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Subject: "I attacked us to save us." rss

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Charles Simon
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Our last game included just four players and we took the roles as followed:

Me: Gaius Baltar
Jessica: Karl "Helo" Agathon
Mike: Lee "Apollo" Adama
Craig: Tom Zarek

Now, to preface this, before we played, I had run a few statistics and shared them with our group. One of the stats was the frequency that each of us was a Cylon. Everyone always thought that I had been a Cylon a disproportionate number of times and the numbers proved right. At that point, I had sided with the Cylons approximately 64% of the time. The next most frequent player had sided with the toasters 38% of the time. Pointing out that statistic did not help avoid suspicion throughout the game that followed.

I received my initial Loyalty cards and saw that, despite receiving two of them as Baltar and despite the fact that I am statistically more likely to be a Cylon, my allegiance was towards humanity. At least so far.

I took a quick look at the other player's skill access. Each of the three other players had access to Tactics. I was the only player that did not. I quickly devised what I thought would be an ingenious plan.

Baltar can draw a skill card from any skill set once the Crisis is revealed. I would discretely stack my hand with Tactic cards. Then, right after the Sleeper Phase, I would intentionally sabotage a skill check. If it turns out that I was a Cylon, it would be great because all of the purple cards would cast suspicion on the other players and not on me. And if I was a human, it would be fine as well. Sure, I would be acting against humanity, but it would take the suspicion off of me and focus it more on the other characters, thus helping us find who really was the Cylon. With a plan that good, how could I fail?

The first phase went quickly. Our first jump was a distance of three and it meant that the Sleeper Phase would come up quickly. Also, no one really seemed too worried about what cards I was drawing during the skill checks, so my hand was full of purple Tactic cards.

The next jump activated the Sleeper Phase. I was still human. However, we've become a very efficient at playing humans and all of our resources were in the blue. Apollo sympathized with the Cylons and left us. By everyone's actions, I was fairly certain that Apollo was human prior to the Sleeper Phase, so there was little chance of him being an unrevealed Cylon as well. Either Zarek or Helo must have been a Cylon.

Apollo's turn was next and he moved to the Human Fleet and checked my hand of cards. "Perfect!" I thought, "He'll see my Tactics cards and know it was me who sabotaged the upcoming skill check. Then he'll assume I am a Cylon and he might accidentally let slip his intentions before my turn and I'll be ahead of his game."

Then the perfect Crisis card came up. Losing it would hit our Morale and Tactics cards did not help the skill check. At the time, Morale was our highest resources, so I wouldn't be attacking anything vital. I tossed in four Tactic cards. This way, no one could rationalize anything but a traitor in our midst. Two could be blamed on Destiny and a third on the Cylon sympathizer, but the fourth would incriminate someone else... someone with a little purple Tactics box on their character card. Destiny also helped my plan by adding in a Red Piloting card that hurt our check. We failed it and everyone looked at the cards.

I eagerly added to the suspicious disbelief, "Look! Four purple cards! Obviously it is either Helo or Zarek." I thought that the human player would have to suspect the other character, the unrevealed Cylon.

Zarek's player said, "That's a lot of cards in there. Did someone maybe misread the skill check requirements?"

However, Helo's player was swift and quickly pointed out, "Baltar can get a skill card of any color. He could have easily done it."

Damn. Perhaps there was a little meta-gaming there. Helo was being played by my wife who never trusts me in games.

Anyhow, Helo then started to say that the unrevealed Cylon could be any of us, including Apollo. He might have been dealt the card in the first round.

That made me immediately suspect her. Usually human players tend to focus on one target of their suspicion and try to come up with any reason possible to suspect them. However, Helo was being logical and rational. That didn't make any sense. It also meant that she was trying to increase the number of suspects instead of narrowing it down. Obviously, a Cylon move.

So, Helo became the focus of my suspicion. I still had Baltar's ability to look at loyalty cards. So, I decided to ask to see Zarek's cards. I figured I would see two human loyalty cards and by me verifying his allegiance, he would trust me and we could turn on Helo and toss him into the brig. I peeked at Zarek's cards.

He was a frakkin' skinjob.

I immediately turned to Helo and said that he was a skinjob. Helo didn't trust me and said, "Or you could be one and lying to make me suspect him."

I decided to come clean and bare my soul to Helo to prove my allegiance so that we could turn on the skinjob. "Remember that skill check we failed with all the Tactics cards in it? I did that! I intentionally sabotaged the check so that people wouldn't suspect me and we could focus on the real traitor! Now I know it's Zarek!"

A pause. Then, "You intentionally failed that check?"

"Uh... Yeah." It was at that point that I realized that my plan sounded much better in my head than saying it out loud to another human player.

"Why would you try to fail a check?"

Admittedly, a good question, now that I thought about it. "So we could focus on the real traitor. I attacked us to save us. Look, if I really was a traitor, would I be telling you how I intentionally sabotaged us all?"

Somewhere there is logic in there. However, I did not have an easy time of getting the others to see it and I made no headway in gaining support against Zarek.

Over the next couple turns Zarek so nicely helped the humans. He played strong cards, he moved the civilian ships around away from the Raiders, he even gave up the Presidency (which I lost early in the game) and gave it to Helo, all the while I screamed like a maniac, "He's only helping us to make me look bad!"

Finally, it was worth it for Zarek to reveal himself and go to the Resurrection Ship. It was a bittersweet moment of vindication as I turned to Helo and told him, "See?!? I told you he was a Cylon!"

Helo's response was rather deadpan, "But you sabotaged us. You admitted it. You said you sabotaged us."

Anyhow, the efficiency of the humans had died in the second round, partly due to my intentional sabotage, but mostly due to the mistrust that had been spread. We were in a weakened spot once Zarek revealed himself and it was only a short time before the humans were starved out through food and water shortages.

I learned something from that game. First of all, no one I game with trusts me when it comes to Battlestar Galactica. Secondly, if you are going to attack humanity to save it, don't tell anyone what you did.
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Brian Sherry
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Very amusing. Seems you outsmarted yourself. Very Baltar, too!


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Starbuck
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Wow, SO Baltar! I need to get this game now. Thanks.
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Cameron McKenzie
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I think you were a little bit TOO in characters

Also, I cracked up at "However, Helo was being logical and rational. That didn't make any sense."
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Philipp Kleinherne
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Amusing und written well. Thank you so much! You definitely proved to be worthy of the Baltar-Character.
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Alan DeHaan
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It almost seems like, deep down, you wished to be a Cylon. Tsk, people go crazy in these games.

Greatly written, well done!
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James Fung
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Baltar: too smart for his own good. And humanity's good too, apparently.
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Jason Lott
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Yeah, I don't think I'd have trusted you either. In murder mysteries it's often that the killer explains things or helps "root out the murderer" and insist it can't be them because of that. (See also: Clue, the movie.)
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Charles Simon
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Quote:
Yeah, I don't think I'd have trusted you either. In murder mysteries it's often that the killer explains things or helps "root out the murderer" and insist it can't be them because of that. (See also: Clue, the movie.)



Granted, in retrospect I think my major flaw was admitting what I did. Well, that and possibly it was a small flaw to sabotage my own team. Also, after the game Zarek's player let on a tell. When he mentioned that he thought someone must have misread the skills for the check, it was because he knew he was the traitor and was baffled by us failing the check so dramatically. Unfortunately, I did not catch onto that tell. Plus, Apollo's player was no help as the Sympathizer. He mentioned at one point that he had no clue which of the three of us was the Cylon, but he didn't care. He was sitting comfortably in the Cylon fleet and enjoying the show as the rest of us tore into one another.
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Big Guy
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What a beautiful session report for a game that's all about trying to get into other people's heads.
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Jules Kajtar
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I can't wait to play this game again! Thanks!
 
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Nathan Baumbach
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What's hilarious about this is if you look at it from a show standpoint, that's what would happen if Baltar tried his hand at tactics.

He'd not only fail, but hurt the Fleet somehow.

I would have understood where you were coming from if I was in that game, but again, I would have also suspected you as a Cylon. Mostly because a Cylon would try to do whatever's possible to prove someone else is a Cylon, going as drastically far as you did.

 
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N. Ma
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Hilarious story...interesting strategy...?

Haha, I had to reread that line--you were still human after Sleeper Agent Phase, and then you sabotaged the check. Obviously I get it now, but you're right, I wouldn't have trusted you hearing you explain that! I'm guessing most wouldn't, but an interesting roundabout play, nonetheless.

Baltar has always been an weird character to trust. The whole Cylon Detector thing is difficult to read with good players!
 
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Mark Thomason
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Very humourous. I have to say though... I'm glad you're not on MY team.
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Ben Foy
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Hmmm its funny, I tend to act like your wife. I don't jump to any conclusions and look for the 'smoking gun'. You erroneously gave it to her.
 
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Simon K
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Great plan LOL ... loved that story!
 
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Tom Thingamagummy
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Great report! If you're like me, you just expect to be a Cylon!

Tom as a Cylon: 11 of 13 games. (85%)
Tom as a Cylon when Nathan plays: 10 of 10 games (100%)
Tom as a Sleeper Cylon: 10 of 11 games. (91%)

I'm frakkin' tired of being a Cylon.
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Jayson Smith
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thinwhiteduke wrote:

I decided to come clean and bare my soul to Helo to prove my allegiance so that we could turn on the skinjob. "Remember that skill check we failed with all the Tactics cards in it? I did that! I intentionally sabotaged the check so that people wouldn't suspect me and we could focus on the real traitor! Now I know it's Zarek!"


Hmm ... does this violate the rules?

Skill Cards and Skill Checks: Players are prohibited
from revealing the exact strength of cards in their
hands. They may use vague terms such as “I can help
out on this crisis a little bit,” but they may not make
more specific statements such as “I am playing 5
piloting.” In addition, after a skill check is resolved,
players may not identify which cards they played.

The reason for these restrictions is to keep hidden
information secret and to protect Cylon players from
being discovered too easily.

...maybe not since the skill check was several turns back. Still, great story.
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Charles Simon
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Quote:
In addition, after a skill check is resolved,
players may not identify which cards they played.
The reason for these restrictions is to keep hidden
information secret and to protect Cylon players from
being discovered too easily.



Personally, I think the spirit of this rule is to stop people from turning over the skill cards at the end of a check and each player pointing out which cards were theirs to determine which ones were from Destiny and which ones were from other players.

And I didn't point out which cards I played. When you have one colossally failed skill check with 4-5 Tactics cards in it, the skill check itself became known as "that skill check with all those Tactics cards in it." Besides, I never said which I threw in, only that I sabotaged it. For all they knew, I could have thrown in one Tactics card and one Piloting card.

Still, it's a good observation and we are very careful with how we word and phrase things when it comes to before and after skill checks. That being said, we've played the game now so many times with the same core group of players that we are coming close to creating our own vague language that we all understand enough to almost become definitions. I think I could guess with a bit of rough accuracy the amount that any of my core group is playing by saying, "I can help a little bit," "I can be of fair/moderate assistance," or "I can help out a lot." But I guess that the the problem with playing with the same players so often. You get to know their tells and can make rough estimates. Though you would think this would be true with tells and our unrevealed Cylons as well, but it just doesn't happen that often.
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B C Z
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thinwhiteduke wrote:
I think I could guess with a bit of rough accuracy the amount that any of my core group is playing by saying, "I can help a little bit," "I can be of fair/moderate assistance," or "I can help out a lot."


Note that by the rules, you can only say that you will help 'a little' or 'a lot'. You're not permitted to state 'fair/moderate' or anything else.

Most groups I know also add 'can't help' which indicates no intent to submit cards.
 
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Charles Simon
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Quote:
Note that by the rules, you can only say that you will help 'a little' or 'a lot'. You're not permitted to state 'fair/moderate' or anything else.



Out of curiosity, where did you find that ruling? The previous poster quoted the rules directly (page 20 of the manual), and it states that you can only use vague terms, and nothing specific. It does not give a list of the only things that you are allowed to say. Since their example of an illegal specific statement is "I am playing 5 piloting", I would think that terminology such as "fair" or "moderate" is still considered vague. I'm curious as to where you found your ruling that lists what only can be said.
 
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Mark Thomason
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I don't know where that rule is, but I do know I remember reading it. So they do have a point there. It seems a little restrictive to me, but then again creating language so that the math can be done with code words is kind of defeating the purpose of the situation.
 
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Charles Simon
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Hm. So far I've referenced the current FAQ and the rules book and have only come across the aforementioned piece in the main rules manual (page 20):

Quote:
Skill Cards and Skill Checks: Players are prohibited from revealing the exact strength of their cards in their hands. They may use vague terms such as "I can help out on this crisis a little bit," but they may not make more specific statements such as "I am playing 5 piloting." In addition, after a skill check is resolved, players may not identify which cards they played. The reason for these restrictions is to keep hidden information secret an to protect Cylon players from being discovered too easily.


And my point of what I mentioned was knowing my core group well enough that I know what is meant. There is not a code language created, i.e., moderate = 3 point card. It is just knowing the other players from playing close to 20 games with them. Besides, if the crisis difficulty is 8, then "moderate help" means something very different numerically than if the crisis difficulty is 17, So there is no real numerical code information given, just a good knowledge of the other players.

But as far as the point of the rules stating that you may only say that you can help "a little", "a lot" or say nothing at all, I have not found them in any reference source at this point. And if that was the intention, I would think that they would have written exactly what was allowed to be said there, instead of saying "vague terms such as". It would be written along the lines of "players may only say..." Besides, it would be very silly to limit people only those options to speak because people can help a different amount than only a little or a lot. However, if anyone could find and reference the rule you are stating, I would be very interested in taking a gander at it.
 
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Glen Cote
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Excellent report. Maybe next time you'll think twice before listening to "Head Six"
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Jayson Smith
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thinwhiteduke wrote:
That being said, we've played the game now so many times with the same core group of players that we are coming close to creating our own vague language that we all understand enough to almost become definitions. I think I could guess with a bit of rough accuracy the amount that any of my core group is playing by saying, "I can help a little bit," "I can be of fair/moderate assistance," or "I can help out a lot."


Gah, I got into the same deal with Shadows Over Camelot. And once that happens, I think it gets too mechanical and definitely takes some challenge out of the game. It's tough to un-ring that bell.
 
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