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Battlestar Galactica: Exodus Expansion» Forums » Variants

Subject: Massive BSG campaign plan, need input rss

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Nathan Kinney
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BSG has been a hit at gaming group for over a year now, and we have quite a few people who play it regularly. I just got the Exodus expansion for Christmas and was think about making a campaign, and here's what I have to so. The issues I'm having are 1: concern on balance and 2: burn out on the end game events. Here's what I have so far:

Normal game rules for character selection and start of game.
The campaign will be divided into 4 games.
The loyalty deck is altered to fit three sleeper phases, but with normal cylon/human ratio. Personal goal cards will be used, Final Five cards won't be added until the last sleeper phase.
Pegasus and Exodus characters available at for selection, crisis cards mixed in, treachery available at start.
Pegasus, ally characters, and trauma tokens will be used part way through the game.
One person (me) will instead of playing be DM'ing the game.

Here's a rough guide of distance events:
Distance 3: DM's character 1 enters
Distance 6: Sleeper 1 Event
Distance 9: Kobol (end game 1)
Distance 12: Pegasus
Distance 15: Sleeper 2 Event
Distance 18: New Caprica (end game 2)
Distance 21: DM's character 2 enters
Distance 24: Sleeper 3 Event
Distance 27: Ionian Nebula (end game 3)
Distance 30: Special Event
Distance 33: DM's character 3 enters
Distance 36: Final Assault (end campaign)

Some of the events aren't tied down to any start time (i.e. Pegasus can happen between distance 11 and 14, based on a die roll). Also, the players don't know what will happen when, they only know something will happen roughly every three distance.

Here's what I have so far for events:

DM character 1: Unsuspecting Cylon
1-2: D'Anna: blocks use of location during cylon attacks
3-5: Doral: turn 2: suicide bomb
6-8: Cavil: turn 1: look at loyalty, turn 2: tell someone

Sleeper 1 Event: Military Resources
Assault on Cylons
- 1-4 +1 Morale
- 5-8 +2 Morale
- one basestar on the cylon fleet board is destroyed
Rescue Mission
- 1-4 +1 Population
- 5-8 +2 Population,
- +1 Morale
Scouting for food
- 1 +1 Food
- 2-5 +2 Food
- 6-8 +3 Food
Scouting for Fuel
- 1-3 +1 Fuel
- 4-7 +2 Fuel
- 8 +3 Fuel
Fuel Depot Assault
- +1 Fuel per -1 Viper risked
- risk results: 1 safe, 2-6 damaged, 7-8 destroyed
Military Unrest
- Admiral is sent to the brig
- all other players draw 1 Tactics, Politics & Leadership

Kobol Bonus: Scouting the Ruins
Religious Revelation: +2 Morale
Scavenging: +2 Food
Ready to Leave: +1 Fuel
Try to do everything: cylon attack, -1 Population

Pegasus jumps in, allies introduced
+1 Food, +1 Population +2 Morale, +3 Fuel

Sleeper 2 Event: Fleet Divided
Risky Mission
- players discard from one skill set, lowest dies
- one basestar on the cylon fleet board is destroyed
Civil War
- Galactica crew play Leadership and Piloting
- Pegasus crew play Tactics and Engineering
- Colonial One crew play Politics for either side
- the losing side's ship is destroyed
Assassination
- The two highest ranking players play leadership cards
- The loser is killed
Major Tragedy
- 3 civilian ships are drawn and destroyed
Cylon Distraction
- lose 2 distance
Mutiny
- The two highest ranking players are sent to the brig

New Caprica

DM character 2: Civil Unrest
1-2: Starbuck: turn 2: destroy a raptor, lose 1 morale
3-5: Tyrol: turn 1: brig someone, turn 2: nominate president
6-8: Gaeta: turn 1: airlock Baltar, turn 2: if fail airlock Admiral

Sleeper 3: Replace some 'Not a Cylon' with 'Final Five'.
Sleeper 3 Event: Rebuilding the Fleet

Personnel Changes
- CAG is replaced by next ranking player
- +2 Morale, 2 vipers repaired
Better Living Conditions
- all players in Sickbay gain an immediate movement
- +2 Morale
Harvest Extra Algae
- 1 basestar, 2 heavies, and 5 raiders are placed on the board
- 3 civilian ships and 4 vipers are placed on the board
- +5 Food
Hera's Hope
- DM enters as Caprica 6 w/ sympathetic agenda in brig
- +2 Morale

Ionian Nebula

Special Event: Mutiny & Rebellion
Not complete: Plan on using allies, Zarek, Gaeta, and the brig

DM character 3: Hope for Man
1-2: Lee Adama: Takes CAG title, plays the game for humans
3-5: Sharon Valeri: Plays for humans in Cylon Fleet
6-8: Romo Lampkin: Takes Presidency, spams Quorum Cards

Final Assault
Not complete: Plan on using choice tree, trauma, Final Five, and Cavil


That's pretty much it so far. Like I said balance is the biggest concern, but as campaign designer and DM I can alter it to keep it interesting as we go. Any criticism/ideas/thoughts are more than welcome.
 
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David Montgomery
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For Sleeper Event 2, Civil War, isn't losing Galactica basically a game ender. With no way to launch vipers or for that matter destroy centurions, place people in sickbay/brig how does the game even continue?

Also, losing Pegasus after only 3 distance seems rather silly.
 
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Mooseared Ferenczy
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So just looking over this, I noticed some problems. Namely in the resources for distance. Keep in mind that the standard 8/8/10/12 distribution is meant to barely last for 8 distance if it lasts. While you do give some resource bonuses, I am willing to place money that it will not be enough to last 36 distance plus an additional jump or if it does, everyone around the table will be talking about how lucky the humans are.
Also, are you sure 36 distance is even reachable with the destination deck? I am willing to guess so, but I am also willing to guess it will eat up all the 3s and still require a good few jumps.
And yeah, the distance 15 event is bizarre. It is hard to work within the rules of the game and doesn't make sense with the flavor of the show.
I have seen a couple of different variants of the idea you are trying to do. First, my group played a series of games over the summer where we went to Kobol, New Caprica and then the Ionian Nebula. We didn't originally plan on it, but we talked in retrospect about doing some things differently.
Secondly, there are a series of variant games on BGG called BSG Infinity which mashes all three destinations into one game (and have talked about adding in a fourth homebrew Colony destination and a cylon civil war in there also). Latest game with rules: http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/720732/bsg-pbf-v8-infinity-o...
 
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M. B. Downey
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Fuel depot assault should have the numbers reversed at the minimum, since players may want to use SPs.

36 distance is way, way, way too long. That game will never end. It should take what, 18 hours or so? You might actually run out of crisis cards.
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Nathan Kinney
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@ mathguy6189: in the event of a Pegasus victory it would replace Galactica as the main ship through the game, with some Galactica locations (brig, sickbay, admiral's quarters) now on Pegasus, and only taking the 4 Pegasus damage tokens to destroy.

@ j0frenzy: Yeah, I need to provide more bonuses, especially to fuel, but didn't fully comprehend how bad it was until your comments. As for the destination deck, this campaign is meant to be played in 4 games, at the start of each game the destination deck is reformed (or maybe just half-way through). Distance will be recorded at the end of each game. The distance 15 event is a little weird, but it is meant to highlight what could have happened if war between Pegasus and Galactica broke out, sort of a bunch of What If scenarios. Thanks for the PBF link, never checked that forum so it's good to have more reference material.

@ downeymb: good point on the Fuel Depot Assault, will make the change. As for the game length, see previous comments about it being 1 campaign of 4 separate games. As for the crisis deck, it is something I hadn't considered, but I don't think it's anything reshuffling can't solve.

*added bonus resources for Pegasus arrival in main post
 
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Pieter
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The big, big, BIG problem of this game is the Cylons. Hidden Cylons make a game of BSG. As soon as the Cylons are revealed, the quality of the experience drops considerably. This game will last long, and will have lost its most interesting aspect relatively early. I wouldn't be game for something like this.
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Nathan Kinney
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Flyboy Connor wrote:
The big, big, BIG problem of this game is the Cylons. Hidden Cylons make a game of BSG. As soon as the Cylons are revealed, the quality of the experience drops considerably. This game will last long, and will have lost its most interesting aspect relatively early. I wouldn't be game for something like this.


My thoughts are that with so many sleeper phases that cylon spacing should be adequate, but it is a concern.
Maybe some sort of modification with the personal goal cards will allow for increased suspicion throughout the game?
 
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Roberta Yang
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By my count, the most Fuel-efficient destination set to cover 36 distance is:

4 Tylium Planets (1 distance, +1 Fuel net apiece)
1 Cylon Refinery (2 distance, +1 Fuel net)
1 Gas Giant (1 distance, +1 Fuel net)
1 Cylon Ambush (3 distance, -1 Fuel net)
1 Ragnar Anchorage (1 distance, +0 Fuel net)
1 Gas Cloud (1 distance, +0 Fuel net)
12 2-Distance 1-Fuel Destinations (2 distance -1 Fuel net apiece)

Total Fuel loss: -7. And that's assuming absolutely perfect scouting, assuming lots of low-distance Destinations are chosen, ignores the fact that in such a long game the Fuel civvie and Fuel damage token have a very high probability of being hit at some point... Fuel's going to be almost exhausted even in this absolute best-case scenario.

Plus, this strategy to protect Fuel comes at the cost of the humans needing to survive a whopping 22 jump cycles (to be especially generous, we'll assume Legendary Discovery is passed, cut Ragnar Anchorage from the list, and say 21 instead... but then bump it back up to 22 again for New Caprica's extra jump cycle). 10 Morale is designed to be barely enough to last five jump cycles; you'd need about 40 Morale total to have a chance of surviving a game this long. And you are not going to have 40 Morale total in this game (especially since all those Inspirational Speeches are still one-use only, so they'll dry up very quickly).

Here's my advice: give up on trying to have a single 36-distance game. Just run four 8-distance games instead, each with a different endgame. This way, the game will actually have a chance of being balanced, the events will be more natural, loyalties and characters will change to stop people from getting too bored by the time Hour 12 of play rolls around, OPGs and detecting hidden Cylons will be a much larger part of the game, and it avoids the possibility of a potential anti-climax at Distance 29 rendering the last eleven hours of play entirely pointless.
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Nathan Kinney
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salty53 wrote:
By my count, the most Fuel-efficient destination set to cover 36 distance is:

4 Tylium Planets (1 distance, +1 Fuel net apiece)
1 Cylon Refinery (2 distance, +1 Fuel net)
1 Gas Giant (1 distance, +1 Fuel net)
1 Cylon Ambush (3 distance, -1 Fuel net)
1 Ragnar Anchorage (1 distance, +0 Fuel net)
1 Gas Cloud (1 distance, +0 Fuel net)
12 2-Distance 1-Fuel Destinations (2 distance -1 Fuel net apiece)

Total Fuel loss: -7. And that's assuming absolutely perfect scouting, assuming lots of low-distance Destinations are chosen, ignores the fact that in such a long game the Fuel civvie and Fuel damage token have a very high probability of being hit at some point... Fuel's going to be almost exhausted even in this absolute best-case scenario.

Plus, this strategy to protect Fuel comes at the cost of the humans needing to survive a whopping 22 jump cycles (to be especially generous, we'll assume Legendary Discovery is passed, cut Ragnar Anchorage from the list, and say 21 instead... but then bump it back up to 22 again for New Caprica's extra jump cycle). 10 Morale is designed to be barely enough to last five jump cycles; you'd need about 40 Morale total to have a chance of surviving a game this long. And you are not going to have 40 Morale total in this game (especially since all those Inspirational Speeches are still one-use only, so they'll dry up very quickly).

Here's my advice: give up on trying to have a single 36-distance game. Just run four 8-distance games instead, each with a different endgame. This way, the game will actually have a chance of being balanced, the events will be more natural, loyalties and characters will change to stop people from getting too bored by the time Hour 12 of play rolls around, OPGs and detecting hidden Cylons will be a much larger part of the game, and it avoids the possibility of a potential anti-climax at Distance 29 rendering the last eleven hours of play entirely pointless.


Wow, way to respond with positive criticism! /sarcasm. I'll itemize my responses:

- I know fuel will probably be the biggest issue, hence my inserting fuel bonus in all the event options. This should also reduce jump cycles.
- In my games Morale has rarely been hit that hard, but it is an issue that I didn't address quite so well in events. I will modify them to give them more morale-boosting effects.
- As I've noted before, this is a campaign made up of 4 9-distance games, not to be played all at the same time (probably every other week). I think this will give me a chance to fix balance between weeks and come up with ways to keep it interesting (as DM). As DM I would have the ability to reset OPG's and things of that nature.
- I've said before how having so many sleeper phases, along with personal goal cards, will keep the suspicion interesting (or at least interesting enough), but there is also the benefit of (odds are) fairly unencumbered human progress throughout the game. It will be much more co-op, allowing for the humans to set themselves up early for when things go in the toilet later.

In closing, I am going to at least try this to see if it can work, and I would appreciate support in my efforts. While a lot of people may not like the idea of quadrupling the game length by making it a campaign I think that myself and friends would find it an enjoyable experience if done right and take it as a personal challenge to attempt it. I appreciate the support I have received and welcome more as I would like to actually start this game next Friday.
 
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Pieter
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Of course, if you want to try this and your friends are enthusiastic, you should do it. But it sounds a bit to me like you are thinking "If BSG is a cool game for 3 hours, how much cooler would it be if it would last 12 hours". Games have an optimal length, and they get worse when they are shorter OR longer. BSG was designed as a 2-3.5 hour game, and even then I personally feel that after the 3-hour mark it is overstaying its welcome. So just be prepared to call it a day if your friends get bored after 4 or 5 hours.
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M. B. Downey
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Wouldn't four games at distance 8 make more sense than four games at distance 9? I am confused why you went the extra distance.
 
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You haven't actually used conflicted loyalties have you? They don't add as much suspicion as you seem to think. The thing that stands out here is that doing 36 distance(why not have it be 8 instead of 9 distance) is just going to drag on since the game stands out when Cylons are hidden. You might want to go look at the Long Road Variant; from waht I understand from that it doesn't go on for as long.
 
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Nathan Kinney
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9 instead of 8 distance per game is to have events spaced evenly at 3 distance, because I guess I'm OCD like that.

Also, something I failed to mention but I believe everyone correctly assumed is that the jump away at the end of each game WILL count as distance towards the target of the next game.

@ bob dole: you're right, I haven't actually played Exodus yet. This Friday will be the first time my group meets this year, so I plan on playing it then to see all the mechanics in action. I can fully understand why conflicted loyalties wouldn't be that big a deal in a single game, but I'm guessing that when you have cylons spread out through a longer game with the humans generally working like clockwork I can see someone getting antsy about having to achieve their goals as the goals would be per game and not over the whole campaign.
 
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Roberta Yang
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themyrmidon wrote:
Wow, way to respond with positive criticism! /sarcasm.

Ah, I see. I seem to have misinterpreted what it was you wanted to get out of this topic. My apologies, let me try again:

Your idea is absolutely perfect in every way and I see no flaws whatsoever because this is such a clever and well-designed plan.
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Gerry Smit
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Anyone remember Black Adder ? 4 series , related but not direct sequels, right?

I think if I were trying something like this, I would instead set it up as 4 games that are connected by a theme, and seem to flow in and thru one another. Each game is a separate game, and starts with full resources and ships. If Galactica is lost then pick a new name for the ship in later games.

Start with this as a foundation of what you'll be playing:

Game 1 Basic to Kobol
Game 2 Pegasus to New Caprica
Game 3 Exodus w/o Pegasus to Ionian Nebula
Game 4 Something to Earth

Crisis Decks:
- Game 1, normal Basic deck (record used crisis cards. Scouted and buried counts as used)
- Game 2, of the used crisis cards, randomly remove 20, then add the remainder and the Pegasus deck to the unused cards from Game 1
- Game 3, of the used in game 2 cards, randomly remove 30 then add the remainder and the Exodus cards back into the unused crisis deck.
- Game 4, etc.

Characters:
- Game 1, choose from Basic only.
- Game 2, remove characters of game 1, add Pegasus characters, choose from those.
- Game 3, remove characters of game 2, add Exodus characters. Add human game 1 characters. Choose from those.
- game 4. Remove characters of game 3, add human characters of game 2 back. add Optional characters, such as OH . choose from those.

* Optional Add in. Revealed Cylons from previous games can be played as "Cylon Leaders" in later games IF, and ONLY IF, you can create and agree on "cylon leader versions" of them. (or just relabel Leoben or something)


Allies:
- use them in games 1 & 3, inserting a cross roads phase when you arrive at Kobol in game 1.

CFB: Use it in Game 3. Remove attack cards from the deck that was built above. (Put them back in for game 4).

Personal Goals:
- add them right from the start. Remove them permanently from the campaign whenever revealed. (or at least "sit out the next game"

Final Five: add them to games 3 & 4. Remove them permanently from the campaign when revealed.

"You are a Cylon " cards.
- if revealed in a game, they "sit out" the next game.
- start with Basic in Game 1, add Pegasus in Game 2, & Exodus in Game 3.

Skill cards:
- Basic in Game 1
- Basic & Pegasus in Game 2
- Basic & Exodus in Game 3 (oops, forces Ellen to sit out Game 3, hmmm. Thematic!)
- all decks in Game 4.

Quorum Deck
- Basic in Game 1
- Basic & Pegasus in Game 2
- Basic & Exodus in 3
- all in game 4

Distance: used destinations are discarded from all later games
- Basic in game 1.
- add pegasus destinations in game 2
- add exodus destinations in game 3
- play with remainder and any homegrown optionals in game 4.

Boards:
Pegasus in Game 2 only.
CFB in Game 3, and maybe 4.

I must be missing something, just can't think of what.
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Nathan Kinney
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salty53 wrote:
themyrmidon wrote:
Wow, way to respond with positive criticism! /sarcasm.

Ah, I see. I seem to have misinterpreted what it was you wanted to get out of this topic. My apologies, let me try again:

Your idea is absolutely perfect in every way and I see no flaws whatsoever because this is such a clever and well-designed plan.


Your criticism was actually fine, but your tone was horrible. I get that most people don't think it'll work. I think it will, if done correctly. It's one thing to coddle someone, it's another to tell it straight from your first impressions, and it's another to open your mind to the possibility of success and use that as a point to build something.
*edit*: Salty, I apologize for taking offense. I just re-read it (the next day) and when I read it the first time I put way too much emphasis on the "give up" which led me to look at the whole thing in a negative light. Once again I'm sorry for my poor response.

@ GerryRailBaron: More division between games than in my plan, but it also works out to possibly be more thematic. I like a lot of what you've done here and will be considering mixing a lot of it in with my plan. I'll look at it in more depth tomorrow.
 
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Nathan Kinney
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Update: After playing w/ both expansions I can say that some changes will have to be made to the first part. The game was 7 players: one cylon leader, myself as the only cylon at the start of the game, and one player having a final five card. We also played without allies/trauma and with Pegasus. I was Boomer, others were Baltar, Helo, Apollo, Cally, Gaeta, and Caprica Six. Humans lost through destruction (both Pegasus and Galactica) at 3 distance w/ 1 on jump prep when 12 raiders attacked at once. I never revealed, used my OPG, or made any obvious cylon moves, but did spike skill checks, cause lots of confusion and was in the brig at the end of the game.

While the humans collectively made some bad mistakes it seemed to me that cylon fleet was way too powerful, and to play it without Pegasus would be a massive mistake. So now I'm thinking of doing a semi-orchestrated crisis deck for the first game and introducing cylon fleet at the same time as Pegasus.

Is this everyone's normal experience with the cylon fleet?
 
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M. B. Downey
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Humans need to learn how to use the CFB. You need to escort civilians, but you cannot escort all of them, or the Cylons will blow you up. You also cannot just leave Cylons behind when you jump, you need to destroy them so you do not get overwhelmed.

You took out the attack cards, right?
 
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Nathan Kinney
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Oh yeah, no attack cards. You probably hit the nail on the head when you said don't escort all the civvies, that appeared to be the group's priority. It also didn't help that this was a larger game and Helo, the Admiral, was stranded the first round and a half. Outside of firing one nuke and going all out on a heavy that was right by the hanger deck they really didn't attack the cylons, but even without that they had a hard enough time passing skill checks and resources were all barely still in the blue.

I think we're going to have to play again (with allies) before the campaign just so everyone has a better feel for exodus.
 
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Battlestar Galactica: Exodus Expansion » Forums » Variants
Re: Massive BSG campaign plan, need input
Session 1 Report

- Used orchestrated crisis deck following the plot of season 1 (this will be the only game with this)
- From the expansions: all characters, Treachery, escort civilians mechanic, cylon leaders, skill cards, 1 Mark VII Viper (Apollo's)
- Home rules: common sense death (airlock to execute w/o Pegasus, destroyed piloted vipers die), 5 BGG-made characters (Athena, Cottle, D'Anna, Kendra, and Lampkin)
- Personal goals used, no Final Five. Cylon leader gets Hostile agenda w/ 2 games to fulfill.

No cylons dealt in first loyalty phase. For my first DM phase I used Cavil to look at loyalty cards and (secretly and in character) tell players what other players cards were. I also had a skill hand and contributed to a check to brig a character and on my last turn did a check to make the suspicious Admiral the President, which passed. The chaos created by people not trusting me (they actually almost airlocked an NPC) added a lot to the game and really kept it from dragging.

No cylons dealt during the first sleeper either (against the odds), but someone screwed up a skill check so everyone's a bit paranoid. For the sleeper event they chose to attack the depot over scout for fuel (I didn't give them the option, just set up the scenario and followed them to it). I did reverse the rolls so Strategic Planning could be used, 2 Vipers made it, 2 were destroyed (extreme rolls), +4 Fuel.

At Kobol they decided to search the ruins for artifacts. Some were disappointed that they didn't get an ancient technology, but this is BSG and they were all fairly happy with the Morale.

Some really weird things happened this game. D'Anna risked infiltration on the first turn and actually used FTL control to force loss of 3 population (Genocide agenda). Cally eventually became President, Gaeta Admiral after Helo, and Helo and Anders just bouncing CAG back and forth. Anders entered the game when Athena died to a raider horde. Athena also had 2 personal goals causing a loss of 2 food. A centurian made it to the last safe space on the boarding track, and the next crisis would have put it in.

In the end the jump off Kobol put the fleet at 10 distance. Resources are 6 Fuel, 4 Food, 7 Morale, and 7 Population. There is a centurian at the start of the boarding track and the Armory is damaged. A lot of Vipers have been destroyed. The last destination card was Cylon Ambush.

Overall I'm very happy with how session 1 went, but the humans will need help with session 2. I'm going to up the bonus from Pegasus' arrival, including adding Vipers to the reserves. I'm also going to have to tame the sleeper 2 phase a bit and add a few more slightly favorable events for the humans.

I know it's only been one game, but I do believe that it is possible to do a BSG campaign, you just can't follow any set formula. There's too much variation and changes need to be made on the fly. You also need to know who you are playing with. I just wish everyone in our group had seen the show so we could get some role play on .
 
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Session 2 Report

As expected things got a little crazier this time. The game dragged as the humans started to plan more for the long haul. Because of this I decided to move New Caprica to the start of the next game. I've also decided to split the third and fourth games into 2 games each, increasing the duration of the campaign but decreasing the length of individual games.

As far as game balance goes the humans made it to New Cap but where bingo on fuel, Galactica was heavily damaged, and Pegasus was destroyed. Both cylons came out in the second sleeper phase, one revealed the other did not, and the cylon leader failed to meet the Genocide objective. Because of the fuel situation (0 after arrival on New Cap) we declared the cylons the winner of stretch one.

In the next game the cylon leader player will choose a human character, the cylon that revealed before the end will play a custom cylon leader version of their character (Cally), and the unrevealed cylon will choose a cylon leader. As players are given the option to reset their character anyone that does will also draw a new loyalty at the start of NC (there is also one sleep phase left).

I will say right now that I firmly believe a successful campaign is possible, but it requires large degrees in flexibility on the part of the DM. I'll be recording a game guide of my playthrough and upload it when the campaign is complete in case anyone else wants to try it.

We believe will do session 3 tonight.
 
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