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Battlestar Galactica» Forums » Variants

Subject: 7 Player, Base game only. Help us decide! rss

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Liu Apertotes
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Hi! For next weekend we will try to play BSG, and it may be the case that we are 7, most of them new players.

I have read all the 7 player threads here, and most gamers seem to agree that 2 cylons is too few, and 3 cylons a bit too much. I've read different solutions, like having one player start the game as a declared cylon, or not letting the third cylon use their super crisis, etc.

I am not terribly worried about game balance. I mostly want an enjoyable experience for all, and then, if we can achieve proper balance, even better.

So, I would like to ask experienced BSG players, with only the base game, what would result in a better balanced game, 5 humans and 2 cylons and initial resources lowered, or 4 humans and 3 cylons and initial resources increased? We may also modify the distance required for human victory, but given the inexperience of all the players, I would be reluctant to modify any other rule.

If it may be of any help, all things equal, I would take the shortest variant, which, given my inexperience, I have no idea what would be, either the 3 cylon variant because humans may need to achieve a shorter distance, or the 2 cylon variant, because resources are reduced.

I hope you can help me decide. Thanks!
 
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Jonathan Bishop
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Presuming you are a more experienced player, have you considered not playing and having the rest play a 6 player game? You can devote your full attention to helping them and keeping the game moving, which would help with your goal of making it an enjoyable experience.
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Victor Lesperance
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My gut reaction:

When teaching newer players, I quite frequently play 4 humans vs. 2 cylons (and draw a CAC at the start of the final jump) and the games work out great. In fact, with first timers, the cylons still win slightly more than average in spite of the extra human at the table.

So, if I were faced with your dilemma, my intuition would be:

4 vs 2 and add the sympathizer card, but ignore the pro-human part of it: Whoever gets the card (at mid game) is immediately outed as a cylon and gets no super crisis.

Sure, it always sucks to be the sympathizer, but at least they know that they're on the team that's probably going to win anyway.

And my guess is that the balance (though pro-cylon) should be fairly decent.

That said, its all conjecture. Every group is different. Some sessions are swingy anyway.

One of the few games I've played with 7, I (as "GM"), took the Daybreak Leader role and it sufficed for everyone at the table for me to simply say, "I've got my own rules. Don't worry about them. I don't know which side I'll end up on, and you're best bet is to simply not trust me from this point forward." That was good enough for noobs. And by the end, most people figured out my mechanics anyway.

Again everyone is different, but I've found most people would prefer to jump in and have fun than sit through a thorough rules coverage. So, the GM picking a Daybreak Leader is trivial to pull off (even in a "core game") and serves as your internal balancer.
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4 humans, 2 cylons, and use the Sympathizer card as a automatic cylon. That seems to work ideal for me. For the sympathizer, give him a "OPG token" that he can use to get a free cylon ship activation on his turn. Should put some fun into the cylon symp without making him OP.

Otherwise, you could also give the Cylon Symp the option to activate the "updated Human Fleet" location, which he gets to draw any 2 cards, and he gets to scout the crisis or Destination deck. He's still free to use "classic Human Fleet". Remember that normally,the Cylon Symp cannot use Cylon Fleet location.
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Kwijiboe
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Darth Binkly wrote:
Presuming you are a more experienced player, have you considered not playing and having the rest play a 6 player game? You can devote your full attention to helping them and keeping the game moving, which would help with your goal of making it an enjoyable experience.


This. I'd go as far as limiting it to 5 players.

Six is less enjoyable since you lose like 1/5 of your game turns in a game that has such few turns/per player.

Quite simply, If you want to have an enjoyable experience, play the game optimally at 5.

With seven players, it's entirely possible each player only gets 3-5 turns and burns through their cards too fast. You could potentially have people doing nothing for 30-45 minutes in a game that usually gives everyone something to do at all times.

That's going to leave a bad impression.
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Liu Apertotes
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I would prefer not using sympathizers or leaders (I think they are not even in the base game, right?).

As I said, I am not too deeply concerned about balance. I just would like to know if it is generally prefered to have 3 cylons and extra resources, or 2 cylons and less resources, and maybe even modify the distance for the human victory condition.

If we are really 7, then we would prefer to play the 7 of us, and not have anyone left out. If this can not be done while having fun, we'll play something else.
 
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apertotes wrote:
I would prefer not using sympathizers or leaders (I think they are not even in the base game, right?).

"Leaders" alone can be misleading, as technically, there are Political Leaders and Military Leaders in the base game (as well as any of the expansions). I'm assuming you meant Cylon Leaders (which are available in Pegasus and Daybreak).

There's a Cylon Sympathizer in the base game, but a couple of our suggestions were to use them as Cylon cards (aka YAAC - You Are A Cylon) with some tweaks to them. Now that I mention this, may have to bump up the resources to compensate for a 3rd "half cylon". Probably Morale and Food +1, and Pop by +2.

If you're doing it the other way around with 1 less cylon, I'd go with Fantasy Flight Games' official No Sympathizer variant where everything goes 1 in the other direction... Morale and Food start with 1 less, while Pop is 2 less.


apertotes wrote:
As I said, I am not too deeply concerned about balance. I just would like to know if it is generally prefered to have 3 cylons and extra resources, or 2 cylons and less resources, and maybe even modify the distance for the human victory condition.

Later on, a bit of balancing can be nice. As mentioned already, there are too many variables in the game to even ensure the game'll be balanced. Not only are their die rolls and card draws, but some players play more conservatively, or aggressively, and other player personalities are impossible to account for unless you know the players ahead of time.


apertotes wrote:
If we are really 7, then we would prefer to play the 7 of us, and not have anyone left out. If this can not be done while having fun, we'll play something else.


I prefer 5... 4 or 6 is fine too. 3p or 7p I also don't mind, although I wouldn't want to play at these counts all the time.

Not leaving people out can also avoid leaving a negative feeling about the game, so that IS something to be concerned with. Plus, it ramps up newbies so that they can more quickly get into any repeat games. However, make sure to explain that you are playing a variant at 7p with just the base game.

EDIT: tags
 
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Robert Stewart
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Something to consider when deciding is that YANAC cards are limited in the base game - with only 11 YANACs to play with, getting a 14-card Loyalty deck means 3 YAAC or 2 and a Sympathizer - and playing either Baltar or Boomer would need extra cards. That pretty much means that you're required to have Roslin, Zarek, Apollo and Starbuck in the game, along with 3 of Adama, Tigh, Helo, and the Chief. At best, the last player to pick gets to choose between two characters...
 
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Robert
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apertotes wrote:

As I said, I am not too deeply concerned about balance. I just would like to know if it is generally prefered to have 3 cylons and extra resources, or 2 cylons and less resources, and maybe even modify the distance for the human victory condition.

I'd prefer going with fewer resources. Three consecutive Cylon turns can be devastating. So I'd use the official No Symp Variant and draw a CAC at the start of the last jump cycle to provide an exciting finale.
 
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umbaci wrote:
apertotes wrote:

As I said, I am not too deeply concerned about balance. I just would like to know if it is generally prefered to have 3 cylons and extra resources, or 2 cylons and less resources, and maybe even modify the distance for the human victory condition.

I'd prefer going with fewer resources. Three consecutive Cylon turns can be devastating. So I'd use the official No Symp Variant and draw a CAC at the start of the last jump cycle to provide an exciting finale.
At the very minimum if you were to do 3 cylons, stack the deck so that the 3rd, or even 2nd cylon doesn't come out until sleeper.
 
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Liu Apertotes
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ackmondual wrote:
umbaci wrote:
apertotes wrote:

As I said, I am not too deeply concerned about balance. I just would like to know if it is generally prefered to have 3 cylons and extra resources, or 2 cylons and less resources, and maybe even modify the distance for the human victory condition.

I'd prefer going with fewer resources. Three consecutive Cylon turns can be devastating. So I'd use the official No Symp Variant and draw a CAC at the start of the last jump cycle to provide an exciting finale.
At the very minimum if you were to do 3 cylons, stack the deck so that the 3rd, or even 2nd cylon doesn't come out until sleeper.


Thanks for the tips! Even though, my only game of BSG ended very badly for my team, humans, yet I enjoyed it immensely. I felt like winning as humans, without min-maxing strategies, would be something epic. In short, I do not really mind showing my friends the real might of BSG with a concatenation of three cylon turns. It'd be a crushing experience, but I do not think anyone would feel bad about it, on the contrary, they might want a rematch right away!
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apertotes wrote:
ackmondual wrote:
umbaci wrote:
apertotes wrote:

As I said, I am not too deeply concerned about balance. I just would like to know if it is generally prefered to have 3 cylons and extra resources, or 2 cylons and less resources, and maybe even modify the distance for the human victory condition.

I'd prefer going with fewer resources. Three consecutive Cylon turns can be devastating. So I'd use the official No Symp Variant and draw a CAC at the start of the last jump cycle to provide an exciting finale.
At the very minimum if you were to do 3 cylons, stack the deck so that the 3rd, or even 2nd cylon doesn't come out until sleeper.


Thanks for the tips! Even though, my only game of BSG ended very badly for my team, humans, yet I enjoyed it immensely. I felt like winning as humans, without min-maxing strategies, would be something epic. In short, I do not really mind showing my friends the real might of BSG with a concatenation of three cylon turns. It'd be a crushing experience, but I do not think anyone would feel bad about it, on the contrary, they might want a rematch right away!

Glad you found something that works! cool
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Liu Apertotes
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We finally played. 7 players, 4 humans,3 cylons, normal resources, 6 distance Kobol.

The game was long (4 hours), and everyone had a great time. Population reached cero while humans were at distance 5. I think that cylons played much better than humans, probably because 2 of the cylons had already played, and all humans were new to the game.

Players complained at some points during the game that they did not know what to do. This happened the two times that the board was free of cylon ships. It was like if, without a clear menace, they did not find anything useful to do, so they simply stocked skill cards.

Does any of the expansions help prevent these dead moments?
 
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Janne
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apertotes wrote:
Players complained at some points during the game that they did not know what to do. This happened the two times that the board was free of cylon ships. It was like if, without a clear menace, they did not find anything useful to do, so they simply stocked skill cards.

Does any of the expansions help prevent these dead moments?


Exodus & Cylon Fleet Board gives pilots (and those in command) escort duty as civilian ships are not cleared at jump, but instead are escorted/removed as an action either by activating unmanned viper in a sector with a civilian or by a pilot in a viper in the same location.

Stocking skill cards is useful action especially with 7 players since you so rarely get new skill cards. Expansions also add a few more possible actions in skill cards.
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Orion Harrison
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apertotes wrote:
If it may be of any help, all things equal, I would take the shortest variant, which, given my inexperience, I have no idea what would be, either the 3 cylon variant because humans may need to achieve a shorter distance, or the 2 cylon variant, because resources are reduced.


I don't know what I'd recommend, but if you're still deciding between 5/2 and 4/3 and your primary concern is shorter/quicker game time, go with 4/2. Once cylons reveal, they don't advance the jump track on their turn, so the 2nd half of the game always takes longer. With up to 3 revealed cylons, the game will slow down noticeably more than with only 2 revealed cylons.
 
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