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Subject: CFB needed for beginners? rss

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yaagma yaagma
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As I've read in this forum I'm another victim of "no attack cards" game.
I know that this has been talked about before and there are mainly two solutions. But I'd like some advice of which of them fits better in this case.

I need a game to be played with different groups but all of them are formed by beginners. It's very difficult for me to get them to play board games. So when we get together to play, the game can't fail because perhaps they won't want to play board games again.

I had my first play of BSG this weekend with one of the groups and it was a failure. The few attack cards that appeared in the game were next to a jump or were discarded by the president. The pilots were bored and it extended to the rest of the players.
My friends said that the game was about making skill checks again and again. The game got better at the end when accusations increased.

So I have mixed feelings: we got our most long boring experience in boardgaming followed by a short very inmersive one (when I was discovered as Cylon ).

I don't know if this group of friends will give me another chance. In any case I don't know if i want to play again to a game which can provide so boring experiences randomly (or three attacks in a row).


I don't think that so many skill checks could be avoided (please tell me if some expansion adds more variety) but for the "no attacks/many attacks" problem the solutions proposed in this forums are:

1- The Pandemic-like distribution. A cheap solution but I assume that if it worked FFG would had added it in its FAQ/errata/expansions to avoid so many beginners bad experiences as found in this forum.
Any experiences with pandemic shuffling? Does it really work?

2- The Cyclon Fleet Board. It's a expensive solution because we are beginners and we really don't need the rest of the expansion. It also discards attack crisis cards, so skill checks will be more common. Perhaps I must assume that skill checks is something to be done almost every turn...
CFB seems the perfect solucion. Is it really so perfect?

So, in your experience, do you think BSG tension can really be "stabilized" and became what I'm looking for with any of this solutions?

Thanks
 
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Chris J Davis
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IMO, use the Pandemic distribution for beginners, as it's more fun. The Cylon Fleet Board is better for advanced players, but is too many rules and too hard to beat for beginners.

Also, I sometimes stack the loyalty deck if I'm playing with mostly beginners, to ensure that there is one Cylon pre-Sleeper and one Cylon post-Sleeper, otherwise it's possible for the game to either be completely boring or way too hard at the beginning.
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Taylor Bradley
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In my opinion, the CFB is an easy addition to games with new people because really only one person needs to really understand the ins and outs of the whole thing and they can run it for the group. It also makes attacks more regular. I have had games without the CFB where we drew almost no attack cards and others where we drawn three or four in a row. Thats just the nature of cards.

BSG does have potential to be really boring during the first phase of the game because there might not be any cylons at all so everyone is just passing skill check after skill check, but I would think that one suspicions grow and accusations start to fly that the excitement would really pick up. My group usually has a lot of fun with it because we are constantly making (usually baseless) accusations.

All in all, I think that the CFB is a great addition to the base game. It also give revealed cylons more choices for actions which are usually more fun than the originals.
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Carl Bussema
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The only problem with CFB is that if you game it by getting out a basestar (say from a destination or a lucky crisis draw), you can have the fleet sit over on the other board being mostly harmless all game... and if that happens, it won't go very far to convince the group that things are better

I would say to just "Pandemic" the attack cards as well... of course that can still be gamed by human Roslin and/or Boomer and/or good scouting, but you can't fix everything.
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Darren Nakamura
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Here's a totally untested solution that I just came up with just now. Perhaps some of the other veterans on here can weigh in to say if I'm not considering something about this.

Pull all of the Cylon Attack Cards out, shuffle them, and set them next to the Crisis deck as the CAC deck. Play as normal, drawing from the regular Crisis deck, until a jump is made. After each jump is made, the first two Crises should come from the regular Crisis deck, then the third Crisis after a jump should come from the CAC deck.

It makes things more predictable, for sure, but depending on the presence or absence of jump icons on the first two Crises after a jump, you could see an attack at the start of the track at worst, or at the Red - 2 spot at best.

If Roslin is third to go after a jump, she draws two from the CAC deck and chooses one. If Boomer is second to go after a jump, she Recons the CAC deck. This variant would make both of them less useful, but it may be a viable solution.

Perhaps to make it less predictable, you could roll the die before drawing a Crisis after a jump, where...
on the first Crisis after a jump, a 1-2 results in a CAC
on the second Crisis after a jump, a 1-4 results in a CAC
on the remaining Crises after a jump, a 1-6 results in a CAC

Though I don't know how you deal with Boomer's Recon with this. I suppose just have her look at the regular Crisis deck thought it may not be drawn until two turns later.
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Carl Bussema
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The die-roll variant is probably better (I would use "unmodified die roll") because it creates the possibility of OMG-pants-on-fire-we-got-three-attacks-in-a-row, which is something I miss about the game since adding CFB. You probably want a -2 modifier per attack crisis you've already drawn since jumping, so it's not SUPER likely. Possibly -3 and change the the last tier to 1-7 is a CAC.

I would just let Boomer recon deck of choice, and Roslin picks 1 of 2 from the correct deck (after die roll). Scouting goes to either deck. Starbuck's OPG forces a new die roll. Cylons using Caprica make the die roll and pick from the correct deck after seeing the die roll -- but they may always draw a non-CAC for either/both no matter what result they get.
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Darren Nakamura
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When I wrote that, I had actually intended for it to still be just one CAC per jump, but I could see keeping the possibility of a second (or third) one, but definitely with some negative modifiers. At that point, it becomes a bit complicated though, and it might just be worth learning to use the CFB!
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ackmondual
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FWIW, by the time some newbies joined in our BSG games, we were well into using the CFB. For one game, we tried it the "old fashioned way" with CAC (Cylon Attack Cards) and commented while they liked some of the things about them (special rules, uncertainty in some cases), they'd still prefer the CFB.
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Jayson Smith
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yaagma wrote:

1- The Pandemic-like distribution. A cheap solution but I assume that if it worked FFG would had added it in its FAQ/errata/expansions to avoid so many beginners bad experiences as found in this forum.
Any experiences with pandemic shuffling? Does it really work?


I've only played Pandemic once and was mostly lost -- what is meant by this? You stack the crisis deck in some way?
 
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Mindy G
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Stoffel wrote:
yaagma wrote:

1- The Pandemic-like distribution. A cheap solution but I assume that if it worked FFG would had added it in its FAQ/errata/expansions to avoid so many beginners bad experiences as found in this forum.
Any experiences with pandemic shuffling? Does it really work?


I've only played Pandemic once and was mostly lost -- what is meant by this? You stack the crisis deck in some way?


In Pandemic, you put one epidemic card into each of similar sized piles of regular cards and then shuffle each pile separately and stack them up. So you get a more even distribution of epidemics, but they can still come very close to each other if one got shuffled to the bottom of its pile and another to the top of its. So you could do a similar thing with the CACs, though I don't know how many people would decide to do.
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Robert Stewart
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For what it's worth, the Exodus core can be added fairly easily - the 0-strength skills are the most complicated core element, and execution is the only other new mechanic.

The Cylon Fleet Board works as a solution to the attack card problem, but it's designed to work with the Exodus core, so I'd be wary of playing it without the core.


The trouble is that skill checks are one of the core mechanics of the entire game, so if the group doesn't like them, it might not be the right game to try to get them playing...
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Mooseared Ferenczy
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The one time we tried Pandemic shuffling, the group decided to game the system by picking Roslin and Boomer in a 5player game. So they wound up finding most of the attack cards. Which begs the question why they would bother to play sans CFB if they are just going to remind everyone else why we like the CFB.
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ErikPeter Walker
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The game is about making skill checks again and again. If the humans are succeeding on every skill check, then the cylons aren't doing their job. If players are dreading skill checks, then it might not be the right game. Skill checks (and managing your cards as a resource) are the core mechanic of the game.

This is my recommendation: Drop a pair of low-value negative cards into one of the first few skill checks, whether or not you are a cylon. You'll be able to read people's reactions (making it a sem-reasonable strategy for a human player, not just a dick move), but also you will create an interesting dynamic. People won't know who to trust, accusations will fly, and everyone will enjoy themselves a bit more.
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yaagma yaagma
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bleached_lizard wrote:
Also, I sometimes stack the loyalty deck if I'm playing with mostly beginners, to ensure that there is one Cylon pre-Sleeper and one Cylon post-Sleeper, otherwise it's possible for the game to either be completely boring or way too hard at the beginning.

I like this idea. I'll do it next time
 
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yaagma yaagma
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InfoCynic wrote:
The only problem with CFB is that if you game it by getting out a basestar (say from a destination or a lucky crisis draw), you can have the fleet sit over on the other board being mostly harmless all game... and if that happens, it won't go very far to convince the group that things are better


Could you please explain this in more depth? I'm not sure if I understand it.

InfoCynic wrote:
I would say to just "Pandemic" the attack cards as well... of course that can still be gamed by human Roslin and/or Boomer and/or good scouting, but you can't fix everything.


Arghhh, it's true...
Thanks. I started this thread to collect facts like this.
 
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Chris J Davis
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yaagma wrote:
InfoCynic wrote:
The only problem with CFB is that if you game it by getting out a basestar (say from a destination or a lucky crisis draw), you can have the fleet sit over on the other board being mostly harmless all game... and if that happens, it won't go very far to convince the group that things are better


Could you please explain this in more depth? I'm not sure if I understand it.

InfoCynic wrote:
I would say to just "Pandemic" the attack cards as well... of course that can still be gamed by human Roslin and/or Boomer and/or good scouting, but you can't fix everything.


Arghhh, it's true...
Thanks. I started this thread to collect facts like this.


Yes, but beginner players won't know this.
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Robert Stewart
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yaagma wrote:
InfoCynic wrote:
The only problem with CFB is that if you game it by getting out a basestar (say from a destination or a lucky crisis draw), you can have the fleet sit over on the other board being mostly harmless all game... and if that happens, it won't go very far to convince the group that things are better


Could you please explain this in more depth? I'm not sure if I understand it.


With a basestar on the main game board, Cylon ship activations will never affect the Cylon Fleet Board. Keeping a single basestar around, particularly if you can knock out its weapons and/or hangars through damage, means you don't need to worry about any ships lurking on the CFB (at least not until next jump cycle) nor about placing more civilians nor about a build-up where you can't reach it.
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ackmondual
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rmsgrey wrote:
yaagma wrote:
InfoCynic wrote:
The only problem with CFB is that if you game it by getting out a basestar (say from a destination or a lucky crisis draw), you can have the fleet sit over on the other board being mostly harmless all game... and if that happens, it won't go very far to convince the group that things are better


Could you please explain this in more depth? I'm not sure if I understand it.


With a basestar on the main game board, Cylon ship activations will never affect the Cylon Fleet Board. Keeping a single basestar around, particularly if you can knock out its weapons and/or hangars through damage, means you don't need to worry about any ships lurking on the CFB (at least not until next jump cycle) nor about placing more civilians nor about a build-up where you can't reach it.
Now they know... so much for the intrigue laugh
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Cristiano Batista
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rmsgrey wrote:
With a basestar on the main game board, Cylon ship activations will never affect the Cylon Fleet Board. Keeping a single basestar around, particularly if you can knock out its weapons and/or hangars through damage, means you don't need to worry about any ships lurking on the CFB (at least not until next jump cycle) nor about placing more civilians nor about a build-up where you can't reach it.

Partialy true, but knocking hangars and/or hangars is not as effective as it may look at first.

According to the "Cylon Ship Activations Using the Cylon Fleet Option" section on page 12 of the Exodus rulebook, whenever the result of a cylon ship activation is "nothing happens" (as is the case when a basestar has its hangar or weapons disabled) then the activation have to be resolved as per the CFB optional rules.

In short: it does not prevent the addiction of new cylon ships to the CFB, nor the addiction of more civvies to the main board game, nor the advancement of the pursuit track.
 
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Carl Bussema
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Actually according to the UFAQ and its Rules Ninja master, who communicated with the Lords of FFG, a damaged basestar doing nothing is NOT THE SAME as "nothing happens" so you do not advance the pursuit track.

Edit: I take it back, sort of. I don't see that in the UFAQ, although I know that's a rule... now where was that ruling...

Re-edit: here it is: http://boardgamegeek.com/article/8370296#8370296
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Cristiano Batista
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Hi Carl

Thank you for your help, but I still do not agree. I'm sorry if I sound stubborn, but even knowing that it has being answered by Tim himself it is still in an unofficial FAQ and I do not follow so eagerly what this kind of source states if it does not follow the official rules logic.

Talking about logic, how can someone affirm that the outcome for a basestar doing nothing is something different then "nothing happens"? You just have to ask it to yourself to attest the absurdity of such an affirmation. (The result of opening a box is different than have an opened box?) And it really does not matter if Tim or the Lords of Kobol themselves assert it, it is simply and plainly senseless. Maybe Tim did not pondered enough about the consequences of his ruling on this, which is an open door for game breaking tactics like the one suggested by Robert.

Particularly I still prefer to stick with the official rule, the one in the rulebook, and it affirms two main things:

1. When players use the Cylon Fleet option, Cylon ship activations always have an effect;
2. When the rules indicate that “nothing happens,” (and my comprehension of "nothing happens" was already explained) resolve the activation according to the following rules. (Being the "following rules" the rules for cylon ships activation using the CFB option on page 13 of the Exodus rulebook)

The day we have an official rule for this, then I will humbly reconsider.
 
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Carl Bussema
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cristiano.batista wrote:
Hi Carl

Thank you for your help, but I still do not agree. I'm sorry if I sound stubborn, but even knowing that it has being answered by Tim himself it is still in an unofficial FAQ and I do not follow so eagerly what this kind of source states if it does not follow the official rules logic.


You can disagree all you want, but an answer from Tim is as official as it gets.

Here's the official logic then. I'll do this for activate raiders, and the rest is up to you to follow the parallel cases.

Exodus rules page 12-13, emphasis mine wrote:

When players use the Cylon Fleet option, Cylon ship activations always have an effect, even when the type of ship being activated is not on the main game board. Use the normal rules for Cylon ship activations as described on pages 22–24 of the core rulebook. However, when the rules indicate that "nothing happens," resolve the activation according to
the following rules

Activate Raiders: If there are no raiders or basestars on the main game board, place 1 raider on the Cylon Fleet game board, according to the placement rules below, and advance the Cylon pursuit marker one space on the Pursuit track



Base rules, page 22, emphasis mine wrote:

Activate Raiders
When activated, each Cylon raider carries out only one of the actions listed below, taking only the first action that it is able to perform (in numerical priority, with “Attack a Viper” taking the highest priority and “Attack Galactica” taking the lowest).
1. Attack a Viper: The raider attacks a viper in its space area. It attacks an unmanned viper if able; otherwise it attacks a piloted viper.
2. Destroy Civilian Ship: If there are no vipers in its area, the raider destroys one civilian ship in its area. The current player chooses a civilian ship in the area and flips it over. The resources listed on its face are lost, and the token is removed from the game.
3. Move: If there are no civilian ships in the area, the viper moves one space area towards the nearest civilian ship. If several civilian ships are equidistant, it moves clockwise around Galactica.
4. Attack Galactica: If there are no civilian ships on the game board, the raider attacks Galactica (see “Attacking” on page 24).

If there are no raiders on the game board when raiders are activated, two raiders are launched from each basestar. If there are no basestars in play, then nothing happens.



OK, the first thing to realize (and the crux of the argument) is that like everything else in BSG, the rules are LITERAL. "Nothing happens" is not shorthand for "no ships are placed/moved/etc." It is a specific condition outlined by the rules.

So let's see what happens when we have no raiders on board and a crippled basestar:

Exodus rule: "Use the normal rules..." OK, let's go do that...

Main rules: "For each raider..." does nothing, since there are none.
Main rules "If there are no raiders on the game board..." is true, so we proceed and "two raiders are launched from each basestar." This is something happening!
Main rules: "If there are no basestars in play..." is false so "nothing happens" does not happen!

Done with main rules, now back to Exodus...

Exodus rules: "when the rules indicate that "nothing happens," ... well, they didn't... but let's keep reading just in case... "If there are no raiders or basestars on the main game board..." is clearly false, so we can ignore the rest of that.

Feel free to write to FFG rules customer support yourself... in 6 months, when you get an answer (if you're lucky), you can come back here...

All that said, in your home games, feel free to play however the group agrees... just understand that this is the official rule, and no amount of wishing or arguing makes it not so.
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Cristiano Batista
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Awesome arguing! That's why I'm a big fan of you Carl.

Ok, I am convinced now but because you gave a good, splendid and logic explanation. Sorry but arguments like "an answer from Tim is as official as it gets" is not and will never be enough for me. Although I reached the comprehension through a different way than you, the result is the same. Your explanation is good, but with a little adjustment it can be bulletproof. For didactical reasons (and to prove that my interpretation of the rules apply) I'll rewrite the argument changing the premises a little:

P1. Exodus rule: "Use the normal rules..." OK, let's go do that...

P2. Main rules: "For each raider..." does nothing, since there are none.
P3. Main rules "If there are no raiders on the game board..." is true, so we proceed and "two raiders are launched from each basestar." This is something happening!
P4. There is a basestar in the game, but since its hangar is disabled, THEN "nothing happens".

Done with main rules, now back to Exodus...

P.5 Exodus rules: when the rules indicate that "nothing happens" resolve the activation according to the "Cylon Ship Activations Using the Cylon Fleet Option" rules that states that:
P.6 "If there are no raiders or basestars on the main game board, place 1 raider on the Cylon Fleet game board, according to the placement rules"


The conclusion is that since there is a basestar in the main game board then no ship shall be added to the CFB because it fails to fulfill the last premise condition.

InfoCynic wrote:
All that said, in your home games, feel free to play however the group agrees...


Fortunately to them, they not always agree with me. hehehehe
But that's ok, we do not struggle too much because of rules, and are very "democratic".

Thank you once again for your diligence!
 
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yaagma yaagma
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rmsgrey wrote:
The Cylon Fleet Board works as a solution to the attack card problem, but it's designed to work with the Exodus core, so I'd be wary of playing it without the core.


Thanks for the warning. I've read again the PDF rules and it's true that the core (skills with abilities and execuction) must be included with any module.
Anyway, after reading the rules again, hopefully this won't be a problem. The beginners wouldn't notice if the skill cards are new or not. And executions are not used with CFB (they seem only used with the other modules), are they?

rmsgrey wrote:

The trouble is that skill checks are one of the core mechanics of the entire game, so if the group doesn't like them, it might not be the right game to try to get them playing...

Yes, I realize that we must assume it.
But perhaps if in the next game there were attacks, skill checks would be one thing else to do instead of "the only" thing to do. I hope they will be more enjoyable then...
 
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yaagma wrote:
rmsgrey wrote:
The Cylon Fleet Board works as a solution to the attack card problem, but it's designed to work with the Exodus core, so I'd be wary of playing it without the core.


Thanks for the warning. I've read again the PDF rules and it's true that the core (skills with abilities and execuction) must be included with any module.
Anyway, after reading the rules again, hopefully this won't be a problem. The beginners wouldn't notice if the skill cards are new or not. And executions are not used with CFB (they seem only used with the other modules), are they?


I think one of the CAG chooses crises (which you must add) has an execution. Might be the super crisis. It's certainly unlikely enough that I think you could just explain executions the first time they come as a possibility during the game. I use that technique a lot, just mentioning that "execution does not mean you're out of the game, and we can deal with the exact details the first time it comes up."
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