Before I begin…nothing. I backed this on KS. If you would rather watch a video of this review you can check it out below. Learn more about the game here.
You know what I do not like about a lot of euro games? Dry dusty themes: agriculture, trading in the Mediterranean, economic stuff (Pingyao being the only exception to this atm). You know what I like the most about euro games? Worker placement. You know what I like about Ameri-style games? Chucking dice, and fantastical themes.
Enter Galaxy Hunters. A worker placement game about piloting giant stompy mechs and destroying giant space faring mutants bent on…well I dunno. But I am confident they are not the mutant version of the girl scouts just out to sell some cookies. You have been hired to destroy these monstrous girl scouts and bring their cookies…I mean DNA back to the corporations to make more money…and if killing these monsters helps save some lives…that’s fine too.
The game plays like a simple worker placement game, with a tableau that you are able to build around your mech and pilot. The tableau allows you to go fight the monsters, and generates end game points. If you are just playing the core game you will use your mechs resources (energy, shields, ammo) to battle monsters in a contract fulfillment style of gameplay. This will earn you DNA which can be used to fulfill other contracts for end game points. If you are using the expansion combat becomes dice based, allowing you to potentially take out monsters that are stronger than you are, but also creates the possibility to fail combat all together.
You will use your other workers to gather resources which will allow you to build your tableau as you buy equipment for your mechs, and workers to be your support staff. As you progress through the game you will unlock another worker, and be required to pay maintenance for the ones that you have, all while the mutants occasionally leave their desolate planet to raid the galaxy. Whoever has the most points at the end of 10 rounds wins.
So what do I think?
I love the mechs, I love the building up of your mechs, I really enjoy the variety in abilities that come with your pilot and mech combos, and the different types of support staff you can hire. I particularly love that this is a worker placement game without a dusty theme, and I really enjoy using the expansion that makes the combat dice based, making the game a hybrid game. I also think the rest of the expansion makes for some very interesting decisions that you have to make for the rest of the game. It is truly fun.
Without the expansion the combat does not feel exciting to me, it is just contract fulfillment…which you are doing to fulfill yet another contract. This, to me, is fine. But it is just not very exciting for me, I love that chance of failure, or of huge success.
This game takes up so much space. It is incredible how much space it takes up, it just sprawls. Along the same lines, the game has 10 different resources that you are tracking, and this feels like more than is needed. Yes, after a few plays you stop noticing how many there are as much, but I think it could certainly have been streamlined. It is also a bummer that for the first 1-2 turns you are unable to fight anything as you do not start with any combat ability, the expansion adds reroll ability, but you are limited to using one per combat…I feel like this is a bit of a miss as well as you can just stock up on battery cubes once and you are probably set for the whole game, I also wonder if the ability to buy a new ship/worker is not unbalanced, though I have not played at high player counts enough to decide this yet.
Bringing it all together
I like Galaxy Hunters. It has one of my favorite mechanics; a fun theme; and, with the expansion, dice chucking, monster fighting goodness. Yes, the game takes up too much space, yes there are too many resources, and yes I think it needs a few house rules to make it really shine to its greatest potential. Yet, with all that being said…I like this game. I want to play this game, I plan to keep this game, paint all the minis, and bling out my workers. This game has some warts, but they are warts that I am happy to overlook to get it to the table.
I can either read all that, or run from the mutants…
* Fun theme, cool mech minis
* In my opinion needs the expansion to add tension to the game, and help realize the theme
* Takes up a ton of space, and has too many resources
* Very satisfying game play
* I plan to implement a few house rules moving forward, but I think it is a testament to how much I like the game that I am making that effort
* A euro-ameristyle hybrid that is not leaving my collection any time soon