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Subject: Ionian Nebula, AKA make one player hate BSG rss

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ErikPeter Walker
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Played my first game with the Ionian nebula. To sum up ahead of time, I think any future games will begin by making sure everyone is aware of the stakes, and related to that, the importance of having zero bad trauma tokens (if possible).

We set up a 4-player game using all of the Exodus rules, but none of the Pegasus materials (as I do not own it--this was the first play ever for my copy of BSG!)

The other three players, who are veteran BSG players used to Pegasus, were particularly put off by having to use the standard Sympathizer card. They also whined a bit about how the Exodus rules on setting up the loyalty deck are wrong because an additional card (and the rules on drawing a new loyalty card when executed) weren't what they're used to. Finally we sorted out that yes, it isn't just a giant series of typos, and the game could begin.

I think the leftover card is a neat mechanism to keep people guessing about loyalties even after someone gets executed. I never really liked the morale-for-certainty gamble of the Airlock; that said, we weren't playing with Pegasus and so executions weren't too likely to begin with.

I picked Helo. The other players were Apollo, Cally, and Laura Roslin. The setup fleet was surprisingly effective; I watched from off the board as Galactica got hit repeatedly and raiders swarmed. Apollo quickly learned the lesson of "don't escort ALL the civilian ships off the board". Eventually things calmed down a bit.

As the Admiral I scouted a bit and found fuel using Helo's re-roll ability. We were doing pretty well as the humans until right before the sleeper phase. Cally had been brigged by a card and I executive ordered President Roslin, who truthfully said she had a Quorum card that would instantly free her, but who had been mostly ignoring her Quorum cards and dinking around--in retrospect--rather suspiciously. Instead of freeing Cally, she used her actions to use a quorum card that raised population and lowered morale, then revealed as a cylon, putting a centurion on board. There were two crappy allies in the Armory, making it less desirable to go there.

The cylon situation on Galactica had gone to shit but resource-wise we were doing quite well. Food, Fuel, and Morale were near their starting values and Population was at 13. We jumped, and I found an expensive planet--lose 4 fuel for 3 distance but put the jump track on 2--which dipped fuel into the red. Loyalty cards were passed out and I got thrown in the brig for being a sympathizer.

The second act continued normally, shortened because we were already at 6 distance. Evil Roslin caused trouble while we did what we could. Apollo had just drawn a personal goal that meant he had to put the president (himself) in the brig--before the next jump--or we'd lose 3 food at the end of the game, and we struggled to get it completed before auto-jump occurred.

After the jump we hit the crossroads. I had unloaded a couple of bad trauma and was sitting on one more. My crossroad card offered an interesting choice: Use a blue token to draw three trauma tokens and force another player to draw three as well, or discard a red one and nothing happens. Obviously I would be safe if I got rid of my last bad trauma, but by spending a blue I could shaft the cylon and risk elimination--and possibly a pointless but heroic sacrifice.

Roslin's crossroad card gave more trauma to Apollo, who drew a disaster token--uh oh!--but it turned out to save him because he had been sitting on four bad trauma. Apollo picked Starbuck and we totaled trauma: The three tokens I'd just given to Roslin had turned out to be ALL good trauma, and she was shelved.

My friend who'd been playing her was pissed. He stood up and stormed off to the kitchen to make some dinner in a silent rage.

It was down to three humans and no cylon players. "Huh." The battle of the Ionian Nebula didn't look too bad, and hilariously, we drew the Cylon genocide crisis card--a 21 difficulty skill check. Cally only held one card and couldn't help, but the pair who could threw in everything we had, totaling 19. Cally played her card--Declare Emergency--lowering the difficulty by two. The cylons were wiped off the board and victory was all but assured.

Roslin's player came back from the kitchen. "We just did something completely awesome", I said.

"I'm not playing that game", he replied angrily. Awkward silence. I'm thinking Come ON dude, it's just a GAME.

A few turns later we hit the FTL and won. Fuel and Morale were at 1, Food at 3, but population was crazy high at 8 (even after a -3 FTL loss). We cleaned up in silence until someone broke the ice and the bitch-session began. "Why would you ever use player elimination as a mechanic?" etc.

All told it was a pretty good game of BSG. Momentum shifted often and severely between the humans and cylons. Apollo had all 3 titles at once for a while. But I'm also sure at least one of our group will never play the Ionian Nebula again.

The trauma tokens are really important and yet they seemed rather understated. The allies were mostly ignored as the drawbacks outweighed the benefits. Plenty of us spent at least a turn in the brig but didn't have too much trouble ridding ourselves of trauma. The one person who couldn't was fortunate enough to get executed and discard it all. And then our cylon was completely taken aback (and a whiny little baby) after being eliminated.

Exodus as a whole isn't super exciting. I really like the new skill cards and characters, and the Conflicted loyalties is a simple-yet-awesome addition to the game. The cylon fleet didn't have much effect (CAG and the Viper VII's are cool though), and the Ionian Nebula ...

After one play I'm still not sure about the Ionian Nebula. Player elimination is pretty harsh, but I'm sure some players will really like the heightened stakes. I think it's pretty cool.

On the downside, the cylon being eliminated turned a tense endgame into an almost guaranteed win for the humans (made all the easier by a hilarious crisis card and a lucky, lucky skill check). Pretty anti-climactic.

Oh yeah, and there's the whole one player gets really upset and the rest of the night is sort of tense and awkward thing.
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Randolph Bookman
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Even with Player elimination it sounded very close. I do agree that eliminating a player in a game that lasts as long as BSG does seems like a bad idea
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David Goldfarb
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Voxen wrote:
Apollo had just drawn a personal goal that meant he had to put the president (himself) in the brig--before the next jump--or we'd lose 3 food at the end of the game, and we struggled to get it completed before auto-jump occurred.

One food, not 3.
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ErikPeter Walker
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David Goldfarb wrote:
Voxen wrote:
Apollo had just drawn a personal goal that meant he had to put the president (himself) in the brig--before the next jump--or we'd lose 3 food at the end of the game, and we struggled to get it completed before auto-jump occurred.

One food, not 3.


Ah, she must've read her card wrong then. Having never read the cards, we all trusted her on it. It did sound pretty devastating.
 
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Voxen wrote:
David Goldfarb wrote:
Voxen wrote:
Apollo had just drawn a personal goal that meant he had to put the president (himself) in the brig--before the next jump--or we'd lose 3 food at the end of the game, and we struggled to get it completed before auto-jump occurred.

One food, not 3.


Ah, she must've read her card wrong then. Having never read the cards, we all trusted her on it. It did sound pretty devastating.


She was probably confused because the symbol for "Food" is three cubes stacked up.
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shieldwolf wrote:
Even with Player elimination it sounded very close. I do agree that eliminating a player in a game that lasts as long as BSG does seems like a bad idea


Player elimination is an issue when the eliminated player has to spend an inordinate amount of time just watching and waiting for the next game. That's not the case with the Ionian Nebula.

OK, so maybe you take the angle that after spending a few hours playing the game, it sucks to be aced out right at the end. How is that different from the Cylons revealing right near the end and screwing over the humans big time? And the Ionian Nebula eliminates you for having too many "bad" trauma tokens. That's something YOU can deal with. Get rid of them ASAP if you're stressed over being eliminated. In this case, Roslin revealed at the sleeper phase. It's not nearly as easy for Cylons to get rid of those trauma tokens. Maybe she should be more cautious about revealing until after she's rid herself of more tokens? In this case, it looks like that might not have mattered since you hit her with three tokens at the last second though.

So where else might the anger be coming from? Is it because Apollo escaped and she took the fall? So... she was sort of betrayed just like she betrayed the humans? So Apollo didn't get permanently executed and instead started a new character and played a couple of turns. Is that REALLY so much better than being permanently executed? Or is Roslin mad because she made Apollo gain one token while she gained three and chance made it all blow up in her face?

To me, if I were Roslin, I'd slap my forehead and say "D'oh!" as everything went pear-shaped at the end, but there's no reason to be getting angry over it. As has been said by others before, this game is more of an experience than a game. If you had fun during the game, that's all that matters. I'm a lot more interested in those awesome pivotal moments in the game, no matter which side I'm on. In this case, seeing the only Cylon boxed right before the end game would be one of those moments.
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Even if a game doesn't have player elimination, virtual player elimination can always rear its ugly head. Games like Settlers are notorious for this. You've lost, but ya gotta keep going. SOmetimes you can pull a win from behind, but those are the exceptions than the norm.

Then you have your 2 to 3 hour eurogames like Age Of Empires III, Agricola, Power Grid, and Caylus. In some of those games, you can mess up early and you're screwed for the rest of the game. Other times, a crucial event doesn't go your way, so you may as well be eliminated.

BSG's IN option certainly spices things up, but it isn't for everybody. I like it alot, but I would definitely be open to playing Exodus without the IN from time to time. Hell, main reason is to go back to NC. I think the main thing that needs to be mentioned about the IN is you're on a team and you're doing good for the team, but there are also things you need to do for yourself. You also need to look out for yourself in this game too.

StatSig wrote:
Voxen wrote:
David Goldfarb wrote:
Voxen wrote:
Apollo had just drawn a personal goal that meant he had to put the president (himself) in the brig--before the next jump--or we'd lose 3 food at the end of the game, and we struggled to get it completed before auto-jump occurred.

One food, not 3.


Ah, she must've read her card wrong then. Having never read the cards, we all trusted her on it. It did sound pretty devastating.


She was probably confused because the symbol for "Food" is three cubes stacked up.
Not to mention the devastation of losing "3 population or 6 population) for many of the civvy ships that get destroyed Also the same icon with 3 things on it (people)

One base game, Fuel got hit when Galactica took damage. Someone was in uproar about such poor luck. He thought that the red sihoulette of Galactica meant the whole ship was on fire.... some "critical hit" thing if you will that instantly destroyed the ship. laugh wow
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Trump wrote:
And the Ionian Nebula eliminates you for having too many "bad" trauma tokens. That's something YOU can deal with. Get rid of them ASAP if you're stressed over being eliminated.


Not necessarily. It's possible to be trauma-ganked even with good play. But that's another thread.
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Roy Stephens
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A perfect solution for future issues in your group: don't invite the douchebag poor sport over any more. I cannot stand that kind of sh*t. "I am not happy, so I will make sure everyone knows its and no one has fun." F you, buddy. You just lost your priveledges.
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Correct me if I'm wrong but I thought the rules for secrecy restricted you from saying what your personal goal was?
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Haree78 wrote:
Correct me if I'm wrong but I thought the rules for secrecy restricted you from saying what your personal goal was?
That's correct. From the session report

Quote:
The second act continued normally, shortened because we were already at 6 distance. Evil Roslin caused trouble while we did what we could. Apollo had just drawn a personal goal that meant he had to put the president (himself) in the brig--before the next jump--or we'd lose 3 food at the end of the game, and we struggled to get it completed before auto-jump occurred.


This doesn't state that he outright told them what his PG was. He could've been vague/subtle about it (like lead them to believe that without actually saying it), which would've been OK, but that "vague/subtle" description is a gray area of just how vague/subtle you have to be about them.
 
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ErikPeter Walker
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Haree78 wrote:
Correct me if I'm wrong but I thought the rules for secrecy restricted you from saying what your personal goal was?


At that point there was no question as to who was a cylon and who was not. It was something along the lines of "I need to brig myself before we jump or we're screwed."
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I can kinda-sorta understand his reaction. Being the only person eliminated and having it happen purely due to luck is not a good experience.

I think this combination is what mostly makes me apprehensive about using this part of the game. Being eliminated from a game is bad enough, mainly because it excludes you from the group since you can no longer participate in the main social element even if you can still sit around and talk and joke around. Being the only person eliminated exacerbates this since a) nobody else shares your misfortune, and b) if there's nobody else around you will be forced to either entertain yourself or be reduced to a spectator as the others finish the game. Having it happen purely by bad luck after playing well and having a solid shot at winning... that's a real kick in the face.

If elimination was something that could only happen if you consciously took the risk or played badly I wouldn't have much problem with it, or if either nobody or at least two people were eliminated. But being singled out to no longer be part of the game due to bad luck? Yeah, I understand him being upset. (I do agree he should have lightened up about it after the initial reaction, though.)
 
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Your friend learned a good lesson about the new strategies in Exodus:

1) The Cylon Fleet board is quite powerful. However, if you reveal early in order to use it you are likely going to be boxed for your abuse of power during the ionian phase.

2) Because of Exodus' quite powerful Cylon options, as well as all of the additional trickery with hidden loyalties it is MUCH more beneficial for Cylons to remain hidden and destroy the humans from the inside out.

I've noticed that a LOT of veteran Pegasus players are having trouble adjusting their strategies, but the game is frankly a lot more fun now. During pegasus, the easiest way to win as a Cylon was to simply reveal on the first turn. Now doing that just about guarantees that you'll be in trouble come the ionian phase.
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My brother wasn't even executed in our game and he's thinking of never playing BSG again and before he was a HUGE fan.
 
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I have played the Ionian nebula in 3 games do far, and in none of those games has any player (human or cylon) been eliminated by the nebula.
In the 1st the Galactica exploded well before the nebula became relevant.
In the 2nd the cylons remained covert for the entire game and easily got rid of their Trauma tokens.
In the 3rd, both cylons revealed early, and by controlling the cylon fleet were repeatedly able to inflict damage on Galatica, which let then kill "allies" & hence get rid of their Trauma tokens.
Except for the first game, where we had an exceptionally treacherous cylon admiral. The exodus games have been very closly balenced. With the win still unclear right up to the final jump.
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Overreaction much, just don't use Ionian Nebula, It surely ain't integral to the game.
 
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Voxen wrote:
...
Roslin's crossroad card gave more trauma to Apollo, who drew a disaster token--uh oh!--but it turned out to save him because he had been sitting on four bad trauma. Apollo picked Starbuck and we totaled trauma: The three tokens I'd just given to Roslin had turned out to be ALL good trauma, and she was shelved.
...

Either you played it wrong or I misunderstand rules. But I believe that drawing Disaster token from pile DOES NOT result in execution. You simply discard it and draw again. Only drawing Disaster token from Sickbay or Brig result in character execution.
 
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Ripe wrote:
Voxen wrote:
...
Roslin's crossroad card gave more trauma to Apollo, who drew a disaster token--uh oh!--but it turned out to save him because he had been sitting on four bad trauma. Apollo picked Starbuck and we totaled trauma: The three tokens I'd just given to Roslin had turned out to be ALL good trauma, and she was shelved.
...

Either you played it wrong or I misunderstand rules. But I believe that drawing Disaster token from pile DOES NOT result in execution. You simply discard it and draw again. Only drawing Disaster token from Sickbay or Brig result in character execution.


You've been playing it wrong. It's during setup and only during setup that you replace Disaster Tokens.
 
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I Eat Tables wrote:
Ripe wrote:
Voxen wrote:
...
Roslin's crossroad card gave more trauma to Apollo, who drew a disaster token--uh oh!--but it turned out to save him because he had been sitting on four bad trauma. Apollo picked Starbuck and we totaled trauma: The three tokens I'd just given to Roslin had turned out to be ALL good trauma, and she was shelved.
...

Either you played it wrong or I misunderstand rules. But I believe that drawing Disaster token from pile DOES NOT result in execution. You simply discard it and draw again. Only drawing Disaster token from Sickbay or Brig result in character execution.


You've been playing it wrong. It's during setup and only during setup that you replace Disaster Tokens.
The only times a disaster token doesn't kill you are:

--you draw one during setup at the beginning of the game after you first pick characters
--you draw one when you pick a new character after you've been executed and proved to be human.
--A trauma token on the ally is revealed to be a disaster token.
--if you're a revealed cylon (as opposed to having to reveal b/c a disaster token killed you while you were an unrevealed cylon), then you draw 2 more trauma tokens. If you draw the other disaster, draw 2 more trauma tokens.
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Phil Nicholls
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As I've said in the other thread, I really don't like the elimination mechanic.
I've had the elimination happen to me through no fault of my own; being the target of a bad opera house draw. It sucks. It makes you question why you bother playing the game which is typically emotionally charged for a few hours.

I don't think the player that got done over is a douche bag at all - I think it's a perfectly understandable reaction. Frankly I am amazed that this wasn't picked up by the designers. It's just so contentious. Yes it is "just a game", but it's human to get upset - look at the empotional investment people make supporting a professional sport team. As a board game geek, I make the emotional investment in boardgaming.

I play BSG with two groups - one group plays 'full rules', the other plays with the Kobol Objctive, and no PGs. Elimination as a concept is eliminated (ho ho), and the games are usually very close. Even when you lose (and lose we do!), you come away without feeling cheated, and feeling that "if you just had one more turn, it would all have been different". Frankly, that's why I want to game.

All that said, we had a game with the Nebula today where a human player chose not to discard bad trauma because doing so would mean that his side would have lost. It was a noble sacrifice. He is rewarded by being eliminated. He didn't throw a strop and got a lot of respect from his human allies. But it's ridiculous thematically - "I keep us all in the game so I get executed and REMOVED from the game".

Elimination is a bad mechanic that should never have seen the light of day in it's current form.
Fixes: make trauma management part of the crises and skill cards. i.e. gain trauma to gain short term advantage; lose trauma to get short term disadvantage,
make allies less vicious if it goes wrong.
rewrite the cross roads cards to affect the final game board and not punt trauma around.
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Roy Stephens
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While, as a tried and true, born and bred Ameritrasher, I fully support player elimination as a game mechanic... I can understand being disappointed if I was eliminated from a game. I have been before, and it does suck... BUT:

(1) I didn't throw a hissyfit and try to ruin everyone else'a fun and whine and cry about how I'm never playing the game again.

(2) I knew going into the game that elimination is a real and present threat that I may have to face.

(3) It IS just a frakkin' game.

Fortunately, the base game and both expansions give plenty of options to fine tune and play the game in a way that everyone can enjoy. If you don't like elimination, don't use Crossroads.

All I am saying is; I understand the disappointment of being eliminated from a game. HOWEVER, i do NOT understand or support the fun-murdering attitude after the elimination. Besides, the elimination comes so late in the game, its not like the eliminated player didn't get to play.

And the above comment about the player who made an heroic self sacrifice to save the rest of his team: that is EXACTLY the spirit of the game and is precisely the way to play it. The exact same thing happens on the show itself: *Spoiler alert*
Spoiler (click to reveal)
Kat sacrifices herself to lead the civilian fleet to safety through a radioactive cloud
. If a player in my group made a play like that, that would be the "highlight reel" move of the night and easily something that would be talked about long after the other plays in the game were forgotten. What folks forget is that "thematic games" (I still prefer "Ameri-trash") are all about telling a STORY. Not just optimizing your coffee planting strategies.
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vampyrefate wrote:
All that said, we had a game with the Nebula today where a human player chose not to discard bad trauma because doing so would mean that his side would have lost. It was a noble sacrifice. He is rewarded by being eliminated. He didn't throw a strop and got a lot of respect from his human allies. But it's ridiculous thematically - "I keep us all in the game so I get executed and REMOVED from the game".


When playing with the IN, if it comes to that point, then one could argue you shouldn't have put yourself into that position where you either have to fall on your sword and take yourself out of the winning. Many eurogames can have situations like that too, where if you can do a move that holds back the leader without any real benefit for yourself, so you're just helping your opponents win. I wouldn't exactly say that's a flaw or issue of the game. To keep the leader from winning in that case, perhaps advanced planning would've helped there.

Thematically..... Someone in another thread already mentioned that in the TV series, if one of the humans got executed through trial knowing full well the humanity would survive, would that executed person consider himself to be in a good situation? They want to live as much as any other person. If the cylons accomplished their goal of wiping out humanity, but one model was also boxed, does she consider that victory on her part?

I talked to a person who was taking a college course for some business class where their final grade was dependant on a group project and an individual final exam. Far be it to compare board games with acadamia, but he did find while the elimination mechanic had the same issues and concerns as those brought up in this thread, he did find elimination to be appropriate. If he were to put in alot of effort into the group project, but then go on to fail the individual exam, then he shouldn't be expected to pass the course. The requirements were laid out ahead of time and people should've known what they were getting into, for both a game and for a college course.
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The biggest complaint about the IN/Crossroads mechanic seems to be related to the Crossroads cards, since you can essentially be eliminated through no fault of your own (whereas if you go into the trial phase with lots of trauma, having badly mis-managed it, you more or less are just going to get what's coming for you).

Although perhaps a minor point, I think it is perfectly reasonable to make an heroic sacrifice (as hockeyjedi noted above) and still consider yourself part of the winning team, even if you have technically been eliminated.

In addition to the example cited above,

Spoiler (click to reveal)
Kendra Shaw's sacrifice (though arguably potentially self-motivated insofar as personal atonement is concerned) in destroying the first Hybrid could be cited.

Additionally, Billy sacrifices himself to save Dee's life during the terrorist incident.

Saul Tigh's near-sacrifice during the stand-off with the Rebel Basestar is particularly notable, since he actively urges Apollo to space him in order to diffuse the situation.

Finally, you may reasonable argue, I think, that the entire Battle of the Colony is representative of self-sacrifice, since the entire crew of Galactica is made up of volunteers who have been explicitly warned that they probably won't come back.


I think, in short, that the theme of heroic self-sacrifice in order to save one's "team" is quite evident throughout the series and so such an action would be thematically reasonable. (Admittedly, the Cylon boxing is more thematically problematic, except that it seems less likely a Cylon would deliberately sacrifice themselves in this way anyway, since there are fewer of them playing.)

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I wasn't saying that heroic sacrifice was a bad thing. The player that did eliminate himself for the good of the team was a gentleman throughout, and got a lot of respect from all of the players.

Noble sacrifice is part of the game; but elimination means that you lose, regardless of whether you were noble or not. I nobly sacrifice, my former team wins, I lose.

From the theme point of view, the elimination phase represents a trial by one of the characters by his peers. Having done what was necessary to keep the human race going, said noble sacrificee is booted out of an airlock.

It just doesn't sit well with me, and no amount of argument will change that. I've played games with eliminations and without, and I always post to the elimination thread. I respect that other people have the opinion that elimination is a good thing and that they like having to manage it. That's great! But for me, I don't think it adds anything to the game other than what the OP said - a potential way to ruin a fun afternoon for one of the players.

*shrugs*
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