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Don't like the CFB, going back to attack cards


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#1 dakuth

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Posted 24 February 2013 - 03:42 PM

I think most people disagree with me, but I think Exodus CFB (without Pegasus at least…) is hugely in favour of the humans. Our Humans had essentially never won a game until we introduced the CFB, then afterwards they won several in a row, all by gaming the board. It requires a small amount luck, but typically humans just have to:

1. Try and get a single basestar on the board. If you get two, nuke one, and leave the other. (If you're feeling really confident, shoot it with galactica's guns to damage it a little.) This halts the pursuit track, and gives you a cake walk until the next jump. The cylon's only counter to this is to fastidiously roll on the pursuit track to try and get it right up to the last step (meaning the cylon can't do anything really more productive than wasting time moving the marker.) The basestar will prevent any further movement, so you can be assured that the CFB will jump across early in the jump track… having said that, it's not that hard for the humans, seeing the pursuit marker so close, to finish off the basestar (perhaps with their second nuke) in an attempt to get the CFB to jump in, then jump away immediately. Again, the pursuit track is back to the start, and the humans basically have a milk run until the next jump.

2. Have the CAG out in space, along with a couple unpiloted vipers. Escort all the civvies except for one at the back. With XO and the CAG card AND the far slower rate at which civvie ships are placed it's trivial to clean them up except for one to use as "bait." Even after the CFB jumps in, you usually don't have to worry about the raiders for a good 3 activations.

3. Allow the cylon/s to stack all the ships together in one space square so they are more formidable, and in an attempt to stop a lone straggling base star jumping across by itself on the third basestar activation. Then nuke the square with strategic planning giving yourself a better than 33% chance of wiping the entire enemy fleet out in one action. Or with 2 nukes, over 50% chance.

4. Allow the cylon/s to spread all the ships out on the CFB, so they can't all be nuked in a single strike then take care of them in dribs and drabs in your viper VIIs as they chase your single "bait" civvie ship

 

After playing our first 10-15 games with base, then the next 10-15 games with the CFB (mostly trying to get it to work without gimping the cylons) … we went back to the attack cards for the first time yesterday. I like the cards *a lot* better. Firstly, it totally removes the blatant "gaming" of the system, and secondly it makes for some really awesome space battles - with a couple attacks cards there are raiders everywhere, vipers everywhere, civvies everywhere. It's chaotic, and desperate as the humans try to flee… if successful, then they're like "phew! That was close!" With the CFB it's very much a case of - "ok civvie ships, I'll just mop those ones up, me and my 2 wingmen now have space locked down. No real need to kill anything desperately - we can just handle them as they come in."  "Oh yeah! A basestar activation!" "Oh yay! A single basestar! No-one attack it!" The cylon is spending his entire time thinking "How the hell can I time it so my fleet jumps in at a time that's actually useful?"

Don't get me totally wrong, the cylons have won quite a few exodus games, and often the CFB is instrumental - a lot of the time by just having the raiders on the board and activating the "damage galactica" roll - or if the humans are really under the pump and they actually can't get the civvies off the board due to higher priorities… but the times the humans have won, it's totally been because of gaming the CFB and the cylon having bad luck in being able to get it to jump at the right time. The humans are *terrified* of attack cards appearing at any moment, and not at all concerned by the CFB.



#2 subochre

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Posted 25 February 2013 - 12:46 PM

Your first point is definitely the one I'd be most concerned about, both in terms of difficulty and gaminess.  To me, the others feel less like "gaming the board" than "performing reasonable combat maneuvers," and even if the humans do end up with an overall advantage as a result, putting more of the combat situation under player control makes things more interesting for both humans and unrevealed cylons, IMO.

I know when Exodus first came out, everyone was panicking about the "crippled basestar" strategy, which seems to have been a false alarm--although it's certainly pretty dumb when it does happen.  A single fully functional basestar, on the other hand, is still pretty scary, even if it means the pursuit track will inch along until galactica's next jump.  (It's even vaguely thematic; consider the episode (Tigh Me Up, Tigh Me Down?) where there was a seemingly harmless raider limping around, and Galactica just sat there and collected telemetry.)  Spamming pursuit does seem to be the most effective counter for revealed cylons, although I dsagree that it's a waste, since it means not only a faster pursuit, but also more crises from a longer jump cycle, and you get another action with which to counter-game their attempts to corral the civvies or manage the number and location of basestars or raiders.  (Though FWIW, my only real complaint about the CFB is that "Move pursuit/jump and do another thing" is too often the obvious choice.)

As for the difference in mood, I find that the CFB and Attack cards accomplish different things; the attack cards are better for the "HOLY CRAP, LOOK OUT" response that you get from a really good ambush (which the CFB usually only provides in the late game, if at all), whereas the CFB is better for the "33"-style "uh-oh, they're coming, hurry" feeling of dread.  Ultimately it comes down to personal preference, but I'm definitely a fan of the latter (and find that, for all its bugs, the CFB has definitely screwed up fewer games than the Attack cards have).

One part of your post did surprise me:

dakuth said:

the far slower rate at which civvie ships are placed it's trivial

Obviously, a lot depends on the frequency of attack cards, but I've seen waaay more civvies get placed with the CFB than without.



#3 Skowza

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 06:52 PM

The problem we had with the attack cards, and reason we prefer the CFB is the totally random distribution of them in the Crisis deck.  Too many games played where an attack never happened, happened late game and didnt much matter, or 3-4 attacks came all in a row and overwhelmed us.  I feel like this would be even worse with Exodus Crisis cards in the mix; since there are no attack cards the chance of drawing one from the giant Crisis deck is reduced even more than it was with Core/Pegasus.  Sure, Cylons can waste their actions to draw two Crisis cards and resolve one, but since the Cylon attack icon doesnt count and the jump icon does, theres a good chance they are actually helping the Humans advance toward endgame; in some ways its actually better than a Crisis card on a Human player's turn.  And yes, the Cylon might get to choose a Crisis that doesn't have a jump icon, but they still don't get to activate their ships, and that jumpless Crisis would have come up on a Human player's turn sooner or later anyway; I could see it being more playable if you went back to Core rules on the Caprica location.  Add to that the fact that the Humans will just try to FTL away from any fleet that shows up and I feel like it would be heavily balanced in favor of the Humans.

If we went back to attack cards then I think the house rule would be:
Attack icons and Jump icon both go off if a Cylon uses Caprica location (more balanced than core or expansion rules, possibly forces Cylon to choose between giving no jump icon and not activating their preferred ship type vs activating the ship type they want but also giving jump icon?)
Civies stay on the board after a jump, still must be escorted off by a Pilot, still use CAG Title (prevents the old-school "just FTL the hell out of here" strategy to some extent and forces Humans to use at least some actions getting civies off the board).
Core endgame, no Ionian Nebula (and no NC, a really really stupid mechanic, it still seems to me like FFG playtesting utterly failed on NC)
And maybe no extra "You are not a Cylon" card in the Loyalty deck to ensure that Cylon-Human balance is maintained since, for example, 4 Humans vs 1 Cylon with these rules would almost certainly result in Human victory.

Were you using Pegasus when you played this game?



#4 Skowza

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 07:14 PM

Also, I just thought of this and don't know why I havent heard this idea from anyone else before:
I would errata Cains OPG to read "OPG, if at 6 or less distance, draw 2 civies and destroy them to immediately jump the fleet (even if in the red).  The Admiral randomly draws 1 Destination Card from the middle of the Destination Deck."

This gimps her a bit, but her OPG is a bit OP anyway since you can currently just Scout a good Destination and use ability to rush Humans to endgame.  Instead her OPG becomes a much more thematic "it doesnt matter where we jump, just frakking do it!" action… its not exacty a "blind jump" if you know where you're going to end up.



#5 Anacreon

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Posted 27 February 2013 - 02:56 AM

I like the idea of changing Cain's OPG to being a truly blind jump by picking from the middle of the deck.  After all, how do you scout a blind jump?



#6 dwightsboardgame

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 04:04 AM

I like the CFB. It makes for much better pacing as mentioned because the Cylon Attack cards can occur so randomly. I don't see how having even a single basestar on the board isn't a big deal. Having it shoot at us, launch raiders, or launch heavy raiders is a concern. I think I've observed a lower win-rate with Exodus than without, but I haven't crunched the numbers to verify.

I also like the nerfed Cain idea of not being able to scout for Blind Jump.



#7 Mephisto666

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 11:18 AM

Along these lines, as I mentioned I have played lots of Non-Exodus games lately and am using attack cards (having playing CFB for a year or so!).

Another "good" think about attack cards it Scouting/Roslyn/Sharon abilities, they can be more powerful, and more sneaky, and add more intrigue.  Roslyn draws two cards, and plays SCAR.  Is she a cylon, or was SCAR the least bad of the two attack cards she had!  Do you spend a scout to check, or just air lock her? 

It also makes… Caprica?… Cylon location better.  I almost never draw 2 play 1 in Exodus, but now you are cycling through for fleets - either to get one now or bring once closer to the top!  (Got 2 fleets in recent game… which one to play?  what fun!).  

Hmmm… is it worth trying a house-rule game with a forced even distribution of fleets?  pull 18 cards, put in 3 fleets, shuffle, repeat…? 



#8 dakuth

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Posted 06 March 2013 - 02:22 PM

I'll start by agreeing with what Mephisto said. As the revealed cylon I used Caprica quite a bit in that last game, but had never with the CFB because - as pointed out - the jump track manipulation is the obvious choice. And that's really what I mean by "wasted." Not that its ineffective, that the turn is a no-choice turn, because you're nearly always best off having a roll on the track manipulator™.

And, yes, the attack cards can be random. I have never, ever, seen too *few* of them - but I have seen many people on these forums complain of that and statistically it must happen. My latest theory for why our Cylon:Human win ratio is 9:1 is because we have never had even a single "milk run."

When playing this game I did not play with pegasus, or exodus. I pulled all the new title cards, crisis cards, etc, out. Anything with the Exodus symbol as well as the extra tokens etc. This kept the attack balance (and I am now suddenly realising that perhaps Pegasus helps the humans mostly by simply diluting the crisis deck? Tangent: Our group has never found our pilots are bored - another common complaint around here. Like I said, never a milk run in our group, and since we can't simply escort civvies away, the pilots are usually desperately fighting off hoards of raiders to protect the civvies… and with Maximum Firepower, they're usually the preference for XO - although sometimes command gets a look in. Never weapons control though. That room might as well be "Storage.")

 

"One part of your post did surprise me:"

It surprises me, that it surprises you. How on earth do you end up with more civvies? You get 1… then 2, for a total of 3 per attack. Not only that, but they dribble in in literal TURNS before the cylon fleet arrives. Not only THAT, but the CAG gets to place them!? So compared to attack cards, not only do they often have less civvies to place per attack, but they are put in convenient places, and they don't arrive at the same time as the fleet (which seems also more realistic. Why can you "escort a civvie" from danger… when there is no danger present? Was toying with the idea of changing the escort mechanic to be more like Communications - or, as we originally thought it must have been - escorting removes both the civvie and the viper.) We have had the civvies spread out some times, because they can't  be stacked in the same location - but this is of little concern. As soon as we don't have much else to do and/or the cylon fleet is getting close, we just drop an XO on the CAG who promply removes 2 or 3. By the time the fleet arrives it only takes another XO to wittle down to the "bait"

 

The pacing: As mentioned, yes, there is the randomness. It certainly has not been a problem for us. I think we could easily play 4 or 5 milk runs in a row without feeling gipped. It would just feel fair enough for the humans (and I'd love that cylon players get a bit frustrated, by the 6th game both teams would be thinking very carefully about how to play… at the moment we just assume the cylons will win, and it's a game of "how close can the meatbags get?")

But for our group, the attack cards provide the "oh **** it's an ambush!", which is great… and the Cylon fleet WOULD provide that "tick tick tick" feeling…except it doesn't. More jumps isn't the answer. If the humans jump, the cylon fleet is just as close. In fact, jumping is often a BAD idea. I once, as a cylon, planned on pulling the FTL lever early, because the CFB was on the last point. By doing that, we'd jump, the CFB would very likely jump in in the next crisis, and I might even be able to explain away my behaviour. It was nice to be able to pull a fancy trick like that, but it seems pretty weird to me that by jumping away, I made the cylon fleet closer…

So what this ultimately means is, people aren't saying "quick quick, the cylons are coming!" People are saying "Hrm, ok, if we jump now then the cylon fleet will be X behind us, where as if we delay then Z…" It's strategic, but it is 100% just gaming the board. It's just like the lone basestar strategy (another tangent: Although it has been a thorn in the past, anyone in our group would certainly chose a basestar over a crisis. Basestars are comparatively EASY to manage, crippled or no… I mean, with only one "bait" civvie, raiders aren't a threat so launches and raider activations are just free turns. Heavies can be less-than-good, but by themselves, without other distractions, they're usually handled comfortably. The basestar firing is the biggest problem, but it's usually better than most things BSG will send at you!)

Personal preference, for sure - I just don't find this feeling of "dread" that I've read so much about when the board is so clearly designed to be gamed. I was curious as to why everyone else seemed to prefer the CFB over the cards. I started other threads on here along the same lines "why is everyone else's experience so different to ours?" I still haven't come to a great answer, unless it all comes back to the fact that our attack cards have, so far, ALWAYS resulted in 1, nearly always 2, massive battles per game (e.g. last game had every single raider, civvie, viper, and of course basestar, on the board before the first jump, and the final battle that killed the humans was shaping up to be just as large before they finally crumbled.)

 

One last note, if you're still reading: When I created this crisis deck, as I was placing the attack cards back in, I thought I better go to some lengths to make them "not clump." So I spread them evenly throughout the crisis deck first, then shuffled. I think I ended up shuffling them into 2 clumps :) But I'm wondering if pulling the attack cards out before each game to try and limit clumping might help some groups with their "milk runs."

 

 

 



#9 subochre

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Posted 08 March 2013 - 10:41 AM

dakuth said:

But for our group, the attack cards provide the "oh **** it's an ambush!", which is great… and the Cylon fleet WOULD provide that "tick tick tick" feeling…except it doesn't. More jumps isn't the answer. If the humans jump, the cylon fleet is just as close. In fact, jumping is often a BAD idea. I once, as a cylon, planned on pulling the FTL lever early, because the CFB was on the last point. By doing that, we'd jump, the CFB would very likely jump in in the next crisis, and I might even be able to explain away my behaviour. It was nice to be able to pull a fancy trick like that, but it seems pretty weird to me that by jumping away, I made the cylon fleet closer…

Yeah, I dunno…I agree that it's a weird result.  However, having never been all that clear on how FTL worked in the show, I'm not too worried.  It did seem to be the case that when they were running from a cylon fleet, the timing and execution of the jumps mattered a lot more than their frequency or how much distance they covered.  Like in "33," jumping twice in 33 minutes presumably wouldn't have gotten them any farther away, so instead they spun up their FTL, waited, and jumped as soon as the cylons arrived.  Odds are, if a canny cylon had tricked Colonial One into jumping early, they'd still be rebooting their FTL computer when the fleet arrived.

I wish I knew why you're getting so much fewer civvies than us.  Even three per pursuit cycle is far more than we would normally get from the couple of attack cards we'd see in a typical game.  I suppose if you really are gaming the pursuit track to a screeching halt, that'd do it, but even then, like I say, a revealed Cylon on the BSB should be both increasing pursuit and either populating the CFB or adding a civvie every turn.  It's true that an XOed CAG can keep that under control, but again, I see this as a virtue, since it makes individual players more powerful, gives them more opportunities for betrayal, and seriously, aren't there other things you'd rather do with that XO?  As for the CAG getting to choose placement, I don't see that as too much of an issue, given the placement restrictions.  I mean sure, if you're proactive enough, it's less of a deal; get them all in one place so that when you add two more you can just communicate them over and escort them off, but if you can spare the actions to do all this, then your game is already going far better than most of mine do burla.

As for anti-clumping strategies, I remember early on people suggested "Pandemic-style" distributions of attack cards, but this seems a little extreme.  I figure that if you are going to use the attack cards, then all there is to do is randomize them the best you can (whatever that entails) and embrace the possibility of getting two (or more) in a row, or none at all, and hope the numbers even out in the long run.  (Which they should, but the cards hate me complice)



#10 dwightsboardgame

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Posted 19 March 2013 - 04:32 PM

It would be interesting to have a Pandemic style seeding of the attack cards, then do one or two riffle shuffles to increase the randomness back up a bit. In addition, I think 33 should be seeded near the top of the deck, and if it isn't removed from play, it should get reseeded near the top. sonreir



#11 dakuth

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Posted 21 March 2013 - 01:01 PM


EDIT: Nope, can't work the quoting out on this board.



I wish I knew why you're getting so much fewer civvies than us.  Even three per pursuit cycle is far more than we would normally get from the couple of attack cards we'd see in a typical game.  I suppose if you really are gaming the pursuit track to a screeching halt, that'd do it, but even then, like I say, a revealed Cylon on the BSB should be both increasing pursuit and either populating the CFB or adding a civvie every turn.

 


 

Perhaps this is the reason. A cylon in our group would only rarely force the CAG to place a civvie (only when the CFB was impressively stacked already, so therefore all that's really viable is an attempt to have more civvies out.) The reason a cylon would rarely choose civvie placement is because they know full well a CAG can escort them easily. It *could* be a case of a prophesy fulfilling itself… but as a cylon, with limited turns, I'd need pretty good evidence to risk that move.

 


 

 It's true that an XOed CAG can keep that under control, but again, I see this as a virtue, since it makes individual players more powerful, gives them more opportunities for betrayal, and seriously, aren't there other things you'd rather do with that XO?  

 


 

It seemed good when I read the rules, for the reasons you say. "Oh, that CAG position is pretty cool with the way it can do this stuff." In practice, it was way too easy - completely eliminating the threat of losing civvies (well, for the most part. As I said above, it CAN get to the point where the humans can't spare the XOs and choose to sacrifice the civvies.)

 

Are there other things? Sometimes, yes, sometimes, no. I mean, you typically only need one XO to get the civvie situation completely under control. We can usually spare one XO per pursuit track cycle. When things are so dire that, no, the humans CAN'T afford it… that's when the CFB has won the game. That's when the civvies get wiped out. I find it pretty unsatisfying, and it happens a lot less than the ever-present threat of losing civvies that CACs tend to provide.

 


 

As for the CAG getting to choose placement, I don't see that as too much of an issue, given the placement restrictions.  I mean sure, if you're proactive enough, it's less of a deal; get them all in one place so that when you add two more you can just communicate them over and escort them off, but if you can spare the actions to do all this, then your game is already going far better than most of mine do .

 


 

Oh yeah, it's a very minor thing. I just added to the list of "things the CFB grants the humans over CACs."

 


 

As for anti-clumping strategies, I remember early on people suggested "Pandemic-style" distributions of attack cards, but this seems a little extreme.  I figure that if you are going to use the attack cards, then all there is to do is randomize them the best you can (whatever that entails) and embrace the possibility of getting two (or more) in a row, or none at all, and hope the numbers even out in the long run.  (Which they should, but the cards hate me )

 


 

 

 

Well, I think the ultimate goal is to have the cards perfectly random. The only problem with that is under a perfectly random scenario, you'd still get milk runs… so actually, what would be perfect would be CACs that are distributed in such a way that you get a fair number per game, but they appear random. I don't think such a thing is possible, but I thought a slight step up from "pure random" might be something like the poster above has suggested. Evenly distributed, then a couple riffle shuffles.


#12 JasX

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 05:18 AM

Hmmm I've played mostly with the CFB and found the opposite true of attack cards when it wasn't in play. Last game we had both boomer and rosylin in the game and for the first half all attack cards were pretty effectively filtered out leaving the pilots with absolutely nothing to shoot at. Boomer then became a cylon but I think we had a total of one attack all game and pretty much spent the entire game ignoring fleet activations due to no cylon ships in play without the CFB



#13 dakuth

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Posted 25 March 2013 - 07:45 PM

JasX said:

Hmmm I've played mostly with the CFB and found the opposite true of attack cards when it wasn't in play. Last game we had both boomer and rosylin in the game and for the first half all attack cards were pretty effectively filtered out leaving the pilots with absolutely nothing to shoot at. Boomer then became a cylon but I think we had a total of one attack all game and pretty much spent the entire game ignoring fleet activations due to no cylon ships in play without the CFB

 

We could use about 7 or 8 of those sorts of games in a row, to even the ratios a bit.



#14 warpish

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Posted 23 April 2013 - 06:59 PM

Not sure if anyone has mentioned this, but has anyone tried using the CFB and the attack cards in the deck as a variant?

Too overpowered for the toasters? Seems like you would have the best of both worlds with the control of the CFB and a few surprises with the cards.

Might have to give this a try.



#15 dakuth

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 08:11 PM

Oh, that'd be totally overpowered for Cylons. But I can't help but think you could fix it with some house rules (e.g. throw out half the CACs, and nerf the CFB .) Might be interesting like that.



#16 eriktheguy

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 05:40 AM

Why does keeping a basestar on the board prevent the pursuit track from advancing? Doesn't it still advance whenever light or heavies get activated?

 

We played with attack cards and CFB for awhile (not sure if it was intentional or accidental). In my experience it made things easier for the humans, because you quickly get a very full CFB which means component limitations pop up and the attack cards do next to nothing and basically count as an easy crises phase.

 

Does the pursuit track advance when basestars launch/attack but are unable to because of damage?



#17 Skowza

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 10:26 AM

eriktheguy said:

Why does keeping a basestar on the board prevent the pursuit track from advancing? Doesn't it still advance whenever light or heavies get activated?

Does the pursuit track advance when basestars launch/attack but are unable to because of damage?

No, see Exodus rules pg 13: Cylon track only advances when placing a ship on CFB, and that only happens when there are no ships on the main game board. 

eriktheguy said:

We played with attack cards and CFB for awhile (not sure if it was intentional or accidental). In my experience it made things easier for the humans, because you quickly get a very full CFB which means component limitations pop up and the attack cards do next to nothing and basically count as an easy crises phase.

The problem is that sooner or later the massive Cylon fleet will catch up with you at an inopportune time, and good Cylon players will make sure it sticks around and that Humans don't just jump away.  Attack cards have no jump icon on them, so while it may be an easy Crisis, it doesnt get the Human team any closer to winning.



#18 dwightsboardgame

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 05:59 PM

I disagree.

If the basestar is damaged and can't launch raiders or shoot when its activated, nothing happens on the main game board so the cylon pursuit track should be advanced.

Page 12:
However, when the rules indicate that “nothing happens,” resolve the activation according to the following rules…



#19 JasX

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Posted 09 May 2013 - 10:49 PM

dwightsboardgame said:

I disagree.

If the basestar is damaged and can't launch raiders or shoot when its activated, nothing happens on the main game board so the cylon pursuit track should be advanced.

Page 12:
However, when the rules indicate that “nothing happens,” resolve the activation according to the following rules…

 

The rules do not indicate "nothing happens", the wording is quite different for damage token descriptions. Plus I've had two quite balanced games recently where the opening human move was to wing the base star to limit early damage and raider deployment. Cylon's just need to make sure they manage the board -ie build up raider numbers and don't add a 2nd base star at the wrong time to self-stall with a single segment jump over.

On an unrelated note I've twice recently found my 'soft' cylon reveal move has been hitting FTL with the prep track at minus 1 and pursuit track maxxed out just to make sure galactica jumped BEFORE the fleet arrived not immediately afterwards…  Did work out quite well on both occasions :)



#20 The Thing In The Attic

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Posted 13 May 2013 - 07:36 AM

This is my advice, and I'm currently adopting this style of play

I'm playing the game with my group once a month first friday of the month:

 

Game 1 base set only: destination - Kobol

Game 2 base set + Pegasus expansion: destination - Caprica using Pegasus and Caprica variants  

Game 3 base set + Pegasus [optional] + Exodus expansions - destination - Ionian Nebula using Pegasus and cylon fleet, conflicted loyalties and crossroads variants

rince and repeat until

Game 4 base set  + Pegasus + Exodus + Daybreak - destination Earth

 

this way your group gets to play the whole lot over 4 months and experience both types of cylon attack mechanics. And each repeat cycle add different variants from the expansions or make it a campaign ie if a character is executed in one game then they're not available for selection next game

 

I had my first game last friday and it was a hoot, one of the best games ever - just the base set with six players. can't wait for the next leg of our campaign - Caprica






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