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Board Game Spotlight

 

Galactic Warlords: Battle for Dominion - A Kickstarter Preview

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PUBLISHER: Archona Games
DESIGNER: Babis Giannios
PLAYERS: 1 - 4 Players
TIME: 30 – 90 Min

Introduction to Galactic Warlords: Battle for Dominion

From the Publisher: Galactic Warlords: Battle for Dominion is a card-driven game of tactical deployment and planet control. In this game, you play as one of the Warlords, with purpose to establish your dominion over the contested galactic region and score the most points at the end of the game. You will do this by playing your hired Mercenary cards from your hand in your tableau. Each of the Mercenaries will come with their own assets such as Ground Troops or Defense Systems, and abilities (actions) such as Deploy Ground Troops, Recon, Assassinate and many others. By using these assets and abilities, you will be able to assert control over the planets in contested galactic region. At the end of the game, you will score points for completing Missions of the Mercenaries you have played during the game as well as other bonus points. Whoever has the most points at the end of the game is the Great Warlord and winner of the game!

I received a prototype version of Galactic Warlords. Components and Art may not be final and are subject to change.

OVERALL GAMEPLAY

The objective in Galactic Warlords: Battle for Dominion is to have the most Power (victory points) at the end of the game.

There are 3 ways to gain Power:

  1. Deployment: When you deploy units on empty planets, you will gain power according to the where the planet’s marker is on the planet track.
  2. Reputation: Each time you progress on the reputation track, you will be able to gain either a game bonus or power.
  3. Missions: At the end of the game, you will gain 2 power for each planet you control that matches each symbol in the upper left corner of your non-wounded mercenary cards. This is essentially a set collection aspect of scoring.

Each round, players will follow 6 phases:

  • Recovery
  • Recall
  • Move Your Ship
  • Play a Mercenary
  • Action
  • Hire a Mercenary
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Recovery

The player moves his units one step towards the Launch Pad in his base in this order:

  • All units from the Decon space move into the Launch Pad.
  • Then all units from the Mission and Medical Bay space move into the Decon space.

 

Recall

In this phase, the player may recall any one Infan­try unit from anywhere on the board back into his Launch Pad.

Move Your Ship

The player moves his Ship Marker on the board into an adjacent sector. If this is your first turn, put the Ship Marker on any outer sector (if it doesn’t contain other ships) or in the Core sector.

If you move the ship into an unexplored sector (it contains face down planets), you must reveal the planets immediately. Then, for each planet type revealed, move its corresponding planet marker on the planet track as previously explained.

This mercenary will complete the red icon, allowing you to place a guard from your Launch Pad. Additionally, it will give you 2 units into your Launch Pad. 

This mercenary will complete the red icon, allowing you to place a guard from your Launch Pad. Additionally, it will give you 2 units into your Launch Pad. 

Play a Mercenary

In this phase, the player MUST play ONE of his mercenary cards from his hand into his Command Area. Each card that is played after the first must be played on one of the sides of the cards already in the Command Area.

Gain Units

After you play a mercenary card from your hand into your Command Area, put the number of assets shown in the bottom left corner of the mercenary card from your reserve into the Launch Pad space in your base.

Place a Guard

If the Mercenary card you just played formed a fully-colored Skill-circle with the Mercenary card next to it, you can place an Infantry unit from your Launch Pad onto the circle. This unit now becomes a Guard. A mercenary in your Command Area is considered “guarded” if he has at least one guard on either of his sides. Guards are worth 1 power at the end of the game. 

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Play a Skill Action

Guards can also be used to play certain skill actions that your mercenaries possess. When you have 2 Guards on 2 circles of the same color, YOU MAY PLAY the Skill Action of that color. Each skill can be played once per game per player.

Action Phase

You may choose to play any or all of the actions on the Mercenary card played this turn during this phase, in any order, if able. However, when you choose to play one of the actions, you have to resolve that action first before continuing to the next action. During this phase, you may also play at most ONE Support card from your hand. In order to play most of the mercenary actions, you will need to put a Troop or other type of unit from your Launch Pad into your Mission space.

There are 7 different actions:

  • Deploy: Deploy up to 3 units from your Launch Pad on a planet in the sector where your ship is currently located. You may invade with this action.
     
  • Deploy Only: You CANNOT invade with this action.
     
  • Assassinate: Send one Infantry unit from your Launch Pad space to your Mission space to put a wound marker on a unguarded opponent’s mercenary card if that opponent has at least two mercenary cards in his command area or kill an opposing guard. If you kill a guard, put that unit to its owner’s Medical Bay.
     
  • Subterfuge: Send one Infantry unit from your Launch Pad space to your Mission space and choose an opponent to take one of his mercenary cards at random. Then either:
    • Keep the card and give one of your Mercenary cards to him, or;
    • Play one of the card’s mercenary actions, resolve it and then return the card to him.

      If you choose to play the card, it is important to note:
      • You cannot Initiate invasion with a deploy action.
      • You cannot play another Subterfuge action with the opponent’s mercenary card.
      • You do not gain Reputation by playing a corresponding action on the Reputation Track.   
         
  • Bombard: Send one Infantry unit from your Launch Pad space to your Mission space to kill an opposing Infantry unit on any planet, or; Send one Aircraft unit to the reserves to kill an Infantry unit on any planet. Then roll 2 dice. For each hit, remove additional unit from that planet.
     
  • Support: Send one Infantry unit from your Launch Pad space to your Mission space to draw a Support card.
     
  • Recon: Send one Infantry unit from your Launch Pad space to your Mission space. Choose a sector with unrevealed planets and take a look at them. Return them face-down and place one of your available recon markers face down that sector face down.

Support Cards

Support cards represent the lesser mercenaries and guilds in the Galaxy that either want to help you with your cause, or they simply owe you a favor. These cards can be played as bonus actions during the Action Phase on your turn. A Support card can be played either before you play a Mercenary action or after. Some cards, like Blockade, can be played on the opponent’s turn.

Invasion and Combat

There are 5 steps to combat:

  1. Planet Devastation: If you deploy to a planet already containing enemy units, an invasion occurs. Move the planet token corresponding to the planet being invaded backwards one step on the planet track.
     
  2. Defender Reinforcement: If the defender has fewer units than the invader, he may reinforce the defending units with 1 additional infantry unit from his active Guards.
     
  3. Players Roll: Both players roll dice to determine the number of hits they will inflict. Regardless of any combination of units that the player may have in the battle, a player can roll maximum of 3 dice per battle.
     
  4. Casualties: Invader calculates how much hits he has given to the defender. The defender needs to remove that many defending units from the planet and vice versa for defender against invader.
     
  5. Check for Victory: If both players still have units on the planet, the invader can choose whether to continue with the invasion (another round of combat) or if he retreats his surviving units to his base. If all units from one of the players are destroyed, the other player is the winner of the combat.

Hire a Mercenary

Draft: Take a card from the revealed Mercenary cards. After taking the card, reveal the top card of the Mercenary deck and place it in the empty slot.

Draw from the deck: In a two player game, if you choose to draw a card from the top of the deck, remove the 4 face up cards in the Mercenary Market from the game. Then, simply add 4 new cards to the Mercenary Market from the top of the Mercenary deck, face up.

 

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The Reputation Track

Some of the actions in the game will let you gain reputation as you play them when your reputation token is on the specific space on the Reputation Track. When a player reaches the last space on the Reputation Track, the game is over and players will finish the current round.


How to Win

The game ends 1 of 3 ways:

  • The last mercenary is drawn or drafted
  • A player reaches the end of the reputation track
  • A player plays his 4th Mercenary with the same mission set.

Players will score power at the end of the game for unit majority per planet, 2 power for each planet he controls that match a mercenary he controls (that isn’t wounded) and 1 point for each of his active Guards.

The player with the most power at the end of the game, wins!


WHAT MIGHT YOU LIKE?

Let’s start with art; it’s fantastic! The Mercenaries have a vibrant and oddly charming sci-fi abstractness to them. The strategic gameplay is tight, tense and meaningful. The miniatures have nice detail to them.

Variable starting planet set-up offers nice variety to the game. Each game will feel a little different as you vie for control over the various planets.  You will need to balance tactical decision making every turn in order to progress through various paths of strategic victory.

The action selection mechanic is streamlined and reduces time between player turns. Players who enjoy direct conflict and high player interaction will enjoy Galactic Warlords.

The game is quick, lasting a maximum of 90 minutes with 4 players but still offering players the feeling of a dramatic, large-scale space war. If you’re looking for a light-weight, tactical and strategic game, with reduced setup, and minimal player down-time, you should definitely consider Galactic Warlords.


WHAT MIGHT YOU DISLIKE?

Galactic Warlords is not a deep strategy game. The combat is simple and provides a fair amount of random chance but it's efficient and doesns't bloat the game. It plays best with higher player counts because it offers more opportunity for direct conflict. If you do not enjoy direct conflict and player interaction, you may not like Galactic Warlords. 

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FINAL THOUGHTS

Galactic Warlords is a fast, tactical and light space combat game that incorporates an interesting set of end-game objectives.  Set-up is quick and before you know it, you’re invading planets, assassinating your opponents Mercenaries and fighting over galactic supremacy. The card play works well and helps streamline the game and balancing your victory conditions can lead to dynamic decisions to make. Overall, Galactic Warlords is a breath of fresh air in a crowded genre of space combat and area-control games. 

You will like this game if: you enjoy tactical combat, area control, sci-fi games, and controlling a Galactic empire that employs powerful mercenaries to carry out their dirty work.

Galactic Warlords invades KICKSTARTER November 7th!

Don't miss your chance to hire a mercenary!

Druid City Games and the Board Game Spotlight were paid to advertise, market and preview this game. Our opinions are our own and we remain objective as we play and preview our games for the board game community.  We reserve all rights to reject games that do not meet our standards.