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Subject: Forbidden Stars became a very short game. rss

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Robert Looden
Netherlands
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Hello everyone!

I have owned and played Forbidden Stars for quite a long time and it has always been a very long game for my group. Then we found out we have been playing the game wrong, we collected all the objectives instead of just the amount equal to the total number of players.

Fine, we play by the official rules. Might make the game quicker because blocking objectives is less of an option. It also makes the game even more aggressive this way. A good change on paper.

The problem is now that our games rarely last past turn three. It became a rush to the objectives mostly dominated by luck (lose an early combat and you are out). A four player game used to be a 6 hour match of wits and guts, now it's over in 1,5 hours.

As is probably obvious I regret this change. It was my favourite game. Offcourse we can just go back to claiming all the objectives (or just one more) but I'm wondering if there is something else we could do or are perhaps doing wrong because the game is still described by people who play right as a long game (4 players lasting at least 3 hours).

For the record we are talking 20+ games with the "wrong rules" and about 5 since we play correctly.

 
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Joshua Schutte
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With correct rules our games last till about turn 5-7. Typically we defend heavily once someone is within 2 points of winning or will be by turns end. Not sure if we are playing optimally or not. We tend to start all spread out with maybe 2 units max in one planet to maximize income for turn 2(i.e. all spread out, sometimes even factory undefended to give more income if safe). After turn 2 we start building large armies. No one has been brave enough to start will all their eggs in one or two baskets and totally rush.
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Niko
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durinnl wrote:
Hello everyone!

I have owned and played Forbidden Stars for quite a long time and it has always been a very long game for my group. Then we found out we have been playing the game wrong, we collected all the objectives instead of just the amount equal to the total number of players.

Fine, we play by the official rules. Might make the game quicker because blocking objectives is less of an option. It also makes the game even more aggressive this way. A good change on paper.

The problem is now that our games rarely last past turn three. It became a rush to the objectives mostly dominated by luck (lose an early combat and you are out). A four player game used to be a 6 hour match of wits and guts, now it's over in 1,5 hours.

As is probably obvious I regret this change. It was my favourite game. Offcourse we can just go back to claiming all the objectives (or just one more) but I'm wondering if there is something else we could do or are perhaps doing wrong because the game is still described by people who play right as a long game (4 players lasting at least 3 hours).

For the record we are talking 20+ games with the "wrong rules" and about 5 since we play correctly.

If 4 player games are over by turn 3 then you will have to figure out why you are allowing a player to grab 4 objectives with at best 6 advance orders.
You will still need to grab 2/3 of the objectives and unless your opponents are just plopping them down next to you during map building this simply shouldn't be possible.

In other words, you are the victim of group think where no one plays defensively. The problem is that it isn't enough for one player to break out of that, as somebody else will just win. Maybe go back to the recommended first game map to see how a map can be build that doesn't allow for this kind of rushed game?
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Robert Looden
Netherlands
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I also don't know about optimal play. But since we introduced the correct rules anybody who tried to "turtle" and build up first just got last place because the other players had three objectives by turn 2/3.

If you fortify one of my objectives there is always another one nearby to go for. If I have 3 objectives there are still 3 to choose from, and never are they all well defended. Usually they are not defended at all because those players are rushing to their objectives also.

From memory; of the five games we played since it ended at turn 2,3,3,3,4.
We play again tonight, I just hope we can make the game last this time.
 
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Robert Looden
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@Niko:

It's most certainly a group think thing. But how do you break out of it without just outright forbidding rush tactics?

Perhaps choosing a prebuild map which is always "fair" might do the trick but like I said, we have plenty of games under our belt and I don't think mapmaking is the problem.

Worth a try though.
 
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Niko
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durinnl wrote:
I also don't know about optimal play. But since we introduced the correct rules anybody who tried to "turtle" and build up first just got last place because the other players had three objectives by turn 2/3.

If you fortify one of my objectives there is always another one nearby to go for. If I have 3 objectives there are still 3 to choose from, and never are they all well defended. Usually they are not defended at all because those players are rushing to their objectives also.

From memory; of the five games we played since it ended at turn 2,3,3,3,4.
We play again tonight, I just hope we can make the game last this time.
Like I said, problematic group think...
If somebody managed to grab 3 objectives with 4 advance orders you screwed up! The possibility of this needs to be pointed out during map building and needs to be mitigated by the rest of the table.

Does anybody else in your group think this is a problem? You'll need at least two people to play defense and wreck the other two players early rush by defending the objectives. Then those two players should have an easy time keeping the rushers shut down while jockeying to win the game.
Not an ideal game, but it should only take one of them to show how impossible it is to win with a rush unless most of the table does it.
 
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Robert Looden
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Quote:
Like I said, problematic group think...
If somebody managed to grab 3 objectives with 4 advance orders you screwed up! The possibility of this needs to be pointed out during map building and needs to be mitigated by the rest of the table.

Does anybody else in your group think this is a problem? You'll need at least two people to play defense and wreck the other two players early rush by defending the objectives. Then those two players should have an easy time keeping the rushers shut down while jockeying to win the game.
Not an ideal game, but it should only take one of them to show how impossible it is to win with a rush unless most of the table does it.


A problem is a big word, it just became a short game and that's not really what we want out of a game of Forbidden Stars. We want epic but cutthroat combat in the 41st millenium!

We have talked about this and I guess we will again tonight. Waiting (with attacking) just seems like sub-optimal play in our current Forbidden Stars "meta".
 
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Niall Smyth
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Are you sure you aren’t wrong about any other rules? 2 turns is nearly impossible. 4 Advance orders (2/turn) to take 4 tokens, in a 4P game, isn’t it?
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Mark Jackson
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Id be interested to see a thorough session report for a 4p game that ends in turn 3 and see what is happening. It sounds like something is off somewhere, but it's hard to say what it might be.

If you are playing all the other rules correctly and your maps are set up so that a player can grab 4/6 of their objectives uncontested within 6 advances then if nothing else you're placing your tiles and starting forces horribly.
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Joshua Schutte
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You are playing with the rule you can't play commands beyond adjacent to current armies? (no double moving out armies into un-owned territory)

for example


Axy
xyy
yyy

if i have troops in A, I can't play orders in any Y zone, only the X or A zones.


(my apologies if I have my games rules swapped been playing Starcraft again recently, I though this was a think in Forbidden Stars that wasn't in Starcraft)
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Samuel Bailey
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Warpstorm placement and movement is also very key in blocking players from objectives. Ive had games where only 1 objective token was collected total in the first 3 turns because of excellent Warpstorm control by all players.
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alex voss
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durinnl wrote:

From memory; of the five games we played since it ended at turn 2,3,3,3,4.
We play again tonight, I just hope we can make the game last this time.


I honestly don't understand how this is possible. How are all your objectives so close and accessible?
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Robert Looden
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Thanks for all the responses.

Last night we played another 4 player game and this one was a lot better. We couldnt finish because of time constraints for one player but the game would have ended on turn 5.

It could very well have something to do with the way we build the map. But the fact we played with someone new and we did go a bit easy on this player not to scare him away from the game also had something to do with the longer playing time.

During placement, do people spread their starting forces out or focus one a few promising territories for future attack/defence? We tend to spread them out to optimise opportunities.

As far as I know we do play correctly. Only placing orders on adjacent systems from where you have presence. Only invading from one adjacent system. Only one reinforcement token per "plastic" participating in combat. And all the rules for retreating.

Someone has asked how all the objectives are so close to be captured in 4-6 moves. I have no idea, they just always seem to be. And defending one is usually seen as a subpar move to focussing on your own objectives. I understand there are considerations to be made balancing your own victory and preventing the victory of another but it used to all play out rather quickly.

I have to say it is still an amazing game. To have it be this versatile and surprising is in my opinion a good thing.
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Zenphos Ruby-Eye
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The game can be over fast if everyone rushes and no one defends, but it is also normally obvious who will win by the end of turn 2 if everyone keeps pursuing this strategy.
Therefore if you don't want to lose you need to defend, but more importantly you need to not attack people who are defending game winning objectives. This generally means going after harder objectives and putting pressure on the player who is about to win.
This continual attacking the leading player and therefore shifting your focus is what makes the game go for 8 turns, which is what happens in most of the games we play.
Remember there is no 2nd place in Forbidden Stars, so if you can't win, you need to stop the other person from winning to give you more time and opportunity to win.
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I've no idea how can this be happening. You do place the token by choice and not randomly. When we play getting to an objective token is a really tough feat, I have never seen a game last less than 5 turns. Players know they worth so not only do they think about conquering the opponent's tokens but also protecting their own.
 
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Vince
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As a fellow gamer of Robert's group I discussed this topic in short with him the other day. I think because we played so long with the wrong ruling of; collecting ALL objectives we have been stuck in the wrong mindset now of hunting objectives like a madman and just hope you are the first with the required amount to win.

I think we need to undergo a meta-shift so that we play more like is described in the above posts. Defending leading players and key objectives whilst hunting your own instead of it being some sort of all out race.

We need to play more Robert
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Zenphos Ruby-Eye
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Playing more Forbidden Stars is the cure for most things in life.
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Zoltán Dudás
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Big aspect really is map building (which is one of the things I like about this game). You can get a good advantage out of it. So it really up to players to not let it happen.
On the other hand the reverse order of warp storms is a good brake on the early grabs as mentioned by others.

My best tile placement as eldar resulted in 3 out 4 warp storm being put between me and my objectives, so there is that

We usually spread our force but not 1 figure on each tile or something like it. You can block just as well with placing the tile in certain places rotated a certain way. No need to have force on every world.

So we mostly end up having 1 or 2 objectives close by which can be potentially rushed.. if they let you do it. The rest of the forces I like to setup for future engagements.

Games last around 4-5 turns.
So are we are also closer to some early-grab meta, but nothing as extreme as your example.

But we were also wondering about how or when will you go to 7-8 turns and have L3 units out?
My best was with tech-friendly Eldar having titan + card upgrade out by turn 4 and winning by turn 6 without complete turtling and where the board setup favored such a strategy.
Anyone playing a tech-heavy meta and battling it out with titans regularly?
 
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Mark Jackson
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I've most often seen t3 tech come out right at the end to help punch through heavy defense and take a winning objective. The bulk of the game is played with lower tech in my experience, but if people turtle up and lock down what you need to win then you can grab the planets they cede and pump out some expensive bunker busters yknow. I definitely see games end without any t3 stuff coming out.
 
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Joshua Schutte
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Spike225BGG wrote:
Big aspect really is map building (which is one of the things I like about this game). You can get a good advantage out of it. So it really up to players to not let it happen.
On the other hand the reverse order of warp storms is a good brake on the early grabs as mentioned by others.

My best tile placement as eldar resulted in 3 out 4 warp storm being put between me and my objectives, so there is that

We usually spread our force but not 1 figure on each tile or something like it. You can block just as well with placing the tile in certain places rotated a certain way. No need to have force on every world.

So we mostly end up having 1 or 2 objectives close by which can be potentially rushed.. if they let you do it. The rest of the forces I like to setup for future engagements.

Games last around 4-5 turns.
So are we are also closer to some early-grab meta, but nothing as extreme as your example.

But we were also wondering about how or when will you go to 7-8 turns and have L3 units out?
My best was with tech-friendly Eldar having titan + card upgrade out by turn 4 and winning by turn 6 without complete turtling and where the board setup favored such a strategy.
Anyone playing a tech-heavy meta and battling it out with titans regularly?


It's very rare to get to tier 3 units, we usually get to tier 2 in my group. I think that is our meta as we tend to steal cities just to pump out units.
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Genestealer Patriarch
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This may be a really daft question, but you aren't placing your own objectives are you?

I've played one game where the Chaos player won in T1. 2 advances, 2 dominates, and 3 other players who had a massive collective brainfart and allowed him to do it.

Setting up the board is a critical part of the game, if you badly mess up (see above) you may be handing control over to a player.
During tile placement/set up our group tries to:
-Avoid placing several objectives from the same faction close together.
-If there are 2 or three in neighbouring tiles, make sure none get placed on any further adjacent tiles
-Especially make sure there aren't lots of "land bridges" for orcs to walk across to their objectives
-Make sure there are lots of land bridges to defend against Eldar sailing through to get their objectives
-Don't leave any Chaos objectives unoccupied where his cultists can teleport onto them.

-Do everything you can to break those rules for your own faction
-Use 1st turn warp storm placement to block people grabbing objectives on neighboring tiles straight away.
-If you are Eldar, don't start with a land bridge from your home system to someone else's home system
-If you are not Orks, don't start with a land bridge to their home system, or anywhere near it
-Try and get your Home system (or system with lots of your units) right next to your objectives.

That includes negotiating with other players on tile, warp storm, and objective placement to mess up third and fourth players. Even better if this negotiation "accidentally" helps you as well. Don't overplay this or everyone will turn on you at the start.
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Zenphos Ruby-Eye
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Pretty good rules to follow, except this "Use 1st turn warp storm placement to block people grabbing objectives on neighboring tiles straight away."

People getting tokens that are next to their home system doesn't really matter as they will be able to get them whenever they like.

It is the objectives a system or more away you need to block. If someone has a lone soldier out near an objective in a far corner, block that and go kill it before it can grow.

If none of these situations exist then it is a good idea to block access to a high material planet, either protect one of your own or stop someone getting one.

As first turn should really be trying to grab some materials and get a bit of an economy going.
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Genestealer Patriarch
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Zenphos wrote:
Pretty good rules to follow, except this "Use 1st turn warp storm placement to block people grabbing objectives on neighboring tiles straight away."

People getting tokens that are next to their home system doesn't really matter as they will be able to get them whenever they like.

Not necessarily. Put in some units and a bastion, and the "easy" objective can become much harder - possibly using up multiple orders of his in future turns. There will also be someone else's marker on that tile - possibly they will have time to build up a large enough force to claim it and at the same time fend off the first player's obvious advance.
It also makes the target player's second turn much more predictable (he is almost certainly going to try for it if he can), and you are more likely to be in a position to take advantage of that, being in position to plunder his home system or whatever.
 
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Zenphos Ruby-Eye
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Patriarchxyz wrote:
Zenphos wrote:
Pretty good rules to follow, except this "Use 1st turn warp storm placement to block people grabbing objectives on neighboring tiles straight away."

People getting tokens that are next to their home system doesn't really matter as they will be able to get them whenever they like.

Not necessarily. Put in some units and a bastion, and the "easy" objective can become much harder - possibly using up multiple orders of his in future turns...


This is true, you can make it very hard for someone to get a close objective if you wish spend your whole game fighting each other. Which is what will happen if you do this, effectively taking you both out of the game.
 
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Genestealer Patriarch
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Zenphos wrote:
Patriarchxyz wrote:
Zenphos wrote:
Pretty good rules to follow, except this "Use 1st turn warp storm placement to block people grabbing objectives on neighboring tiles straight away."

People getting tokens that are next to their home system doesn't really matter as they will be able to get them whenever they like.

Not necessarily. Put in some units and a bastion, and the "easy" objective can become much harder - possibly using up multiple orders of his in future turns...


This is true, you can make it very hard for someone to get a close objective if you wish spend your whole game fighting each other. Which is what will happen if you do this, effectively taking you both out of the game.

It certainly can. FS is always a bit of a balance from that point of view. If nobody puts any effort into slowing or stopping anyone else, then the game will be decided by who can get their objective tokens with the least number of orders, which sounds like what has been going on with the OP's group. Slowing someone's objective grab doesn't have to last all game, because your faction doesn't need to go all in to achieve it.

For example, if you have some units colonising his neighboring objective, he might then have to Deploy in his home system (to build up enough units to definately squash you), Strategize (to get a card to help squash you) and an Advance (to move in and squash you). In the meantime you make a single Advance into his home system, taking, say, your objective plus a City, leaving him with nothing to fight. In the end, you forced him to waste his entire turn to get his objective, whilst you spent a single order to get yours (or a factory, or whatever).

Knowing how to balance your self interest with the need to screw over everyone else's progress is all part of the fun. Tricking another player into doing it is even more fun, especially when it looks like they have no choice (the Eldar are clearly going to win if you Orks don't stop them!).
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