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Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game – Exodus Expansion» Forums » Variants

Subject: House Rules to balance CFB rss

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Horatio Q
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My group plays BSG with all expansions (far more times than my profile says I've played - I only started counting this year). We really like the Cylon fleet board because the CACs are far too random. It also gives revealed Cylons something to do with their time. However, since using it, the game has become very heavily weighted in the Cylons' favour. Whatever way humans lose, it's usually got something to do with the majority of civilian ships being in play and several million light raiders making their way to the main game board. It also encourages a little bit of meta-gaming: "don't jump the fleet yet - wait until the pursuit track activates and then jump the fleet," which I don't like. So I'm thinking of implementing one or both of the two house rules below. I've tried to make them both thematic and both tradeoffs, and scupper-able by an unrevealed cylon. I think they'll add balance, but would be really interested in what you guys think.

Advanced FTL Navigation: Any time the fleet jumps, a single player may discard 5 strength in piloting to reduce the pursuit track by 1 position. If the player tops this up to 10 strength in piloting, she may also roll a die. On 6 or higher, the CAG may either reduce the pursuit track by 1, or activate two unmanned vipers.

Kobol's Last Gleaming: Action: Once per game (though not requiring a miracle token), if the pursuit track is higher than the jump prep track, the admiral may sacrifice a raptor (and spend the corresponding nuke token) to fire a nuke at an area on the CFB. The following roll table applies:
1-3: Destroy half light raiders or one heavy raider, or damage one basestar.
4-6: Destroy half light raiders and one heavy raider. Damage one basestar.
7: As 4-6, but damage two basestars or one basestar twice.
8: As 7, but destroy up to four light raiders in adjacent space areas.
All pilots in space areas are sent to sick bay. After the die roll, the CAG may destroy an assault raptor to increase or decrease the roll by 1.
 
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H-B-G
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This should be posted in the Variants forum
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Pasi Ojala
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Get the Imperial Assault Campaign module for Vassal from http://www.vassalengine.org/wiki/Module:Star_Wars:_Imperial_Assault
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How about a way to advance the pursuit track for the humans? Delaying it just makes it stronger in the end.

Also, Daybreak treachery is designed to work without CFB, so we're experimenting a diluted deck (about half of the Pegasus treachery mixed in) to keep Dradis Contacts and Baits from messing up the boards too badly, and it seems to work well. See 100 Plays of Battlestar Galactica for links to session reports. A few plays back there is a description, or ask me directly.

 
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M. B. Downey
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HoratioQ wrote:
However, since using it, the game has become very heavily weighted in the Cylons' favour. Whatever way humans lose, it's usually got something to do with the majority of civilian ships being in play and several million light raiders making their way to the main game board. It also encourages a little bit of meta-gaming: "don't jump the fleet yet - wait until the pursuit track activates and then jump the fleet," which I don't like.


Sounds more like you don't know how to play against the CFB than it being too strong. If you are using the CFB, you must change tactics.

The two most important things you need to do are escorting civilians and thinning out the raider population. Aggressively use the CAG title's extra action to do so. Don't jump just because the Cylon fleet jumped in, attack the raiders first. Use nukes with strategic planning and calculations to destroy entire sectors.

I don't like playing with the CFB because it turns the game into one of space combat; it is not strongly biased in the favor of Cylons. Unless you have two pre-sleeper Cylons abusing the board's actions, but if you have two pre-sleeper Cylons the humans are already acting disadvantaged.
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Kwijiboe
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downeymb wrote:
HoratioQ wrote:
However, since using it, the game has become very heavily weighted in the Cylons' favour. Whatever way humans lose, it's usually got something to do with the majority of civilian ships being in play and several million light raiders making their way to the main game board. It also encourages a little bit of meta-gaming: "don't jump the fleet yet - wait until the pursuit track activates and then jump the fleet," which I don't like.


Sounds more like you don't know how to play against the CFB than it being too strong. If you are using the CFB, you must change tactics.

The two most important things you need to do are escorting civilians and thinning out the raider population. Aggressively use the CAG title's extra action to do so. Don't jump just because the Cylon fleet jumped in, attack the raiders first. Use nukes with strategic planning and calculations to destroy entire sectors.

I don't like playing with the CFB because it turns the game into one of space combat; it is not strongly biased in the favor of Cylons. Unless you have two pre-sleeper Cylons abusing the board's actions, but if you have two pre-sleeper Cylons the humans are already acting disadvantaged.


I agree. The problem with OP is that the group is not changing up their tactics to combat the CFB.

The problem with CFB tactics is that they often feel cheesy and encourage breaking the fleet board's mechanics.

CFB-Star Galactica is really a completely different game in my opinion.
(For the Record, I think CAC is great with Daybreak only but becomes progressively worse when you mix in Pegasus/Exodus).
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Horatio Q
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I think you're both probably right. I suppose my group sees the CFB board as a positive for the reasons I said, but negative because of how it forces the change of play styles. I suppose that's what we're trying to adjust, as the CFB is great but it'd be nice if humans had a fair chance of winning, even if the team did not select: Helo, Apollo (alt), Starbuck, Boomer, Athena (as an extreme example).

Also, interesting idea about shuffling some Pegasus treachery in: it spreads out the 'place raiders' or 'place civvies' treachery cards, and (while not entirely relevant in this thread), stops 'shuffle two treachery into destiny' recursively making destiny consist almost entirely of treachery.

I put the idea of remote detonation to my group and they liked it, but had some concerns. To ensure that it happened in the game to remove what we see as a problem, it may be activated by the admiral or the CAG any time after the sleeper phase but at different costs: a nuke and a raptor to the admiral; an assault raptor and a visit to sickbay for the CAG. No die rolls, but a less powerful impact, so that we can play test it properly without too much randomness to see if it does actually give us the result we want. Also, I hope that the antagonism between the admiral and CAG (do they really care so much about spending their resources, or are is this a soft reveal?) will be in keeping with the theme of the game.

Once we've tried it a few times, I'll let you know how it works out.

Thanks for taking an interest
 
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Kwijiboe
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I think the purported houserule is devestating to Cylon players.

Again, I'm uncertain why your group seems to be having so much difficulty cleaning up raiders. Additionally, if you make it even easier to clean up raiders (off the board to boot) then you essentially have removed the entire challenge the CFB brings.

Keep in mind that Exodus is not trying to kill you via Morale/Food/Resource loss. The Exodus expansion seeks to kill you via the Galactica damage and Centurion Boarding conditions.

As mentioned previously, humans are having problems because they are using the wrong jump timing or are not trimming down the cylon fleet. In contrast to the base game, where killing Cylons is NEVER a priority, in Exodus, it is the TOP priority.

The houserule you are proposing in my opinion is only necessary if the group is jumping at the wrong time or is not trimming down the cylon fleet. Additionally, for some reason you have made the nukes become MORE effective when launched remotely which furthers the problem discussed previously: it incentivizes players to ignore cylons on the main game board and to jump prematurely. The problem, thus, becomes cyclical. Moreover, the proposed downsides to using the Action (loss of a raptor, CAG to sickbay) are not harmful to humans. Raptors are superfluous in Exodus setups and sending the CAG to sickbay is not a huge deal since they are the most XO'd player at the table anyway.

So, what it boils down to, is this:

Do you like the thrill of running from a pursuing fleet?
If so, play CAC. (For a better CAC experience, you want to have a trimmed down deck: which means removing expansion materials. In my opinion, base game or Daybreak, provide the BEST CAC experience.)

OR

Do you want to engage in thrilling space battles and kill everything?
If so, play CFB.

In my opinion, you and your group prefer the playstyle the CAC offers but prefer the predictability of the CFB. Unfortunately, due to the CFB's predictability: players have devised the best tactics to address the fleet board. The best tactics for CFB is outright aggression and the (almost) necessary addition of a backup pilot. In Exodus, the Galactica and its crew have the tools to fight the cylon fleet--yet your group is not managing the cylon fleet (which leads to your problem and your proposed workaround).

In non-Exodus setups, Galactica and its crew do not have the tools to fight and fighting cylon ships causes skill card fatigue. Skill card fatigue is important because in non-exodus setups, the game is trying to kill you via resource loss from Crisis Card pass/fails.

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HoratioQ wrote:
I think you're both probably right. I suppose my group sees the CFB board as a positive for the reasons I said, but negative because of how it forces the change of play styles. I suppose that's what we're trying to adjust, as the CFB is great but it'd be nice if humans had a fair chance of winning, even if the team did not select: Helo, Apollo (alt), Starbuck, Boomer, Athena (as an extreme example).


Pilots are more prominent with the CFB, but not THAT much more. Whenever you have a non-pilot character, the lack of red cards and to use the CAG ability to its fullest is balanced out by the fact that characters that do NOT draw red now draw more useful skill card colors and are now more effective on skill checks and other things.
 
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Kwijiboe
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http://boardgamegeek.com/thread/632064/human-strategy-guide-...

CFB Strategy by David F (selwyth).

Excellent submission by BGG user explaining CFB tactics. After multiple plays of Exodus, I came to many of the same conclusions.

In my opinion, Exodus' predictability limits the choices of players since the strategy outlined here is the best. Deviating from the strategy demonstrates a lack of understanding of CFB mechanics, or worse, hints at loyalty.
 
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Horatio Q
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Ok, so you were definitely right - we don't need to re-balance humans vs cylons with the CFB, we just need to play smarter (unfortunately the unrevealed cylon admiral nuked our clump of civilian ships straight after sleeper, instantly ending the game - the tactics are sound, we just didn't loyalty check in time). There are few threads about combining CAC with CFB - I think what we really want is to rebalance the experience so that CFB complements the original game rather than takes over. Thanks for the help!
 
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HoratioQ wrote:
I think what we really want is to rebalance the experience so that CFB complements the original game rather than takes over. Thanks for the help!


Unfortunately, not possible. The CFB (and the Exodus expansion) dominates the experience.

In my opinion, the less Exodus, the better.
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M. B. Downey
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HoratioQ wrote:
I think what we really want is to rebalance the experience so that CFB complements the original game rather than takes over. Thanks for the help!


The CFB changes BSG into a tactical space combat game. There is no avoiding this unless you want to achieve your original experience of the humans just getting blown the hell up after a few hours.
 
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You can do Pandemic style shuffling, but that can be meta gamed to. Otherwise, roll the dice with the CACs. There's hardly a perfect solution.
 
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If you are playing a new game and it seems unbalanced, 90% of the time it's because you have not figured it out yet rather than the design being at fault.
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