Grail Game: Forbidden Stars

I have always been a collector. Growing up, I filled my closet with boxes and boxes of comic books, sometimes buying multiple copies of the same issue to get the assorted cover variants. I still have a small collection of action figures, near-mint-in-box that I had hoped would someday be worth thousands of dollars–not that I was considering ever selling them. And in these days of movies-on-demand, I have far too many DVDs and Blu-rays to justify.

Of course, this habit carries over to boardgaming. The difference between our board game collection and the collections of my childhood are, well, when I was ten years old and I started collecting comic books, they were 65 cents each. Board games are…not 65 cents. And sometimes, I see a game I really want, and by the time I have the disposable income to grab it, it’s already out of print and lost to the ages.

Granted, this adds a new element to the board gaming hobby: the grail game. These are the games that you have to search on eBay, Amazon, and other non-retail markets to find, usually for more money that you would have paid during their initial runs. The act of collecting becomes a quest in itself.

This week, one of these quests came to an end: I got one of my grail games– Forbidden Stars by Fantasy Flight Games.

Forbidden Stars game box, published by Fantasy Flight Games

This is not a review of the game because I haven’t played it yet. In fact, this post is not even really about the game itself but, rather, the joy of this part of the hobby. I’ve wanted this game for years, but I always talked myself out of paying twice the original retail price to get it. But when it arrived at my door, I felt like that ten-year-old kid again. Just ask Em–she was busy doing some photo editing for our Instagram, and I was gleefully punching out cardboard tokens, setting up the board and putting the little minis on it, making “pew-pew” noises, and explaining the deep lore of the universe it is set in (e.g., “The green ones are Orks, and they go ‘WAAAAAGGGH!'”) the whole time.

It wasn’t just the fact this game is a cool toy. Having wanted something for so long–having, at various points, given up on ever having it–and then seeing it right in front of me was like the morning of [insert-your-personal-gift-giving-holiday-here]. In the aforementioned age of movies-on-demand, and in a time where I can often just go to the store and buy what I want, the delayed gratification in getting this game just made it that much sweeter.

Don’t get me wrong–boardgaming, while fun, can be a very cerebral, mature, patience-testing hobby, and Forbidden Stars looks to be a game that will check off those boxes. And, for some people, boardgaming is really just a social lubricant, a structured reason to get together with friends. Sometimes though, especially for a collector like myself, boardgaming is about the joy of opening a new box, getting out those new toys, and playing.

Four ships, locked in combat. Pew-pew indeed.

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