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Subject: The finest reveal ever rss

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Victor Lesperance
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What follows is a tale of one of the finest gaming experiences I have ever had.

Previously, I had played 4 games. I was enthralled at the thought of playing a cylon. So much so, that in 2 of those games, I played Baltar just to up the odds. In spite of all the suspicions, I had never had the joy of being a toaster.

This is the tale of game number 5, which changed everything.
Unable to resist the lure, I became Baltar once more. That drama queen Roslyn was nowhere to be found, so the fleet, in its infinite wisdom made me president. I vowed to hold true to my campaign promise of a concubine for myself and every pilot.

Alas, I was all too human. Always a Cylon's maid, never a Cylon.


A “promising” start

Turn 1 saw our water supply sabotaged. We had to pick between losing 1 food, or risking 2. With most hands nearly empty, and 2 cylons unaccounted for, I convinced people that we should save our skills for more pressing crises. Further, in my experience, food was far easier to control than other resources. My second priority, just slightly behind the aforementioned concubines, is that the food supply would be safe from now on. I promise!

These would soon ring out as the most glorious and tragic words ever spoken aloud.

Everyone chose to lose the 1 food. We had plenty.

Turn one would eventually be remembered as “that time before the soul rending darkness ripped hope from us like a butcher flaying meat from a carcass.”

For hours, people would sporadically muse, “Remember turn 1?” And others would sigh. Turn 1 had been a very good turn.

End of turn one. The food supply drops to 7.


Viper? I hardly knew her

Turn 2: Starbuck launches herself in a viper and holds position south. Seconds later, the cylons launch a tactical strike. A base star and 5 raiders appear on top of Starbuck. 2 vipers auto launch. 2 more are damaged. Only 2 remain in the bay. Worse, 3 civilian ships pull in close. There’s 4 ripe ships in the path of northern raiders.


Episode 5: The president strikes back

Turn 3: Some are amazed that Baltar made it 3 entire turns before reneging on the first of his campaign promises. To be fair, Baltar was the 3rd player. This was his first chance to act, and that act was to break his first promise. Instead of heading straight to the president’s office (since renamed RecRoom One), he left his concubines wanting, and ordered Starbuck (surrounded by 5 raiders) to reduce the toasters to so much burnt toast.

Starbuck fires twice and kills two.

Baltar: “A Ringy-dingy-dingy. A ringy-dingy-dingy. Everyone, THAT is the sound of my cylon detector going off. You can’t tell me she didn’t draw a single maximum firepower in 4 draws.”

Well, it can happen say some. It can, but it didn’t, says he. We’re on turn 3 and she just blew her turn and mine. She will get shot down before she gets another turn. She will only draw 1 card, of course, it won’t be a maximum fire power, but she’ll launch again and die again and we’re fracked.

In other news... It turns out that the G4 explosives have gone missing. On a failed vote, we will lose not only a food, but Boomer – our only other pilot – will go to the brig!!!

Everyone was of the opinion that this would be an easy vote (its only 7). I suggested that this will be the hardest vote ever. Most of us still haven’t had a turn (no hand refresh). There’s 8 raiders heading towards 5 civilian ships. Starbuck is sandbagging. Our only other pilot will get brigged. And our food is about to get pinged for the 2nd time in 3 turns. The cylons will be out in force on this vote.
It turns out we not only failed, but didn’t even get a positive number. One couldn’t help but notice the 5 point MAXIMUM FIREPOWER weighing against us.

Turn 3 draws to a close. One pilot is a cylon. The other is brigged. And our food drops to 6.


Did anyone order an admiral?

So, we are surrounded by 2 basestars. The admiral has the launch codes. The admiral’s name is Helo, and it turns out that neither he – nor his launch codes – have actually joined the fleet. But he does have to resolve a crisis. Of course, both base stars fire upon the Galactica. And, of course, both hit!

First hit is on.... FOOD!

We shuffle the token back into the pool.

The second hit is on... FOOD!

Turn 4 and our food has already dropped to 4.

Yes, we have managed to lose 4 food in only 4 turns.


Skip ahead a bit, brother…

That was a horrible first sector. 5 vipers were damaged; 3 civ ships destroyed – costing us yet more fuel and 4 population. Starbuck, of course, reveals on her 2nd turn.

She gets to damage 2 locations in Galactica.

The first hit is on ... FOOD!

The 2nd hit is on .... FOOD!

If FUBAR and SNAFU had had a love child, its name would be Sector One.

We check the rules to be safe, and yes, we made a mistake. The food counter is removed from the game once its drawn for the first time. So, we do a quick ret-con. We draw fuel, so its an easy ret-con from earlier. And Starbuck "merely" damages 2 locations now.

Food goes from TWO back up to FIVE, which isn't good, but seemed really, really good in comparison.

There was a point where 3 of our 4 dials were flirting with red and we hadn’t even left the first sector!!!
Then we jump a distance of 2 (Thanks, Helo, for finally joining the fleet. Enjoy the R&R? You should have a talk with your pilots. Adama would never have let things get this out-of-control...)

The next sector is pretty smooth. We even make a legendary discovery for a freebie distance 1. Then jump again for 2 without any real loss.
The distance is now 5 and...


The Sleeper has Awakened

Are you ready for the big reveal?

Baltar is still 100% human. Sorry for the mislead.

He even scores a bonus cylon detection, so I ping the admiral to be on the safe side, as well as Boomer, just playing the odds. I announce both to be human.

Further, after much mining of the president’s deck, I FINALLY score food rationing. On my next action, I can restore one to the oh-so-precious food supply.


What were the odds? Pretty good actually

Lets not forget about Starbuck. Halfway through this next jump cycle, Starbuck decides to hand Baltar her unrevealed cylon card. Sowing decent? Nope. It may have taken Baltar holding 1/3 of all of the loyalty cards to make it happen. But with 80% of the game over with, Baltar finally becomes


Cylon Baltar

And much like in the TV series, I think being a continual victim of circumstance guides Baltar’s every action.

My turn just happens to come next. And I just happen to draw a food shortage. President chooses: Lose 5 cards and a food, or 2 food. Here’s the problem. Admiral Helo is sitting next to me. And once per game he can usurp any choice. I don’t want to reveal myself and not even get the benefit.

Plus – darn it – If anyone catches on, I’ll lose my title and whoever gets it will discover the bonus food that I must now keep hidden in my hand forever. I’m really stuck!

C Baltar: “So what do people think…”

I hear a, “It seems obvious that our food is in danger.”

C Baltar: “Absolutely! I just wanted to be democratic. I agree: The food must be saved!”

Food is down to 4.


What were the odds? Quite low, actually

So, on the very next turn, Helo draws yet another food shortage! (This isn’t even a shuffling issue – we drew from different piles across the table). Damn. If it wasn’t for his moral superiority, I could have drained the food to 1 by now. Without hesitation...

C Baltar: “Helo, I hope I don’t upset you, but if food wasn’t a priority before, it is now. We’re both dumping our cards in the name of humanity. I hope you're OK making the same level of sacrifice that I am...”

Helo: "Of course, of course."

Moral superiority, my Cylon tuckus.

Now here’s where the story starts getting juicy.

My biggest critic chimes in, “Huh. And here I was assuming you were a cylon when Starbuck passed you her card.”

C Baltar: “If I was a cylon, I’d have to be the worst one ever. I could have just tanked 4 of our 5 food just now. And at distance 5, there’s no way we’d win.” (note the intentional “we”). “Clearly, Starbuck knows that the president controls the food choices, and he’s trying to put suspicion on me, hoping that the presidency might shift to the cylon, who could kill us. If I hadn’t been president for those two cards, we’d have probably just lost the game.”

My critic laughs at Starbuck and says, “You would do something like that.”

Here’s the funnier part. I’m doing everything possible to sell the fact that I just won the game for humanity. I can’t tell Starbuck that I only did it because I keep seeing Helo glancing at her character card every time a crisis reads “X chooses.”

Plus, Starbuck doesn’t know that I’m secretly tasked with guarding the bonus food that’s hidden in the president’s hand. So, I’m playing the most enthusiastic savior of mankind that anyone would dare to hope for.

So, I think Starbuck is starting to fume that I…keep….saving… the… G-d damned….food!

A couple turns later, we draw a water crisis! President chooses, lose cards or 1 food. Helo has me locked down. “Of course, I’ll save the food!”

Now, here I start some gamesmanship.

C Baltar: “I have to be honest, guys. I’ve just taken one for the team 3 times in a row now. I’ll keep doing it until we win. But I’m upset that I haven’t had cards to play for a while.”

Leave it to a kind-hearted human to say, “how about I XO you. You can leave the president’s office, and get some draws in the press room.”
“Thank you,” I said emphatically. Yes! I must never let anymore bonus food enter my hand. Must not blow cover.

A couple turns later, another water shortage. Again, I dump my hand. Again I save humanity from losing.

One player says, “Wow, I figured you had to be a Cylon with 4 loyalty cards. I actually assumed you were faking it. But I’m getting the impression that you’re the only one holding the fleet together right now.”

A couple turns later, the Admiral has the option of declaring martial law, and taking my presidency. Helo laughs. “You’re doing a far better job of keeping us alive than I ever could.” The admiral actually tosses cards so that Gaius Baltar – the cylon – and the only player unanimously voted as being human – could keep the presidency.

And Starbuck is getting really pissed. He tells me after the game that around this time, he's becoming convinced that I had misread the card he passed me!

He thought that I really thought I was still human. Ladies and Gentleman: That's called using your Acting!


Paradise Lost

I’m thinking time is still on our side. They are only distance 5 and every dial is in the red. Finally, they jump… and darn it to Cylon heck, they pull a distance 3. Now, I’ve got issues. I was counting on an entire extra jump sequence to make something happen.

In fact, with population 4, the humans are ready to speed jump and win early. I’m on a short leash. A couple turns pass, and….FOOD SHORTAGE!
I am so tempted. But Helo has me locked down. I must remain hidden. So many resources are low, that I just need to tank one critical vote when it comes. So, again, I do the human thing and only drop the food one point.

Fuel is 1
Food is 2
Pop. is 4
And my hand is finally full. Get ready, humanity, for the SPIKE!

A critical vote finally comes!

But every card in my hand is a positive vote!

Curses. Opportunity lost. Well played, human scum.

And, yes, couple turns later humans are about to win on the next jump icon.
But its Starbuck’s turn. And everyone is on edge.


"Tear down this wall!"

Starbuck decides to draw 2 crisis cards and play one. He places one down.

(dramatic pause)

Current player chooses….

He makes his choice. I’m not sure it even matters. I think Starbuck finally figured out what the problem was.

C Baltar: “I can’t believe he managed to screw us with only a turn to go. We’d be set if anyone else had chosen, but it had to say current player.”

(dramatic pause)

Helo: “Oh wait, I’ve got this power. I think I can override his choice?”

C Baltar: “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

Helo: (reads text to all) “The question is, is it worth using, or should I save it for worse?”

C Baltar: “We’re one turn from winning or losing. What could you possibly be saving it for?”

Helo: “You’re right.”

And so dropped the Helo morality wall.

Its now my turn, and the humans are one jump symbol from victory.


"Where's the Beef?"

I actually draw the 4th and final food shortage.

I’m still president. And president chooses: The fleet loses its last 2 food…

Or I dump my hand, we’re down to one food. And there’s our last jump symbol. That holier-than-thou Helo can FTL humanity to safety as soon as I end my turn.

But I’m not just Cylon Baltar... I'm


Evil Cylon Baltar

EC Baltar: “You won’t believe it,” I say dropping the card to the table. Everyone reads, momentarily concerned. Then I start laughing. “President chooses. And the choice is obvious, right?”

“Yes.”

“Yes!”

“Yes, you pick -1 food and we win on Helo’s turn, right?”

“Yes!”

“Ahem.” Starbuck clears her throat. “Am I understanding this right? All you have to do is pick -1 food and the HUMANS win?!?”

Oh, I’m not just Evil Cylon Baltar. I’m...


Extremely Evil Cylon Baltar

EEC Baltar: “Pfft. That’s the way I read it. You came close, Starbuck, but just couldn’t seal the deal.”

I move my hand over to the Food dial. “So say we all?”

The chorus shouts, “SO SAY WE ALL!!!”

I turn the dial, and everyone is filled with pure joy. They didn't even look at the dial, EEC Baltar was so above reproach. After that horrible, impossible start, they actually pulled it off!!! They’re giving high fives from across the table.

Amid the glee someone asks, “OK, so who was the final cylon?!?”

Looks. Amused confusion. A bit of nervous laughter.

Then Boomer finally glances at the board. “Dude. You moved the food to zero, it should be at one.”

(Dramatic pause)

Wait for it...

Wait for it...

“OH, YOU M****r F****r !!!"
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Star Fox
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Might want to check for correct spelling - you meant 'reneging'.
I havn't been that close to a racial slur since I tried to pronounce Admiral Hdnggrnchrg's name out loud
 
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Mel Primus
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Wow. I don't know if I could have waited so long to tank, but with Helo around, what other could there be? Well done.
 
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Janne
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Great one, congrats! Reminds me of one of my favourite plays.
 
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Sataranji
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This was a blast to read. Really great session report!
 
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Mike
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Nice report! I'm picturing all the human players high-fiving in slow motion while "We Are the Champions" plays in the background, until you move your hand away from the dial and RECORD SCRATCH
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Markus
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Well played! Reading this almost made me regret that I got rid of this game... but just almost...
 
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Victor Lesperance
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A few afterthoughts:

1) There's a rules question that we had, but tabled to keep the game moving. Can you pick an option that you can't pay for? Ex, the president can pick lose (2 food) or (5 cards and 1 food). If his hand is empty, can he still choose to lose only 1 food?

We house ruled no, just to get us through the session.


2) Given that, one of Baltar's (my) strategies back fired over and over. I kept getting people to XO me so they lost their turns and I'd get more powerful. My rationale: "What if another food based crisis hits, I need to be able to save us." I was trying to con them. But the joke was on me. We drew food crisis after food crisis after food crisis. Funny times!

3) I actually think that Starbuck turned me Cylon so late just to get back at me for blowing her cover on her very first turn. I think he figured that if he was going to lose, he would take me down with him. We just barely pulled this one out of the fire.
 
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Pasi Ojala
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You can always select an option unless there is a specific requirement. (Like for example: You can not select this option if you don't have any nukes left.)

So, yes, you can choose to lose 5 cards even when you have less or none.
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Logan Kyle
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Quote:
"First hit is on.... FOOD!
We shuffle the token back into the pool.
The second hit is on... FOOD!"


That could me a newbie question from me but why did you shuffle this damage token back to pool?
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Janne
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Laoghan wrote:
Quote:
"First hit is on.... FOOD!
We shuffle the token back into the pool.
The second hit is on... FOOD!"


That could me a newbie question from me but why did you shuffle this damage token back to pool?


From rulebook page 25:

Quote:
Lost Resource: When drawn, the fleet loses the listed resources. This token is then removed from the game.
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Victor Lesperance
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Why did we shuffle them back in? The short answer is that the rule book is 30 pages long and I had just read it for the first time the night before, so we got it wrong.

But yes, you are correct. Resource damage tokens are not to be re-drawn. But we are also noobs, and its not like the answer to that question is obvious or intuitive. For example, 6 of the 8 damage tokens ARE shuffled back in at first opportunity. But the rules special case out the other 2 tokens.

When something like this comes up, you can either take a quick vote and move the game along, or stop for what sometimes becomes a 15 minute rules search. I often only get one game night every couple of months, so I always opt to take our best guess, which is usually close or correct, and play while we can.

It turns out, I found the ruling a short time later during a game break, and so we ret-conned everything satisfactorily. We re-drew and got the fuel token, so the ret-con was trivial - food up one, fuel down one, remove both tokens. In fact, I left all that in the session report just so that if anyone else is confused on the issue, they could learn as we did.

We also made a mistake, as mentioned above, about making choices you couldn't pay for. A crisis states that the president chooses: Lose (2 food) or (1 food and 5 cards). Can you choose the latter option if you don't have 5 cards? Again, the answer isn't obvious. Different games would rule it different ways. If 2 minutes looking at the rules doesn't answer it, we take a best guess and move on.

We also got that one wrong. We ruled that it sounded like we were "gaming the game" if we made choices that we couldn't pay for. Oh well. A great time was had by all. The game didn't break. We'll try it the right way next time, now that we know.
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Pasi Ojala
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vlesperance wrote:
it sounded like we were "gaming the game" if we made choices that we couldn't pay for.

You can think about the difference between costs and consequencies. For example discarding a card to travel between ships is a cost, you have to be able to pay it. Roslin's weakness is a cost, she can't activate a location without paying for it. But losing cards as a result of a crisis is a consequence, and you fulfill it as much as you can. I hope this helps you connect the mechanism with the theme better. (It's like a pass effect may let someone out of the brig, but if there is no-one in the brig, are you allowed to Pass a crisis? Yes. You fulfill the consequence as much as you can.)

And you are exactly correct about mistakes. You are bound to make them when you are learning the game, and you should just rule it and continue the game, and check the 'correct' ruling afterwards, just as you have done.

Well, even we are still making a rules mistake every once in a while, because adding expansions adds more interactions.

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Michael Aldridge
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vlesperance wrote:
A crisis states that the president chooses: Lose (2 food) or (1 food and 5 cards). Can you choose the latter option if you don't have 5 cards?


Yes, you can. In case you haven't already found the rule on page 30:

"Choice Crises: When a player makes a choice on a Crisis Card, he can always choose the top or bottom section of the card, regardless of whether he will be able to fulfill the game text listed (unless the card specifically restricts this)."
 
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