Friday, July 29, 2011

Hands on with Hasbro's Battleship Galaxies

I've been looking forward to Hasbro's Battleship Galaxies boardgame for some time now. Like many, I grew up playing the original Battleship game (along with many of it's variants and offshoots) over the years. So when this latest iteration was first announced it immediately caught my attention. The starship combat theme certainly didn't hurt, either!

Last night was my monthly game night with my friend Dan. Dan emailed me the other day asking what I was in the mood to play this month, and mentioned that he had just picked up Battleship Galaxies. Without hesitation I jumped on the opportunity to check the game out first hand!

First thing you notice upon opening the box is that it is just packed full of fabulous components. The board is nice quality cardboard, as opposed to a simple, folded paper map. The starfield artwork featured on the board is very attractive.

There's a bevy of cards used in the game. Some detail the information on each of the starships, while others feature special weapons or heroes that can be attached to certain ships.

The real stars of the game, however, are the 20 ship miniatures. These plastic minis are very detailed and well done, especially for a mass-market game from a company such as Hasbro. The ships fit atop hex bases of one of three sizes: single hex, double hex or the large multi-hex bases used by the capitol ships. The bases feature holes in which blue plugs are placed to represent the ship's shields or red plugs are placed to represent damage sustained. These plugs are one of the places where the game evokes it's Battleship roots.

Last night, Dan played as the Intergalactic Space Navy or ISN (the human good guys) and I had the alien Wretch (full name: Wretcheridians). We clunked our way through the rules, learning as we played. Dan had previous given the rulebook a quick read, and I had just listened to a detailed review of the game on the current episode of the D6 Generation podcast. So, we had a pretty decent grasp of the basics.

We just played through the first scenario from the rulebook which was pretty much a straight up combat encounter between our two forces. It was a good start to give us a taste for the game, and how the mechanics worked. Combat featured another nod to the original Battleship. The game comes with two D8 dice. One die features the numbers 1 through 8, while the other features the letters A - H.To determine whether or not you hit when attacking an enemy vessel you roll the dice coming up with a result something like G-4. The result is then compared to a diagram on the target's corresponding ship card. If G-4 matches up with a part of the diagram representing the ship (marked in grey) it's a hit. If it matches up with a while square on the grid, it's a miss.

Both Dan and I made the newbie mistake of forgetting to read the details on our ship cards or on our special event cards that are drawn on each turn. But, that's part of learning a new game. Most importantly, we had fun.

I definitely recommend Battleship Galaxies if you are looking for a relatively light starship combat game. Honestly, I am still on the fence about picking up a copy for myself, especially now that Dan has it. I'm still looking forward to both the upcoming Star Trek: Fleet Captains game coming from Wizkids as well as A Call to Arms: Star Fleet coming later this year from Mongoose Publishing. Time will tell. But, there is no denying that Battleship Galaxies is a good, solid game.

For more information on Battleship Galaxies check out, or go to Battleship (right now that redirects to Hasbro's general Battleship page, but I expect Galaxies content to be added soon).

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