Blackstone Fortress is the third in the new series of Warhammer Quest, released in November 2018, and set in the 40k futuristic universe. A group of disparate explorers delve into the labyrinth of a vast and ancient space station to uncover its secrets via a series of missions leading to a final showdown scenario.
This game uses the same core dice allocation mechanics found within Silver Tower and Hammerhal, and also has the familiar extra destiny dice rolling each round. However it adds some new and better ideas, such a random activation order using a card draw, which can be manipulated by special skills, and combat dice of different shapes to roll depending on a characters ability. Both of these are great improvements.
Similar to Hammerhal, each game requires four heroes to play, albeit you can of course run multiple characters between you, but the game generates its own enemy intelligence through dice rolling which is more like the Silver Tower approach, but does mean there is a lot of dice rolling. All the components and tiles look great and the model set for me rivals Silver Tower for its variety and enjoyment to paint.
Repeat playing can become repetitive over time, so games like this really need expansions to keep them alive, and this one is being better supported than the previous games …
The Dreaded Ambull – i love huge hulking monsters to fight in a quest mission showdown, and once this box set was released i knew i was going to have to buy the main game after all. Whilst this is quite expensive for a small set, it does have a superb large monster model, and two small ones, but the designers through White Dwarf have since expanded extra linked missions using this box, which for me made it a must have expansion given its theme. This kind of monster is what the original set really needed.
Traitor Command – another smaller box expansion with a traitor command leader and a chaos ogryn with a claw arm. These fit well with the core set guards squads, but may not quite have the same pull factor as the ambull, however the models are nice additions to the game and for collectors are likely worth getting. So far it does not have any extra written missions, but they fit well with the core set so can be used more often.
Two card packs have also been released, Endless Peril which adds new exploration events and Advanced Arsenal which adds new resource cards. If you play a lot of Blackstone games, then these are useful to expand the variety within the core game. Their overall value is more questionable against the models sets, and these cards are shuffled into existing decks rather than providing new adventure stories. I am holding off from buying these cards and waiting for the next big expansion.
Escalation is coming in September, which has four new heroes, a new machine support character, and a more barbaric chaos warband. It potentially looks great, adding a new story adventure and it’s price point feels much better value than any of the other expansions. I was always going to get the ambull as it was such a good monster, but this set is definitely looking like the next one to get for me should i want to keep expanding.