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Subject: House-Rules: love some thoughts... rss

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Carter Burke
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Played a game recently that highlighted a couple of issues with regards meta-ing the game. I was thinking through some possible house-ruling to negate these issues WITHOUT veto’ing locations or characters.


1) counting cards in the destiny deck:
Had a player keeping track of how many piloting, treachery and engineering cards had been come from the destiny deck.

Would refreshing the destiny deck BEFORE the deck becomes empty help create ambiguity with regards destiny? (Eg. 4 destiny cards left; pick 12 new cards and shuffle the remaining into destiny. Anytime destiny hits four remaining cards, repeat)


2) Executions - humans
Read lots of complaints and suggestions of NOT using execution. I can see how wrecks the ambiguities. And a -1 morale doesn’t seem that bad if they are human.

Would raising the human cost to -2 morale be enough? Keep executions but you better be sure you’re right!

3) Executions - cylons
When a Cylon is executed it has always tanked the game (for cylons). Having no skill cards and no super crisis = nothing you can do for two rounds. Near the end of the game thats incredibly boring. I’m open to suggestions here. Maybe an executed Cylon gets a couple of treachery cards now they are bitter?

Brigged Humans
If you’re a human and get brigged early on, it’s an incredibly boring game with nothing to do when nobody wants you out. Suggestions? As morbid as it is, maybe a suicide option?


Thank you for taking the time to read this and give your suggestions. May the force be with you, make it so, and may someone hear your screams in space as I quote every franchise but BSG.

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Robert Stewart
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One of the common house rules that used to be popular (probably still is) is known as "Complex Destiny" - make Destiny with 3 cards of each colour, then when there are only 6 left, add another 2 of each colour.

Pegasus-style execution has the problem of a post-Sleeper execution being a way to guarantee that someone is human; Exodus-style execution has the problem of the game sometimes ending up short one Cylon.

The issue with raising the cost for executing a human is that it makes execution a much stronger Cylon move - being Cally, getting hold of Political Prowess, being Cain, or getting hold of the right Quorum card(s) are all options for a fairly easy execution (it's also possible to get lucky with the Crisis deck) - compare with the Cylon reveal power that only costs 1 Morale...

For a Cylon, being executed generally means either you screwed up, or you managed to take an opportunity that's worth the cost of being executed afterwards. Either way, it feels like the solution isn't to reward Cylons for getting caught.


When it comes to players in the Brig, my policy is to support escape attempts unless there's a compelling reason not to - if we locked someone up for a good reason, then, yeah, they're not getting out easily; if they're just Boomer, or got caught out by a Crisis or a Cylon reveal power (or too much Mutiny) then if they want out, I'm happy to help (within reasonable limits). If a Cylon has managed to frame a human and get them tossed into the Brig, then I'm not convinced there should be an easy out for the human. Also, if suicide is too painless, then that opens up the possibility of tossing anyone and everyone into the Brig and requiring them to either suicide or reveal in order to get out...
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Zach T
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An executed Cylon gets to reveal without taking an action. Especially if your reveal is subpar, that's occasionally worth the trade; I've definitely been in games where we brigged a Cylon when we could have executed them just to make them waste a turn revealing from the Brig.
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Carter_Burke wrote:
Played a game recently that highlighted a couple of issues with regards meta-ing the game. I was thinking through some possible house-ruling to negate these issues WITHOUT veto’ing locations or characters.


1) counting cards in the destiny deck:
Had a player keeping track of how many piloting, treachery and engineering cards had been come from the destiny deck.

Would refreshing the destiny deck BEFORE the deck becomes empty help create ambiguity with regards destiny? (Eg. 4 destiny cards left; pick 12 new cards and shuffle the remaining into destiny. Anytime destiny hits four remaining cards, repeat)

As rmsgrey mentioned, Complex Destiny was proposed by the community many, many years ago. AFAIK, it was popular enough amongst both IRL and PBF games to have feedback + data on it, and it seems to work well (or well enough). The only concern may be running low on cards, but that would take factors like Captain's Cabin from Daybreak and/or 7p game to really run low on cards. I'm gonna bank on that too many people do NOT play the game with 6p anyways, let alone 7p

On a similar note, I had a new IRL group say their house rule was they forbid people from saying how many cards they contributed towards each skill check because the card counting from that has gone out of hand (their whole group was very good at it). I didn't get a chance to ask him how they handle restrictions, like Brig/Detention, and Cally and Felix' weaknesses. I'd guess they go on "the honor system".

.

Only other thing I had in mind was to use a "fudge die". IIRC, that was originally an RPG thing, but the idea is it either adds +1, -1, or perhaps nothing to a result to "shake things up". It wouldn't help with tracking colors, but it could invigorate some skill checks in other ways.

If I were ever so inclined, playing BSG as a solitaire game would ideally have a special deck working against you. It could be the standard cards, new ones with special effects (e.g. also resolve "reveal power A", or some mix)


Carter_Burke wrote:
2) Executions - humans
Read lots of complaints and suggestions of NOT using execution. I can see how wrecks the ambiguities. And a -1 morale doesn’t seem that bad if they are human.

Would raising the human cost to -2 morale be enough? Keep executions but you better be sure you’re right!

Unfortunately, there's also a timing element to humans being executed. Do it to deny use of their OPG, massive hand of skill cards, and/or pass titles to Cylons. Or at the very least, "less competent" characters like Lee/Apollo.

Another issue is this could be abused, as rmsgrey mentioned. People complain that Cally's OPG shuts down soft reveals, but it's no different about the complaints of Baltar's OPG. He knows someone's loyalty, but you still need to be sure you can trust him, and we've been burned by that. I've seen skillful Cally's "accidently" execute humans, and manage to act convincingly shocked when they revealed themselves to be human. I asked one Cally player (who was a Cylon) post game about that. She knew full well she was executing a human player. That player losing all of their skill cards, access to his OPG, and title was bad enough, but avoiding retaliation for a good part of the game b/c she literally got away with murder... priceless cool

Carter_Burke wrote:
3) Executions - cylons
When a Cylon is executed it has always tanked the game (for cylons). Having no skill cards and no super crisis = nothing you can do for two rounds. Near the end of the game thats incredibly boring. I’m open to suggestions here. Maybe an executed Cylon gets a couple of treachery cards now they are bitter?
[shrug] doesn't seem to be THAT far off from normal play. Some newcomers overvalue Super Crisis Cards, and while it'd be nice to start off official cylonhood with 3 of your strongest cards (on account that when you typically reveal, it's from a much larger hand)

Carter_Burke wrote:
Brigged Humans
If you’re a human and get brigged early on, it’s an incredibly boring game with nothing to do when nobody wants you out. Suggestions? As morbid as it is, maybe a suicide option?
Give him a couple of Treachery cards as well? :x

Not sure what else could be done, as being in the Brig IS supposed to be restrictive. As difficult as it can be to get in one game of BSG, let alone multiple ones, you play a few games, the boredom of the Brig should balance out.

kingerc wrote:
An executed Cylon gets to reveal without taking an action. Especially if your reveal is subpar, that's occasionally worth the trade; I've definitely been in games where we brigged a Cylon when we could have executed them just to make them waste a turn revealing from the Brig.
One game, a Stranded Helo soft revealed. He managed to fail one skill check, and used his OPG to cause us to take another resource hit. We couldn't Brig him while he was stranded, but yet, he was low on skill cards with no OPG that executing him didn't seem like it would do much, so we just let that run its course.
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Pasi Ojala
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Get the Imperial Assault Campaign module for Vassal from http://www.vassalengine.org/wiki/Module:Star_Wars:_Imperial_Assault
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All of this is for our group and our setup (all expansions with CFB to Kobol). You don't say what your setup is except apparently not with Exodus/Personal Goals+Final Five.
Carter_Burke wrote:
1) counting cards in the destiny deck:

BSG is a resource management game, not a cylon hunt, even more with expansions in place. Cylons trying to pass as humans give you jump preparations and are otherwise marginally useful, so as long as they don't reveal the joke's on them. (In our group we don't see early reveals often either.)

Even with changes to the composition of the destiny, seeing a third of a color coming out will only indicate there is at least one cylon in play, or someone messed up, or didn't want a certain thing to happen. It doesn't help identify the cylon much. Only when you see three of negative colors in a skill check you might get actual usable information, and even then with the 0-cost skill cards it's possible that the skill check wasn't spiked.

Counting cards is disrupted by Leoben, our group plays with him a lot.

Verdict: not needed in our group.
Carter_Burke wrote:
2) Executions - humans

Not an issue with Exodus loyalty.
Carter_Burke wrote:
3) Executions - cylons

Not an issue - none instead of 3 cards is not a big difference when the cylon saves an action that would otherwise be needed for revealing. The super crisis deck is quite diluted and a lot of the cards are very situational.
Carter_Burke wrote:
Having no skill cards and no super crisis = nothing you can do for two rounds.

On your next turn you get a card, and can activate any cylon location. No rounds wasted! (Compared to revealing and doing nothing on that turn.)

CFB gives more options, so certainly not boring. With Cylon Attack Cards - I pity those cylons. First the CACs are random and the fleet jumps away from their troubles, and then you have no use for Cylon Fleet location...
Carter_Burke wrote:
Brigged Humans
If you’re a human and get brigged early on, it’s an incredibly boring game with nothing to do when nobody wants you out. Suggestions?

There's plenty of things to do from the brig: Executive Order, Scout, Consolidate Power, Combat Veteran, State of Emergency. If no-one wants you out, then they are playing badly - humans want jump preparations whether you're human or cylon. And hidden cylons can always reveal from the brig.
Carter_Burke wrote:
As morbid as it is, maybe a suicide option?

Execute Prisoner has been used to get known humans out of the brig.

There are quite a few characters that are not afraid of the brig. Also, Political Prowess.

There are cases when you would actually want to go to the brig to prevent a jump or cylon activation.
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Zach T
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If you're going to Ionian Nebula, Disaster tokens may provide a more morbid way out of the Brig as well.
 
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Kwijiboe
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kingerc wrote:
If you're going to Ionian Nebula, Disaster tokens may provide a more morbid way out of the Brig as well.


And give you a means to leave the game completely.
 
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kingerc wrote:
If you're going to Ionian Nebula, Disaster tokens may provide a more morbid way out of the Brig as well.
I've seen someone do this to success since if they don't, they were going to get eliminated during X-roads phase from having too many of the wrong type of Trauma tokens.
 
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Carter Burke
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Quote:

As rmsgrey mentioned, Complex Destiny was proposed by the community many, many years ago. AFAIK, it was popular enough amongst both IRL and PBF games to have feedback + data on it, and it seems to work well (or well enough). The only concern may be running low on cards, but that would take factors like Captain's Cabin from Daybreak and/or 7p game to really run low on cards. I'm gonna bank on that too many people do NOT play the game with 6p anyways, let alone 7p


So I tested a form of complex destiny yesterday; I created a normal destiny deck, then when destiny was down to four cards I created a new destiny and shuffled the four cards in. It was met with protest at first, but worked great! It shut down a strong alpha gamer that was counting cards, and allowed enough ambiguity to allow a Cylon to spike skill checks; making the game interesting again.

I will be using complex destiny in all my games from now on.



Quote:
On a similar note, I had a new IRL group say their house rule was they forbid people from saying how many cards they contributed towards each skill check because the card counting from that has gone out of hand (their whole group was very good at it). I didn't get a chance to ask him how they handle restrictions, like Brig/Detention, and Cally and Felix' weaknesses. I'd guess they go on "the honor system".



I think an honor system is fine; maybe in the brig the user places one card so it is visible to all players.

I’ve noticed the more the hidden information there is, the more the gameplay seems to benefit. Yesterday had players mentioning the TITLE of cards they had in hand which I strongly disliked. True, they could have been lying, but newbie players are unlikely to do so and i noticed it gave more information for an alpha player to tell others what to do. I personally believe someone telling you what to do is not fun - suggestions are fine but players need to be able to make their OWN decisions & mistakes.

I will try forbidding # of cards contributed submitted next time. Good suggestion.


Quote:

Only other thing I had in mind was to use a "fudge die". IIRC, that was originally an RPG thing, but the idea is it either adds +1, -1, or perhaps nothing to a result to "shake things up". It wouldn't help with tracking colors, but it could invigorate some skill checks in other ways.


I’d prefer NOT to have more dice rolling... slows the game and adds more math. But thank you for the suggestion.

Quote:

If I were ever so inclined, playing BSG as a solitaire game would ideally have a special deck working against you. It could be the standard cards, new ones with special effects (e.g. also resolve "reveal power A", or some mix)


There is a four character solo variant in the FILES section which kind of does this... only the top card for a character is face up, while others are shuffled facedown. So if you want to add another card to a skill check, you know the character draws from politics/leadership but you don’t know if the next card will be the leadership you need...or how much. Makes BSG an acceptable variant (though not as good as with other players)

Quote:

Another issue is this could be abused, as rmsgrey mentioned. People complain that Cally's OPG shuts down soft reveals, but it's no different about the complaints of Baltar's OPG. He knows someone's loyalty, but you still need to be sure you can trust him, and we've been burned by that. I've seen skillful Cally's "accidently" execute humans, and manage to act convincingly shocked when they revealed themselves to be human. I asked one Cally player (who was a Cylon) post game about that. She knew full well she was executing a human player. That player losing all of their skill cards, access to his OPG, and title was bad enough, but avoiding retaliation for a good part of the game b/c she literally got away with murder... priceless cool


Hahahaha great story.

I had a game where Cally executed me and I was Cylon. Then a crisis caused her to be thrown in the brig and she found herself stuck there. I commented how thematic it was; Cylon or not she had committed murder... the brig was appropriate punishment. We both had a good laugh. laugh


Thanks to everyone’s contributions and stories.
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