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Subject: 7P, close to base as possible, have all expansions, advice please rss

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Ecosmith Ecosmith
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Hi,

I'm having a game of BSG the coming Saturday. I need advice on how to go about it. Some parameters:

4 of us are gamers, have seen the show, 3 of those have played base game loads. 3 are gaming noobs, 2 of those have seen the show, one is gaming noob and hasn't seen the show. We are all reasonable intelligent people who are close friends.

I have all expansions but have only played base or base +pegasus or base plus Cylon Fleet board.

I'd like to have as base a game as possible, don't want to use treachery deck.

We will start at 2pm, have an hour break at Sleeper (usually this hits around 5pm), then continue till we finish. Probably 11-12 pm is the cutoff.

I can be a CL if necessary but if possible I'd like to not have to be.

We can use expanded skill decks tostop them running out.

Advice welcome.

Eco
 
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Pasi Ojala
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Is this a one-off situation, or do you expect you will be playing with the same people (maybe not all at the same time) in the future?

How long do you have? Are all players committed to learning?



We recently played a 5-player game with 3 new players. We ended up throwing them into the deep end with almost everything from our regular setup (all expansions and CFB to Kobol, with adjusted treachery deck - left out Final Five/Personal Goals), and the game took only 4 hours (our regular playtime is about 2 hours). It works as long as some people are familiar with the setup and keep the game moving.
 
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M. B. Downey
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Have one person not play and help run the game and give advice to both teams. Do 6 players base game.
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Ecosmith Ecosmith
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I expect to be gaming with some or all of them in future, not neccesariky 7P BSG games lol. Thid time its a birthday gsme for my girlfrienf's birthday, there was a mixup with invites and more people than expected were invited.
 
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We will start at 2pm, hsve a break at 5pm for an hour, then continue poaying till 11pm ish.
 
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Ecosmith Ecosmith
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a1bert wrote:
Is this a one-off situation, or do you expect you will be playing with the same people (maybe not all at the same time) in the future?

How long do you have? Are all players committed to learning?



We recently played a 5-player game with 3 new players. We ended up throwing them into the deep end with almost everything from our regular setup (all expansions and CFB to Kobol, with adjusted treachery deck - left out Final Five/Personal Goals), and the game took only 4 hours (our regular playtime is about 2 hours). It works as long as some people are familiar with the setup and keep the game moving.


I have played BSG base with 5-6 players about 15 times, and we've never had a game last less than 5 hrs. We are quite happy with this pace, hence the 2-5/6-11 time limits.

I confess I'm baffled at how people can get a whole game in in 2 hrs. But I don't really want to learn how to accomplish that tbh. Half our games are asesome tsbletslk.
 
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Ecosmith wrote:
Hi,

I'm having a game of BSG the coming Saturday. I need advice on how to go about it. Some parameters:

4 of us are gamers, have seen the show, 3 of those have played base game loads. 3 are gaming noobs, 2 of those have seen the show, one is gaming noob and hasn't seen the show. We are all reasonable intelligent people who are close friends.

I have all expansions but have only played base or base +pegasus or base plus Cylon Fleet board.

I'd like to have as base a game as possible, don't want to use treachery deck.

We will start at 2pm, have an hour break at Sleeper (usually this hits around 5pm), then continue till we finish. Probably 11-12 pm is the cutoff.

I can be a CL if necessary but if possible I'd like to not have to be.

We can use expanded skill decks tostop them running out.

Advice welcome.

Eco


With 7p, you need either or both Pegasus or Daybreak. Both have Treachery. Daybreak has better CL with the Motives vs. Agendas, but then Mutiny is also required.


downeymb wrote:
Have one person not play and help run the game and give advice to both teams. Do 6 players base game.
Sharing a same game experience can be more important than anything else. Depends on how the group prioritizes it. In such a case, the OP may honestly want to opt for something like Shadows Over Camelot instead
 
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Victor Lesperance
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Why didn't you want to be the Cylon Leader? Can I assume its because you're afraid it would be boring?

Then don't shove that role on any of the noobs. Its their first game. You'll lose a BSG player for life that way. Offer it to the 3 experienced players. If nobody bites, its yours. That's the price of inviting 7 to sit down to BSG, accident or not.

I routinely play 6 player. Never had a deck run out yet, fyi.

Keeping to base game (plus CL if must be) is a good plan. Sometimes vets make the mistake of ruining a noob's first time with too many rules. Plus the rules explanation can be faster. Some people drone on covering rules for way too long.

Our group is routinely an ever evolving mix of vets and noobs. We seem to have turned some kind of corner, though. We make no effort to "play fast" or rush anyone. The experience is all. Yet, 2 weekends back we played 3 games in 6 hours. 2 were decisive Cylon victories, which helped. But we set personal records: 3 games in 1 day. 6 games in a 9 day period. Nice!

(In reality, our average game seems to be 3 hours though.)
 
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Pasi Ojala
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Ecosmith wrote:
I confess I'm baffled at how people can get a whole game in in 2 hrs. But I don't really want to learn how to accomplish that tbh. Half our games are asesome tsbletslk.

We're not rushing. I'm baffled how people complain the game takes 5 hours - if they want it to be faster, they can make it faster.

Note that it is fine to play at any pace that suits the people in the group.

1. Updating cylon ship activations (when there is no choice) and jump prep are automatic and parallelize with the receive skill step of the next player. Discarding to hand limit also parallelizes with the receive skill step.

We also have a very quick setup and tear-down because everyone has their jobs.

2. Other players give their opinions on the best course of action, then the current player chooses what to do. Sometimes there's some discussion, but what's the use of arguing once you have given your input? (Well, I do try to influence the decision by repeating if I see it necessary.) Besides, you need to give some cover for hidden cylons, collect data on player behavior, and do not too openly accuse them so you can keep them not all-out soft-reveal before you can do something about it. (And try to look a little guilty yourself so that the cylon thinks you're his teammate. Can help get a cylon executing another cylon.)

The Resistance/Avalon is where accusations fly more freely.

3. We have played 200+ games, so while there are a lot of variables like what skill cards you are holding, the decisions between crisis options or decision on tanking skill checks are pretty fast.

4. When needed, decisions can still take a while without increasing the total playtime. And by no means is our table quiet. There's a lot that gets said in 2 hours.
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vlesperance wrote:
Keeping to base game (plus CL if must be) is a good plan. Sometimes vets make the mistake of ruining a noob's first time with too many rules. Plus the rules explanation can be faster. Some people drone on covering rules for way too long.
But then, "what is too much"?

For some groups, even base game BSG may be too much. If you're going to utilize training wheels, then some have argued you may want to start with Shadows Over Camelot first. Or even Saboteur as a way to ease newbies into semi-co-op games.

If you want to play game X with set options, but you don't get to play that often (for example, some people play BSG only twice a year), then I'd say go for it. The OP always has final say and judgment if he wants to add extra stuff to "get more" out of it, or remove stuff to make it simpler.
 
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Ecosmith wrote:
I confess I'm baffled at how people can get a whole game in in 2 hrs. But I don't really want to learn how to accomplish that tbh. Half our games are asesome tsbletslk.

There are numerous plausible scenarios, including but not limited to...
1) People just play quickly. To break it down more into actual metrics...
Receive Skill Cards step
If you have a multi-skill, you announce it ahead of time, while cards are always prepared in advance, just before that player starts his turn

Movement and Action step
These go hand in hand, and can be as short as 13s

Crisis step
Take the top/bottom choice, or just tank. With tank, you still need to add DD (Destiny deck), but still quicker than doing an actual skill check itself. Do stuff with cylon ships, and optional +1 on Jump Prep track. 15 to 30s.

You repeat this level of efficiency for enough turns, that adds up to shaving 30 to 90 minutes off play time easily

2) Cain's Blind Jump
A record game took only 1 hour and 35 minutes. Cain uses her OPG to shave a whole jump cycle off our game, we get large distances (which can shave another jump cycle off the game), and players were very quick, since we were all vets. Absolutely no discussion with rules were done nor needed

3) Cylons win pre-sleeper
So it's really only a "70% game" given how much we got to skip with the game ending sooner than later.



OTOH....
a1bert wrote:
We're not rushing. I'm baffled how people complain the game takes 5 hours - if they want it to be faster, they can make it faster.

Note that it is fine to play at any pace that suits the people in the group.

1. Updating cylon ship activations (when there is no choice) and jump prep are automatic and parallelize with the receive skill step of the previous player. Discarding to hand limit also parallelizes with the receive skill step.

We also have a very quick setup and tear-down because everyone has their jobs.

2. Other players give their opinions on the best course of action, then the current player chooses what to do. Sometimes there's some discussion, but what's the use of arguing once you have given your input? (Well, I do try to influence the decision by repeating if I see it necessary.) Besides, you need to give some cover for hidden cylons, collect data on player behavior, and do not too openly accuse them so you can keep them not all-out soft-reveal before you can do something about it. (And try to look a little guilty yourself so that the cylon thinks you're his teammate. Can help get a cylon executing another cylon.)

The Resistance/Avalon is where accusations fly more freely.

3. We have played 200+ games, so while there are a lot of variables like what skill cards you are holding, the decisions between crisis options or decision on tanking skill checks are pretty fast.

4. When needed, decisions can still take a while without increasing the total playtime. And by no means is our table quiet. There's a lot that gets said in 2 hours.


--When you have new people, rules explanations can eat up to 30 minutes of play time. Perhaps even longer (as I never timed the rules explanations, since that's harder to do when it happens in game)

--when you need to reference docs (rulebook, online, FAQs), that takes time too

--some choices get pretty intense and time consuming. I've seen ALOT of Werewolf/The Resistance style accusations and "loyalty traceability matrices". Those take up to 10 to 20 minutes on their own (as I've noted this happening in those respective games). Such similar things in PBF games can take days and days (which is long for a PBF game where their pace is to finish the game in 2 months. Usually, average PBF games take 3 to 4 months). For one game, heated discussions would've gone on longer, but the mod put his foot down with an ultimate to the current player... you have until x time and y date to make a decision. Else, you'll be considered "not keeping with game pace", and be penalized for that.

--If you have many jump prep cycles (whether if it's a cylon admiral being a jerk, or bad Destination deck/lack of proper scouting), a few extra jump cycles adds up.

--table talk not related to the game
a 5 hour game lasted that long b/c we discussed the show extensively. Not so great for getting the game done in a timely manner, but great for catching up with long lost friends, and learning more about the BSG lore.
 
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Jeffrey
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With just base game, it's 5 or it's nothin'.

You need the daybreak cylon leaders and mutineer. If you are dead set against treachery, you could give each cylon leader a skill color to replace treachery, whatever fits them best. That'll probably lean more towards helping humans, but I wouldn't worry too much about balance in a 7 player game with newbies.

You could use the mutineer but remove any other cards the give out mutiny. Then, only one person has to interact with mutiny cards.

Any of the other more-than-five mods (sympathetic cylon, cylon sympathizer, etc) are no fun at all to draw. At least the mutineer still has access to the full suite of abilities, they just have to waste their action every now and then.
 
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If you play without treachery with Cylon Leader Motives, you need to take out certain Motives.

You can play with 2 cylon leaders with Motives. (Every once in a while we play 3-player games with just cylon leaders, with some house rules of course - like being able to have titles and +1 skill card for receive skills and playing into skill checks.)

But, for the purposes of this game, I think you should just play with your regular setup that you know already to keep everything going smooth. Just make the minimum allowances that are required to make it work with 7.
 
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vlesperance wrote:
Why didn't you want to be the Cylon Leader? Can I assume its because you're afraid it would be boring?

Then don't shove that role on any of the noobs. Its their first game. You'll lose a BSG player for life that way. Offer it to the 3 experienced players. If nobody bites, its yours. That's the price of inviting 7 to sit down to BSG, accident or not.

I routinely play 6 player. Never had a deck run out yet, fyi.

Keeping to base game (plus CL if must be) is a good plan. Sometimes vets make the mistake of ruining a noob's first time with too many rules. Plus the rules explanation can be faster. Some people drone on covering rules for way too long.

Our group is routinely an ever evolving mix of vets and noobs. We seem to have turned some kind of corner, though. We make no effort to "play fast" or rush anyone. The experience is all. Yet, 2 weekends back we played 3 games in 6 hours. 2 were decisive Cylon victories, which helped. But we set personal records: 3 games in 1 day. 6 games in a 9 day period. Nice!

(In reality, our average game seems to be 3 hours though.)


I wasn't cleat about CL, my apologies. I meant that if we have to have a CL, then I will play it. I wasn't going to make anyone else be CL. I'm the most experienced BSG player, plus I have the game so I can research it etc.

Thsnks for the sdvice

Eco
 
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Any of the official/unofficial 4/6/7 players are not good additions to any game of battlestar.

I view each of these solutions as a compromise to the 5-player setup. Daybreak's Cylon Leader is probably the best compromise available, but I think that the sixth player STILL just gets in the way of the real game taking place between the five human players.

In this case, more is not merrier. You should really only ever play this game with 5 and you should never play with 7. Again, 6p is an okay compromise, but if you can get it down to 5, even better.

(Will never understand why so many 6p PBF sessions on these forums are run.)
 
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6 player with Cylon leader is very good.

So is 4 player.
 
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I think I'm just going to try Base game, with all skill decks from expansions minus any treachery or reckless, and 10 YANAC 2 YAAC in the Loyalty Deck.

I dont think anyone's going to notice any imbalance tbh.

Eco
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That's not a bad idea for a lot of newbies, actually. Especially if the experienced players don't run their turns too much.
 
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Ecosmith wrote:
I think I'm just going to try Base game, with all skill decks from expansions minus any treachery or reckless, and 10 YANAC 2 YAAC in the Loyalty Deck.

I dont think anyone's going to notice any imbalance tbh.

Eco
Not a bad approach!

Yeah, with newbies, it's nice to have them get games under their belt, even if it isn't the "officially sanctioned" or preferred ways to play. That experience still translates into future games going more smoothly due to them being (more) up to speed.

I once had a game where we had 3 pilots in a row. That goes against character selection rules, but being we were ready to go right now, I didn't want to risk them repacking their characters and spending 10 to redo that!
 
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The problem with newbies and 7P is that, if one player drags their feet whenever their attention is required, the game hits a screeching halt. The game demands everyone's attention.

Now, throw new players into this abyss and ask that they commit their full attention for FIVE plus hours. This game moves at the pace of the slowest player, if someone wants to read their cards over and over, or agonize over which cards should be played into a skill check (which happens out of turn throughout the entire length of he game), the game session will be agonizing even for the most patient gamer.

This game should not take longer than two hours. Any time beyond that time frame is due to a player holding up the game.

I advise against adding new skill cards, because this usually forces players to re-read their cards over and over. Sure, they might commit 15-20 seconds doing so, with sometimes shorter, sometimes longer. But, this will be asked of them over and over in this game: at least 30-40 times or more. What also tends to happen is players that are no longer involved start to chat to pass the time. NO!

The game demands your focus, (seriously) shut up so we can keep things moving! There is no time to talk about jobs or your ex-girlfriend, because if you do so, the game is usually/almost always put on hold.

This game does not have multiple phases or a reason to go longer than five hours. If it does, I bet people will not commit to playing it again: which should be the goal when introducing any new player to this game.

Seriously, base game, five players. Play two sessions. Swap out the two Cylons from the first game, for the others left out of the first session.

This is, in my opinion, how you have a successful game night. The most interesting game of battlestar for new players is the second one, since now they know what is going on.
 
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Kwijiboe wrote:
The problem with newbies and 7P is that, if one player drags their feet whenever their attention is required, the game hits a screeching halt. The game demands everyone's attention.

Now, throw new players into this abyss and ask that they commit their full attention for FIVE plus hours. This game moves at the pace of the slowest player, if someone wants to read their cards over and over, or agonize over which cards should be played into a skill check (which happens out of turn throughout the entire length of he game), the game session will be agonizing even for the most patient gamer.

This game should not take longer than two hours. Any time beyond that time frame is due to a player holding up the game.

I advise against adding new skill cards, because this usually forces players to re-read their cards over and over. Sure, they might commit 15-20 seconds doing so, with sometimes shorter, sometimes longer. But, this will be asked of them over and over in this game: at least 30-40 times or more. What also tends to happen is players that are no longer involved start to chat to pass the time. NO!

The game demands your focus, (seriously) shut up so we can keep things moving! There is no time to talk about jobs or your ex-girlfriend, because if you do so, the game is usually/almost always put on hold.

This game does not have multiple phases or a reason to go longer than five hours. If it does, I bet people will not commit to playing it again: which should be the goal when introducing any new player to this game.

Seriously, base game, five players. Play two sessions. Swap out the two Cylons from the first game, for the others left out of the first session.

This is, in my opinion, how you have a successful game night. The most interesting game of battlestar for new players is the second one, since now they know what is going on.


I appreciate that you have strong opinions on what works for you, and also what doesn't work, but it's like you didn't read my OP. I clearly said we wouldn't be playing for 5 hours straight. We take an hour off at Sleeper Phase to leave my flat and go down to the square near it for a pint, a breath of fresh air, and some jovial accusations. Then we continue after ordering pizza.

My friends and I are making a day of it, not mercilessly eliminating any 'non-essential' chat about life, or debate about strategy. It's my girlfriend's birthday, I'm not going to tell her to shut up and focus on a move if everyone's hsving fun.

I've got lots of games thst csn be played in 2 hours. For OUR games of BSG, 2 hours isn't enough. Your attitude of 'you're playing it wrong' isn't helpful.

I'm putting the extra cards in so that the skill decks dont get depleted. I'll be telling the players about the base came skill cards uses, and saying 'if you want to use the others, cool, if you want to ignore the trxt, that's cool too'. They can read and they hsve brains.

It's not important that we have a perfect min-maxed optimal game. As long as nobody reveals incorrectly, we'll be fine imo.

Thank you for your advice, but I'll stick with my plan.

I'll report back here on how it goes.

Eco
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I think you're devoting 10 hours to a game that should take 2.

When, your could play two sessions and take a break between the two.

It's not an epic style game like twilight imperium.

I really think you're going to create a horrible experience for the 3 newbies.
 
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Kwijiboe wrote:
I think you're devoting 10 hours to a game that should take 2.

When, your could play two sessions and take a break between the two.

It's not an epic style game like twilight imperium.

I really think you're going to create a horrible experience for the 3 newbies.


I don't know how many other ways there are to say 'our BSG games take 5+ hrs and we're happy with that, we've never had a bad game'.

I'd be intruiged to see an uninterrupted video of one of your 2-hr BSG games to see how your group plays. How long would you allocate to explsining the game to 3 noobs, one of which has never seen the show? Surely that's got to shsve at least 15 minutes off your playtine? When does your Sleeper Phase hut, after 45 mins if playing?

Hm, I wonder if there's a poll of playtime for BSG somewhere.
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I think 15 minutes is reasonable to teach the game. But, it almost always depends on the students ability to learn.

I'd say it takes about 30-45 minutes to hit sleeper. The remaining portion lasts anywhere from 60-90 minutes.

The game instantly gets longer once Cylons reveal or players get brigged because that reduces/eliminates the drawing of a Crisia card which grants jump preparation icons (that move the game forward).

A turn should only take 2-3 minutes. Sure, new players have a difficult time deciding whether to "go for the skill check" or not, so that will add time, but once a turn hits 10-15 minutes you're in problem territory since a game (where the humans win) usually takes anywhere between 25-40 turns.

With seven players deciding whether to play in skill checks or not, or to agree on a player's action, it's going to take a little longer to reach concensus, especially if newer players don't have enough experience to understand and valuate skill checks and resource loss. Removing two players from the rotation would speed up game play significantly since you have less people to convince of a course of action. Again, Id avoid adding expansion cards to players' hands since players (newbies especially) tend to believe that their turn depends on their hand of action cards but their turn really depends on the board state.

Adding more options to a player's hand (which are hidden from other players) adds to the time a player takes to decide his or her turn since there are more available options to them. Eliminating this variable will make the choice to play cards as actions/in skill checks since the only thing players need to evaluate is the strength of the printed value of the card. And, really, the skill check mechanic is the meat and potatoes of the base game (and what players will be doing for the entire duration of the game), if you can speed that portion of the game up, you will save hours.

The reason why our base game sessions go quicker is that, with experience, it's very easy to evaluate how the first 5-10 turns of the game go. If you hit an expensive crisis on turn one when players hands are weak, you let the skill check fail. If everyone is bursting with cards or the crisis hits a valuable resource, you go for it. Then, how much should be put in by each player should NOT be decided by concensus: players early in turn order should understand that if they pass, the responsibility falls upon the remaining players in turn order with the caveat that players earlier in turn order can usually afford to play in since they will be drawing into cards sooner. With seven players, you should do what you can to prevent leaving skill checks to the last 2-3 players since they won't be drawing for 5-7 turns (a huge huge downside to 7 players is that they don't draw cards for 7 turns!).
 
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Well if you amd yourgroip enjoy that kind of tournament-level ultra-fast BSG pkay, then cool, but 2-3 mins per turn sounds horrible to me, even with 5 poayers.

Different strokes for different folks and all tat though.
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