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Subject: To BSG, or not, and if so, with whom? rss

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Gunky Gamer
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[I looked back through the past 24 months of forum posts and could not find a thread specific to this topic. If it is there, please point me in the right direction].

I have had BSG sitting on my shelf since July 2012 and I think it is time for me to either play it or sell/trade it.

I loved the TV series. Both TV series, in fact, the first watched while lying on my parents' living room floor in the late 1970s and the more recent as an obsessive ritual via Netflix.

Here is the problem. The game frightens me. Not because of its rules or its gameplay, but rather because I can't figure out who to play it with. Do you find that people who have no experience or knowledge of the modern BSG show enjoy the game? What do people make of it? It seems like such a great game, but I'm worried that it is just so brilliantly thematic that it is too much of an insider's thing.

So what has been your experience? If I am wrong, and I would really like that to be the case, how do you draw people in and get them past the whole BSG-geekiness of the presentation? Has the game worked with folks who not only don't know BSG, but aren't particularly keen on sci-fi/fantasy in general (I'm not saying I would associate with such people or perhaps marry such a person. Let's call this a hypothetical scenario)?

Thanks!
 
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Go where the gamers are. Surprisingly, you won't find them at your local board game store.

That's where Magic happens.

Look on Meetup for local board game groups. Depending on their maturity level and catalogue, they may have experience with BSG.

Some players love it, whereas others have had their fill.

Personally, I'm able to play it two to three times a week if I want. There's a lot of good gaming groups where I live.
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Geekiness? Are there any games that are not? If you can get anyone to play any other game, you should be able to get them to play BSG. Knowledge of the show is not required, just this:

We made the Cylons, they rebelled and decimated us. Now we're running from them in any old spaceship we could get our hands on, trying to do our best just to survive and find a new home. (P.S. They can now look like us.)

(Best with 5, but 3 is ok for a test drive and to learn the mechanisms.)
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Gunky Gamer
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All good points, but let me clarify since I think I haven't been clear. I'm not looking for gaming groups. I already now who I would like to play with. I do my gaming with friends and family.

Hmm. That sounds a little judgmental or something. That's not what I mean. It is just that when I have free time, I am going to spend it with friends and family that I already have. Some game. Some don't. I've thrown lots of things at various combinations of friends/family and usually it works.

There's just something about BSG and its tight ties to a specific show that give me pause. I don't know. It feels very insider. I'm trying to figure out if my people will "get" the content or if lack of familiarity detracts from the game.

I don't know if I'm making myself any clearer. Sigh.
 
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Gunky Gamer
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a1bert wrote:

We made the Cylons, they rebelled and decimated us. Now we're running from them in any old spaceship we could get our hands on, trying to do our best just to survive and find a new home. (P.S. They can now look like us.)


Sheesh. Where were you a few years ago. I could have saved myself 60 hours of TV time
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Kwijiboe
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I understand.

I introduced the game to four of my law school friends, one of which quipped: "If I like this game, I won't admit to playing it outside of this group."

In other words, he thought it was dorky. Yet, in the end he enjoyed himself. Now, you, on the other hand, are playing with family and what I assume are close friends.

I think they'll enjoy themselves, the only problems I perceive are the inevitable rule hangups: thus, set up the game for yourself and prepare for every rule question possible.

Also, keep the rule overhead simple. Its a simple game at its core. Don't make your guests feel its too complicated. Explain the bare bones and do some sample turns. Then, start over and distribute loyalty.
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If they've played shorter whodunnit games before that involve lying and being undercover (Werewolf/Mafia, Bang!, The Resistance) and didn't hate it, they might be suitable.

They also need to be comfortable with (and even enjoy) reading tiny card text.

I think BSG in general transcends its theme. The show is still the only 'sci-fi' show I like (and exactly because it avoids the usual sci-fi tropes). It's possible for people who haven't seen the show to like the game (and even watch the show because of the game) if you look out for those 2 conditions above, among others.
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Gunky Gamer
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Thanks again.

Well, my friends already think I'm a dork. After all, that's what friends are for. That said, they'll indulge me. That's also what friends are for. As the gamer in chief amongst my people, I just feel an obligation to try and give them a good time and I think that is where my anxiety about the theme comes into it.

I've led them through other whodunnits, including all of the ones mentioned by selwyth in his post. I'm not particularly concerned about rule hangups or even complexity. Frankly, the game doesn't seem all that hard. I've taught all my available gamers most everything they know about games so far.

I'm not even worried about backstabbing--that is a particular favorite genre of mine and I have plenty of it in my collection (I still sucker people into playing Diplomacy. I have a couple of friends, now scattered around the country, but with whom I've been playing it since the mid-80s. Unfortunately they are not readily available for BSG or I'd be set).

My hangup is entirely about theme and backstory and I'm already starting to feel a little silly now that I've brought it up here.
 
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As far as finding players...



esirof wrote:
[I looked back through the past 24 months of forum posts and could not find a thread specific to this topic. If it is there, please point me in the right direction].

I have had BSG sitting on my shelf since July 2012 and I think it is time for me to either play it or sell/trade it.
My copy's still back on the east coast. I'm debating whether or not to have it shipped to me at my expense (probably be with other games to save some $$ there), but currently in the "no" side of the fence. Another issue is I'm kind of in a remote area where while I do have some gaming options, they're relatively lousy, and far inferior then the last few regions I've inhabited. If you can afford to go without the $$ it'd bring in and have the space for it, I would consider holding on to it a bit longer until you can "get your bearings more straight".

esirof wrote:
Here is the problem. The game frightens me. Not because of its rules or its gameplay, but rather because I can't figure out who to play it with. Do you find that people who have no experience or knowledge of the modern BSG show enjoy the game?

A minority of people would've stood to be better off watching the TV series first. They're the exception than the norm, and there isn't really any reliable way to know who those'll be ahead of time. Otherwise, look for people who are "gamers". Specifically...
-can handle a 3 to 4 hour game (e.g. NOT people who say "let's play one of our games. All of your games take over an hour to play!")
-can grasp medium level rules (NOT folks who think Ticket To Ride, Kingsburg, or Stone Age is complicated)
-are able to handle for the most part, games with deception, bluffing, backstabbing (folks who take these things too personally, especially risky if they're family, close friends, or people you need to work with)
-Can grasp basic sci-fi concepts.

Speaking of which, they may not know what a cylon or FTL jump is, but you can explain that to them and they'll have a thematic link to what's going on when you jump. Explain the bits as necessary.. viper vs. raider, bs, etc. Briefly cover the backstory... Galactica is the only armed vessel left in the Colonial Fleet. Everything else are civilian ships. And just how dire the situation is as you all start the game. From a US perspective, it's like Pearl Harbor, except unlike Pearl Harbor taking casualties and damage, Pearl Harbor is the only thing left in the entire US that's still left. wow

esirof wrote:
What do people make of it? It seems like such a great game, but I'm worried that it is just so brilliantly thematic that it is too much of an insider's thing.
As mentioned above, there are a select minority (and I hate to use the word, but work with me and let's call them "weirdos") who work much better knowing the source material first (*cough* explain the backstory), or even in high detail. They want to know how the movie/show pans out to relate to the game (even though such games aren't THAT thematic), or perhaps to avoid certain spoilers.

Otherwise, it works out just fine, and if taught correctly, it gets people to watch the show now. If you've played euros and ameritrash games before, just think back to how knowing the basic idea of the game was enough. You didn't need to know the history of the world, WWII, the tulip crash of 1641 to actually be able to play any of those related games.

Case in point... even though I saw BSG long before I played it (3 months before the general public, thank you someone in our gaming group that got it at Gen Con!), I tried A Game Of Thrones without watching the TV show nor reading the book, and I still had fun. Sure, some of the players could role play, and they noticed ties like "oh yeah, just like the show, Greyjoy is often attacking hollicaster or Westville" (I still don't know the names of the factions ), but I was still able to play the game just fine... well, from a rules perspective anyways.

esirof wrote:
So what has been your experience? If I am wrong, and I would really like that to be the case, how do you draw people in and get them past the whole BSG-geekiness of the presentation?
see previous paragraphs about knowing the ahead of time.

In terms of geekiness, it couldn't be worse then the idea of playing modern board games itself. Tell them it's a 3 hour, semi-coop game with a traitor element based on the hit TV show.

esirof wrote:
Has the game worked with folks who not only don't know BSG, but aren't particularly keen on sci-fi/fantasy in general (I'm not saying I would associate with such people or perhaps marry such a person. Let's call this a hypothetical scenario)?

Thanks!
It can definitely work with non-sci-fi folks. If it doesn't it can be because they're just not into sci-fi anyways, or bitter how they even bothered to reimage it. Or very disappointed about the way the series ended.
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Gunky Gamer
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Thanks for all the well considered responses. I'm starting to wonder if I've just been letting the grim faces on the box scare me.

In fact, I suspect that I am letting myself get more hung up on the theme than my players will be. Having read your replies, I think that the key is to give them just enough background to give them motivation and purpose.

Alright, I've decided. BSG stays and I'm giving myself two weeks to get it on the table.

So say we all! Or, me all!

PS. I wish I'd held on to my BSG toys from when I was a kid. That'd help set the mood just right.

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Good hunting! And be sure to share your knowledge and love of the show when interesting cards or situations come up, emphasizing the "we're on the run yet can't avoid tearing ourselves apart" motif and less on pew-pew space battles. It might help supplement the context initiated by a1bert above. In your shoes, I'd count it a resounding success if I can pique one person's interest in checking out the show!
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ackmondual wrote:
Or very disappointed about the way the series ended.


Now why would anyone be disappointed with how the series ended? whistle

I played BSG long before I watched the show so I'm proof that you can have little knowledge of the series and still enjoy the game.

A game like BSG looks intimidating, but has really simple rules. If you can teach people that there are only four parts of a turn: Draw, Movement, Action, Crisis and can teach players mainly the rules sets relevant to their characters then you can start to fumble your way through a game in no time. For example, teach space combat to the pilots. If the president doesn't comprehend space combat then have them watch and learn during play.

I would pretty much go as far as to say that anyone who you've been able to teach a few boardgames to can play and enjoy the game. The only people I've played with that did not enjoy the game were either Sleeper Phase Cylons or were soured by previously trying BSG at three players (where a lot of the paranoia gets washed out by making it really easy to find the Cylon).

I would suggest grabbing your gaming group and have a go at the game. If you've been turning your friends into gamers already then this will not be difficult for them to pick up.
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Now if you play games with these friends and family, and you love the show, and want to try the game....

what the heck is stopping you?!

The game is basically a traitor game mixed into a simulation of the human flight from the aftermath of the cylon attack. Explain that, how to win/lose, the basic turn structure (draw, move, action, crisis), how to resolve crisis cards/skill checks and how to reveal, and you should be off to the races.

gl!
 
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esirof wrote:
All good points, but let me clarify since I think I haven't been clear. I'm not looking for gaming groups. I already now who I would like to play with. I do my gaming with friends and family.

Hmm. That sounds a little judgmental or something. That's not what I mean. It is just that when I have free time, I am going to spend it with friends and family that I already have. Some game. Some don't. I've thrown lots of things at various combinations of friends/family and usually it works.

There's just something about BSG and its tight ties to a specific show that give me pause. I don't know. It feels very insider. I'm trying to figure out if my people will "get" the content or if lack of familiarity detracts from the game.

I don't know if I'm making myself any clearer. Sigh.


Perhaps the people you game are different than mine, but I'd say 1/3 of the non-gamers who sit down at the table to game with our groups find out they don't really like gaming or at least not that particular board game. I learned pretty quickly that if I wanted to have these non-gamers give board gaming with another game a shot, I had to bring to the table games that were less than 2 hours in length.

With BSG running in at least 2.5 hours for a first play, I'd be terrified at asking non-gamers to try it out unless they were hardcore sci-fi nerds.

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JimbobJones wrote:
The problem is the length. If they are total non-gamers, it may just be too long. I'd start with something lighter (Ticket to Ride is almost always a great gateway game).
I'd like to hear a "6 degrees of separation" from TtR to BSG

...

TtR --> The Resistance -->
Saboteur --> SOC --> BSG
 
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ackmondual wrote:
I'd like to hear a "6 degrees of separation" from TtR to BSG

You can always try One Night Ultimate Werewolf, Room 25, BSG.
 
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Thanks again all. Since my last post yesterday I have:

1) Finished unpacking the game, set it up, read the rules (again) and played a little bit of a mock up game. I need to give it a more focused play through though as I was watching my Islanders play at the same time.
2) Started organizing not one but two(!) groups to play. For the first, I cherry-picked the best of my best--adults I know who can handle a bit of geek and a few hours of focus. I'm even importing a player from far away Brooklyn to complete the group. The second group should be interesting. My teen son saw BSG sitting on the couch last night (as opposed to the shelf where it has been for years), asked about it and demanded that I teach it to a few of his friends. Within ten minutes he had chatted up a few video game and D&D buddies, planned a sleepover and was ready to go (ahh, the freedom of youth).

I really better get my act together.


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Another solution: Get a group together and throw an episode of BSG in on a TV in the background. An exciting episode like "33" or "Pegasus"/"Resurrection Ship".

Good luck, Admiral.
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JimbobJones wrote:
Kwijiboe wrote:
I introduced the game to four of my law school friends, one of which quipped: "If I like this game, I won't admit to playing it outside of this group."


I'm disappointed in you -- my immediate response would have been "You're going to be a lawyer. Nobody's going to like you anyway, so why do you care what they think?"

Same way I responded to a cop friend of mine who kept complaining about how I was kicking butt at Coup (a rarity, trust me): "Wait a minute... aren't you a cop? Isn't it your JOB to tell if people are lying?"


As an attorney myself, I can tell you attorneys are vain. We care what people think: we're just experts at pretending that we don't care about anything. If we never stopped to think about other people's thought processes or perceptions of us, we'd being ignoring useful information that can be used during an argument.

Also, a cop's job isn't that of a human lie detector. Their job is to force out a confession: "C'mon man, just be honest with me, you were drinking weren't you?" They're trained to get you to make an admission. They'll never be put on the stand to say: "I think the Defendant was lying." Instead, they're trained to say: "Client admitted he was drinking when I asked him."

mrsuitcase wrote:
Another solution: Get a group together and throw an episode of BSG in on a TV in the background. An exciting episode like "33" or "Pegasus"/"Resurrection Ship".

Good luck, Admiral.


Oh God, Pegasus/Res. Ship. The story arch that could have been its own season. Great episodes, a rarity to have that much drama contained in only 2 episodes.

But, I recommend you don't jump to these right away. Why? Because of Character development.

Cain: "A schoolteacher?"

Adama: "We've been through a lot."
 
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Adding to the thread:

-- The first time we played, a couple of the players had not seen the show and it did not impact them at all (but they went back and watched the show after).

-- If you were going to do a watching party, definitely go with "33". That one ep hammers home the concept, the darkness, the paranoia and the intensity of the show and the game.

-- Spend some extra time upfront explaining to people the cylon mechanic before you pass out the cards. Talk through ways that you can "spike the deck" to spike a challenge, but warn them that if they are the only character with a "bad" color and they throw three of them (i.e., more than can be in the destiny deck), they are effectively outting themselves. Also, explain in detail the mechanics of what happens when a Cylon reveals and what they can do once they reveal. That way people won't "soft reveal" by asking all those questions later in the game.

Have fun.
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Kwijiboe wrote:


Oh God, Pegasus/Res. Ship. The story arch that could have been its own season. Great episodes, a rarity to have that much drama contained in only 2 episodes.

But, I recommend you don't jump to these right away. Why? Because of Character development.

Cain: "A schoolteacher?"

Adama: "We've been through a lot."


Yeah, Cain is an awesome character in how much she shook up the dynamics the crew was starting to develop, and her fresh perspective on the crew. "33" is great too, but the mini-series puts into better perspective on why it's so rough for them.

I'd say just show the first episode. It sets up the plot of the game, shows a few cylons in the crew causing some chaos; just enough to get the mood of the game and hopefully encourage them to watch the rest.
 
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Psuedo Spoilers, but won't make any sense to you abstractly.

Not only that, but Cain holds the same attitude Adama held for Roslin at the beginning of the series. She gives the same reaction Adama gave to Roslin: "A Schoolteacher?"

Granted, Cain is brutal. Adama could have clearly down the same path if not for Roslin. Apollo, Adama's son, provided Adama the means to not revert to his natural military instincts: to fight.

Instead, Adama sees that survival is more important. Especially when it secures the safety of his own son.

Pegasus, and Cain, instead: are focused entirely on revenge. Presumably because they have lost everyone important to them.

Adama's response to Cain: "We've been through a lot" tells a lot. Even reviewing the Logs doesn't tell the story. What's important is perspective. Great stuff.

 
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It's been well received in my group, even though they barely know about the show. One friend, who had watched the original BSG as a kid, got into watching the remake after playing the board game.

I think you should play it with people who have played other board games already, who are familiar with remembering loads of rules, knowing what to expect, etc.
 
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