Robert Stewart
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As part of speculating about possible objectives for a third expansion, I observed that, in the show, the Battle of the Ionian Nebula kicks off the Cylon Civil War and turns what was two sides (Human v Cylon) into (at least) three - Cavil's ongoing genocide party; Gaeta and friends' rabid anti-Cylon faction; and the fragile alliance between the rebel Cylons, the moderate Humans, and the Final Five.

Speculating on what might be a suitable mechanism to turn two sides into three this way, I realised that there was already a mechanic in the game that was active throughout the game, let players influence, but not absolutely control the outcome, and was crying out for a better endgame use - Ionian Nebula Trauma tokens. It's even a good match thematically - Benevolent and Antagonistic Trauma are flavoured as becoming more enlightened and compassionate, or more bitter and twisted as a result of your experiences.

My idea:

Play with the Ionian Nebula objective as normal until Crossroads.

After resolving Crossroads cards as usual, your remaining Trauma determines which side you're on - for Cylons, an excess of benevolent Trauma (more than 2) means you're a rebel and join the alliance; for Humans, an excess of antagonistic Trauma (more than 2) means you're a rebel and can't win with Cylons on your team.

Revealed Cylons reveal their Trauma and Rebels "Infiltrate" (as per the Pegasus Cylon Leader mechanic) to Galactica; "Humans" keep their Trauma and Loyalty hidden.

At the end of the game, all remaining loyalty and trauma are revealed. If it would normally be a Cylon victory, non-rebel Cylons (if any) win; everyone else loses. If it would normally be a human victory: rebel humans win if all surviving rebel Cylons (if any) are in the Brig, or if both Admiral and President are rebel humans; rebel Cylons win if they're not in the Brig (as per the Pegasus Sympathetic Agenda "Join The Colonials") and at least one of the Admiral and President is not a rebel human; non-rebel humans win if at least one of the Admiral and President is not a rebel human.

If a hidden Cylon reveals (including at the end of the game or through execution) they reveal their Trauma and join the appropriate team. Rebel Cylons remain in their current location. If a rebel Cylon reveals as the result of an execution, their execution is resolved as a human one (-1 morale, draw a new character). Reveal effects are treated as optional.

Post-Crossroads, Final Five Loyalty cards count as Cylon loyalty - as an action, the player reveals the card and may choose to apply the "if a player looks at this" effect to a "Human" player of their choice as though that player had chosen to look at the card. When you are revealed as one of the Final Five, you may discard up to two Trauma before determining which side you're on.

As Infiltrators, Rebel Cylons keep/regain their human character abilities, weakness and skillset, but only draw three skill cards for their turn, can only play a maximum of two cards into a skill check, and can't hold titles.


This is all off the top of my head, so totally untested, and may need tweaking and/or clarifying in various ways, but, hopefully, it gets rid of the "whoops, you've been eliminated" issue without eliminating the tensions associated with collecting and placing Trauma - either place Trauma to help your side, or to help yourself.

Comments, anyone?
 
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Matt Vollick
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What if all Cylons become Rebel Cylons and there are no Rebel humans. Doesn't that pretty much mean everyone wins (or loses) together?

Maybe make it whichever Cylon has the most benevolent Trauma more than 2 becomes a Rebel Cylon, but even then you could be in for a lack luster final jump sequence.
 
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Vollick1979 wrote:
What if all Cylons become Rebel Cylons and there are no Rebel humans. Doesn't that pretty much mean everyone wins (or loses) together?

Maybe make it whichever Cylon has the most benevolent Trauma more than 2 becomes a Rebel Cylon, but even then you could be in for a lack luster final jump sequence.
Although rare, it's still possible for an IN game to have NO cylons for that last jump cycle, making it an all humans win or no1 wins scenario, which isn't quite the same thing you described, but still quite odd. For your question, in theory it shouldn't happen that people change sides often, but that's b/c normally, a minimum due diligence is done to rid bad trauma. Here, without elimination, hording trauma may be a much more likely scenario.
 
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The problem with messing around with loyalties like this is that the game is rather unstably balanced between the humans and the Cylons. A game of three humans versus two Cylons is usually quite close; a game of four humans versus one Cylon (or even three humans, a human-aligned Cylon Leader, and once Cylon) is an incredibly boring effortless win for the human team. So here, a Cylon can virtually guarantee a win by hoarding enough benevolent trauma to change sides, which will in turn make the entire game a waste of time for everyone playing. Conversely, three Cylons versus two humans is patently unwinnable for the humans, which means making the Final Five count as Cylons can very easily make the game a foregone conclusion in the other direction. You'll only get anything resembling a balanced game if the rebel Cylons happen to exactly cancel out the Final Five bonus Cylons.

You also seem to be overestimating the number of turns players are likely to get in the final jump cycle. If rebel Cylons can't infiltrate until the endgame and the Final Five can't reveal until the endgame, then such players have a good chance of getting only one Action in the endgame in which to infiltrate/reveal. And this is really a fundamental problem with trying to have players change teams in the endgame; they just won't have any time to do much of anything for their new side. If you do insist on running a variant like this, have all of this take place at the Sleeper Phase.

It's also worth noting that most of the Final Five effects are as strong as or stronger than a normal Cylon reveal power - with the exception being the one that, under your rules, would execute that Final Five itself (hardly a worthwhile use of one's final turn).
 
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Robert Stewart
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salty53 wrote:
The problem with messing around with loyalties like this is that the game is rather unstably balanced between the humans and the Cylons. A game of three humans versus two Cylons is usually quite close; a game of four humans versus one Cylon (or even three humans, a human-aligned Cylon Leader, and once Cylon) is an incredibly boring effortless win for the human team. So here, a Cylon can virtually guarantee a win by hoarding enough benevolent trauma to change sides, which will in turn make the entire game a waste of time for everyone playing. Conversely, three Cylons versus two humans is patently unwinnable for the humans, which means making the Final Five count as Cylons can very easily make the game a foregone conclusion in the other direction. You'll only get anything resembling a balanced game if the rebel Cylons happen to exactly cancel out the Final Five bonus Cylons.

You also seem to be overestimating the number of turns players are likely to get in the final jump cycle. If rebel Cylons can't infiltrate until the endgame and the Final Five can't reveal until the endgame, then such players have a good chance of getting only one Action in the endgame in which to infiltrate/reveal. And this is really a fundamental problem with trying to have players change teams in the endgame; they just won't have any time to do much of anything for their new side. If you do insist on running a variant like this, have all of this take place at the Sleeper Phase.

It's also worth noting that most of the Final Five effects are as strong as or stronger than a normal Cylon reveal power - with the exception being the one that, under your rules, would execute that Final Five itself (hardly a worthwhile use of one's final turn).


The Infiltration for rebel Cylons happens "for free" instead of the Trial. There's no need (or opportunity) for a non-Leader Cylon to spend an action on Infiltration.

Rebel Cylons may make the game easier for everyone if all the humans are friendly, but all it takes are some rebel Humans to mess things up again. The mixture of rebel Cylons and Final Fives changing sides, and rebel humans having their own side (rebel and non-rebel Humans can win together by turning on the rebel Cylons, or rebel Humans can win alone by seizing power) means that it shouldn't be any safer to count on changing sides at Crossroads than it should be for a revealed Cylon to count on not getting eliminated at Crossroads.

Final Five could maybe use some tweaking (the "hand out Trauma" option should probably do nothing post-Crossroads, though there's nothing stopping humans from continuing to manage Trauma at that point), but they're under no obligation to reveal, and they'll have known since Sleeper (barring executions and Personal Goals which frack with your loyalty anyway) that they're going to switch sides at Crossroads (unless they accumulate benevolent Trauma). In any case, I deliberately made the reveal power optional for all Cylons post-Crossroads.

Your first two objections seem to contradict each other - the first is that changing sides unbalances the game to the point of making it a foregone conclusion one way or the other; the second is that changing sides so late is pointless because you can't do enough to swing the game in your new side's favour. You can't have it both ways.



Currently, Cylons bound for the Ionian Nebula either have to win before Crossroads, or face unavoidable elimination at Crossroads, or stay unrevealed until the final jump cycle (by which point, revealing is probably their last action of the game...). Under my proposal, a Cylon either wins before Crossroads, or risks changing sides unexpectedly, or stays unrevealed through Crossroads, or plans on changing sides at Crossroads and relying on the humans not turning against him.
 
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Robert Stewart
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Vollick1979 wrote:
What if all Cylons become Rebel Cylons and there are no Rebel humans. Doesn't that pretty much mean everyone wins (or loses) together?

Maybe make it whichever Cylon has the most benevolent Trauma more than 2 becomes a Rebel Cylon, but even then you could be in for a lack luster final jump sequence.


Yeah, I could make it "players who would be eliminated rebel instead" - the current conditions to rebel are pulled out of the air (based on the elimination conditions)

The risk in becoming a Rebel Cylon is that the Humans may prefer to imprison you and keep the unknown number of Rebel Humans happy rather than risk a power struggle over the titles - "Human" Trauma isn't disclosed until the game ends, so only individual players know whether that player is a Rebel Human or not. Rebel Humans also run the risk of unrevealed Cylons being Rebels unless they can power-grab successfully (without destroying the fleet in the process)
 
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Joseph Cochran
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rmsgrey wrote:
Currently, Cylons bound for the Ionian Nebula either have to win before Crossroads, or face unavoidable elimination at Crossroads, or stay unrevealed until the final jump cycle (by which point, revealing is probably their last action of the game...).


That's overstating the case. Only Cylons with enough benevolent trauma "face unavoidable elimination." And in general they only need stay unrevealed until they've dumped their benevolent tokens, really.

While the remote possibility of elimination when going in clean exists, thanks to the 2011 game count I know that I have 37 plays with Exodus, 32 that include the Nebula, so I can say with some experience that unavoidable elimination during Crossroads is rare. We had it happen only once that a Cylon with no benevolent tokens going into the Crossroads got eliminated. Cylons should of COURSE try to win before Crossroads, but it's a bit overdramatic to imply that Crossroads is is something they should avoid at all costs.
 
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Robert Stewart
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jsciv wrote:
rmsgrey wrote:
Currently, Cylons bound for the Ionian Nebula either have to win before Crossroads, or face unavoidable elimination at Crossroads, or stay unrevealed until the final jump cycle (by which point, revealing is probably their last action of the game...).


That's overstating the case. Only Cylons with enough benevolent trauma "face unavoidable elimination." And in general they only need stay unrevealed until they've dumped their benevolent tokens, really.

While the remote possibility of elimination when going in clean exists, thanks to the 2011 game count I know that I have 37 plays with Exodus, 32 that include the Nebula, so I can say with some experience that unavoidable elimination during Crossroads is rare. We had it happen only once that a Cylon with no benevolent tokens going into the Crossroads got eliminated. Cylons should of COURSE try to win before Crossroads, but it's a bit overdramatic to imply that Crossroads is is something they should avoid at all costs.


Fair enough - I have only played IN once, and we did get a Cylon eliminated, so my experience inclined me to believe the general report that it is a problem. Out of curiosity, do you have any idea how many times you had Cylons with no benevolent Trauma at Crossroads? After all, if it only happened the once, then your statistic would lose all conviction; if it happened in most of your 32 games, it would make the chance of elimination for a "clean" Cylon something like 5% or less, which is probably not worth worrying about.
 
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Joseph Cochran
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rmsgrey wrote:
Fair enough - I have only played IN once, and we did get a Cylon eliminated, so my experience inclined me to believe the general report that it is a problem. Out of curiosity, do you have any idea how many times you had Cylons with no benevolent Trauma at Crossroads? After all, if it only happened the once, then your statistic would lose all conviction; if it happened in most of your 32 games, it would make the chance of elimination for a "clean" Cylon something like 5% or less, which is probably not worth worrying about.


Cylons almost always go in with 0 or 1 as they drop them on allies before revealing and then if they have one anyway, before Crossroads they tend to dump it on the Crossroads card. They know the dangers, so they prepare. robot

Oh, and something else I was going to say: humans face the possibility of unavoidable elimination as well, the odds are just a bit better for them.
 
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