GalaCollider – Early Preview

GalaCollider is a 4X Sci-Fi Space Exploration, Deckbuilding, and Expandable Card Game, all rolled into one (did you get all of that?!). Not sure what 4X means? Simply put, it is eXplore, eXpand, eXploit, and eXterminate — think the Civilization game series. The idea is to take control of planets, build structures and ships, gain control points and hold those either by force or defense, whilst reaping the resources each turn too, then finally taking over the opponent’s planets and pushing them into extinction, or gathering enough Command Points to win.

The developers, NeoCrux have also crafted a deep lore background for the game so we can understand why we’re in space and fighting against an alien race (or against humans, depending on the side you choose). The whole story can be found on their website and I recommend you read it if you’re interested in backstories. There are plenty of religious and philosophical themes also, which are quite rare to find in card games, so I am pleasantly surprised by that.

For now, we’re here to talk about how the game feels and plays in its current Alpha build. So without any further delay, let’s get right into it and eXterminate!

Earn-command-points

The victory conditions of GalaCollider are split into two main end goals: to collect the required number of Command Points before the opponent, or take over their home planet entirely.

Gameplay

So far we know that GalaCollider is planned to be released on iPad, PC, and Mac. They intend to bring the game to iPhone, Android, and other devices too, but it all depends on the level of interest and Kickstarter backing the game receives. Keep in mind that the current Alpha build is very rudimentary compared to what the developers have planned. Our screenshots show this early Alpha build, but please note that the final game will contain a fully 3D environment along with some amazing battle animations and more detailed environmental art.

In GalaCollider you have two possible objectives: to either be the first to score 50 Command Points or the first to successfully invade your opponent’s home planet. You can gain Command Points by colonizing sectors (sectors are revealed as planets or Oort clouds when explored), wresting control of sectors from the opponent, and building structures on colonized sectors. You see now that sectors are very important to your overall success. Without these you’ll be losing out on Command Points and lose very quickly. This type of victory condition rewards all types of strategies, which means you can play your way and not be penalized for it.

In order to do any of the above actions, you need to play cards from your hand. Cards are dealt from the deck at the beginning of the game and align with your chosen faction of The Coalition or The Sylith (with more factions on the way). You have a starting home sector that will produce the three resources needed in order to pay a cards cost: Materials, Research, and Energy, which you need to carefully manage and can convert into each other (at a loss).

You get a really good feel for how the resource system works very early on as it’s extremely fluid and simple to use, despite there being three types. They’re linked to certain card types as well. Ships generally require Materials and Energy, whilst tech facilities require more Research points.

Choose-your-targets

So far everything works extremely well in the current build, and the visual improvements on the way will make a huge cosmetic difference to the game. I cannot wait to see the battles happen in glorious 3D!

Gameplay Continued…

Playing cards to sectors are a breeze and you can see just how many Command Points you’ll be awarded on the cards, too. Ships don’t have any Command Point value, but are required to colonize and defend sectors. Once you expand quite far it can be hard to get a ship to that sector in time to defend it, but this is covered by having sectors allowed to house constructs such as a Shipyard or a Gun Battery for protection. You can see just how many buildings a sector can have at any time and this includes how many ships can be there too.

The deckbuilding mechanic (from Dominion and similar games) comes into play here too. Before you play you select which cards to have in your main deck and then some that can be purchased using Research from a sideboard of cards accessible during the game. These then go to your discard pile and are shuffled back into the deck when the deck is depleted (with no penalty). This recycling-deck style of gameplay gives the game far more depth than a regular card game.

Your Command Points are always visible, as are the opponent’s. Making plays late in the game can award you with victory when the round is over. Combat is simultaneous, resolving hidden commands before the turn ends. The game will warn you if you’ve not selected a target for one of your ships. This happened to me when I forgot to target an installation with a ship that was capable of doing so. I hope this mechanic is kept in, as it can turn the tide in your favor with a successful attack.

I really do enjoy the game in its current build and if this is the base model for what is to come, then we are in for something amazing when the game is fully developed. Of course there will be future installments and updates that will keep the game lively and fresh, and I cannot wait to see these too. By my reckoning, if everything goes well and according to plan, GalaCollider could be in the running for card game of the year when it is released. Its innovative design and gameplay make it an absolute privilege to play and one of the most innovative card games to hit the scene in a long time.

Cambat-tricks

Combat tricks still exist (cards you can play mid-battle to your advantage) and they are useful to help bring down targets your smaller ships would usually be obliterated by.

Features

GalaCollider is promising a lot from the get-go. Perhaps the most interesting thing about the game is the card pool and how building a deck and seeding your technology pool before the start of a game can vary or even change your strategy in the middle of a game. Tailoring a strategy before you go in and editing it as you play is a really cool idea. It’s rare that game developers go for such a deep and rewarding strategy system these days, but NeoCrux have wisely chosen this route instead of choosing to oversimplify and appeal to the lowest common denominator.

Turns are taken simultaneously by both players (one of my favorite things about the time, reducing downtime to a minimum) and timers can be adjusted for those that like to play at their own pace without the pressures of short timers for decision making. This makes the game very easy to get to grips with for those who are novices to such games, but gives them the required time to master it, too.

The current factions available have a deep-rooted lore that is well written and definitely worth a read. More factions are promised and I hope that we shall also see larger scale battles between these factions with 3 or more players all competing at the same time. This will give the promised competitive play a unique twist that other card games definitely don’t offer right now.

Combat-phases-look-like-fun

Combat phases are a lot of fun and actually require some thought and strategy. Do you focus on one enemy ship, or spread the damage around? Which installment on the planet should I focus my Bombard attacks on?

Because GalaCollider is an Expandable Card Game, you will save a lot of money when trying to build a specific deck. Expansion packs are ‘smart’ and will contain precise contents that all players will know before opening. There is no random element to obtaining cards, so you can build a better deck for much less than other competitive card games. This will surely be enough to win over a lot of people, as cost-effective purchases is a hot topic and real concern among competitive card game players right now.

Packs will be released on a regular basis and everyone backing the game gets free starter decks for all factions. This not only includes the current factions, but any future releases too. Giving players free content on a regular basis is an amazing thing to offer. It also keeps the playing field level for total beginners, as no one person will have content that others don’t have access to. You can buy expansion packs using in-game currency, which can be earned in a variety of ways as well.

One of the most impressive and ambitious features is how the game and story will develop. The game will evolve based upon the battles and conflicts that players have. Player interactions, tournaments, and in-game events will shape the future of GalaCollider. I like to feel invested in a game, or that it is invested in me when I am playing. I feel that GalaCollider will do that on a much bigger scale than any game I’ve ever played, but only if they keep to this promise. So many games have promised such a feature, only to fail on delivery when the game is released. I hope influencing the story will be something the players really enjoy taking part in.

Put-in-extra-cards

Tech cards give the game a deckbuilding element. These, when bought, get put into your discard pile and then shuffled into the deck when the deck is depleted. I’m getting Dominion flashbacks, but in a good way.

First Impressions

GalaCollider is such an impressive title, even in its early state. Everything feels so intuitive to use and the interface is clean and simple — elegant, even. Simultaneous turns means that I didn’t have to wait long for my opponent to complete their turn and all actions are resolved at the same time, making for some exciting moments. This makes the game flow much faster than others where you have to wait for the opponent to finish their own turn.

I also love the backstory and lore the developers are crafting, especially about the Sylith (seriously, go read about how intriguing they and their beliefs are). It gives you a real sense of why you’re playing, and makes you feel far more invested in your chosen faction than simply playing cards to attack an opponent each turn. I felt as though I was participating in the real plights of my faction.

I cannot wait for GalaCollider to become a commercial-ready product and have become a Kickstarter backer myself already. Getting that early beta access is too good to pass up on when I believe how good this game is potentially going to be. The deep strategy and rewarding gameplay makes this one exciting new release on the horizon. As I have said already, I believe GalaCollider could be a contender for a game of the year award. Nothing else has been this innovative in a long time. See you in the star fields of conflict and strife…

Did you enjoy this article? Like!  

Zac Phoenix
Author: Zac Phoenix View all posts by

Zac Phoenix graduated with First Class Honors in Philosophy, Religion and Ethics and has been playing strategy card games since childhood. He has a keen interest in the underlying mechanics and player interactions of trading card games, as well as tabletop game design in the digital space. He also designs card games in his spare time.

We Recommend

Bonus Featured Games