Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game

As many of you who closely follow my rants on the TV forums may know, I really hate the new BSG and think the plotting and overall story arc is a pile of shit.

However, I’d heard the board game based on it was good, and being how I enjoy co-op games I finally tonight was able to give it a try with 5 other people (4 of which had played before).

This really is one of the best co-op games I’ve played. Normally I find that co-op games devolve into one of two things:

  1. The best player masterminds everyone’s moves at the table, which is boring as hell for all involved (even the mastermind, who essentially at that point is playing a complicated version of solitaire).

  2. The game devolves into an slow mess of boredom. People don’t really pay much attention to what other players are doing and only bother with the game when it’s their turn.

BSG:TBG does not feel like this at all. The sleeper Cylon mechanic is a huge part of the this - it’s hard to put all your trust in any one player telling you what to do since they may not actually be on your side. Also, you need to pay close attention to who’s playing what as that might reveal clues as to who the Cylon traitor is.

This game works for me much better than Arkham Horror or Shadows or Camelot. I’m ordering a copy for myself asap (just $37 shipped free with Prime from Amazon!), and recommend other folks give this a try.

For a quick recap on our night’s game:

We had six players at the table - Starbuck, Zarek, Adama, Roslyn, Tigh, and Baltar (me). I was dealt the secret Cylon card at the start, which meant that I needed to ensure the destruction of everybody else… from the shadows. I had some good luck early on as several cylon attacks occurred in rapid succession, destroying a number of civilian ships and dropping the fleet’s population critically low (which had everybody scrambling, since if you population hits 0 it’s game over).

Being the only player who had picked a character that drew science/repair cards, I stalled and lied about my inability to repair our busted Vipers (Don’t worry guys, I can get to them next turn!). Finally it got to the point where Adama played an executive order on me, ordering me to use my repair cards. Like any good Cylon, I declined, jumped ship, and discarded all the repair cards I had been holding for good measure.

It turned out that after the Sleeper phase of the game (about halfway through), my buddy Tigh was actually a Cylon as well. Unfortunately, everybody thought Adama was the second Cylon so the rest of the crew threw him in the brig (which passed the admiralship of the fleet to Tigh… whoops!).

The guy playing Tigh was doing an excellent job of staying hidden - he pretty much played it super-helpful the entire game, only screwing everybody else in the last two turns of the game. Firstly, he used the admiral special power to secretly pick a really bad jump location that kept the humans from winning. Then, on the final turn, in what should have been an easy Crisis to avert he played his hand of negative points and sabotaged everything to failure, destroying the ship, and with it, the last hope for humanity.

So Cylons 1, Human 0.

I had a ton of fun playing a Cylon from the start. I had actually convinced everybody that I was human, enough that no one tried to be a backup repairman, and to the extent another player wasted their turn and an XO card on me thinking I would save the ship. I also had figured out that Tigh was the other Cylon, and did my best to play cards and make comments to sow mistrust in everybody else (it worked, during the course of the game Starbuck, Zarek, and Adama all were brigged at one point or another, each protesting (truthfully) innocence). There’s a level of interaction here that adds a whole other layer to this game.

Overall, good times. Give it a whirl. If you actually like BSG, all the better.

One of my group’s favorites. A great game.

My group has played this a lot, and we FINALLY won (as humans) for the first time last game. I cant wait to try the expansion.

I’m surprised at how popular this game is for PBE, too.

Also:

Can someone explain the Sympathizer to me? I’ve read the rules numerous times, but it seems that it’s just a “you are a gimped player” card.

That’s pretty much it. You become like a really crappy Cylon - no special action and no super crisis. There’s actually an official variant to not play with the Sympathizer that can be found here: http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/ffg_content/Battlestar_Galactica/BSG_optional_rules.pdf

What do you do once you’ve jumped ship?

How’s the weight? Arkham is too long and solid for my group. Caylus and Argicola are bordeline.

I like the game well enough, except that by the third time we played it, it wasn’t any fun to play as humans. Perhaps we’re bad or playing it wrong, but the humans have only once even come close to winning. The game basically becomes praying that you get the first cylon card, and if you don’t, biding your time and praying you get a cylon card in the second half.

Well from a glance at BGG it looks like they’re trying to come up ways to make it harder for the humans, so I’d say you suck ;)

It can go long, but there are ways of shortening the play time. It’s not as complex as Arkham or Agricola (I’ve never played Caylus), and much more fun, imo. More thematically unified than any of those games, as well.

It’s slighly lighter than Agricola, perhaps on par with Caylus. The game will last between 2 and 3.5 hours depending on your group’s playstyle (and anal-retentiveness) and familiarity with the rules.

The general consensus is that the game favors the human players. I’d tend to agree on that - it seemed like in our game we (the cylons) won primarily through the human players getting remarkably bad sets of crisis cards, and both my and the Tigh players ability to simply waste a ton of everyone’s time. There were probably 7 or 8 turns completely wasted by the human team putting each other in the brig (and then letting each other out of the brig).

You get a set of 4 special Cylon actions you can take during your turn which all amount to various ways to sabotage the humans, and can choose to “help” skill tests by adding 1 card to each (instead of adding as many as you want if you’re still “human”).

The way all skill tests work is that there are 5 different types of skill cards in the game - each can either be played as the special ability on the text on the card, or pitched in as part of a skill test (needed primarily to pass crisis). Each card has a number on it between 1 and 5 and a color. Each crisis will have 2 or 3 “good” colors on it - adding cards of the right colors count as positive points and the other colors as negative, so you can either help or hinder the success of each test by secretly putting in either good color or bad color cards.

So you were able to stay true to the actual plotlines of the show?

Can you start a mutiny?

This sounds like a fun game.

Yes, if the players put the admiral in the brig, then the rank goes to the next player in pre-set succession (Adama -> Tye -> Helo -> etc). Also, if the president is making questionable rulings and actions, any player can nominate a new player, who’s success is decided by skill cards like any crisis (not player votes). Unlike the Admiral, you can have an acting president in the brig.

How well does the game play with three players?

Boardgame Geek recommends four and says it’s best with five.

It really doesn’t play well with less then five.

BTW, if you’re looking for a good game for three players, I recommend checking out the BGG’s automated game suggester:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/geeklist/22619/item/445464#item445464

If I played board games I would try this one out as it sounds pretty cool. :thumbsup:

My experience with the game was with a full complement of 6 players. My board-game sense tells me that 5 would probably be perfect (6 was fine, but it took quite a long time for the turns to come around), although I could potentially see maybe a 4 player game work. I cannot really imagine this working all that well with less than 4 players.

Smartass. But yeah, that pretty much nails it. Ironically, Tigh wound up being our sleeper Cylon, and after throwing Starbuck in the brig to rot he basically took command of Galactica and lead it to its doom. And by doom I mean that the “Morale” resource hit 0, which I suppose means that everybody was like, “fuck this, I give up.” and then they all kill themselves or something.