My friend Alex and I took our first steps into the dreaded Blackstone Fortress last week so I thought I would let you know our first impressions of how the game plays and how we got on!
Wow does this game take a long time to setup when you are doing it for the first time. I have watched a few videos on how to play the game but none really set you up for how many cards and bits and pieces there are to setup. I have to say Warhammer Quest: The Silver Tower seems a lot simpler, but then perhaps it is a simpler game with less room for repeatable playthroughs? During setup it felt very intense especially as neither of us had played the game before. I feel that this is very much a game where you need a least one person to have played it before to be able to have a smooth run through of the game.
First Run Through
We decided against running a campaign to start with as we just wanted to have a run through of what it was like to simply play the game and get used to the rules before we committed to a full campaign.
In terms of the actual gameplay it was good, although having to roll for every individual adversary can be very time consuming. Anyone who has played this before, were we playing this right? Should we roll for the whole group and then modify their actions based on what they are armed with? Or were we right to roll for every individual adversary? We also got off to a poor start when one of my characters was grievously wounded immediately after all the adversary groups got to activate before any of our characters due to some unfortunate initiative draws!
On that note, grievous wounds do present the challenge to the explorers, as by the end of 2 combat rounds and 1 challenge our party was in pretty poor shape, with 2 characters having had 2 grievous wounds that can’t be healed unless you return to Precipice. It does mean you have to think carefully about whether you push on to try and gain more clues/loot and risk death or fall back to precipice. In terms of balance I felt it was fairly well balanced between the explorers and the adversaries but initiative order can dramatically change the course of the combat as if you get really unlucky and all the adversary groups go first, you might have to use precious action dice to attempt a gambit to get higher up in the initiative order.
I will say that the game takes some time to play, however a lot of this for us was in setup and learning how to play for the first time. I am anticipating this will be dramatically reduced now I have played the game before and I can just crack on fairly quickly. I do plan to have another full read through the rules and a read of the precipice book so we can start running a campaign next time so we can experience the game in its fullness. Hopefully I can let you know how it goes as soon as we get another session in.
What’s on the painting table?
This week I finally managed to build Kria the Huntress. I have to say I do love the look of the Escher models in general and am looking forward to painting up a gang at some point soon. I also managed to paint up the big bad Ogroid Thaumaturge which you can see below.
I have started on the Gaunt Summoner too so hopefully will get him finished this week. Then I only have the Tzaangors left to complete from the original boxed set! Will do a big photo of all the models once they are complete. It has been really satisfying to nearly complete this mini-project and I am looking forward to doing the same with Blackstone Fortress.
Stay well everyone and stay Miniature Minded!
4 thoughts on “First steps into the Blackstone Fortress…”
You were absolutely correct, each adversary is rolled for individually. One thing that isn’t clear from your description though, did you have a full complement of four explorers? If there are only two of you playing then each of you controls two. The other thing to remember is gambits, which allow you to alter the initiative order. These can be an absolute godsend.
The group I’m playing with have just completed our first vault, and have the clues to go straight at a second. That’s from two explorations. We’ve played a lot of Imperial Assault, Descent and Gloomhaven, so we’ve got a lot of experience of this type of game. It’s a great example of the genre, challenging but not impossible. As a bonus, the vast majority of the minis are also usable in Kill Team, either as Comnanders or Skilked Retainers in the case of the protagonists (I hesitate to call any denizen of the 40K universe a hero) or as the Servants of the Abys Kill Team in the case of the adversaries.
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Hi Ed, yes we did have 4 explorers. I think I. Learning all the rules gambits got left by the wayside but definitely something to remember for next time! I am definitely going to be looking to play more of this so will hopefully get better the more games we play.
Glad you’re enjoying it. Adventure board games like this can be a fantastic experience. If you find you like it I would strongly recomend Imperial Assault, which has tons of expansions and an app that sets up the missions and runs the bad guys for you. The minis are not GW standard, but they are not bad.
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Yeah I love these kinds of games. Might have to think about picking that up at some point if that’s the case! Looking forward to the Blackstone fortress expansion coming out too!