Mark Thomason
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Washington
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So I finally got my third game of BSG in last weekend, and unfortunately not everyone enjoyed the game. My friend gave it a second shot, though he didn't totally enjoy the first round, but he's decided there's too much downtime between turns. To be fair, it probably wasn't the best choice to have him choose Chief Tyrol, but our last game we'd been in need of repairs...

Additionally, I have now joined the ranks of those who think the Sympathizer card rules need work, and I'll probably try the no sympathizer variant next time.

To the left of the Chief sat Gaius Baltar, to his left Admiral Saul Tigh, next was President Roslin, then myself (Helo), and finally Boomer.

****

Everything started off fairly smoothly, with little suspicion from anyone. Things seemed to be going well for a while through the first jump, though we hadn't traveled far. A few Cylon ships attacked, but Gaius Baltar made a few excellent shots at the weapons control and took out the Basestars quickly; Boomer and I hopped into Vipers to take out a few Raiders and before we knew it we were jumping again. Food was growing slowly scarce but we weren't too concerned yet. We suddenly found, though we'd hardly gotten started, that we were halfway to our destination, and the Admiral had been acting strangely. Before President Roslin could move to have him arrested, Boomer was found trying to sabotage the ship and we discovered that she had become a Cylon sympathizer! The traitor passed word along to her robot buddies and before we knew it, they had activated the programming that led to Chief Tyrol revealing himself to be a skin job! After dealing with a major emergency, suspicious from his actions of late, I suggested to the President that she have Admiral Tigh removed from his office, but she wasn't fast enough. Within moments Admiral Tigh had thrown Baltar in the Brig and revealed himself to be a Cylon, and I was suddenly promoted to Admiral.

We were surrounded by Cylons it seemed, and thought all was lost. But working closely together, President Roslin was able to help me prepare the fleet, and with the aid of our scouting ships we began a series of FTL jumps to keep the Cylons guessing as to where our fleet was. A boarding party managed to threaten us severely, but Baltar and I led teams to take out the invaders just before they reached Life Support. We came near to Kobol and began to think we might escape when we found ourselves surrounded by a massive attack of Raiders and BaseStars... Before we could scramble our Vipers to defend, with Raiders surrounding us we couldn't move our civilian ships out of the way. Finally, with morale low, most of our population wiped out, food running out and almost completely out of fuel, we narrowly avoided a major crisis thanks to the political maneuvering of the President and we jumped one final time just before certain doom came upon us, escaping the Cylons and making our way, we hope, to our final salvation.... Earth.

*****

So while most of us had a good time, Chief Tyrol got quite bored and the game dragged on for over 4 hours. We had a very brief first portion of the game, as after jumping only 1 distance the Cylon Admiral Tigh chose to jump 3 to ensure that she would have 2 friends to help her demolish the humans. So very quickly we were dealing out more cards, and Boomer managed to grab both the other Cylon card and the Sympathizer card. So on his first turn as a cylon, albeit a slightly neutered Cylon, he passed on his card to Chief Tyrol - though the rest of us had no idea, Tyrol felt his reaction to the card had given him away, and so, since his turn was next, he immediately revealed. Gaius Baltar headed for weapons control to take out the latest Basestar that had just arrived, and before Roslin could take action, Tigh revealed and we were 3 on 3, with a basestar in place, jump track at zero, and still 4 distance to go...

Our Boomer definitely felt that the Sympathizer card hurts the fun of the game a bit. He had, upon drawing the first card, been looking forward to the subterfuge game of being an unrevealed Cylon, but thanks to the Sympathizer card, and all dials still being blue, he was immediately made into a Cylon with limitations on his powers, no chance to play his card, and with no opportunity to play the role of an unrevealed Cylon. In most ways, it took away a good portion of the most exciting part of the game for him. While some more subtle play on the part of Chief Tyrol might have given him the opportunity to play that portion of the game, it's definitely a card that takes a lot of options away from the player who receives it.

But, despite all this... I'm ready for my next game as soon as I have 4-5 hours and a few people to play with... I do love this game!
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Simon Crowe
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Sheffield
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We've played 6 player with the no-sympathiser variation and it works just fine, much better than with the sympathiser.

It is quite straightforward - only 2 cylons, but the humans start with less resources. Of course both times we've played this the reduced resources have made no difference, the humans would have lost even if the resources were at full.
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Will
United States
Fresno
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After our first game we've gotten it down to about 3 hours for 6 players. Even the first game wasn't much more than 3 hours, I think it was definately under 4 hours for 6 players for us.

Important things to help reduce time:
Print good player aids. I give 2 aids to everyone. The one that shows what types of skill cards there are (2 types per color, printing this in color really helps) and the one that shows turn sequence.

Skill card types:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/filepage/37534

Turn reference nice and simple (its two sided so cylons when they reveal can flip it over and follow the other side from then on):
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/filepage/34985


Then also, printing out 1 or two copies of a comprehensive player aid helps as well (its not nessasary to print these out for everyone usually):
My favorite is this:
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/filepage/38351
That aid contains all the icons so you can quickly glance down at the aid instead of looking things up in the manual. Like what do we activate this turn, is it raider launches or base stars firing?
Or, what do we need to roll to avoid losing population if we jump early?
Or, what does this damage icon mean? (if its a symbol that matches one of the dials lose that resource, otherwise examing player aid can help).
All those lookups in manual take extra time!

Keep the attack table handy, either from back of manual, or from a player aid. That way no need to flip to check it on all attacks. (Remember the admiral card is INCORRECT nuke attack table).

Those kinda things reduce playtime pretty significantly. We still have a good amount of player discussion and what actions are cylon like, who might be the cylon, etc, but we also try to keep things moving when possible.
Our average playtime in our group is 1hr or 1.5hrs and definately under 2 hours, and this game has been played at least once a month in our group since we got it, and mostly with 6 players. So its a sign of how much fun the game is that people in our group are willing to play a longer game like BSG
 
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