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Subject: BSG in Japan Game 6: Trust the Admiral rss

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Angry Augury
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Just a short time after my wonderful (and disasterous) return to BSG, I was fortunate enough to play again. Originally we expected to have 6 players whereby I would try out the Cylon leader for the first time, using Daybreak rather than Pegasus as that seems to be a lot more interesting. Unfortunately, two players from Game 5 cancelled and we were stuck with just four players (getting an additional member from our RPG group). Knowing that it's not the best set up for Galactica, we tried to think of something else to play but I decided on short notice to see if our good pal Dandelion was available. It turned out that she wasn't... until I said we wanted to play BSG. She immediately cancelled her plans for the day and join us as our 5th for BSG. Such is the power of a great game.

Set-up: Kobol Destination, Pegasus Board, Cylon Fleet Board, Base, Pegasus and Exodus Characters.

The Crew:

Samuel T. Anders (me)
Lee "Apollo" Adama (Dandelion)
William Adama (Lolai)
Felix Gaeta (Day)
Tom Zarek (Neil)

My starting loyalty card: You Are Not A Cylon

I decided to go for Anders as I'm trying to play as characters I've never been before. I really don't like playing pilots (which is odd, after looking at my previous game history) but figured I'll have to go through the entire lot eventually. Even though I thought the next game would be played with New Caprica, I decided against it since Lolai and Day had never played the game before and I was already using my standard assortment of expansion material that, while not being overly complicated, is already enough extra rules to keep in mind. I caught the two new players up on how to play and reminded myself of the mistakes I made in the previous game and implored the other players to keep their eyes open to make sure I didn't make any other mistakes.

Because of the two new players, I knew they'd have a lot of questions so the "complete secrecy" rules were a bit lax on the first couple of turns to help them get direct answers to their questions, primarily about the cards in their hand.

Day, the only person drawing Engineering, asked about a Reckless card he had to make all Engineering cards positive for a Skill Check. He wasn't sure if it was played before the check or played into the check a la a "Skill Check" ability. I explained the situation to him and he said he understood. Then in our next Crisis, it looked like we were poised to pass until that very same Engineering card he mentioned popped up as a spike taking 4 points off our total and failing the check. We all knew it was David who put it in and he seemed confused saying that it should be positive. We mocked him saying that it was just explained to him a moment earlier and he repeated what we said EXACTLY so he should have had no confusion on how to play the card. In any case I called for his execution. Everyone laughed but I kept suggesting it. Playfully, of course; if I pushed too hard I knew I’d run the risk of falling under their suspicion as well. Although it could have definitely been a newbie mistake, I was not fully convinced.

Aside from Dandelion, everyone in the game was still relatively new for the board game group and for BSG especially so I really had no read on everyone. Neil was playing Zarek as if he really were Tom Zarek, which meant that he was always a suspect of being up to no good. Adama was being useful with Executive Orders, which I was pleased with as that’s something new players usually struggle with. Dandelion was doing the Apollo thing and helping to take out the increasing number of Raiders outside of the ship. I was also flying out to try to take the pressure off.

And boy was the pressure building up. We went through one whole revolution of turns and the Jump Track was still in the red. We were not getting Jump Icons at all. Even worse, the Activations were either launching or activating Raiders. Sometimes the Crisis would end up doing both. This was one of the most active Cylon attacks at the start of the game that I’ve ever seen and one of the slowest crawls up the Jump Track.

Fortunately we were able to get the Civilians off the board before the Raiders reached us. Apollo was shot down and sent to Sickbay but one XO later and he was out in a Viper again. The Basestar also took a number of shots at Galactica and, just as in previous games, Pegasus was used as a damage sponge.

Once we finally did get our Auto Jump things didn’t get much better. The Admiral got us 2 distance which is respectable but it did not take long before Cylon ships started building up on the Fleet Board. We spent the time after the first jump trying to regroup from the disastrous first run, still thinking there had to be a Cylon out there. Honestly, I suspected everyone except for Dandelion. She seemed to be her usual self and there was nothing suspicious about her actions. Sadly for us, the Cylon Fleet found Galactica soon after and our Jump Preparation Track was still in molasses mode. At the -1 Population mark, Gaeta threw the FTL switch and, try as he could, was not able to save the resource loss. However, we were safely away from the Cylons once more.

Admiral Adama took us to a distance of 1… bringing us to a grand total of 3. Hmm… definitely would consider that a poor Admiral choice but this was also a new player to the game and the other choice might have been far worse. Now it was harder to decide who the Cylon might be and we still had yet to receive our final Loyalty cards.

During this Jump Cycle, things went from bad to worse. A Basestar and some Raiders popped in early and caught us off guard. Pegasus, having three damage tokens already—none of which were being repaired at all—was on the brink of destruction so we opted to allow Galactica to take hits. In short order, with Basestars and Raiders blasting away, we lost the Admiral’s Quarters, which sent Adama to Sickbay, and the Hangar Deck. That was a bad thing as now Anders had no way out of the ship, though Apollo could still use his ability to take over an unmanned Viper when launched. Thanks to Crisis cards, Gaeta, Zarek and then Anders were put in the Brig. Things were not going very well.

On Gaeta’s turn, he used his OPG to exit the brig and take the Admiralty for himself. I wasn’t entirely opposed to it as I didn’t trust either him or Adama. In fact, I reminded him of his ability to do so (simply because he is a new player and I noticed he was not reading his abilities often and likely forgot about his OPG). I didn’t want to give him a helping hand but I felt that it was my job as teacher of the game.

With the Jump Track at the Population -3 position, we had no choice but to force the jump. On the first roll, we only got a 5 (had we played the +2 Skill Card, we’d have been fine). Not enough. So the Skill Card came out and a second roll, via Gaeta’s ability, happened. This time a 4. Even with the +2 it was not enough. Then, sound the trumpets, Anders dropped a Calculations adding an additional +1 to the total bringing us to 7 and saving the Population loss.

The new Admiral Gaeta got us another 2 distance. Now at 5, the Sleeper Agent Phase had begun. Dealing out our second Loyalty Cards, I received You Are Not A Cylon: The Final Five.

So now I knew I was team Human, albeit a Final Five member with quite a devastating effect if discovered. And we all knew that the Cylon or Cylons were certainly in play now.

Zarek got himself out of jail easily with a Skill Card allowing him to choose to pass the test. Anders opted to stay in the Brig for the time being so I could play an XO on Apollo to help remove the Civilian ships from the board. Sadly, as we had been under siege from just a portion of the Cylon Fleet before the jump, it was only a couple of turns later when the entire fleet found us and we were in huge trouble. The space around Galactica had a number of Civilians in play and there were Raiders in nearly every sector. Not to mention two Basestars and a Heavy Raider as well. With Apollo being the only true pilot who could go out, things were looking bad. Unfortunately when Apollo was XO’d, Dandelion only looked for more repair cards to get the Hangar Deck reopened.

We had three Galactica locations damaged as well as three Pegasus locations damaged making it a very critical situation. Gaeta said he drew a repair finally so after his turn, he asked Zarek for an XO to open up the Hangar Deck. Zarek said he didn’t want to do it because he felt that Gaeta was a Cylon and he’d just reveal. After a few threats of vengeance if that were to happen, Zarek finally agreed. With the XO on, Gaeta began looking at the board. Then, commenting to himself, he said, “So we have three damaged locations now so… wow, that would be a lot.”

The “would” got me. It was then that I realized he was a Cylon with the damage Galactica ability. After another moment of deliberation, he finally said he was revealing and triumphantly flipped over his Loyalty Card.

You Are Not a Cylon.

“Oops,” he said before flipping over his actual Cylon loyalty card and damaging Galactica twice.

There were a lot of calls of “I knew it” and, yes, we did all seemingly know it but none of us did anything. Now Galactica had five damaged locations, just one away from defeat. And, after Gaeta’s blunder (or one of them; the other being not using the first action of the XO for some other nefarious deed), we knew that he did not have both Cylon cards (I volunteered to take his other Loyalty card for my collection).

I used a Skill Card for a movement action to get out of the Brig, with Zarek’s help, and go for Engineering cards for my action. Dandelion, who was starting to raise my suspicions by hoarding a lot of cards but never having any to contribute, was pretty ineffective on her turn again. For the Crisis, the President had a chance to execute the current player—Dandelion’s Apollo. Admiral (again) Adama immediately spoke up.

“Execute her. She’s the Cylon.”

The two deliberated with protests from Dandelion and no comment from myself as I did not trust any of them and killing her would bring me one step closer to knowing who I could trust one way or another. The President had Apollo executed and she revealed her You Are a Cylon card. We all celebrated as now the teams were known. An XO to Anders got FTL repaired and we jumped at the -1 Population spot. This time we did not succeed on the roll.

Another jump of 2 got us to 7 distance. Not quite enough to make the Humans feel safe. Sure enough, with slow moving Jump Icons, Cylon Activations and our resident revealed Cylons working the Fleet Board locations, our Jump Track reverted back down and the HUGE Cylon fleet raced in to our location rather quickly. On Cylon Gaeta’s next turn, he went to the Cylon Fleet and activated Raiders and the 17 Raiders outside the ship obliterated the five undefended Civilian ships taking our 2 remaining Population down to -2. Had that not have done it, I’m certain the 12 other Raiders would have scored at least two more hits to bring down the big ship. In any case, it was a resounding Cylon victory.


---

Wow, this was a roller coaster ride of a session. We were defeated more by the automated Cylon ships than by the actual Cylon players’ actions. We were also victims of not trusting our instincts and killing Gaeta immediately. We all believed in our guts that he was a toaster and sure enough he was one from the very beginning. Apollo only drew her YAAC at the Sleeper Phase. The rest of us humans, it turned out, were all Final Five members but those cards never came into effect.

We only had a 3.5 hour window to play and the game lasted about three hours and fifteen minutes so at least we could finish. The new players had a blast and said they wanted to play again immediately. Hopefully it means this gem returns to the table soon.

Record:

Humans: 1
Cylons: 5

Game Logs:

01 The Return
02 And They Have a Plan
03 Lay Down Your Burdens
04 Go With the Flow
05 Rusty Toaster
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Pasi Ojala
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Great game.

A few notes:
- Scientific Research is not Reckless. (Jury Rigged is.)
- Exodus or Daybreak forums would've been more suitable.
- Resources cannot go to negative.
- 4 players would have given you a chance at the Cylon Leader, and is really the best player count to give the Cylon Leader relative control of her destiny by giving enough turns.
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Janne
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n107 wrote:
Originally we expected to have 6 players whereby I would try out the Cylon leader for the first time, using Daybreak rather than Pegasus as that seems to be a lot more interesting. Unfortunately, two players from Game 5 cancelled and we were stuck with just four players (getting an additional member from our RPG group). Knowing that it's not the best set up for Galactica, we tried to think of something else to play but I decided on short notice to see if our good pal Dandelion was available. It turned out that she wasn't... until I said we wanted to play BSG. She immediately cancelled her plans for the day and join us as our 5th for BSG. Such is the power of a great game.


In my opinion and experience, 4p is better and more enjoyable than 6p, at least for the Cylon Leader (and I'm only speaking about CL with the Daybreak motives). With 4 players it's usually easier to do the motives and not depend on so much what the others do. Especially if it's your first time as CL, I'd recommend trying it with 4.

But yes, nothing beats 5.
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Angry Augury
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a1bert wrote:
Great game.

A few notes:
- Scientific Research is not Reckless. (Jury Rigged is.)
- Exodus or Daybreak forums would've been more suitable.
- Resources cannot go to negative.
- 4 players would have given you a chance at the Cylon Leader, and is really the best player count to give the Cylon Leader relative control of her destiny by giving enough turns.


Thanks for the reply!

Yeah, my mistake about the card being Reckless. I must've just assumed it was as Gaeta played a ton of Reckless cards in the game. I'll edit out the word later.

As I'm using multiple expansions I post my stuff in the base game forum with the rest of my session reports though I suppose there is more that would attract readers of the expansion forums.

Well aware of the resource issue, merely illustrate the horrible outcome.

I'd rather not touch the game with less than 5 players anymore. Perhaps 4 is best for the Cylon leader but it would likely be a shell of itself for the other three players.
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Angry Augury
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jhsa wrote:
n107 wrote:
Originally we expected to have 6 players whereby I would try out the Cylon leader for the first time, using Daybreak rather than Pegasus as that seems to be a lot more interesting. Unfortunately, two players from Game 5 cancelled and we were stuck with just four players (getting an additional member from our RPG group). Knowing that it's not the best set up for Galactica, we tried to think of something else to play but I decided on short notice to see if our good pal Dandelion was available. It turned out that she wasn't... until I said we wanted to play BSG. She immediately cancelled her plans for the day and join us as our 5th for BSG. Such is the power of a great game.


In my opinion and experience, 4p is better and more enjoyable than 6p, at least for the Cylon Leader (and I'm only speaking about CL with the Daybreak motives). With 4 players it's usually easier to do the motives and not depend on so much what the others do. Especially if it's your first time as CL, I'd recommend trying it with 4.

But yes, nothing beats 5.


Thank you for the comment.

I believe you that 4 is better but I'd only do it if there were 6 as I wouldn't want to rob the other players of the 5 player dynamic and I'd only be trying the CL simply for my own curiosity.

If the game ever hit the table with a higher frequency I'd like to give the 4 player version a shot.
 
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Pasi Ojala
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The Cylon Leader Motives rescued the game for us when we could not get 5 players. We do have 5 players more often now.
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a1bert wrote:
The Cylon Leader Motives rescued the game for us when we could not get 5 players. We do have 5 players more often now.


I would like to try them just for the change of play style but if we only have 4 people then there are much better choices for games to play.

As luck would have it, I'm in a rare period of time where I might have 6 or even (gasp) 7 players available for games. As I don't have too many that excel at that number of players, I figured it'd be a good excuse to try the (thus far) shunned Cylon Leaders.
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ackmondual
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a1bert wrote:
The Cylon Leader Motives rescued the game for us when we could not get 5 players. We do have 5 players more often now.


I take it not even the no-symp variant was up to the task?



n107 wrote:
a1bert wrote:
The Cylon Leader Motives rescued the game for us when we could not get 5 players. We do have 5 players more often now.


I would like to try them just for the change of play style but if we only have 4 people then there are much better choices for games to play.

As luck would have it, I'm in a rare period of time where I might have 6 or even (gasp) 7 players available for games. As I don't have too many that excel at that number of players, I figured it'd be a good excuse to try the (thus far) shunned Cylon Leaders.
3p and 4p have been surprisingly decent. You learn a lot of things about your character that you wouldn't necessarily otherwise. And players are more flush with skill cards that that can in part mimic the extra interaction of having 2 extra players.

One of my groups had a phase where despite having 5p in a Daybreak game, we opted for the CL + Mutineer instead of "playing it straight" because we really wanted to try out the new CL and the Mutr. It was fun, but we did play regular 5p from then on, no matter what combo of expansions were used.

More than one group that does organized game nights of BSG have set the # of players per game to 5p or 6p, even though there were copies of the game with Pegasus and/or Daybreak that would officially enable us to play 7p. We do play 7p if that's how things end up though, even though it wasn't our "first choice". For example, we initially had 18 people across 3 games. Then later on, it was 15 people. However, one of the 3 people who dropped out was the one with the 3rd copy of the game, so that meant we were down to 15 people to 2 copies! One of the regulars said she had graduate work to do anyways, so she'd be happy to give up her seat so we could get two 7p games. The 15th person ended up being a no-show, so every got to play in two 7p games.... with both CL and Mutineer being used (as both copies had all expansions)
 
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ackmondual wrote:
a1bert wrote:
The Cylon Leader Motives rescued the game for us when we could not get 5 players. We do have 5 players more often now.

I take it not even the no-symp variant was up to the task?

We did not really consider it. Daybreak revitalized the game also in other ways.

Also, with less than 5 players, special setups like having just 4 support characters (with Mutineer) are fun - and that one doesn't even need house-rules, because selecting a support character is always allowed. (Played that last week, humans won handily despite a pre-sleeper cylon.)

Our regular special for 3 players is our 3 Cylon Leaders variant (have played about 4-5 times by now).
 
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a1bert wrote:
ackmondual wrote:
a1bert wrote:
The Cylon Leader Motives rescued the game for us when we could not get 5 players. We do have 5 players more often now.

I take it not even the no-symp variant was up to the task?

We did not really consider it. Daybreak revitalized the game also in other ways.

Also, with less than 5 players, special setups like having just 4 support characters (with Mutineer) are fun - and that one doesn't even need house-rules, because selecting a support character is always allowed. (Played that last week, humans won handily despite a pre-sleeper cylon.)

Our regular special for 3 players is our 3 Cylon Leaders variant (have played about 4-5 times by now).
So your group(s) didn't bother with BSG with 4p or 6p prior to Daybreak?
 
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ackmondual wrote:
So your group(s) didn't bother with BSG with 4p or 6p prior to Daybreak?

I don't think we even had opportunities for 6p, and I think we played only a couple of games with the Sympathizer. In the beginning (while learning) we did play 3p.

With the expansions we have good options for 3-7p.
 
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The additional human player breaks the game at 4p and 6p. Before Daybreak, you had "half-human players" in the form of CLs, but their corresponding agendas weren't balanced for KOBOL at all; the agendas presumed you were playing New Caprica.

Daybreak's motives were more appropriate because it makes the CL wait at least half the game before knowing which team he is going to lean hard against.

Four and six players is still bad, but at least Daybreak made it tolerable.

That being said, I still think you shelve BSG if you don't have five. Or, if you have someone like me, I'll just sit out. I can still f**k with people's heads outside of the game. (No, I don't look at players loyalties).
 
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a1bert wrote:
ackmondual wrote:
So your group(s) didn't bother with BSG with 4p or 6p prior to Daybreak?

I don't think we even had opportunities for 6p, and I think we played only a couple of games with the Sympathizer. In the beginning (while learning) we did play 3p.

With the expansions we have good options for 3-7p.


Thanks, Pasi.

So, I only have Base game. To fix it for 4, do I need to just buy one expansion (Daybreak?) or more than one expansion?

This is important to me because I can no longer get a group of 5, but I LOVE this game. Our group is typically 4. Currently my only outlet seems to be the PBF games here.



 
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mrsuitcase wrote:
This is important to me because I can no longer get a group of 5, but I LOVE this game. Our group is typically 4.

Start with Battlestar Galactica: Daybreak Expansion. The Cylon Leader Motives work well as balancers. But we (almost) always play with the Cylon Fleet Board (and Pegasus), so we have less experience with the Motives with the Cylon Attack Crisis cards. It can't be worse than not playing, though.
 
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mrsuitcase wrote:
So, I only have Base game. To fix it for 4, do I need to just buy one expansion (Daybreak?) or more than one expansion?


Resounding YES for Daybreak. Get that first to make 4p nicely playable. Then when you're bored with Cylon Attack Crises, consider Exodus, and eventually Pegasus to make things complete.

But yeah, Base+Daybrek is nice combination to start with.
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Kwijiboe wrote:
Daybreak's motives were more appropriate because it makes the CL wait at least half the game before knowing which team he is going to lean hard against.


It's a misconception, as it's still possible for a CL to win pre-sleeper. However, it is indeed quite a corner case. I've never seen it happen. Closest was I've observed and experienced cases where the CL had that option, tried to win like that, but failed at such an attempt.


jhsa wrote:
mrsuitcase wrote:
So, I only have Base game. To fix it for 4, do I need to just buy one expansion (Daybreak?) or more than one expansion?


Resounding YES for Daybreak. Get that first to make 4p nicely playable. Then when you're bored with Cylon Attack Crises, consider Exodus, and eventually Pegasus to make things complete.

But yeah, Base+Daybrek is nice combination to start with.
Given mrsuitcase's I'd agree with this too. In general, if one can only pick one expansion, Daybreak would still be at the top of my list.
 
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Robert Stewart
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Daybreak is generally the best expansion, but which of Pegasus and Exodus to get next is less clear. Exodus shakes things up a lot; Pegasus is generally more compatible, and the worst mistakes get fixed by already having Daybreak.
 
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I think you only get Daybreak to make the game more palatable for 4 and 6 players. It's still bad, though, in my opinion.

Otherwise, base game (with only 5 players) is still the best iteration of BSG in my opinion.

I think the only faults the base game has is with its pilot characters (Boomer and Starbuck) not having a title to fight over and some Galactica locations being too strong (command) and others too weak (weapons control). Otherwise, the game is perfect in almost every other area.
 
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Kwijiboe wrote:
I think you only get Daybreak to make the game more palatable for 4 and 6 players. It's still bad, though, in my opinion.

Otherwise, base game (with only 5 players) is still the best iteration of BSG in my opinion.

I think the only faults the base game has is with its pilot characters (Boomer and Starbuck) not having a title to fight over and some Galactica locations being too strong (command) and others too weak (weapons control). Otherwise, the game is perfect in almost every other area.


What would you suggest for making Command and Weapons Control more in line? Former deals with vipers and anti-raiders, while the latter is mostly anti-basestars, and hitting any cylon ship if you're not able to set up vipers in time.
 
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There's very little incentive for a player to leave command once he is there. Often, players will tell the player that is in command, to stay there, because the locations' activation with an executive order is probably the most efficient human action/per turn in the game.

Personally, I think weapons control needs to be replaced with something else to incentivize players to leave the command location. I think this is doubly important since weapons control is eligible to be damaged. Instead, you usually have one man on Command and the rest huddling together on communications or research lab.

Additionally, having characters on board that have their movement hindered by other players (original Zarek) gives players the excuse they need to go on places like Admiral's Quarters or Administration.

Pegasus tried to flirt with movement by adding more locations but it only amounted to power creep. You got more locations, but instead of adding variety, some locations just became obsolete, like weapons control.
 
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Kwijiboe wrote:
There's very little incentive for a player to leave command once he is there. Often, players will tell the player that is in command, to stay there, because the locations' activation with an executive order is probably the most efficient human action/per turn in the game.

Personally, I think weapons control needs to be replaced with something else to incentivize players to leave the command location. I think this is doubly important since weapons control is eligible to be damaged. Instead, you usually have one man on Command and the rest huddling together on communications or research lab.

Additionally, having characters on board that have their movement hindered by other players (original Zarek) gives players the excuse they need to go on places like Admiral's Quarters or Administration.

Pegasus tried to flirt with movement by adding more locations but it only amounted to power creep. You got more locations, but instead of adding variety, some locations just became obsolete, like weapons control.


All of the base game CAC setups pretty much have it that using Command is preferable when dealing with raiders and civvies. Either the vipers are already set up, protecting the civvies, or a player could use Comms to move the civvies back, or just put out a viper in sectors 5 or 6.

Only thing I can suggest for Weapons Control is the admiral only starts off with 1 nuke. Many games, 2 nukes is either too many or just enough. Having less options against basestars should make WC more prominent again. However, it's still up to how the game plays out on weather or not that'll be enough.

.

TBF with Pegasus, the groups that used Peggy as a meat shield/damage sponge would have a 50/50 chance of it being inoperable (they won't bother to repair).
 
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