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[Review] Galactic Civil War (Expansion # 1 for Battlestation

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Joined: 03/23/2011

(I'm assuming that the reader already knows how to play Battlestations)

Galactic Civil War (Gorilla Games, 2005 - Jeff and Jason Siedak) is the first expansion of at least three to the space simulation Battlestations. Battlestations is over a hundred pages of space combat mixed with an RPG and allows players to accomplish hundreds of different things in missions. Galactic Civil War adds another whole booklet, with almost a hundred pages of additions to the base game. Galactic Civil War isn't necessary to enjoy the base game, but certainly adds enough options to make it worth while for those who play the base game quite a bit.

Here's a rundown of the things added with this expansion…

1.) Whistlers: A new species has been added to the game, the "Whistlers". They are basically a big ball of feathers who are fairly easy to kill but have better movement than any other aliens. More than the actual creature race as a player character, the best thing about the Whistlers is the history they add to the game, as it helps plunge the whole Universal Republic into Civil War.

2.) Civil War: The Civil War provides the opportunity for thirty-six missions that are quite interesting. In fact, the missions are better than the original book. This is because the book doesn't need to have all the rules that the original did, so that there is room for large maps, better ship diagrams, and special rules. I think that these missions were better thought out than the original (although the original ones were certainly satisfactory). The missions are lined up so that they can be run together in an entire campaign simulating the heroes and their roles in the Civil War. This isn't a linear method, but it allows some randomness between missions and how they affect players. I enjoy this quite a bit - so much so that we quickly converted over to these missions rather than use the ones in the first book.

3.) Actions and Special Abilities: A pile of new actions and special abilities are added to the game, allowing players to quicksnatch, deliver a coup de grace, grapple with their opponent, become an ace engineer, saboteur, wrestler, or hot dog pilot. All of these are nice added to the original game, although remembering which book the special abilities or rules are in can be confusing. (With more than one expansion, I can see how some might get frustrated). Still, this allows players to customize their already diverse characters even more.

4.) Equipment: Quite a few new weapons are added to the game, as well as equipment for the ships, including several new types of missiles. The biggest addition is Power Armor, which players can wear to assist them in combat and even in space. There are detailed rules on power armor, how to upgrade it, etc. Since Power Armor is the equivalent of tanks in this universe, these are very popular amongst players, making this expansion highly desirable to those who like to fight.

5.) New Modules: A Fighter Bay module is added in this expansion, which for me was the number one drawing point. Adding fighters, which are fairly weak but highly maneuverable, changes the entire face of ship to ship combat. Players can dogfight with the fighters, be tractored in by the larger ships, board enemy ships, and basically be the "X-wings" to the larger ships. I love this aspect, as it allows two pilots to play - one controlling the larger ship, the other in the fighter. Adding fighters adds slightly to the complexity of ship battles, but the payoff is worth it - as they add many options. Mine Layer modules are also added, but they didn't excite me near as much, although some may enjoy them.

6.) Other Stuff: Some errata for the original rules (very small, considering they were 100+ pages), dossiers on each races' homeworld (useful if you like the backstory and history), sample characters, and tips for the Gamemaster are all included. This is a full-blown expansion, folks, and certainly adds a lot to the original - more so than most expansions I've seen.

The choice for you to purchase this expansion is simple - and that is as to how much you play Battlestations. If you are a big fan of the original game, but only play it once or twice a year, than there's no real need for the expansion. If, on the other hand, you play Battlestations as a campaign and play at least once a month, then this expansion is full of tremendous options to add to the game, to spice it up. It's almost like a sourcebook for an RPG. If you need variety, get it. If you're satisfied with the basic game, then there's no need. As for me, I'm glad to have it - I love diversity!

Tom Vasel
"Real men play board games"

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