27 May 2015 | Forbidden Stars

Deadly Evolutions

Preview Combat Upgrades and Orbital Strikes in Forbidden Stars


“Attack is the only order worth remembering.”
    –World Eaters' motto, Codex Chaos Space Marines

For millennia the Herakon Cluster remained at peace, safe from the bloodthirsty warriors of Chaos, the storming green tide of the Orks, the ruthless, ghostly Eldar, and the fearless, disciplined Space Marines. In a few rounds of Forbidden Stars, however, the cluster becomes thick with armies. Planets once occupied by scattered Chaos Cultists are now guarded by terrible Hellbrutes. The void of space is packed with the Ultramarines’ Battle Barges and the Evil Sunz' Kill Kroozers. War is breaking out in numerous star systems as factions ruthlessly compete to control the entire sector. 

Our last preview introduced the basics of combat in Forbidden Stars. Today’s preview explores how reinforcements, combat upgrades, and orbital strikes can put victory in your hands, or let you take revenge for a cruel defeat. To demonstrate how brutally effective upgrades and reinforcements can prove, we’ll experience a battle between the World Eaters and the Evil Sunz at the height of their power.

A Savage Green Tide

Since the beginning of the game, the Evil Sunz have had their eyes on some “Good Lootin’” in the Chaos Space Marines’ home system. Over several turns the Orks player has amassed hordes of Ork Boyz, Nobz, and Battlewagons, and has finally brought the great green tide to this well-defended world deep in enemy territory. 

These two players haven’t just been evolving their armies.  They have also been enhancing their tactical capabilities in by purchasing Combat upgrade cards. In Forbidden Stars, you begin the game with five pairs of basic combat cards in your deck. By issuing the Strategize order, you can spend materiel to purchase a pair of combat upgrade cards to make your units even deadlier in battle. Then, you select a pair of basic combat cards to discard. The more combat upgrades you invest in, the likelier you are to draw a strong five-card hand, and the more formidable your armies will be. 

The players roll dice and then reveal their first move. A Sea of Green rushes onto the battlefield and the Evil Sunz gain a reinforcement token, representing a zero-level command unit- in this case, the Ork Boyz. They also force Chaos to spend an  to avoid routing a unit. The World Eaters, now spurred on by unmitigated rage, bloodlust, and devotion to Khorne, spend another  and gain a total of six . They outgun and rout the Ork Boyz and destroy the reinforcements, spilling fresh Ork blood on the battlefield. But the Ork Boyz have also done damage, routing a Chaos Space Marine. 

Relentless Reinforcements

After the first round, the Chaos Space Marines may seem to have the upper hand. But now the Ork player brings in a gun-covered Party Wagon tank full of battle-hungry reinforcements. Orks again outnumber World Eaters. The embattled forces of Chaos turn to another dark god, Slaneesh, who grants them defensive aid with a  die, and a Cultist loyal to Slaneesh enters combat. Nevertheless, the swarming mob of greenskins overwhelms the World Eaters and easily slays the Cultist without wasting a single Ork life.

The third round approaches with no clear victor. Eager now to sow confusion on the battlefield, the Orks send in a group of fast-riding Biker Nobz who force the World Eaters to reroll all . However the  simply reappear. Meanwhile, the World Eaters player, fearful of impending defeat and lacking more powerful combat cards in hand, looks towards the dark faith of her Chaos forces to increase morale. 

It isn’t enough. Outnumbered and outgunned by the barbarous Orks, one of Chaos Space Marines is wholly massacered.  Their plea to the dark gods fails to defeat the high morale of the rampaging, seemingly invincible Evil Sunz Orks take control of the planet and start greedily looting it while the remaining, routed unit of Chaos Space Marines miserably retreats to the nearest friendly world. 

Revenge From Above

Battles may end but war never ceases. Once the aftermath is cleared, Chaos unveils an Advance order in their own home system. But rather than send inferior numbers to retake the planet, the Chaos player executes an Orbital Strike, in which ships fire upon ground units. The two Repulsive Grand Cruisers stationed nearby open fire and rain destruction down upon the Ork installation on the planet. The player rolls eight dice that result, improbably, in seven and one  . She obliterates the unit Nobz exacting sweet vengeance upon her enemy, but the routed Ork Boyz and the Battlewagon remain.

The Orks, unable defend themselves or fire back at the immense starship, retain control of the planet but their occupation is now in trouble. However, Orbital Strikes cannot do partial damage, so their remaining Battlewagon is not routed. The Evil Sunz retain control of the planet and can seize the objective at the end of the round. 

Unrelenting War

In Forbidden Stars, daunting armies and mighty ships do not ensure victory. You need a range of devious battlefield tactics and resources, from overpowering assaults and reinforcements to impenetrable armour, along with the ability to deal (and withstand) devastating Orbital Strikes. Above all, you must understand that each combat is merely one part of an ongoing, unrelenting war for galactic domination, waged on multiple fronts by countless units and untold billions of combatants. 

Upcoming previews will delve into the unique units and tactics of the four mighty and ferocious factions battling to control the Herakon Cluster. You’ll learn about the forceful assaults of the righteous Ultramarines and the swift Eldar starships, the Orks’ teeming, increasing hordes and Chaos’ ability to manipulate the Warp. 

Lead the galaxy’s great factions into battle. Pre-order Forbidden Stars from your local retailer today! 

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