Nate Parkes
United States
Chicago
Illinois
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The players (in play order):

-Tom Zarek (Tony, first time playing)
-Starbuck (Sam, first time playing)
-Helo (Matt, second time playing)
-Apollo (Angela, first time playing)
-Chief Tyrol (me, played 6-7 times before, teaching the game)
-Gaius Baltar (Kevin, played 2-3 times before)

Setup

I had another BSG night last night, so I will recount what I can while it is still fresh in my memory. As I’ve mentioned in other posts, I have traditionally had “Cylon karma.” I was once accused of being a Cylon simply on the grounds that I’m always a Cylon. So when we dealt out loyalty cards, I prayed to the gods of Kobol that I could be a human, just this once, so I wouldn’t have to teach the game at the same time I was trying to kill them all.

The gods heard my prayer this time. Loyalty cards were dealt out, and I wasn’t a Cylon. I didn’t have long to linger in the afterglow, however, because the Cylon fleet was on us and someone had to keep an eye on President Baltar.

Act I: Let's Get This Raiding Party Started

The first round of turns went okay. People picked up the game pretty fast, but we drew an additional cylon fleet card, and there were a lot of raiders and a couple of heavy raiders encircling Galactica. Zarek consolidated his power, Starbuck took to a viper, and Admiral Helo did nothing (he was still back on Caprica). Adama, already in a viper, attacked the raiders but only managed to kill one in a group of five; the next raider activation sent him to the sickbay, and the rest of the raiders moved closer to the civilian ships. I played an executive order on Starbuck; she moved in to protect the ships and attacked with maximum firepower, but choked on the execution— two “1”s in a row left plenty of raiders to threaten her and the civies. Another raider activation sent her to sickbay, despite some evasive maneuvers.

President Baltar got to communications and moved the civilian ships out of harm’s way, and then drew a crisis card that allowed him to look at another player’s loyalty card. Some engineering cards had caused us to fail a skill challenge a while ago, and there were rumors and ruminations that I was a skinjob. I welcomed the inspection. It would either exonerate me, or, if Baltar lied, I would know the identity of at least one Cylon (whether that knowledge would do me any good in the brig, I dunno). But Baltar checked me out, and declared my non-Cyloness to the group.

Okay, I’m thinking. Maybe Baltar’s not such a bad guy after all.

Then we come back to Tom Zarek. Now in all my previous games of Battlestar Galactica, I’ve never encountered behavior as strange and suspicious as was coming from Mr. Zarek. He seemed ambivalent about skill challenge and accusations of being a Cylon. Defense of his humanity was delivered with an a sort of perfunctory, “That’s what a Cylon would say,” followed by a “I’m just saying…” Then he would immediately stick a bottle of beer in his mouth, as if to cork up the confession of guilt that was about to spill out. In a word, Mr. Zarek behavior was Peculiar, with a capital “P” and that rhymes with “C” and that stands for Cylon.

So it comes around to Tom Zarek. Afraid that he might not understand the game, I explain that the humans are in deep trouble, and that if we don’t get Starbuck out of the sickbay, say, with an “Executive Order,” we’re going to be running on low skill cards.

Tom Zarek took a swig of beer, and declared that he was consolidating power again.

I explained that his behavior was really suspicious, and if he happened to be a Cylon, he could just simply say he didn’t have an “Executive Order.”

He avoided eye contact.

“Tony,” I said, “Just look me in the eye, and tell me you don’t have an Executive Order.”

He chuckled, and took another swig of beer, and mumbled something inaudible.

At this point, my greatest fear was that Mr. Zarek was a Cylon, and, being a first time player, didn’t understand how obvious he was being. I was afraid that this bumbling Cylon would make the game a cakewalk for the humans, and people would get turned off by the ease of the game.

At least, I consoled myself, I hadn’t tried to make Zarek president. I had been tempted to do that on my first action, since Baltar’s more likely to be a Cylon and having a Cylon president can be bad news; but now it seemed like Baltar was okay and Zarek was the skinjob.

Play passed to Starbuck again, who was in sickbay. Back to a viper she ran, because we still had raiders and heavy raiders converging. Helo finally showed up, and launched a nuke to take out one of the Basestars. Apollo jumped in another viper and defended our other flank. I played another executive order on one of the pilots, and soon the raiders were getting pretty thin.

We were one spot away from an autojump, and the crisis card I pulled bore that lucky jump icon.

Now here’s the other strange thing about this session— we had narrowly passed a crisis card that allowed us to add “1” to our destination count, so it was potentially possible that after our first jump we would enter the sleeper phase (assuming the jump was a “3”). I had explained to everyone that if all our resources were in the blue when we hit the sleeper phase, the game would become 3 vs. 3 instead of 4 vs. 2, so we had hoped to drop a single resource down into the red (metagaming, I know, but we’re trying to survive here, dammit).

The crisis card I’d pulled was a “President Chooses” crisis. If memory serves, our President had a choice between taking a hit to food and a hit to fuel. A hit to food would have dropped us into the red, putting us safely in “friendly Cylon sympathizer” country. A hit to fuel would have done nothing but hit our fuel.

President Baltar announced that we would be taking a hit to fuel. An odd choice, and some people voiced concern, but I stood by the president that had exonerated me. Taking a resource into the red this early in the game would be dangerous, I said. It wasn’t a terrible choice. As long as we didn’t pull a “3” on our destination card, we would be fine.

We moved the token, made the jump, and cleared the board of the remaining raiders. The admiral looked long and hard at his two destination options, and then plunked his choice down on the table.

It was a “3.”

Accusations were hurled—I’ll admit, it was me who did some of the hurling. But the admiral had a cherubic face and protested innocence. “It was the best of two choices,” he said. “I can say no more.”

What are the odds, though? Of drawing two “3” destination cards? I had no time to ponder, though, because it was the sleeper phase. New loyalty cards were dealt, and Apollo took a short trip to the resurrection ship.

I look around the table. I thought Zarek was a Cylon, and probably the Admiral (two “3” locations? Yeah right). When the play passed to Gaius Baltar, I suggested we send the peculiar Mr. Zarek into the brig. The president agreed, as did most of the remaining players. Zarek threw everything he had against the skill check, but we passed by a narrow margin. For all his consolidation of power, Zarek couldn’t stop a unified humanity from tossing the most likely suspect in the brig.

When play passed back to Zarek, both Baltar (who had played before) and myself urged Zarek to reveal if he was a Cylon.

“You’re going to be in that brig forever, bud,” I said. “You might as well reveal, so you can present a real threat. Otherwise, you’re just going to rot in there.”

Zarek drew his cards, and took a “let-me-out-of-the-brig” action. He lowered the difficulty by two using his character ability, but it wasn’t enough.

“Shoot,” I thought to myself. “He’s so stubborn, he won’t even admit he’s a Cylon when we all know he’s a Cylon. He’s going to make this game way too easy, even with the Cylon sympathizer against us.”

Act II: Hard times

Jump forward two hours.

Things had not been too easy.

After the sleeper phase, we had accumulated “8” points of distance, even though it had three full jumps (a “1,” a “2,” and a “2”) to get there. All of our dials were in the red. Slowly, we had started losing more and more skill challenges. At first, we could blame the negative skill cards on Zarek in the Brig and the sympathetic Apollo. Then, after we got five negative skill cards on a single challenge, it was clear that there was at least one more Cylon among us. But we had been distracted by the loss of a few civilian ships and a centurion boarding party, which Admiral Helo had disposed of personally.

Then, just after a forced jump which cost us even more population, President Baltar had revealed himself as a Cylon, and dropped our morale even lower. To put salt in the wounds, the same person that had once exonerated me now gave me his additional loyalty card. It was a “You are not a cylon,” card, but try telling that to a starving, depressed, and scattered crew of paranoid humans.

On the plus side, we were doing okay for fuel.

At some point, it became possible that Zarek wasn’t actually a Cylon. But when we tried to bust him out, even with him reducing the difficulty, the check failed. It became clear there was another Cylon amongst the crew, and a number of the negative cards were Piloting cards. Unfortunately, both Cylon Baltar and Cylon Apollo had been drawing piloting cards, and Starbuck and Helo get Piloting cards automatically.

So there we stood, on top of “8” distance points. Our salvation was just four jump icons away (we could force the jump, at a -1 risk to population, dammit— the rest of the fleet could walk for all I cared).

Things had not been easy.

Act III: Stupid like a fox.

We finally busted Zarek (now President Zarek) out of the brig with a “Investigative Committee” card that prevented any hidden Cylons from interfering, but it cost us most of our remaining skill cards. Skill checks failed, our resources dropped lower, and Apollo the Cylon Sympathizer hit us with a Cylon fleet card that dropped a bunch of Civilian ships out there, and no way to communicate with them. We couldn’t offer much cover, as we were down to three or four undamaged vipers—I suppose that’s my fault, I’m the engineer, but I had spent most of the game playing Executive Orders.

Former President Baltar plunked down his Super Crisis Card and launched nukes at the fleet he had once sworn to protect. We threw everything we had at that skill check, but once again, damn Piloting cards had dropped us below the difficulty. Boom, and another couple resource dials dropped to a hair’s width above zero.

We finally made it to Starbuck’s turn. She launched in one of the remaining vipers, and then drew a crisis card.

I don’t remember what it was—probably a “water shortage” or something like that—but if we failed, our food would drop out the bottom.

At that moment several things suddenly became crystal clear. Each epiphany came with a corresponding moment of “I’m stupid,” because I should have realized it a long, long time ago.

Starbuck was the Cylon. I’m stupid.

She had been sabotaged all our skill checks, including our attempts to get President Zarek out of the brig. I’m so stupid.

And now she had just drawn a fresh hand of piloting cards, and she was going to drop them all on this last skill check. I’m so, so, SO stupid.

I explained this to everyone, and Starbuck denied it, and looked at me with eyes that had never dreamed a single traitorous thought.

“I’m going to help us pass this skill check,” she claimed, as she dropped a several cards on the table. “Seriously, I’m helping us.”

And damn me, I believed her. For just a second, I thought to myself:

Maybe Zarek really was the Cylon.

Then the cards were totaled. Leadership (good), Piloting (bad), Tactics (good), Piloting (bad), Politics (good), Piloting (bad), Piloting (bad), Piloting (bad).

Bad, bad, bad.

Too bad, humans.

A cheer went up from the Cylons. Huzzah for the death of humanity!

I turned to President Zarek, who was still nursing a beer. Now at this point, I realize that I probably hurt the human’s cause more than Zarek, probably more than even the Cylons did. I urged everyone to hurl an innocent man in the brig. I defended President Baltar when people accused him of being a Cylon. I watched as skill check after skill check got sunk by piloting cards, and never once thought to question the pilot. Still, I couldn't help but say it.

“Dude,” I moaned. “You are the most suspicious frakkin' human I’ve ever known.”

He chuckled, and took another swig of beer, and mumbled something inaudible.

Wrap-up:

Well, it turns out that Baltar was a Cylon from the beginning. While this shouldn’t come as any surprise, considering that he gets two loyalty cards at the top of the game, it actually did come as a surprise, because I am very, very stupid.

Starbuck became a Cylon in the sleeper phase. Fate decided that both our pilots would become Cylons. Helo never once jumped into a viper, possibly because he was afraid the moment he did he would realize that he was a Cylon, too.

Apollo was a first-time player, and seemed a little overwhelmed until she became a Cylon; then she blossomed. She dropped crisis cards and cylon fleet cards on us, and then sabotaged skill checks and sowed dissent. She beckoned us all to join the Cylon cause, and her offer became increasingly attractive as the night wore on.

In short, the game was a delight. It did exactly what it was supposed to do. It got a small group of mild acquaintances to laugh and shout and scream and hurl vile, baseless accusations at each other.

Also, we drank beer.

There was betrayal, and paranoia, and “I-should-have-known” moments, and “I-never-would-have-guessed” moments. It was classic BSG. But what will always mark the night for me is the ever-inexplicable behavior of the Peculiar Mr. Zarek.

(edit: typos and act titles)
50 
 Thumb up
3.02
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Benjamin Parker
United States
Manchester
Connecticut
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Frackin' cylon bastards...

Damn... I want to play this so bad! I just got it, read the rules, played a solo game (which of course, takes the fun out of it, but gives you the ability to teach it), and have yet to find enough people to play it with.

But I am DYING to play the thing, especially after this read. Excellent session report
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jim Patterson
United States
Iowa City
Iowa
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Nate, you were stupid.
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Eric Rampson
United States
Chicago
Illinois
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
"On the plus side, we were doing okay for fuel."

Every time I swear I'm never goingto laugh at you again, you say/type something hilarious.

I wish you could write up a session report about the day's earlier game so the term "cylon couch" would be remembered forever...
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Gordy Crozier
United Kingdom
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Damn you sir i have to try and find this game now! Sounds awesome fun! May need to take on second job to keep my boardgame habit going!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Matt Smith
United States
Troy
Michigan
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Scud-O wrote:
"On the plus side, we were doing okay for fuel."

Every time I swear I'm never goingto laugh at you again, you say/type something hilarious.

I wish you could write up a session report about the day's earlier game so the term "cylon couch" would be remembered forever...

"Cylon couch?" Dude, don't leave us hanging.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nate Parkes
United States
Chicago
Illinois
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
mvettemagred wrote:
"Cylon couch?" Dude, don't leave us hanging.


It was a six player game, and four of the players were sitting in chairs, and the other two players were sitting on a couch that was beside the table. As it turned out, one player on the couch became a human-hating Cylon sympathizer, and the other player on the couch later revealed himself as a Cylon.

After that, it became known as the "Cylon couch," and one of the Cylons would often speak in soft, enticing tones and run his hand back and forth on the inviting cushion left between the two Cylons.

"C'mon," he would say to the starved, demoralized humans fighting for their lives. "You know you want to join us on the couch."

And gods, before the end, that couch did become very tempting.
10 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Ian Rowswell
United States
knob noster
US Armed Forces - Americas
flag msg tools
mbmb
Has anyone else noticed this games ability to make cylons out of all the pilots with laser like precision?
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Benjamin Parker
United States
Manchester
Connecticut
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
Eldil wrote:
mvettemagred wrote:
"Cylon couch?" Dude, don't leave us hanging.


It was a six player game, and four of the players were sitting in chairs, and the other two players were sitting on a couch that was beside the table. As it turned out, one player on the couch became a human-hating Cylon sympathizer, and the other player on the couch later revealed himself as a Cylon.

After that, it became known as the "Cylon couch," and one of the Cylons would often speak in soft, enticing tones and run his hand back and forth on the inviting cushion left between the two Cylons.

"C'mon," he would say to the starved, demoralized humans fighting for their lives. "You know you want to join us on the couch."

And gods, before the end, that couch did become very tempting.


I wonder if there's a way to modify the game so that you can (if you're a human) choose whether you're a sympathizer or not. Seems like you should be able to if you want. But I should hold criticism until I've played the game a few times.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nate Parkes
United States
Chicago
Illinois
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
brdparker wrote:
Eldil wrote:
And gods, before the end, that couch did become very tempting.


I wonder if there's a way to modify the game so that you can (if you're a human) choose whether you're a sympathizer or not. Seems like you should be able to if you want. But I should hold criticism until I've played the game a few times.


The only way to implement a mechanic like this and still keep the game balanced is if the remaining humans become more powerful each time someone converts to the Cylon side. Otherwise, everyone could win the game by simply converting to the Cylon side.

Ideally, if you were playing a 6-player game with 2 Cylons and 4 humans (the Sympathizer is human-friendly), 3 humans could convert to the Cylon side, and the remaining human would still have a decent chance of winning.

My suggestion, off the top of my head and completely unplaytested, would be something like this:

Action: Turn Traitor

Turning Traitor is an action that any player can take, so long as that player...

a) does not have a "You are a Cylon" loyalty card
b) is not a revealed Cylon (a Cylon Sympathizer on a Cylon location counts as a revealed Cylon)

When a player takes the "Turn Traitor" action, he selects another player and names that player as his "successor."

The named "successor" must immediately reveal either all his loyalty cards or at least one "You are a Cylon" loyalty card. If the player reveals a "You are a Cylon" card, that player immediately becomes a revealed Cylon (he moves his character token to the ressurection ship, discards down to three cards, and loses all titles). A Cylon that is revealed this way does not get to perform his Cylon reveal action. If the chosen successor is a Cylon, the Traitor must immediately choose another successor. The process is repeated until a non-Cylon player is selected.

After a non-Cylon player is selected as successor, the Traitor gives the successor his character card. For the rest of the game, whenever the Traitor player takes a turn, his turn proceeds as such:

Step 1a) Traitor draws 2 skill cards of any type.
Step 1b) Successor draws 3 skill cards of any type listed on the Traitor's character sheet.

Step 2) Traitor moves to any Cylon location (except "Cylon Fleet"), or chooses not to move.

Step 3a) Traitor may takes the action listed on the location.
Step 3b) The Successor may perform any action from a skill card. If there are no other human players, the Successor may play the "Executive Order" action on himself as this action.

----

Notes:

*Each time a human player is made a Successor, his skill card hand limit increases by five.
*A single player may be made successor multiple times. For example, in a 5-player game, a single person might be named successor twice. The other four players would all be on the Cylon side (2 Cylons, 2 Traitors). The remaining human player would have +10 to his hand limit, and would get to perform a skill card action each time a traitor took an action, and could use this action to play "Executive Order" on himself.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Spencer Beni
United States
Sacramento
California
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Eldil wrote:

Act III: Stupid like a fox.

We finally busted Zarek (now President Zarek) out of the brig with a “Investigative Committee” card that prevented any hidden Cylons from interfering, but it cost us most of our remaining skill cards. Skill checks failed, our resources dropped lower, and Apollo the Cylon Sympathizer hit us with a Cylon fleet card that dropped a bunch of Civilian ships out there, and no way to communicate with them. We couldn’t offer much cover, as we were down to three or four undamaged vipers—I suppose that’s my fault, I’m the engineer, but I had spent most of the game playing Executive Orders.


You do realize that Tyrol gets another action after he uses a repair card, right? You could have repaired the vipers and then given an Executive Order.

Great session report. I do love this game.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Benjamin Parker
United States
Manchester
Connecticut
flag msg tools
mbmbmbmbmb
brdparker wrote:
Frackin' cylon bastards...

Damn... I want to play this so bad! I just got it, read the rules, played a solo game (which of course, takes the fun out of it, but gives you the ability to teach it), and have yet to find enough people to play it with.

But I am DYING to play the thing, especially after this read. Excellent session report


I've played the game now! And it's awesome!
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.