Recommend
34 
 Thumb up
 Hide
18 Posts

Galactic Strike Force» Forums » Reviews

Subject: My Experience Playing an Early Prototype rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
Erik Berry
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mb
Full Disclaimer: I consider Christopher a friend. Also, please forgive me for not remembering all the terms and lore as I type this out. It's been a while since I played, and things have likely changed a bit anyway.

I got to play an early prototype of Galatic Strike Force on JCCC3, and I've been really excited to share that experience! Since it was an early prototype, I was asked to keep quiet about things while they went through revisions, but now that the Kickstarter is live, Christopher has given me the ok to share with all of you!

Basic Components / Setup

So, in the prototype that I played, there were 10 ships available, 2 from each of the races described in the Kickstarter. Every player picks a ship. The ships have no "powers" in and of themselves, but they each have a unique 8 card starting deck that's special to that ship. They also have varying numbers for their starting attack and defense values. In addition to the card (basically a small play mat in the prototype I played) representing your ship and your ship's unique deck, we took chits representing the attack and defense values, and a chit representing the chosen ship. This is where the miniatues in the KS come in. Rather than a chit or some other token, you'd get a mini to represent your ship. This is used later during play.

Three sectors were randomly chosen as the areas of space that we'd be dealing with. Each sector is represented by another small play mat (in the prototype I played). A sector has an effect that happens in that area of space, and its own deck of "station" cards. These station cards are the buyable cards players use to build their own decks as well as powerful buffs for the Opposition (they are 2 sided, so each card is both of these things, at least in the prototype). The effect of the sector might require any ship entering the sector to lose a defense (solor radiation or the like), or make all station cards sold in that sector cost more, or make them all cost less, for some examples that I saw. In each sector, 3 station cards are available at any given time. They are random based on draw from the single station deck in that sector. Players can also see the beneficial side of the top card of the station deck, but cannot access it.

An Opposition is chosen, which gets its own small playmat ship card and it's own deck of cards. It deploys these cards, which are ships belonging to the Opposition, to each sector. Opposition ships gain any Sector bonuses and suffer any Sector hindrindces, just as Strike Force ships do. The number varies by number of players.

Basic Mechanics

A starting hand of 4 cards, drawn from each players' unique starting deck, is drawn.

Play is divided into phases. In the first phase, Travel, players move their ship tokens (or minis) into the sector of their choice. Any effects related to the travel phase (as denoted by cards or sectors) happen. Once players have chosen travel destinations, Requisition begins. All cards, including the starting decks' cards, have a "money value" printed on them. Each player totals the money value of the cards in their hand at the beginning of Requisition, and that's the cash they have to work with for this phase. Cards are purchased from the station cards available only in the sector the player's ship is in. Multiple players in the same sector coordinate among themselves for who will get to buy what. Any purchased card goes to your discard pile.

There were 2 types of cards available in the prototype I played - techs and boosts. Tech cards Install into your ship in the phase following Requisition. This means they don't really hang out in your deck very long. Usually, when you draw a tech, you play it during Install and it's now out of your deck for the game. Boosts, on the other hand, are one-shot cards that play (usually) during a specific phase for a specific benefit, and then go to your discard to be recycled and used again in a future hand. So your deck will fill with Boosts (if you're buying them) while you deploy techs.

Then comes the Battle phase. Your strike force ships engage one (or more if you have boosts that allow it) of the opposition ships in your sector. Attack and defense values of engaged ships are compared. If the attack value of a ship is greater than the defense value of the ship it is engaged with, the DIFFERENCE of those values is done as energy damage to the defending ship. So an example: Ship A is engaged with Ship B. A has an attack of 5. B has a defense of 3. Ship B takes 2 energy damage. Energy is the total attack and defense of a ship. So Ship B will lose 2 of its defense permanently, reducing it to 1 total defense against future attacks. If A had an attack of 10 instead, B would lose 7 energy. This means it loses all of its defense, and then begins losing attack power as well. If it had 4 or less attack power, it now has 0 energy and is destroyed. At least that's how it all worked in the prototype I played. Seems kinda confusing at first, but the players that I played with all got the hang of it pretty quickly. And maybe it works a bit differently now anyway!

After the Battle comes the Aftermath. Any Opposition ships that were not engaged in a sector collect the station cards available in that sector for themselves, flipping the to the side that aids the Opposition. Any other Aftermath effects take place, and we start the next round.

At any time, a sector may become overrun, which means there are too many Opposition ships gathered in one place. This puts the mothership of the Opposition in play and begins the endgame. A sector can be completely cleared out of Opposition as well. This is an ideal condition, and if the players can clear all sectors before the mothership comes into play, they win.

The Cool Stuff

There's no real need for turn order throughout the game! Players need to be in the same phase as other players, but within a phase, play occurs simultaneously!

Some cards can be played on other players' ships (to buff them up), and ships can gang up to take on particularly difficult Opposition ships.

There's a lot of talking and organizing among the players to best deploy their Strike Force ships and engage the Opposition while suffering minimal losses.

And, like in SotM, if a player's ship is reduced to 0 or less energy, there's still some minor powers that ship can provide to keep the player engaged with the game.

The deck building feels very different from the other deck builders I'm familiar with (Dominion, Eminent Domain, etc) since techs are coming out of your deck as fast as you're putting them in, but the boosts are hanging around. Also, as the station cards are 2-sided, you can stack your deck how like it when it's time to shuffle if you have a good memory (but your starting deck cards all have the same back, so you can't predict everything).

Overall

After watching part of a game and playing once (both with the same prototype), I'm really excited to play again. No matter what else I can say about it, I think that speaks volumes. Everyone walking away from the prototype game was talking about it, and the crowd of onlookers were offering strategy advice that they were seeing emerge as we played and wanted to get in themselves.

I've been waiting anxiously to be able to talk about it and see the Kickstarter. It's a steeper learning curve than SotM was, but after one game things start to click and flow. And again, this is all based on a prototype. Some, none, or all of this may make the final game. I'm sure Christopher and the other great folks from >G will be sharing more as their KS progresses. Hopefully this gets some more people excited about this great game though! Check it out!
23 
 Thumb up
1.05
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Erik Berry
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mb
And the official Gameplay update to the Kickstarter is available now as well:

http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/gtgames/galactic-strike-...
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Galen Ciscell
United States
Auburn
WA
flag msg tools
designer
Check out my game, Atlantis Rising! :)
Avatar
mb
Magatone wrote:
Also, as the station cards are 2-sided, you can stack your deck how like it when it's time to shuffle if you have a good memory (but your starting deck cards all have the same back, so you can't predict everything).

Is this the intention? That you can stack your deck (albeit face down, based on card backs) rather than shuffle it randomly?

Great information thanks!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Erik Berry
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mb
gciscell wrote:
Magatone wrote:
Also, as the station cards are 2-sided, you can stack your deck how like it when it's time to shuffle if you have a good memory (but your starting deck cards all have the same back, so you can't predict everything).

Is this the intention? That you can stack your deck (albeit face down, based on card backs) rather than shuffle it randomly?

Great information thanks!

At the stage the game was at when I played it, yes. I asked Christopher about that specifically because I felt like I was cheating at first and was trying to shuffle under the table. He confirmed that it was by design.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jools Thomas
Japan
Takarazuka
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
How many enemy ships are there? Do more enter play? Also, how long did it take to play?

It sounds like the enemy mother ship has a miniature but the lesser ships will be tokens.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Erik Berry
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mb
Jools wrote:
How many enemy ships are there? Do more enter play?

Regular enemy ships are cards. The Opposition deck consists of 20 cards that are all enemy ships. Additionally, the Opposition side of station cards can be additional enemy ships.

At the start of the game, you deal out (# of players + 3) cards from the Opposition deck spread evenly across all the sectors, and since they're from the Opposition deck, these cards are guarenteed to be enemy ships. So a good number of them start in play.

As play progresses, more ships can (and do) enter play. This usually happens by unengaged ships stealing station cards during Aftermath, and those station cards either being additional enemy ships or telling you to deal in additional cards from the Opposition deck.

Jools wrote:
Also, how long did it take to play?

My first full game took about 2 hours. BUT, there was no rule book, a good bit of distraction, and people asking Christopher a TON of questions. I'd say the first 30 - 45 minutes was mostly discussion of theme, looking over all the options and choosing ships, discussing setup, etc. Once the game got going, things sped up considerably. Christopher was able to interact with the spectators a lot more too and let the players work things out themselves. There's enough information on the cards and intuitive feel that the players were able to get through most of it on their own. And I'm betting the places that we did ask about, there's more clarification now.

My best guess, based on the prototype play, is that the first time you take it out of the box and get a group together to play, it's going to take 1.5 hours or so. Future games will go faster though. I could see a game being played in 30 mins or so by an experienced group, just the way things were going by the end of our first game.

Jools wrote:
It sounds like the enemy mother ship has a miniature but the lesser ships will be tokens.

Yes, the mother ship or flagship of the Opposition is a unique token or miniature, but the rest of the enemy ships are cards.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Carlos "Koey"
Canada
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Any opinions on how well the game scale with number of players?

Can you compare it to the scaling in SOTM??

Also is there advanced rules like they do in SOTM??
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jools Thomas
Japan
Takarazuka
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I was also curious if there was a "difficulty level".
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Galen Ciscell
United States
Auburn
WA
flag msg tools
designer
Check out my game, Atlantis Rising! :)
Avatar
mb
Koey wrote:
Any opinions on how well the game scale with number of players?

Especially with 2, since we don't get that option in SotM without playing 2 heroes each...
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Carlos "Koey"
Canada
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
gciscell wrote:
Koey wrote:
Any opinions on how well the game scale with number of players?

Especially with 2, since we don't get that option in SotM without playing 2 heroes each...


Yea I heard you can also now solo with "2" people instead of 3. Just not sure how well the game scales.

I forgot if this is true, but I believe the first edition of SOTM was marketed as a 3-5 player game hence the # of Heroes they have been designed for. They made it 2-5 since the game was playable with 2 Heroes each.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Pydro
United States
Unspecified
Unspecified
flag msg tools
The game does scale well. You change the number of starting Opposition ships and the strength of the Flagship depending on the number of players.
Unlike SotM, you don;t have a constant H mechanic to figure out. Almost everything that scales is done in the beginning. The only exception is the Fleet Limit which is the number of players plus 3.

Besides having different mechanics, the Oppositions do have different difficulty levels (think Baron Blade and the Chairman).

The game is completely playable with 2 players each controlling 1 ship. If you want to solo, you will need to control 2 ships though.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Carlos "Koey"
Canada
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Pydro wrote:
The game does scale well. You change the number of starting Opposition ships and the strength of the Flagship depending on the number of players.
Unlike SotM, you don;t have a constant H mechanic to figure out. Almost everything that scales is done in the beginning. The only exception is the Fleet Limit which is the number of players plus 3.

Besides having different mechanics, the Oppositions do have different difficulty levels (think Baron Blade and the Chairman).

The game is completely playable with 2 players each controlling 1 ship. If you want to solo, you will need to control 2 ships though.


Thanks for the reply. A few more questions that pop up.

Is it because of the way combat works, where 2 ships fight 1, the 1 ship does 4 damage to the 2 ships they each take 4 or can split between the 2 of them after using their combined defense?
If it is the later I can see why combat doesn't require scaling like an H mechanic.

But is there different difficulty level for the same Opposition? (ie. Advanced Rule vs Normal Mode in SOTM)
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Pydro
United States
Unspecified
Unspecified
flag msg tools
When 2 ships engage 1 ship it works like this:

Strike Force ship A = 3/3
Strike Force ship B = 2/2
Opposition ship = 4/4

You combine the weapons of the 2 ships for 3+2=5. Compare that to the Oppositions defense and it loses 5-4=1 energy.

Now we compare the Oppositions weapon (4) to each of the Strike Force ships defense. So ship A loses 4-3=1 energy and ship B loses 4-2=2 energy.

You never combine defense only offense. The same thing happens when a single Strike Force ship engages multiple Opposition ships.

These mechanics are always in place regardless of the number of players. In fact you need more ships to go up against a Flagship with more people due to the increase of their W/D.

Regarding advanced mode, honestly I only feel comfortable talking about (and clarifying) what has been revealed.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Erik Berry
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mb
Pydro's example is spot-on from my experience, and his comments about how the game scales with number of players are as well.

I don't remember discussing an advanced mode at our play session, so I can neither confirm nor deny one.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Pydro
United States
Unspecified
Unspecified
flag msg tools
Thanks! I am a playtester for GtG, and I having been playing GSF for a little while now. I have written an FAQ for the game, and I am quite familiar with it.

If anybody has any questions, please ask! As long as it doesn't reveal any info that GtG hasn't announced yet, I will try to answer it.

Regarding advanced mode, it is not my place to confirm or deny it if GtG hasn't officially confirmed or denied it.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Erik Berry
United States
Ellicott City
Maryland
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mb
Pydro wrote:
Regarding advanced mode, it is not my place to confirm or deny it if GtG hasn't officially confirmed or denied it.

Yeah, that's totally fair. Our experiences are a bit different. I played in a quasi-public setting once (and observed part of a another session), and got permission from Christopher to talk about and share that experience. You're a regular playtester who's probably seen various versions and stuff that's closer to the final product. I know I was chomping at the bit to be able to respond to some of the questions and comments popping up about this so far just based on my experience, so I can only imagine what it's like for you!

Thanks for helping >G to make this one great for us Pydro! I'm looking forward to the additional information coming out as the Kickstarter unfolds!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jools Thomas
Japan
Takarazuka
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Prior to the videos there was a surprising lack of info on the Kickstarter. I haven't watched them yet but hopefully they spill the beans.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Luke
United States
flag msg tools
designer
Avatar
mbmbmbmb
Thanks for the detailed and well structured review.

Full disclosure: I consider Chris a friend of a friend.

I was given the opportunity to play GSF shortly after the Kickstarter launched.

When I and the three other experienced gamers were asked for our feedback, our unanimous answer was, scrap it and start again.

If you check out my review of Sentinels, you'll see it boils down to the same basic issue.

For the record: I believe Sentinels is a great freshman effort from a passionate game designer. However, its major failing is the illusion of strategy as opposed to the actual presence of strategy.

Back to GSF, I think it suffers from the same problem, only much more so. None of the choices we had to make were non-obvious, nor were they very interesting choices to make. The ability to stack one's deck makes it a much easier game to play than Sentinels, which I already believe to be a game which is incredibly easy so long as you have the luck of drawing into the right hand.

I understand that a great number of people enjoy Sentinels, and some of the 967 backers for the GSF kickstarter will enjoy it as well. However, I also expect a great deal of Sentinels fans will be disappointed with GSF as I think the math is even more poorly obfuscated than in Sentinels.

That is to say, on any given turn, especially with the ability to stack one's deck, there was never any danger of losing the game. When the big boss ship appeared, we took it out in one shot.

So, to sum up, I think the support for this game is largely backed by a love of Chris(who when I met him seemed like a very passionate, creative and friendly fellow), but the choices are obvious and not interesting.

As the Kickstarter was well underway by the time we played the prototype, I'll be very surprised if Greater Than Games has had time to do a complete overhaul of a game that desperately needed one.

However, I think if one approaches this as many approach Sentinels. I.e. a flavor based game, and if one makes a conscious effort to make snap decisions as opposed to taking a brief look at the math, they'll enjoy it almost as much as Sentinels.
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.