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Tony's Stupidly Long Thoughts on Battlestar Galactica, Pt. 3: Exodus

Fat Tony
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Waterloo
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Nothing like family, friends and games...and music and beer...and pizza and bean dip...and actually having time to play games...
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Thanks to everyone who has read and chimed in on the first two installments in this series! If you're just joining us, I'm migrating my very-long-for-the-comments-section thoughts on the BSG series over to this blog, in order to make my collection easier to browse and get spark discussion with other BSG fans. This time, we're talking about the Exodus expansion.

First of all - obligatory:



As with all of the BSG expansions, there are several components here that I've only used with my PBF group, and not yet on the tabletop. My comments and observations:

New Characters: Overall, a better and more interesting selection than Pegasus, and less bloated than Daybreak. Cally is my favorite support character by far, Gaeta is long overdue and Tory is possibly the best President in the game (along with Daybreak Lee Adama). Still trying to figure out Anders: I can't imagine a situation in which I'd choose to play him. Star Player is a pretty cool ability, though.

New Skill cards: The 0-strength cards with their Skill Check effects seem to be primarily suited for making the Destiny deck a little more intriguing, rather than simply "will it be positive or negative?". If these cards turn up in people's hands, they're more likely to be discard fodder, but super-clever players (not me) will find ways to make them work for them in skill checks. The 6-strength cards are great, and I'm glad there's only one of each: when these cards get played for their text, it's an event! At first I was surprised that the Consequence mechanic is so little-used, but after a couple of games, I find that if it comes up even once or twice that's more than enough.

New Loyalty deck and Execution rules: In theory, the possibility of only one (or no) Cylon is kind of cool. In practice, though, it kind of sucks if you're the only Cylon (although I have won a game as a solo Cylon ). Still, I suppose this fix was necessary in order to keep people from abusing the Airlock.

Conflicted Loyalties: I've only used these in PBF games. They're amazing on paper, but like the original Cylon Leader rules, it's a base hit that should have been a home run. The Final Five cards seem to be more fun so far than the Personal Goals, which is the opposite of what I expected. If you own the Daybreak expansion, the Mutiny cards in that set do a great job of forcing the Humans to work against themselves and inadvertently sow discord, so I'd suggest using those instead.

Cylon Fleet Board: I've softened my original stance of "we will use this ALL THE TIME" quite a bit. It's still by far my favorite part of Exodus, and possibly my favorite BSG expansion element overall. For the humans, the Cylon ship threat becomes more constant and steady, but also more manageable (definitely better than waiting ages for a Cylon attack Crisis or getting 6 in a row!). And who doesn't want to be the CAG and/or fly a Mark VII? For the Cylons, the Basestar Bridge introduces more options and gives the Sympathizer more to do if he ends up on Team Cylon (if you're still using the Sympathizer, of course). And if you find having the Pegasus board helps out the Humans too much, the CFB will take care of that.

On the other hand, the CFB definitely adds to the complexity of the game, and the Cylon ships can add up to an overwhelming amount pretty quickly. And yes, it can also be "gamed" by clever players. After playing a couple of PBF games without the CFB, I found I didn't miss it as much as I thought I would. I still prefer to play with it, but I'm perfectly fine with leaving it out, if that's what the rest of the group wants to do.

Ionian Nebula: Again, only used in PBF. This module is for the hardcore fans of both the game and the TV series. In fact, I can't imagine using this with my face-to-face game group for a good long while. Very unpredictable and not for the faint of heart. I used to think that only 7 cards for the Crossroads phase was low, but considering we won't be using this module much, it's probably okay.

Given its modularity and how much I enjoy the Cylon Fleet board, along with 75% of the characters, I've decided this is my favorite BSG expansion, and probably the one I'd suggest new players buy first. Curious to hear what others think.
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