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Subject: Dealing with the dreaded Dread Ritual. rss

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James Strong
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Hi all.

I've played two games of Forbidden Stars. Stuck to the introductory set up both times. Played Chaos once and SM the other. Chaos easily won both games.

In both games the Chaos player just quickly realize you can turn on mass-econ to push out free hellbrutes using the "Dread Ritual" order upgrade. That combined with the dominate ability ensured that Chaos simply overwhelmed the board with presence.

Experience with SM is that they're only good at defending, but the game by design requires a certain amount of aggression in order to capture objective tokens.

Isn't dread ritual a little bit overpowered? How do you handle this in the SM/Chaos matchup?

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Samuel Bailey
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I will be the first to admit that the intro setup isn't actual that great to use. In a two player game it matters less, but the game is better balanced if you set things up.

SM ended up being a little on the weak side unfortunately. They were dominate in testing for awhile and got slightly over nerfed. They are still viable, especially in a game with more players, but in a 1v1 match they may have some difficulties.

When I play SM I build a lot of bastions and make sure to dominate up to landraiders to hold high material worlds. With a hopefully better economy, I turn unneeded bastions into cities with Direct the Faithful and tech up quickly to good combat upgrades. Against Chaos I also make sure to leave no worlds empty so that their Dominate ability is useless.
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J Kaemmer
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Keep in mind your opponent can only build one unit per dread ritual activation, there are only 3 HB, they are expensive and honestly pretty mediocre CL 2 units. Great, he might get an expensive unit for free if he bunches up all his cultists.

A Hellbrute focus specifically seems a bit odd for a tight game like 2p is. He would have to build 2 cities to really get good use out of the hellbrutes anyways, because their stats aren't awesome on their own, they still need cards (expensive cards).

I would be much more concerned if your opponent was spamming Chaos Marines, same dice, 1 step cheaper, almost as good at soaking hits, better, more available cards.

1 bastion + 1 scout costs 4 and has 3,5,4 in stats and can soak extra hits all day. 1 hellbrute costs 4 and has 3,4,3. All other things equal, I would take the bastion+scout.

Dread Ritual is great for the extra purchase power, but it isn't unstoppable- particularly because it requires his cultists to stay out of combat to maintain consistent economy and turtling won't win you the game very often. A slowly advancing Ultramarine force could really eat into Chaos given the opening.
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Kamil Naumczyk
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roflmao wrote:
Hi all.

I've played two games of Forbidden Stars. Stuck to the introductory set up both times. Played Chaos once and SM the other. Chaos easily won both games.

In both games the Chaos player just quickly realize you can turn on mass-econ to push out free hellbrutes using the "Dread Ritual" order upgrade. That combined with the dominate ability ensured that Chaos simply overwhelmed the board with presence.

Experience with SM is that they're only good at defending, but the game by design requires a certain amount of aggression in order to capture objective tokens.

Isn't dread ritual a little bit overpowered? How do you handle this in the SM/Chaos matchup?



Quick question: did the Chaos player check if he has the Command Level for units purchased using the Dread Ritual.
It is an easy to overlook rule: Dread Ritual uses the keyword purchase which means when using it, you still need to have the Command Level necessary to get the unit.
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James Strong
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Man, that rules clarification on Dread Ritual makes SO much sense. Yeah, people were pumping out hell brutes without the command req.

I had even looked on BGG and saw some people claim that you didn't need the req. cities! with that change the ability seems more reasonable for sure.
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Joel Tamburo
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Samuel Bailey wrote:
I will be the first to admit that the intro setup isn't actual that great to use. In a two player game it matters less, but the game is better balanced if you set things up.

SM ended up being a little on the weak side unfortunately. They were dominate in testing for awhile and got slightly over nerfed. They are still viable, especially in a game with more players, but in a 1v1 match they may have some difficulties.

When I play SM I build a lot of bastions and make sure to dominate up to landraiders to hold high material worlds. With a hopefully better economy, I turn unneeded bastions into cities with Direct the Faithful and tech up quickly to good combat upgrades. Against Chaos I also make sure to leave no worlds empty so that their Dominate ability is useless.


Hi Sam!

If you really feel the SM got slightly over-nerfed, why not get an erratum released to "de-nerf" them a little? As the issue seems to be a bit of a lack of offense perhaps just a simple rule saying that SMs begin every battle where one or more Space Marines are involved with one extra die that is preset to Blaster.It gives them a little extra kill power but does not make them overwhelming.
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Alex Almond
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Out of interest what was changed when the SM were dominant?
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Samuel Bailey
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Joel: Sorry. I don't work at FFG anymore, so don't have a way to officially de-nerf the Space Marines. And they are not even that far off the mark in my opinion, just a tad weaker than the others. What's nice is that they are usually low risk/medium reward, which is good for a new player just trying to learn the game when others are already skilled.

Alex: There were numerous tweaks, but the main thing was their Strategize command used to do something along the lines of: "Purchase a combat upgrade with its cost reduced by 1 for each Bastion you have." This allowed them to quickly escalate their combat deck, which still has some great high tier cards available.

Also the Drop Pods Orbital Bombardment used to just give a free Space Marine.
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Frank Pelkofer
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Samuel Bailey wrote:
Joel: Sorry. I don't work at FFG anymore, so don't have a way to officially de-nerf the Space Marines. And they are not even that far off the mark in my opinion, just a tad weaker than the others. What's nice is that they are usually low risk/medium reward, which is good for a new player just trying to learn the game when others are already skilled.

Alex: There were numerous tweaks, but the main thing was their Strategize command used to do something along the lines of: "Purchase a combat upgrade with its cost reduced by 1 for each Bastion you have." This allowed them to quickly escalate their command deck, which still has some great high tier cards available.

Also the Drop Pods Orbital Bombardment used to just give a free Space Marine.


The drop pods upgrade seems extremely difficult to use as it is (in ~10 games with my play group, I've never seen it happen). Getting a guaranteed marine would make it much more valuable. Orbital bombardments in general seem pretty lame compared to most other options.
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Genestealer Patriarch
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countertorque wrote:
The drop pods upgrade seems extremely difficult to use as it is (in ~10 games with my play group, I've never seen it happen). Getting a guaranteed marine would make it much more valuable. Orbital bombardments in general seem pretty lame compared to most other options.

Yep, there is a thread nearby where a user calculated it to be ~79% chance of it working even if you roll all 8 dice on the bombardment,with no way of improving your chances. In our many games it doesn't get tried often (and seems to fail more than 20% of the time!) but when it does it can be game changing.

Thing is, there needs to be some kind of barrier to it, otherwise you can have a single 2pt strike cruiser generating a free marine in any system it can reach.

Perhaps something like "before rolling for the orbital strike, you may sacrifice 4 dice. If you do, resolve the orbital strike with the remaining dice. Then place one free Marine on the world, and resolve the combat if one occurs".

But unless you are Eldar, orbital strikes are a consolation prize for not being able to capture a planet. Eldar do fun things with their orbital strikes and often can't spare the infantry to capture a world.
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Samuel Bailey
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There was a continued worry that Orbital Strikes could dominate the game, and as they have no risk (besides the wasted action) they could not be too strong lest they become the primary way to resolve conflict.

At one point in development, the combat cards actually had different Orbital Bombardment effects and you would draw 5 card and roll the dice, performing a single round of one sided combat. This was removed to preserve space on the combat cards and reduce time, but its possible OS' were never brought up to the power level they needed to be after that.

I pushed hard for the various OS upgrades as a way that you can tech into powerful OS', but without them being too strong baseline. The lower rank upgrades should have probably just let you reroll at a base level, with the better ones giving you the extra dice. Lessons learned, I suppose.
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Benjamin
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I love SM. The first game played as SM I won via Orbital Strike putting a SM on a world with a city but otherwise undefended.
Though SM strength isn't Orbitals but their very strong start followed by Land Raiders and Break The Line as a near unbeatable combination. You need the right pace to switch to Break The Line. Latest by turn 3 you should be there as you only want Hold the Line and Glory or Death from t0, before getting Break The Line and Show No Fear.
Makes Space Marines a bit one-dimensional but not weaker than other factions. In fact we found Eldar to win the least as they are most reliant on map setup and being first player punishes them severely.

Orbital strikes are used quite frequently in our games, but usually against planets with few units to clean up risk free or prevent objective grabs.

The main problem is that you don't have many actions to spare. Our rule of thumb is that you need to win by turn 5 meaning 20 orders. Games rarely last longer, more games ending in turn 4 than 6. This makes Orbital strikes difficult and situational.

That being said, we always have Eldar bombard the shit out of people, and if my Chaos isn't pressured into building ground forces (prefer to build up via Advance and not go past CSM), I usually go for Grand Cruisers and Orbital strike. Advance/Dominate is so much fun and difficult to predict.
Space Marines usually only bombard with Exterminatus card. Orcs obviously never try to.
 
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Genestealer Patriarch
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Yeah, Break the Line is a absolute sod. Last game the (tooled up) marines invaded my (tooled up) Chaos homeworld. Not to worry, just laydown lots of icons and the odd sneaky free unit, and send the Marines back where they came from.

Then he brings out BtL - "OK pick which card you are going to discard."
"&*%$£!!!"
 
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