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Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game» Forums » Variants

Subject: Robotic Sympathizer as a balancing mechanic rss

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Ryan Gatti
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The Cylon sympathizer isn't a fun role to play. It just isn't fun to be forced into a role that has few options and none of the intrigue that makes Cylons interesting. Plus, it handles the delicate balance issue with a sledgehammer.

Proposed variant:
A) If the Sympathizer is a human, treat it as normal (ie. the Sympathizer card is treated as a Not a Cylon card and the player is thrown in the brig)

B) (Variant) If the Sympathizer is a Cylon, do the following:
1) Throw the character in the brig
2) Set the Sympathizer card aside and treat it as a separate player
3) That "player" (we'll call it the Cylon Robot) acts immediately after the player who originally drew the Sympathizer card
4) The Cylon Robot acts as another Cylon, but can only take the Caprica action space to draw 2 Crisis Cards and execute one of them (no jumps or ship movements)
5) The choice of Crisis Cards is done by: a) If the player who drew the Sympathizer card is a revealed Cylon (or no Cylons are currently revealed), then that player picks the Crisis Card, otherwise, b) the closest, right-hand side, revealed Cylon player (ie. the Cylon player whose next turn is farthest away from the Cylon Robot)
6a) (Option 1) The Robot never has any Skill Cards, and therefore, never contributes cards toward Skill Checks.
6b) (Option 2) (Preferred Alternative) For each skill check, 1 card from the Destiny deck is placed in front of the Cylon Robot. When the cards are revealed, if that card supports the skill check, ignore/discard it. However, if the card goes against the skill check, treat it as a normal card.

In this manner, a Cylon Robot still performs nearly the same actions as a real player who became a Cylon via the Sympathizer card (ie. no Super Crisis Card and unable to use the Cylon Fleet space). It also diminishes the severity of the Sympathizer swing (in a 4 player game, it goes from 3 humans to 1 Cylon to 3 humans to 1 Cylon and 1 Robot (about 3 to 1.5) instead of going to 2 humans to 2 Cylons. In a 6 player game, it goes from to 4 on 2 to 4 on 2.5.). Both of these scenarios put the balance closer to the 5 player game (which doesn't use a Sympathizer card).

I haven't tried this yet, but I think this makes 4 and 6 player games more palatable (at least for games in which the Sympathizer card creates another Cylon).
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Matt Davis
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New Concord
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Interesting idea for a fix. (I feel like the Sympathizer needs it. It does balance the game well, in my experience, but it's no fun for the person who draws the sympathizer.) What would you suggest if there's no revealed Cylons yet?
 
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Christian Grundner
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if there is no revealed cylon yet the robot just draws one crisis card and resolves it always picking the first option. that is pretty much the only way until there is a revealed cylon.

that said...

i am a big fan of the sympathiser card as it is. it only comes into play when the fleet is at 4, 5, 6 which often is more than half the game.

if all the ressources at that point are in the blue, that means there either is no cylon, cylon is terribly unlucky or he is not worth his water (pardon my fremen).

in either of that cases it is ok to balance the game with another cylon!

if, on the other hand, the cylon player is playing a good game sowin dissent and hurting the fleet, then he´ll have to hold out for the rest of the game alone.

but if you see the game in 2 halves then most often you have either
1 cylon for 2 halves
or 2 cylons for one half in a 4 player game.

i think that works great!
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Daniel Havránek
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well, i think sympatizer keeps the game in balance. it can be seen on just tha fact he is in play when playing with more players. restrictions he have is simply because one full cylon player could make it very hard for human players ...
my opinion, i havent played yet...
 
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Ryan Gatti
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coolpapa wrote:
Interesting idea for a fix. (I feel like the Sympathizer needs it. It does balance the game well, in my experience, but it's no fun for the person who draws the sympathizer.) What would you suggest if there's no revealed Cylons yet?

In this case, I'd let the player who drew the Sympathizer card make the decision until a Cylon is revealed.

This might even add a little more suspicion to the player making the decision or increase pressure on a Cylon player to reveal to ensure optimal control of the crises.

But it's particularly interesting if the Sympathizer player is also an unrevealed Cylon. devil


The game is all about paranoia, misdirection, intrigue, and layers of subtlety. A player forced into being a highly crippled Cylon (via the Sympathizer) gets to participate in none of those aspects of the game. In short, it plays fine for balance, but it's just not any fun to play (it really does feel robotic).
 
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Ryan Gatti
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Raziel wrote:
well, i think sympatizer keeps the game in balance. it can be seen on just tha fact he is in play when playing with more players. restrictions he have is simply because one full cylon player could make it very hard for human players ...
my opinion, i havent played yet...

Having played the games many times, I agree with this completely (ie. it's good for balance, and it would be too powerful as a full Cylon). However, the Cylon as Sympathizer just isn't fun for anyone to play (and "play" is a generous word for this role.).
 
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Daniel Havránek
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in this case ... you can always choose another game to play, if you have wrong number of players for BSG :)
 
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Ryan Gatti
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Raziel wrote:
in this case ... you can always choose another game to play, if you have wrong number of players for BSG

Which is why 5 players is the optimal player count for BSG (specifically because it is the only high player count without the Sympathizer card. Six player games are particularly fun unless the Sympathizer becomes a Cylon and diminishes an otherwise excellent gaming experience.).

If you ignore (or fix) the Sympathizer, I'd highly recommend BSG with 4-6 players. However, with the Sympathizer as is, I prefer to play it with exactly 5 and find another game with 4 and 6. It shouldn't have to be that way.
 
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Rob Hayward
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If the sympathiser is a robot then I'd also suggest that they always come into play, this would reduce the meta gaming of making sure one dial is in the red.
 
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Gary Laporte
France
Limeil-Brevannes
Val de Marne
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I also think the sympathizer should always come into play. I like this variant as it does not sacrifice a player to balance the game and I will probably try it out in our next 4 or 6 players game.
 
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