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Subject: Why do we keep loosing as humans in 3 player games? rss

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David
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I finally got around to playing the game again, but again only with 3 players. And again the humans lost against the lone cylon (who went easy on us). To be honest we declared it a loss after we had to cut the game short. I inspected the upcoming crisis cards and location cards. We still would have had to do 2 jumps plus the final one and even with extensive scouting of the crisis deck we just weren't getting enough jump prep icons and would have gotten hit by yet another cylon attack card. Also there already was a boarding party on board on the cylon would just have had to advance raiders 4 times to win.

The first game was a disaster with the humans getting wiped out at distance zero even though we uncovered the cylon very early.

Now in the second game the setup was Chief Tyrol (Cylon), Apollo and Tigh. We uncovered the cylon very fast thanks to some lucky destiny cards but then needed two turns to throw him in the brig so he couldn't use his reveal power. After that we extensively used XO's and scouted the cirsis deck for jump icons. But still by the time we got to distance 5 three of our resources were already deep in the red and we quickly got another cylon attack and very few jump icons. We also kept overcommitting to skill checks.

I like the game but it just seems so impossible to win with 3 players...
 
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Tables
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Three player shouldn't be any harder than any other number of players. It's possible you've just gotten unlucky - especially if you find the Cylon that quickly, things should go pretty well for the humans, so if you lost from there you were either making poor strategic choices, or just got unlucky.

As for how you were playing: Did you scout destinations and/or crisis frequently via the tactics 'launch scout' card? Did you make sure space was well defended? Did you use FTL control if/when possible? Do you occasionally decide to let skill check crises fail, to save cards? Are you using the quorum deck a lot, from the President's office? How about the politics cards 'investigative committee'? If you're just using the base game, in fact, both of those things are incredibly powerful - IC's let you play exactly into a skill check, saving you a lot of cards or helping you decide whether a check is worthwhile considering destiny, while the Quorum deck provides lots of ways to regain food and morale as well as various other useful powers (especially, mind you, for dealing with Cylons).

Anyway, that's a lot to take in, but consider those points to help improve your game, I guess.
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Paul Beakley
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The key to a human victory in 3p is the same as in every other configuration: pick your fights. Not every crisis needs to be addressed.
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David
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Yes we did the some crisis slip to save cards. We were very good on morale so whenever a crisis incurred a hit on that we didn't even try to solve it. But then the cylon knew he didn't have to commit any cards either.

In neither game were any Quorum cards used. I guess because the president was new to the game she didn't want to bother with yet another thing to manage. But admittedly there weren't many opportunities where even I felt we had time to send someone off Galactica...
 
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Robert Stewart
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If you're overcommitting by a lot, then it's definitely worth playing Investigative Committee on most checks - if it means you overspend by 3-5 points (the cost of the Committee) rather than 8-10, you end up ahead of the game.

The other skill card that's always, always, always worth abusing is the Executive Order - it's not quite as useful with only one other human, but, most of the time, you can move to where you'd like to take an action, executive order the other human to activate their location twice, then have them return the favour - it does mean you have to wait a turn to activate a location, but you then get extra actions out of it (which could be to Consolidate Power or Launch Scout, depending on your skill set, if you have nothing better to do)
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Darren Nakamura
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Another thing that hasn't been mentioned, which is sort of the crux of efficient human play, and I'd argue the most important skill card in the game: Executive Orders. Once you know who the Cylon is, the two Human players can continually XO each other, effectively getting four actions for every one action the Cylon gets. This is also in addition to your movement, so if you have some foresight you can set yourself up in a good place for when you eventually collect the XO from your teammate (e.g. we will need some Repair cards soon, so I will go to the Research Lab and XO you).

Some good combos: Executive Order + Press Room = 4 Politics cards
Executive Order + President's Office = draw 2 / play 2 Quorum cards OR draw 3 / play 1 Quorum card OR draw 4 Quorum cards (you could potentially have sent the Cylon to the Brig with the Quorum card Arrest Order, spending only an Executive Order, rather than going through the Admiral's Quarters skill check)
Executive Order + Command = 4 Viper activations (in some situations, this is equivalent to a Pilot spending a Maximum Firepower)
Executive Order + Weapons Control = 2 Weapons control firing (with luck you can destroy a Basestar this way)

And of course, there are character specific combos. Apollo on Command can get a huge number of Viper activations with Command + CAG + Alert Viper Pilot. Zarek on FTL Control can force a jump that would deplete fuel, then use his Unconventional Tactics to increase it back up to 1. An XO to Starbuck before her first turn is always a good move, getting her out into space so you can have even more actions.

Bottom line: choose characters with decent Leadership, and XO each other like crazy.
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rain
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It's important to know that when humans win in BSG it's by a hair's breadth. Sometimes, you get the breaks you need to win, and others you don't. So if you're calling games short because things look bad, that doesn't actually tell you much about how the game would end. It is almost never easy for the humans, even when they win.

The only easy game for humans I've played in was actually easily the worst game of BSG I've ever played. We had one 6-player (base) game in which one player ended up with both Cylon cards and never had the chance to hand off the second one (we went from 4 to 7 distance before his second post-sleeper turn). It was boring but quick, since all problems were averted with little trouble. I think this was a deviant game state, and thankfully it couldn't happen with either of the expansions in use. I still refer to that game as "Cruisestar Galactica". Every other game I've played where humans win, it has involved great struggle, good luck, and definitely justified the cheers and fist pumping at the end.
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David
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I guess the lesson is to invest a lot more in the Quorum deck. That seems to be very powerful.

Investigative Committee was hardly ever drawn since Tigh only has Green/Purple and Apollo must choose between Green and Yellow (I always urged her to draw at least one green to get XO's).

I thought about becoming Pradmiral but I figured that I already had enough on my hands. On retrospect that was probably a mistake as I might have been more comfortable using yet another deck...
 
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Robert Stewart
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Having a PrAdmiral is only a bad thing if that player is either incompetent or a Cylon - they can set themselves up in the President's Office and work the Quorum, throwing the occasional nuke if needed.

Having a pilot be President is rather less useful - you generally want them to be able to strap on a Viper (particularly if you want to abuse Apollo or Starbuck's abilities for extra actions, or allow them to use the Maximum Firepowers they keep drawing).

The Quorum deck is moderately useful if you only draw from it once or twice - there's a good chance that the cards you draw won't be the most useful - but if you really work at it, you can get to the point where almost all of the deck is in your hand, so as soon as you play one you can redraw it (and play it again if needed).
 
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rain
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Investigative committee is really the thing to keep in mind in the base game. Since you can also see the destiny deck contributions, it makes dealing with most crises pretty straightforward. There's a reasons they were errata'ed for the expansions. IC also has the nice effect of either forcing Cylons to play along or reveal.

As noted before, Executive Orders are the other recipe to humans winning. They almost double your effectiveness. If humans are too scared to use them, then Cylons are winning.

In general though, 3p BSG is hard. There's not a lot of reason for the Cylon player to remain hidden, so the drama of the game is reduced considerably. But don't be too surprised that humans are usually losing in your games. They are harder to win with, and take some experience to play well. Once humans are winning most of your games, it's time to move on to the expansions....

 
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Keith B
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Rainstar wrote:
... easy game for humans ... thankfully it couldn't happen with either of the expansions in use.


We just played our first game of Exodus with CFB and Crossroads. It was also a "walk in the park" for the humans (albeit a 4 player game).

We did luck out in that the first base star was nuked and a lucky XO from weapons control took out the launch bay and weapons of the second base star. We named it "Gummy" and just let it follow us until the battle of the Ionian Nebula.

The first jump was to a successfully scouted Tyllium plant and the next 2 were fuel efficient destinations.

The you are a cylon card did not get dealt until the sleeper phase and the sympathiser card was undealt (though we did let morale get to 5 before the sleeper phase).

The cylon was rapidly identified (an executed character was replaced by Baltar who looked at the cards and was in a position to prove it). The jump from distance 5 to 8 was completed rapidly. The destination was the one that expends 4 fuel to get an extra 2 steps on the jump track so with ample population it was game over.
 
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M. B. Downey
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The basestars are repaired every time you jump when they go back to the CFB.
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Keith B
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Thanks for the clarification. We did have a long discussion on this point and failed to reach a definitive conclusion. I did try searching this site and found a post that suggested we got the rules right but it was either out of date or just plain wrong.

Is there an official reference?
 
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rain
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It's in the Exodus Errata in the FAQ

http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/ffg_content/Battlestar_Gal...
 
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David
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I played it again last night. This time we were 5 players and I must say it's a completely different game. It was weird due to so many new players (everyone except me) but a lot more interesting. The game ended much closer with the humans loosing all their remaining fuel while jumping to distance 8.

With 5 players it becomes a lot harder to find the traitor in skill checks because pretty much every color is held by at least 2 people (often more). The president did use a couple of quorum cards which were quite good. I'm definitely only going to play this again with more than 3 people.
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M. B. Downey
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It really is perfect with five players. Six is good if you do the official no sympathizer variant.

I refuse to play any other way.
 
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