I finally got to play the mythic BSG game.
The first game was weird, because we had a third Cylon show up near the end. The guy who set up the loyalty deck messed up. That was pretty funny. :)
The second game was so painfully close, that it came down to a final die roll for 7 or 8. The problem was that we needed to jump or the raiders would slaughter the people and we'd lose since we only had 1 pop left. But the early jump was dangerous. We rolled a 4, so we lost. I don't mind if a game comes down to a single die roll if it was fun getting there.
Aside: two of the best games of Fortress America I ever played were 2-player games, and each came down to a single die roll.
So how did I feel about the game? My impression is simple:
It is a well-designed, finely tuned game that models the show's universe very well; I get the last part from other people's discussions since I have never watched the show. However, I felt it was too random, and we seldom had meaningful decisions to make. So I won't be playing it again if I can avoid it.
I recognize that this is a personal preference, and I would not hesitate to recommend this game to fans of the show with a tolerance for complex games, or to people who like deeply thematic game experiences.
BUT MY DREAMS THEY AREN'T AS EMPTY
Maybe you need to get a few games under your belt first, because there are always meaningful decisions to make. Perhaps you aren't aware of your options since you are still new at it. What I like best about BSG is that since there are so many different possible actions and decisions, you can get away with suboptimal choices as a Cylon and get away with it as long as you have a decent argument.
Also, I would agree that is a highly random game. However, I would argue that this is an advantage, as it adds immense replayability. Even though it is random, it is balanced so well that you will rarely get into easycakes territory for either side.
It almost always comes down to the wire and many, many times it comes down to a 50-50 die roll -- but man, is that die roll satisfying.
Of course, if it's not your cup of tea, then I can't fault you.
Thank you for your honest review -- short and succinct!
It's true that there are often multiple "right" moves available, so choosing between them is often not meaningful, but it's also true that there are always multiple "wrong" moves available, and choosing between "right" and "wrong" moves does have a predictable effect on the outcome of the game. For hidden Cylons, there's an additional layer of decision-making - at any given point, do you take a good human option, a poor option, or an obviously Cylon option?
It's possible for a good Cylon player to sabotage the game by constantly playing poorly without arousing suspicion from less experienced humans - or to sabotage a skill check without it being obvious who did it.
Once a skill check turns up sabotaged, the humans have to decide whether to try to pin down the Cylon and throw them in the Brig, or concentrate on other things.
And so on.