Blackstone Fortress Strategy Guide – Part 3


Observation #3: Reinforcement is a rare event.

Whenever an enemy group has suffered any casualties during combat, it will roll the 20-sided Blackstone die to reinforce during its turn. Only a roll of ‘1’ will cause the entire group to return while rolls of ‘2’ or ‘3’ will reinforce some fraction of the enemy units. Consequently, there is only a 15% chance that a particular enemy group will reinforce at all during a particular initiative cycle. If you factor in partial reinforcements, that means that -on average- it will take approximately 10 initiative cycles for the entire hostile group to return.

Next, let’s think about damage output. A good team using their weapons at optimal distances can easily inflict one wound of damage per dice. If the team spends all their dice on attack rolls, they will easily eliminate 4-8 hostiles per round. That corresponds to completely wiping out 1-2 groups of enemies per round.

What’s the relevance of these statistics?

Tip #3A: take it slow.

If hostile groups were to reinforce rapidly, there would be a great deal of urgency in gameplay. You couldn’t afford to advance cautiously, keep together, and stay in formation. You’d have to take risks. This problem would be compounded if every encounter brought with it the possibility of taking a grievous wound. However, given the slow reinforcement rate and UR’s role as a tank, there’s no need to rush. You can play conservatively, advancing on the hostile groups one at a time, taking strategic positions, and waiting until most of the enemies are destroyed before taking points.

Tip #3B: let the hostiles come to you.

One of the hardest parts of letting UR run point as a tank is his immobility. A high die allows him to move two hexes, but otherwise, he moves at the snail-like pace of one hex per die. As soon as you emerge from the maglev, it’s understandable that you’d want to hand him all the Destiny dice and tell him to go take a position close to the hostile groups. The rest of your team would then have no problem closing in behind him and getting into formation. Good idea? No, bad idea.

Imagine a typical example. Let’s say that there’s a group of hostiles located 10 hexes from the initial maglev. UR uses all three of his dice and five destiny dice to close to 2 hexes. Amallyn can cover the same distance using only two dice and can spend two dice taking potshots at the hostiles, but slower characters will have to use 3 dice to get into position. So congratulations: you’re now in position, but you’ve spent all your dice and the hostiles get to pound on you for the remainder of the round. What’s worse, a hostile that takes a ‘rush’ or ‘charge’ or ‘fury’ action, will have very little distance to close. They’ll just pistol or grenade you repeatedly without even having to move.

In contrast, imagine the result if you had marched UR three hexes from the Maglev and had other characters form up behind him. You then set an ‘overwatch’ with your remaining dice, which allows you to use these dice to immediately attack if a hostile comes into your line of site during their turn. At worst, all of those overwatch dice get wasted. But your more conservative play has several advantages. First, the hostiles will spend their turn moving, not attacking. They will have to waste their turn closing the distance instead of you wasting yours. Second, when they do attack on the following round, it’s likely that they’ll be spread out: some will have rushed forward, some will have hung back, some will have retreated. So you can deal with the hostiles one at a time rather than in one huge group. Both of these factors give you a tremendous advantage.

Difficulties: the hardest part of the strategy described above is the time it takes. Yes, it’s painful to watch UR lumber across the board. Yes, the game would go much faster if sent Pious and Amallyn charge all over the board hacking at things with their power blade and chainsaw. But a fast-and-loose play style is fun only until someone makes a few bad rolls and has to be carried out on a stretcher.

Top: Introduction: Gameplay overview

Back: Observation #2: Enemy behavior is procedural and therefore highly predictable.

Next: Observation #4: Inspired characters are extremely powerful.

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