Galaxy Defenders – Mission 1: Close Encounters

Since I’d been having so much fun with Shadows of Brimstone, I went looking for other campaign co-op board games to try out. I read a lot of good things about Galaxy Defenders (plus, it was a sci-fi themed!) so I picked up a copy a few months ago. With the stay-at-home recommendations, I finally got a chance to bust it out and try it out last week.

I had a very good time playing it – it felt like a board game of X-com’s tactical battles.

Here’s a narration I sent my friends as I was playing solo as three agents, code-named Chromium the spec-ops solider, Thorium the medic, and heavy-weapons expert Titanium:

The agents are sent in the desert to investigate sightings of strange creatures. Once there, the agents are dazzled by strange unnatural lights that gradually change shape into alien figures previously only seen in Sci-fi movies…

“Alpha Agent to HQ, we have a problem! – Over”

“We are receiving the images, Alpha Agent. The Xenos are using teleporting devices… destroy them at all costs! We are sending you reinforcements.”

“AGENTS, your mission is to destroy the teleport points and come back alive! Over and out.”

Agent Chromium leads the effort, charging forth and blasting apart a Spine Critter with his GD4A1 battle rifle! But the intense full auto that plastered the bug has jammed his rifle!

The rifle shots also attracted the attention of the other spine critter which rushes forward before Chromium can clear the rifle. The marine resorts to his Eagle 1 sidearm and blasts it away before the acid dripping jaws can snap down on him (crit with the pistol!)

But the agents realize it is too early yet for celebration as a flash of an unnatural light to their far right begins to coalesce into the shape of another alien – they are teleporting in somehow! (Game uses a blip system until line of sight is established.)

Relaying this information to HQ, the order comes in for the destruction of the strange devices to stop the invasion – so Agent Titanium rushes forward and tosses incendiaries on the closest one…

The medic moves up to support, but a shotgun blast as the newly arrived Spine Critter only results in spurting acid blood as the critter charges forward.

And then MORE alien reinforcements show up in the distance!

Turns out the critters are just pets for the humanoid Xenos that unleash a hail of blaster fire, almost killing Chromium outright.

Then the critters attack – surprising the agents as the needle-sharp spines in their back launch out in a cloud, piercing through the agents’ armor.

Whew! I was reminded the medic had a medkit, which helps patch up the punctured and bleeding marine.

Agent Titanium then opens up with his squad assault weapon tearing apart two of the Xenos and severely wounding the third!

Titanium’s SAW continues to roar as it brings down the last of the xeno trio before he drops another incendiary on the second teleportation device.

Chromium used the rally to finally kill the spine critter with his own rifle, but its acid blood splashed onto the nearby agents, burning through armor to soft flesh underneath!

As the wounded agents try to keep the remaining spine critter’s jaws at bay, another xeno teleports in. It’s blaster tears large wounds into the medic, but at least Titanium is able to finish off the critter – with more acid splatter (fortunately, the medics back armor was intact and absorbed the brunt of it!)

Another xeno teleports in, forcing the medic to seek cover behind an outcropping of rocks.

So the two xenos focus their fire on Chromium instead… The last of their blaster shots rips through the battered armor and explodes out the front of his chest.

Even as their leader falls, the mission must go on! Titanium moves to provide cover for the medic to plant the incendiary on the third of the four teleport devices, but then HQ radios that the alien squad leader just appeared! (Not looking good…)

With few options available, Titanium charges forward to buy the medic time, and dumps the rest of his ammo on the trio of Xenos, but completely misses!! (Doh! Not one hit on his alpha strike!)

Titanium’s pristine armor fortunately absorbs the majority of the return fire, as they trio reposition to cover the remaining teleport devices – and give them better use of their ranged blasters.

Still, with the world at stake, the medic rushes forward from behind cover and plants the third incendiary…

And Titanium continues to charge onward towards his goal as yet another xeno teleports in. Dropping the now ammo-less SAW, he slices a vicious wound into the newly materialized and surprised xeno with his curved blade, and tossing another incendiary into the last teleport device with his offhand.

The wounded and startled Xeno retreats back to his leader while only giving ineffectual blaster shots at Titanium.

The medic’s shotgun roar at the aliens, puncturing small holes in their armor before retreating back for cover.

As the last teleporter is engulfed within the flames, the two remaining agents quickly retreat to reassess this alien threat…

Yay! Victory conditions met.

The game plays pretty quickly, and certainly had some tense moments. There’s a way to increase or decrease difficulty with a handful of options. I choose to play on the very hard level, which includes things like being unable to easily flee melee combat, line of sight includes facing, permanent death, and maximum number of defense dice being able to be rolled. All-in-all, quite enjoyable, and I’m looking forward to continuing play with Mission 2.

Campaign-style co-op board gaming

Over the past year and a half, life got hectic for our gaming group, and so we haven’t been able to easily and regularly get together for our RPG sessions. And so our games went on hiatus.

So we tried to fill in whatever game time we could with a few different board games, including the Lord of the Rings: The Card Game, Lord of the Rings: Journeys in Middle Earth, and Gloomhaven. But they never quite managed to satisfy the RPG itch – that is, until we tried out Shadows of Brimstone. Now, I’d seen it over the years at GenCon, and one of our guys had started collecting it, but I didn’t really know what it was until he decided to try running it for us.

After that first mine adventure and then finding even more adventure traveling to a town, and IN the town, I was hooked! Here was a game that managed to capture the feel of an RPG session, without the need for a GM who needed to spend substantial preparation time (which was running short for all of us).

And so, it was then that I discovered the board game genre of campaign-style co-op games!

So for the past year, we’ve been playing Shadows of Brimstone when we can. The lack of time is also why I haven’t been posting on this blog (plus, we haven’t played an RPG in almost 2 years!)

But as things have started to calm down, I’ll see if I can put some of my thoughts down that may be able to help other Gamers With Limited Free Time. More to come – Game On!