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Subject: First Impresion of Battleship Galaxies- Pretty dang good! rss

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Just yesterday I went to buy Battleship Galaxies as the game looked quite intriguing with its Sci-fi feel and claims of strategic action. Was it worth the 60$? Come join me on my first play.




All the local stores have been sold out of this, so it appears there was quite a surprise demand for this game, which added to my desire to secure a copy. I was going in to this with a lot of various hype surrounding the game, namely that the pieces were of great quality, that the game was pretty fun etc. Normally 'good' hype cautions me as to how 'good' a game actually is. I went in kind of expecting an over-hyped game.


(Components/Opening)

I open up the box to find lots of various cardboard boards, some starmap looking thing, some sort of 'blocking' cardboard, and the holy grail of the game: the pieces in set plastic holes. I was at my friends, and he said it well 'thats the best box I have ever seen in a game'.

As a gamer, I have kind of gotten used to inferior components for the money you are paying. This is one of the very few times I felt like I was not immediately overpaying, as the pieces are VERY detailed. I am not one to overstate things, or really care about peices that much, but the little guns and hull designs are pretty impressive on them.



(Set up / Rules)

I was looking at the cards, seeing how intuitive it was without reading the rules at all, and at initial glace I could figure out most of the stuff, baring a lot of the symbols and some references to things, so I drug the rules out and cranked through them. I have to say this, the rules while better then a lot I have read still left some questions about even simple things.

For example what comes to mind is the movement of your flagship, the text reads something like ‘move 3 spaces in any direction, this counts as 1 space’ so, does that mean a ship with 3 move, can essentially move 9? I doubt it, but that is an interpretation of that statement, likewise, the picture shows only moving one direction, despite the use of the word ‘any’. The whole reason I bring this kind of stuff up, is having actually played the game, it is VERY simple compared to some games, but you wouldn’t know that from the rules.

My sister played with me, and we assembled our ships for the first scenario they recommend you play. I have heard complaints that the pieces were hard to get on, and I have to agree. I was very worried about breaking the fighters, and one of them bent a bit. I do not ever plan on taking them off the stands as they just cant handle the wear. Once they are on, then its fine, but I cannot argue against claims pieces could break off on the assembly.

(Gameplay)

Essentially, this game is a squad combat game of your ships vs theirs, and the survivor is the winner, although there are other scenarios, I played the normal combat one. I can basically tell you the rules far easier then the rules did, each turn you get ‘energy’ and a card. You use energy to either deploy a ship onto the field, or activate one to fight/move. Cards can be one time bonuses, or weapons/accessories for your ships, like an extra missle pod to shoot.

The board is a hex board, and your slowly move your ships across it into range to fight. There are some bonus tiles that are revealed, and a lot of these seem extremely exploitable, like one that adds +7 range to weapons (for reference a typical weapon shoots about 2-3 range) It’s a cool idea, I can not comment on the balance of these yet, for my game, we were fighting over a tile that gave extra energy each round. You are often tapped on energy, so this was valuable.



The beginning is mainly deploying ships, exploring the tiles, and getting into position for the big fighting. As it was our first game the first turns and set up in general took a while, but by the end we were flying, and I could see a game concluding in under an hour easily.

In the simplest terms, you have 3 types of ships, you have your flagship, it can take a beating, it is slow, and somewhat powerful. I actually do not like fighting with it, as it takes tons of energy to activate, and misses are fairly common in this game, and missing with this hurts.

Your second type is your single combat ships, they are medium in strength, and in my view you major combat pieces, as they take little energy, and can still lay out some serious pain. Especially when you add a weapon to a ship like this, it benefits far more then on your flagship, as you are shooting it ‘for cheaper’. I was the humans, and I had a support ship that add +2 range, I like the idea of ‘support’ vehicles a lot, but it was killed fairly fast.

Lastly is your squadron/fighters. These are a group of 3 weak ships that when you activate, you get to move and fight with all 3. These guys are pretty cool, pretty much any shot will kill them (and flagships often have anti-fighter weapons), but they are fast, and if all three are still alive can do a lot of damage simply because of their numbers.

Cards as I have stated can be weapons, but also one time things, like a card that adds +1 damage to your fighters for this turn (so a +3 boost if all there are alive and hit), then there are cards called ‘heroes’ which attach to your ship and can do things like help combat or recycle weapon cards.


Combat is basically a dice affair, as if you are within range, you roll, and compare the roll to the ships ‘hit chart’ (much like original battleship with coordinate hits, a d4 coordinate is a hit on a ship for example while a1 might be a miss) First you deal shield damage, and then it takes hull damage until it is killed.

One complaint I have is that shield pegs START on the piece, so you can see how much they have, but you ADD damage until it is dead, so you do not know how much more it takes until many games or asking ‘how much life left?’ As they do not give you enough, if I get more of the pegs (from future inevitable expansions) I plan on stacking both life and shield on the piece and just taking both of them away as it is damaged.

Given it was our first game we missed a couple of powers that would have helped both our sides, but that is expected, but it probably changed the outcome. Also, there are some things that are literally not explained and there will have to be an errata for this. One I can think of is the nuke weapon, it does 2-range explosive damage ‘from the ship’ that was hit. So, the question, is it 2 range from the SECTOR of the ship that was hit, or the ship itself? If it is the later (as the card definitely reads) nuking a flagship makes a HUGE explosion as the piece is much bigger. We went with the sector interpretation, despite what the card says.

Lastly, each ship has a critical zone, that if hit, instantly kills the ship, some people complained about this, but I think it adds some tension to each roll.

(Conclusion)

I have wasted money on games before, Civilization comes to mind as the worst offender, but this game seems worth the high price. The pieces are great, and the game is simple enough that you could get your less intense gamer friends into it, but hardcore enough you can pour over each different ‘version’ of a ship (there are 3 versions of each ship, its abilities change slightly) and which card to put into your deck. This game I KNOW will become expanded endlessly like heroscape, but honestly I can not wait to get some more ships and new cards.

The game says 2-4, but it is basically a 2 player game, with some expansions you could make an awesome melee though.

The only major complaint is the rules a bit convoluted, the difference in shield and hull pegs, and maybe a bit repetitive on the cards, as there are like 30-40 for a side, but each one is 3 copies, meaning only about 10 unique cards. But, given I know how to play, the first is now not a problem, and with expansions the last two will not be either.

Highly recommended as a medium-strategy game!

(Oh, and how did this battle end? My final ship was my flagship, and it was critical hit and instantly died! But it was already wounded, so we laughed at it being a fitting death)
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George Husted
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Great review and Tobasco, too!
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Ronster Zero
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The UPS man is delivering this today... I can't wait to get home.
 
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K. David Ladage
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Good review! Thanks!

This is one of those games I want, but I am a bit weary of as well. Your review helped considerably.
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Doug Adams
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Oakleigh
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Nice read, thanks. My pieces went together well - they have a definite snap-lock onto the mount, and it requires a bit of pressure. If you're careful, it's okay.
 
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Greg
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Pretty nice review. Though I didn't find the rules that difficult to figure out and I certainly don't mind the Shield pegs starting on the ship and then adding the red Damage pegs. I mean, it's not that difficult to look across the table and see the hull rating on the ship's card or ask your opponent how much is left. After a couple plays people can have an idea of the damage most ships can take. As far as the insta-kill spot on each ship, that's only when all the shields are used up, so it's never going to happen on a first attack unless it happens from a Wretch ship equipped with a Ripper weapon.

Overall though you did a nice job with the review. I agree that you have to be careful putting the ships onto the bases, but if people are careful it shouldn't be a problem. Actually, I found it easier to get the ships on the bases if you rock the ship forward and backward a little when you are pushing down on them and it seems to have helped. Besides, if they were too loose, people would be complaining that the ship keep falling to the side or forward
 
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Larry Neal
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Good job, very nice review, as I own a copy already I of course instantly read the entire thing as seeing other peoples reactions to the game now that we have it has proven to be way more entertaining than the pre-launch stuff, was!

thanks!
 
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John Labelle
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Your review was dead on!
Hasbro tried with this game and it shows. You do get bang for your buck with what you get in the box. 
I'm an old FASA Star Trek: Starship Tactical Combat Simulator and original Star Fleet Battles ship jockey and seeing the beautiful big hex grid space scene boards really brought me back.
We use to dream of ship bases with physical shields represented on them. 

Power. You always don't have enough with these games going back to the grand daddy of them all: "Alpha Omega" by Avalon Hill and Battleline.

Battleship Galaxies is a fun space fleet battle game that's quick to learn and has more depth than you may initially think.
Thanks for writing a Review that sums up the "first game" very well!    
   
 
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Lee Hodgson
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i JUST bought this today and haven't even unpacked it yet . I do have a large amount of money invested in Heroscape and if this game goes the same way then so be it ! I had gone to the store to pick up the A&A Naval miniatures ( they had 2 starter kits and thats it ) but since it has been discontinued I chose to go with Battleship .

Even if the rules are light in strategy I think this games components can bring in a whole breadth of houserules and the like or even creating a whole new game system !!
 
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