Ragh Gavar
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I'm getting together with 'the gang' this evening to play Pegasus and I plan on being a cylon leader. As a result, I have been contemplating the agendas and any strategies that could go along with them. Most of them are fine, and if you can keep which one you have completely secret from the other players, it can add a lot to the game. There are two that I can see causing a problem with game balance, and it required the better part of a day before I could see a possible reason for these agendas being designed and a strategy to go along with them: Mutual Annihilation and Join the Colonials.

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"Mutual Annihilation" is a hostile agenda and is for a 5-player game. I'll respect FFG and not post any card text, but basically the leader with this agenda is a threat to no one for their first 4 turns (possibly 3 if you're Cavil or get the right skill cards) and by your second turn it should be a give away that you have this agenda. As a result, it is basically a 4-player game from the start, with no sympathiser.

These four players are either all human, or have 1 cylon in their midst, obviously. I was wondering how this would be a fun game at all for the cylon. Then I recalled a little discussed strategy paragraph from the base rules on preparing for the sleeper phase and realised that my group had not been paying attention. In every game, we have been so focused on seeing the humans win, that it is the end result for which we aim every game (unless you get the cylon card at the start.) But, that's a trap.

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There have been many games where we do so well that no one wants to be the cylon when the sleeper phase hits, because then the game becomes mechanical for the cylon player and they can only rely on the luck of the game to give them a victory. It has been a factor that has dissuaded us from the opportunity of playing more because we only had 4 players at the time.

We did not go into each game thinking "I am going to win this game" which should be something you think about in every game, in my opinion. We were thinking "human victory, since I am not a cylon" or "frak, I'm the cylon, now it's 3-on-1" or "man, I feel sorry for whoever the sleeper is!" What if the sleeper is you? You don't want to feel like you've already lost at the half-game mark.

If you don't know if there is a cylon out pre-sleeper, then you need to give yourself a chance to win in the event YOU become the cylon. Tank a couple minor checks, don't keep the board -completely- clean of cylon ships. Give just enough ground that you think you'd have a chance if you get that cylon card, but not so much that you have cemented a loss for the humans, in case you don't get that card. I mean, the main thing to keep in mind is that you want to win, right? Even if you're the sleeper.

Keeping this FFG Strategy Tip in mind, it is CRUCIAL that cylons pre-sleeper, not be found. If the unknown becomes known, then all fear is lost and the humans become a well-oiled machine trying to avoid all negatives.

Of course, all this advice cannot help improve your game experience if you have players that refuse to see the logic: if there's a chance you can become the cylon then you're making yourself lose by playing too well as a human.

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So, back to the agenda.. It could play like this -> for 4 cycles it's a basic 4-player game. Don't play too well as humans if you want to win. This helps anyone who becomes/is the cylon. During the 2nd cycle it may become apparent which agenda the leader has. Whoever is/will be the cylon knows that it's going to be 4-on-1. The only help they are going to get is knowing the single action the leader has to do. At this point, anyone who wants to win should play even -worse- knowing that there will be an extra "human" to secure victory if they are not the sleeper. As a result, it still gives the sleeper/cylon a chance of victory and keeps the game interesting.

It's the only theory and gameflow I could think of for Mutual Annihilation to make for an enjoyable game. I'll be bringing up the "Preparing for the Sleeper Phase" tip with my group and bring them around.

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"Join the Colonials" is a sympatheitc agenda for 4 or 6 players. It's hard to see how this would make a good game for 4 players (not so bad with 6.) Then I considered the below assumptions:

a) All the above crap, so the humans should be hurting themselves just a bit, if each player has any individual interest in winning the game.
b) The players have no idea what the leader is up to. (Discussed below)
c) The leaders can't really help the humans a huge amount, not like a full human player.

The rules say you cannot reveal your agenda. Period. (Until the end of the game, of course.) For this agenda to work, that MUST include revealing it in round about ways. If your group plays loosely with this rule, then yeah, this agenda will suck. But I plan on taking it to the fullest, because for one, it's more fun. I won't be trying to make deals a la "just don't throw me in the Brig and I'll help you." That reveals your agenda. I won't even say "I'm trying to help the humans." That could be a lie, anyways, and a good cylon player will capitalise upon that later (and should! "hey, Leoben, when are you gonna drop that bomb on them, eh?"). I'll just shrug and say something like "the agendas of cylons are not to be understood by mere mortals."

So this agenda with 4 players could make the game have the following dynamics -> 1 cylon against 2.5 humans. Don't play too well as humans if you don't know the cylon is out. The cylon should be using every trick in the book to make the leader come across as bad (treachery cards, etc.) before and after the reveal.

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My 2 cents, and yeah.. Your mileage may vary.
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Allan Clements
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I agree with some of that. I have started to hold back on putting too many cards into checks in the early game, since I know for sure that currently I am not a Cylon (or that I am) then I want others to use up cards before me. In theory everyone should think that, leading to some possibly failed checks early on.

My issue with that is when it comes up directly particularly for the Admiral. If he has the choice of 2 destinations which would cause the Sleeper phase, does he pick the destination that might make the Sympathiser a Cylon (since he might get it!) or does he pick a worse destination in case he becomes a Cylon?

If he picks the bad one then even if he still turns out human, people might think he isnt.

This can also apply to Once Per Game powers, in general I think everyone wants to save their OPG until after the sleeper phase, but it has happend that people have been encouraged to use their once per game before that (if Legendary Discovery comes up early and you are Boomer for example). Would the humans really accept the answer that you want to save it for later in case you become a Cylon?

I do agree those 2 Agendas are the most annoying, I think in order for those to become sensible then Cylon Leaders need to learn to appear to be doing those Agendas in order for people who are really doing those Agendas to look suspicious, but it is hard when there is NO REASON for them to also sabotage other parts of the game.

Also note that the hidden Cylon really needs to sabotage Skill checks in the colors of the leader IF the leader helps. It should be possible for most characters to do so depending on the choice of Leader and Characters of course. Everyone would assume it was the Leader even if they protested their innocence. If the Cylon leader looks hostile then you probably should be careful though, but there is definitely an interaction here that the Hidden Cylon needs to play off. (I guess Investigative Committees mess that up a bit)

There has been much discussion of those Agendas, and the simplest solutions I think has been add an extra clause that requires one resource or 2 resources to be low to make sure they appear to also be sabotaging and thus could really have one of the other Agendas.



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Zsolt Nagy
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I read a lot of moaning about the agenda cards but I spent some time thinking about them and now I think they are brilliantly put together and Corey and the team are genius.

Some agenda cards look strange/awful, like the one which is requesting a cylon win and the CL getting brigged/executed. But I guess those agenda cards will really shine after a couple of games, when everybody is more or less clear about what agenda cards are in the decks. Just knowing that such agenda card exists may keep the humans to brig or execute immediately the infiltrating cylon leader, therefore giving a better play experience to everybody (as it is not a fun game which you spend in the Brig).

The agenda cards have this 2nd layer or meta-game effect and this kicks in fully when the game is already played. Granted, at first few plays some of the agendas seem very off. But I am sure it will change when the groups are over 10+ games under their belt and gives the game a good re-playability and longevity. In the first games a Cylon Leader will try to keep his agenda secret. In later games (when everybody knows the possible agendas) he will try to disguise his agenda to be something else instead! He will try to 'marketing' his actions to be suggesting he is doing it because he has a specific agenda when actually he has an other one! Also, in the first games the CL will try to confuse the others about which side he is on (which group he wins with). In later games he can be more focusing on to hide is 2nd victory condition as well. This is also a natural 'learning curve' development in players and the agenda cards matching that.

If you just looking over and think one by one about the agenda cards and try to build up a strategy about how would you try to win you will see that these steps can be very similar. That making the guesswork about your goals all the harder and you can leverage from that in order to secure your win.
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Trevor Schadt
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Mordenthral wrote:
I won't be trying to make deals a la "just don't throw me in the Brig and I'll help you." That reveals your agenda. I won't even say "I'm trying to help the humans." That could be a lie, anyways, and a good cylon player will capitalise upon that later (and should! "hey, Leoben, when are you gonna drop that bomb on them, eh?"). I'll just shrug and say something like "the agendas of cylons are not to be understood by mere mortals."


You are a Cylon Leader. Your intention, regardless of your agenda, is to sow distrust and confusion between the meatbags, whether it's to bring them to the brink of destruction before showing lenience, or whether it's to drive them into the ground on your own terms. You should always be making, or at least proposing, deals a la "just don't throw me in the Brig and I'll help you." Of course, whether you actually live up to your end of the bargain is another story.
* If they listen to you, and your objective is to not be in the Brig, boom, you have helped yourself.
* If they listen to you, and your objective is to help the humans, you are at full capacity to do so.
* If they listen to you, and your objective is to bring them to the ruin they so richly deserve, then they have followed their own blind stupidity to their doom.
* If they don't listen to you, and your objective is to not be in the Brig, you can make a large deal about how all you wanted to do was help them, but now they've shot themselves in the foot.
* If they don't listen to you, and you wanted to be in the Brig, boom, you have helped yourself.

Whenever an Investigative Committee is played, keep careful track of what Destiny has dealt. Use God's Plan to manipulate the deck and throw off the humans who think themselves enlightened enough to know what Destiny has in store. That way, when the nasty comes out in a skill check, you can put on that innocent, wide-eyed look that the humans fall for every single frakking time and say "Oh, no, those two Treachery cards must have come from the Destiny deck. Honest and for true."

The trick about the agendas is this: if you have people that know what all the possible agendas are, play that knowledge against them. Make them think that you have a sympathetic agenda so that the naive little insects will trust you, until you stick the knife in their backs. You should always do everything you can (when the cards aren't hidden, of course) to convince the pathetic humans that you are on their side, so that you can be free to pursue whatever glorious means you want.

If you can't (or won't) be underhanded, if you can't (or won't) lie convincingly, if you aren't willing to do whatever it takes to achieve God's plan, then with all due respect, maybe Cylon Leader isn't the role for you. Grab a human character and maybe God will shine upon you and you will turn out to be a Cylon after all.
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Chris J Davis
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Nagypapi wrote:
Just knowing that such agenda card exists may keep the humans to brig or execute immediately the infiltrating cylon leader, therefore giving a better play experience to everybody (as it is not a fun game which you spend in the Brig).


This is the part I don't get. Why? How would knowing such an agenda exists prevent the humans from brigging the Cylon leader?
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Gerry
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bleached_lizard wrote:
Nagypapi wrote:
Just knowing that such agenda card exists may keep the humans to brig or execute immediately the infiltrating cylon leader, therefore giving a better play experience to everybody (as it is not a fun game which you spend in the Brig).


This is the part I don't get. Why? How would knowing such an agenda exists prevent the humans from brigging the Cylon leader?


So in theory, the reason that would happen is that the cylon leaders have quite a few tools at their disposal to hurt the humans, and they need the game to keep going until they've been brigged or executed, so the humans might reason that if they keep the CL from fulfilling their agenda, they're saving themselves from the leader's full fury, so to speak.

I don't really buy it, though. A cylon leader who's infiltrating unchecked can do a lot of harm, and they're unlikely to end the game before the halfway point, so humans who leave them to their own devices just to keep their agenda unfulfilled are giving them free reign to muck things up. If the game gets perilously close to ending, sure, they'll switch to your side until you kill them, but you've let them get the game perilously close to ending and the proper cylon(s) without an agenda of any kind are that much closer to just winning.
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Ragh Gavar
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bleached_lizard wrote:
Nagypapi wrote:
Just knowing that such agenda card exists may keep the humans to brig or execute immediately the infiltrating cylon leader, therefore giving a better play experience to everybody (as it is not a fun game which you spend in the Brig).


This is the part I don't get. Why? How would knowing such an agenda exists prevent the humans from brigging the Cylon leader?


I don't think it would. There is no reason for the humans to care if the CL wins or not, just whether he helps them or the cylon team. And he won't be helping the humans if he's trying to be thrown in the Brig (unless ryudoowaru is playing him apparently).
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Zsolt Nagy
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If the humans actually fulfill for the Cylon Leader his 2nd victory condition (execute, put in the Brig, etc.) from that point on he will be fully supporting the cylons without restrain. They unleashed him fully. If they refrain from it, the CL should give at least marginal help for the humans, because if the humans are wiped out he will not win.

It is a question of risk and chance.

This card is influencing the game much more just because it exists than when it is actually drawn as agenda.
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Ragh Gavar
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That's a good way to think about it "No, we can't make them lose yet, I haven't been executed!"

So the CL would be looking for ways to Brig or Execute themselves without the humans' help.
 
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Kevin Walsh
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I think it's more likely they'd be doing outrageously provocative actions in order to force the humans' hands. Jury Rigging the Airlock and the like.
 
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Ragh Gavar
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So, I was Leoben and I drew Mutual Annihilation (of course). My first 3 cycles were taken up with getting my hands on a card and playing it. Then I was using Human Fleet to scout the destination deck to get the humans to New Caprica as quickly as possible. I used Glimpse to fill my hand with 5 1's over a couple turns and then gave a Cryptic Message to the cylon player. He was pretty sure at this point that I was aiming to have the humans win.

My mistake was not Infiltrating again soon enough. When the humans got to New Caprica I was unable to help them with the human actions. Morale and Fuel hit 1 and a super crisis from he cylon finished the humans off.

Close game, and a lot of fun. I look forward to more.
 
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Gary Laporte
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So even with a 4 on 1, the Cylon player managed to win? I'm very surprised by that (and it's good news for the balance of the game, I guess).

Did your super crisis fail? Seems like most people who have "mutual annihilation" take turns drawing SC until they have a very weak one and then play it so that the SC will not hurt the humans.
 
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Kevin Walsh
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I have to say, I don't get the issue people have with Join the Colonials. From a game balance perspective, the humans essentially get half a human player. And moreover, a human player whose loyalty is never unquestionable no matter how many Cylons are revealed. From a meta-perspective, the only secrecy affecting thing about Join the Colonials is that it's easy to guess when someone hasn't drawn that Agenda, if they do things that wouldn't make sense if they had (e.g. blowing up civilian ships, selecting themselves to go to Detention as a result of a Crisis on New Caprica).
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Erik Hultgren
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I dont see why Cylon leaders would be dissalowed from trying to make deals with the humans. Nothin say that he has to live up to his part or even actualy have the agenda connected with the deal he is trying to make. How better to trick the humans into helping you then by missleading them? If they think you need xxx, then they wont try and prevent you from gaining yyy and they may also falsly think that you are on their side. You can even trick real Cylon players in the same way.
 
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