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Galaxy Defenders - Board Game Box Shot

Galaxy Defenders

| Published: 2014
31 16 3

Galaxy Defenders is a cooperative tactical board game in which up to five players fight together – each taking control of one agent with unique powers – to defend the planet from an alien invasion. The battle for Earth against the aliens will develop in a series of missions organized in a story-driven campaign.

Missions are based on modular maps designed by Øone Games and are played over a variable number of rounds; each mission may have multiple endings and the outcome of any mission will change the flow of the story. The agents will gain experience during the missions, and this experience can be used to transform a good soldier into a perfect Galaxy Defenders Agent with multiple skills, basic and improved tactics, and the ability to use new devices, advanced human weapons, and Alien technology.

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17 of 19 gamers found this helpful | Medals x 1
“Should be called X-COM the board game! Great game!”

Galaxy Defenders is a cooperative sci-fi tactical combat game from 1 to 5 players. It’s your team’s mission to fight off the alien invasion to save earth from total domination. Are you ready to take on the challenge?

Streamlined tactical combat system
Quality components – thick cardboard & solid plastic
Good storyline
Campaign mode
Characters can level up
Rulebook laid out fairly well.
Solid enemy A.I.
Each agent plays very differently.

Very fiddly – lots of bits
Takes a few plays to really learn the game
Some setup time involved to place bits and setup decks
Can get quite long with 5 agents on some missions.


I won’t go into deep detail of the rules, because it wouldn’t be a review. However, I’ll hit the highlights of the core gameplay which really isn’t too daunting. Basically, once you get your mission setup the way the scenario book describes, players will choose which agents they want to play and the “alpha-agent” who is both leader and starting player for the round (alpha agent can change from round to round at player’s discretion). Each agent has different strengths and weaknesses which helps you form a solid team to tackle the mission.

Each round is broken up into phases:

Refresh phase – this is for items and skills that get refreshed at the beginning of the round
Strategy phase – players pick who is alpha agent, roll for possible promotions/upgrades, call in for equipment upgrades, and check for victory conditions
Battle phase – Starting with alpha agent, alternate turns between players and aliens. Each player gets to perform combat, movement, and a action in any order they choose. Then the active player draws a close encounter card to perform the aliens turn. After that is complete, the next player takes their turn.
Event phase after battle is complete, alpha agent draws the next event card and resolves its effects. The effects range between new aliens teleporting onto the battle field, weather effects that can hinder agents, losing ammo, taking wounds, or special events to name a few. Once resolved, the round is over and players start the phases all over again until mission is success or failure.

Let me take a second to talk about combat, since it’s a key part of the overall gameplay The combat is pretty straightforward and easy. When you attack, you look at how many and what color dice you roll as listed on the weapon you use in combat. After you roll the dice, count up the hit icons, and that is the number of defensive dice the defender rolls (plus or minus any special modifiers on top of that). The defender rolls that number of dice and is looking for “shields” to block the hits. Count up the shields and subtract them from the number of hit icons and that is how many wounds the defender takes. It works very well.

The game can be played in either single mission mode or campaign mode. Single mission mode simply means you just pick a mission out of the “storybook” or scenario guide and play it straight up. You can level up as much as you want during the Strategy phase, so long as you kill an alien previous round and get the appropriate rolls. In campaign mode, you start with the first mission and work your way through to the last mission (12 missions total). Each agent gets to keep their skills and ranks throughout the game, but they are limited to only one upgrade per mission. If an agent dies, they lose their “promotions” and start from scratch again during the campaign (new rookie).

So far, I’m very impressed with Galaxy Defenders. I still need some more plays to master all the details, so that is one of my “cons” if you call it that. I don’t find the rules difficult, but there are quite a few to remember. Thankfully, the agent profiles, devices/weapons, and alien cards keep most of those rules contained on them for reference along with quick reference guides that come in the game. The components are top notch with their thick chunky cardboard pieces and very sturdy plastic miniatures for the agents and aliens. Of course, it’s a lot of pieces in this game, so it takes a while to setup the game.

This is what a I really like about the game. The combat is not hard at all. The alien artificial intelligence (A.I.) decks are very well done and smooth when performing alien actions. It’s a co-op, so my son and I tackle the evil alien forces together whereas other games we’re against each other with me winning most of the time. The agents all play very differently. The fact that it has a campaign mode where your agents can “level-up” is a huge plus in my book and makes the game more immersive. It just a really solid squad co-op game!

Also, I know that there is a now an “X-COM: The Board game”, but it’s my understanding that game doesn’t really model the tactical squad combat of the video game very well at all. Galaxy Defenders does this in spades! When I think of X-COM, I think of squad level combat and Galaxy Defenders is it!

If you looking for something like X-COM or a cooperative tactical squad combat game, get this! NOW!

Gamer Recommendations

Family GamerNO – Too much combat and too many rules
Social Gamer NO – To heavy a game for socializing
Casual GamerNO – Too many rules for casual gamer and long setup time
Strategy GamerMAYBE – Highly tactical and lots of die rolling. You can come up with a game plan though for the mission and try to execute on it.
Avid Gamer YES – should you even ask? dripping with theme and cool bits
Power GamerYES – right up their alley.


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