Jump to content



Photo

How do you rate the characters, post-Exodus?


  • Please log in to reply
96 replies to this topic

#41 napoleonWilson

napoleonWilson

    Member

  • Members
  • 153 posts

Posted 06 April 2011 - 06:37 AM

So,....if they don't become cylons they basically throw the game to the cylon players cause everybody chose so poorly in the hopes of becoming a cylon.  Jeesh, why play if your players just want to watch the cylons win?  Just deal out the loyalty cards and whoever gets the, "you are a cylon" cards wins.  Better yet just reverse the amount of "you are" and "you are not" cards so that way almost everybody can be a cylon and you can all win together. 

Picking a lame character in the remote hopes HOPES of becoming a cylon and having a built in excuse as to why you can't do anything to help is so counter to the spirit of the game it's baffeling and akin to cheating.  Playing the cylon can be fun, but if everybody choses lame, 'tier 2 or 3" characters and the humans are so crippled because of it that the cylons win that is a pretty hollow win.  It's like whooping on a handicapped kid, "woohoo, I'm such a badass.  I'm king of the retards."  If I am a cylon I want to go against the very best, that way if I win I feel in part that I earned it.  

Five player game, two cylon reveals early.  now you got Dee, Tigh and Roslin as human,...an admirial who can lock up one of his fellow humans real easy, an engineer  who gets one engineering and Laura "don't ask me to help a vote" Roslin.  Yeah they would have been great if you were a cylon, but ya didn't and now the cylons get to walk all over the humans.  Wow,...**YAWN**   epic win for the cylons. 

The  thing about the original list was that the Tier 1 and better tier 2 characters were great for the humans AND if you happened to be a cylon they could be good too, not the BEST but could do something as a cylon..  I think that was part of the criteria in their ranking.  The best cylon characters offer nothing to the humans, so choosing only those characters gives the human team just another handicap they don't need and should not have. 

 Napoleon.



#42 Kushiel

Kushiel

    Member

  • Members
  • 124 posts

Posted 06 April 2011 - 06:39 AM

I tend to choose characters based on the same criteria as Jagonaut, because I don't know which team I'm going to end up on. Similarly, I tend to not pay much heed to character strength analyses that only take into account what a given character has to contribute to the human team, since there's no guarantee that such an analysis will be applicable to any given game. 

I really don't agree with Cifer's statement that the chances of the human team winning are poor if they're working well together, and would find it interesting for him/her to run a full co-op game to see if that's still the case without any cylons (though I totally understand if there's no desire to do so on Cifer's part ). That the people in Jagonaut's group play to try to end up as cylons is even weirder to me, though I guess that's just my bias against understanding why anyone would play a team game in which they want to be on Team X but don't get to simply choose to be on Team X.

For what it's worth, my win/loss ratio is around two wins per three games, regardless of which team I was on.



#43 Holy Outlaw

Holy Outlaw

    Member

  • Members
  • 307 posts

Posted 07 April 2011 - 08:11 PM

Like Kushiel, I find that the humans win their share; my playgroup has about a 50/50 win ratio, though I've always attributed the humans' "high" win rate at least partially to my group's ability to avoid the prisoner's dilemma that seems, quite frankly, to be ensnaring Jagonaut and others.

But let me suggest another reason for choosing characters with an eye toward human cooperation: the fundamental differences between the cylon and human teams.  The cylon team has no titles, and no specific roles to fill.  All revealed cylons end up looking identical (e.g., blank) and behaving almost identically, as well.  On the other hand, the humans have four distinct roles that need to be capably filled in if they're going to have a reasonable chance of success (President, Admiral, CAG, support), and most of the time there are only going to be three humans by endgame.  Awareness of this fact breeds a healthy respect among my playgroup for the ~60% likelihood that they're going to wind up on a team with more holes to plug than fingers to plug with.  If I wind up on the team that blanks my sheet and doesn't require cooperation to win, then great; that problem takes care of itself.  I really only need one good action, and the Loyalty card generally provides it.  On the other hand, since *most of the time* I'm going to end up on the team where the text on my card actually matters, and where my chances of survival are directly correlated with things like cooperation, trust, teamwork, and strategy, I ought to plan ahead for that. 

On the other hand, it's hard to argue with a 67% win rate, which quite frankly amounts to one player's utter dominance over their group.  I'd say anyone with a win rate like that ought to keep doing whatever it is they're doing, though I'd also expect the other four players, if capable, to at some point take advantage of the wealth of methods that the game provides for kneecapping dominant players.



#44 Kushiel

Kushiel

    Member

  • Members
  • 124 posts

Posted 08 April 2011 - 09:35 AM

Holy Outlaw said:

But let me suggest another reason for choosing characters with an eye toward human cooperation: the fundamental differences between the cylon and human teams.  The cylon team has no titles, and no specific roles to fill.  All revealed cylons end up looking identical (e.g., blank) and behaving almost identically, as well.

This is only true of the cylon team after both cylons have revealed, though. Before they reveal, which is IME usually most of the game, their character sheets matter just as much as the humans'.

Holy Outlaw said:

On the other hand, the humans have four distinct roles that need to be capably filled in if they're going to have a reasonable chance of success (President, Admiral, CAG, support), and most of the time there are only going to be three humans by endgame.

Here you assume that most people play five-player games, or play six-player games and end up with a cylon-biased Sympathetic Cylon. It's probably worth it to consider that not everyone consistently plays five-player games, or at least mention that your experiences of the game are indicative of five-player games (I'm guessing, but that seems to be the case based on what you wrote).

Holy Outlaw said:

Awareness of this fact breeds a healthy respect among my playgroup for the ~60% likelihood that they're going to wind up on a team with more holes to plug than fingers to plug with.  If I wind up on the team that blanks my sheet and doesn't require cooperation to win, then great; that problem takes care of itself.  I really only need one good action, and the Loyalty card generally provides it.  On the other hand, since *most of the time* I'm going to end up on the team where the text on my card actually matters, and where my chances of survival are directly correlated with things like cooperation, trust, teamwork, and strategy, I ought to plan ahead for that.

This is totally useful advice. To be clear, my point isn't so much that I rate character strength without considering how good Character X is if he/she ends up on the human team, just that I don't give much creedence to character strength ratings which don't take into account how good Character X is if he/she ends up on the cylon team.

Holy Outlaw said:

On the other hand, it's hard to argue with a 67% win rate, which quite frankly amounts to one player's utter dominance over their group.  I'd say anyone with a win rate like that ought to keep doing whatever it is they're doing, though I'd also expect the other four players, if capable, to at some point take advantage of the wealth of methods that the game provides for kneecapping dominant players.

Well, I play with rather a lot of different groups, and there isn't any one of them that I'd say I dominate (let alone utterly!). I'm not sure that it would matter if I did, though, since BSG isn't really a game in which it's smart to agitate against any particular player based on their skill at the game, since you often won't know until late in the game if that person is on your team or not.



#45 Holy Outlaw

Holy Outlaw

    Member

  • Members
  • 307 posts

Posted 10 April 2011 - 05:23 AM

 Well Kushiel, regardless of whether we end up seeing eye-to-eye at the end of this whole discussion, know that you have my undying respect for successfully layering four separate quotes into an FFG forum post without blowing the formatting all to hell. 

I'll offer my thinking on some of those points:

1) It's true that cylons often lay low and enjoy the powers of their character sheet for a while before revealing, but I'm really struggling to think of a character who can lay low for "most of the game" while actively use their character's abilities to benefit the cylon team.  I agree that if there was an OPT that allowed a character to actively subvert the fleet from within without exposure, it would be foolish not to take that into account when ranking characters.

So for example, the characters most recently suggested in this thread to have been underrated in the OP out of neglect for their cylon value are Saul Tigh, Tom Zarek, and Felix Gaeta.  Has it been your experience that you can actively use these characters' abilities to the detriment of the human fleet without detection?  In my group, using the OPTs or OPGs of these characters in a way that the majority of human players do not want amounts to a pseudo-reveal for the heat it draws on the player, and it's usually a weaker reveal than the one printed on the Loyalty card or the ones that tend to be be provided by game conditions, irrespective of character abilities.

2) On the one hand, it's true that I play almost exclusively five-player games and you detected that, so I guess it's colored my thinking more than I want it to.  But I mean for my comments to be universal.  Is it really only pertinent to five player games to say "most of the time there are going to be three humans by endgame"?  Isn't that true for 4s with sympathetic cylons, 4s with hostile cylons and the last Loyalty card being a cylon, and for 6s with hostiles?  It seems to me that, even speaking in universal terms, three is the number of the humans at endgame "most of the time."  Something I'm missing?

3) Like you, I wouldn't put too much stock in character rankings that don't consider whether someone flips well.  But I believe I did consider that. My Tier 1 ranking of Chief, for example, explicitly states that his strength as a cylon contributes to his high ranking.  Our real difference of opinion seems to me to stem from the different value we put in "selfish" vs "selfless" abilties, and in the fallacious distinction you and others seem to be drawing between someone like Saul Tigh's OPG that takes directly from another player for himself, and someone like Helena Cain's.  

It's been my experience that the players who win the most, human *and* cylon, are those who try to fill a vital role in the human fleet to the best of their ability every time.  Because these players, to borrow the now-infamous language of the OP, "offer a lot to the fleet," when they take away what they're being counted on for in an untimely way, they hurt quite a lot.  On the other hand, those who regularly play as self-interested free agents tend to be marginalized and contained by a competent table of cooperative players, especially over time, and they find that they simply can't do as much to damage or hurt the fleet, regardless of their loyalty.

4) To be clear, I wouldn't suggest that players agitate against whoever seems to be a strong player.  I agree that's a dead-end strategy if ever I heard one.  What I'm talking about is, if you were in my playgroup and winning 67% of the time, I would do the following things to you:

IF I WAS A CYLON I WOULD: 

A) send you all my extra loyalty cards every time (to flip you to my side if I got a double cylon, or throw suspicion on you if I got human)

B) execute you (Cally, Political Prisoner, Quorum stuff, crisis effects, whatever) to put more loyalty cards in your hand, since I want you on my team and to take skill cards out of your hand, since you obviously know how to use them

IF I WAS A HUMAN I WOULD:

A) examine your Loyalty card regularly

B) double-check your Launch Scouts, when possible

C) monitor your cards in hand / skill check participation

D) be wary of posed strategies that consolidate power into your hands, particularly if another player could do the same thing

The important point I want to make is that none of the above is agitating.  It's all rational play from the other players' perspective once one player begins to dominate.  But each of these modification to the others players' strategy hurts your chance of winning, whichever team you end up on.  That's why I'm so startled by your 67% win rate. 

And I'm even more surprised to hear you always play with a revolving cast and you're dominant against each.  I don't know if I'm more impressed by your gameplay or the fact that there are that many competent BSG playgroups in your area.  Is a lot of this PBF?  Personally, I have a solid group of 8 from whom I tend to scrounge up 5 or so once every couple weeks for a two game BSG night, and I've only maintained that through careful cultivation.  I thought I was doing pretty well.  How many serious BSG players do you know?  The way I feel about this game, I might just up and relocate ...



#46 JAGONAUT

JAGONAUT

    Member

  • Members
  • 8 posts

Posted 18 April 2011 - 06:23 PM

 First of all I never suggested that every player should select "tier 2 or 3" characters. I merely suggested an alternative criteria by which the characters could be rated, that being autonomy as apposed to what they have to offer the fleet. If you don't like autonomy, for the purposes of team work and human win ratios, then fair enough.  The game is obviously designed, however, to incorporate characters that upset teamwork and create conflict between players (in fact this is its foundational philosophy and the reason why the game is so fun) and so the selection of such characters is IMO legitimate.

And BTW these characters (Tigh being the most extreme) are not only useful as cylons but as humans who know or have a good suspicion as to who the cylons are. They have the power to do something about it on their own without the support of other human players (a situation I've found myself in many times) even if it gets them executed. And for that they are called selfish characters. The fact is, if you can judge who the cylon is by their tone of voice and facial expression instead of just how they play then you have a major advantage by choosing these characters and can help the fleet a lot.

Another criteria overlooked is the fact that players are no longer only picked at the start but also after an execution. These "lower tier" characters are exceptional to use for revenge after having your former character's eyeballs sucked from their sockets.

Also in regards to starting as a human player, I've found that it is almost unwise to share and unleash all your best human strategies with players you regularly play with as it will come back to bite you at some point when you ARE a cylon. Keeping an element of spontaneity in ones general play helps to counteract the effect of other players getting used to you, cylon or not. 



#47 JAGONAUT

JAGONAUT

    Member

  • Members
  • 8 posts

Posted 18 April 2011 - 06:23 PM

 First of all I never suggested that every player should select "tier 2 or 3" characters. I merely suggested an alternative criteria by which the characters could be rated, that being autonomy as apposed to what they have to offer the fleet. If you don't like autonomy, for the purposes of team work and human win ratios, then fair enough.  The game is obviously designed, however, to incorporate characters that upset teamwork and create conflict between players (in fact this is its foundational philosophy and the reason why the game is so fun) and so the selection of such characters is IMO legitimate.

And BTW these characters (Tigh being the most extreme) are not only useful as cylons but as humans who know or have a good suspicion as to who the cylons are. They have the power to do something about it on their own without the support of other human players (a situation I've found myself in many times) even if it gets them executed. And for that they are called selfish characters. The fact is, if you can judge who the cylon is by their tone of voice and facial expression instead of just how they play then you have a major advantage by choosing these characters and can help the fleet a lot.

Another criteria overlooked is the fact that players are no longer only picked at the start but also after an execution. These "lower tier" characters are exceptional to use for revenge after having your former character's eyeballs sucked from their sockets.

Also in regards to starting as a human player, I've found that it is almost unwise to share and unleash all your best human strategies with players you regularly play with as it will come back to bite you at some point when you ARE a cylon. Keeping an element of spontaneity in ones general play helps to counteract the effect of other players getting used to you, cylon or not. 



#48 Kushiel

Kushiel

    Member

  • Members
  • 124 posts

Posted 20 April 2011 - 05:39 AM

Holy Outlaw said:

 Well Kushiel, regardless of whether we end up seeing eye-to-eye at the end of this whole discussion, know that you have my undying respect for successfully layering four separate quotes into an FFG forum post without blowing the formatting all to hell. 

 

It's not nearly as difficult as people want you to think it is. When you hit the "quote" button, you'll see the quoted text, preceded by a bracketed string of characters that looks something like this: "QUOTE efidm=473735". Copy that character string (including brackets). For each block of text you want to quote, paste that character string and add "/QUOTE" at the end of the text block, again in brackets. It's important that QUOTE be all caps. Do that for each block of text and you should be fine. (This instructional passage brought to you by much experimentation on my part.)

Holy Outlaw said:

I'll offer my thinking on some of those points:

 

1) It's true that cylons often lay low and enjoy the powers of their character sheet for a while before revealing, but I'm really struggling to think of a character who can lay low for "most of the game" while actively use their character's abilities to benefit the cylon team.  I agree that if there was an OPT that allowed a character to actively subvert the fleet from within without exposure, it would be foolish not to take that into account when ranking characters.

 

Cylon Boomer can often do more damage to the humans without ever revealing than she can with a supercrisis and the cylon locations. (Haven't played her with the cylon fleet option to know if that's still true or not, though). Cylon Ellen can pass off Treachery cards "as a cylon detector," which either hurts the humans or helps the cylons, or can pass off low value non-Treachery cards that won't help much in order to draw better cards to hurt the humans. Cylon Saul can brig folks he thinks/knows are human while claiming that they're cylons. Cylon Baltar can draw colors which are useful to pass the current crisis card skillcheck and then play them on skillchecks in which they hurt the check. Cylon Roslin can make the crisis deck nasty, all while claiming that "the other card was worse." Cylon Zarek can do the same thing as Saul, but in reverse. I'm not going to go through the whole roster of characters, but there are plenty who can disguise their malice while remaining unrevealed.

Holy Outlaw said:

So for example, the characters most recently suggested in this thread to have been underrated in the OP out of neglect for their cylon value are Saul Tigh, Tom Zarek, and Felix Gaeta.  Has it been your experience that you can actively use these characters' abilities to the detriment of the human fleet without detection?  In my group, using the OPTs or OPGs of these characters in a way that the majority of human players do not want amounts to a pseudo-reveal for the heat it draws on the player, and it's usually a weaker reveal than the one printed on the Loyalty card or the ones that tend to be be provided by game conditions, irrespective of character abilities.

 

Well, I think that Zarek, Gaeta and Saul are all weak characters, regardless of which team they end up on, so I'm not sure that I can really answer the question in the way that you're asking it. I can say that if the hidden cylon players have done a really good job, the human team won't have a majority which can weigh in against a given course of action, but will rather be split into two more or less equally populated factions.

Holy Outlaw said:

2) On the one hand, it's true that I play almost exclusively five-player games and you detected that, so I guess it's colored my thinking more than I want it to.  But I mean for my comments to be universal.  Is it really only pertinent to five player games to say "most of the time there are going to be three humans by endgame"?  Isn't that true for 4s with sympathetic cylons, 4s with hostile cylons and the last Loyalty card being a cylon, and for 6s with hostiles?  It seems to me that, even speaking in universal terms, three is the number of the humans at endgame "most of the time."  Something I'm missing?

 

Well, for instance, most of the time I don't play with four players, and I don't often play with Symps of any kind. About half the time that I play, it's 5p, and the other half, it's 6p. So in a 6p non-Symp game, there'll often be four humans at the end of the game.

Really, it's not something I wanted to make a big deal of. Just wanted to point out that it's not a universal way to judge character strength, and that there are better criteria which are more relevant to all games regardless of number of players, presence/absence of cylon leader, etc.

Holy Outlaw said:

3) Like you, I wouldn't put too much stock in character rankings that don't consider whether someone flips well.  But I believe I did consider that. My Tier 1 ranking of Chief, for example, explicitly states that his strength as a cylon contributes to his high ranking.  Our real difference of opinion seems to me to stem from the different value we put in "selfish" vs "selfless" abilties, and in the fallacious distinction you and others seem to be drawing between someone like Saul Tigh's OPG that takes directly from another player for himself, and someone like Helena Cain's.

 

Can you explain the supposedly fallacious nature of that distinction?

Holy Outlaw said:

It's been my experience that the players who win the most, human *and* cylon, are those who try to fill a vital role in the human fleet to the best of their ability every time.  Because these players, to borrow the now-infamous language of the OP, "offer a lot to the fleet," when they take away what they're being counted on for in an untimely way, they hurt quite a lot.

 

I can't argue with your experience. In my own, cylon players who have picked a character who doesn't have anything to offer the cylon team while hidden (like Cain), but can only offer "not helping the humans," aren't as good as characters who can actively hurt the humans with their abilities. The reason for this is simple: if I play Cain and am a cylon, the only way I can use my OPG to hurt the humans (most of the time) is not to use it. But if I'd played Boomer instead, I'd still be hurting the humans just as much as Cain by not having the ability to Blind Jump, but I've also got other abilities which can actively hurt the humans.

 

Holy Outlaw said:

On the other hand, those who regularly play as self-interested free agents tend to be marginalized and contained by a competent table of cooperative players, especially over time, and they find that they simply can't do as much to damage or hurt the fleet, regardless of their loyalty.

 

That's totally cool, but it's straight-up metagaming, which is a non-universal phenomenon. It doesn't really have anything to do with character strength, but rather playstyle and groupthink. That's not to say that it's not a factor in your games, but it doesn't really play a role in the baseline strengths of the characters.

Holy Outlaw said:

4) To be clear, I wouldn't suggest that players agitate against whoever seems to be a strong player.  I agree that's a dead-end strategy if ever I heard one.  What I'm talking about is, if you were in my playgroup and winning 67% of the time, I would do the following things to you:

 

[snip strategies]

The important point I want to make is that none of the above is agitating.  It's all rational play from the other players' perspective once one player begins to dominate.  But each of these modification to the others players' strategy hurts your chance of winning, whichever team you end up on.  That's why I'm so startled by your 67% win rate.

 

No argument from me. All I can say is that I don't think I've ever seen that kind of singling out of a given player based on his past experiences. People are always too worried about what's going on in the current game to do more than joke about that kind of thing ("You're always a cylon! I'm just going to brig you on turn one to get it over with"), but they don't actually act on those jokes.

Holy Outlaw said:

And I'm even more surprised to hear you always play with a revolving cast and you're dominant against each.  I don't know if I'm more impressed by your gameplay or the fact that there are that many competent BSG playgroups in your area.  Is a lot of this PBF?  Personally, I have a solid group of 8 from whom I tend to scrounge up 5 or so once every couple weeks for a two game BSG night, and I've only maintained that through careful cultivation.  I thought I was doing pretty well.  How many serious BSG players do you know?  The way I feel about this game, I might just up and relocate ...

 

Never done PBF; BSG seems really ill-suited to it, and I've got video games for that kind of play. I've got a local group in my town that's made up of seven people, and various members of that group frequently play the game. There's another group about an hour away, which I actually play with more often than my local group, and that one is made up of about fifteen different people, with a core group of about half a dozen and the rest rotating in and out. And I often play the game at the few conventions I go to, and that's obviously with people outside my normal groups.



#49 Holy Outlaw

Holy Outlaw

    Member

  • Members
  • 307 posts

Posted 20 April 2011 - 09:33 AM

Well, Kushiel, both you and Jagonaut have made some important points and I feel I owe you more attention than I'm able to give right now so I won't respond to everything, though maybe the community has some thoughts.  Here are some of the interesting points you're causing me to consider:

1) Jagonaut argues that individual antagonism is part of the "fundamental philosophy" of the game.  He values characters' ability to unilaterally settle scores against other individual players.  On the other hand, Kushiel suggests it's "metagaming" and even "groupthink" to consider a player's past behavior and revealed tendencies when deciding how to respond to them in-game.  I'm leaning toward Jagonaut here but could be swayed.  I'll tell you this, though: it's either a fundamental game element and part of designer intent, or it's an optional outgrowth of playstyle that's outside of the game proper, but it can't be both.

2) Jagonaut says if you play your hardest for humans every time you box yourself in.  He argues that you need to hold back a little something, especially with your regular group, and sometimes play suboptimally and even irrationally, to conceal your tendencies.  I'm inclined to agree, though not sure how to factor this idea into a tier ranking system.

3) Kushiel suggests that it's possible to keep choosing bad crisis cards and burying good with Roslin and Boomer, and for Ellen to spread treachery cards around like a cylon Johnny Appleseed without detection.  The more I hear, the more I think our groups are really, really different.  My group strictly adheres to secrecy rules and I don't believe we're excessively "meta," but I have a very hard time picturing a character pulling off cylon antics like these for any period of time without detection.  What are other groups' experiences?  Are things like this plausible?



#50 Holy Outlaw

Holy Outlaw

    Member

  • Members
  • 307 posts

Posted 20 April 2011 - 09:38 AM

Kushiel said:

 

Can you explain the supposedly fallacious nature of (drawing a distinction between someone like Saul Tight's OPG that takes directly from another player for himself, and someone like Helena Cain's)?

It’s a distinction without a difference.  Since no player can win the game in isolation—you win if your team wins and lose if your team loses—it’s wrong to assign additional value to “benefit me” abilities versus “benefit my team” abilities.  I *am* my team.  On the other hand, it’s entirely rational to do the opposite: to downgrade abilities that take from another, since these may lead to zero sum gains (taking from a team member to give to oneself with Saul Tigh, for instance), and to upgrade abilities that confer a benefit while taking from no one (like William Adama’s OPG, for instance) since I can always use them to net positive effect. 

Don’t get me wrong, if there was an ability that only benefited the humans, that would be a liability as I might wind up a cylon.  But I’m trying to imagine one of those and drawing a blank.  If you can remind me of one, I’d be the first to downgrade the character, but that’s still a separate point from what’s been discussed to date.  People have been suggesting that it’s rational to downgrade an ability that benefits every member of your team equally as compared to one that benefits you personally at the expense of others.  I’m arguing that’s a fool’s errand. 

For example, Helena Cain’s “Blind Jump” benefits the whole team.  For this reason, previous posts have compared her unfavorably to Saul Tigh, and you’ve suggested that the only way to use her ability to hurt humans is to not use it.  This is wrong-headed.  Allow me to pose an alternative.

HYPOTHETICAL SCENARIO:

Humans are at 5 distance and just jumped.  There’s a full cylon fleet board, advanced pursuit track.  You, a cylon Helena Cain, remind the fleet that they can keep consolidating power and quoruming, or other such nonsense.  Maybe fix some vipers.  After all, you still have your blind jump that’s about to expire so you might as well use it to get the fleet out of this mess; let’s just keep paddling further down s*** creek.  Someone want to scout that destination deck and make sure it’s a 3?  No?  Well, let’s just keep on scouting it because that’s the only thing that matters.  Never mind the unholy conflagration that just dropped down on us.  What’s that, we got a 3?  Okay, Now!  NOW!  NOW!  WE GOTTA GO!  WHERE’S THAT XO?  At which point you either launch scout to bury the 3 or you nuke a random square full of civvies, and you reveal.

I’m not saying Helena Cain’s going to pull something like that off every time, but that’s devastating—and it’s a strategy that would never be available to someone like Saul Tigh.  “XO me to Blind Jump us out of this mess” simply rings in the human ear a little more sweetly than “XO me to steal the president’s title for myself.” 

In other words, the promise of mutual benefit regularly allows Helena Cain to reap tremendous *individual* advantage.  Show me a character with a strong but “selfless” OPG, and I’ll show you someone who can use that OPG to devastate whichever side they’re not on, leading me to argue for the following simplified formula:

STRONG = selfish

WEAK = selfless



#51 Cifer

Cifer

    Member

  • Members
  • 2,798 posts

Posted 20 April 2011 - 10:30 AM

 Show me a character with a strong but “selfless” OPG, and I’ll show you someone who can use that OPG to devastate whichever side they’re not on, leading me to argue for the following simplified formula:

STRONG = selfish

WEAK = selfless

I'm almost certain that's not quite what you're arguing for... 



#52 Kushiel

Kushiel

    Member

  • Members
  • 124 posts

Posted 20 April 2011 - 12:32 PM

Holy Outlaw said:

1) Jagonaut argues that individual antagonism is part of the "fundamental philosophy" of the game. He values characters' ability to unilaterally settle scores against other individual players. On the other hand, Kushiel suggests it's "metagaming" and even "groupthink" to consider a player's past behavior and revealed tendencies when deciding how to respond to them in-game. I'm leaning toward Jagonaut here but could be swayed. I'll tell you this, though: it's either a fundamental game element and part of designer intent, or it's an optional outgrowth of playstyle that's outside of the game proper, but it can't be both.

 

I don't see how what Jagonaut wrote and what I did conflict. I don't think he's talking about maintaining grudges from game to game, but rather responding to being executed by respawning as Cally and returning the favor, for example. Creating interpersonal conflict within one game session doesn' t have anything to do with basing your behavior on what's happened in previous sessions.

Holy Outlaw said:

3) Kushiel suggests that it's possible to keep choosing bad crisis cards and burying good with Roslin and Boomer, and for Ellen to spread treachery cards around like a cylon Johnny Appleseed without detection. The more I hear, the more I think our groups are really, really different. My group strictly adheres to secrecy rules and I don't believe we're excessively "meta," but I have a very hard time picturing a character pulling off cylon antics like these for any period of time without detection.

 

Not sure what the secrecy rules have to do with either of those examples. It's perfectly legit to say something like, "This crisis card is better than the one I put on the bottom of the deck," as long as you don't go into any details of what was on the card.

Holy Outlaw said:

It’s a distinction without a difference.  Since no player can win the game in isolation—you win if your team wins and lose if your team loses—it’s wrong to assign additional value to “benefit me” abilities versus “benefit my team” abilities.

 

I don't think anyone's arguing against this. At least, I know I'm not. What your point here fails to take into consideration, though, is that until the sleeper phase is over, you don't know which team you're on. "Benefit me" abilities are a guaranteed way to also benefit my team, since they'll help my team no matter which one it is. "Benefit team X" are only good for me if I end up on team X.

Holy Outlaw said:

Don’t get me wrong, if there was an ability that only benefited the humans, that would be a liability as I might wind up a cylon.  But I’m trying to imagine one of those and drawing a blank.

 

Bill Adama's all-the-time ability. With the exception of the rare crisis cards that can actually hurt the human team if the skillcheck is passed, that ability will always help the humans. And he can't even turn it off if he wants to.

Holy Outlaw said:

HYPOTHETICAL SCENARIO:

 

(Just as an aside, I like to avoid highly specific hypothetical situations like this one, because anyone can make one up that "proves" their point, but they're worth even less than anecdotal evidence. But I digress.)

Holy Outlaw said:

[snip example]

 

At which point good human players shrug and say, "Well, I guess it's a good thing we didn't forget that there was still a cylon loose, and so we weren't relying on that Blind Jump." Good human players will pressure other players to use their OPGs to benefit the humans, but they don't plan on other people using them, unless all the hidden cylons have already been revealed.The result of that is that stuff like Blind Jump can only be used to hurt the humans by not being used, which again, would be true of every character other than Cain as well.



#53 Holy Outlaw

Holy Outlaw

    Member

  • Members
  • 307 posts

Posted 21 April 2011 - 11:10 AM

Kushiel said:

I don't see how what Jagonaut wrote and what I did conflict. I don't think he's talking about maintaining grudges from game to game, but rather responding to being executed by respawning as Cally and returning the favor, for example. Creating interpersonal conflict within one game session doesn' t have anything to do with basing your behavior on what's happened in previous sessions.

I agree that Jagonaut’s not talking about carrying grudges over from game to game, and I’ve never talked about that either.  But I have advocated for remembering player tendencies (e.g., my opponent is a strategic player, or is risk averse, or routinely half-asses until sleeper) and using those to inform my current interactions with those players.  By way of example, I said if I found myself sitting across from Kushiel, who routinely comes up with ass-kicking strategies that destroy the other side 67% of the time, I’d be inclined to send him my extra cylon card so he could develop one of those ass-kicking strategies for my side.  However, you called me treating the smart player differently “metagaming” and, inexplicably, “groupthink.”  I call it sound strategic play, whether in BSG, poker, chess, or any other game of strategy or skill.  So if the bar for “metagame” is so high that I ought not remember you’re the smart guy, I only assumed I ought not remember you’re the guy who orchestrated my last character’s execution.  If players getting back at players through characters isn’t “meta” but the other thing is, I’m as confused about your definition of “metagame” as I am about your definition of “groupthink.” 

Kushiel said:

 

 

 

Not sure what the secrecy rules have to do with (getting outed as a cylon for choosing bad crisis cards or spreading around treachery).

 

 

My point is that the cylon tactics you’re describing would get you busted at my table fast.  And since lax enforcement of secrecy rules is often the big difference between tables where cylon malfeasance gets detected and those where it doesn’t, I wanted to get out in front of that question by saying it in advance.  Humans don’t talk about face-down cards or use coded language to say more than they should at my tables.  But secrecy rules do not preclude me from pointing out that there is only a 12.5% chance of Roslin pulling two non-jump icons, or a 4% of both crises having a heavy raider, a 3% and 2% respectively of doubling up on the basestar icons.  And secrecy rules also don’t preclude me from asking Boomer if the card she left on top was “bad” or “good.”  It’s been my experience that spiking the crisis deck or sending treachery “cylon feelers” around with Ellen is risky as hell at a table full of competent and attentive players.

Kushiel said:

 

 

"Benefit me" abilities are a guaranteed way to also benefit my team, since they'll help my team no matter which one it is. "Benefit team X" are only good for me if I end up on team X.

If I am a worse player, or a worse-equipped character, than the sitting president who is on the same team, then Saul Tigh's "benefit me" OPG just hurt my team.

Kushiel said:

Bill Adama's all-the-time ability only helps humans and he can't even turn it off if he wants to.

Good call.  Downgraded.

Kushiel said:

(Just as an aside, I like to avoid highly specific hypothetical situations like this one, because anyone can make one up that "proves" their point, but they're worth even less than anecdotal evidence. But I digress.)

I'm afraid we're at an impasse then, because I like to avoid categorical rules that dismiss evidence types I don't like.

Kushiel said:

At which point good human players shrug and say, "Well, I guess it's a good thing we didn't forget that there was still a cylon loose, and so we weren't relying on that Blind Jump." Good human players will pressure other players to use their OPGs to benefit the humans, but they don't plan on other people using them, unless all the hidden cylons have already been revealed.The result of that is that stuff like Blind Jump can only be used to hurt the humans by not being used, which again, would be true of every character other than Cain as well.

I'm seriously mystified that you can categorically say  “good human players never rely on one player to do something” as if you’re always able to control it. I can't count the number of times this amazing game of ours has forced me into positions where I was at the mercy of a single character, a single die roll, top-decking a single card.  I mean, I know you win *a lot*, but if you’ve seriously never been in a position where you were down to your last straw, you are an even better player than I already gave you credit for.  My hat's off to you for that, but speaking on behalf of lesser mortals, let me assure you we sometimes find ourselves falling back to contingency plans.



#54 Kushiel

Kushiel

    Member

  • Members
  • 124 posts

Posted 22 April 2011 - 06:26 AM

Holy Outlaw said:

I agree that Jagonaut’s not talking about carrying grudges over from game to game, and I’ve never talked about that either.  But I have advocated for remembering player tendencies (e.g., my opponent is a strategic player, or is risk averse, or routinely half-asses until sleeper) and using those to inform my current interactions with those players.

 

If that works for you, great. It seems oddly metagamey to me to base your decisions on what's happened in past games, rather than what's going on in the current game, is all. I don't really see the point in caring whether Player X played very cautiously last game, if he's not doing so now, etc.

Holy Outlaw said:

If I am a worse player, or a worse-equipped character, than the sitting president who is on the same team, then Saul Tigh's "benefit me" OPG just hurt my team

 

Then why would you use it? It seems to me that you're failing to make a distinction between "good character abilities" and "good play" here. In order to for ratings of the former to have any merit, you have to assume that they'll be used well. Yes, if I use Character X's abilities in a way that hurts my team, then those abilities hurt my team. But that's just as true if I'd used Character Y's abilities to hurt my team, or Character Z's, etc. That doesn't mean anything at all when it comes to judging how good those characters' abilities are when used well.

Holy Outlaw said:

I'm afraid we're at an impasse then, because I like to avoid categorical rules that dismiss evidence types I don't like.

 

You: "In order to prove to you what a badass martial artist I am, allow me to relate the following story. One day, while walking home alone from school, I was ambushed by an entire clan of ninja. Because I'm so amazingly skilled in asskickery, I defeated them all with my open hands."
Me: "Wow! That's incredible. Did it really happen?"
You: "No."
Me: "Um...not really seeing how that proves that you're an amazing martial artist, then."
You: "Well, it could have happened."

Holy Outlaw said:

I'm seriously mystified that you can categorically say  “good human players never rely on one player to do something” as if you’re always able to control it.

 

Well, no, obviously there are elements of the game that are out of your control. But since they're out of your control, worrying about them is pointless and doesn't have any bearing on good or bad play.



#55 Kushiel

Kushiel

    Member

  • Members
  • 124 posts

Posted 22 April 2011 - 06:52 AM

It occurs to me that I didn't really answer HO's indirect question of what I mean by metagaming and groupthink.

For a game like Galactica, metagaming is basing your decisions on factors which lie outside the current game. So if you pass me extra loyalty cards because you've seen me win in the past, regardless of what's going on in the current game, that's metagaming. Or if Jane has often/always attempted to gain titles in prior games you've played with her, and you play assuming that she's going to do so again during the current game, that's metagaming.

Groupthink is the set of assumptions that a given group has decided to agreee on, often without realizing that they've done so. "It's always better to discard skillcards rather than lose resources" is a common groupthink that I've seen, for example. Violating groupthink tends to make those who subscribe to it suspicious of those who don't, and in a team-with-traitors game like Galactica, that can often lead to accusations and paranoia



#56 Holy Outlaw

Holy Outlaw

    Member

  • Members
  • 307 posts

Posted 22 April 2011 - 09:07 AM

Well, Kushiel, I could probably go back and forth with you a bit longer on a few of these points, particularly the definition of metagame.  (Is it really metagame in chess for me to remember that my opponent's sneaky good with knights and to keep an eye out for it?  Do I really have to fall for the same trick once each game before I begin to adjust for it?)

But on the other hand, I started this thread to hear how different players rate the relative strength of different characters, and you've answered the OP thoroughly, and then some.  I really do appreciate it.  I know I've been sort of tongue-in-cheek about your stated win percentage, but I really do believe you're a very good player and I've enjoyed the back-and-forth.

Which is not to say I'm done going back-and-forth with you on some of this that remains unresolved.  Feel free to keep it going, by all means.  I'm still here.

P.S. Would you, or anyone else, care to try your hand at a Tier ranking list, similar to the OP?  Or do you have a sort of fundamental objection to ranking the characters in that manner?  Curious to hear another perspective on this ... 



#57 Kushiel

Kushiel

    Member

  • Members
  • 124 posts

Posted 22 April 2011 - 09:20 AM

Holy Outlaw said:

Well, Kushiel, I could probably go back and forth with you a bit longer on a few of these points, particularly the definition of metagame.  (Is it really metagame in chess for me to remember that my opponent's sneaky good with knights and to keep an eye out for it?  Do I really have to fall for the same trick once each game before I begin to adjust for it?)

Metagaming in chess would be very different than metagaming in Galactica, if the former is even possible. Hence why I began my definition with "In a game like Galactica..." Chess is about as unlike Galactica as I can imagine.

But, yes, we can let this go.

Holy Outlaw said:

P.S. Would you, or anyone else, care to try your hand at a Tier ranking list, similar to the OP?  Or do you have a sort of fundamental objection to ranking the characters in that manner?  Curious to hear another perspective on this ... 

It's entirely intentional that I've kept my comments to be about the ways in which characters are ranked rather than the specific rankings. I'd be happy to share my thoughts on character rankings, though I doubt I'd use a strict tiered system the way that you've done, but I've only played two games using any of the Exodus components. As you've no doubt realized by now, I'm not so much interested in abstract and theory as I am in concrete and practice, so I didn't want to proffer opinions which weren't backed by experience.



#58 Cifer

Cifer

    Member

  • Members
  • 2,798 posts

Posted 22 April 2011 - 11:05 AM

For a game like Galactica, metagaming is basing your decisions on factors which lie outside the current game. So if you pass me extra loyalty cards because you've seen me win in the past, regardless of what's going on in the current game, that's metagaming. Or if Jane has often/always attempted to gain titles in prior games you've played with her, and you play assuming that she's going to do so again during the current game, that's metagaming.

So... what I'm not quite getting here... are you saying metagaming is bad? Because with a game like this one, I don't believe anyone will completely avoid metagame unless they're playing their first round with total strangers. Knowing a person's tells is metagame. Knowing how much they usually value certain things like jump markers, ressource losses, quorum cards or a cylon-free galactica is metagame. Even knowing how many of their bad decisions can be blamed on ignorance due to being new instead of malice is metagame.

BSG is largely about psychology, about assessing other people's talk and decisions and deducing something from those. I don't think many people can shut out what they know about others well enough to not let that influence their conclusions.



#59 Holy Outlaw

Holy Outlaw

    Member

  • Members
  • 307 posts

Posted 22 April 2011 - 01:36 PM

 

  This.  I made a comparison to chess because I consider BSG a strategy game, and chess is sort of the hallmark strategy game.  But maybe a better comparison would be to poker, where I have to use my opponents' behavior to guess their hole card while they do the same back and whoever does it better sooner wins.  I'd argue it's a universal phenomenon and critical game component to remember player tendencies in such games.  The common definition of metagaming is bringing considerations outside of the game into the game.  I'm not sure analyzing player tendencies is outside of the game; I'd argue it's baked into the cake.

 



#60 Kushiel

Kushiel

    Member

  • Members
  • 124 posts

Posted 25 April 2011 - 09:09 AM

So... what I'm not quite getting here... are you saying metagaming is bad? Because with a game like this one, I don't believe anyone will completely avoid metagame unless they're playing their first round with total strangers. Knowing a person's tells is metagame. Knowing how much they usually value certain things like jump markers, ressource losses, quorum cards or a cylon-free galactica is metagame. Even knowing how many of their bad decisions can be blamed on ignorance due to being new instead of malice is metagame.

BSG is largely about psychology, about assessing other people's talk and decisions and deducing something from those. I don't think many people can shut out what they know about others well enough to not let that influence their conclusions.

To me, there's a significant difference between basing your decisions on someone else's personality and on how they've played the game in the past. The former makes sense, the latter doesn't. If you want to conflate the two, I don't see any need to argue with you. Neither point of view is right or wrong; I just don't see any advantage in making decisions based on data that might not be applicable to the current situation.

This. I made a comparison to chess because I consider BSG a strategy game,

I think this explains rather a lot of our differences of opinion.

and chess is sort of the hallmark strategy game. But maybe a better comparison would be to poker, where I have to use my opponents' behavior to guess their hole card while they do the same back and whoever does it better sooner wins. I'd argue it's a universal phenomenon and critical game component to remember player tendencies in such games. The common definition of metagaming is bringing considerations outside of the game into the game. I'm not sure analyzing player tendencies is outside of the game; I'd argue it's baked into the cake.

See above. I don't disagree with your last sentence here, I just think that it's orthogonal to the question of whether or not it's useful to make your decisions based on previous plays.

EDIT: Oh, FFG forums. One missed endtag, and what's done can never be undone. I'll never stop coming back to you, no matter how badly you treat me, but a little consideration now and then would go a long way.






© 2013 Fantasy Flight Publishing, Inc. Fantasy Flight Games and the FFG logo are ® of Fantasy Flight Publishing, Inc.  All rights reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Use | Contact | User Support | Rules Questions | Help | RSS