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Subject: Before first play advice rss

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Stephen McHale
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We are going to playing this for the first time on Friday night. It will be 5 of us who have come to love "traitor" games. We all enjoy Shadows over Camelot and Panic Station. It felt only national to move up to BSG.

The plan is for my wife and I to attempt to learn the basics of the game on Thursday night just the two of us. Hopefully this will give us a starting point for Friday night. I have printed out the faq. Now to ask for some guidance, I will number them to hopefully make it easier for responses.

1. The one thing that scares me about this game is how long it takes to play. There is one person in the group that I afraid will not like the 2-4 hours. Does it really take that long or once you learn it does it take less?

2. Is there anything I can do to keep things moving in regards to play time?

3. Any rule or mechanic that people always seem to do wrong on the first play?

4. Any other first play advice?

I appreciate any help you can give me because I think this is a game everyone in my group will love, I just have to make sure they enjoy the first one.
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B C Z
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Read the Secrecy Rules, twice.

Then read them out loud.

Then make sure everyone acknowledges the secrecy rules.

THEN deal out loyalty cards.
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Brian Bankler
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Double check that you have the right number of CYLON cards and HUMAN cards. Nothing worse than having the wrong number. (That happens to our group about 2% of the time).
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Eric Matthews
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Have the all the loyalty cards that you are using out face up before the game and let everyone read them as part of the set up

When passing out loyalty cards during the game have everyone stare at thier loyalty card for a count of 10 or allow everyone to go to different parts of the room house for 20 seconds to read them-- this is because there is more information on the You Are a Cylon cards so some players may realize that someone is a cylon just because it took them longer to read their loyalty card

Our first game we encouraged everyone to take thier loyalty cards with them during bio breaks so cylons had an opportunity to read thier card(s)again privately. We also put a printout of the strategy tips in the bathroom so both humans and cylons could stealthily look at them if they wanted during breaks.

The starlit citadel video review of battlestar is an excellent intro to the game... We played it for everyone while I set up the game during our very first play. It is about 7 or 9 minutes or so. Was super helpful for those who hadn't seen the show.

DO NOT worry about all the rules for combat and challenges before the game, instead focus on the secrecy rules being clear before the game. Then just take your time as you play the first rounds encourage discussion and rule lookups during those early turns.


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M. B. Downey
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StephenM wrote:
1. The one thing that scares me about this game is how long it takes to play. There is one person in the group that I afraid will not like the 2-4 hours. Does it really take that long or once you learn it does it take less?


Yes.

Quote:
2. Is there anything I can do to keep things moving in regards to play time?


Encourage people to make decisions faster. Jump using the FTL button to skip crises when you can. Pick longer destinations.

You could also start at distance 4 and reduce each resource to one above the half mark (so 5/5/6/7). It will shorten the game the first time and still have tension for who is a cylon and trying to keep your resources high enough, putting all of them reasonably in danger

Quote:
3. Any rule or mechanic that people always seem to do wrong on the first play?


Secrecy rules.

Show everyone what the loyalty cards look like, both cylon and not cylon.

Quote:
4. Any other first play advice?


Print off something that says what all the cylon rules and human rules are so people can refer to it.

Don't forget about your character abilities and penalties.
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Dangerous Partners
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Ganybyte wrote:
Have the all the loyalty cards that you are using out face up before the game and let everyone read them as part of the set up

Oh that is so important.

And tell everyone if they have a question on secrecy just assume the answer is NO and then check with the rules after the game.

Make sure everyone knows what the win conditions are.

Make sure everyone completely understands the skill cards - how to use them in skill checks, and the difference (of when to use) between Action and normal text on them.

And tell them NOT to overthink the game - especially euro players - as that can really take the fun out of the game.

And yes, unless there is a runaway win for one team, it possibly will take 3+ hours for the first play.
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Mindy G
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Ganybyte wrote:
We also put a printout of the strategy tips in the bathroom so both humans and cylons could stealthily look at them if they wanted during breaks.


I love that! Could also be good to put a print out of the cylon locations, because that's one thing I've noticed with new people is wondering what they can do after they reveal, and you can't exactly start reading the cylon locations without giving yourself away.
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Stephen McHale
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Good advice. I never would have thought that the wording on the loyalty cards would have been so key.
 
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Justin S.
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This may be a little thing, but I've had players not realize that a Cylon reveal takes an action. Nothing less fun for that player than revealing, then finding out they have to wait until their turn while the humans work against them.
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Darren Nakamura
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StephenM wrote:
It felt only national to move up to BSG.


How very patriotic of you.

SnarksandBoojums wrote:
This may be a little thing, but I've had player not realize that a Cylon reveal takes an action. Nothing less fun for that player than revealing, then finding out they have to wait until their turn while the humans work against them.


I've had this happen before. It really kills some of the tension.
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Robert Stewart
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Loyalty, secrecy and how skill checks work.

Those are the three things I go out of my way to explain to new players.

Jumping and destinations, I explain at the first jump. Combat, I explain on the first Pilot's turn. Cylon activations and Jump icons, I explain during the first Crisis.
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Pieter
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Yes, it takes 4 hours for your first game. No, you will not make that any faster. If someone is really scared about 4 hours, then don't make them join. Though they will be missing out on a great time.

Accept that you WILL make mistakes on your first outing. This is not an easy game to learn. Many things do not "click" on a first play. Read the rules again after the first game.

Accept that the Cylons will win the first game. I mean, the game favors the humans, but only if they follow the right tactics. But don't learn those from browsing BGG, take the time to discover them for yourself. Consider the Cylkon victory a consolation prize for the fact that being a revealed Cylon isn't as much fun as being a human.

Play with 5. Not 3, not 4, not 6: FIVE. It's the easiest, smoothest, and all-out most fun to play.

Make sure that everybody knows that when you are a Cylon, you need an action to reveal. And if you reveal, you have to discard down to 3 skill cards, get to play your reveal ability if you are NOT in the Brig, receive a supercrisis, and get dumped on the Resurrection Ship. From that point on, on your turn, you get to draw ONLY two cards (but you can pick the colors), ONLY get to move to one of the four Cylon spots, and ONLY get to activate it. You do NOT get to use skill cards for their abilities, you can only dump them into checks, and only one for every check. As I said, being a revealed Cylon is pretty boring.
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Robert
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Flyboy Connor wrote:
Make sure that everybody knows that when you are a Cylon, you need an action to reveal. And if you reveal, you have to discard down to 3 skill cards, get to play your reveal ability if you are NOT in the Brig, receive a supercrisis, and get dumped on the Resurrection Ship. From that point on, on your turn, you get to draw ONLY two cards (but you can pick the colors), ONLY get to move to one of the four Cylon spots, and ONLY get to activate it. You do NOT get to use skill cards for their abilities, you can only dump them into checks, and only one for every check.

And a revealed Cylon plays a crisis card ONLY if he activates the Caprica Location and revealed Cylons don't have any character abilities.
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PenumbraPenguin
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When you're teaching the game rules, go over the rules regarding revealing oneself as a cylon and what revealed cylons can do a few times, because these are the rules that a confused player can't ask you about during the game.
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M. B. Downey
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PenumbraPenguin wrote:
When you're teaching the game rules, go over the rules regarding revealing oneself as a cylon and what revealed cylons can do a few times, because these are the rules that a confused player can't ask you about during the game.


And review these rules at Sleeper before handing out loyalty cards.

And most importantly: SHUFFLE THE CRISIS DECK THOROUGHLY. They are organized by type. If you do not shuffle well, you might get ten Cylon attacks in a row and then you will probably lose very quickly. But hey, the game will last less than 4 hours! Like, 15 minutes, 30 tops.
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Stephen McHale
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I printed out 5 copies of the secrecy page of the rule book so each person can have one.

I will also make sure everyone gets to read the loyalty cards before we deal any out.

I have read through the rules and tonight my wife and I will see if we can get the basics enough to teach it.

While I am sure we will do some things wrong (we always seem to screw up even simple rules the first time) it does not look to be that difficult. From my first read the rule book seems to have some nice examples. The game weight is listed at relatively high but I am assuming part of that is because of the length.

I really appreciate everyone's input. Not sure if anybody cares but I will post back here on Saturday and let you know how it went. Thanks again.
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Gerry Smit
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StephenM wrote:
Not sure if anybody cares but I will post back here on Saturday and let you know how it went. Thanks again.
Oh we care, trust us. We're all dying to hear how it went.

Good luck!
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Gerry Smit
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Some Advice.

Print out the Viper Pilot Card. The ONE action in the ENTIRE GAME that is NOT on a card or board location is "activate a Viper"!
The Admiral & President have cards with actions listed, but a spaceborne Viper Pilot doesn't have that card, and new players truly need it.
Print 2 of these (medium sized), in case both pilots launch.

Also, it's a damn shame the characters aren't back-printed as revealed cylons.
I'll look up the "Six" card we made a few years ago.
It lists what a Revealed Cylon can do on their turn by making them rules on the character card.
Here it is: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/filepage/40050/revealed-cylon-d...
Print 2 of them, as you'll eventually have 2 revealed cylons.


I forgot "Player Aids".

There are several in the files sections. Here are the two best for beginners. Pick the one you like, and print out a copy for each player:
- Pick this one: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/filepage/43286/anti-ap-streamli...
- Otherwise this one: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/filepage/82229/base-game-player...
- good, but tmi: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/filepage/81118/player-aid-a6

A Combat Aid, Print one copy for quick reference:
- http://www.boardgamegeek.com/filepage/43287/streamlined-comb...

After that, all you need is The BACK Cover of the Game Manual.
Keep it that side up when not being read for detail.


A Training Aid, Consider starting your session with this:
- http://www.boardgamegeek.com/filepage/40489/teaching-battles...
- Re-emphasize Point 9. Players dealt the human loyalty card will read "you are not a cylon" in half a second, look up, and see 2 other people still reading, thus ruining the whole game. Everyone looks down, and stays looking down, while you slow count to 20. (And no calls of "ready").


Nice, but scarily dense with info:
http://files.boardgamegeek.com/file/download/8jvh5qdt5z/Batt...?

Cute Bling Invites: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/filepage/64945/invitation-templ...
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Stephen McHale
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Gerry,

Thanks, I printed out all the stuff you recommended, I will sort through everything tonight so everyone has what they need.

All,

Thanks, I threw everyone a tiny bit a GG for being so helpful.

Steve
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Gerry Smit
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And Steve:

If you think you can do without some of all that stuff, by all means do so. Let's say those are the best of all those kind of items. Will they help or hinder your group? Only you know that part.

Gerry
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StephenM wrote:
We are going to playing this for the first time on Friday night. It will be 5 of us who have come to love "traitor" games. We all enjoy Shadows over Camelot and Panic Station. It felt only national to move up to BSG.

The plan is for my wife and I to attempt to learn the basics of the game on Thursday night just the two of us. Hopefully this will give us a starting point for Friday night. I have printed out the faq. Now to ask for some guidance, I will number them to hopefully make it easier for responses.

1. The one thing that scares me about this game is how long it takes to play. There is one person in the group that I afraid will not like the 2-4 hours. Does it really take that long or once you learn it does it take less?

1.75 to 4 hours have been my playtime ranges, with 3 to 3.5 hours being the average. For those not familiar with the game, add 30 min to account for checking the rulebook for rulings and explaining stuff to newbies.


StephenM wrote:
2. Is there anything I can do to keep things moving in regards to play time?
read through as much of the whole rulebook as you can to ensure you know it well. It's difficult to do without context, so it helps to play a mock/practice game while you're at it.

print out or have handy the official FAQ...
http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/edge_minisite_sec.asp?eidm...
http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/ffg_content/Battlestar_Gal...

If others are into reading rulebooks beforehand (my groups never do this), refer them to this....
http://www.fantasyflightgames.com/ffg_content/Battlestar_Gal...

Unofficial FAQ (UFAQ) answers other questions...
http://www.boardgamegeek.com/wiki/page/Battlestar_Galactica_...

.

If the current player is trying to get some suggestions on what to do, but there's tugging in all different directions, or there are no suggestions, then press that player to just make a judjgement call and move on. Same thing for stalls when say you have... a skill check. Every now and then, ask others if we want to do this skill check.... 10s later... nothing. I'll aska again and be more firm about it. If I get too little feedback, I just tell people my intentions, and go ahead with that. If people complain afterwards (which has happened), then I tell them you should've spoken up then.

StephenM wrote:
3. Any rule or mechanic that people always seem to do wrong on the first play?

--Indeed... when you reveal, you need an action, so it either has to be your turn, or someone plays an Executive Order (XO) on you.
--when you reveal, you discard down, go to Ress. Ship regardless whether or not you're in the Brig, but you only get the reveal ability on the cylon card if you're NOT in the brig.
--secrecy rules
--remember to stop for interrupts... e.g. SKill checks for Scientific Research, or Strategic Planning for die rolls
--if the Admiral gets Brigged, in most cases, the title will get transferred
--President title often gets changed with the Administration location.
--In Sickbay, you draw only 1 skill card on your Receive Skill Cards step!
--Any charcter in the Brig may only contribute 1 skill card into any skill check (of course they can always pass)!

StephenM wrote:
4. Any other first play advice?

YOu'll need to use your judgement about the time thing.... on one hand, if you lowball the playtime, it can leave a sour taste with your group and not get any further plays of BSG. OTOH, if you're too honest, you can scare them off right off the bat. Case in point... I've seen several situations where being too honest would've caused players to NOT play. By just "diving in", they enjoyed BSG whereas they wouldn't even have tried it (odd psychology associated with that, but that's how it is sometimes).

As the experienced player, I mention the cylon's options even when we're only a few turns into the game. This way, if we have pre-sleeper cylons, they can have an idea without either asking and giving away their identities, or just do a bunch of uninformed stuff and hope things come together. Part of it includes staying hidden is nice, bsoft revealing yourself insn't such a bad thing if it furthers the cylon's goals. If you're new, you may wanna consider revealing, as it can be difficult to pay undercover well.
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Scott M.
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When your done reading this entire thread...

Go back to the second post
http://boardgamegeek.com/article/10636753#10636753


and REREAD IT....!!!

TRUST NO F-ING ONE!!!
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Robert Stewart
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The other thing you can do before your first "full" game (though it may be a little late now) would be to read through some of the play-by-forum games - not only do they have an experienced (usually!) moderator making sure the rules are followed, but also a number of lurkers who will gleefully pounce on any rules errors.

The only significant potential negative from doing that is that it may shortcut you past some of the discovery of the game - the PBF games not only get the rules right, but also often include fairly advanced strategy tips...
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Stephen McHale
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We had our first play last night night. I think overall is was a success. We ended up all being loyal the first half and two cylons the second half. The cylons won by playing a super crisis card at the end and we ran out of fuel. At that point we were low on everything.

The length of the game certainly does not appeal to everyone but they are willing to play again so that says a lot.

I am sure we messed up some rules but that is to be expected after first play. My only question right now is this, is it common to have an extended period of time with no enemy ships on the board? After we jumped and pulled off all the ships it seemed like for a long time with no ships on the board. I don't know if that is common or we messed up a rule.

Thanks again to all who helped make it a successful first play.
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StephenM wrote:
We had our first play last night night. I think overall is was a success. We ended up all being loyal the first half and two cylons the second half. The cylons won by playing a super crisis card at the end and we ran out of fuel. At that point we were low on everything.

The length of the game certainly does not appeal to everyone but they are willing to play again so that says a lot.

I am sure we messed up some rules but that is to be expected after first play. My only question right now is this, is it common to have an extended period of time with no enemy ships on the board? After we jumped and pulled off all the ships it seemed like for a long time with no ships on the board. I don't know if that is common or we messed up a rule.

Thanks again to all who helped make it a successful first play.
That's about right... you need to primarily count on CAC (Cylon Attack Cards) to put cylon ships out. The Massive Assault super crisis card is very powerful in that it puts out alot of ships AND moves the jump prep track back. It has single-handedly won games for cylons.

Exodus' Cylon Fleet Board option/module (CFB) changes it such that stuff happens if the appropriate cylon ships aren't on the board (main game board or MGB).
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