Tony D.
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This is my first session report, and it’s also from my first real game of Battlestar Galactica. (I had played a solo game and a two-player game with my wife.)

Last Saturday, my wife Gretchen (LittleMarge) and I hosted a game day at our house. I had been lobbying hard since we started planning to play BSG, and since we had exactly six people, we went for it.

Adam (DNose) had played a full game before, so I asked him to pick first and be our start player. He chose Laura Roslin, meaning we had an experienced player as President, which made me happy. I went next and chose Lee “Apollo” Adama, and Todd picked next, choosing Karl “Helo” Agathon. Jeremy (honkeydong), being able to choose from any category, picked William Adama and became our starting Admiral. Gretchen, who usually picks female characters in these situations but didn’t want to be a pilot, picked “Chief” Galen Tyrol. Finally, Jeremy’s 15-year-old son Zak chose Kara “Starbuck” Thrace because “she’s hot.”

After Adam and I jointly explained the rules, we dealt out the Loyalty cards. I explained that the Cylon cards had actions listed on them, whereas the human cards did not, so that we would all take 20 seconds or so to read our cards so as to avoid anyone tipping their hand. On the count of three, we looked, and there was Number Six, sneaking up on Starbuck in Delphi. I was a Cylon, with the ability to brig someone. Now that I had taught everyone how to play, I would have to destroy them.

(In this situation, I found myself recalling Eldil’s excellent session report, where he describes teaching the game while playing an unrevealed Cylon. Anyone looking for some words of wisdom on the subject would do well to read it themselves.)

Early on, we had a Cylon Attack crisis that put additional ships on the board, and I was quickly faced with a difficult situation: what to do if you’re a Cylon and you start the game piloting a Viper. I figured it was okay to shoot down one, but I held onto a 5-strength Maximum Firepower while doing it. Later, I dumped it into a skill check that we overshot by a mile, and no one thought anything of it. Eventually, though, there got to be an overwhelming number of Cylon Raiders attacking Galactica, and I decided it was worth shooting down some of my Cylon brethren in order to get people to trust me. I took down a few, leaving plenty out there, and soon I was in Sickbay anyway.

After an initial jump of "2," the number of ships was getting out of hand, and Vipers were being damaged at an alarming rate, with Chief barely able to keep up with the repair work. The decision was made to risk an early jump, with the jump track on “-1” and all of the dials still blue. Alas for me, only "1" distance was traveled on the second jump. This kicked off the fairly peaceful middle third of the game, with plenty of crises but no Cylon ships. At this point, I started actively helping out with skill checks, hoping to keep the dials in the blue before the sleeper phase. Still, two dials dropped into the red, meaning the Sympathizer stayed with the humans. Hilariously enough, the Sympathizer turned out to be me, and off to the brig I went. I got out with some help and went to the Research Lab.

It was here that the fleet was hit with several Food and Water Shortage Crises. Roslin had no cards to discard, meaning the Food dial dropped all the way down to one. With a total distance of 7 achieved, I decided it was time. I revealed and headed off for the Resurrection Ship, choosing to brig Adama and making Helo the new Admiral.

I started thinking about who the other Cylon might be. Helo had been dogged by accusations from the beginning of the game, due to some plays that were seen as sub-optimal. For my part, I had begun to suspect Roslin. She had spent the entire game in the President’s office, drawing Quorum cards, and had yet to play any of them. I also, for no good reason, had begun to suspect Adama, going so far as to wonder aloud if Jeremy was aware that he could reveal in order to get out of the Brig.

Helo ended the speculation by revealing and blowing up the Hangar and FTL Control. By this point, there were a ton of Cylon ships on the board again, thanks to a timely Crisis card and a Massive Assault Super Crisis played by me. Fuel, Food and Population were all dangerously low, although the Food dial had gone up thanks to some Food Rationing Quorum cards. Morale, on the other hand, was illogically high. We all thought that was pretty funny.

The humans then teamed up to make a valiant last stand. Adama was finally freed from the brig, and moved to Weapons Control. Chief used his turn to Executive Order Adama, who took a shot at a baseship and destroyed its hangar. The newly-appointed Admiral Starbuck fired a nuke at the other basehip, destroying it and three Raiders.

I used my turn to activate the Cylon Fleet, thinking we had more than enough Raiders on the board to wipe out the civilian ships and end the game. Unfortunately, the first four missed, and the fifth only managed to take out the unmanned Viper that was defending them. Helo, who immediately followed me, played his Super Crisis card: Inbound Nukes. The humans dumped everything they had into it, but we sabotaged the check with 7 Piloting, causing Fuel to drop to zero and dooming humanity.

For me and Todd, the Cylon players, it was sweet revenge for a Memoir ’44 Overlord session, where we were brutally crushed by Jeremy, Zak and Adam in the Hedgerow Hell scenario. I did wonder if I timed my reveal correctly, or if I brigged the right person: Starbuck would have been a equally good choice, and it was just dumb luck that Helo (who turned at the Sleeper phase) was the other Cylon when he became Admiral.

Everyone else had a good time as well. Adam said it was much more enjoyable than his first game, although he was disappointed in his Quorum cards. He had held “Release Cylon Mugshots” for the entire game, but didn’t distrust anyone enough to play it on them. Similarly, he had “Encourage Mutiny,” but Jeremy gave him no reason to play it.

Jeremy seemed frustrated by the pressure of choosing Destinations, since he mostly drew really bad ones, and by the number of “Admiral Chooses” Crises we drew. I think he would probably have more fun as a Pilot, or as a Tigh or Helo, but without the title. He did, however, keep us in stitches with his Edward James Olmos impression.

For her part, Gretchen really liked it, and is excited to play again. In fact, she’s spent the better part of the past two days watching our BSG DVDs. She’s starting Season 2 now.
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Christopher Davis
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Fat Tony wrote:
It was here that the fleet was hit with several Food and Water Shortage Crises. Roslin had no cards to discard, meaning the Food dial dropped all the way down to one.
Unless the card says otherwise, you can lose things you don't have when resolving a crisis. If the President has no cards (especially if it's their turn), that's a good time for a Water Shortage crisis.
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Tony D.
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Waterloo
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Nothing like family, friends and games...and music and beer...and pizza and bean dip...and actually having time to play games...
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Thanks for that. My group will be glad to hear it (after they yell at me, of course).
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Roy Stephens
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Am I the only one that thought it was terribly appropriate that a player named ZAK chose Starbuck because she's hot?
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Basar Cenik
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I'm afraid you got one of the rules wrong. The president doesn't have to have enough cards to choose the "dump cards" option on food and water crises. You just discard as many cards as you have. (This is explained in the FAQ section of the rules booklet)
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Nate Parkes
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Great session report; you had me at the title.

Fat Tony wrote:
Early on, we had a Cylon Attack crisis that put additional ships on the board, and I was quickly faced with a difficult situation: what to do if you’re a Cylon and you start the game piloting a Viper. I figured it was okay to shoot down one, but I held onto a 5-strength Maximum Firepower while doing it. Later, I dumped it into a skill check that we overshot by a mile, and no one thought anything of it.


This is how you play a Cylon pilot, people. Sheer brilliance.

Thanks for a fun read. You've made me want to play this game again, and just in time for Gencon.
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Tony D.
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Waterloo
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Nothing like family, friends and games...and music and beer...and pizza and bean dip...and actually having time to play games...
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Thanks for the kind words, everyone! The title, as you may know, comes from the movie Mars Attacks!, which is, despite what you may have heard, awesome. Jeremy pulled it out of nowhere and said it in his Adama voice. He had us rolling for most of the game, with choice nuggets such as "It's all right, son. I'm sure you'll have plenty of other opportunities to disappoint me." (That was directed at Apollo after he ended up in Sickbay for the second time.)

I mentioned the error we made in the Presidential discard to Gretchen, who for some reason, didn't like it as the official ruling. It just seemed wrong to her. However, I plan to bring it up again next time we play, and I'm sure the humans will have no problem taking advantage of it.
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