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Subject: I want one... which one though? GoW or Galaxy Defenders!? rss

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Like the subject line says I'm interested in buying one or the other for solo play mainly... I just can't decide on which one! I'm currently reading the rulebooks for each one but from what I've gathered so far this is where I am at:

Gears of War:
+ great solo game
+ unpredictable enemy AI
+/- difficult (I like difficult but not so much that it frustrates me because I feel like I have no chance)
+/- cards as hit points (not sure about this one until I play)
- little support or future expansions
- hard to distinguish minis from one another
- no campaign mode/levelling up

Galaxy Defenders:
+ great solo game
+ campaign mode and each scenario's success (or failure) affects the next
+ characters level up
+ lots of support/future expansions
+/- just came out, it's a novelty... how will it hold up after extensive play
- AI is more static
- price

So, yeah... What am I missing? I'm hoping you guys can sway me one way or the other as having both wouldn't make sense to me. Thanks!

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Magic Pink
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I'd go with Galaxy Defenders.

Also, the AI is no more static then GoW. You have no idea what alien is going to activate on any turn. The fact you know what they'll do if they DO just adds to the tactics you need to employ.
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John Di Ponio
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I have both so I can weigh in here. I am a big fan of the Gears of War games on the Xbox so I had no problem picking up the board game. It is fun, it can be very difficult but with the lack of expansions on the horizon, has gotten a bit stale but still a game I like to play.

Galaxy Defenders has been a blast. I am still getting use to the game but really enjoy the mechanics. The campaign play is a plus to have but have not been far enough into the game to get involved in that just yet. I would disagree with the AI being static. From turn to turn yo have no idea what alien(s) will be activated.

For me Galaxy Defenders brings a little more to the table with it's level up and campaign system. Expansions will only further help this part of the game.

I play Gear when I have a group that just wants to get a game in. You will need a dedicated group if you plan on playing Galaxy Defenders Campaign style. Solo will be fun playing a campaign but it will shine with other gamers on board.

You may also consider MERCS: Recon – Counter Threat Coming in 2015.
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Ze Masqued Cucumber
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My 2 cts :
GOW :
Gears of War:
+ great solo game :
Yes
+ unpredictable enemy AI :
Definitely the best IA I've experienced till now (though, after some plays you can "game" the AI a bit).
+/- difficult (I like difficult but not so much that it frustrates me because I feel like I have no chance) :
YMMV. A coop game must be hard to be interesting. Out of the box, the more players, the harder the game (at 4-p, it's pretty hard but not unwinnable). But if needed, it's super easy to adjust difficulty.
+/- cards as hit points (not sure about this one until I play) : YMMV too. I personally think this mechanic is great.
- little support or future expansions :
Indeed. Though, the base game scenarios + PoD expansion will give many hours of gaming. Plus there's quite a bit of fan-made missions here on BGG.
- hard to distinguish minis from one another :
True for the marines figures (no problem with the baddies). Easily fixable by just painting the marine's bases or putting a coloured sticker. Sidenote: If you, intend to paint the minis, the quality of the minis is excellent and they're a pleasure to paint.
- no campaign mode/levelling up :
True.

Galaxy Defenders:
Can't say much, never played it. The game might be great though.
From what I've read the IA is a classic one (so, could be quite predictable).
I'm personnally not fan of the minis' sculpts, and they look less detailed that the GoW ones, but I guess it's a matter of taste.
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Jessica
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I've played both GoW and GD solo. I consider GoW one of my favorite games and I think GD is pretty good so far.

Since you plan on playing solo, are you going to play with multiple characters?

If not, I find Gears of War can be a little bit on the easy side with 1 character and it gets progressively harder with each character added to the game. Galaxy Defenders was really weak with only one character. There were quite a few instances where my character was engaged by aliens and I had trouble evading. That can lead to a quick game over.

If you do play with multiple characters, I find GD easier to manage since all the info is printed on the agent sheets. In GoW, you'll be dealing with multiple hands of cards. Luckily, the cards are pretty straight forward, but that can still be a hassle.

Now, for the AI, I'm not sure which version I prefer yet. I've played GoW quite a bit more so I'm leaning towards liking the AI better on it. However, as I think it was previously mentioned, you know up front how the aliens will act in Galaxy Defenders, if their card is drawn. So, you are able to keep that in mind while planning your moves. It adds a little extra depth to the game.

One thing that is pretty different between both games is the movement of your characters. In GD, you have a predetermined movement that you can always take unless you are engaged with an alien. There are also more things that block line of sight so this allows for a lot more tactical positioning of your characters in GD. In GoW, you may get to move (and it'll be varying amounts), if your card lists a movement. There also isn't a lot of places to hide, but I do like the cover mechanic that gives you extra defense dice, if you are attacked while in full or partial cover.

I feel like in Gears that you have a little extra "resource management" to deal with while playing, when compared to GD. You're always managing your hand limit. I love the cards as hit points mechanic. It adds an extra layer of tension, as you decide whether its worth using one of your cards to follow your buddy or attack that drone before he can attack you. However, it could put you in a bad position health-wise, if you get attacked by that horde of wretches next turn. You have to weigh the pros/cons of using each card. If you do decide you want to use a card to Follow or Guard, then which card is the least beneficial to you right now. On top of managing your cards, you also have to manage your ammo. Your weapons have a base attack they can always do (as long as you have ammo tokens on them) and then they have an overkill attack that requires the use of an ammo token. You have to balance when to use ammo tokens and keep yourself from running completely out, while still trying to grab more as you come across them on the map (which will cost you a precious card!).

Overall, the two games are not nearly as similar as I was anticipating. I definitely have a spot in my collection for both and won't be too surprised if GD makes its way into my favorite games, too.
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David F
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No idea about Galaxy Defenders.

Note that Gears of War is very streamlined. The cards as hit points thing is representative of that (letting cards serve dual purpose instead of having separate tokens to track health). No multitude of annoying terrain modifiers to keep track of, just two very intuitive ones (full cover and partial cover).

I love the cards as hit points. It's clever, streamlined and is totally faithful to the video game (being reckless with what you're doing causes you to lose health; sitting tight and breathing lets you recover your health).

Hard-to-distinguish minis is a total non-issue in my opinion. You don't need your mini to be a different color in order to remember where he is! People who complain about not being able to tell the minis apart are probably spoiled
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Frank Franco
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Gears of War is fantastic, highly recomended.
I skipped Galaxy Defenders since it has kickstarter exclusives that one has to pay a fortune for.
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Chas Bernard
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Don't frustrate your inner gamegeek; buy both!!
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Brad McGown
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I have a copy of Gears that has only been played three times up for trade or sale. It includes the Mission Pack #1 and I bought the entire first series of the Gears of War Heroclix to replace the COG minis. They make the game really pop. If you are interested, geek mail me.
 
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Thanks for all the responses guys! To answer a question above: When I play solo I don't mind controlling more than one character, I enjoy it more actually. I feel games become more tactical.

I've had a look through the rulebooks as well now and the only thing keeping me from getting GoW is the campaign mode and support for GD.

So... I'm still undecided! geez...cry




 
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Ze Masqued Cucumber
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Just buy both. At best, you'll keep them ; at worst, you'll sell one.
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Dustin
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I've played both, and I come out on the side of GoW. But I think both games are good. For me I enjoy the AI much more in GoW, as well as the hand management part. I feel I have more choices in GoW, were as in GD there is team talk about who goes first and who to attack. But movement is a no brainer it's almost obvious what needs to be done. Game of GD I played today, I was tanking and I didn't move from my spot for 3/4s of the game. and it was really just dice rolling against dice rolling.

Even though I come out on the GoW side, I do enjoy GD and will be playing a campaign regularly with some friends.
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Joe Skull
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GD made me appreciate the elegance of Gears. GD felt bloated, slow, and boring compared to Gears. Everything you hate about those fickle defense dice in Gears is magnified in GD because the 1 of those is rolled for each hit on the attack dice. When the Xenos attack twice, you are rolling four sets of d10s and that can become 8-12 dice chucks between turns if 2-3 are ready to attack twice. Total game-pacing killer, especially since half of those attacks are likely to score a lot of hits and then fail to confirm on the defense dice roll.
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I've actually gone the route any respectable gamer would... I am getting both!

I got GD already because of a good deal and with next month's budget will be purchasing GoW.

I have played GD a couple times now and find that it is enjoyable. I like the levelling up bonuses but don't like the random (dice roll) chance of how to achieve it. I'm not sure how I feel about all the defence dice rolling. Makes it harder to kill aliens that's for sure! Also, there are quite a few similarities with the D&D adventure system that irks me a bit...
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Moe45673
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Any followup? I just got through Box of Delight's GD walkthrough and video 1 of GoW.

I'd also be curious to hear about D&D: Drizzt.

I've been playing Freedom: The Underground Railroad lately which I adore. I feel it has parallels to GD (and possibly the other games mentioned) because you move your slave cubes while trying to predict what the slave catchers will do and how to avoid them. I love wargames but sometimes a quick playing game without rulebook flipping, chart checking, etc is just what the doctor ordered.

I've ignored GoW for so long because I was meh on the videogame back when I played it in '07. What I love about GD is the levelling up (similar to XCom) and I know that GoW most likely is similar to the videogame: No levelling up but rather finding random items to fit into your 3 weapon slots (not bad but GD has the edge there). I also like the idea of a campaign, like in another game I love Thunderbolt Apache Leader.

GoW is tried and true, though, and that means a lot to me. Any more thoughts are muchos appreciated (and something as detailed as Jessica's post earlier would be great!). Off to watch video 2.
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I actually went ahead and bought GoW this week with the mission pack. I won't be getting it to the table for another week at least though.

I can however make a comparison of GD and the D&D adventure system because I own and have played both.

And actually, this is what bothers me slightly about GD. It's almost like the creators played the D&D games then thought how can we make this better? Then re-themed it and released it as GD... an advanced D&D adventure system in space. Maybe I'm wrong in that assessment because all move and attack miniature games end up being the same in essence but that is definitely the feeling I get. Having said that, I do enjoy the D&D games for nostalgic reasons (I'm an old school pen and paper roleplayer) and it's quickness and monster selection. And I enjoy GD for it's theme and giving us more of a complete experience. GD gives you a lot of good tactical options with it's open style map and choice of weapons. D&D is more about exploring the dungeon, racing to the objective while staying alive. There's more pressure in D&D oddly enough because of that dreaded encounter deck...

I have this sinking feeling that GoW will be the one that most entices me because of the card mechanisms... but I'm not sure what leads me to believe that. Soon enough, I will get a crack at it!

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Jessica
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Moe45673 wrote:
I'd also be curious to hear about D&D: Drizzt.


I've played Drizzt as well.

Aliens/Monsters (AI):
Drizzt
You control the monsters that spawn on your turn. They are only activated on your turn unless you have the same monster as someone else. Then, your monster will also activate on their turn. It can be easy to predict what will happen on your turn since it is all open information.

GD
The aliens are controlled by the players, but the games tries to keep them spread equally among the players instead of just going to the person that spawned them. Also, the aliens can be activated on any turn since you draw a card to see which aliens are activated. It is usually along the lines of activate all spine critters, all blue aliens, or only aliens held by the alpha agent. You can still sort of predict what aliens could be activated each turn, but it's not guaranteed. Adds a nice degree of tension to the game.

GoW
Controlled by the game so you just flip up a card and it will tell you how the alien will act this turn. Out of all 3 games, these aliens are the most unpredictable and introduces the most tension.

The monsters in Drizzt and the aliens in GD are very similar in how their cards work. In Drizzt, I believe they all (or most) have 2 items listed. If you can't do that first thing on the list, then you move to the 2nd and do that instead. In GD, it is very similar except they have 4 options. Overall, GD has more interesting tactics that the aliens can pull off. Some aliens are afraid to be close to you, but are great mid range shooters. So, they retreat if adjacent, but they'll just keep shooting at you if you're a few areas away...quite deadly.

Overall, Drizzt and Gow are distinctly different with GD being a mix of them both, when it comes down to the monster/alien AI. I think I may prefer GoW since it is simpler and you don't spent too much time on your turn trying to game the system. However, GD is nice because you can see what could potentially happen and you can plan for it a little, but there is still an element of suprise when the alien card is flipped up. Drizzt is way down on the list for me.

Another difference between these 3 games is how the maps are laid out. In GD, they are preset and put together before the game starts. In Drizzt, they are completely random and are generated as you move around. In GoW, they are sort of preset with random elements. The map may consist of tiles A,B, & C for the first area, but they are shuffled together so they could come out in any configuration involving those 3 tiles. You would then go to a 2nd area that consists of tile D, E, & F that are randomized as well. Obviously, GD is the least amount of work since it's all frontloaded. Drizzt is the next easiest. GoW can have some added set up time due to how the rooms are generated. I could see GD feeling a little static after you've played a mission a few times. GoW would be a little more fresh since there is some randomness when the rooms are generated.

I agree with Logus Vile that GD definitely feels like a more advanced Drizzt, which is a good thing to me. I don't have any D&D nostalgia since I've never roleplayed so I found Drizzt to be absolutely boring. The game was very simple and there wasn't enough tension. GoW is still my favorite by far. It feels more dynamic overall and I think a big part of that is the hand management.
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Moe45673
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Thanks again, Jessica. You explain all three games very well.

I'm still leaning towards GD, due to the awesome enemy AI and tech-ing up, but I'm saving that decision until I get through the GoW walkthrough that Ricky Royal did. Only finished the first video, but the game does look promising.
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I know... I got both already! Still haven't played GoW though... soon though!
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Galaxy Defenders campaign, and most upgrades, just feel like excess bloat. Single mission seems to work better inasmuch as GD works.

The Gears cards mechanic feels like a mechanic that justifies itself more than anything particularly clever. It reduces the need for health tokens and makes choices a little tenser but usually what you want to do is one of two very obvious things each turn so either you have one of the four good cards in the deck or you're trying to approximate that with a piecemeal crappy card or you take the boobie prize of just move 2 or attack 1.

Combined with the discard for special abilities and it really does feel quite elegant, again, it's more elegant than it is deep. Your choices are only constrained by it, never really expanded. The correct move is almost always obvious. It's a nice system, but not a great system.

The AI deck works pretty well as you know what is in it, and knowing that an enemy spawn card is in the discard pile or the sole EVERYONE ATTACKS card is in the deck often informs your choices.

GD's AI deck is "Everyone activates." or "Everyone else activates." There is no real read on the pace or way to plan for it. You can know "All is Quiet" is in the deck or the discard pile but putting a likelihood of this or that alien activating unless you're down to two cards in the deck is just fool's math.

Galaxy Defenders throws elegance out the window. Each player has a huge pile of skills, weapons, etc to flip each turn and piles of tokens to manage as well as an equivalent amount of stuff on the villains they have to control with all kinds of lookup tables and abilities but in the end what you want to do is not in any real meaningful way more complex than Gears. Except there is a lot more dice, along with the constant irritation of defense scaling to attack resulting in big dice attacks being about as likely to whiff as 1 dice attacks.

To me, GD should play in the 45 minutes Gears does because it does not offer too much more than Gears apart from a different design style to reach goals that really are not that different. I keep thinking I could just get my friends to play Xcom alongside me and have more fun than GD.
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Gears is the frontrunner for me.

You can easily add your own campaign/leveling with a little imagination.

And gears looks SO GOOD painted, even with just a base colour or two and some drybrushing.
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Having gotten further into RR's playthrough, where more than just Ticker's show up, i'm finding the game does have interesting features and an AI that is somewhat intelligent, if a little more random than GD.

I think as the tried and true alternative, GoW is the smarter, less impulsive and less hyped but well received option
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I don't think Gears is a paragon of design but the random nature of the AI works for what it is trying to do. First, fewer enemy activations means a quicker game. Second, folks are pretty brittle in Gears (The absurd regularity with which the attack dice roll blanks notwithstanding), both players and enemies, so a bit of AI swinginess is helpful in that regard. One awful turn can end the game (Or worse, start a death spiral) so there have to be situations where awful turns may or may not happen and the AI deck, in that regard, is sometimes brutal and sometimes merciful. Again, card counting in the discard pile can inform your decisions here since it usually only has sixteen or so cards and only 5 will generally trigger a certain enemy (But 2 of the others will probably just have you suffer a slight bad effect and resolve another card and if you have exterminated all of one figure three of those cards become blank cantrips too.).

Galaxy Defenders has your guys with loads more health so, in general, you can sit through three or four terrible turns of enemy activations before people start hitting the dirt, and to make THOSE numbers enemies are activating more and more often, slowing the game down.
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So, Joe, you recommend GD then?

I'm so confused. I just got my tax return and my FLGS has both games in store. What to buy?????
 
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Going for Gears. I feel that games will come out in the future that improve on GD that i'll check out then
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