Forbidden Stars was published in 2015 by Fantasy Flight Games and Edge Entertainment. The game was designed by Samuel Bailey, James Kniffen, and Corey Konieczka.
- A Rules Reference
- 32 Event Cards (8 per faction)
- 112 Combat Cards (28 per faction)
- 20 Order Upgrade Cards (5 per faction)
- 24 Objective Tokens (6 per faction)
- 36 Structure Control Tokens (9 per faction)
- 32 Order Tokens (8 per faction)
- 4 Reference Cards
- 1 Round Track and 1 Round Marker
- 1 First Player Token
- 36 Asset Tokens (12 of each)
- 16 Custom Dice
- 12 Combat Tokens (a gun front, a skull back)
- 4 Materiel Dials
- 4 Warp Storm Tokens
- 12 Double-Sided System Tiles
- 4 Faction Sheets
- 35 Plastic Structures (10 Factories, 15 Cities, and 10 Bastions)
- 105 Plastic Units (27 Space Marine, 24 Eldar, 27 Ork, 27 Chaos Space Marine) and 27 Plastic Stands
Information for card sleeves: there are 168 cards in total. Fantasy Flight Standard Card Game sleeves fit the card size.
Forbidden Stars is a bluffing wargame for two to four players. It takes two to three hours to play.
The Herakon Cluster has been suffering from the shifting Warp Storms, but now they are gone, and this long lost sector of the Galaxy is once again open to the Universe. Now all powerful races of the Galaxy want to get to the ancient treasures and dominate the Herakon Cluster. You and your friends will be fighting for the great factions of the Eldar of Craftworld Iyanden, the World Eaters Warband of the Chaos Space Marines, the Ultramarines chapter of Space Marines, and the Evil Sunz Ork clan.
The goal of every faction is to get hold of the key objectives designed for your faction. So, you are also interested in stopping your opponents from getting to their objectives.
In the beginning, you have to choose a faction you will be playing for and collect all the corresponding tokens, cards, units, and your faction sheet.
Claim starting components
Get all components from the list on the back of your faction sheet. Put the components on top of your sheet. Set your materiel dial at “6”.
Determine first player
Take one structure control from each player and mix them. Then draw one. It will determine which player goes first.
Construct the game board
Arrange the tiles of the game board looking at the diagram from the rules. Then, place all the tokens on the board as the diagram indicates. If some factions are not used in the game, do not place them.
After you have played your first game of Forbidden Stars with the introductory setup, you may try different setups, following the rules section titled “Constructing the Game Board”. You can create a unique board game every time you play.
Create event, combat, and upgrade decks
Shuffle your event cards and place them facedown in your play area. Then, shuffle ten of your combat cards to form your combat deck. Use the remaining combat cards and your order upgrade cards to form two upgrade decks. Place them faceup next to your faction sheet and make sure you do not mix them with your combat deck.
Prepare the round track
Put the round track near the game board and place the round marker on mark “1”.
Sort all cache tokens, reinforcement tokens, forge tokens, plastic structures, and dice into separate piles and place them near the game board.
Each round has three phases:
Players place order tokens face down on separate tiles of the game board. Each type of order tokens corresponds to one type of actions that can be taken in the second phase of the round.
Players reveal their order tokens. These may be Dominate tokens (draining friendly planets of the necessary resources), Strategize tokens (upgrading your combat abilities and orders), Deploy tokens (building new mobile units, cities, bastions, and factories), and Advance tokens (movement of your units and combat with your enemies).
You get profit from the planets under your control, heal the units that have suffered during the Operations phase, and reveal event cards that help you around the Warp Storms.
Your job is to build a war strategy you will be able to continuously implement throughout the game while also doing the short-term bluffing during phases in order to trick your opponents. Remember: the victory will be either yours or somebody else’s. Use your own strengths and your enemies’ weaknesses.
To win the game, you have to collect a number of your objectives equal to the number of factions in the game.
You can find the rules in PDF here.
You can see the unofficial FAQ for the game including the errata here.
Also, there are plenty of tutorials, guides, manuals, and overviews on YouTube.
Review by Board Game Brawl
Watch a full playthrough:
Watch an unboxing video on YouTube if you want to find out more:
Forbidden Stars vs Starcraft
Many people have called Forbidden Stars a “simplified version of Starcraft”. It is another wargame set in space, but Forbidden Stars is easier to learn and to play.
Forbidden Stars vs Twilight Imperium
Twilight Imperium is an epic space game that takes three to four hours and supports up to six players. Here, the difference is primarily in the scale of the game.
Forbidden Stars vs Eclipse
In Forbidden Stars, there is more tactics and war, Eclipse is more about exploring. In Eclipse, the element of luck and randomness is way more prevalent.
Forbidden Stars vs Chaos in the Old World
Chaos in the Old World is set in the Warhammer world. So, you will prefer it if you prefer fantasy to science fiction. Also by FFG, Chaos in the Old World runs for one to two hours, being more economical in the matter of time than Forbidden Stars.
Forbidden Stars vs Runewars
Runewars is not a wargame, the paths to victory are way more flexible here. Forbidden Stars is more straightforward and dynamic.
Q: Is there a version of Forbidden Stars for solo play?
A: No, there is not. The minimum number is 2 players. The two player game of Forbidden Stars plays according to the rules and takes about two or three hours, depending on how familiar you are with the rules.
Q: Are there any expansions for Forbidden Stars?
A: No, so far there are none.
Q: Different factions have different abilities. What is the best faction?
A: Although different factions have different abilities, a lot depends on your strategy and tactics. Do not expect that you can choose the faction that is easiest to play and just win with it. Having said that, the easiest faction to win with might be the Orks.
Q: Are there Forbidden Stars apps for iOS and Android or an online version of the game?
A: No, there are not.
Q: If I use the Armored Advance card, does damage from both steps stack?
A: No, it does not.
Forbidden Stars is a real intense wargame. But it is not overly complex, so, even beginners may learn how to play and enjoy it.
Forbidden Stars comes with a splendid design, usual for Fantasy Flight Games. A cardboard insert holds the beautiful plastic miniatures (all killers, indeed), tokens, and cards.
You can buy Forbidden Stars on Amazon.