Aliens have invaded Earth, and they’re not friendly. Gear up, grab some enormous guns, and head out toward Area 51 and check things out. Galaxy Defenders is a cooperative tabletop game that’s filled with references to all of your favorite pop culture aliens. The base game was successfully funded on Kickstarter last year and is now available in stores. Two new expansions are currently seeking funding on Kickstarter now.
At a glance: Galaxy Defenders is a cooperative game for 1 to 5 players, ages 12 and up, and takes up to 2 hours to play (depending on the scenario). The age recommendation is probably about right—you definitely want a more experienced player to learn and teach the rules, at least. But since it is cooperative, you might be able to walk younger players through their turns. There is some PG-13 language involved in the story parts, too. The retail price is around $90 for the base game (Amazon currently has it for about $78). The expansions currently on Kickstarter will run around $140 and up (for both sets), depending on whether you want the exclusive characters and stretch goals, or you can pledge at the “Galaxy” level to get the base game as well.
The core set comes with:
- 28 plastic figurines
- 6 double-sided map boards
- 10 custom 10-sided dice
- 5 agent profile boards
- 22 Event cards
- 32 Close Encounter cards
- 22 Alien cards
- 20 weapons tiles
- 20 tactics tiles
- 23 device tiles
- 15 skill tiles
- 150+ tokens and markers
As you can see you are getting a good deal of stuff for your money. In addition to the bits, there’s a hefty 40-page rulebook and a 55-page storybook which contains the dozen missions that form the storyline of the game.
The list of components for the expansions is available on the Kickstarter page—since the campaign isn’t over yet, there are still stretch goals being added.
The components are pretty nicely done—hefty cardboard chits, custom dice. There are several types of aliens, and most of them come in both blue and green, with the associated cards giving more details about how each one behaves.
I’m pretty picky about boxes, particularly overly large boxes or poorly-designed inserts, but Galaxy Defenders did a pretty good job. Everything has a spot and there’s not a whole lot of empty space, so even though it is a really big box, it’s packed with stuff. The one weird thing about the insert is that the finger well next to the cards doesn’t go all the way to the bottom, so you have trouble pulling out the last few cards.
I’ll mention that the artwork in the game borrows heavily from other sci-fi properties. We’ve spotted references to Halo, District 9, E.T., Alien, Star Trek, Stargate, The Matrix, Men in Black, and even Stephen King’s IT. I’m sure there are more that I haven’t noticed yet or don’t know about. It can be fun, but it can also be distracting if you’re trying to suspend your disbelief and get into the theme.
The other thing to note, as you’ve probably already noticed in the image above, is that the lone female character is large-breasted and wearing really tight clothing. The plastic miniature figure reflects that, too. It’s certainly the sort of game that seems like it would appeal most to adolescent boys—but I suppose that may be true of a lot of alien shooter games and sci-fi movies.
Click ahead to read more about how the basic game works, then what the expansions add, and finally my opinion of the whole thing.