herbert west
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Well, I just got this expansion (mainly for the extra characters and the Cylon Fleet options).

Upon reading and digesting the Ionian Nebula option I really don't like the idea of player elimination. After 4 hours of gaming, I want to be part of the game right up to the end.

However, I really like the idea of populating Galactica with people from the series and each Ally card nicely abbreviates the character depicted.

So... This is my thinking on still using the ally characters but not using the elimination mechanic.

1. Remove the Disaster trauma tokens from the game.
2. At the start of the game draw three allies and put one random trauma token on each
3. You encounter the allies as per the rules but instead of placing one of your trauma tokens on the replacement ally you draw a new random replacement from the pool of unused tokens then return the token from the last ally encountered back to the pool of unused tokens.
4. There are an equal number of antagonistic and benevolent trauma tokens, so when you draw a token there should be a 50/50 chance that the ally will be antagonistic or benevolent.
5. A player can then decide to remove from the game either type of token from the pool in secret by using an Action. To do this a player draws three tokens then they MAY remove one of them from the game and return the other two to the token pool.(Exec order means performing this action twice and potentially, removing two tokens.)
6. There are fewer Cylons, and therefor fewer Cylon chances to perform an Action so the humans would be able to remove more tokens from the pool once cylon/s are revealed... So, to remedy this; when a revealed cylon uses their action to remove a token, they should be able to remove two of the three tokens from the game instead.

This Action could be called "Influence the Fleet" and is an action that can be taken by every player.

This way the pool of unused tokens represents the influence of human and Cylon activity on the population of Galactica because the draw will no longer be 50/50 good/bad. What a player removes would be a secret so would be another nice traitor mechanic.

This simple idea would not eliminate a player and add an element of control by individual players over how the allies are feeling no matter which side they're on.

It would not use the Crossroads cards either but I have Pegasus too and still use the Kobol objective.

I'm playing soon so you guy's and gal's thoughts would be massively appreciated...
 
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Kwijiboe
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Try the module as intended first. It's not a great module altogether, but the elimination mechanic is there for a reason.
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Yarr Man
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What he said. Try it out first as intended. Even if you get eliminated it will be in the end of the game. Like 20 minutes to 40 minutes left.
You know no-one would ever use "influence the fleet" as an action right? In a game where actions are already sparse you don't want to waste them on something so ridicilous.

What you can do though is to houserule it that the player eliminated can still win. Even though he can not participate in the game by playing cards he can still influence the game by talking. That's what we do anyway.
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herbert west
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I hear what you're saying. I'll try it as intended before I houserule it (if I even feel it needs it after I play it).

However, what you're saying about an action being too valuable to waste on "influencing the fleet" maybe it is but that's just a balancing issue. It could be a Movement Action or be triggered by whenever humans destroy a basestar (for the humans) and whenever a cylon boards galactica (for the cylons) for example.

These token removing triggers would, thematically, influence the crew in a positive and negative way making them more benevolent or antagonistic.

Elimination, I think, is a very bad idea in a game that has never had it before and takes a lot of investment of time and effort to play.

After ballancing the trigger or deciding on an appropriate way of token removal, what do you think about the core idea? what dou you think would be an appropriate trigger?
 
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Kwijiboe
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The thing about allies is they encourage players to play inefficiently by moving out of position to encounter allies.

If myself or another player is sitting on Command, that player should stay on command instead of moving to an ally in a less useful location.

However, with player elimination, the player may feel like he must play inefficiently so that s/he avoids elimination. Without the threat of elimination, visiting allies yields little benefit and can often be ignored if the allies end up on non useful locations such as Administration, Weapons Control, Press Room, etc. With elimination looming, players with more trauma than they can handle will move to those locations to offload trauma.

Without player elimination and the crossroads phase, allies and trauma do not belong in the game.
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herbert west
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That's a good point that I had not considered. I had not considered that moving somewhere, which put a player out of position, to encounter an ally would be a negative move. However, say you have an ally in the armoury with no cylon on the boarding part track. You don't have to go there as allies are an addition to the game not a necessity with my variant. the ally would just sit there until encountered. This would not detract from the game, it would just be a method of incorporating allies without elimination.

So, instead of using ally encounters to allow players to ditch trauma tokens, my variant proposes to have how the allies behave be affected by game events or actions. By all means, ignore allies on un-useful locations with this variant. This is not meant to replace how fundamentally the module alters the game but simply use the fun elements that it offers in a fair way whilst removing player elimination.

Indeed I would urge players, based upon your comments, to not go out of their way to encounter allies, just simply encounter them when they happen to be in a location where they need to be. The chances they are benevolent or antagonistic depends upon how the game's unfolded up to that point.
 
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Kwijiboe
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You're still not accounting for the dumping off of positive/negative trauma.

When humans visit allies in a normal IN setup, they will typically want to offload trauma that is harmful to themselves. When they shed that trauma onto an Ally, it will have a nasty effect to the next players that visit the next placed ally.

The same applies for Cylons. They will dump off positive trauma to avoid their elimination as well. Which results in positive effects.

With no elimination mechanics, players have no incentive to visit allies if they have negative trauma (if they are human) and no reason to play positive trauma (if they are Cylon). In fact, visiting allies and placing trauma may well telegraph the players loyalty that placed the trauma.

In Ionian Nebula, the intended result is that players placing positive/negative trauma that would have prevented their elimination thurt their own team as a result. (Since humans/cylons are put on trial/boxed if they are found to be carrying too much of the wrong type of trauma) Again, you need to try the module out as intended--you're dismissing mechanics you don't like without carefully taking the time to consider why that mechanic exists in the first place.
 
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herbert west
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I understand the IN rules and I've played BSG a lot and can see how the IN would play. for me, it takes scheduling and planning to arrange a game (as all my friends have jobs and commitments) so I would be hesitant to add the IN module if I know it won't sit well with my friends.

Ditch the idea that the the trauma tokens need to be dumped, at no point does a player in my variant collect tokens. I'm proposing to use the components supplied to create something different, thus allowing me to use the allies without a player being eliminated. Forget the motivations behind the IN module they don't apply here.

It's simply:
1. Remove the disaster tokens from the game then place 3 allies and place a random trauma token on each.
2. When encountered, reveal the ally's token and resolve their card.
3. Draw a replacement ally and place a new token from the pool of unused trauma tokens onto it then return the previous token to the pool.
4. Cylon and human player's actions or events that occur, allow them to remove tokens from the pool in secret - Cylons will want to remove benevolent ones and humans antagonistic.
5. The better the cylons or humans trigger this token removal from the pool, the more likely the allies are to swing good or bad when tokens are placed on them from the pool.
6. When all tokens are gone no more allies can be placed.
7. An ally may be on the board for the entire game and never be encountered and at no point do players keep hold of trauma tokens as there is no crossroads phase or elimination.

This could create interesting situations where the humans need to move to a space on the board with an ally but they know or suspect that a cylon's been removing tokens and that there's an increased chance that encountering this ally will be harmful.

hidden cylons will be able to read the ally cards and see if it's even worth trying to pursue the removal of benevolent tokens from the pool.

Your comments are helping me flesh my idea out even if you're not a fan.
What I need is suggestions for a fair trigger for the removal of tokens from the pool of unused tokens.

1. An action? Maybe, as suggested, too much of a waste of an action.
2. Discarding 6 points worth of skill cards on your turn?
3. Rolling a natural 8 on your turn? - this may favour pilots too much.
4. Triggers; like destroying a basestar (humans) or when pegasus or galactica's damaged (cylons).
 
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Kwijiboe
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mcdone wrote:
I understand the IN rules and I've played BSG a lot and can see how the IN would play. for me, it takes scheduling and planning to arrange a game (as all my friends have jobs and commitments) so I would be hesitant to add the IN module if I know it won't sit well with my friends.


What makes you think that using Allies sans Ionian Nebula will sit well with your friends?

Let me know what they think.

I think you should ask them to try Ionian Nebula--I think it adds intrigue and the elimination mechanic properly incentivizes players to selfishly dump trauma. The whole point of Ionian Nebula is selfish gameplay: yourself above your own team. If anything, the weak link here are the Crossroads cards and not the player elimination mechanic.

If the players are new or only have a few games under their belt, why on earth would you risk exposing them to Ionian Nebula or allies. Ionian Nebula is a very thematic experience, but it is incredibly clunky and has a very poor climax (the crossroad cards).

Throwing only allies onto your BSG game won't add to the experience. At worst, it will negatively impact it. In my opinion, it looks like you want to pump in as many BSG components as possible since you have such few opportunities to play it. Is it really that necessary to squeeze in allies into your game? You're risking creating a horrible gameplay experience for you and your friends.
 
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herbert west
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We have, as a group, played quite a few games over a couple of years and rarely do we play with new players. I only tend to include Pegasus, Sympathetic Cylon at sleeper agent phase with the kobol objective card and treachery... No New caprica, no conflicted loyalties and no cylon leaders. I will be playing with the Cylon Fleet option though. So I'm not "pumping" as many components as possible.

It's for that exact rearson that I want to include more modules, because we only really like and include one or, in the case of Pegasus, two of the modules. I therefor want to use more of what FF have supplied in the box.

The Ally cards are a really cool idea thematically and I understand better now what they're function is through speaking to you. Regardless, being eliminated is never fun when the game can continue for forty minutes (possibly) and as you stated, Crossroads is weak. So, keeping the elements that are cool and making them work could, at best, improve the game.
 
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Rodney Jacobson
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I really like allies and the Ionian Nebula as they are written. I'd say they are my favorite expansion.

I think the trick to making them work is for the group to accept that you don't share in your side's victory if you are eliminated. If you're able to get your group to play that way, eliminations will be very rare because people will play to manage their trauma instead of just focusing on making their team win and holding on to bad trauma.

Also I think it's best to not allow the player who placed trauma on an ally to make any comments at all about what trauma was placed, or whether that ally should be encountered.
 
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Joel Carson
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We were trying to find a way to include IN allies when not doing a full IN game too. We figured a simple way would be after the initial allies are set up when a new one is placed the player that made it appear draws two tokens and picks which one goes on the ally, then can "encourage" or "discourage" going to that ally. So, you may get the option you want them to be, or be forced into making a bad ally and get accused of being a cylon.

But, I'd also suggest doing the variant first as it was intended. It's pretty fun once you get used to the mechanic.
 
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herbert west
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@JCChrono... That's not a bad idea, I just wanted a side (cylon/human) to have some control over the ratio of positive and negative tokens in the pool of remaining tokens. This way when a token is drawn and placed on an ally, the player who placed it is under no suspicion because the pool biased.

The players affect the pool of tokens through their actions so it doesn't matter who drew and replaced a token. They have no choice what to place unless they're a revealed Cylon.

If, as you played used the ally cards and tokens, a player gets some choice in the matter, they may be forced into a situation where they are making it clear thet they are Cylon or Human. Removing tokens from the pool instead eliminates this and gives away nothing of the player's motives.
 
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Pieter
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You can play as you like, of course. Just know that the Ionian Nebula is a rather debated module (most players do not like it, but some do) and that the contribution of allies is not that great -- there is really no need to change the nature of trauma and the allies just so that you can play with allies but not get Crossroads. My suggestion would be to either play it as is (possibly removing the two splatter-tokens; they aren't that important), or don't play it at all.
 
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Joel Carson
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mcdone wrote:
@JCChrono... That's not a bad idea, I just wanted a side (cylon/human) to have some control over the ratio of positive and negative tokens in the pool of remaining tokens. This way when a token is drawn and placed on an ally, the player who placed it is under no suspicion because the pool biased.

The players affect the pool of tokens through their actions so it doesn't matter who drew and replaced a token. They have no choice what to place unless they're a revealed Cylon.

If, as you played used the ally cards and tokens, a player gets some choice in the matter, they may be forced into a situation where they are making it clear thet they are Cylon or Human. Removing tokens from the pool instead eliminates this and gives away nothing of the player's motives.


Ahh, see, I figure the tokens were supposed to add suspicion in general, so I like the idea of possible choice, not guaranteed. Making sure the player isn't 100% in control of the decision allows cylons to sabotage and claim he/she drew bad tokens, much like Roslin claiming to have two CAC cards to pick from or the Admiral claiming to draw two destinations of 1.

So, assume I'm a human. I want the blue token. Approximately 75% of the time I will get at least one blue when I draw two token randomly, but I could get the 25% chance of drawing two red and having to play against my team. I still say "don't go to that guy" of course, but no suspicion is on me. And there's not much I can do about it cause I would say you cannot show the other token you didn't use.

If would suspect that if you allowed players to pick and remove tokens, you'll be able to detect the motives of the player removing those tokens when you keep drawing two of the opposite color due to the higher odds. Plus, that's a lot of wasted turns on token management, and I'd accuse that person of being inefficient and probably a cylon.
 
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