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Subject: "Silent" BSG PBF? rss

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David Corbin
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I just finished my fourth play. We've all noticed how hard it is as a cylon because of card the format makes card counting much easier. There's nothing to be done about that.

But I think there is another thing that makes it hard on the cylons, and that's the "What should I do now/Let's vote on it" model of play. That is, anytime a player makes an action without discussing it with the whole crew, he can easily be suspected of being a cylon. This can happen in face-to-face games, but it seems to happen less in my experience.

I'd like try a game played where:
* There is NO discussion of a player's move in advance.
* Players do NOT volunteer information about their hand ("I have a LS") (though they could respond if asked directly).
* Players do NOT ask "What's the best move now".
* Players do NOT ask "Should I play an IC on this one?"

Essentially, each player decides what to do on his own, and then can defend his actions if necessary.

So, does this appeal to others or am I the only one?
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Jason Beck
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Sounds a bit like "Gunboat" Diplomacy.

Seems to me, though, that this is similar to the "no talking" variant that was suggested before. It's a social game by its nature, so it almost seems like you're taking out a big part of the enjoyability factor, no?

Although you raise valid points about the pitfalls of being a Cylon in a PBF game, of course, I'm not sure this is quite the best way to tackle them. Maybe you could set limits on things, like you can't discuss playing interrupts, or you can only discuss options for 24 hours per player turn, or the like?
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Carl Bussema
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I might be interested. I've played 2, one as a Cylon (6) and one not (14)... humans won both and I really got sick of the excessive card-counting and lengthy table-talk. I didn't sign up again.
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Gerry Smit
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It'd be a an interesting exercise, that's for sure.

Gerry
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Christopher Scatliff
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I already try to play that way right now. I hate having every turn break down into a communal decision. It not only slows the game down but, as you say, also hamstrings cylon players, which upsets balance. Especially since, as you also say, cards can be tracked. (I would describe anybody who does that as not embracing the spirit of the game.)

The way PBF is played by many players is not close to a true experience of BSG. I'd rather lose a realistic game than win a metagamed session. Unfortunately, I seem to be in the minority on that.
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The one nice thing about being a cylon in these PBF games is alot of bookkeeping goes out the window. You won't need to bother with COs about EM, IC, SP, SR, and anything else that Pegasus introduces in the way of interrupts.


I've seen some games go like clockwork, but then there are those games where the mod puts his foot down, and will allow ZERO to only a whole day's more of discussion. Otherwise, the whole "flowchart" of action accountability and assigning each player a "cylon probability score" can really drag on *


It is good to discuss some things, as in one game, I nearly forgot about our cylon president that needed to be stripped of his title, lest he do us more harm.

* I will admit that I would've liked to seen some of these heated, in-game debates go on and on. Just to see where the logic leads. Unfortunately, the game stalling is a concern for some.


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David Corbin
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Colonial One wrote:
It's a social game by its nature, so it almost seems like you're taking out a big part of the enjoyability factor, no?


Not at all, in my view. It's not that you can't talk about anything. It's about letting each player play his best play, rather than being told what to do by the more dominant player(s). You can talk about it all you like, after the play. It's still social.

Colonial One wrote:

Although you raise valid points about the pitfalls of being a Cylon in a PBF game, of course, I'm not sure this is quite the best way to tackle them. Maybe you could set limits on things, like you can't discuss playing interrupts, or you can only discuss options for 24 hours per player turn, or the like?


Well, the time limit is useless, IMO. I'm not worried about how long it's taking. I'm worried about a player being denied the opportunity to be an individual. No discussing interrupts? (You're already half way to my goal).
 
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Pieter
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If you examine the list of games on the Wiki, you'll find that the Cylons win more than 50% of them. So I do not think the Cylons are really at a disadvantage here.

Of course, what you prefer depends on what you feel is fun. If you don't like the card counting and recaps of what people said and did five turns ago, then most BSG PBF games are not for you. Personally, I love that stuff, both as a human and as a Cylon (I've been both).

As a Cylon, I love setting up intricate plays which hide me and point to another player. I love manipulating the humans to make suboptimal moves. I love working out ways to poison a skill check without revealing myself.

As a human, I love the whole deduction aspect. I love the feeling of paranoia, which is fed in particular by interpreting and re-interpreting players' words and moves. I love setting up traps for hidden Cylons so that I get to identify them before they want to reveal.

I love this game, both face-to-face and as PBF. But, indeed, these are two different experiences.
 
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Pieter
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I have thought about a way to slightly change the PBF game which makes card counting a lot less viable. I came up with the following:

When a player draws his start-of-turn cards, he is allowed to exchange one card color for another card color, with the following restrictions:
- He can only exchange a card of a color of which he draws at least two FIXED ones (e.g., Apollo can exchange one of his Piloting cards, but not one of his Politics/Leadership cards);
- He can only exchange this card for a color which he can draw (e.g., Apollo can exchange one of his Piloting cards for Politics, Leadership, or Tactics, but not for Engineering);
- The exchange of cards falls under the secrecy rules (it is secret information known only to one player, and is therefore not to be discussed).

This exchange is done with a GM to the Moderator, and is not reported to the other players. The moderator does not report the size of the draw or discard piles, and does not report reshuffles.

That way, it will be virtually impossble for players to know exactly what color cards the other players hold, while at the same time having a pretty good idea. Just like in the face-to-face game.

I don't think such a change would impact the balance of the game a lot. Sure, in times of an assault there might be one more Piloting card available from Boomer or Helo, while in times of peace Boomer will probably opt for an extra Tactics or Repair, but this might work out as an advantage for both humans and Cylons.
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David Corbin
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Flyboy Connor wrote:
If you examine the list of games on the Wiki, you'll find that the Cylons win more than 50% of them. So I do not think the Cylons are really at a disadvantage here.

Of course, what you prefer depends on what you feel is fun. If you don't like the card counting and recaps of what people said and did five turns ago, then most BSG PBF games are not for you. Personally, I love that stuff, both as a human and as a Cylon (I've been both).

As a Cylon, I love setting up intricate plays which hide me and point to another player. I love manipulating the humans to make suboptimal moves. I love working out ways to poison a skill check without revealing myself.

As a human, I love the whole deduction aspect. I love the feeling of paranoia, which is fed in particular by interpreting and re-interpreting players' words and moves. I love setting up traps for hidden Cylons so that I get to identify them before they want to reveal.

I love this game, both face-to-face and as PBF. But, indeed, these are two different experiences.


I don't have actual stats, but in most of the ones I've observed the cylons tend to reveal early, or play more aggressively while not revealed (not trying to be subtle). As a cylon, I find this form of play less interesting.

I also would like to try the "silent form" in a face-to-face game.
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Mike Jones
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And you know if you would have said something BEFORE your move I would have gone along with you. Pierre had already Geekmailed me from the previous turn on why I held onto the treachery when were were purposely failing a test. I responded to him that I was saving them to execute Dee.
 
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