Review: Battleship Galaxies – close and distant worlds
They appeared in their armed ships and took from us everything, we had right to own. Our land, water, air and stars. We were forced to escape and save our own lives. But this time we’re ready. When they attacked us, their robotic brains never thought, that people would never give up!
Myriad galaxies will become home to board game Battleship Galaxies, which already smells with burning lasers and gunpowder. Wizards of the Coast and Hasbro companies, but especially designers Colby Dauch and Jerry Hawthorne (now famous for their Mice and Mystics game) together with Dustin DePenning and Craig Van Ness created it. And although this game was first released in 2011, it is still a reason to show it to you today. And with John Ariosa’s illustrations.
Size of the box clearly indicates, that compromises will not have any chance in here. Under the lid with a fleet of space ships, there are boxes filled with interesting components. At the top is a two-part board, that is divided into a lot of hexagonal fields. It depends on the particular chosen match, whether the participants need one or both. From the next pair of large boards, players build a screen to hide their intention behind. They place it in front of them and board in the middle to define the universe. Some of its parts is covered with discovery tokens.
And before the players get to the bottom compartments, they will still find two boards with forty round holes above them. These are the energy scales, that are accompanied by pair of markers. Players choose these and with that, they have to choose their side. Either invader Wretcheridians, or Intergalactic Space Navy, desiring retaliation. Everyone receives a space squadron based on his choice and hides it behind the screen together with the set of cards, that belong to the ships. Players buy their ships for points provided for chosen mission. And according to these choices, they have the chance to then pick tactics cards.
Both opponents will mark their starting set of fifteen points of energy and draw five cards. After that, they begin to alternate in three phases. It always starts with the restoration of ten points of energy and the acquisition of one new tactical card. After that, players will have the chance to launch their battles and other ships on a board – that is on the side of the board, that serves as a base for that player. For each such vessel, the player must pay the energy corresponding to his launch cost. He will also use a corresponding ship card with all its statistics and place it near the board.
Only as the third and last one comes the action phase. In that, player can choose any ship or group of them (as they match one type) and pay the activation cost. Then it is possible to move each selected vessel up to its maximum speed expressed in hexagonal spaces. They can arbitrarily maneuver. Flighting around the enemy’s ship can mean damage, if the enemy manages to roll sufficient value on the dice.
Only after the shift can squadrons attack, if an enemy is in within their reach. But here too, there must be some energy at player’s disposal, because charging weapon must be paid for. With the help of a pair of targeting dice, the players gain the co-ordinates of their hit. The adversary then determines, if such a missile has hit his ship or not. The smaller the boat, the harder it is to hit it. Success means damage, that player has to mark on his ship by removing the tokens of life from the base of the craft. With an accurate hit, it is even possible to destroy the ship immediately.
Exploded ships can no longer return to the board that match. Therefore, the game continues with the maneuvering of the opponents. Each side has its own victorious conditions, the fulfillment of which immediately ends the battle. Whoever then reaches its target sooner, celebrates, while the other side of the conflict must withdraw and never return to the galaxy.
Battleship Galaxies are an excellent science fiction skirmish game, where players simply measure forces in maneuvering and tactics. The map offers a pile of freedom and a total of five ready missions are found in the rules. They’ll help sketch out and get an idea of what can be done on the map. And while players will use the prepared stories in the early stages, they will later create their own.
By all means, it all looks very simple. Pick a squadron, get some action cards, deploy the ships and fight for victory. And yet there is one element, that is truly exceptional. We mean targeting and hitting enemy ships. You roll a pair of targeting dice and an attempt to hit it on the chessboard perfectly matches the aiming in space. The size of the silhouette on the chessboard eight times eight squares perfectly simulates the difficulty to hit your target. But that also means, that the success of each missile is not decided by tactics, but by luck.
The objectives of the missions are still similar and mainly involve the destruction of all units of the rival. Only then will there be additional requirements, such as the gain of some victory points. But the mission differ – it offers not only a special boat composition for players, but also other rules.
The ships themselves and the squadrons not only have data on shields, activation and startup costs, but also primary weapons and then some ability. Some cards are even double-sided and allow you to choose one of two ship’s adjustments. The cards are superbly arranged, although they contain a really good batch of information and numbers.
During the flight, the ships affect each other even when passing around. Static, defensive craft can provide a his for enemy, that gets too close. The crews have enough chances to keep their enemies at bay and hurt them. But the player will only be affected by a single dice.
The length of the duels is, of course, determined by the size of the map. But it will never take so long for the game to bore you or anything. You can usually count with an hour, after which the galaxy’s ruler is clear.
Battleship Galaxies is the battle of two opponents, but at the same time the box offers a chance for team matches. Yet duels are the best way to enjoy this game. With more, two players always have to coordinate their plans. On the other hand, free hands, when each side represents only one player, are a much better option.
And then there is, of course, processing. The map is nice, the cards have been praised already, but there are fantastic miniature of spaceships. Close and colored to distinguish two races. Miniatures are placed on plastic stands with holes, that easily cound the ship’s shields and hull condition. Complete processing simply works clearly in favor of the experience.
Battleship Galaxies is an excellent sci-fi fighter. Two adversaries will find a way to manage their accounts. Positioning of vessels is absolutely essential. There are even cargo ships in the game, which can then send support. As if you were back in Battlestar Galactica. But that’s another game. Here you will find no traitors. And you will find pure and undistorted battles, like no other. Especially in the science fiction genre.
Review: Battleship Galaxies – close and distant worlds
Battleship Galaxies is not a game, that would be much known in the board gaming circles. And it is a great shame. Although no expansion has been published for it (and it would deserve it!), both the basic box and two factions in it are enough for a great experience. The battle takes place directly with lasers and rockets. There is no other way to win. The game in two is great and very tactical. Additionally, the game has a really unique way of attack. Five missions are only the beginning, and even the battles themselves do not last too long. Battleship Galaxies should not miss your attention, if you like science fiction games.