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Subject: Idea for shorter game play? rss

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Bart Elison
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I just wanted to throw this out and see what people thought, if this would work. One of the only complaints I have heard about this game when we try to bring it to the table is how long it takes to finish. We played a 6 player game last night and it lasted over 5 hours, maybe close to 6 (forgot to see when exactly we started). Granted we did have one new player that we needed to get up to speed.

With all that said do you think for an introductory game or a quick game (sort of like how Agricola and Le Havre do it) that you could start off with exactly 1/2 the resources of what you usually start with. Have the sleeper phase after the first jump, regardless of distance, then the humans win after the next jump following the distance of 4 or 5. Do you think it would work, balance wise?

 
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Nathaniel GOUSSET
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Kill the slow player...
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Tokelau
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Wow, 5 hours thats a bit crazy. It's a 2 to 3 hour game.
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♫ Eric Herman ♫
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That seems like pretty harsh of a cut, but might work for an introductory kind of thing...

There has been some discussion about changing the jump distance on this thread: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/373970 I'd like to try that at some point. It should definitely not take 5 hours, though, but sometimes the game seems to go too long for what it is, even at 2-3 hours. Making the final jump threshold of 6 instead of 8 and reducing the starting resources by 1/4 should make it shorter, regardless, hopefully without sacrificing any (or at least not too much) of the gameplay.
 
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ideas thrown out for you to sort out....

FOR ANY NEWBIES
--have people read the rules ahead of time (will probably be diffcult to understand for most people without having visual references of the board, cards, and components)
http://new.fantasyflightgames.com/ffg_content/Battlestar_Gal...


--have players read the character cards ahead of time by emailing the links below to them.
People who are either brand new or relatively new to the game or are fans of the show will often spend alot of time going through these in order to pick something of their gameplay and TV series preference. Getting this done ahead of time (picking a primary, 2ndary, and 3rd choice) will cut out alot time right there if your group doesn't choose characters as 'split second decisions'.

Chief Tyrol - http://boardgamegeek.com/image/361711
Helo - http://boardgamegeek.com/image/361710
"Apollo" Adama - http://boardgamegeek.com/image/361709
William Adama - http://boardgamegeek.com/image/361708
Starbuck - http://boardgamegeek.com/image/361707
Saul Tigh - http://boardgamegeek.com/image/361706
Roslin - http://boardgamegeek.com/image/361705
Boomer - http://boardgamegeek.com/image/361703
Baltar - http://boardgamegeek.com/image/361702
Tom Zarek - http://boardgamegeek.com/image/361715


DURING GAME PLAY
--have one person replinish the Destiny Deck and another shuffle skill cards. If it's too much work for one person, switch off these roles every half hour, hour, or so.
--have the next player's draw skill cards prepared before hand

--it's important to discuss critical moments, but not every single movement and action shoul be put to a committee
--cut down on the role playing. It's fun to act like the characters in the show, but that does add to game time
--Skip the quotes on the cards. It's also fun to read, but reading all of them also adds not huge, but still significant playtime to the game
--Try not to discuss the show too much. Nevermind potential spoilers for those who aren't caught up, but it's even more time added to the game. (For one game, we did this and learned alot even though the game ended up taking over 3.5 hours)


ALTERNATIVES
--make it fully co-op, so no cylons whatsoever. People will argue that I'm "destroying the game", but your proposals of making the game shorter are already doing that (no offense, and not that that's a BAD thing in your case)



These definatley help, as 5 to 6 hours is even waay past the highball figure for many of my groups. Over 3 hours b/c of many newbies, almost 4 hours b/c we heavily discussed the show. Otherwise, 2 to 3 hours is the range we usually hit. In cases where the cylons win later than sooner, and humans win, they're still mostly within that range
........... GOTTA run, will post more later.
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Carc >> BSG
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Play Dominion instead.

But seriously, 5-6 hours? Jeez. What caused the slowdown? Our group usually gets through a single round of a 5-6 player game within 15 minutes easily. Granted, we usually have one guy telling us what to do and rarely does an actual discussion come up, but still...
 
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Will
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ackmondual wrote:
FOR ANY NEWBIES
--have people read the rules ahead of time (will probably be diffcult to understand for most people without having visual references of the board, cards, and components)
https://mail.peepers.org/exchweb/bin/redir.asp?URL=http://new.fantasyflightgames.com/ffg_content/Battlestar_Galactica/bsg-rulebook-web.pdf

I suggest using the direct link:
http://new.fantasyflightgames.com/ffg_content/Battlestar_Gal...
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Mike Lee
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Hey Bart,

My group really loves the game and we've implemented a bunch of houserules to shorten the game and add an extra layer of flavor (some created by us, some from bgg and the ffg forums).

You can check the ideas out on my personal comments about the game.

Cheers!
 
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Cameron McKenzie
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Another house rule I've become fond of is allowing players to play cards to a skill check in any order. Skill checks can take up a good chunk of time if everyone is waiting on one slow person who is supposed to be playing his cards first, and given how common they are, this could save a decent chunk of time.

The effect on gameplay is negligible, so I see little reason not to do it this way.
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Bart Elison
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Hey thanks for all the feed back. We tried to do the all in on the skill checks too to speed things up. I think we had 2 major issues during our game. One is the new player which felt like they couldn't make any choices on their own, so they asked for comity support every time so they wouldn't "kill" the game for their team. Secondly one of our players has AP really badly. One last thing, I guess I exaggerated the length a little, I didn't keep very good track of when we started so it was between 4 and 5, not 5 and 6. Still a great game, just looking for a faster way to introduce players that have never played. Btw it came down to a single die roll for the human win, after all that time they did the jump at the end, if the roll failed they ran out of population, humans one, blast!
 
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tim
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MasterDinadan wrote:
Another house rule I've become fond of is allowing players to play cards to a skill check in any order. Skill checks can take up a good chunk of time if everyone is waiting on one slow person who is supposed to be playing his cards first, and given how common they are, this could save a decent chunk of time.

The effect on gameplay is negligible, so I see little reason not to do it this way.
I disagree, the number of cards each player contributes is important. Even if the number is not exactly known if someone drops a bunch of cards it effects what the other players do. The order in which people have to make the choice to contribute can greatly effect the game.
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Les Lauber
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eightbit wrote:
MasterDinadan wrote:
...allow...players to play cards to a skill check in any order. Skill checks can take up a good chunk of time...this could save a decent chunk of time.

The effect on gameplay is negligible....
I disagree, the number of cards each player contributes is important. ...it affects what the other players do. The order in which people have to make the choice to contribute can greatly affect the game.


I agree with eightbit. How many cards have been played ahead of me, the degree to which I trust those players are playing in my team's best interests (whether I am human or Cylon), the degree to which I want to convince the other players I am a human (whether or not I am), my estimate of the loyalty of those playing after me, and how quickly I expect to redraw skill cards all inform my decisions about how many points and what colours of cards I will contribute. When someone goes out-of-sequence, it affects my calculus.

This is not to say you can't add this as a "house rule," but understand its effect on in-game player decisions.
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Les Lauber
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bartimus95 wrote:
...we had 2 major issues during our game. One is the new player which felt like they couldn't make any choices on their own, so they asked for comity support every time so they wouldn't "kill" the game for their team. Secondly one of our players has AP really badly.
Have you considered the egg-timer option? Pick a timeframe you can live with (one-minute is likely too fast, but I can see a 3-minute timer working well) and flip the egg timer over at the start of each player's turn. While the sand is falling, the players may analyze or discuss as much as they like. Once the sand is gone, the individual whose turn it is must move and take their actions. They may also move and act before the time limit expires.

If you want to be really brutal about it, you can set up the rule such that as soon as the time expires, the turn is deemed over and the Crisis Card is drawn. If the player has not moved and acted within the time frame, he or she is deemed to have "passed" the turn.
 
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Les Lauber
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leslauber wrote:
Have you considered the egg-timer option?
Thinking a bit more about this, you might agree on the amount of time the game should take for player decisions, say, 75 minutes. Then use a chess timer to count down player decision time. Once I've drawn my skill cards, I start the timer. Once I've completed my actions and am ready to draw the Crisis Card, I stop the timer. Players will be subtly discouraged from taking too much time by the implication that draining the clock is clearly a Cylon strategy....
 
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tim
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People this is a long game. Lots of things could be done to make this a shorter game but then it wouldn't be the same.
 
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MasterDinadan wrote:
Another house rule I've become fond of is allowing players to play cards to a skill check in any order. Skill checks can take up a good chunk of time if everyone is waiting on one slow person who is supposed to be playing his cards first, and given how common they are, this could save a decent chunk of time.

The effect on gameplay is negligible, so I see little reason not to do it this way.
Agreed. An cylon could potentially fail a skill check by not contributing, or by contributing negative (whether IC is in or not) and not have any fear of repurcussion if it's his turn next. He can just reveal.

eightbit wrote:
I disagree, the number of cards each player contributes is important. Even if the number is not exactly known if someone drops a bunch of cards it effects what the other players do. The order in which people have to make the choice to contribute can greatly effect the game.
They're droplets of water that are all part of a grand flood. How many other time savers have made that were negible?


BSG....
--playing contributing towards skill checks out of order
--shuffle the skill card decks when they're about 5 cards still left
--not bothering to shuffle the skill card deck. "Just flip it over".


Let's take Race For The Galaxy, since I'm sure some of us on this topic play that. Sure, like with the BSG examples above, many things here may seem negible. But the fact is, these negible 'tweaks' can always be significant...
--DOn't bother shuffling in homeworlds. Saves time when playing oneo game after another, but sometimes, those homeworlds can give your tableau what it needs
--"it's just easier to use the discards as good so we won't have to shuffle as much"
--when trading/consuming goods, I've seen people just use as many of the goods as part of card draws to again save from having to shuffle the deck as much.
--It's easier to just ignore timing issues with things like Explore.

Tell these things to the person who got the card they needed by drawing it from their goods. I can understand people who play games this way and welcome them to do so, but it really can change the outcome of things.
 
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Craig Rose
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Most of my games run about 2-3 hours. The longest game I ever ran was 4 hours + about 20 minutes of instruction. This was a 6 player game at a convention, with no experienced players. When I'm introducing this game, I act as a GM to keep things moving along.

Also, I made up a tip sheet where I copied and pasted the Human and cylon strategies from the rule book along with copies of the various types of Loyalty Cards and Sympathizer card on one side of the page. On the other side is a copy of the Quick Reference Guide on back page of the rule book. I all new players about 5 minutes to read over the strategies. Then as I'm explaining the skill checks, they can view the Reference side. This really helps them to remember the process and makes the checks run quite smoothly.

I put copies of the Loyalty cards on this tip sheet so new players could look at the 'you are a cylon' cards effects without drawing attention to themselves by overly studying the actual card they were dealt.

During the game, I prompt the players through each step of the turn. When it comes to skill checks, I restate the colors for success and then ask if anyone wants to play Investigative Committee or Scientific Research. Then I go around the table giving each player about 30 seconds to play cards (or not).

Whenever there are new players I act as the GM whether I'm playing myself or simply running the game for a group.

There's never been any real problem with AP in any of the games I've run. Everybody is constantly giving suggestions (to put it politely) to every other player about what the best action for the team is.
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David Tolin
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**HUGE BSG SHOW SPOILERS BELOW**

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Really, they're spoilers, and you don't want to see them...
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To really speed up the game, you could try the BSG Television Finale variant that I came up with after watching the final episode this weekend:

Play the game using all of the standard rules, but add the following changes:

1. Add remixed Jimi Hendrix songs when the pace begins to drag
2. No matter how much damage the Galactica has taken, always remember that it can go head-to-head with the entire Cylon race and prevail
3. Have the Cylons start pulling punches whenever the odds are stacked against the humans.
4. Have a player or two randomly leave the game entirely at some point, for no good reason and without explanation.
5. End the game as soon as you like--just stop playing and declare a victor. It doesn't matter what criteria you use to determine this winner. If anyone complains, just tell them that it's "God's Will." If they complain about that, just tell them that it's art and shouldn't need to be explained.

Using these methods, the game will be very consistent thematically with the show--and it can also be as short as you want it to be. Good luck!

devil

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**HUGE BSG SHOW SPOILERS ABOVE**

edit: added spoiler warning at end, just for safety.
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brandon neadles
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Spoiler boy (DavidT),

Number 1 only happened at the very end of the finale, so I don't get what you are saying.

You have two number 3's. Good job.

Your second number 3 makes no sense at all in context of the finale.

Your number 4 is cute, but that's not what happened in the finale.
 
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David Tolin
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thrustbucket wrote:
Spoiler boy (DavidT),

Number 1 only happened at the very end of the finale, so I don't get what you are saying.


It happened throughout Seasons 3 and 4.

thrustbucket wrote:
You have two number 3's. Good job.


Thanks. blush That's what I get for inserting an extra and forgetting to change the numbering.

thrustbucket wrote:
Your second number 3 makes no sense at all in context of the finale.


Sure it does.
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Kara disappears for no reason and without explanation... after a season's worth of promos and teases about the final resolution of her nature. Adama ditches the entirety of humanity--including his best friend and his son--for no apparent reasion (or, at the very least, not for any reason that makes a lick of sense from a character standpoint).


thrustbucket wrote:
Your number 4 is cute, but that's not what happened in the finale.


Sure it is.
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Rather than actually resolve the mountain of questions and mysteries developed along the way, the writers opted instead for blaming it all on God and Angels. Can't find a way out of your plotholes you've dug yourself into? There's always the supernatural--and if you don't exactly explain what you're talking about when you invoke the supernatural, you're even safer.
 
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brandon neadles
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Well I'd feel bad for hijacking this thread but nobody really answered the OP anyway, so here goes.

davidt wrote:
It happened throughout Seasons 3 and 4.

You mean Bob Dylan.
Technically it's a Bob Dylan song. Covered by Jimi Hindrix, and for BSG - covered by Bear McCready. I meant that they never played the Jimi Hindrix version of it until the very end of the last episode.

davidt wrote:
Sure it does.
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Kara disappears for no reason and without explanation... after a season's worth of promos and teases about the final resolution of her nature. Adama ditches the entirety of humanity--including his best friend and his son--for no apparent reasion (or, at the very least, not for any reason that makes a lick of sense from a character standpoint).

Spoiler (click to reveal)
I appreciate the fact that exactly who Kara was and exactly how she was resurrected and exactly how she left was not explained in detail. The show has had a mystical/religious side attributed to the "head people" third faction through most of it's run. To nail down an expositionary explanation for all of it would have felt cheap and contrived -- Which is exactly what Ronald D. Moore said happened when they attempted to do so in writers meetings.

Adama (emotionally) ditched humanity, and everyone else but Laura, if not once they got to Final Five's Earth, then long before that. (This is why the suicide assault on the cylon colony to save one little girl makes absolutely no logical survival sense. By that time, Adama simply wanted everything to end, even himself) Arriving at Earth just gave him the freedom to finally detach physically, which he already had emotionally. At least, that's how I saw it.



davidt wrote:
Sure it is.
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Rather than actually resolve the mountain of questions and mysteries developed along the way, the writers opted instead for blaming it all on God and Angels. Can't find a way out of your plotholes you've dug yourself into? There's always the supernatural--and if you don't exactly explain what you're talking about when you invoke the supernatural, you're even safer.

Well, now your just sounding sour grapes. If you didn't pick up on the
Spoiler (click to reveal)
mystical/angelic/demonic/supernatural/unknown faction involved in the show, until it was right in your face at the finale then that's too bad. But it's all been a constant theme of the entire show and I was expecting it.
Part of good story telling is to *NOT* "exactly explain" absolutely every mystery -- ESPECIALLY related to the supernatural. I'm sorry if you were expecting a purely scientific/common sense/realistic explanation in a sci-fi story.


Anyway, no series is perfect. Especially no sci-fi series. But I am hard pressed to find one that came as close as BSG, as nitpicky as everyone likes to be....
Either way, it's pretty clear that you didn't enjoy the finale, and I did. And that's the bottom line.
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Les Lauber
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eightbit wrote:
People this is a long game. Lots of things could be done to make this a shorter game but then it wouldn't be the same.
Well, OK... But would it break the game? I rather doubt it. My mentor taught me that good game players play within the rules, but great game players play with the rules. With that in mind, my own philosophy on rules variants is:
(*)The rules changes shouldn't break the game
(*)All players should agree to rules changes before the game starts
(*)All players should abide by the rules changes throughout the game
(*)If the players don't enjoy the effect the changes have on the game, they should tinker with the changes until they do enjoy them
(*)If the players do, however, enjoy the effect the changes have on the game, they should tinker with the changes until they enjoy them even more
(*)It is generally--but not always--better to eliminate rules or otherwise streamline a game than to add rules or otherwise complexify the game

I guess my point is that it doesn't matter if it is the same game Corey designed (sorry, Corey), as long as the players are getting satisfaction from playing the game.

Also, I realized that I continued a bad habit I have, above, of multiple postings in a row. Sorry about that.
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leslauber wrote:
eightbit wrote:
People this is a long game. Lots of things could be done to make this a shorter game but then it wouldn't be the same.
Well, OK... But would it break the game? I rather doubt it. My mentor taught me that good game players play within the rules, but great game players play with the rules. With that in mind, my own philosophy on rules variants is:
(*)The rules changes shouldn't break the game
(*)All players should agree to rules changes before the game starts
(*)All players should abide by the rules changes throughout the game
(*)If the players don't enjoy the effect the changes have on the game, they should tinker with the changes until they do enjoy them
(*)If the players do, however, enjoy the effect the changes have on the game, they should tinker with the changes until they enjoy them even more
(*)It is generally--but not always--better to eliminate rules or otherwise streamline a game than to add rules or otherwise complexify the game

I guess my point is that it doesn't matter if it is the same game Corey designed (sorry, Corey), as long as the players are getting satisfaction from playing the game.

Also, I realized that I continued a bad habit I have, above, of multiple postings in a row. Sorry about that.


Wow. If I could have a sig, this whole thing would be it. wow
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Mike Lee
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bleached_lizard wrote:
leslauber wrote:
eightbit wrote:
People this is a long game. Lots of things could be done to make this a shorter game but then it wouldn't be the same.
Well, OK... But would it break the game? I rather doubt it. My mentor taught me that good game players play within the rules, but great game players play with the rules. With that in mind, my own philosophy on rules variants is:
(*)The rules changes shouldn't break the game
(*)All players should agree to rules changes before the game starts
(*)All players should abide by the rules changes throughout the game
(*)If the players don't enjoy the effect the changes have on the game, they should tinker with the changes until they do enjoy them
(*)If the players do, however, enjoy the effect the changes have on the game, they should tinker with the changes until they enjoy them even more
(*)It is generally--but not always--better to eliminate rules or otherwise streamline a game than to add rules or otherwise complexify the game

I guess my point is that it doesn't matter if it is the same game Corey designed (sorry, Corey), as long as the players are getting satisfaction from playing the game.

Also, I realized that I continued a bad habit I have, above, of multiple postings in a row. Sorry about that.


Wow. If I could have a sig, this whole thing would be it. wow


AMEN! After using BGG pretty much everyday for around 3 years now, it seems VERY clear to me that there are two groups of users here:

1. Rules sticklers - people who almost take offense when rules variants are suggested and are quick to shoot down ideas for house rules. These people can't seem to get over the fact that everyone has different taste and that the beauty of board games is that you can easily customize the game to suit your preference.

2. House rulers - players who always think about how to enhance their gaming experiences and use bgg as a community to share and improve their ideas.
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