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Subject: politics and warfare on a galactic scale rss

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Lajos
Japan
Hachiouji
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Galactic Destiny is a game of politics and warfare on a galactic scale. It is a science fiction game with some fantasy elements. Players represent (up to six) political parties that try to gain as much power as possible in the galaxy. Parts of that galaxy may however be taken over by ‘evil forces’ and the chances of that happening increase with the increasing corruption by the senators.

the game
The game board depicts a galaxy divided into 60 sectors. Players start in their home sectors, which – like a few other sectors – offer some additional benefits. All sectors have economic and diplomatic values and a defense value. Sectors are also ‘naturally inclined’ towards a specific party (making it easier for the player controlling that party to take over that sector) and are populated by a specific species.
Every turn there is a number of random events that can affect specific parties or all parties and three sectors are randomly selected as active sectors. If there is a lot of corruption (see below) there is a good chance that evil will immediately take over these sectors. All players get a number of new senator cards and action cards, which they can use later in their turn or keep for later turns.
The players decide together - the number of votes a party / player has is determined by the total diplomatic value of the senators controlled – where the republican fleet is send (to fight an evil occupation of a sector, for example).
Every couple of turns, there is an election round in which all players (parties) can candidate senators they control for five cabinet posts. The five cabinet posts give special benefits. Every turn these benefits are in effect. Players may propose laws (changing the game rules), but the prime minister can veto these; the defense minister can change the orders of the republican fleet (and use it to his own benefit, which results in corruption); and the minister of justice can prosecute senators. Everything is voted on, so controlling lots of good senators is extremely important.
Players / parties are not really allowed to send their fleets out to conquer sectors (except in special cases), which is kind of obvious in a democracy, but they can do this nevertheless and it results in corruption. The senator in charge of the attack will get corruption counters. There are lots of other actions that resulting in corruption, such as breaking agreements with other players, breaking specific rules, some failed assassination attempts, etcetera. Interestingly, while increasing corruption increases the number of sectors taken over by evil (the game ends when evil has ten sectors), it makes the corrupt senators more powerful.
When a sector is attacked, its defense value is increased with a die roll (1D6). The attacker rolls 1D6 per attacking fleet and adds the combat value of the senator leading the attack (if he chooses to use one). All sixes are re-rolled and added again. The highest total number wins. Attacking and/or defending may loose some fleets in the process.
There also is a legal way to increase the number of sectors controlled. Players / parties may try to persuade neighboring sectors by means of diplomacy to join. In this case it is the diplomatic value of the senator rather than the combat value that is important, of course, and players can spend extra influence points (which are gained every turn for sectors controlled) to increase the chance of persuading a sector to join. Again this is decided by die rolls.
All sectors a player / party controls contribute to the income in money and influence points of that player / party at the beginning of the turn. The money is needed to buy new fleets and senators at the end of the turn; influence points can be used to strengthen diplomatic (and some other) actions. Money is also often necessary for playing action cards (although lots of them are free). Action cards can be played in the game phase marked on the card (which is very often all game phases).
If at the end of a turn, evil controls 10 sectors, all players loose; if one of the players / parties controls 10 sectors, that player wins.
I think this covers the basics of the game. There is so much to it that I’m pretty sure I forgot lots of things, but I think this should sketch a good picture of what the game is about and how it works.

the components
The game board is a large picture of a double spiral galaxy (I don’t have a clue which one), divided in 60 sectors, which all have markings in them. These markings and the sector boundary lines do not disturb the galaxy picture background too much resulting in very beautiful board.
In the demo copy I played, fleets were still represented by glass beads, but the designers told me that there will be three types of plastic ships for each color representing the fleets. In the advanced rules these will represent different types of fleets with different characteristics.
The cards will be the normal smooth (not linen) cardstock. Action, event and sector cards only have text on them, which in some cases covers the whole card. These cards are functional but not particularly beautiful. Functionality is more important than beauty for these cards since they won’t be in play long and you don’t have to look at them very long. This is different for the senator cards, which stay in game (on the table) until they are killed or retired. The senator cards look similar to CCG cards. All senator cards have drawings on them depicting that senator (and a lot of markings). I liked the style of the artist who made these cards a lot. Finally there are some counters and markers in the game, which will be made out of thick cardboard.

conclusions
This is a great game. The diplomacy and backstabbing between players / parties combines fluently with the game mechanisms and the theme. The components are very nice which benefits the theme strength. The game takes a long time to play, but what else would you expect (and want!) in a galactic empire building game. Everything seems to be well thought out and tested and all aspects of the game seem to work very well together. The advanced rules are a further bonus in my opinion (bring on the complexity; bring on the chrome!)
The designers told me that they designed their game with everything they liked in board games in the back of their head. The intention was to design their favorite game. I expect it may very well become one of my favorites as well. I can hardly wait till it is published (January 2007).



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David Bohnenberger
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Looks awesome! How long does a game take?
 
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Stephen Waits
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Thanks for the review. I want it.
 
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Lajos
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Hachiouji
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Dweeb wrote:
Looks awesome! How long does a game take?

Long. I didn't play a full game. At the Essen convention, I played 6 turns in approx. 2 hours. In two more turns one of my opponents (one of the designers in fact) might have won if the rest of us (a Germand guy, another designer and me) would do nothing to stop him. Normally, If no-one screws up and hands over the galaxy to evil, which could end the game in a loss for everyone in under an hour, I would think the game would last between 3 and 6 hours. But that, of course, is how long an empire building game should last.
 
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David Bohnenberger
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3 hours is not really long for this type of game. 6 is still playable in an afternoon. I want it too.
 
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Elegwen O\\\'Maoileoin
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Pre-orders are now being taken direct from
www.goldenlaurel.com
or
if you like, www.galacticdestiny.com

other products can also be read about and such there.

cheers
look forward to seeing you all at conventions
Elegwen
Designer, GLE inc.

PS: we have a party type card game in development and could use some external play testing. email me if you are interested: elegwen@goldenlaurel.com
 
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Jim Cote
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Very interesting. Sounds like Cosmic Encounter meets Dune meets Kremlin. Checking out the rules now.
 
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Dave Bullions
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Lajos wrote:
The game board is a large picture of a double spiral galaxy (I don’t have a clue which one), divided in 60 sectors, which all have markings in them.



Its the M51 galaxy (the Whirlpool Galaxy) in the constellation of Canis Major. Don't book it for your vacation, though - its over 30 million light years from Earth.
The image is from the Hubble Space Telescope.
 
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Jeffery Bass
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What's this? Why, it's the Hiller Flying Platform! It flew in 1955.
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Actually, the galaxy (M51) used for the map is in the constellation of Canes Venatici (the Hunting Dogs), not Canis Major. You can spot M51 in a small backyard telescope near the handle of the Big Dipper. In a small telescope, you can usually only faintly see the nucleus of the main spiral and the companion galaxy, basically two faint blobs. Cool, nonetheless.
 
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