Game: Planet Defenders
Designer: Wei-Min Ling
Published: Renegade Game Studios
Playtime: 30-60 Minutes
Play Type: Resource Management
The world is under attack from devious robots, set on stealing resources and taking over our colonized planets. Your job is to help guide the Planet Defenders to kill the robots and save the planet.
Players will take turns doing up to 2 main actions, and one bonus action per turn. When a player does a main action, they must pay a battery and then choose a corresponding Planet Defender to move. Players may only choose to move Planet Defenders that have a card facing up. They must move the robot the indicated number of spaces on the control panel. Once the Planet Defender lands, the player takes the action of the space they landed on. Most often this will give the player a set amount of energy cubes (used to defeat robots) or battery power (used to move). After this action is complete, the player may pay two more batteries to do this same action a second time.
The bonus actions that a player may do include either purchasing one technology card or defeating a robot. Technology cards provide various benefits to assist the player in defeating robots. They may make movement cheaper, provide the ability to swap energy cubes or provide a bonus depending on the planet type the player lands on. Defeating a robot is the main objective of the game and how the player scores points. Once two of the robot stacks are depleted the game is over. The players total their points. There are additional benefits from having robots complete a set of every color and from purchasing multiple technology cards.
Planet Defenders comes with several high quality components that make it have a nice table presence. The miniatures are very cute but also very solid. They are not fragile and are made of high quality plastic. The planet boards are made of thick cardboard. The cubes are vibrant and easy to distinguish on the board.
- Great components
- Easy to learn
- Interesting Strategy
- Lacks replayability
Planet Defenders has the benefit of being very easy to teach. It took me less than five minutes to explain game play to my husband. It is also quick and relatively easy to score, making it a great choice for a busy night. Mixing those traits with the eye-catching components makes this game a good entry level game. Players who are unfamiliar with modern board games would enjoy the components but not become too overwhelmed.
More seasoned players would enjoy the strategy behind the movements. Players must balance their resources to be able to get the energy needed to defeat robots. Batteries seem to deplete really fast in the game, so I always find myself questioning whether to get batteries and risk the robot I wanted being claimed first, or to wait and hope I don’t run out before I reach my goal. In addition, players must balance getting the energies they need and ending on the right space. Players are not able to take robots that they are not adjacent to. The planning behind these various actions makes it interesting.
While I enjoy Planet Defenders, I have to say I am not sure that it has the replayability that I would like it to. The planets do change position every game, and the technology cards are variable. Other than that the game feels pretty consistent each time played, with little change in strategy or play style. We will pull this one out after work some nights when we are feeling something light, but it does not stand out enough on our shelf compared to many of the other games we own. I would suggest it if you are looking for a light resource management though, as there is a good depth of strategy yet can be played in a very reasonable amount of time.