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Subject: Game with hidden traitors shorter than Battlestar Galactica rss

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Karsten Frosch
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Hello all,

as an early search for a christmas present to myself, i'm looking for a game with a hidden traitor mechanic, that is shorter than Battlestar Galactica (BSG). But it can't be Avalon: The Resistance because i already own that one.^^

A few more details in the following paragraphs. Firstly why i mention BSG specifically and then in broader terms what i like. At last a few possible games i found and on which i would like your opinion.

BSG is my favourite game so far but we often play with new people and then the length of the game is a big hindrance for us. Because of that, we do not play it regularly and have to reread the rules a lot. I think we never finished under 5 hours including setup and rules explanation.
The only other minus of BSG is the phase after one Cylon has revealed. It is not much fun for this player -or at least for me if i am that player. But the game in general is just less of the game i like at this point and sometimes drags on.

So the special game in question should be faster and be over quicker once a traitor has been found. (Which does not have to mean, that the traitor loses -in my mind.)
Avalon fits pretty well but it is a bit too fast and not "flashy" or thematic enough. I really like it, but most of the time some other bigger "cooler" game hits the table. Which has no traitors. Which makes me sad ...
That are the primary qualities asked. Secondary perhaps:
Multiple traitors: Most other games seem to have only one traitor. I always took comfort in knowing that i am not the only cylon. But i have never played a 1-traitor-game, so i am not sure if it is really that important. But for newer players it could be even more so.
Dice vs cards: I prefer cards.
Thematic vs abstract: Thematic games are prefered. They hit the table most often and i like theme.

Possible games i found:
Dead of Winter, A Study in Emerald, Dark Moon, Shadows over Camelot

None of them seems ideal regarding their rules or what i read about them in reviews. Dark Moon is by design very close but i read that dice and lack of theme change the feeling considerably. Dead of Winter seems to be liked by many but i read some find the traitor mechanic not so satisfying.
But they all look like fun generally speaking.

Which game would you suggest to me?
If you have no new suggestions, which one of the games mentioned above seems to fit the bill the best? Or what are your personal experience whith them?

Thank you very much!
Simulacrus
 
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Tomáš Sládek
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Shadows Over Camelot I sold because it was too simple for us. If that's not a con for you, it's a great (and great-looking and thematic) game.

Dead of Winter has, in fact, fired BSG for us, precisely for length reasons - you can play DoW 2-3x by the time you play BSG once. It doesn't feel the same, but similar enough. The traitor/survivor enmity is not quite the same as human/cylon (at least if you know the BSG series), but that's only a thematic point. Although there is only ever the possibility of 0-1 traitors, there's nothing stopping you from adding more than one, except for the fact that it would probably spell doom for the non-traitors even in full player count of 5. The paranoia tends to be quite high though, because everyone has their own secret goal to accomplish so they personally can count themselves among the winners, and it can be hard to tell if someone's a genuine bad guy or just desperately needs that much more fuel to keep his group warm at night :-)

A Study in Emerald is I think pretty far removed from theme, unless you can get the expensive OOP first edition, which on the other hand has a reputation for being less of a game and more chaos. Haven't played it though.

Don't know Dark moon.

Only other game with a hidden traitor I can think of is Panic Station, which is an okay quick game, but by no means comparable to BSG.
 
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Ringo Stalin
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I really enjoy Battlestar Galactica but find it can get tiresome after a while.

I've only played Dead of Winter: A Crossroads Game twice, but I think I prefer it (despite the over-used 'zombie' theme). DoW uses the same Crisis Cards mechanic, meaning the traitor can sabotage the result of a Crisis in a similar way to BSG. I think the use of other, varied Betrayal Objectives in DoW is a lot more interesting than BSG and forces the traitor to come up with other, less transparent, strategies. I've yet to experience the 'Exile' mechanic.

Have you looked at Room 25? It's a very different game to BSG and DoW, but I think it's worth a look. You can also play it co-op, competitive or with a traitor (or two), depending on what your group prefers at the time.
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Daniel B
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Saboteur
Mafia/Werewolf
maybe Shadow Hunters

I think dead of winter might fit the bill though.
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J M
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Dark Moon was made to be a distilled version of BSG- it used to be called BSG Express when it was a print & play.

Neither edition of A Study in Emerald are traitor games and they don't play like that kind of game.
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Pasi Ojala
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Ringo_Stalin wrote:
I really enjoy Battlestar Galactica but find it can get tiresome after a while.

Most times we play a game of BSG with all expansions to Kobol in around 2 hours. Sometimes shorter, sometimes longer. But we play BSG a lot (150+ plays since the beginning of 2013 when I started logging, and probably 50 times before that). The first time with Daybreak did take us 5 hours, and new players slow down the game. So, it's certainly possible to shave off time from it with experience and when the upkeep tasks are well parallelized.

Shadows over Camelot didn't really work with our group.

Ringo_Stalin wrote:
Have you looked at Room 25? It's a very different game to BSG and DoW, but I think it's worth a look.

Room 25 is a very versatile game in that it has multiple game modes. We always play with the suspicion mode though.

The Resistance and The Resistance: Avalon, and One Night Ultimate Werewolf are other quick traitorish games. Other light games Coup, Good Cop Bad Cop, and Exposed.

For Panic Station you need a bit of suspension of disbelief and see that you use the latest rules.

Also see He's Lying...Trust Me: A Comprehensive List of Traitor-ish Games.
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Ringo Stalin
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AceAceBaby wrote:
Dark Moon was made to be a distilled version of BSG- it used to be called BSG Express when it was a print & play.


I wasn't aware of this - thanks for the tip-off!
 
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Dave Lartigue
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I am not a huge fan of hidden role games, and I felt BSG went on far too long for what it was, but I really enjoy Dark Moon.
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Laurence Parsons
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Betrayal at House on the Hill is quite good. No-one knows who the traitor is until half way through the game, then everyone does, so it's not quite "hidden traitor". The varying scenarios and modular board help keep it fresh.
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Daniel B
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freduk wrote:
Betrayal at House on the Hill is quite good. No-one knows who the traitor is until half way through the game, then everyone does, so it's not quite "hidden traitor". The varying scenarios and modular board help keep it fresh.


the few scenarios with a hidden traitor definetly fits the bill. but they are in the minority.
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Shane Larsen
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Deception: Murder in Hong Kong is almost filler length. One traitor. Imagine a mashup of Mysterium and Avalon.
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Graham Gass
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I really like Dead of Winter for my hidden traitors game. I think the fact that everyone has a secret objective does a really good job making everyone seem suspicious.

The only complaint I have is that it's a little too easy for a traitor to reduce morale by 3 or even 4 points in a turn (everyone but the traitor loses when morale hits 0). There's a couple solutions, one of them being to just anticipate the betrayal and have enough morale to weather it, and the other is to use a variant where you vote on whether or not to rotate the turn order (which stops the traitor from being able to go last in a round and then first in the next).
 
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Eric Matthews
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A Study in Emerald would be my choice, though the tension isn't quite the same since it's more hidden teams than hidden traitors (the difference is subtle but feels very real).

Dark Moon is really what you're looking for (though I found the art absolutely horrible personally).

E
 
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maf man
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AceAceBaby wrote:
Neither edition of A Study in Emerald are traitor games and they don't play like that kind of game.

+1 to this
though I wouldn't take it completely out of the running as it may still itch what your looking for. It assigns hidden teams vs having a traitor. I think its much more tedious (in a good way) when you have to worry so much about not just some traitors but also your own team. I felt like this was a nice take because it keeps the focus on the game and just highlights the fact that knowing your team will help you. The teams are likely to be uneven too which I think is cool and done well here. It is a card game but its theme doesn't hit you as well as other games. It has plenty of theme in art and setup and how it plays out but the mechanics are a bit disconnected or a bit too representational.

Dead of winter was a bit of a let down for me. Its traitor element just were private goals and some would make you do things to get the other players annoyed at you. There are differnt set-ups that make this better but still. The game in general seemed it just didn't live up to its potential, if they made it a deeper game in every way I could see it being great. Its not that I was thinking it was a great game going in, its after playing it you could say "well if they added ... it would be better"
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I picked up Dark Moon specifically because it was designed as a quicker version of BSG, and I quite liked it, although previous posters are right - it's not nearly as immersive as BSG. The crises are not as evocative (they're just "some equipment broke again") and I think that's just because it doesn't have as deep a back story as BSG. However the "who are the traitors" aspect is just as strong, as are the opportunities for placing blame/making wild accusations. I like that it's dice and not cards, because you can't count cards anymore. You can still monitor the types of dice people are choosing, and there are still opportunities here and there to make a subtly sub-optimal move (if you're the bad guy) or accuse someone else of same.

I think one of the biggest differences in overall feel is that Dark Moon relies much more heavily on player interaction to create a rich and engaging experience, whereas with BSG the narrative is provided more by the game.

Don't get me wrong, Dark Moon provides plenty of opportunities to stir the pot of hate, but it's something the players as a group kind of have to choose to do.
 
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Jeff Rietveld
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Of all such games, you won't find any with traitors shorter than the dwarves in Saboteur.
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Jordan S.
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While it's print-and-play only (which means you either buy it from PrinterStudio or make your own copy), my personal favorite hidden-traitor game is The Thing, based on the film of the same name.

It plays 2-6 players (best with 4-6) and usually takes about 2 hours. It does use some dice to resolve certain tasks but the card-play is far more important than just the dice rolling. It's also a game where the exact number of traitors (if any) is unknown and will often change over the course of the game.

If you're unfamiliar with the movie, the premise is that you're the crew of an Antarctic Research Outpost and you've come into contact with an alien life form that can absorb and perfectly imitate any living thing it touches. So, you're never quite sure if your companions are still human or just a very convincing alien doppelganger.

If you want to browse the rules, here's a good version to reference:
Thing Ultimate Rulebook 2016

And here's the link to the PrinterStudio file:
http://www.printerstudio.com/products/playingcard/design/dn_...
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Tim P.
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With experienced players Battlestar Galactica plays fast, and still allows an enjoyable and varied game. My regular BSG group average 90 minutes per game, alrhough we have played 4 games in one evening.

Getting people to that speed of play, with little downtime, does take practice. Teaching the game, with all it's nuances, does take a lot of time; it takes a whole evening to teach the mix of expansion that we use.

Finding a quicker hidden-traitor game with enough meat has been a quest for a while.

Dark Moon did not have the same depth, but was a fun intro to the type of game. It took just as long as BSG to play so it did not solve the problem, as it was easier and better to stick with BSG.

Thanks for the mention of Deception: Murder in Hong Kong, I must check it out.

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Michael Coniff
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Ringo_Stalin wrote:

Have you looked at Room 25? It's a very different game to BSG and DoW, but I think it's worth a look. You can also play it co-op, competitive or with a traitor (or two), depending on what your group prefers at the time.


+1 for this suggestion.

Room 25 is an accessible, versatile game that really shines when played in the suspicion mode. On top of that, there is a moderate level of tactics and strategy involved in how and in what order you plan your actions. the theme is built around the film(s) Cube. So if you've ever seen those you can get a good idea of how the game plays.
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Don't Mess with Cthulhu - About the same length as The Resistance, with a bit more randomness.


 
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Gary Lynch
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We own

Deception
Dark Moon
And
Dead of Winter

Enjoy all three with deception and Dead of Winter both sitting in my top ten of all time... we enjoy Dark Moon but have only played it three times so far.
 
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Drew
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Deception and Mafia de Cuba are both big hits with my gaming group.
 
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Simon Maynard
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I like the sound of 'Dark Moon'.

I recently played BSG for the first time and while I really liked it, it's just so long and is just not going to get played very often (in my gaming circles).

I have 'Resistance: Avalon' and while I do enjoy that, I would prefer a game with a bit more depth and an interesting challenge going on besides merely trying to find out who the traitors are.

'Dark Moon' could be just the ticket...
 
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