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Posted on Oct 13, 2017 in Boardgames, Front Page Features

Join the ranks of Earth’s heroes – The Galaxy Defenders! Do You Want To Know More? Read the Game Review!

Join the ranks of Earth’s heroes – The Galaxy Defenders! Do You Want To Know More? Read the Game Review!

By Rick Martin

Galaxy Defenders Game Review. Publisher: Ares Games Developed by: Gremlin Project studio Designers: Simone Romano and Nunzio Surace Price: $70.99

Rick Martin

Passed Inspection: Exciting; perfect for solo or small group play; dynamic story elements; easy to learn; tons of replay value; great looking minis and components.

Failed Basic: Needs a turn counter or chart to track turn number

Sometime in the future:

“. . . my partner and I had been sent to Area 51 to investigate a nearly total communications loss from the facility. Our transport had dropped us off within the grounds of the instillation but a little way from the first building. We had moved in on foot and found a battlefield. The aliens had launched a surprise strike against the facility and massacred many of the regular troops there. A handful of scientists had escaped and we found them. They told us that the aliens were methodically moving through the facility and while they killed the troops immediately, the aliens were rounding the scientists and engineers up for some insidious reason. It was up to us, the agents of the Galaxy Defenders, to save their hides. As we moved towards the facility, a couple of humanoid aliens teleported in along with one of their giant spider-thing buddies! Lock and load! Just another day in paradise, kids.”

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Galaxy Defenders is a new game from Ares Games of Italy. It can accommodate from 1 to 5 players and provides both dynamic solo play and an exciting cooperative gaming experience.

The game features beautiful artwork which is evocative of the pulp science fiction days of yesteryear while maintaining a pleasing modern aesthetic. Each player has a character card and a detailed plastic mini. One person can play more than one character if they wish. The playable characters are: a Marine, a Biotech expert, an Infiltrator, a Sniper and a “Hulk” (a slow but deadly Combat Armor expert). Each character is rated for basic and improved tactics, abilities, armor, primary and secondary weapon, health points, movement speed and energy shields (if any). In addition, the ammo for each weapon is tracked with convenient ammunition counters. The players can augment their characters as they increase in skills by surviving missions, swap out weapons and items and even train to use alien weapon systems.
The aliens are represented by nicely sculpted plastic minis as well but the three different colors of the aliens represent how deadly they are. Low level aliens are green colored, medium skilled aliens are blue and red aliens are the deadly elite.

There are different species of aliens all working to defeat the players and conquer the earth. The humanoid Xeno Alphas, Betas, Grays, the fast and nasty Spine Critters and the horrific, giant spider-like Aracnos as well as the cyborg-like Nexus are all trying to make life miserable for us.

Each alien species has its own skills, weapons and special abilities which are all controlled by the ingenious AI of the game.

Complete rules are provided for jumping through windows and over obstacles, opening or knocking down doors, utilizing gun drone turrets, hand grenades, tracking and healing technology, etc. The characters can get wounded, burned, drained by alien spiders and bleed out and die if they are unlucky. If this sounds like a role playing game disguised as a board game, you are right! Galaxy Defenders has it all but covers everything in a well produced and easily understood 40 page rule book.

Another book, the 56 page story book, sets out scenarios and establishes the AI to be used for each mission.

The map boards and terrain pieces are double sided, modular and beautifully printed. They provide a nice number of different environments from the desert around Area 51, to secret laboratories and what may be the inside of an alien space ship – I haven’t played far enough ahead to know yet and don’t want to ruin the surprise by looking ahead at spoilers!

Status cards are provided which are over laid on your character card which keeps the paperwork to a minimum. A turn counter and track would have been a nice addition. As it is, I just used a 10 or 20 sided die to track turns.

Each mission can be played independently of the others or linked to provide one enormous campaign. The heart of the game is the role playing experience of playing these missions in a dynamic campaign. Branching instructions cover the level of success or failure in each mission and how that affects other future missions.

The turn sequence is as follows:

1) Powers and Items Refresh
2) Strategy, Improvement and Reinforcements
3) Agents take an action, move and battle
4) Aliens draw a Close Encounter Card which gives the aliens their actions, moves and battle parameters
5) Draw and resolve Event cards

These steps are repeated until the players win, lose or retreat from the situation.

The Event and Close Encounter cards are modified based upon the mission so the logic of the alien’s tactics and strategies are well defined and fit the scenario.

Action is fast and can be very deadly. In one game, my marine was dragged in to a room by a couple of Aracnos. In the room was a scientist cowering in fear. I cut myself free of the Aracnos’ spider-like webbing and then grabbed the scientist and dodged out of the room. I then tossed a grenade in the room just as the Aracnos turned around. I pushed the scientist down under me as I had body armor and the grenade took out both of the alien nasties.

I can’t say enough good about this game. It feels just like a good sci-fi/horror role playing game. You feel like you are living a Starship Troopers book or movie! The players will want to plan their tactics and proper tactical squad tactics can go a long way to helping your characters survive the battles. But even the best plans can sometimes fall apart like when an alien teleports behind you and shoots you in the back!

During a few of our plays, the other players and I tried to break the game by thinking of things not covered in the rules and we were unable to do so. That statement alone tells you how well written this game is. Already six more expansions have come out which continues the story and adds more aliens and more Agents to the mix! I, for one, can’t wait to play this fine game again! For sci-fi gamers, this system is a must have!

Armchair General Rating: 99 %

Solitaire Rating: 5 ( 1 = not suitable to 5 = perfect for solo)

About the Author
A college film instructor and small business owner, Richard Martin has also worked in the legal and real estate professions, is involved in video production, film criticism, sports shooting and is an avid World War I and II gamer who can remember war games which came in plastic bags and cost $2.99 (he’s really that old)!

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