Blackstone Fortress Strategy Guide – Intro

A few months ago, my friend Michael invited me to play Blackstone Fortress, a popular dice-based tabletop strategy/combat game. BSFBoxAs a newbie to the Warhammer 40K universe, my immediate response was to do a quick Google search for strategy guides. There weren’t any. This article will attempt to fill that void by providing a concise overview of BSF strategy. Because part of the fun of Blackstone Fortress comes from on-the-fly problem solving, trial-and-error tactical planning, and unexpected obstacles, I’ll keep the guide as general and as spoiler-free as possible. Yet I’ll still provide tips to make your life easier and the Fortress survivable.

Players familiar with the game should skip the overview and proceed directly to the observations/tips.


Gameplay overview

Blackstone Fortress takes place in a newly-discovered space station which houses various secrets and advanced technology. The goal of the game is to defeat four Strongholds and then to defeat the Vault, unlocking the secret of the Blackstone Fortress. Players select a party of four from a total of eight available heroes, each of whom has unique abilities and weaknesses. In particular, the heroes differ in the strength of their agility, vitality, and defense rolls, in the optimal range of their attacks (1 hex, 2-3 hexes, or 4+ hexes), and in their mobility (1, 2, 3, or 4 hexes per movement action).

The party embarks on a series of Expeditions in an effort to discover clues that allow them access to each Stronghold. If the Vault is not defeated within 12 Expeditions, the game is lost. An Expedition ends either when all the encounter cards are drawn, when a hero dies, or when the players decide to retreat.

After each Expedition, the heroes return to their ships, where items can be purchased and various abilities can be used. Each ship also comes with a power that can be activated once during each expedition.

Inside the fortress, players engage in combat with various types of enemies, face challenges, and search the fortress for clues, items, and currency called Archeotech. Combat is dice-based and is conducted on hex-grid maps.  Each player receives three to four dice at the start of every initiative cycle along with access to a pool of public “destiny dice.” They expend dice to perform actions like movement, healing, exploration, and attacks.

In each of the tips that follows, I’ll make one important observation about gameplay and will then provide suggestions based on that observation.

Top: Introduction: Gameplay overview

Next: Observation #1: Only grievous wounds matter.

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