the core idea of this game. Game pushes you to abandon your home planets for missing tokens which are defended by your enemies. As the game advances players need to upgrade their combat decks that provide bonuses for specific units in battle. If you upgrade your army, you also need to upgrade the combat deck to make it work at full efficiency.
Combat system involves dice and cards. Dice give you firepower, defence or morale and cards give you more dice or temporary combat tokens. Some specific card abilities let you retreat from battle, rout and unrout units and do some other useful actions.
The first to collect his tokens wins the game.
The game is impressive! It is simple and complex at the same time. It looks difficult as it has a lot of components but gets really simple when you start playing it – it is just 4 actions to plan and execute! However, you opponents may behave unpredictably and ruin your plans by blocking your orders and you can also easily f#ck up yourself with the incorrect order placement.
I played several factions and they seem fairly balanced even if the playstyle is quite different due to technologies and racial abilities. Orcs get free units, Chaos is developing rapidly by teleporting weakest units to unoccupied planets in the beginning of the game, Eldars can teleport their unit between solar systems, Space Marines upgrade units for free and more combat orientated…
The game requires full attention. Minor mistakes I made having lack of attention prevented me from winning the game several times. Usually, they made me recover for at least 3 following rounds.
Tactic is the thing that wins the game. All 4 actions within the round shall be carefully planned and every single mistake makes you fail. The one who does it the best, usually wins.
The game is 9.9/10 for me. Almost perfect. It has the best combat system I`ve ever met in board games.
|Fast to learn
|Excellent art and miniatures
|Excellent strategical gameplay bacause of the mechanics with orders
|Combat – unlike any other game and includes orders, dice and deck building.
|Fans of Warhammer 40000 will be happy
|High level of interaction between players
|Best combat system: dice + unique cards + upgrades
|There is no turtling in Forbidden Stars unlike many other games
|Game is good for any amount of players
|Hard to understand first play due to order blocks which impact an order resolution.
|Planning requires thinking for 4-8 orders ahead. Does not forgive mistakes.
|At least 1 hour per player and feels loooooong
|Combats makes the game slow. Huge downtime for players not involved in combats.
|FFG and Games Workshop no longer cooperate. Means no expansions in future.
|1 hour per player
|Combat downtime for inactive players