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Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game – Pegasus Expansion» Forums » Variants

Subject: Agendas For All Variant rss

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Sean McCarthy
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Agendas For All

This variant replaces the loyalty deck with some more advanced loyalty cards, similar to Cylon Leader Agendas. With these, however, you need only fulfill half your goals (plus your team's overall goal) to win.

Full rules and 30 loyalty cards are posted at http://bsg.s3m7.com/agendas.



I use these cards in conjunction with an extensive but very much in-progress variant, which I will post later. However, they integrate pretty well into any kind of BSGegasus game.

I've played with them three times so far, and they worked remarkably well. Each time, players had to go slightly out of their way to fulfill them, and each time just one player failed to do so. They're pretty fun so I thought I'd post them separate from the rest of the variant I'm working on, which will probably appeal to fewer people.
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Chris J Davis
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Wow - bloody brilliant! My hat's off to you, sir.
 
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Gary Laporte
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Seems very cool, one point I missed though (but I read the rules quickly so maybe it was there): what happens during the SA phase?

Edit: from what I understand, you must achieve one goal on all the cards you have if I'm not mistaken. Sure make it look like it'll be tough for Baltar or Boomer.
 
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Gary Laporte
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Another question: you state in the variant that a player wins if his side wins and if he has achieved his goals. What is the side of a Cylon Leader?

Edit: the CL is on the humans side if he only has human cards and on the Cylons' side if he has at least one agenda with Cylon on it (thanks Bleached_Lizard!).
 
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Allan Cybulskie
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Nice. But I think it'd be better if a player had to fulfill one of their entire cards, as opposed to being able to choose goals from each. This actually gives people with more cards more choices, which is nice ... but then they are more likely to get a Cylon card and then only have one agenda to fulfill.

If the agendas are going to be thematic, it tends to break theme if they can pick one from each card.

If this is too hard, either the agendas can be tweaked or we can introduce "partial victory" options for satisfying one of them.
 
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Sean McCarthy
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Thanks Chris!

LNAGary wrote:
Seems very cool, one point I missed though (but I read the rules quickly so maybe it was there): what happens during the SA phase?

Edit: from what I understand, you must achieve one goal on all the cards you have if I'm not mistaken. Sure make it look like it'll be tough for Baltar or Boomer.


Boomer is a bit tough, yeah - you may want to play she doesn't get brigged in the sleeper phase. Baltar's drawback is less significant because he has a head start on achieving the extra goal, starting with four options to shoot for already. Additionally, a noticeable number of goals involve helping or hindering other players, and Baltar's ability to look at someone's loyalty cards is useful to accomplish that.

Daimbert wrote:
Nice. But I think it'd be better if a player had to fulfill one of their entire cards, as opposed to being able to choose goals from each. This actually gives people with more cards more choices, which is nice ... but then they are more likely to get a Cylon card and then only have one agenda to fulfill.


Well, there are a couple problems with this. First, you'd want to adjust the goals' difficulty levels - many are currently way too hard if you play that way. Second, it would feel pretty unfair. Many of the goals have the nature of potentially going badly near the end of the game (since this is a good quality to have to keep up the tension). If one of the goals on the card you're shooting for suddenly becomes close to impossible, and you have to start going for the other card (which, to be honest, is probably impossible too at this point) you're going to be feeling annoyed and/or hopeless at the end of the game, which is the opposite of what we want.

When I designed the cards initially my intention was that you need to accomplish one of the two goals on each card. (They were worded like "Do x OR do y.") However, even though this is a bit easier to accomplish than your idea, it still felt limiting.

I also feel it's important that being airlocked changes your behavior, and being executed is a bad thing for you in general.

Quote:
If the agendas are going to be thematic, it tends to break theme if they can pick one from each card.


That's maybe true depending on how you interpret the theme, though keep in mind that my interpretation of thematic was satisfying one from each card. But in any case I'm valuing playability a lot higher.

Quote:
If this is too hard, either the agendas can be tweaked or we can introduce "partial victory" options for satisfying one of them.


I thought of doing some sort of intermediate scoring for these but I think that would be a bit complicated and risk detracting from the game, as different people then proceed to interpret their goals differently.
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Sean McCarthy
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Oh, one other thing: if you have thematic suggestions for renaming any of these, or for a different picture that would fit better, let me know. I didn't put a whole lot of thinking into it.
 
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Chris J Davis
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I think the images you've chosen are a hell of a lot better than the ones FFG chose for the actual agendas!
 
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These are all kinds of spiffy

My immediate concern after reading these is that some of them might be very difficult for certain players to achieve. I am thinking here specifically of, say, Roslin achieving the "Have Complete Control" agenda. I know there are two options on each card, but some of them seem like they might be exceptionally difficult for certain characters to achieve, so they might be very limited in what they were choosing from.

But, you said that they've worked well so far, so I'm guessing that a situation wherein one player draws two agendas that are mutually exclusive or very difficult for their character to achieve is just going to be pretty rare?

-

May I recommend:

http://is.gd/3xJA2 for "Wield Authority" (since the picture you have is Baltar's surrender), and the related swapping down of that picture into "Conditional Surrender"?

And, perhaps, changing "Thwart them at every turn" to "Fight 'em till we can't"? =)
 
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Sean McCarthy
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Yeah, I think it's an unavoidable side effect of having interesting agendas that they will be very hard for certain characters. That's what the options are for!

Here is one example situation where someone (me) didn't accomplish their goals. I was Baltar in a 4-player game, and needed 3 of:

1) Admiral doesn't accomplish goals.
2) Cylon doesn't accomplish goals.
3) Pegasus is more damaged than Galactica.
4) Fuel + Food >= 4
5) All resources 3 or less
6) Food or Morale < 2

As president, I can probably keep food at 2-4, so the 4th goal is good. Pegasus generally gets more damage than Galactica. Then, I need someone else to do badly. I'm planning on checking the Cylon's loyalty cards. She was executed so she'll have a hard time. As backup, both other resource goals are quite plausible. So things looked good.

Right before I was going to use my once-per-game, we drew Detector Sabotage. I announced that I really wanted to pass this, and asked for help. I put in all my positive cards. The admiral helped too. However, Boomer spiked it, and the check failed. OK, that was irritating. Meanwhile, pegasus wasn't taking any damage and there weren't any basestars out, resources were still high, and the game was going to end fairly soon! So I was only accomplishing one goal - food and fuel being high.

Next chance I got, I airlocked the Admiral. The purpose of this was to make him more likely to lose (so I'd get that goal), and to lower morale, which wasn't dropping quickly enough. I managed to get Morale down to one, and then the game ended.

So I had two resource goals, but food was too high to get the third one. Unfortunately for me, the Admiral had achieved his goals. Additionally, the Cylon barely achieved three of her goals; the third one was "at least two players have been executed"! Doh! Meanwhile, Boomer achieved her goals, one of which was "the president doesn't achieve his goals". Hehe.
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Sean McCarthy
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Do you know what episode that picture is from? It's a bit low quality.
 
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Gary Laporte
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Just one little thing about the objectives, but maybe it was what you were aiming for: I have the feeling that it would be more "thematic" (but I know you prefer gameplay over thematic) if some of the loyalty cards were changed to reflect some of the "agendas" of the characters of the show. One thing that bugs me with some agendas is that it sounds basically "Human" but there is one negative like "morale under two" and I don't see on some card why it should be that way.

I'm going to try and explain that with some examples.

With the "command the fleet" agenda, the two conditions are:

- You have chosen a destination.
- Fuel or Food is less than 2.

It seems to me that "Fuel is at least 3" would be a more appropriate second objective as there is no real connection between "command the fleet" and "Fuel or Food is less than 2".

And you could use some of the motivations of the character of the show, for instance, something inspired by Zarek:

"Power by terror"
- You have played a Quorum card.
- Morale is less than 2.

This one could be nice as it reflects (in a way) Zarek's actions in the show.

Another thing: why not add some conditions regarding civlian ships? For instance, "protect the civilians" could be:

- There are at least 3 civilian ships.
- Population is at least 3.

Anyway, just some ideas I wanted to throw in.
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Sean McCarthy
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LNAGary wrote:
Just one little thing about the objectives, but maybe it was what you were aiming for: I have the feeling that it would be more "thematic" (but I know you prefer gameplay over thematic) if some of the loyalty cards were changed to reflect some of the "agendas" of the characters of the show. One thing that bugs me with some agendas is that it sounds basically "Human" but there is one negative like "morale under two" and I don't see on some card why it should be that way.


Yeah, let's see. For the most part what I did is just write down a bunch of non-resource conditions. I started slowing down at about 8 cylon and 16 human, so I decided to go to 10/20. Then I came up with an equally large set of resource goals. Then I chose names for the non-resource goals, and tried to match in fitting resource goals from my list of resource goals. This is hard. The main problem is there need to be a relatively large number of negative resource goals, and there are very few objectives where such a goal makes sense. I don't think it would play well at all if everyone just wanted the resources to be high.

Of course, making the 30 cards was kind of tedious, and I didn't explore all the possibilities I could have. So maybe there's a better arrangement.


Quote:
I'm going to try and explain that with some examples.

With the "command the fleet" agenda, the two conditions are:

- You have chosen a destination.
- Fuel or Food is less than 2.

It seems to me that "Fuel is at least 3" would be a more appropriate second objective as there is no real connection between "command the fleet" and "Fuel or Food is less than 2".


Yeah, that's a good example. In this case though, in addition to me needing to fulfill my negative resource goal quota, the admiral goal is darn hard for a cylon, so I tried to match it with a resource goal that wasn't too hard for a cylon.

Furthermore, there are a couple goals you can fulfill by being the admiral. Two of them also come with the "lowering fuel" goal. In terms of gameplay, if you notice someone trying to become the admiral, that's an interesting consideration. Maybe you want to keep food and/or morale low, so the admiral doesn't have to lower fuel. Maybe you don't want them to be admiral at all (because if they're not the admiral, they won't generally have the power to lower fuel)! People not wanting other people to accomplish their goals (e.g. being the admiral) is important to hinder people being too open about their objectives.

There's another gameplay thing: if the admiral wants fuel to be high, it can lengthen the game unnecessarily (which I'd consider a bad thing) because they would do stuff like choose Tylium Planet over Desolate Moon.

Finally, thematically you could argue that as the admiral, you are most likely to remain in control if the supply (i.e. fuel and food) situation is extremely dire. And yes, I was thinking about this when I made the card.

Quote:
And you could use some of the motivations of the character of the show, for instance, something inspired by Zarek:

"Power by terror"
- You have played a Quorum card.
- Morale is less than 2.

This one could be nice as it reflects (in a way) Zarek's actions in the show.


That's a good idea (though morale less than 2 on it's own is a bit hard; you'd probably want to swap in morale or food less than 2 from Thwart Them at Every Turn). By the way, currently this card requires fuel at least 3. Thematically, that's representing the president wanting the minimize the admiral's ability to do damage.

Quote:
Another thing: why not add some conditions regarding civlian ships? For instance, "protect the civilians" could be:

- There are at least 3 civilian ships.
- Population is at least 3.

Anyway, just some ideas I wanted to throw in.


I'd say civilian ships and population are thematically pretty interchangeable. And New Caprica notwithstanding, they are also fairly mechanically interchangeable, with the exception that you will have more ships than population. I wouldn't want to do this card in particular because it's very redundant. I also wouldn't want to put a ship condition on another card, because it would be like a card with two resource goals. Additionally, I think it's worse than a resource-based goal because it can become completely impossible during the game. With the resource-based ones, it's often possible for the resource to be increased again.
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Zenjoy
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I think you've offered a brilliant idea for the game. It does look a BIT complicated, but I think it is superior to the Cylon Leader Agenda system in play atm. Nice job. Would be great if FantasyFlight took some attention to this and utilized it in the second expansion. Would work well I say!
 
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Cameron McKenzie
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We played a four-player game with one cylon card and one player as a cylon leader (I figured a cylon leader with agenda cards was about the same as a sympathetic cylon in the normal rules).

It was a lot of fun, except achieving my goals as a cylon leader was extremely difficult. I didn't have as many cards as the other players and I could never receive a title.

There was also confusion about some agendas. The cylon player ended up with an agenda that involved another cylon not achieving their goals. At the end of the game, I wasn't infiltrating so we weren't sure whether I counted as a cylon or not for the purposes of the goal. We decided that it should count, since nobody would have won otherwise.

I wasn't too keen on the idea that there is a very high chance of the cylon player not winning even if the cylon team wins. It might also be interesting if the cylon leader is "neutral" towards which team wins but has to achieve extra goals to compensate for the fact that he can win with either team.

Another thing we weren't sure about was executions. The variant rules say that you don't reveal the text on your cards. But I assume you still reveal what team you are on. What if you are a cylon leader with no cylon agendas that gets executed? Do you follow the rules for a human being executed or a cylon being executed? We decided that I would reveal my loyalty (human) but I would still keep my character and go back to the resurrection ship with no morale loss (I was a cylon thematically after all).

Just a few things to work on I guess. Overall, it was a lot of fun. The player to my left had the goal for the cylon leader to achieve his goals, and I figured out that he probably did, so I talked him into helping me out most of the time. He also looked at one of my goals so we kind of teamed up a fair bit throughout the game. At the end, he remarked that it was rather ironic that one of his goals was to bring morale below 2 when he was playing as Dee
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Sean McCarthy
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MasterDinadan wrote:
We played a four-player game with one cylon card and one player as a cylon leader (I figured a cylon leader with agenda cards was about the same as a sympathetic cylon in the normal rules).

It was a lot of fun, except achieving my goals as a cylon leader was extremely difficult. I didn't have as many cards as the other players and I could never receive a title.

There was also confusion about some agendas. The cylon player ended up with an agenda that involved another cylon not achieving their goals. At the end of the game, I wasn't infiltrating so we weren't sure whether I counted as a cylon or not for the purposes of the goal. We decided that it should count, since nobody would have won otherwise.

I wasn't too keen on the idea that there is a very high chance of the cylon player not winning even if the cylon team wins. It might also be interesting if the cylon leader is "neutral" towards which team wins but has to achieve extra goals to compensate for the fact that he can win with either team.

Another thing we weren't sure about was executions. The variant rules say that you don't reveal the text on your cards. But I assume you still reveal what team you are on. What if you are a cylon leader with no cylon agendas that gets executed? Do you follow the rules for a human being executed or a cylon being executed? We decided that I would reveal my loyalty (human) but I would still keep my character and go back to the resurrection ship with no morale loss (I was a cylon thematically after all).

Just a few things to work on I guess. Overall, it was a lot of fun. The player to my left had the goal for the cylon leader to achieve his goals, and I figured out that he probably did, so I talked him into helping me out most of the time. He also looked at one of my goals so we kind of teamed up a fair bit throughout the game. At the end, he remarked that it was rather ironic that one of his goals was to bring morale below 2 when he was playing as Dee


Cool!

About the "other cylon" condition:
- It doesn't (necessarily) count cylon leaders, just players with "CYLON" loyalty cards.
- (My rules say that) goals depending in a loop on other goals (which definitely includes all goals based on your own goals) go unfulfilled, as do goals referring to nonexistent things (such as "another cylon" in a four-player game). So this goal was impossible.
- (My rules suggest) you can remove cards with goals that are impossible before the game starts.

That said, I think your resolution was quite fair given the circumstances.

Executions:
Cylon Leader executions are intended to follow the same rules as in the expansion, with the sole addition that any executed player gets another loyalty card. Thus their loyalty would not be revealed and no morale would be lost.


I'm inclined to agree that Cylon Leaders are difficult to use with these rules. I'm working on different versions of them for a somewhat larger variant that also uses these loyalty cards.
 
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Cameron McKenzie
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Your rules also mention that you use them along with other variants. I would be very interested to see what these are! I always liked your Valley of Darkness variant, but I'm not sure if it's necessary or applicable to Pegasus.
 
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David Dirga
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I admit I like agendas very much and would love to have them available for two players, but there are two things that rather seriously bother me on this concept:
1) You don't know what your aim is. In the original game, every player knows what he's to achieve at given time - cylons need to prevent victory conditions, humans need to get somewhere (or eventually from somewhere then), CL has a special condition, but he knows exactly what it is. With this variant, you are to prevent a cylon from succeeding in his goals. But you don't know what his goals are (and thus what you should try to prevent) and you may not be able to tell who a cylon is at all.
As a side note, this is also a reason why I don't like the idea of exclusive CL victory which has been mentioned a couple times, because then you play for your team, do your best - and in the end realize you've actually lost anyway.
2) Some of the goals can be invalidated during the game (and it's mentioned in the rules that if some conflict,it's your problem). So a player can be left with no chance to win in the middle of a game. Considering a the game can last 3-5 hours, the idea of sitting there for two hours, just waiting for it to end with no real aim left is rather dreadful.

I'm also a bit uncertain about the fact that humans will have a tendency to go for each other's throat (airlock the admiral simply to make it harder for him to achieve his goals), but I can imgine that being more or less thematic under certain conditions. Doesn't it turn into a total chaos though?

Don't take it as flamebite please, I'd more or less like to be proven wrong, so that I could try this variant. But at the moment, it feels like it changes BSG to completely different game, one I find much less appealing then the original.
 
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Sean McCarthy
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I don't see any combination of loyalty cards that can make it impossible to win. In fact, only three have irreversible requirements at all, and their resource-based requirements are quite compatible so you'd be OK anyway.

Even if it does seem hopeless, you can get yourself executed to broaden your options. In practice, this has never been necessary.

I don't know what you mean by "you don't know what your aim is".

It does not turn into total chaos when people I know play it. I don't know what other people do though.
 
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David Dirga
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By 'you don't know what your aim is' I mean things like 'Adimral/Cylon doesn't achieve his goals'. But you don't know who a cylon actually is, whether admiral won't change hands during the last turn and, finally, what their goal is (e.g. they may need to get executed for example, so while trying to make their life harder, you may actually fulfil it). That's what bothers me quite a lot - you have generic idea you should do something to someone, but not quite sure what exactly it should be.
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Care to share what the other main rules you use while playing with these? Any solution to the concerns of players not being able to know what other people's loyalties are so you can help them achieve them or stop them?
 
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