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Subject: Pilots not as interesting? (& Character Rankings) rss

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Brian Bankler
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Just wondering what people think about pilots in general. You'll have one (in any 4+ player game) but it seems to me that they aren't as interesting. The Prez gets the quorum deck, The Admiral gets the nukes, and both of them often get to choose the crisis.

That means pilots have less control (either as a cylon or human). Granted, the Adm/Prez often have to discard cards. Given the skill checks, Pilots can often tank a crisis (since normally piloting is 'bad'), which is a positive. Also, people often check the Admiral/President first if there's no real obvious cylon. Anyway, just wondering.

General Character Rankings -- These thoughts are for 5/6 players. Rating is partially how good a character is, but also how interesting to play.

Politicians
Roslin ( ) -- Starts as president. Great ability (two crisis cards), great special ability. Drawback isn't terrible. Honestly, Rosalyn should be weakened a bit (Perhaps just 'reject the first crisis card, must keep the second). You have to deal with Roslin if she's on the other team. Just brutal if she's a cylon.

Baltar ( ) -- The extra card is a downside, unless you prefer to play the cylons. A fun character that everyone has to respect. He can instantly out a cylon (or plant a red herring). Gains a star if he's president.

Zarek ( ) -- Honestly, maybe we just have a mental block against him. He's unlikely to start as president, has a mediocre ability (raise or lower brigging or election checks by 2), a so-so once/game action (sacrifice a population to gain morale, food or fuel), and a terrible restriction (can't activate a location occupied by another player). He may gain a bit with a sympathizer, as his once/game can push something into the blue (which is brutal if he's a cylon). Part of the problem is that either Roslin or Baltar are so much better....

Military Leaders
Adama ( ) -- Starts as admiral, reasonable (if uninteresting) ability. Decent once/game. The drawback of not being able to brig is a real one. (I've been in a position where I as a Cylon Adama could have reasonably brigged a loyal Baltar ... if only I'd been able to).

Tigh ( ) -- Great once/game ability (particularly if he's admiral), but mediocre ability and terrible drawback. Tigh often runs out of cards. Gains a star if Adama's not in, as being admiral is fun!

Helo ( ) -- Great ability, but you have to miss out on your first turn. You could be doing nothing for a while. Special ability can be a game-saver for either side.

Pilots
Apollo ( ) -- Good ability, Annoying downside. The special ability (activate six vipers) can save a bad battle situation, but may not show up. (I assume he can launch vipers as part of that). He can often take command if only one military leader is picked.

Starbuck ( ) -- The 'extra action if you start in space' isn't as good as you'd like. Starting in space is a waste unless you have something to shoot. People need to order her to space ASAP when cylons show up. Good special ability. Downside gives you less control over your destiny (whether cylon or human). Tempted to give her 1 star.

Boomer ( ) -- Decent special ability. Annoying downside. Great once/game ability.

Support

Chief Tyrol ( ) -- A great ability, ok special ability. Downside is pretty minor. Solid character, not that interesting.
 
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Allan Clements
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Roslins drawback is very annoying, you basically play with no cards for most of the game if you want to get around it. Gets even worse if you lose the presidency and become useless for most of anything

I would definitely not give her 4 stars, as her only saving grace is that she generally plays the Quorum cards which dont trigger her drawback but most of the time having no skill cards in your hand isnt good for a cylon or human player. Maybe 2 or 3 stars.

Zarek is a very nice character, and a very good cyclon. Can more easily get out of the brig and more easily keep people there. Nice to have once you figure out the cylon and even better to have if you are the cylon. I think he is one of the characters I would definitely stick with as a cylon for a while before revealing as he also draws the cards used to get out of the brig.

Also his once per game ability can save the humans when one resource gets low, is one of the few ways to gain fuel, and as a cylon can help make sure that no dials are in red by the sleeper phase (especially if someone gives you an executive order)

His drawback is not bad either, and can help a cylon justify why he isnt helping shoot down the enemy ships!

I would give him at least a 3 as I found him to be useful and draws from my favourite skill piles.

 
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Sean McCarthy
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The worst part about being Roslin is that the other players will try to take the presidency away from you because it sucks for you to actually use the quorum cards (you have to discard). Your only really good plays are Executive Orders. The crisis card ability is amazing though, and makes up for it.

Gaius is great too. Why wouldn't you want to be a Cylon? Their strategy is more complex and they also are more likely to win in my experience. The only drawback is that people don't trust you as much, but that's one you can work around using skill. His abilities are also pretty nice.

I agree that Zarek is complete crap, though I've never seen anyone choose him.
 
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Eric Flood
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I disagree with your Starbuck rating. Based on one play as Starbuck (my only play), she was pretty cool (as a human). She grabs so many red cards that I was having a handful of the 4X firing card, and having two actions out in space makes this even better. On one turn, I managed to take out 5 raiders and damage the base star in our game. We never had a problem with the ships as a result.

If she's a cylon, however, she's probably rather boring, as you'd want to reveal pretty quickly rather than destroying the other cylons.
 
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Matt Davis
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For the record, I think you can use an action to play any Quorum card that starts with "Action:", without activating the Pres.'s office. So Roslin can play quorum cards without discarding.

I have to disagree about Zarek, though. Yes, his special is inferior to Roslin's, but imagine the situation where only one political leader is in play (not uncommon). Where is that person? On Colonial One, being President-y. Who else is on Colonial One? No one. So Zarek's downside is almost meaningless (if he's that one political person), and Roslin's annoys the bejesus out of me.

Of course, Roslin's once-per-game is useful slightly more often than Zarek's, I'd bet, and has the benefit that it's great as a Cylon, even if you're in the brig.
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Joe Niezelski
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Roslin's negative is pretty much brutal. Sure, she can just play or draw Quorum cards without using the Presidential Office, but then she's drawing one less Quorum card per turn. Or, she can use the Office and lose 2 of her 5 cards. Of course, her ability is probably the best in the game.

I think she's a great character, but an awful president.

I like Zarek as President for the reason Matt points out above.

I find pilots boring as well. In the games I have played, Cylon attacks just weren't that painful, unless you happen to get hit with two in succession. Usually, though, that's still not enough to do any real damage before you jump away. Generally, we find our pilots are sitting in the research lab gearing up for the real threat: the crisis cards.
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Brian Bankler
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Re: Roslin's discards.

Discarding two cards to activate the administration (Draw a quorum card, then draw or play one) gives you a bonus action (and a good one) for two cards. Granted, it's better for Gaius or Zarek to use it.

But it all pails in comparison to looking at the top two cards of the deck. If other characters had the following ability "Discard two cards to look at the top two crisis cards, play one, and put the other on the bottom of the deck" then the cylons would be hosed. Roslin can keep the two cards through judicious action selection (giving actions away, drawing extra cards via the politics deck, and use of presidential powers). Roslin can work around her drawback, unlike most characters.
 
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Kent Raquet
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oo, i want to throw in on this one. i think the problem a lot of people have is that they assume the character abilities define their game. but they really just modify it (except roslin, who really just fiddles with the quorum deck).

roslin: i know i was disappointed when i got stuck with roslin* because her role is very narrow; you draw and play quorum cards and look at two crises (and thats it) until either you lose the presidency or get thrown in the brig...or both (not uncommon in our games...crises that do either, plus players accusing of or being cylons). once those happen, it sucks to be roslin, especially if you are in the brig=no crisis bonus (her only big bonus).
*for role selection in our group, we choose the type (military,political,pilot), then randomly get one from that group (with option to throw back if we have already played them).

baltar is lots of fun to play, his abilities really put you into the role of baltar; untrustworthy, but so good at handling a variety of problems that people want you to be on their side. once ive played as everyone, baltar is one i look forward to playing again.

zarek; i am still wanting to try him out, and ive only seen him played once in the 5 games weve played, so i dont really have much to say about him...though, his once per game seems very useful for either cylon or human.

adama: i havent played as adama yet, but i have had admiral, and it is great to be in control of the jumps. but i have seen his drawback really hurt after he has been thrown in the brig...he cant try to get admiral back without others doing it for him. his abilities seem fairly minor compared to other characters, but again, being admiral is HUGE if you can hold onto it.

tigh: at first, i was excited to play tigh because i thought i would also be admiral, but it turned out adama was also pulled for that game. despite this, tigh turned out to be one of my favorite characters to play so far...it was in a 7 player game (we played 3 cylons, no sympathizer). it wasnt long before all three political characters were in the brig hey, they were suspicious...or at the least an escaped convict. i actually just didnt want crisis cards drawn every turn...which then meant i didnt run out of cards in hand. again, like baltar, you get into the role for tigh, ordering people around with the threat of brigging them.

helo: missing turn one is annoying, but not more so than other characters downside...it just focuses all the annoyance on one turn rather than spreading it out. the decision change i have seen save the humans in at least 2 out of our 5 games (a non-revealed cylon sees a chance for victory "haha, im gonna make us lose the fuel, cylons win." helo "uh, no thanks, i think we'll keep playing.") and re-rolling dice is often useful as well.

ALL PILOTS: i think the main dislike is due to the line of thinking that a pilot should be shooting cylons, and doesnt do anything else. of course they should shoot cylons when it comes up, but there are plenty general actions to be taken...and they are so important when cylons DO show up and arent looked at due to presidency or admiralness, thus in the games ive played they are least likely to get thrown in the brig (seriously, when i was tigh, i got 4 of the 7 players in the brig, it was me and the 2 pilots out...and starbuck was even one of them...she just never gave me a reason to brig her, very unusual).

apollo: ability to jump into a viper from sickbay is amazing when fighting cylons. i never used the 6 vipers ability (though, i didnt think about launching them with it), and to be fair, i usually forgot about the random discarding. overall, a decent character, and not unusual to be the admiral by the end of the game.

starbuck: again, when cylons show up, she can be the most important character, tearing through lots of enemies. and if she is in space without something to shoot, unless there is an eratta, she still gets 2 actions when jumping back onto galactica. i havent seen her drawback come into play yet (unless you KNOW she is a cylon, you dont throw her in the brig, you want her around to shoot down toasters).

boomer: i havent played her yet, but i understand the frustration with her downside, being sent to the brig without any say or reasoning (ie. vote or because someone thinks you are a cylon) is annoying. but her two abilities are incredible; and maybe i will like playing as her as i did the tigh and baltar (i could see the anticipation of likely being a cylon during sleeper phase putting you into a different style of play). i guess i will find out when i get a chance to play her.

chief: havent played him yet, but as of now i have to agree with the OP on this one, useful abilities, useful character, minor downside, but nothing too exciting.
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Brian Bankler
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I finally played Zarek, just to see. Never wound up using his abilities (losing a ton of population early pretty much killed that). I'm not sold on him.

Helo, on the other hand, goes up. Good ability, can pilot or admiral as needed.
 
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J Vomkrieg
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Personally, with helo either pick him if your onw of the 1st players or not at all. Having to watch two peoples turns before you act kinda stinks.

We had helo in our last game and we let that player have 1st turn
 
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Riku Riekkinen
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Ithkrall wrote:
Personally, with helo either pick him if your onw of the 1st players or not at all. Having to watch two peoples turns before you act kinda stinks.

We had helo in our last game and we let that player have 1st turn


Since Helo still gets cards and crisis card in his first turn, he really only misses one action. He can be fully in the voting/blaming game whole time. There may even be 0 cylons on board, so nothing crucial needs to be done. And if he is a cylon, he has got the perfect excuse to do nothing useful turn 1.

Also since you can't be moved, you can't be thrown into brig. So cylon Helo can openly oppose all votes from the beginning (and possibly be making Admiral decisions also) and at the start of his turn 2 blow ship up and become out of the closet cylon.
 
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