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Subject: Sympathizer Card, I Hate You rss

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JD
Canada
Edmonton
Alberta
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I love this game but I hate the Sympathizer Card.

Last night, we had our first ever game of six people which meant we had to add the card. Things were actually going well for the fleet though we were slightly damaged and losing resources evenly across the board instead of all in one area. We'd jumped a distance of two and then gotten the Crisis Card that gave us an extra distance of one.

That's when one of the people who'd never even played before but heard about the game said that if the humans want to win, they have to get a resource into the red asap because we may end up jumping soon. He said that the last thing we wanted is to have jumped a total distance of four without any resources at their half point and thus get a third cylon.

As a human, I had to admit he was totally right because the extra cylon generated by the Sympathizer Card would make it a lot harder but thematically, seeing all the humans work together to try to hammer away at the resources and just hope that the same one gets hit over and over is unrealistic at best and takes away from the game, in my opinion. I think the rest of the group felt pretty uninspired by this too.

We managed to kill off tons of our own people (population resource) just in time for the jump. Two jumps later, the four humans won the game with one population point left.

I don't see myself ever playing a six player game again. I may try the "no sympathizer" variant from FFG but we figured that based on its starting resources, we probably wouldn't have won. It's hard to say without trying it out though.

I know people out there don't like the Sympathizer much but any thoughts on how it's not so bad are appreciated.
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John Culp
United States
Gillette
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Shoot, you didn't even see the sympathizer come out and just have a poor experience for that person. it ends up as 3 vs 2.5 cylons. egh

I played my first game of 6 with the "no sympathizer" variant last night. the humans won, but it was close (3 of the dials ended up in the 1-2 range).

I have played several games with the sympathizer, and while it doesn't quite ruin the game..it sure comes close. Never more for me, I will always play with no sympathizer now.
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Jeff Allen
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It's a very strange concept that does promote this metagaming idea. Had you any hidden Cylons, they would have actually been trying to pass crises and move civvies out of harm's way in order to get another Cylon on their side. It's hard to make thematic sense of it, but it sure is interesting.

Most of the games I've been playing lately are six people, but we have the Pegasus expansion. The expansion's sympathizer gets rid of this game-breaker and adds a different element which thematically makes a lot more sense. There is a random facet involved in whose side the sympathizer is on, but it's never really swung things either way. With all the balancing concerns that everyone has had, I can't say that I've seen too much of it on my own.

However, it sounds like you had a pretty close game regardless. It may have been a weird thing to deal with, but it's hard to come much closer than having a resource at one. Doesn't that prove a balance?
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Carl Bussema
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Lansing
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I suggest playing with 5 players. The Cylon Leaders from Pegasus are slightly better (but not much) than the Sympathizer ... their agendas are complained about as much as the Sympathizer mechanic is, so that's one option for 6.

Not much help I know, but it's my best advice! Uninvite one of the players so you only have 5... the extra was a toaster anyway.
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Tor Sverre Lund
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Just use the official No Sympathizer variant if it bothers you to a degree that you feel you can't play it :) It's a game, after all, it has mechanics. You can't blame gamers for figuring that out.
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Stoodster
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Here's the Sympathizer variant we have used in our 4 or 6 player games and it's worked really well. The following replaces the text on the Sympathizer card:

If at least 1 resource is half full or lower (red) you are moved to "The Brig" location. Otherwise, you must choose to reduce 1 resource to half full (red) and you are moved to "The Brig" location.

Basically this card just ensures that at least one human resource is in the red halfway through the game and that someone is thrown in the brig. This keeps the humans from being too far ahead by the halfway point of the game (which was the point of the original Sympathizer card). No one is stuck being 1/2 a cylon. It also provides for some interesting decisions. After playing this way, I can't imagine going back to either the original or the official variant. I would never play a 4 or 6 player game again without this variant.
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D P
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Kitchener
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I think the variant posted by FFG is probably all you need to play a 4 or 6 player game.

Who knows if you would have nor not won, since you focussed on killing off population to get it in the red, you could have focussed on keeping all of them relatively balanced by the sleeper phase.

The benefits of the variant are:

1. No one automatically goes to the brig at sleeper (except boomer)
2. You don't have to metagame to get the game in the human's favour
3. You have a better idea at the beginning of the game of your resource allocation

I would assume this would make the game easier for the humans as now the Cylons can't count on an extra body or someone starting the sleeper phase in the brig, all for a loss of 4 resource points.
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Evgeny Reznikov
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I agree - the No Sympathizer variant is a good solution. No metagaming and no gimped Cylon players.
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JD
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Thanks for all the feedback!
I will try the official no sympathizer variant and see how that goes (until I buy Pegasus).
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Yeah , just go ahead and give the official no symp variant a whirl. IIRC, it's supposed to make it somewhat easier for the humans vs ad written, but I still found it to be elegant.

1 less food & morale and 2 less pop to start off with.... As a cylon, I found anything that hammers any of those single type of rsrc does work put better for u. And it does encourage the to reveal a bit sooner given he now gets to draw 3 skill cards instrd of just 2
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Silvertongue
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Hate the card too, so 5-player is my fav variant.
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Morgan Dontanville
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Charlottesville
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The Sympathizer Card was a terrible idea.
 
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