Galaxy Defenders: The Earth Strikes Back

Tomorrow will start the kickstarter campaign for “The Earth Strikes Back”, the upcoming expansion of Galaxy Defenders. I decided to interview Nunzio Surace, one of the designers, about this new chapters of the Galaxy Defenders saga.

[Liga] Hi Nunzio, Tomorrow will start the kickstarter campaign for “The Earth Strikes Back”, the upcoming expansion of Galaxy Defenders you showed us at PLAY: The Games Festival. Actually this is a two-boxes expansion featuring the counter-attack of the defenders of the Earth against the Alien invaders. It is just new agents/maps/equipments or there will be something really new ?

[Nunzio] I’d say you’re starting with a question that implies a long reply.

Each of the two expansions include pretty much the same quantity of material you have found in the core box, in terms of miniatures, tokens and cards, that are needed to play with the new mechanics we will introduce.

Thus, we won’t “just” have new agents, new maps, new equipments, but also new game mechanics. The new agents from the expansions will belong to entirely new classes, so that the way of playing them will be different.

There will be new effects for both the most powerful weapons and aliens, such as:

Mark: the target of this ability will suffer increased damages from each subsequent attack.
Venom: an envenomed Agent will suffer additional wounds during the game rounds.
Lethal: lethal damages don’t allow a defend roll.
Critical: negative “debuff” to figures who suffer this kind of attack.
Explosion: they will affect very large areas.
Psionic powers: the Agents will be able to gain psi powers and will become more than mere humans ;)

You will also find the NPC, special characters controlled in part by the players and in part by their own AI.

The bad guys will have reinforcements: three new alien species in each expansion, each with its own AI, skills, and weapons. Plus, each expansion will have its own Master Alien, with a special AI (they will attack the most dangerous Agent, no longer the closest one).

The Agents will need the creme de la creme of anti-alien tech: the Power Suits and the Power Armor. The Power Suits will be introduced in the first expansion and will increase shields and weaponry for each agent. The Power Armors (second expansion) will have their own rules concerning abilities and the energy to use them. Players will have to manage the Power Armor’s energy to activate its powerful weapons, unique skills, or the defense system.

MARINE_power-armor-FRONT

The maps will have some new stuff as well: we will introduce modular maps along with the fixed ones, so that the battlefield will change every time. Add to all this stuff new weapons, devices, and skills… but again, not “just” this.

New_Modular_Map

New_Modular_Map_1

[Liga] I have played the original games many times and I know you have play-tested the basic game for a real long time. What about this expansions ?

[Nunzio] We started working at these expansions as soon as the core game was finished, and thanks to the success of the game we have also found new, enthusiastic play-testers, that helped us to optimize the game. The first expansion is complete, while we are finishing the play-test for the second. It all took about one year, but only because the play-testers have been three times the initial ones.

[Liga] Are “The Earth Strikes Back” rules somewhere updating the original manuals or there isn’t any need of updating/corrections beside the few errata we can find on the official web page ? There are new materials (apart from the 2 new characters) you can use also with the basic GD or are just for the new scenarios/campaign ?

[Nunzio] The two expansions will have a single manual in common to introduce the new rules for the new components, with most new items that can be used in the core set as well; furthermore, the new manual will detail some rules that raised doubts or uncertainty in the core manual

[Liga] GD is full cooperative game. Are you introducing/developing rules and/or scenarios that are not fully cooperative ?

Well, we already have published a competitive variant, with one of the player as the Alien mastermind. This variant can be downloaded for free from the Galaxy Defenders website, and it’s titled “Alien mind”. There is also the Galaxy ball variant, that – albeit somehow a sport sim – is a 1vs1 version of the game. Finally, and this is a special preview of the stretch goals, there will be a Team vs Team mode (1-3 agents) with NPCs and typical online PvP games scenarios (like capture the flag, death match, and so on); a sort of galactic Hunger Games…

Npc1

[Liga] For gamers missing the kickstarter only agents of GD, are somewhere available with this new project ?

[Nunzio] By all means, yes. All backers will have two new special KS agents (belonging to new classes); then among the options we have two more new agents, a new class, and if the campaign will proceed well, some special surprises as well.

[Liga] What are the specific traits of the new class: Psionic, Support and Guardian classes ?

[nunzio] Psionic:
their mind is their most formidable weapon. Their psychic attacks and abilities make this class both extremely powerful and highly versatile on the battlefield. They can turn their own body into a weapon, or use their powers to upgrade their weapon use. Plus, the Psionic can use more psi powers than the other classes.

GD2_Psionic_power1

Support:
Support agents are specialists in using devices. The presence of such an agent in a team may be the key to winning the battle. In game terms, instead of the secondary weapon, they have a device slot that will be filled at every refresh phase with a random generic device.

Guardian:
They are able to defend their teammates, suffering attacks in their places, and they are also able to displace aliens; furthermore they can generate an energy wave to move and wound enemies.

[Liga] Have you also playtested how the new characters/weapons/rules works with the standard/base campaign ? Will still balanced with this new addons ?

[Nunzio] Devices, skills and weapons have been designed to be balanced, although some will only make sense if used with expansion material (i.e. any skill/device designed to be used with a Power Armor). New Agents and the new classes can definitely be played in the core set, starting from a low rank and progressing up.

[Liga] I was expecting, after the official release of GD, new official scenarios/campaign available for free on the net. Are you working on something like that ? Are you working on something like scenarios/campaigns editor ?

[Nunzio] The map editor is already online on the GD webiste, while the mission editor is still in beta testing. The mission editor will allow to create your own mission, from the map to the alien management, card use, special events, and so on. Everything will be saved in a pdf file with a style similar to the storybooks.

Once the mission editor will be active, we will be happy to publish the best missions on our website.

And there is more… but we are still working on it!

[Liga] GD has been a great success. Why you and Ares decided to use kickstarter again for the expansion and not a regular production ?

[Nunzio] Producing two big box expansions such as those included in our new campaign is a very important financial effort in pre-production. A Kickstarter is a big help to make such a big project feasible in short term without replying on the cash-flow coming from other products.
On top of that, Kickstarter also helps to build awareness about a product, and to gather precious feedback from interested customers… it’s not all about the money!

[Liga] Thank you very much and good luck for this new project!

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About Andrea "Liga" Ligabue

Andrea "Liga" Ligabue is a game expert contributing to many games related international projects including Gamers Alliance Report, WIN, ILSA Magazine and Boardgamenews. Member of the International Gamers Awards Committee is coordinator of Play - The Games Festival and founder of the project Ludoteca Ideale.
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