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Subject: Cylon President Zarek destroys our Morale rss

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Darren Nakamura
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Last night I played one of the longest games of Battlestar I have ever played, partially because we had two new players, and partially because one of our "experienced" players only ever plays pilots and he couldn't figure out what to do on his turn when there was nothing to shoot at.

Turn order was:

Chris (experienced): Helo
John ("experienced"): Starbuck
me (experienced): Chief
Mai-Li (first time player): President Zarek
Michael (first time player): Admiral Tigh

As an unfortunate jinx, I joked at the beginning that it would be funny if our two new players had both titles and both ended up as Cylons. Five hours later I would change my stance on the comedy of that situation.

The first half of the game went relatively smoothly. By the time we hit 5 distance and the Sleeper Phase, all of our resources were in the blue (with Fuel being the lowest), and not a single population loss. As a confirmed human at that point, I felt pretty good about our chances.

The next jump cycle went by pretty uneventfully. I still couldn't suss out the traitors among us, but I was pretty certain that Helo was one of the good guys. Starbuck was being unhelpful, but she had nothing in particular to do, Zarek was sitting on a huge Quorum hand at this point, and Tigh nuked a basestar to make the jump cycle go by easily.

We jumped into Deep Space, bringing our morale down to the red zone, but didn't think much of it. At this point, our jump prep hit a dead stop. We pulled several cards in a row with no jump prep, and we pulled two Cylon Attack Cards in a row (one of which Starbuck canceled with her OPG). With our jump prep still at the start, the admiral was given a choice and he chose to lose Morale, which was quickly becoming our lowest resource. Helo used his Moral Compass to change the decision, and it was clear that our Admiral needed to be brigged.

On my turn, I was able to Brig Tigh and move the admiralship to Helo, and the crisis I got gave us the ability to look at a loyalty card. I chose to look at the President's (since we were pretty sure about Tigh at that point), and saw that Zarek was Tigh's partner in crime. However, since Zarek's turn was next, there wasn't much we could do about it.

Zarek continued to activate the President's Office, drawing a card and assigning Tigh as the Vice President. I was surprised that no Arrest Orders were played, but I didn't want to question the President's decision. On Tigh's turn, he issued an Executive Order on the President, who then drew two more Quorum Cards and played two Arrest Orders, sending Helo and me to the Brig to join Tigh.

On Helo's turn, he issued an XO to get Starbuck to Brig Zarek, which we did at a pretty high cost. At this point there were four people in the Brig, and on Starbuck's turn we failed a Crisis that put her into Sickbay. Jump prep was still at the start of the track.

Tigh revealed from the Brig, and we spent way too many turns here since our only jump prep could come from Starbuck's turn. We made Brig escape attempts and issued XOs to Starbuck to get her to activate Administration in order to elect a new President, but Zarek's Friends in Low Places kept us from succeeding on either of those fronts.

Tigh plays his Super Crisis: Bomb on Colonial One. It's funny, I typically feel that this is the weakest of the Super Crises, but in this instance, with Morale at 3 and only one of the Humans able to fully contribute to Skill Checks (and that human was on Colonial One at the time), it was pretty much the worst thing that could have happened. Colonial One exploded, Morale dropped to 1, Starbuck got sent back to Sickbay, and we could no longer hope to move the Presidency for Presidential Pardons and Inspirational Speeches. Zarek was content to just sit in the Brig, drawing up the entire Quorum deck, and it was only a short while before a crisis came up that sapped our last Morale.

Of the three Political Leaders in the base game, Zarek is definitely my favorite to play as, but it wasn't until this game that I realized how incredibly powerful he can be as an unrevealed Cylon President. Like any President, he has control over Food and Morale, as well as who comes and goes from the Brig. But once two of the three known humans were in the Brig, his Friends in Low Places kept them there and kept him President. Of course, he makes a great ally to the humans, but I can't help but wonder if the course of this game would have gone differently if Mai-Li had chosen Baltar or Roslin at the beginning.
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Sounds like great fun to me!

Congratulations to the newcomers who seem to picked up the idea and benefit of beeing an unrevealed cylon very well.

 
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Enjoyed your post!

I'm a newbie to BSG myself. I found it quite interesting that two newbies managed to pull off the win. Is this the case for every game of BSG? Do newbies have a reasonable chance of winning? Or are these newbies experienced gamers albeit new to BSG?

In any case, great post! Can't wait to play.
 
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erythnnul wrote:
Do newbies have a reasonable chance of winning? Or are these newbies experienced gamers albeit new to BSG?


I´d say yes! But you should let them know what their actions and options are as cylons. If they are new to the game, they might not know how good the caprica location is, or when it´s a good idea to pick a card out of players deck.

As soon as we hit sleeper phase, OR a cylon reveals, I summarize all the benefits of revealing, staying unrevealed and what the actions are on the cylon locations once more (already summarized that at the start of the game)

I´d like to add that there is always a reasonable chance to win. At the end this game is luck based (die rolls and card draws). To counter this, the main goal of the human players is to alter luck as much as they can (using Strategic Plannings, Investigative Committees, Launch Scouts, etc.)
 
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Darren Nakamura
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erythnnul wrote:
Is this the case for every game of BSG? Do newbies have a reasonable chance of winning? Or are these newbies experienced gamers albeit new to BSG?


They are just getting into board games in general, but they are both pretty quick learners. Really, looking back, I probably was less suspicious of them because they were new, so when I thought back and realized that our one Politician never played a single Investigative Committee, I realized that I would have found that suspicious for an experienced player. It's hard to tell in somebody's first game whether they are unhelpful because they don't quite grasp the power of certain things (Executive Orders, Investigative Committees, the Quorum Deck) or because they are deliberately holding back.
 
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Dexter345 wrote:
Tigh plays his Super Crisis: Bomb on Colonial One. It's funny, I typically feel that this is the weakest of the Super Crises, but in this instance, with Morale at 3 and only one of the Humans able to fully contribute to Skill Checks (and that human was on Colonial One at the time), it was pretty much the worst thing that could have happened. Colonial One exploded, Morale dropped to 1, Starbuck got sent back to Sickbay, and we could no longer hope to move the Presidency for Presidential Pardons and Inspirational Speeches. Zarek was content to just sit in the Brig, drawing up the entire Quorum deck, and it was only a short while before a crisis came up that sapped our last Morale.


Bomb on C1 is nice if you can get it out early enough. Keeps Pres. Off. and Press Room from being spammed, in groups that use them often. Your commentery about Bomb On C1 being weak also correlates to the "-1 Morale" reveal power (others have claimed this to be the weakest reveal power)... you get games where Morale goes down quickly, faster than comfortable, and that can make that reveal power the most useful one.

As for the others... Fleet Mobilization often either turns into a gauranteed 2 ship activation for the cylons (humans only care about raiders, heavies, and the loss of morale), or the timing was good enough that humans won't be able to pass it due to its high difficulty (at 24, it's not that hard anyways).

Cylon Intruders is just like the centurion strategy itself... either hits hard, or misses, depending on if you have a cylon ally out and heavy icons show up often enough.

Even the almighty Massive Assault can be a poor choice if the timing's all off (e.g. humans are already at the start of the jump prep track, they have the cards and population to lose if a few civvies get destroyed, or there are enough Repair cards to tackle any repair job.)

Unlike the other super crisis cards, Inbound Nukes is a nice broad strike where it targets all resources but pop, but then you have those games where pop is the one thing you'd like to go down instead.

Dexter345 wrote:
Of the three Political Leaders in the base game, Zarek is definitely my favorite to play as, but it wasn't until this game that I realized how incredibly powerful he can be as an unrevealed Cylon President. Like any President, he has control over Food and Morale, as well as who comes and goes from the Brig. But once two of the three known humans were in the Brig, his Friends in Low Places kept them there and kept him President. Of course, he makes a great ally to the humans, but I can't help but wonder if the course of this game would have gone differently if Mai-Li had chosen Baltar or Roslin at the beginning.
His OPG is generally useful if pop is anything of a threat, but otherwise, being in the Brig and being able to reduce the difficulty does stick it to the humans.
 
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Oh, I totally respect the Super Crisis more now. Its effects were pretty devastating (not being able to elect a new President, mostly), but I always felt it was the weakest since every other time it's come up, the humans have been able to pass the skill check, since it's relatively low. With two of us in the Brig though, there was no way we were going to pass it this time.
 
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Dexter345 wrote:
Oh, I totally respect the Super Crisis more now. Its effects were pretty devastating (not being able to elect a new President, mostly), but I always felt it was the weakest since every other time it's come up, the humans have been able to pass the skill check, since it's relatively low. With two of us in the Brig though, there was no way we were going to pass it this time.
Oh yeah... don't get me wrong... I've gotten Bomb On C1 when Morale was at a whooping 7, and with just 1 jump cycle left, it wasn't going to be enough. Then, I was hoping for Massive Assault. Oh well, 1 in 5 chance was worth the risk!

Reminds me of another game of mine where the player to my left openly spiked a skill check to knock off morale (IC was in play). Everyone asked if he wanted to redo his contribution, as it was brought up before that blue (which was negative) and purple (positive) looked alike sometimes. He took the blue back and put them right in, stating he needed to take decisive action since his cylon partner wasn't doing anything to help the team. When it was my turn, I soft revealed by XO-ing him. He revealed. He then played Inbound Nukes (great timing too, as b/c of the XO and revealing, we didn't have to wait another round of turns to get to him). The humans were only able to to get 11 of the 15GP, but since I passed on that previous skill check my partner openly spiked, I was able to put in -25 into that skill check to really seal the deal. That super crisis was enough to knock out the last morale.
 
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