CJ Ren
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I want to prefess this by stating my assumption: For a traitor game to be fun...the best position for the traitor would be to blend in and throw suspicious around. In a perfect traitor game you would think that a completely hidden traitor would spell doom for the team. Take Resistance for instance. If you get verified as resistance as a spy you have almost surely won the game. You can throw resistance under the bus and get on teams and tank missions. As soon as you are revealed you are ignored.

Now lets look at BSG:

As an undercover Cylon you can:

As Admiral: Choose bad destinations (IF they come up), Nuke friendly’s/Waste Nukes

As President: Brig , possibly a few other things but Arresst Order I would argue is the bread and butter of a Cylon President

As CAG: Refuse to do your job

As vanilla player: Tank skill checks, Throw suspicion around, Try to take titles

Now lets look at each of these:

Admiral: You will undoubtedly be one of the first checked if possible...and If you continually pull bad destinations more than once..you'll be briged/locked/cally’d. This means you get really 1 or 2 bad destinations...and that’s ONLY if you get bad ones to choose. So at best this is..pull two 1's or maybe play a lions head and kill on gas. Probably the most powerful un-revealed cylon.

President: The power to brig someone..or even double brig can be devastating. Having 2 humans briged with an unrevealed cylon to tank brig checks is just crazy good. However this requires the right mix of cards, turn orders, and usually you get maybe 1 brig. this can be good at a crucial moment. Probably the second most powerful un-revealed cylon. It also requires the cylons to know eachother.

Vanilla Player: You could tank a crucial check at the right time. But this requires that check to come up and requires you to have the cards to tank it. After the check fails an experienced group of players will almost undoubtedly figure out who tank’d the check and you will find yourself in space.
All these positions have 1 thing in common for an unrevealed. You must remain hidden while waiting for the PERFECT soft reveal. And this time may never come. So what do you end up doing? That’s right, helping the humans. Even if you are at a table with say tons of people drawing Leadership (green) and can effectively make checks harder by actively tanking them…the jig will be up pretty quickly. And what have you accomplished by this? You possibly tank 1 or two resources? Probably Pop/Food..if you are lucky morale and if you are super lucky fuel. On top of this the cards that tend to be drawn by more players tend to be positive in checks more often than now (politics, leadership, tactics)

Now lets look at a first turn revealed Cylon. You lose all of the above but gain the following:
Your reveal power 100%
Your Super Crisis 100%...and time to maybe grab a second or third.
Then you get all the cylon options…one of the most powerful being pursuit/jump. This gives you a 37.5% chance to reduce the jump prep track …which effectively adds a crisis to the game. That is 37.5% MORE Crisis in every game. And crisis tend to be the main reason the humans lose.
On top of this you also get the choice to auto damage Galactica (if enough raiders are out)…which means people going to sickbay and possible wins through destroying Galatica. And you also could keep placing Civ ships making the XO/Pilots jobs harder.
On top of all this you also have all the other cylon locations..including anytime when the time is right activate lights to crush a few unguarded civies for multiple resource tanks.

Considering the above and my many MANY play throughs of BSG…it just feels like auto revealing or waiting 1 turn for an XO reveal to waste an extra turn is just the single best play for a cylon in all situations…even admiral cylon. 37.5% reduction in jump prep will generally be better than drawing all by the WORST detinations which are not common.
I can still enjoy BSG as a fun tactical game of team changing (I think the board, game mechanics, skill checks ect are still fun/interacting player interactions…but, atleast in my meta anyways, it just feels like the “hidden traitor” mechanic of this game is a bit lacking.
Some people may bring up the following but allow me to rebut before they do:

1) Unrevealed cylons stop constant XO chains – I would say almost exactly the opoosite. True if you XO a cylon he can take an action and reveal and maybe as Cally or President this could be pretty devastating…but almost certainly not game deciding. And in fact XOing an unrevealed cylon early almost forces him to reveal OR just continue helping the humans to “prove” he is not a cylon.
2) Unrevealed cylons cause confusion/spread doubt. And I agree…they do…but the damage this can cause is mostly done by humans acting irrationally. If humans just continue to play and ignore the cylon then with card tracking the damage that cylon can do is minimal to the damage he could be doing revealed and eventually he will be discovered and lose his reveal and possibly his super crisis.
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Your assumptions are based on Exodus--in particular, the Cylon Fleet module with Basestar Bridge being in play. As such, this should be discussed under the Exodus forums.
 
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InfoCynic wrote:
Your assumptions are based on Exodus--in particular, the Cylon Fleet module with Basestar Bridge being in play. As such, this should be discussed under the Exodus forums.


ah yes! My bad
 
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If there is no cylon before sleeper, a timely reveal may be in order depending on the game state. It may be the humans are doing so badly at that point, that you have a turn or two to wait for the best moment.

On the minus side, when you reveal early, you have no influence in which resource gets hammered down. You want to see two resources go down before your eventual reveal. (Allowing just one going down would be suspicious.)

But my main point is: Is playing an unrevealed Cylon more fun than a revealed Cylon? The hell yes!

In the last game I was a cylon admiral from the beginning, but had no luck with destinations: 3 vs 3, 2 vs 3, and 1 vs 1. But at least I could help morale and fuel diminish, then reveal and use basestar bridge to damage galactica. Well, at the end it was a cylon win by boarding party. The humans were still 2 jumps away, jump track manipulation with another cylon guaranteed victory.

But it was quite boring to activate the same BB actions several times. Revealing early would've been much more boring, I have once soft-revealed during the second player's turn, and spent the whole game alone...

So, I advocate interesting and close games instead of "guaranteed" victories.
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a1bert wrote:
If there is no cylon before sleeper, a timely reveal may be in order depending on the game state. It may be the humans are doing so badly at that point, that you have a turn or two to wait for the best moment.

On the minus side, when you reveal early, you have no influence in which resource gets hammered down. You want to see two resources go down before your eventual reveal. (Allowing just one going down would be suspicious.)

But my main point is: Is playing an unrevealed Cylon more fun than a revealed Cylon? The hell yes!

In the last game I was a cylon admiral from the beginning, but had no luck with destinations: 3 vs 3, 2 vs 3, and 1 vs 1. But at least I could help morale and fuel diminish, then reveal and use basestar bridge to damage galactica. Well, at the end it was a cylon win by boarding party. The humans were still 2 jumps away, jump track manipulation with another cylon guaranteed victory.

But it was quite boring to activate the same BB actions several times. Revealing early would've been much more boring, I have once soft-revealed during the second player's turn, and spent the whole game alone...

So, I advocate interesting and close games instead of "guaranteed" victories.


I 100% agree with you. I dislike perfectly optimal galatica. I just wish hidden cylon was a bit more interesting.

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Playing a hidden cylon transcends the game mechanisms and plays on the meta level, convincing the humans to destroy their own game

Also, overplay into some (trivial) skill checks so you have to underplay into more critical ones. And convince the human players to try skill checks that would be better tanked to save skill cards.
 
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You ignore a few other advantages of the unrevealed Cylon.

1) Denial. Particularly with the President title, but also with skill cards, you have the power to deny useful options to the human team. A Cylon president can sit on the more useful Quorum cards (such as Inspirational Speech), and often still look like they're playing usefully (throwing Chief of Staff or something on someone while giving you more cards). Any other player can sit on useful skill cards, using them to either spike checks or as overplayed value, wasting them subtly. When revealed a Cylon only gets two cards per turn. Unrevealed they get far more opportunity for denial.

2) Character abilities. Several characters have abilities that can be great if you're a Cylon. The stars are Roslin and Boomer, but Helo, Chief, Starbuck, and Zarek from the base game, Ellen, Dee, and Kat from Pegasus, and Cally, Tory, and Gaeta from Exodus all have ways to make things bad for team human.

3) Division. There are often reasonable ways to argue for one choice or another on each card. Group consensus can happen, but in a well-matched play group (or if you happen to be dominant in yours) it's often possible to make a case for a choice that you know to be poorer than the other (for example, if you're sitting on the Damage Galactica reveal you can argue for a choice with "damage Galactica" on it by implying that you all should have time to repair it when you know that more will be incoming). Or convince people that a skill check that you know to be a longshot is better than the OR option.

4) Teamwork. And then there are the times that you know who your partner is: either you're both unrevealed or your partner is revealed. Teamwork for Team Cylon can be just as good.

5) Timing. Even if you play human-ish for the early part of the game, building up some trust can give you the ability to time your reveal (using the actual reveal on your Loyalty card, or just softly revealing by improperly using an ability or action) for maximum disruption to the human cause. My record was 9 resources in one turn as Ellen: I hadn't particularly built up trust, but I used my character ability to assume the Admiralty and jump us at -3, choosing a poor destination, followed up by IC on a crisis into which I played last. Timing takes some luck, but it can be more devastating than several Cylon turns if you can find that moment.

And really, the thrill of being able to find "that moment" is one of the reasons to want to be Cylon. It's possible that there will never be "that moment", in which case yeah you probably should have revealed right out of the gate. But since this is a game with many random elements, there could indeed be a moment where you can make it all fall down in the most spectacular way.




As others have noted, the Exodus expansion's Basestar Bridge gives the Cylons a little more control of the game once revealed, and it DOES change the equation some, but by doing so you allow the humans 100% trust, and humans who know how to maximize that trust can be pretty dangerous, too.
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The dilemma for the hidden Cylon is whether the damage they do while hidden plus the increase in damage if/when they reveal at the right time outweighs the damage they deal by revealing early. More precisely, the question is which gives them a better chance of winning (arguably, an even better question is what makes the game most fun for everyone, but that's a bit too subjective) - there's no question that an early reveal and hammering the tracks while sabotaging skill checks makes the game harder on the humans than playing human almost the whole game waiting for a perfect opportunity that never comes. The real question though is whether the early reveal does enough to win, or if you need the great late reveal to give you a chance of winning (it's unlikely that a late, weak reveal is going to be enough).


And, of course, the big question begged by this thread is: Is BSG a hidden-traitor game, or just a game with a hidden-traitor mechanic?

Oh, and, in Resistance, your goal as a Spy is not to go undetected, but to fail missions - with 7-8 players, if each Spy manages to blow their cover by sabotaging a mission, then the Spies win - once you know that people know you're a Spy, you can really have fun with the mind-games
 
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tierdal wrote:
InfoCynic wrote:
Your assumptions are based on Exodus--in particular, the Cylon Fleet module with Basestar Bridge being in play. As such, this should be discussed under the Exodus forums.


ah yes! My bad
Moved to Battlestar Galactica: Exodus Expansion
 
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My suspicion is that the main reason why people believe it is better to reveal early is that either they are inexperienced or at least they always have inexperienced players in their games.

If all players are good at BSG and the Cylons reveal early, then the humans should be able to win most of the time, even with the CFB in play.
 
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umbaci wrote:
My suspicion is that the main reason why people believe it is better to reveal early is that either they are inexperienced or the at least they always have inexperienced players in their games.

If all players are good at BSG and the Cylons reveal early, then the humans should be able to win most of the time, even with the CFB in play.


I've played BSG over 50 times... probably more but I want to be conservative.

Unless you get the perfect big reveal...you end up helping Humans by laying low more then you end up hurting them.

Even if you get the perfect reveal...unless its something crazy like brig two humans...its usually not worth the damage you could have done by just revealing and fleet boarding.

Actively tank the humand for the entire game VS lay low basically being a human for half the game then try to hurt them... it seems obvious which will be more effective most of the time.
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I think you heavily underestimate the power of mistrust and suspicion. As a hidden Cylon you shouldn't ask "how can I defeat the humans?" but "what's the best way to impede the human team?".
 
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I have played only a few games, but many of them were lost by throwing a suspicious human into the brig and the Cylons taking over Galactica, brigging the other players and then jumping the pop away.
 
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umbaci wrote:
I think you heavily underestimate the power of mistrust and suspicion. As a hidden Cylon you shouldn't ask "how can I defeat the humans?" but "what's the best way to impede the human team?".


Yeah, the value of trust on team human can't be understated. If the humans can make best use of Executive Orders, trusting partners in skill checks, and intelligent decisions based on discussion it's much much harder for the Cylons to win, even with the CFB.
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jsciv wrote:
umbaci wrote:
I think you heavily underestimate the power of mistrust and suspicion. As a hidden Cylon you shouldn't ask "how can I defeat the humans?" but "what's the best way to impede the human team?".


Yeah, the value of trust on team human can't be understated. If the humans can make best use of Executive Orders, trusting partners in skill checks, and intelligent decisions based on discussion it's much much harder for the Cylons to win, even with the CFB.
Then really, it makes no difference... Just XO someone when the cylons aren't out yet. If they help, great. If they reveal, you get them out of the way where you can then XO freely, and know you'll have to deal with only at most 1 skill card per revealed cylon.
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ackmondual wrote:
jsciv wrote:
Yeah, the value of trust on team human can't be understated.


Then really, it makes no difference... Just XO someone when the cylons aren't out yet. If they help, great. If they reveal, you get them out of the way where you can then XO freely, and know you'll have to deal with only at most 1 skill card per revealed cylon.


That's a horrible oversimplification. It's also a recipe for disaster because the kind of trust available when the humans all know each other is EXACTLY the kind of trust a Cylon can abuse for a crippling reveal. Simplest example? Knowing that it's safe opens up the Next-O. I've seen you around these threads enough to know that you understand that so I'm not sure what the point of pretending not to understand the power of human trust is.
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jsciv wrote:
It's also a recipe for disaster because the kind of trust available when the humans all know each other is EXACTLY the kind of trust a Cylon can abuse for a crippling reveal.


But they can do it only once! I'm with ackmondual on this one.

If there are very little XO's used, that makes the cylon's work so much easier. There really isn't any reason to do anything suspicious. Just do you worst human game, and let the game take the humans down. You can wait for the last possible moment to reveal.

Try the XO game style once and let us know how big of a failure the test was...

However, I'm not sure which play style I prefer as a cylon, or as a human approaching sleeper phase. Playing the non-XO game is a different experience. It works better if the first jump is 3 distance. If you get 1+1, then you pretty much have to switch to 'XO-game' to have any chance.


 
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Of course, paranoia help cylons a lot, but that's not the only reason to stay hidden : once you have build a good hand of skill card, and once your buddy is "awake", you'll have the ability to cause serious problems to the humans.
So, it's often better to wait till at least sleeper phase : even if you don't get a perfect opportunity to reveal (or "soft-reveal") yourself afterwards, you can always create one for your partner.

While waiting, you don't necessary have to help the humans : actions like Launch Scout, Consolidate Power, Press Room ... can be quite ambivalent.


PS : blowing up your cover don't necessary means revealing : in fact, it's often a better deal to "soft-reveal", cause a distraction and force humans to deal with you. The action(s) and cards spent to take you out will often compensate the loss of your reveal power ... if they do manage to take you out !
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This also greatly oversimplifies--and completely discounts--the value of the humans not knowing exactly who their enemies are, and whose advice they can listen to.

Once the Cylon players are a known quantity, the humans are free to discuss openly and optimize every play. Before that time, there is some hesitation as you just can't be sure if the information and planning you're sharing won't bite you on the butt in a turn or two.

Of course, I'm not sure there's much room for min/maxers at a BSG table anyway, as the experience is half of it.
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a1bert wrote:
jsciv wrote:
It's also a recipe for disaster because the kind of trust available when the humans all know each other is EXACTLY the kind of trust a Cylon can abuse for a crippling reveal.


But they can do it only once! I'm with ackmondual on this one.


Great Next-O me please so that I can make sure to do something extra bad to you and then openly spike your Crisis with all my applicable cards (since I'll have to discard to three) before I get to draw and then reveal. Yeah, I'm good with that.


a1bert wrote:
Try the XO game style once and let us know how big of a failure the test was...


Huh? I don't take your point. If you mean try to XO often when the Cylons are known and see if it leads to a human win, I can tell you after about 115 games that yes, it does. Otherwise I have no idea what that comment was supposed to mean.
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jsciv wrote:
a1bert wrote:
Try the XO game style once and let us know how big of a failure the test was...


Huh? I don't take your point. If you mean try to XO often when the Cylons are known and see if it leads to a human win, I can tell you after about 115 games that yes, it does. Otherwise I have no idea what that comment was supposed to mean.


I believe his suggestion is to try to XO as often as possible from the beginning and see how it turns out.

Yes, sometimes someone will take the opportunity to sabotage as efficiently as possible, but if you XO indiscriminately, most of the opportunities to reveal off a neXt-O will be less good than if you only neXt-O when you're in trouble and need that character's help. Either you get a less critical neXt-O reveal, or you get the benefit of that player's actions while they wait for a better opportunity. In general, people will notice the times when they trusted someone and got stabbed, but not the times when they trusted someone and nothing bad happened.
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I agree with Robert here, if you use neXt-Os frequently and only apply care when the situation is critical, that's a huge boon to humanity. It takes quite a bit experience of course to assess whether the situation is critical.
 
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rmsgrey wrote:
I believe his suggestion is to try to XO as often as possible from the beginning and see how it turns out.


Exactly.

Get humans as much ahead in the game as possible before sleeper, when also the probability of cylon players are low, and even cylons are reluctant to reveal or go against informed suggestions about what to do with the XO. If someone takes exceptionally long to think what they would do, after the 'best action' has already been discussed (before playing XO), you may have just soft-soft-revealed a cylon.

When playing human-optimally, you are also better off yourself with plenty of cards, and maybe titles, which helps even if you happen to turn into a cylon at sleeper. For example, you may have Scouting for Fuel and/or Build Nuke in hand and not play them, but take them into account when dealing with resources. So you can play them if you stay human, or use in other ways, if you turn cylon.

It may also pay off to play lots of XO's, even if you are a cylon from the beginning. Especially as an Admiral. You give the impression of helping, but still controlling the pace.

The expansions of course make this style harder by diluting the Leadership deck.

Each game is different, and each play group is different, but I hope you see the opportunities here. I also don't play like this always.
 
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This makes little sense as pertains to the topic of the thread, though. If the humans are XO'ing with abandon as you're suggesting then all the Cylon player has to do is pick his moment and hit the reveal when it'll do the most damage.

Do you think a Cylon is going to pass up opportunities every single time? Yes, a Cylon passing up chance after chance to reveal for effect is going to help the humans more than the Cylons. But that's just bad Cylon play, not some inherent design flaw in the game.
 
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jsciv wrote:
This makes little sense as pertains to the topic of the thread, though. If the humans are XO'ing with abandon as you're suggesting then all the Cylon player has to do is pick his moment and hit the reveal when it'll do the most damage.

Do you think a Cylon is going to pass up opportunities every single time? Yes, a Cylon passing up chance after chance to reveal for effect is going to help the humans more than the Cylons. But that's just bad Cylon play, not some inherent design flaw in the game.
Cylons don't always have a chance to lash out effectively upon an XO though, so the most they do is reveal (sometimes the reveal power is lackluster, or not really useful given the situation). Some next-O's and XOs in general do take that into account. Otherwise, if you're in a situation where you're dead anyways, what have you got to lose?
 
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