Battles for the Galactic Empire Game Review by Greg Johnson
Publisher: Decision Games Inc. Designer: Joseph Miranda Price: $19.95
Passed Inspection: A simple game in a folder, an elegant and attractive presentation. The art was simple and does the job.
Failed Basic: The instructions, while complete enough to eventually get it figured out, were a bit cryptic when deciphering game play. Adding a round of play example would allow the reader a chance to see the features of the game being played once and would probably alleviate a few question marks. This is a two-player game with no solitaire option. Players must provide their own dice and create their own screens. I used the folder and found another folder to hide each player’s secret moves.
If you enjoy tactics and strategy, Decision Games’ Battles for the Galactic Empire offers a fun and enjoyable two player battle with some variant scenarios to play through. The two players will send their forces of Chaos and Imperial to fight for control of six quadrants of the galaxy. The two fleets will meet in combat for control of the quadrants resources and political strength.
The setting up the game requires punching out a sheet of tokens representing star fleets, which deal combat damage, morphogenetic units (which can convert enemy units to fight on the other side), combination units which do both and the higher powered world ships which are also combination units. Also, in the punch-outs, are Action Chits that can be used to enhance ships be used during tactical and strategic gameplay. The last tokens are resources that are placed on the main map to determine quadrant strength and value. These are the basis for figuring out strategy to win the overall conflict.
The 11×17 quadrant and battle sheet is placed on the board between each player and the player sheets are given to each player. Using the scenario options players control a number of ships, units and Action Chits. They secretly deploy their forces on their player mini-quadrant map. When both are finished they reveal their placements and move their units to the main quadrant map to determine where conflicts arise.
Units in the same quadrants do battle. When all quadrant battles are resolved, players determine if their ships have enough strength left to control a quadrant. Those that have the strength to control or garrison the quadrant will remain and those that do not are sent back for redeployment in the next round. Only quadrants that are controlled after battles will earn the resources and political values of that quadrant for their next deployment.
Battles take place on a side area of the main map and each unit attacks other units by rolling dice equal to their combat values. Sixes earn kills, fives send units back to their base. This works for both combat and morphogenetic combat. Units have combat values of up to three for three dice and can have a tactical Action chit played on them to roll a forth dice if available. Units that are destroyed return to a pool of units that either player can draw from for building new units. Action chits also return to a common pool for redraw.
The Chaos and Resource Indices sheet was interesting to determine overall results. A Chaos chit is placed in the center of a one hundred space grid. It moves closer to the red or blue player sides depending upon player victories. The numbers count down by five from both ends making the number for victory for both players closer every round. This would eventually meet up with the player chit in the middle of the grid. It is basically representative of a countdown for both players as if and time and space were collapsing around them.
Unfortunately, the combat examples are on the back of this indices grid and that makes it hard to refer to during combat. I captured an image of the battle examples on my phone to refer to although that was not as easy to do as looking at the sheet. A separate sheet with the battlefield examples would have been nice.
Overall the game was fun and the battles had moments of exclamation and groans as ships were lost and captured. The combat, political and resource values of the quadrants provided ample opportunity to create conflict and build tension. I found the design of the game, once I figured it out, to be simple enough for a quick play and some good enjoyment in a short time frame.
Pay attention to the numbers and letters on the ship chits carefully and understand which are which as the choice of font makes some letters look like numbers and can be confusing at first, but otherwise the graphics are adequate for game play. I found the price to be a bit high as it felt like there should be more for that amount, but the experience of play could be worth it for most gamers. The game design is good, but instructions could be improved. If there were an online video of a few rounds of play this game would be very easy to learn and enjoy. The small folder takes up hardly any space at on the game shelf.
Enjoy the game and have fun!
Armchair General Rating: 85%
Solitaire Rating: 1-5 (1 not for solitaire, 5 completely suitable for solo) 1
About the Author:
Greg Johnson works as a professor in Higher Education in the areas interdisciplinary art, photography, web and graphic design and development. He also records music, audio and is a singer/songwriter. Greg and his wife Lisa are involved in board game design with their business. An avid game Greg enjoys a variety of games from classic board games to table top miniatures.