So Fantasy Flight Games have announced a real surprise here, and a game I think a lot of people didn't know they wanted.
But now it's been announced, all I can think is "Is this really the first time we've gotten to play a grand strategy 40k game?"
Let me be blunt.
I love the 40k setting, I think it's really evocative and compelling. I prefer 30k for personal reasons, but the whole Warhammer 40k experience is one of my favorite IP's ever.
It's one of the few settings that gets me interested in a game before I even look at the content of the game.
That said, I've given up on Warhammer 40k itself as a wargame, it just doesn't do it for me anymore. But I'm always on the lookout for ways to enjoy the setting without having to play 40k itself.
So this game is a something i'm really excited about.
FFG made Twilight Imperium 3, one of the great "Space Empire" games, and the initial impression of Forbidden Stars is a cut down version of that. Which is good, for all TI3's majesty, it has a long play time.
The board design is modular, and I cannot adequately express how good a decision that is.
Variable boards simply add replay value like few other modifications to a game can.
The zoom in of the board shows an unusual art style. And it appears that each sector receives orders, rather than each region like many other games.
The game also reports to be objective focused rather than annihilation focused as well. This is good, as games that focus on defeating the enemy in their totality can drag on, far past the point where someone can actually fight back and win.
During combat, you will play combat cards that have a certain benefit. However, if you match the combat card to a specific unit, you gain an additional advantage.
It's a curious mechanic that, depending on how cards are drawn, can be either very random (if you draw before the fight and get perfect cards) or very strategic (you plan your moves based on the cards you have in hand to take advantage of them).
I'm curious to see how this is implemented in the final game.
Another interesting mechanic, which is very thematic, is the "Warp storm" shown below.
This storm is impassable, but can be moved. There are multiple Warp Storms and you take turns moving them around each turn. This can be huge as smart placement can open up attack lanes, or make vulnerable systems impenetrable, bad placement can leave you vulnerable as well.
It's a curious mechanic, but a clever one that really suits the setting.
Can I just say, I like seeing games that embrace a setting, rather than shoe-horn game mechanics into it.
The four factions are a good choice, Ultramarines, Khorney Chaos, Iyaden craftworld and Evil Sunz Orks. I'm not sure if I like that they picked specific chapters/warbands/craftworlds or not, I guess it depends on how thematic and varied the play styles are.
Because if the only difference between Orks and Ultramarines is the pieces, I will feel a little let down. I hope they play quite differently, as that adds to replay-ability as well.
The game is still a long way off, Q3 of this year...... which by FFG standards means the end of this year. So they will be doling out information over the next few months.
Still, interesting news, lets keep expectations managed :)