This is Ares Games newest game, Galaxy Defenders. Ares has done many great games like Wings of Glory I and II, Sails of Glory, and War of the Ring, amongst others. At the moment they are working on a KickStarter campaign for Galaxy Defenders. This is the company’s second KickStarter and it’s less than a week till completion. The KickStarter has at least six models that will be exclusive to this campaign, along with special weapons, items, and abilities. There are plenty of options for getting more models, cards, map tiles, and even getting a set of metal models along side the plastic ones that come with the game.
Now, to talk about the actual game itself. Galaxy Defenders is a tactical board game based on 80′s and 90′s Sci-Fi worlds. There will be different missions included with the game. There are two of them posted on their website as part of their beta-release. The missions control what aliens, events, and close encounter cards are used in the initial setup. There are also special events that can game or change the cards being used in the different decks.
There are five agents in the base game. Each of them has a very different play style to them. To give you an idea of these agents, some of them are:
Agent Mercury the Infiltrator: This agent starts with a blade and pistol, along with having one more speed than the average speed of the rest of the agents.
Agent Titanium the Hulk: This agent starts out with a machine gun and bladed brass knuckles for when he gets into close combat. The Hulk also has the most health and is the slowest agent out of all of them.
Agent Thorium the Biotech: The speed and health to this agent is pretty average but this agent gets to use a shotgun and is the only character with a built in way to heal any other agent.
Agent Iridium the Sniper: This agent obviously has a sniper rifle as a starting weapon but also has a scoped pistol for closer targets.
Agent Chromium the Marine: This agent comes equip with rifle and pistol, along with a reaction ability that allows him to take a free shot at aliens as they pass him.
Each agent has different armor and abilities to help them out and as you advance through the missions you have a chance to gather more equipment to make your weapons better. If you are lucky enough to advance through all the levels of being an agent, you get to flip the character sheet and become a platinum agent. I have not had a chance to see all of the agents advance that far, but the progression is a fun aspect to the game.
There are six types of aliens, some in multiple colors, with the basic box having 18 alien minis in it. If you get in on the KickStarter there are plenty more that will be added. Each mission will tell you how many of which alien to put into the alien deck and each card will have a miniature matching it. There is a nice variety in the aliens and on each card, there are instructions on how the alien is to be played when they are chosen by the close encounter card on each of the alien’s turns. There are aliens that will try to get into the perfect position to take a couple of shots with their gun, while others are meant to rush an agent and keep it locked in combat. More aliens can be added to the board when mission cards are drawn. Mission cards can effect the weather of the planet to cause agents to move slower, cause some equipment to not work or make dice rolls become a lot more inaccurate than before, along with other effects. Each time a mission card is flipped, there is a chance for signals to show up on the planet. Each signal represents something showing up on the radar but not completely identified. As soon as the signal moves into line of sight of an agent, it will be flipped. If the signal is an alien, a new alien miniature and card will be added to the play area.
Refresh – Each turn powers and items will refresh and be usable again
Strategy – Alpha Agent (1st player) is selected, if an alien was killed the last round there are chances for promotions by each agent, after four aliens are killed reinforcements will supply a group with items or weapons to help out during the rest of the mission, and you check if you beat or failed the mission.
Battle – This section of the round cycles between agent and alien. First an agent gets the chance to move, perform an action and engage in combat. There are a few special actions like jumping through a window or unjamming a gun that can take up two part of your turn also. After the agent has taken their turn, the aliens get a chance to interact. This is done by flipping one of the close encounter cards to see which aliens will activate this time. Each alien card tells you how to move the alien or if the alien will just attack twice. There is no way to plan for these activations since it is controlled by a shuffled deck of cards. If you are not careful, the multiple alien activations can be very detrimental to the agents moving around trying to complete the mission.
Combat – Combat is pretty easy to get a hang of. Each weapon will give you its range and the number and color of dice you roll. There are two different sets of dice to be used. Green dice and Blue dice. Green dice seem to be paired with the more power weapons and blue dice are a little weaker along with being the color used during the defend step. Each time a hit mark shows up on the dice, the defender will roll one blue dice to try to absorb damage with their armor. There are special abilities on some of the weapons that will remove dice to the defender or that just let you reroll your misses. After you figure out how much damage goes through, you take that many wounds from the agent or alien. If an agent is brought down to 0 hit points, there is a chance they come back if someone can heal them back up. If the aliens decide they are the bigger threat though and an agent with 0 hp is attacked again, the agent is out of the game.
Event – After everyone has gone and the following alien turn has resolved, an event card is flipped. The effects of the event are completed and then signals are moved and added to the board. Then the round starts over from the top.
Once a couple of rounds have gone off, the game moves along at a decent speed. You become familiar with alien’s mechanics and resolving attacks and defense. If you aren’t careful though, there is a chance that the agents will be swarmed by aliens or the party gets split enough that you cannot take out enough aliens to complete your mission. If you enjoy Sci-Fi games or are looking for a tactical game to play with friends to take out some intelligent life trying to stop you from exploring a new planet, this game definitely fits the bill. Either by adding some extra aliens to your stash or just using the cards included in the box, you should have a decent amount of replayability. Aliens will spawn in different orders and on different teleport pads. Missions can be created pretty easily with the number of boards that come with the game and there are a couple of stretch goals that have added even more to that.
With less than a week left, there are still a few spots left to get the game at a discounted price, but if you are considering getting the game in September (date posted on KickStarter) then I would imagine the extras you get with the KickStarter will be well worth the advance payment.