Quick Look: Galaxies – The Game
Designers: Michael “Mikey” Pollock
Artists: Andrew Joseph Perez & Lindsey Bockhorst
Publisher: Go Left Productions
Year Published: 2021 / 2022?
No. of Players: 2-9 – plus the Games Master (GM)
Playing Time: Actual Game Time
Galaxies is a new RPG set in a fictional universe with lots of different planets to explore and species of ‘alien’ to encounter and interact with, and the Intergalactic Council awaits you with interest.
Rules & Setup:
For such a small rulebook, 58 pages in the PDF copy I am reviewing, there is a ton of material set out in it, from alien species, new worlds to explore, weapons, gear, ships plus a whole lot more of in depth information to help you fully immerse yourself in the game.
Set up is basically the GM coming prepared with a scenario(s) for the players to role-play through, and the players themselves need to have their character fully sorted i.e. race, attributes and abilities, gear and weapons, some dice, a pen and paper, and basically it’s away you go. Pretty much standard fare for a RPG, so if you are already a fan of these types of games, you’ll know exactly what to do, and if you don’t, it’s all nicely laid out and explained for you.
Reading through the rules and lore, you can certainly get the feeling that this will be a very enjoyable ride for both the players and GM alike. The characters abilities are mostly % based, and there isn’t an awful lot of things to keep track of so newcomers to RPG’s should also be able to keep up with the admin side of the game quite easily, and I would recommend that anyone wanting to start out in the world of Sci Fi RPG, give this set of rules a look, as it seems a nice gateway into this genre, and from here you can progress to the next levels, including games like Alien RPG and others. It also looks like you could introduce younger gamers to this rule set without too much fear or trepidation, but would still give them a nice introduction into the world of roleplaying games.
The rulebook covers all manner of areas, not just character creation, but gives you background on places to visit in the galaxy, including space stations, emporiums, general stores, the Cyberbarn (where you can pay for cybernetic implants to improve as a character), as well as charts that give you weapons, shields, grenades, ships and random encounter tables.
Also, throughout the Nexus Spacestaion there can be found job boards, where the ‘party’ of characters can pick and choose missions to undertake, to earn credits and glory.
This is also where you the party can pick up information and news, including their own exploits if they have done this without being detected or captured (if things weren’t entirely legal). But be careful as again there will be random encounters for you to deal with whilst at the Nexus, and of course, not everyone is going to like your party.
You can even go to the medical bay, where you can be treated or cured of all types of ailments and injuries, as well as cosmetic surgery if you need to disappear or not be recognized by an unsavory type… or by the law.
Other areas covered in the book include;
The Shift Nightclub
Syd’s SERF Shop
Velldrax Towers & Casino
All these places also have potential random encounters to keep you on your toes, and looking over your shoulder, which to some might sound like a bad game of Twister, but will keep you engaged in and with your character, who you need to ensure survives as long as possible, as you’ll quickly become attached to them, and their safety.
There is a well thought out section on some of the planets you can explore (although as in all games of this genre, I highly encourage you to write up your own worlds and places, once you get the hang of how they fit in with the game / rules you are playing.
There are also 100 adventure starting points, which you can select by rolling a d100, or perhaps use to populate the aforementioned job boards around the nexus, the choice ultimately is up to the GM, and the players.
Towards the back of the rules is a GM section and a glossary of terms, to aid players and GM alike.
I really like the way the author has included the basis of areas to explore and inhabit, as set out in the ‘Go Guide – Places to Go in the Galaxy’ and that they have laid out the basics behind each of these places but still leaves the GM to expand on these parts of the story themselves, and to allow for the players to visit again and again and have different encounters each time, just like in a real world situation, which as I mention come via a bespoke random encounter chart for each place, and it’s not just one generic list to roll on.
This gives each place a sense of individuality and uniqueness that aren’t present in all games of this type, with some places even having several separate tables to roll on depending on what the party chooses to do, or maybe what the GM wants to throw at them during the game.
These are also interspersed with fun elements such as when in the medical facility you encounter two doctors arguing over the treatment of a patient, or maybe the weekly visit by the local hypochondriac who complains about a pain in their foot, or on a visit to a nightclub where a member of the party gets vomited on by an alien.
Below is an example of typical game play and the interaction between the Gm and the players in the adventure..
A GALAXIES STORY: EXAMPLE OF GAMEPLAY (taken from the PDF Rules)
Player 1, Manny the Monsponsul, Strength: 54, IQ: 28, Accuracy/Agility: 68, Physical Shielding: 35, Energy Shielding: 25 LP: 50, Weapon: Hand-held “The Standard” Plasma Weapon ((1d12) + (1d4) + 2 damage).
Player 2, Ulrich the Ulroanian, Strength: 14, IQ: 46, Accuracy/Agility: 58, Physical Shielding: 15 Energy Shielding: 20 LP: 39, Weapon: Handheld “The Slayer” Projectile Gun ((3d6) + 6) damage.
Player 3, Herrathia the Human, Strength: 29, IQ: 21, Accuracy/Agility: 50, Physical Shielding: 25 Energy Shielding: 25, LP: 33, Weapon: Hand -held “The Ditch” Plasma Weapon ((2d6) + 4) damage.
GAMEMASTER: Your party has crash landed on the planet Hectron and is surrounded by pirates demanding your surrender. The five pirates surrounding you are humans armed with melee and hand plasma weaponry. Fortunately for you, they didn’t expect to find you here, so you get first action this ROUND. Manny the Monsponsul, you have the highest agility at 68, so you get to act first.
MANNY (Player 1): I fire my Standard plasma weapon at them.
GAMEMASTER: Roll your accuracy… (Manny rolls a percentage roll (for percentage roll instructions, see Glossary of Terms) dice and get a 65%. Because the roll is under Manny’s Accuracy/Agility of 68, it is a hit.)
MANNY: I hit ’em.
GAMEMASTER: Roll your damage. (Manny rolls a 1d112 and a 1d4 and adds them together for a total of 8 and then adds 2 for his weapon damage resulting in a total of 10 damage)
MANNY: Ten points of damage.
GAMEMASTER: A solid hit! Next up, Ulrich the Ulroanian.
ULRICH (Player 2): I want to shoot at them! (Ulrich rolls a percentage roll and gets a 07%. Because the score is 10% or lower, the attack causes double damage. Rolling 10% or under also allows the player to choose where the shot lands or, “calls the shot”.)
ULRICH: Critical hit with a seven percent!
GAMEMASTER: Double damage from your plasma shot! Do you damage the pirate that has already been hit or one that is undamaged? Also, where do you want to shot to land?
ULRICH: An undamaged one and I hit him in his torso. (Ulrich rolls 3d6 and adds them together for a total of 13 and then adds 6 for his weapon damage resulting in a total of 19, which doubled is 38.)
GAMEMASTER: You blow him into the next life, there are four pirates remaining. Herrathia, you are the last to go for your team.
HERRATHIA (Player 3): I fire at the one Manny damaged. (Herrathia rolls a percentage dice and gets a 19%)
HERRATHIA: I hit him… 38 (Herrathia rolls 2d6 and adds them together for a total of 7 and then adds 4 for her weapon damage resulting in a total of 11 damage.)
HERRATHIA: …and scored eleven points of damage on that dude!
GAMEMASTER: And another one bites the dust! That’s three left, even odds, and it’s their turn. The three pirates all fire their plasma weapons at you with one shot heading towards each of you. The first is heading towards Manny… (Gamemaster rolls for attack and gets an 85%)
GAMEMASTER: …and it’s a miss at eight-five! The second is headed at Ulrich and… (Gamemaster rolls for attack and gets a 35%)
GAMEMASTER: …it’s a hit causing… (Gamemaster rolls a for damage and gets an 11)
GAMEMASTER: … eleven points of damage to Ulrich.
ULRICH: Ouch! That almost halved my energy shields! (Ulrich deducts 11 points from his energy shielding leaving it at 16. 25-11=16)
GAMEMASTER: The last attack, against Herrathia, is a double attack because this pirate has a cybernetic arm. So he fires with a plasma weapon in one hand and attacks using an E-sword with his cybernetic arm! (Gamemaster rolls a 22% for the plasma weapon, which is a hit, and rolls for 17 damage. Gamemaster rolls second attack for the E-sword. With the cybernetic arm, the attacker hits with a 32%, for a total of 8 damage. The arm adds +4 for total of 12 damage.)
GAMEMASTER: He hits with a with the plasma weapon for seventeen points of damage, followed a successful attack from the e-sword causing twelve points for a total of twenty-five! (Herrathia deducts 17 points from her energy shields and 12 from her physical shielding)
HERRATHIA: We better get these guys fast or we’re going to be in some trouble!
GAMEMASTER: Looks like! Okay, Manny, it’s your turn again. And the battle continues
As you can see the game can move at some pace with the action being thick and fast at times, and you having to make life or death choices to keep your character(s) alive.
Whilst the current artwork is nice, and thematic, I think there could / needs to be a few pictures of gameplay i.e. a group of players and the GM in full swing of a game session and a few of the current pictures just need to be a bit clearer.
Is this a set of RPG rules worth getting / backing.. for me the answer is YES, especially if the price is set at a reasonable level given it is currently only 58 pages long, but not that this means there isn’t enough meat on the bone for GM’s and players to get involved in the game itself, because there definitely appears to be.
Also, as with all RPG’s you can mix and match the lore and scenarios from one into another game, so for me these are as much about source material as they are about the actual game itself, and I will absolutely be using some of the excellent background as a basis for other scenarios and encounters in all things sci fi RPG.
Galaxies – The Game… you might just be yourself enjoying it that much you find that it ends up be more than a 5 year mission.
After reading Carl’s review, if this sounds like a game for you at the time of this posting Galaxies – The Game is on Kickstarter check it out and back it HERE.