20 May 2015 | Forbidden Stars

Dominate. Deploy. Strategize. Advance.

Preview the Four Orders of Forbidden Stars


Victory often rests on the correct weaponry being in the right place and at the right time. Even the most destructive weapons of war are worthless if absent from the battle.
   – Codex Space Marines

War does not begin at the moment that armoured legions clash in the bloody fury of battle. Before troops storm bastions or ships fire across the void, commanders are deviously plotting, devastating entire planets in order to construct massive engines of war, and, finally, positioning battle-ready forces for a sudden assault.

Forbidden Stars brings to life every aspect of warfare in the 41st millennium, from mustering mighty armies to slaughtering enemy troops. In today’s preview you’ll learn the fundamental workings of war: the four orders that enable you to transform your faction’s armies from a small invading force to a massive military machine and send it into battle.

Dominate Occupied Systems

Waging war across several star systems demands countless legions and a vast fleet, manned, manufactured, and fueled by several worlds. To build units, ships, structures, and upgrades you’ll need materiel, which is harvested from your occupied planets at the end of each round. But planets provide other assets beyond materiel. By issuing the Dominate Order, you can reap the assets of all the planets you control in the system where the order was issued.

Each planet indicates what assets and how much materiel it provides:

Materiel can be spent on upgrades or to build units
Cache tokens count for two materiel when building units and structures
Reinforcement tokens are used to support your armies in combat
Forge tokens are necessary for building more powerful units and ships
Any single asset of your choice

When you Dominate you may also resolve your faction’s special ability. The Eldar of Craftworld Iyanden, for example, may use their labyrinthine webway portals to transport a unit from the active system to any other Eldar-controlled world. The Evil Sunz Orks can suddenly spawn new troops from their fast-growing spores.

Deploy Your Forces

You begin the game with only a few units, six materiel, and a factory. To grow your army and fleet, issue the Deploy Order in the system where your factory is. You’ll then spend materiel to grow your military might. Each unit has a specific cost in materiel and a command level – the higher the command level, the more powerful the unit. The number of cities you control determines your current command level, but you can spend a forge token to temporarily lower a unit’s command level in order to obtain it. Forge tokens are also necessary to build the most formidable and destructive units, such as the well-armed Battle Barges and towering Warlord Titans of the Space Marines. 

To arm your forces, fashion weapons, and construct ships, you need a factory. To establish a factory, city, or bastion on a planet, your ground troops much occupy it. In any system where you have troops you can construct a factory or city. The more factories you have, the more places you can Deploy new units. The more cities you control, the higher your command level. You can also build Bastions that help defend your territory in an attack. Structures can be conquered and taken over, so build your factories and cities where they are defended by a Bastion or unlikely to be assailed. 

Strategize Before Battle

Even the greatest armies can be defeated by cunning tactics. With the Strategize Order you can gain superior, faction-specific tactical tools by purchasing combat and order upgrades. Like units, upgrades cost materiel and require a certain command level. Combat upgrades give your armies deadlier weapons, better defenses, and surprising tactical abilities. We’ll explore them later in combat-focused previews. 

Order upgrades grant you unique and powerful abilities to use once per round when you execute a specific order. From the Warp allows the World Eaters Chaos Space Marines to move ships through Warp Storms during an Advance order and wreak unexpected havoc upon enemies who thought their systems were secure. With The Green Tide, the Evil Sunz can resolve strategize orders as if they are any order, enabling these volatile xenos to dominate, deploy, or advance three times within a single round and keep their foes guessing about what the Orks’ next move could be. 

The Strategize Order automatically activates Event cards, which are drawn at the end of the round and described in our first preview. Orders you issued but didn’t execute also activate events. If you change your plans mid-round or place an order as a bluff, you gain an Event card at the end of the round that will help you unleash a vicious assault later on. 

Advance Your Armies

The whole of your military-industrial machine and all your preparations are focused towards issuing the Advance Order and waging ruthless war. Fighting breaks out whenever two units of different factions occupy the same planet or void, so simply moving your forces into position may initiate combat. With one Advance Order, you can move as many units and ships as you want into the target system from a single adjacent system. Ships travel from any void in one system to any void in another. Ground units, however, can only move from planet to planet on their own, and must move through friendly worlds.

Here, the Orks are bringing their barbaric warbands to an adjacent system. It takes two Advance Orders for them to reach it: one to move from planet to planet in their current system, another to reach their destination through a chain of friendly planets. Since their new location is unoccupied, no battle occurs, and the Evil Sunz can now freely ravage the planet and harvest its resources.  

If a void exists between your units and their destination, you must use a ship to convey your troops through space. In the scenario below, the Eldar are launching a swift and planned assault against the Orks, hoping that strength and cunning will defeat the Orks’ superior numbers. The Eldar player first moves a Hellebore Frigate from void to void. Once in position, the Frigate then transports an indomitable and lethal Wraithgaurd unit to the occupied planet where battle-hungry Ork Boyz await.

War Is Inevitable

You could begin the game with a brutal attack upon an unsuspecting enemy, as a show of force or to quickly claim an objective, and then focus on developing your might. Or, you might spend several rounds building up your armies before unleashing them in ruthless onslaughts on every front. In Forbidden Stars there are no peace treaties or negotiations. Only through war can you achieve victory. 

Our next preview will introduce the machinery of combat in Forbidden Stars. In the meantime, visit the Forbidden Stars minisite for more information about the game.

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