Launching in 2011 Battleship Galaxies takes the simple premise of the age old family board game of Battleship and shoots it into space. Now none of this sounds like a good idea, battleship brings to mind bad jokes and references while the notion of adding aliens just makes people think of bad Hollywood movies. But you do get a free comic book so there’s that.
Battleship galaxies is one of the good type of miniatures game where you don’t have to glue or paint anything. That isn’t to say you get cheap quality models either as they look decent and detailed though nothing an ink wash couldn’t improve. They come in grey and brown to easily represent the two sides the set comes with. Not that you couldn’t tell them apart by their design and what not, just that it helps at a distance. They sit atop bases with different sizes going to the three basic classes of ship, battleship, frigate and fighter. These bases take up different sizes on the board the game comes with neatly omitting the need for tape measures and arguing about nudges and back to front measuring. Hits upon these ships are represented by pegs that you can slot in with blue showing shields and red hull hits. I figured I’d get those in now as there is really only one other link to Battleship and that is the targeting system your ships use.
Whenever you fire at an enemy you roll two dice; one being numerical and the other being alphabetical. Thus you get something like B-3 and it is then up to the prey to check on the grid map of their ships to see if that is a hit or a miss. You see each ship gets just such a layout with the different sizes and shapes coming into play thus meaning that what is a hit for one might be a miss for another. This is about the only link between the game and traditional Battleship and that’s a shame as it’s easy to see from what little I’ve said so far, that the game is perhaps a little too heavy to sell well in places you would normally find Battleships and the name would probably put off anyone shopping in a heavier gaming environment.
You see the game is a decent tactical two player game between the obviously good human navy and clearly evil alien Wretcheridians. The game comes with a number of scenarios each dictating what number of ships the two sides get, what cards make up their decks and whether there will be any rogue astronomical junk floating across the battlefield as well as just how big the battlefield will be, meaning the game can easily go from small skirmish to full epic battle across the stars.
Once this is set up each side grabs their power chart and readies their fleet just off the edge. Now both draw the set number of cards with the first player getting a lower number of starting energy than the other. This energy, which is added too at the start of each turn, will be used to do pretty much anything in game meaning that it is a resource you can hoard or spend as you see fit. Each ship takes a set number of energy to launch, meaning to come onto the board and yet another amount to activate, meaning to actually use on your turn. The cards in your hand will also require energy to use, though once paid they will typically be free to use on any activated ship each turn whenever that ship is activated. These cards will give your ships, extra weapons or crew members with special abilities. These cards can change the tide of war but unless you store up a ton of energy, you’re not going to be able to use every ship on every turn and you’re certainly not going to be able to fit out your fleet with some of these doomsday weapons and elite officers.
That isn’t to say that the ships aren’t unique enough in their base form. The fighters launch in groups and most of the others are either different enough in terms of strength or simply in terms of special abilities they often give to the fleet around them and if all else fails they typically come with a good number of guns to shoot.
Don’t worry about remembering all of this as each ship you’re playing with comes with a simple flash card to lay before you that displays all of this information in an easy to follow format that keeps the game simple and easy to follow once you’ve got past the basics. You can also slip your cards under the appropriate add-on cards to keep track of the fifty-three extra guns you’ve decided to strap to the hull.
With each side given a starting zone marked on the board it is up to each fleet captain to decide whether to turtle up or charge in in attack mode.
Now I wouldn’t say the game is perfect and I would defiantly say that the game was waiting on an expansion or two to add to the decks and add another faction or two. This becomes more apparent the more of the game you play but there is enough there to recommend and though it has been discontinued by Hasbro it is still knocking around sites like amazon and ebay and sometimes even at a still reasonable price. Though it is marked as two to four I would say it’s really only a two with maybe an exception for the young or inexperienced with the game.
A quick thank you to Twibz
who lent me the game
Played the game with me
and took the pictures
(which is why they look so much better than usual)