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Blackstone Fortress: Board Game Or Testing Ground

3 Minute Read
Feb 28 2020

Warhammer Quest: Blackstone Fortress is a home to a hodgepodge of rare creatures – is it just an island of lost toys or is it a petri dish for GW? Let’s Chat.

If you’ve never played Blackstone Fortress you’ve been missing out. The game is basically a dungeon crawler set inside of an ever-shifting maze. Players pick an explorer from a pretty diverse pool of options and then “work together” to explore the Fortress and find treasure and hopefully a way back out. The enemies are also a pretty diverse cast of baddies trying to smash your face in, too. There is a lot of hidden lore and it has quite a few expansions now to add replay value to the game as well. But that’s not what I’m here to talk about.

No, what I’m here to discuss is more of a meta-level question. What’s the REAL purpose of Blackstone Fortress. I mean, obviously, it’s a board game designed to be fun and for people to buy it so GW makes money. Duh. But is that all Blackstone Fortress is? Or is there something more going on slightly beneath the surface?

That’s A Lot Of Creatures…

For starters, have you ever thought about just how many rare and unique characters/creatures are in this game? And they ALL have 40k rules, too. Seriously, this game is a repository of rare creatures that have some really interesting lore and backstories. Is GW just tossing all these things in the Blackstone Fortress as some sort of storage menagerie or zoo of lost models? So far we’ve had:

  • Traitor Guard with a Traitor Commissar and Ogryn
  • UR-025 – a freaking Man of Iron
  • An Ambul
  • A Zoat
  • Jokero (just a ship so far)
  • Chaos Beastmen
  • Negavolt Cultists
  • Spindle Drones (which are TRULY strange)

Plus all the other explorers that are rare and unique:

  • A Kroot Merc (with the first sighting of a Kroot Ship)
  • Rogue Trader
  • An Imperial Navigator

Plus with all the OTHER expansions, I’m sure there are more strange and wonderful creatures that I’m skipping. So back to my question – why is GW putting all these things in the Blackstone Fortress? We’ve got three options when you think about it:

  • It’s JUST a Board Game and this is all just Fan Service – Blackstone Fortress is just a Haunted House in Space and these are just the “monsters of the week” that pop up and let players interact with the game.
  • It’s a Test Bed for New Models – It could be from the technical perspective of “can we even make that” or maybe it’s more of a “let’s just push the envelope on a a small scale to see what we can do and does it scale up?”
  • It’s a Test Bed for new 40k rules/units – These new Models all have 40k rules. But we’ve seen some of these models have a much larger impact on the tabletop (looking at you Chaos Lord w/Thunder Hammer).

If we ever get Calm Pack releases of all these models for use in 40k only, then we’ll have a better indication that GW was using Blackstone Fortress as a springboard to launch new stuff. Heck, we could STILL see that happen. Folks have been wanting a “Traitor Guard” list for a while and with the releases within Blackstone Fortress we’re honestly not to far away from that being a playable list.

So what do you think? What’s the REAL point of Blackstone Fortress? Let us know your theories in the comments.

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