Chris J Davis
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I came up with this idea in another thread, but thought I'd re-post it to see what others thought of it. If you think there should be more threat of Cylon attacks in the game, how about this:

If there are no Cylon ships on the board when a "launch raiders" icon appears on a crisis card, place a single raider on the board with a centurian token underneath to denote that it is a "scout". The scout should be placed in the space closest to the front of galactica, going clockwise, that contains the least number of Vipers (including zero Vipers). The scout may be attacked just like a normal raider.

If the scout is still on the board the next time a "activate raiders" icon appears on a crisis card, then replace the scout with a basestar and three raiders, and place two civilian ships in the sector opposite the basestar (on the other side of Galactica).

If any Cylon Attack crisis cards are drawn while there is a scout on the board, simply remove the scout.

Wadda ya reckon? If anyone can think of a better, more random method of deciding where the scout should appear I'd be glad to hear it!
 
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Ken
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I'm more concerned with what this would do to game balance. On average, 1/7 of the Crisis draws will result in a Cylon attack. Most of those "lead off" with things that are already on the board taking actions. If you inject a way for Cylon ships to appear without the crisis cards, you may be severely hurting the human side of things.

So if you want to do this, then you probably need to hand the humans something to offset the fact that a basestar can suddenly appear without a crisis card. Otherwise, your pilots are very likely to live in space, which limits the actions they can take pretty severely.
 
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Chris J Davis
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Of course, I should have mentioned the game balance...

Maybe a couple of extra points on the population dial to offset the extra number of civvie ships that may be destroyed...?

Plus, the pilots don't *have to* live in space - you could have unmanned ships patrolling. You just need one ship sitting at the forward Viper launch tube to anticipate the scout appearing then blow it away as fast as you can. It's only if the scout succeeds in its mission that the pilots will *really* need to get into space.
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Just bumping population probably won't do, though. With a basestar showing up plus raiders, Galactica is a potential target. And there are a whole lot of "launch raider" icons in the Crisis deck.

Any way you slice it, you've added a new random element that will cost the human players an action or two to respond to. Once that raider appears, someone's going to use an action to go try to kill it, maybe more if they manage to miss the silly thing. Actions are the key resource in the game for the humans, and anything you do that forces them to burn them hurts their chances of winning.

I guess I question whether or not there's a need to add the variant - the game's already quite good with lots of Cylon activity mixed in. What's the advantage to game play in making the change?
 
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I think the impetus for this idea was that, for some games, if there are no (or very few) Cylon attacks after the first jump, or if they come up at a time that's ineffectual (the humans were about to jump, anyway), then the game can be pretty dull. But it does really depend on the particular game... if enough Cylon ships come out now and then, then there's no need for something like this and it would make things too hard.

My suggestion would be to simply have one raider come out in front of Galactica any time there's an "Activate raider" icon on a card and there are no basestars present, and add one civilian ship behind Galactica. On the series, there were a few times when a few raiders would come and cause trouble without any basestars present, so that would be fitting, thematically (it kind of seems wrong that they don't do that in the game, especially when those icons keep popping up). And though the immediate threat would be minimal, it would require some attention from the humans, either by launching some unmanned vipers for protection, or going to Communications to move the civilian ship away from the raider (after it's moved closer), or sending out a Pilot, etc. That would be simple to implement and wouldn't add too much of a threat. It would take away some of the humans' time/resources to deal with, though, so I would recommend bumping up their starting resources as suggested in the rulebook.
 
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Don't get me wrong - I think the game is more than "quite good". BSG is by far my favourite medium-weight game at the moment.

The variant is just for those players (including myself, in small part) who find that too much time can go by without Cylon ships on the board, reducing the sense of urgency in the game and leaving the pilots twiddling their thumbs.

Although the variant would obviously make things more difficult for the humans, I don't think it would upset game balance *too* much even if you didn't give the humans any compensation. One of the problems I find with Cylon attacks is that, not only can they show up quite rarely, but they also have to show up while the jump prep marker is on the first or second spaces of the jump track, otherwise they have no effect (as the humans will just jump early using a Strategic Planning to avoid population loss). Even with the variant, it will still take the raiders *four* activations to reach and attack the civilian ships. The fleet auto-jumps on average every 7-8 crisis cards. The variant hopefully shouldn't really cause *too* much grief for the humans - it will just stop them from feeling complacent and constantly give something for the pilots to do (keep the sky clear of scouts).

Remember that a *big* difference between the ships that appear in the variant and the ships that appear on crisis cards (apart from the fact that crisis cards deploy a lot more raiders) is that on crisis cards very often the raiders can appear in sectors adjacent to civilian ships. With the variant, not only is there a way to completely prevent the appearace of a basestar to begin with (destroy the scout), but even if it does appear then the civilian ships are as far away from the raiders as can possibly be.
 
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There was a suggestion to follow Pandemic's approach to building the crisis deck in a way that distributed the attack cards more evenly throughout the deck. Take all the attack cards, create four roughly equal piles, shuffle one into the whole crisis deck, split the crisis deck into roughly equal thirds, then shuffle one remaining pile into each third. Stack up crisis deck and go. I'd explore that rather than adding new ways for the ships to appear. At least you retain the average distribution while providing a more constant threat from Cylon attacks.
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perfalbion wrote:
There was a suggestion to follow Pandemic's approach to building the crisis deck in a way that distributed the attack cards more evenly throughout the deck. Take all the attack cards, create four roughly equal piles, shuffle one into the whole crisis deck, split the crisis deck into roughly equal thirds, then shuffle one remaining pile into each third. Stack up crisis deck and go. I'd explore that rather than adding new ways for the ships to appear. At least you retain the average distribution while providing a more constant threat from Cylon attacks.


Yep - that's totally the other option. The only reason I don't like that is because of the increased setup time. It also seems like the combat icons on the crisis cards should do *something* when there's not Cylon ships on the board.

You could even use both, though you would then be stacking the deck to ensure that too many Cylon attack cards were clumped together, rather than too spread out.

EDIT: Oh, and the other thing about the variant is that is gives a more consistant (though not neccessarily constant) need for pilots.
 
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bleached_lizard wrote:
Yep - that's totally the other option. The only reason I don't like that is because of the increased setup time. It also seems like the combat icons on the crisis cards should do *something* when there's not Cylon ships on the board.


It really wouldn't be that much additional time to set up. Making some of the icons "work" all the time injects additional balance issues that could really skew the game, particularly with an unlucky distribution of crisis cards.
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I know, but I'd like to try it at least once to see how it works. This one might be difficult to sell my gaming group on though, as we're all in agreement that the game is amazingly well balanced.

Maybe this is the time to try out the solo game...?
 
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I agree... the Pandemic card distribution is probably the best solution because it doesn't change anything about the gameplay... any particular game of BSG could end up with the same distribution of the Cylon Attack cards. This way just makes it more likely that they'll come up with some regularity.

What I would do is pull out the Cylon Attack cards, remove 4-5 of them and shuffle those back into the Crisis deck. Then split the deck into 5-6 sections and add one of the remaining cards into each section. That way, there will still be some general randomness as to when they'll come up, and you might still get 2 or 3 in quick succession, but there's also some measure of regularity from the ones placed by sections.
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Maybe like a Jump Clock, except for the Cylons arriving.

Every time there is an Activate (Something) card, either the chance of Cylons showing up increase (roll a die and keep increasing) or after X activations with no Cylons on the board, a Basestar shows up (I think Basestar +3 raiders + 2 civilians + zero vipers is actually quite painful for a "non attack"). A single basestar can be a big pain pretty quickly. So, basically after a certain number of some Cylon Ship activating type or types, a basestar gets placed. This, however, still means that the basestar shows up possibly late in the jump cycle, but does mean that one will show up at some point, if an attack card isn't draw.

You could do the die roll method too. Like don't roll for the first 2 activations (again, deciding on the type for balance), then after the 3rd, it's a 1-2 on the d8 for a basestar, next time it's 1-3 (All numbers subject to balancing!!)

Just some ideas. You might have to toss the humans a bone , but that's why i was suggesting just a basestar, instead of a large attack. Civvy ships, i guess should be in the mix, but not sure how work it. I mean, do the Cylons need anymore help? Does humans doing well = boring game?!
 
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Oops, I didn't see this thread and I posted the following on the original thread:
TheChin! wrote:


Or, a variant to your variant to limit possible overwhelming attacks. Instead of using the initial "Launch Raiders" icon to place the scout, when the first cylon reveals, they place two heavy raiders into the Cylon fleet board space. Anytime there are no Cylons on the board, a revealed cylon may use their action to launch a scout. Then play proceeds as per your variant.

This gives bored Cylons an extra action to consider.


There would be no mpore scouts after these two.
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Maybe like a Jump Clock, except for the Cylons arriving.

Every time there is an Activate (Something) card, either the chance of Cylons showing up increase (roll a die and keep increasing) or after X activations with no Cylons on the board, a Basestar shows up (I think Basestar +3 raiders + 2 civilians + zero vipers is actually quite painful for a "non attack"). A single basestar can be a big pain pretty quickly. So, basically after a certain number of some Cylon Ship activating type or types, a basestar gets placed. This, however, still means that the basestar shows up possibly late in the jump cycle, but does mean that one will show up at some point, if an attack card isn't draw.

You could do the die roll method too. Like don't roll for the first 2 activations (again, deciding on the type for balance), then after the 3rd, it's a 1-2 on the d8 for a basestar, next time it's 1-3 (All numbers subject to balancing!!)

Just some ideas. You might have to toss the humans a bone , but that's why i was suggesting just a basestar, instead of a large attack. Civvy ships, i guess should be in the mix, but not sure how work it. I mean, do the Cylons need anymore help? Does humans doing well = boring game?!


One way of doing this would be have a 'cylon activation track' and remove the 33 card from the crisis deck.

Then whenever the cylon activation track hits max, and there are no basestars on the board, resolve the 33 crisis card (which spawns a basestar), but ignore the special rule(s).

It actually probably catches the 33 idea (a chasing force of cylons) better than the current method. The 'only when no basestars' on the board is important to act as a safety valve and prevent the humans from being swamped.
 
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I've played this game 4 times now & I have to say I feel the exact same way, that after the 1st jump, the cylon fleet becomes an annoyance at best.

Maybe I feel like that because in those 4 games, I ended up on the side of the toasters 3 times but that's another story.

How about this instead of trying to create a bran new rule system.

There are 2 cylon activation icons that have a Basestar symbol on them, Launch Raider & Activate Basestar.

How about this, if there is no Basestar in play when one of those 2 icons comes up, roll a D6 & place a basestar in the corresponding area around Galactica, the front being area 1 & then going clockwise. I would not put any civilian ships in play.

Not sure if I would just put the Basestar in play or also have it take it's action, either launch or attack.

How about that ?

Nick 'The Prophet'
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The Prophet wrote:


How about this instead of trying to create a bran new rule system.

There are 2 cylon activation icons that have a Basestar symbol on them, Launch Raider & Activate Basestar.

How about this, if there is no Basestar in play when one of those 2 icons comes up, roll a D6 & place a basestar in the corresponding area around Galactica, the front being area 1 & then going clockwise. I would not put any civilian ships in play.


How about that ?

Nick 'The Prophet'


I like it. It mirrors the raider and heavy raider rules of "if none available launch two (or one) from each basestar. Not sure about the no civilians though. I'd want one on the opposite side of the Galactica.

What I like about this is it's a subtle change to the current rules, an occasional detection of a distant Baseship. Then the "Raider" and "Heavy Raider" symbols become worrisome again, as they too become playable.

If this wasn't considered "enough", then I would modify it to be "use the starting set-up of cylons, vipers and civilians". No special rules, no other activations.

Gerry
 
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The Prophet wrote:
There are 2 cylon activation icons that have a Basestar symbol on them, Launch Raider & Activate Basestar.

How about this, if there is no Basestar in play when one of those 2 icons comes up, roll a D6 & place a basestar in the corresponding area around Galactica, the front being area 1 & then going clockwise. I would not put any civilian ships in play.

A variant, perhaps: roll the d8. 7 or 8, no basestar. Strategic Planning may be used, but that increases the odds of it being next to the launch tubes if it does arrive....
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We played with my variant today, and a scout appeared a grand total of...once. And then was replaced by a Cylon attack card anyway. It was probably on the board for about three turns, but no Activate Raiders icons appeared in that time. The only change we made to the variant was that the scout appeared in a sector determined by a D6 rather than in a predetermined sector.

We also played with the official No Sympathiser variant (which supposedly makes the game a little easier for the humans). I also gave the humans 1 more population to make up for the increased chance of Cylon attacks.

We ALSO played with a variant for the 33 card: it stays in play until a basestar is destroyed, or a Viper uses its activation to destroy a civilian ship in the same sector. If still in play when the fleet jumps, deal 5 cards off of the top of the crisis deck, then shuffle the 33 card into the *next* 5 cards and place the first 5 cards back on top.

The Cylons won, but by the narrowest of narrow margins; the fleet jump marker was on the last space before auto-jumping with 1 fuel and 1 population remaining. The Cylon player activated the two basestars that were on the board and was lucky enough to draw the "lose 1 fuel" chit and so the humans lost. We looked at the next crisis card; it was a simple choice crisis that the humans could easily have dealt with and it had a jump icon. If the basestars had missed, or if the Cylon player had been unlucky in his choice of damage chit, the humans would have won.

Basically, it seemed like all of our other games - down to the wire. I don't think the variant unbalances things all that much, and I will be playing with it again in the future.
 
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I'd imagine the variant isn't going to impact the game much. The "launch raiders" cards are fairly rare, so hitting two in rapid succession doesn't happen too often. And it only takes a single action for a player to shoot down the raider from Weapons Control or with a Viper. Just so incredibly easy to stop that I don't ever really see a Basestar showing up from this.

I like the concept, I just don't expect to see it actually happen.
 
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bsushort wrote:
I'd imagine the variant isn't going to impact the game much. The "launch raiders" cards are fairly rare, so hitting two in rapid succession doesn't happen too often. And it only takes a single action for a player to shoot down the raider from Weapons Control or with a Viper. Just so incredibly easy to stop that I don't ever really see a Basestar showing up from this.

I like the concept, I just don't expect to see it actually happen.


This is actually the second time you've commented on one of my variants and completely mis-read what I'd written and responded with an invalid argument. Please read my variants much more carefully in the future.

The scout only appears when a Launch Raiders icon is revealed. The scout is replaced with the Basestar setup when an Activate Raiders icon is revealed (which is much more common).

The idea is that scouts will appear relatively rarely, but once they do you need to act fast to get rid of them.

As for the Weapons Control issue: scouts cannot be targeted by Weapons Control (normally, a single raider represents a squadron of raiders, whereas a scout represents a single ship. Galactica cannot target such a small, fast target so precisely).
 
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My group had the same complaint a while ago - the game just isn't as interesting when cylon ships aren't a threat. The main problem is you can have lucky stretches with no attack cards. A secondary issue is that even with raiders out, often the best way to deal with them is to just communicate the civvies around in a dance.

The cleanest solution to both is simply to draw more crisis cards in the same amount of time. This gives you more attack cards per jump, and more raider activations per player action. We've been playing for a while that on the second jump prep of every jump, you get an extra crisis card which is executed except for jump prep. Thus instead of having about 7 crises per jump, you end up with about 8 per jump - and there's a point in there where you can get two raider activations in a row. Both of these make pilots more important.

Of course, this is a pretty significant balance change towards the cylons, and so we weren't using it in isolation. Essentially, if you are increasing the crises per jump, you probably want to reduce the number of jumps. Most recently we have been playing with http://www.boardgamegeek.com/thread/399183, and I recommend it, though less complex options work too.

Other things that could help:

- Before the game, separate the cylon attacks from the other crises, randomly remove ~10 crises from the game, and shuffle the attacks back in. This way you have a higher concentration.

- When the fleet reaches step two (maybe three) of the jump prep track, simply do an extra activate raiders step.

- While no cylon attack has been drawn this jump cycle, reveal the top crisis after every jump prep. If it's an attack, execute it, otherwise discard it.


I don't think your scout idea would work that well because dealing with scouts doesn't sound interesting. If it actually does encourage piloting its result will be that instead of doing cool things back on the ship, you are encouraged to sit around in space and wait. When the scout does appear, all you do is move over and shoot it. Realistically of course you would just use command instead, but even if say, scouts were hard to hit via unmanned vipers, it wouldn't be that fun for the pilot.
 
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bleached_lizard wrote:
bsushort wrote:
I'd imagine the variant isn't going to impact the game much. The "launch raiders" cards are fairly rare, so hitting two in rapid succession doesn't happen too often. And it only takes a single action for a player to shoot down the raider from Weapons Control or with a Viper. Just so incredibly easy to stop that I don't ever really see a Basestar showing up from this.

I like the concept, I just don't expect to see it actually happen.


This is actually the second time you've commented on one of my variants and completely mis-read what I'd written and responded with an invalid argument. Please read my variants much more carefully in the future.

The scout only appears when a Launch Raiders icon is revealed. The scout is replaced with the Basestar setup when an Activate Raiders icon is revealed (which is much more common).

The idea is that scouts will appear relatively rarely, but once they do you need to act fast to get rid of them.

As for the Weapons Control issue: scouts cannot be targeted by Weapons Control (normally, a single raider represents a squadron of raiders, whereas a scout represents a single ship. Galactica cannot target such a small, fast target so precisely).
My issue was more with the ease of shooting it down than with needing two of the same icons. The original post said it could be shot down like a normal raider, and I was envisioning the next player immediately firing from weapons control to take it out.

If you can't use weapons control on it, that sounds a lot more useful then.
 
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