Cheza Moonmaiden
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I've already mentioned this variant in another thread, but I want to post it where it belongs.

The cylon fleet board (CFB) is one big innovation of the Exodus expansion. It makes space combat more challenging and helps to balance the game situation in regard of your character role.

However it comes with a lot of drawbacks or negative side-effects. Please see: Human Strategy Guide for the Cylon Fleet Module

But there is another way to ensure that each game has space combats... without the disadvantages of the Cylon Fleet Board (CFB). F.e. destroying a basestar is ALWAYS the best choice; heavy raiders NEVER appear next to the boarding points and jumping away is a strategy, not a delay.

Preparation:
1) Remove all cylon attack cards from the crisis deck and shuffle them together in a separate pile. I gonna call this the "cylon attack deck".(You can, but you don't have to, remove the super crisis cards with a cylon attack)

2) Either use a d8 (eight-sided die) or create your own "pursuit track" with the numbers 1 to 8 printed on it. At the start of the game, set the die or track to 1. From now on, I call this the pursuit track and the number on this track the pursuit count.

In-Game:
Whenever a human player would draw a crisis card, he rolls another d8.

The result > the pursuit count:
The active player increases the pursuit count by 1. Then, he draws a crisis card and resolves it as usual.

The result =< the pursuit count:
The active player resets the pursuit count to 1. Then he draws and resolves the top card of the cylon attack deck. That player doesn't draw/trigger a normal crisis this turn.

THAT'S IT!
______________________________________

Additional rules and explanations:

- Whenever the fleet jumps, remove the cylon ships as usual
- All the special rules of cylon attack cards are used

Roslin: After she'd rolled that die during her turn, she can look at either the top two cards of the normal crisis deck OR the cylon attack deck.

Boomer: See Roslin. She can choose where to peek.

Helo: He can reroll the dice roll, if he wishes to.

Starbuck: She can put the crisis card drawn at the bottom of the appropriate deck, but she must draw another crisis from the same deck as the previous card.

"Scout" skill card: You can choose to look at the top card of the cylon attack deck instead of the normal crisis deck.

"Strategic Planning" skill card: You can use this card to increase the result of this die roll. This allows you to delay the cylon fleet, if you wish.

"Caprica" cylon location:We find it challenging to allow the cylon players to roll for a cylon attack crisis at this location too. Either they increase the pursuit count and trigger a normal crisis or reset the count and trigger a cylon attack crisis. But similar to the Pegasus modification of this location, that player has to skip any fleet activation step this turn.

Thirty-three: Shuffle it back into the cylon attack deck

Final note:
We introduced this a long time before Exodus to avoid a game where Roslin, Boomer and Starbuck were used to bypass most, if not all cylon attack cards, but also to reduce the chance that several cylon attack cards were drawn in a row. Both cases were fixed by this rule. Feel free to customize these rules.

We've tested some adjustments on our own: F.e. put "thirty-three" back on top of the cylon attack deck and increase the pusuit count by 3 (up to 8). This makes it very likely that it will trigger again soon. More flavorful this way, but be aware that "thirty-three" isn't such a powerful crisis. With Pegasus Main Batteries, it can be rather a benefit for the humans.
As another hint for possible modifications: increase/decrease the pursuit track with each jump, reckless skill check, cylon revealment, etc.. You can also use the cylon attack super crisis as a final setup for the last jump.

I hope you'll enjoy it as much as we do!
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Matt Vollick
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Questions:

So during the activate Cylon ships step if no appropriate ships are present on the main board do you still roll for placement on the CFB?

This change really reduces the effectiveness of the basestar bridge roll: 1-3 reduce Jump Track and 4+ increase Pursuit Track. Plus is doesn't look like your Pursuit Track places civilians so that's even worse for that activation.

Does the fleet still jump in when no more Cylon ships can be placed on the CFB? Does that reset the pursuit track (die) back to 1?

 
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Cheza Moonmaiden
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Vollick1979 wrote:
So during the activate Cylon ships step if no appropriate ships are present on the main board do you still roll for placement on the CFB?

No. Most problems caused by the CFB are created due to this effect. For example, if you have 1 basestar or 1 raider on the main board, the pursuit track doesn't advance. Ergo, human players want to keep them "alive" on purpose, to prevent the advance of the pursuit track.

Vollick1979 wrote:
This change really reduces the effectiveness of the basestar bridge roll: 1-3 reduce Jump Track and 4+ increase Pursuit Track. Plus is doesn't look like your Pursuit Track places civilians so that's even worse for that activation.

There is neither a CFB nor a basestar bridge.

Vollick1979 wrote:
Does the fleet still jump in when no more Cylon ships can be placed on the CFB? Does that reset the pursuit track (die) back to 1?

Already answered: There is no CFB. Cylon ships are "destroyed", when the fleet jumps. It's assumed that the crisis defines a maximum amount of basestars/raiders to appear at once. So it's simply impossible that 20 raiders will ever appear. However, there is a small chance that two cylon attack crisis cards are triggered in a row, leading to a similar result... and don't forget that cylons keep their super crisis with a cylon attack.

If you miss the basestar bridge:
The "civilian ship placement" bridge option doesn't exist. Same is true for the "basestar placement" option. To do something similar, you'd have to roll for another attack crisis.

If you want to "advance the pursuit track", go to Caprica and roll for a crisis card. The "delay jump" bridge option comes with the missing jump preparation step on any cylon attack card.

The "damage battlestar" option is also missing. If you don't use the Pegasus expansion, try the human fleet location instead. As a quick solution for Pegasus, you can allow a cylon player to choose whether raiders hunt civilian ships or attack the battlestars during his turn. This transfers 1 roll with a high chance into several attacks with a low chance (raiders hit on a 8). The average should be the same. You can hit multiple times, but can't choose out of two damage tokens.

Edit - a swift comparison:
Please note. With the CFB, the pursuit track advances only if no cylon ships are on the main board. With this rule, the track advances/is reset at the end of each turn, no matter what.

With the CFB, 'surviving' cylon ships return to the CFB. With this rule, the ships are destroyed. However, this is compensated by the fact that the pursuit track advances, even if there are ships on the main board. This can still cause several attack crisis in a row.

With the CFB, cylon ships can apear in addition to a normal crisis. This may also lead towards the "appear + jump = disappear" crisis result. With this rule, no additional crisis is triggered. This is compensated by the apecial rules of cylon attack cards AND the 100% lack of a jump symbol. Ships stay for at least 1 turn.
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Cheza Moonmaiden
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Another comment:
This rule doesn't create the same tactical options as the CFB:
- You don't know where the cylon ships will reappear
- You can't plan where to place civilian ships
- battlestars aren't always placed at the same location
- heavy raider movements are lost with every jump
- the thread-level doesn't increase significantly
- the thread-level can't be manipulated as effectively as with the CFB

It was designed to fix the balancing problems of the main game:
- a low-tension game if no cylon attack card triggers
- the high risk of several cylon attack cards in a row
- different power-level of characters

It has some advantages to the CFB (as already mentioned).

I haven't tried to mix both things (cylon attack cards and CFB). Maybe you could use the crisis solely for the special rules... and maybe you can fix many problems of the CFB (lonely raider // single basestar) if you advance the pursuit track in any case (not only if nothing happens). To compensate this, you could decrease the pursuit track whenever the fleet jumps.

More civilian ships will be placed, but the effect can also be smoothened, if you can escort ships freely whenever the human fleet advances/jumps and if you allow two civilian ships to be placed at the same area.
 
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Matt Vollick
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Sorry I didn't explicitly see that you don't use the Cylon Fleet Board.

It's an interesting timer to make sure Cylon Attacks show up. The thing regarding the CAC (Cylon Attack Cards) is that they are limited in number. So once 1 is drawn there will be fewer remaining in the deck. With the die roll you could roll 1's 3 turns in a row and be utterly crushed.
 
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Daniel Loke
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BUT MY DREAMS THEY AREN'T AS EMPTY
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Maybe also tie the number of Attack Crises drawn during that jump cycle into the track?
 
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Cheza Moonmaiden
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Vollick1979 wrote:
Sorry I didn't explicitly see that you don't use the Cylon Fleet Board.

It's an interesting timer to make sure Cylon Attacks show up. The thing regarding the CAC (Cylon Attack Cards) is that they are limited in number. So once 1 is drawn there will be fewer remaining in the deck. With the die roll you could roll 1's 3 turns in a row and be utterly crushed.

Of course you can draw multiple attack crisis in a row... but this could also happen, if you shuffle them in your normal crisis deck. Please keep in mind, that you can modify the dice rolls to avoid such a tragedy. However, the chances to get three in a row are 1 within 512 tries. If you feel overwhelmed, I suggest this simple change:

The result >= the pursuit count || The result < the pursuit count

I've chaged the position of the equal sign. With this change, you have at least one normal crisis between two cylon attack cards... and a result of 8 is always a success. We've started with this form, but changed it to increase the risk.

about the limited numbers of cylon attack cards:
There are 10 attack cards. On an average, you have about 40 turns until you'll run out of crisis cards. Assuming that 2/3 of all crisis cards have a jump symbol, you have 26 jump preparation steps or 5.2 automatic jumps.

We've never run out of attack cards in our group, but we've used the Pegasus Expansion lately. But if you run out of cards, just shuffle all attack crisis and form a new pile. Maybe there will be Scar's revenge.
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