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Battlestar Galactica: Exodus Expansion» Forums » Variants

Subject: Simple Change for Ionian Nebula Allies rss

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Matt Vollick
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One of the problems I've experienced through modding games, here on BGG, of the Ionian Nebula is the way players can communicate whether the token is benevolent or antagonistic. While it's possible to use strict rules, that basically forbid communication regarding the allies, I've thought up a quick solution that would alleviate much of the problems I'm observing.

Suggestion: When a player draws a new ally, they take the trauma token of their choice and a random trauma token from the pool, shuffle them up and place one of them with the new ally and return the other to the supply.

Example: So lets says I'm a human and I draw Tom Zarek as the new Ally. His Benevolent ability allows a player to trade 1 population for 1 of another resource, while his Antagonistic ability sends the player that encountered him to the brig.

As a human I don't really want other players going to the brig so I choose a benevolent token and a random token. Now if the number of each type of token in the supply is roughly even there is a 75% chance (or thereabouts) that Tom is benevolent and 25% chance he's antagonistic.

I think this change favours the Cylons, but I also think the extra uncertainty regarding loyalties would be a lot of fun as well.
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Joe Benavides
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Okay, I admit it, I've never played with the Nebula, but this problem was a major reason why. I might give this simple little solution a shot.
 
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Adria D
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We just don't let anyone say anything about allies.

Suggesting Command as the best course of action (with reasoning to back it up) is usually OK, but suggesting someone see Aaron Kelly is not. Generally when someone goes to see an ally because they could do X, we make a point of discussing plans in case the ally does the opposite (so we discuss two sets of plans, based on the ally's mood).

I don't know if I like the idea of randomizing trauma put on allies. Sure there's a 50% chance it's the trauma you placed on it, but it's still a lot more random than it is now and I don't know that I'd like that.
 
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bob dole
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Sounds like its worth testing.
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Mooseared Ferenczy
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I'm fine with beefing up cylons a little bit in IN given that most of the time they need to win before distance 8 or be eliminated. I'm willing to try it.
 
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ackmondual
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While I'd rather just make sur that ppl dont say tuings like "Saul is grumpy", this seems to be a concise solution thatll wotk
It has the bonus of more often injecting Disaster tokens onto allies rather than only through rare momentd like whrn an allygoes away and there are no cylons, or at the very beginning od the gamr.
 
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Pieter
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Vollick1979 wrote:
I think this change favours the Cylons, but I also think the extra uncertainty regarding loyalties would be a lot of fun as well.

Seems like a good change. Doesn't necessarily favor the Cylons, though. The humans are more likely to dump antagonistic trauma, and they now have a 25% chance that it turns into a benevolent trauma. It probably evens out in the end -- though of course Cylons are happy if the humans cannot communicate as effectively anymore.
 
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Paul Leigh
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We twisted the rules a little in our games to this.

1.Everytime a new ally is played we always draw a random new trauma token (rather than a player giving up one of their own trauma).

2.Any time a player encounters an ally, they must choose and reveal one of their own trauma tokens as well as the ally's token. The results on both trauma tokens (the player's and the ally's) determine the outcome of the meeting with the ally.

If both trauma tokens are benevolent, resolve the benevolent part of the ally card. 25% chance of this happening.

If both trauma tokens are antagonistic, resolve the antaganistic part of the ally card. 25% chance of this happening.

If the two tokens are different, the ally card is discarded without further effect. 50% chance of this happening.


3. Any time a player encounters an ally and they don't have any trauma tokens, simply flip the ally's trauma token to determine the effect. That token alone determines whether or not the effect is benevolent or antagonistic.

This variant means that you are better able to fend off unpleasant meetings with allies, but only by spending precious benevolent trauma tokens.

This variant worked really well for our games. I have not seen a problem with it yet so far.
 
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Matt Vollick
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Adria wrote:
We just don't let anyone say anything about allies.

Suggesting Command as the best course of action (with reasoning to back it up) is usually OK, but suggesting someone see Aaron Kelly is not. Generally when someone goes to see an ally because they could do X, we make a point of discussing plans in case the ally does the opposite (so we discuss two sets of plans, based on the ally's mood).

I don't know if I like the idea of randomizing trauma put on allies. Sure there's a 50% chance it's the trauma you placed on it, but it's still a lot more random than it is now and I don't know that I'd like that.


Not saying anything about allies will work, but then if you start discussing what to do if an ally is antagonistic, you can't force the player who placed him there to join in that discussion. Couldn't he/she say nothing?

completely realistic dialouge wrote:

Jim: So if Kelly is Benevolent we should do such and such.
Maximillien: Actually we should probably do this and this.
Jim: And if Kelly is Antagonistic we should do blah and blah.
Maximillien: ..............


I just find it hard to restrict what players can and can't infer to other players.

As for the math, it's about 75% likely the token will be the same as what you placed. Same odds as losing a Raptor on a scouting mission and people accept that risk all the time, without giving it a second thought.

I'll try it out the next game I run with the Ionian Nebula.
 
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Adria D
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Vollick1979 wrote:
Not saying anything about allies will work, but then if you start discussing what to do if an ally is antagonistic, you can't force the player who placed him there to join in that discussion. Couldn't he/she say nothing?

I just find it hard to restrict what players can and can't infer to other players.

It does occasionally happen that the person who placed the ally stays out of the discussion. Just like it occasionally happens that someone who has no strong opinion on what should happen on a given turn stays out of the discussion on whether a player should XO someone on Command or the CAG.

It also happens that the person who placed the ally is active in the conversation, suggesting contingencies for both the benevolent and antagonistic aspects of the ally. I'm OK with whatever the player in question chooses to do, as long as they don't outright say "he's good" or "he's bad".

The current player might read into suggestions of different locations from the player who placed the ally in question. Or they might consider the fact that the person who placed the ally on the first turn has since avoided them. We don't mind this sort of inference, but we don't like the obvious good mood/bad mood comments I've seen used in a lot of PBF games. There's already a lot of restricted information (ie details of a scouted crisis card) in the game; one more bit of restricted info isn't a big deal to us.
 
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Alasdair H
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Also being from Adria's playgroup, I've never found it too difficult to say something like "I placed Aaron Kelly, and I think going to Command is a good idea, because his good is fantastic here, and his bad doesn't really matter and we still get to use Command."

Or "I placed Aaron Kelly, and his good would be really great here, but we can't afford to take the damage, so unless you're sure that he's good, you should probably XO someone else to use Command."

It's not that hard to objectively weigh in based on the board if risking an ally is worth it or not. After all, if I look at a loyalty card, call them a Cylon, and we debate wasting cards to airlock them, I can't say what their reveal power is. But I can contribute to the discussion, and say "Well, she could push us back the jump track, lose morale, brig or damge, which would all be bad, but trechery sickbay or centurions don't matter. So, statistically speaking, we should probably kill her."
 
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Matt Vollick
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gathraawn wrote:
After all, if I look at a loyalty card, call them a Cylon, and we debate wasting cards to airlock them, I can't say what their reveal power is. But I can contribute to the discussion, and say "Well, she could push us back the jump track, lose morale, brig or damge, which would all be bad, but trechery sickbay or centurions don't matter. So, statistically speaking, we should probably kill her."


In this example of yours if they had Treachery, Sickbay or Centurion reveals would you still say that you should execute them?

Because I don't think I would, and I consider myself a fairly strict player when it comes to secrecy. If someone asked me if we should airlock the Cylon and they held a reveal I wasn't concerned about I would say no.
 
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Matt Vollick
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TheToaster wrote:
gathraawn wrote:
Also being from Adria's playgroup, I've never found it too difficult to say something like "I placed Aaron Kelly, and I think going to Command is a good idea, because his good is fantastic here, and his bad doesn't really matter and we still get to use Command."

Or "I placed Aaron Kelly, and his good would be really great here, but we can't afford to take the damage, so unless you're sure that he's good, you should probably XO someone else to use Command."

It's not that hard to objectively weigh in based on the board if risking an ally is worth it or not. After all, if I look at a loyalty card, call them a Cylon, and we debate wasting cards to airlock them, I can't say what their reveal power is. But I can contribute to the discussion, and say "Well, she could push us back the jump track, lose morale, brig or damge, which would all be bad, but trechery sickbay or centurions don't matter. So, statistically speaking, we should probably kill her."

We don't allow any talk like this in our games, we go for complete secrecy - the premise of the game is not knowing anything, and people who feel they have to hint at information they know just so they can win destroys the whole atmosphere -> fun.


I don't think complete secrecy is all that much fun either. Part of the fun is planning and discussing the options. If the player who played the trauma can't discuss plans then that probably hurts the team as much as having semi-randomized trauma tokens on the board.
 
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ackmondual
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Hmmm, OTOH, it does wreck some tactics you could've done with the old system, such as place a benevolent token on Saul, imply that it's antagonistic, and then later on brig someone for free while safely getting rid of an extra trauma token.
 
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Pieter
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Vollick1979 wrote:
I don't think complete secrecy is all that much fun either. Part of the fun is planning and discussing the options.

This is the crux. BSG is a social game. Without table talk, it remains a fairly inferior risk-taking/tactical game. The whole ally-business was badly thought out as it obstructs table talk. That's why Matt's proposal is a good one: you can say about an ally whatever you want, but if it turns out to be incorrect, it could have been the luck of the draw. Although, if you find a splatter token on the ally, the other one was definitely placed by the player... That makes it a bit harder again on the Cylons (you could leave the splatter tokens out, of course, they suck anyway).
 
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Matt Vollick
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TheToaster wrote:
Perhaps some middle ground as in the Final Five cards that execute people ("don't look at my loyalty cards") - allow someone to say I'd advise not looking at that Ally without hinting what the choice is, that way it could be helpful advice or toaster misinformation.
Admittedly we play for the treachery and bluff, all our games are random characters so there is no chance of picking favourite players or 'optimum teams'.


In the rules you are allowed to say if someone should visit an ally or not but the reason some players play with a more severe restriction is that it becomes quite easy to communicate the type of trauma on an ally and then you might as well play with the tokens turned up.

I just think the no communication restriction isn't much fun and knowing all the trauma isn't fun either.

Ackmondual did bring up some good points. Some tricks just aren't reliable with this version.
 
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