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Subject: [WIP] Iron Game Designers - BSG: Express rss

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Chad Mestdagh
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I am no expert on the game, but wouldn't that create an infinate loop that would allow the cylon to just keep choosing the no jump action and therefore never let the players finnish the game?
 
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Evan Derrick
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radchad wrote:
I am no expert on the game, but wouldn't that create an infinate loop that would allow the cylon to just keep choosing the no jump action and therefore never let the players finnish the game?


No, there wouldn't be a loop since the humans roll the crisis dice on their own turns as well (ensuring that they can select jump symbols). The same thing happens in the regular Battlestar game - when a revealed Cylon player chooses a crisis card, even if that card has a jump symbol it is ignored.
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Sounds like a good plan. Any chance you can add a note about that to the board? We noticed that in the first game we played as well. Once we brigged the Cylon, she had no reason to reveal.
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Evan Derrick
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solclaim wrote:
Sounds like a good plan. Any chance you can add a note about that to the board? We noticed that in the first game we played as well. Once we brigged the Cylon, she had no reason to reveal.


At some point, once more playtests happen and the rules are more final, I'll probably create player screens and put a player aid on the backside of them with rules like this.
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Evan Derrick
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So, after printing out my components, I realized the jump and distance track markers and the Galactica damage markers are WAY too similar to the board section they're placed upon. They need to be a very different color (probably red) to stand out from the board.
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Clyde W
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Is that a Resistance fist..?
 
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Evan Derrick
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clydeiii wrote:
Is that a Resistance fist..?


No, not quite the same, although I'm guessing they may have found their fist the same way I found mine: running a google image search on 'raised fist.'
 
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Evan Derrick
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If anyone is interested, we are running a 5 player PBF game of this right now.

BSG: EXPRESS 1 - Roll the Dice
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Nate K
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derrickec wrote:
If anyone is interested, we are running a 5 player PBF game of this right now.

BSG: EXPRESS 1 - Roll the Dice


Neat idea! If I thought I could stay on top of something like that, I'd totally do it. Maybe sign me up as an alternate?
 
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Evan Derrick
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Will do, Nate. If this goes well I'm sure there will be further games in the future.
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If there is enough interest to run another one of these as a PBF, I would moderate one. Send me a geekmail if you are interested.

I'm also posting my group's response to the game here in a moment. We had a number of suggestions.

Posted my response to the game here.
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Grégory Guazzelli
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Working on the BSG Express Vassal Module

A screenshot Here : http://www.vassalfactory.org/forum/download/file.php?id=220&...

Regards,

Grégory
www.VassalFactory.org
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Joe Kundlak
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Ripshawd wrote:
If there is enough interest to run another one of these as a PBF, I would moderate one. Send me a geekmail if you are interested.

I'm also posting my group's response to the game here in a moment. We had a number of suggestions.

Posted my response to the game here.

PM sent!
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To post this again, I'm starting up a PBF game with some of the suggestions I've offered up. You can find the game here. We're still looking for 2 more players!
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Grégory Guazzelli
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Hi Mark,

I'm looking for a PBF Game to test my Vassal Game Module. I have designed this Module to be run by a Game Master who manage a PBF game.

The Module is nearly complete with a lot of automation ...

http://www.vassalfactory.org/forum/download/file.php?id=221&...

You can send me a private message to get it.

Regards,

Grégory
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Evan Derrick
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The following notes all come from

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which he posted in another thread. The comments were so good that I wanted to share them here as well. I imagine a number of these changes (especially the extra actions for humans to perform and the targeted consequences when Galactica is damaged) will make it into the final game.

Ripshawd wrote:
I've printed out a (very rudimentary) copy of this game to test it out and my group enjoys this version quite a bit. We were able to play 3 games, the first was mostly just to figure out the rules and the following 2 were quite fun. We did have a couple of observations that we'd like to share:

d10-1The first thing we noticed in all 3 games is that, at the beginning of the game, there are few actions for humans to take. We had one game where the first player shot down the starting 2 Raiders and the humans subsequently passed the next 5 Crises. That entire round, players passed on their action. There should always be some action available during your turn other than passing; it isn't much fun to wait for bad things to happen.

d10-2We also had a couple of turns where a player would start their turn demoralized and with only one die. There isn't a logical action to take at that point, since you will most likely fail (and trying to re-moralize yourself would probably end in someone else being demoralized). Again, the player was forced to pass.

d10-3A couple of players remarked that damaging Galactica was uneventful. Usually, you let Galactica soak up a few hits along the way, but you didn't need to worry much about it as it didn't affect the options players' had on their turns (like it does in the board game).

d10-4We also never brigged a single player in 3 games. Cylons either revealed as soon as possible or played too undercover for us to risk throwing someone in the Brig. As such, Roslin's ability is viewed as very weak in our group. Also, Adama was a favorite as he was always the Admiral (and never lost the Admiral title, except the one game he was a Cylon and revealed).

d10-5The biggest component from the board game that players felt was missing was Executive Orders; the 'trust' component of the game.


As such, we had the following suggestions:
d10-1The first was with Galactica: make each damage remove a possible action on a player's turn. Here are the locations we came up with:
Quote:
- Weapons Control: When damaged, you cannot Attack Raiders.
- Press Room: When damaged, you cannot Boost Morale.
- Admiral's Quarters: When damaged, you cannot Call a Vote.
- Hangar Deck: When damaged, you cannot repair other Galactica locations.
- Armory: When you pass in a skill check, you retrieve one fewer die.
- Engine Room: You cannot use the Jump Preparation action (explained later).

d10-2Give players a couple more options on their turn. The first being the above mentioned Jump Preparation action. The second being an Executive Order.
Quote:
Jump Preparation: The player may attempt to ensure the movement of the jump preparation track after the next crisis. To do so, the player must roll all of their active dice and submit a pair of them. If the pair is of a positive value, the next crisis roll is treated as if it had a Jump Icon.

Quote:
Executive Order: The player may choose another player to take an action. That player may take any action they could normally take on their turn (Character Abilities, Destroy Raiders, Repair Galactica, Boost Morale, Call a Vote, Reveal as a Cylon, Jump Preparation) or may instead retrieve 2 spent dice back to their active dice pool.

Executive Order now brings back in the trust component of the base game. If you are short on dice, or want to help someone else regain spent dice, you can trust them and give them your action. We also attached Adama's character ability to the Executive Order because we found it was by far the most common action Adama took; we wanted to spread that action around and make it more widely available. This way, if the humans are ahead (they have few or no matters to deal with as an action), they can continue to prepare for upcoming crisis events.

These two actions also always give a player a viable action on their turn.

d10-3I suggest the following changes to character abilities:
Quote:
Adama: (-1) dice on Crisis Skill Checks on Adama's turn count as 0-strength.

This mimics his one-per-turn ability of the base game. With the Executive Order action taking his current ability, he needed something new.
Quote:
Roslin: When Roslin attempts to Boost Morale, she may spend two dice instead of just one. If both are positive, she may remove two demoralized tokens.

The human's largest threat is Demoralization. Roslin can now help counteract that. It gives her more of a Presidential feel, as she can now give Inspirational Speeches much better than other players.
Quote:
Starbuck: Once on your turn, if you submit all or all but one of your active dice to a single skill check, immediately retrieve them.

This one is to take care of a small technicality that occurred. In two games, one of our Cylons had the Number Six Cylon card, and both times they removed a die from Starbuck. That renders her character ability very weak; she can’t take an action on her turn (as they all currently use dice) and still use her character ability. The suggestion was to only have it trigger when she spent all of her dice (not all or all but one). Either way would take some playtesting to see what felt correct.
Quote:
Cylon #2: ACTION: Reveal this card and, if not currently brigged, draw two Galactica damage tokens and play one.

A quick tweak with the new Galactica damage tokens.
Quote:
Cylon #4: ACTION: Reveal this card and, if not currently brigged, reduce the Jump Preparation track by 1.

Another idea someone suggested. It mimics a Cylon reveal power from Exodus.

d10-4The last suggestion was a change to the Crisis dice. Players felt there could be a bit more variety to the options on these dice; someone suggested using d8 dice instead of d6. Other Crisis events that were suggested:
Quote:
-The Current player places 2 of his active dice into his reserves. No check. No jump.
-The Admiral player places 2 of his active dice into his reserves. No check. No jump.
-A skill check that, if failed, places the current player into the Brig. No jump.
-A skill check that, if failed, places the Admiral in the Brig. No jump.

Adding more non-jump sides on the Crisis dice also balances out the addition of the Engine Room/Jump Preparation action.


This is just a list of thoughts… things my group will probably try in the future. We had a blast with this game – it’s a great design and holds true very well to the original game. I’m working on making a much nicer set (actually making dice, creating heavier duty pieces, etc.) and when I end up finishing it, I’ll throw some pictures up here on the Geek.
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Evan Derrick
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Also, here's a shot of the game printed out in all of it's glory.

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Evan Derrick
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After having played a number of games now (and currently involved in 2 PBF games of this), a few needed changes have become very clear.

1) The game may lean slightly towards the Cylon players, ESPECIALLY if both of them show up in the first round. A few more specific playtests are needed, but I suspect that Cylon players could come out of the gate swinging and almost guarantee success. Granted, very few people are ever going to actually play that way. The fun of being a Cylon is revealing at the proper moment. So the imbalance has that in its favor. Still, there probably need to be a few more 'helps' for the humans.

2) Players need more actions! At the beginning of the game, there's fairly little to do (although, to be fair, this is an issue that afflicts the main game as well). Ripshawd has come up with some good alternatives, namely:

- Players can guarantee a jump symbol on the next die
- Players can give one another executive orders

3) Damaging Galactica is a little boring. Ripshawd has suggested that each location be tied to a specific consequence, much like in the main game. His suggestions are above, and I like almost all of them.


The problem I'm having is introducing TOO MUCH since this is supposed to be an 'Express' game. I'd prefer to be stripping stuff out rather than adding it in, although the temptation to add more is certainly there. I'd appreciate feedback from people on this: does implementing the above suggestions seem like a good idea, or does the game feel as if it's becoming too unwieldy?

Another idea I'm toying with is introducing a '0' on some of the skill dice. This affects the probabilities in certain ways.

If a '0' is added to both the strong and weak skill dice (leaving only 3 negative numbers on each die), here are the chances a player will roll all negative numbers:

Quote:
With 4 dice: 6%
With 3 dice: 12%
With 2 dice: 25%
With 1 die: 50%


That means that negative dice will be added much more infrequently to skill checks, and that a Cylon player will probably, at best, only be able to toss in zeros to influence skill checks. Cylon players would have a much, much, much harder time to trash skill checks and remain incognito. This is probably WAY too imbalanced in the human's favor.

However, if only one type of skill die has a '0' on it, the probabilities of rolling all negative numbers look like this:

Quote:
With 4 dice: 11%
With 2 weak dice and 1 strong die: 22%
With 1 weak die and 2 strong dice: 16%
With 2 weak dice: 44%
With 2 strong dice: 25%
With 1 weak die and 1 strong die: 33%
With 1 weak die: 64%
With 1 strong die: 50%


This spread seems to favor the humans a little bit more and make it a little bit more difficult for Cylons to purposefully toss in negative numbers. I think this spread is worth trying out to see how it impacts gameplay.


Sorry for all my babbling! Just working through the design process on this, since this is my very first game design and I really have little clue as to what I'm doing.

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I like the ideas you're talking about. I'm not quite convinced on the 0, but it at least adds some variety.

As to your concerns on adding too much, I don't think you need to worry yet; you've got a ways to go before you lose the 'express' title.
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Tables
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Having been in the PBF1 game, one thing I noticed that seemed lacking is any kind of Presidential abilities. So my proposal is that the president has two Quorum dice they may roll as an action, and submit one.

Quote:
Dice A:
Blank
Blank
Blank
Presidential Speech
Unsavory Connections
Probation

Dice B:
Blank
Blank
Blank
Arrest Order
Resources for Galactica
Assign Mission Specialist

The president may, as an action, roll the Quorum dice and submit one. If a blank dice is submitted, the Quorum was unable to help and so there is no effect. The other 6 dice effects work as below:

Presidential Speech: The President regains 2 skill dice. Then, they roll and submit up to two dice. If they submit less than two, they reroll the remaining dice and submit dice such that two have been submitted in total (in other words, roll, submit some, reroll, submit some more so that you've submitted exactly two). If both of these are positive, the speech was a rousing succeess, choose one demoralised token and remove it. If that character is human, they regain all of the spent skill dice. If one dice is positive, the speech was medicore, and there is no effect. If both dice are negative, the speech was terrible - draw a demoralisation token.

Unsavory Connections: The president chooses one human who is not currently demoralised*, and puts their demoralised token into play. Then that character regains three spent skill dice. Then the president chooses any human with at least 1 spent skill die*, and that player regains two skill dice

*If possible. If not, then there is no effect from this point onwards.

Probation: Place this die in front of any other player. Any time after this player submits a dice into a check, the president may call probation on the player. They take their dice back and reroll, before submitting another one. Then return the Quorum die to the president.

Arrest Order: The President chooses any player not in the brig, and a skill check of difficulty 4 starts to brig them (just as if a vote had been called). The person being targetted may not submit dice into the check.

Resources for Galactica: The president immediately repairs any one location or removes one contact.

Assign Mission Specialist: Place this die in front of any other player. When the fleet jumps this player rolls two strong dice to determine the distance. Then return the Quorum die to the president.

If either the Probation and/or Assign Mission Specialist dice are in play when the President uses the Quorum action, they may leave them where they are and roll just one die, OR may reclaim these dice and roll both.

Finally a mechanic is needed for changing the presidency: Quite simply this is just calling a vote, much like brigging, but is difficulty 1 (or 2, possibly).

Also the presidential succession is the same as that in base BSG:

1) Roslin
2) Baltar
3) Apollo
4) Adama
5) Starbuck


I've tried to make sure the president can do some damage undercover if they're a cylon, while also keeping the quorum abilities generally stronger than corresponding actions, to encourage trust in the president being valuable.
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John "Omega" Williams
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Express games are not necessarily simplistic. Adding the proposed hit locations seems a good move and it adds a few more dynamics to the game without really making it more complicated overmuch.

Just my view on that.

derrickec wrote:

3) Damaging Galactica is a little boring. Ripshawd has suggested that each location be tied to a specific consequence, much like in the main game. His suggestions are above, and I like almost all of them.


The problem I'm having is introducing TOO MUCH since this is supposed to be an 'Express' game. I'd prefer to be stripping stuff out rather than adding it in, although the temptation to add more is certainly there. I'd appreciate feedback from people on this: does implementing the above suggestions seem like a good idea, or does the game feel as if it's becoming too unwieldy?
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Evan Derrick
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I Eat Tables wrote:
Having been in the PBF1 game, one thing I noticed that seemed lacking is any kind of Presidential abilities. So my proposal is that the president has two Quorum dice they may roll as an action, and submit one.


I like this idea a lot, actually. Would love to figure out a way to incorporate it without having to create another set of dice. Perhaps assign values to each of the Presidential powers, and then roll the skill dice to see which ones you can 'purchase.' I'll have to think about this some more.
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Joe Kundlak
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How about adding extra symbols to the Skill dice (one set for weak, one set for strong), so that the president can roll a w+s combination (from any player in the middle of the table) and get the powers, returning the dice to the pool?

As I recall it does not matter if you return a die to the center showing a different side, as it only signifies that that player contributed and cannot use is presently...
 
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Serjey Arnaut
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Great stuff! i've made my copy last tuesday and we had 2 - 3 games every day.
Core variant is good enough. So i'm requesting optional rules.

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Evan Derrick
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Glad you enjoyed it, Serjey! Do you have any other specific feedback from your group that you'd be able to share? I.e., what they really enjoyed, how close the games were, whether the humans or cylons won, if you were playing 3, 4, or 5 player games, etc.

I believe that specific Galactica locations are going to become a part of the official ruleset, as well as the extra player actions (Executive Decision and Jump Prep), but other than that the game will likely stay the same.

There are a lot of great ideas to expand this with (additional characters, additional Cylon cards, Presidential powers), but I think I'll wait to include those in an 'expansion' for the game.
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