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More interesting/thematic sympathiser variant


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#1 Bleached Lizard

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Posted 26 November 2008 - 11:10 AM

I think it's generally agreed that the sympathiser is a sucky role to be lumbered with.  Not only that, but it seems to me that the negative abilities of both Boomer and Balter are backwards when it comes to how the sympathiser mechanic works - Balter has more chance of being a Cylon and Boomer more chance of being a sympathiser!

So I was thinking of this as an alternate way of using the sympathiser (still for 4 and 6 player games only):

In the initial loyalty deck setup, replace one Cylon card with the sympathiser (this means that in a 4-player game, there will *only* be the sympathiser card in the deck - no Cylon cards).  After the initial cards have been dealt out, place the Cylon card back into the deck.

The sympathiser remains hidden for the course of the game, just like a Cylon.

During the Sleeper Agent phase, check to see if any resources are in the red.  If so, then the sympathiser reveals and is sent to the brig.  However, the sympathiser is now fully on the humans' side and will share their victory or defeat.

If all dials are in the blue, then the sympathiser remains hidden and will share in the victory or defeat of the Cylon side.

The sympathiser may reveal as an action, just like a Cylon.  If so, they are moved to the Resurrection Ship, just like a Cylon, and are treated as a Cylon-allied sympathiser as in the normal game (i.e, no Super Crisis and may not activate the Cylon Fleet location).

In this way, Baltar is now more likely to be a sympathiser, Boomer more likely a Cylon, and the sympathiser has to sit through the whole of the first half of the game thinking about which side he should support more!

I'm also thinking that in a 6-player game, the first player to receive a Cylon card during the Sleeper Agent phase must *immediately* reveal (in the same way the sympathiser does in the normal game) in order to more closely mimic what happened in the show (Boomer "awoke" as a Cylon and immediately shot... well, you know who).

Comments?



#2 Bohemond

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Posted 27 November 2008 - 05:51 AM

I disagree with your premise that making the board game more like the show improves the game.  If you are suggesting changes, the should rise and fall purely on how the effect gameplay.  I am concerned that your rules reverse the intent of the sympathizer mechanic. You make the sympathizer a front runner, tring to jump on the bandwagon of whichever side is winningIn addition, instead of the current situation in which the sympathizer is forced to side with whichever team is losing.  Also, a sympathizer who decides to ally with the humans has no incentive to keep his alliegence secret.  .  You also need to address how you handle a symapthizer who subsequently draws a cylon card.  The ideas you suggest sem interesting, but they need some polish to function.

 

I think the idea of forcing a cylon to reval during the second half of the game is a bad one.  It alters some of the core mechanics of the game, and doesn't ahcieve any game play benefit. 

As a side note, I disagree with your assertion that the current mechanics are thematically inappropriate.  It is Sharon, not Baltar, who ends up spending time in the brig because the humans are uncertain about her connection to the cylons.  The game refllects that. 



#3 Bleached Lizard

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Posted 27 November 2008 - 09:55 AM

I was thinking about mechanics first, theme second.  Like I said, the sympathiser is a sucky role to receive; you're basically a stunted Cylon, with no reveal power, no Super Crisis and no activating ships - three of the most interesting things a Cylon can do!

Does the sympathiser really have no reason to keep his role secret?  A sympathiser who allies with the humans would still need at least one resource to be in the red for him to *truely* ally with the humans, meaning dwindiling resources.  And what if the sympathiser decides to ally with the Cylons?  Do you really think he'd *tell* the rest of the players that he is doing so?  So either the sympathiser can "come out" and say that he's allying with the humans (which the humans can't trust, 'cos that's what a Cylon-supporting sympathiser would say anyway) or he can remain secret and try to keep the trust of his fellow man.

A sympathiser who draws a Cylon card deals with it in exactly the same way as a Cylon who draws a Cylon card.

Forget the part about forcing a Cylon to reveal - I realised how dumb that was as soon as I posted it.  It would give away the fact that all other players who were dealt a card *before* that player are obviously not Cylons.  So scrap that idea.

I won't give away any major spoilers here but... have you seen season 3?

Anyway, I still think that this variant could make the sympathiser role more interesting (or at least less sucky than it is now) even if only because the player who receives it will be unsure about their role in the game for its entire first half... which is not only more interesting but also more thematically appropriate.

The only thing I would add is that maybe one more thing that causes the sympathiser role to suck is that its effect is too deterministic and metagamey - the human players can engineer things too well so that the sympathiser doesn't turn Cylon, which is also very anti-thematic.  Maybe this aspect needs to be worked on.



#4 Bohemond

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Posted 27 November 2008 - 02:48 PM

Bleached Lizard said:

I was thinking about mechanics first, theme second.  Like I said, the sympathiser is a sucky role to receive; you're basically a stunted Cylon, with no reveal power, no Super Crisis and no activating ships - three of the most interesting things a Cylon can do!

Does the sympathiser really have no reason to keep his role secret?  A sympathiser who allies with the humans would still need at least one resource to be in the red for him to *truely* ally with the humans, meaning dwindiling resources.  And what if the sympathiser decides to ally with the Cylons?  Do you really think he'd *tell* the rest of the players that he is doing so?  So either the sympathiser can "come out" and say that he's allying with the humans (which the humans can't trust, 'cos that's what a Cylon-supporting sympathiser would say anyway) or he can remain secret and try to keep the trust of his fellow man.

A sympathiser who draws a Cylon card deals with it in exactly the same way as a Cylon who draws a Cylon card.

Forget the part about forcing a Cylon to reveal - I realised how dumb that was as soon as I posted it.  It would give away the fact that all other players who were dealt a card *before* that player are obviously not Cylons.  So scrap that idea.

I won't give away any major spoilers here but... have you seen season 3?

Anyway, I still think that this variant could make the sympathiser role more interesting (or at least less sucky than it is now) even if only because the player who receives it will be unsure about their role in the game for its entire first half... which is not only more interesting but also more thematically appropriate.

The only thing I would add is that maybe one more thing that causes the sympathiser role to suck is that its effect is too deterministic and metagamey - the human players can engineer things too well so that the sympathiser doesn't turn Cylon, which is also very anti-thematic.  Maybe this aspect needs to be worked on.

I think a sympathizer would only publicaly announce his intentions if he allies with the humans, but even that is problematic.

I agree with your basic premise the the role of the symapthizer is less fun than being either a human or a cylon.  However, I think the way to make that more fun is to add unique mechanics and actions that the symapthizer can perform, without changing when you find out and your alliegence and allowing the player to proactively try to align themselves with the winning side (which, I think, disturbs the game balance).

 

As for Sharon and Baltor, the fact that Baltor starts with two loyalty cards makes it very difficult to tell what side he is on.  Even if you can see one of his cards, the fact that he has another unrevealed card means you can't be sure of his alligence.  That works mechanically with his power to look at another player's loyalty cards.  He holds the keys to the kingdom in determining alligence, and you can't be sure of him from the begining.  It works both mechanically and thematically. 

Sharon, on the other hand, can't be sure of her own alligence.  Is she a cylon or a human?  She has a high probability of switiching sides mid game.  That works perfectly well thematically. 



#5 Bleached Lizard

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Posted 27 November 2008 - 10:21 PM

Bohemond said:

Bleached Lizard said:

 

I was thinking about mechanics first, theme second.  Like I said, the sympathiser is a sucky role to receive; you're basically a stunted Cylon, with no reveal power, no Super Crisis and no activating ships - three of the most interesting things a Cylon can do!

Does the sympathiser really have no reason to keep his role secret?  A sympathiser who allies with the humans would still need at least one resource to be in the red for him to *truely* ally with the humans, meaning dwindiling resources.  And what if the sympathiser decides to ally with the Cylons?  Do you really think he'd *tell* the rest of the players that he is doing so?  So either the sympathiser can "come out" and say that he's allying with the humans (which the humans can't trust, 'cos that's what a Cylon-supporting sympathiser would say anyway) or he can remain secret and try to keep the trust of his fellow man.

A sympathiser who draws a Cylon card deals with it in exactly the same way as a Cylon who draws a Cylon card.

Forget the part about forcing a Cylon to reveal - I realised how dumb that was as soon as I posted it.  It would give away the fact that all other players who were dealt a card *before* that player are obviously not Cylons.  So scrap that idea.

I won't give away any major spoilers here but... have you seen season 3?

Anyway, I still think that this variant could make the sympathiser role more interesting (or at least less sucky than it is now) even if only because the player who receives it will be unsure about their role in the game for its entire first half... which is not only more interesting but also more thematically appropriate.

The only thing I would add is that maybe one more thing that causes the sympathiser role to suck is that its effect is too deterministic and metagamey - the human players can engineer things too well so that the sympathiser doesn't turn Cylon, which is also very anti-thematic.  Maybe this aspect needs to be worked on.

 

 

I think a sympathizer would only publicaly announce his intentions if he allies with the humans, but even that is problematic.

I agree with your basic premise the the role of the symapthizer is less fun than being either a human or a cylon.  However, I think the way to make that more fun is to add unique mechanics and actions that the symapthizer can perform, without changing when you find out and your alliegence and allowing the player to proactively try to align themselves with the winning side (which, I think, disturbs the game balance).

 

As for Sharon and Baltor, the fact that Baltor starts with two loyalty cards makes it very difficult to tell what side he is on.  Even if you can see one of his cards, the fact that he has another unrevealed card means you can't be sure of his alligence.  That works mechanically with his power to look at another player's loyalty cards.  He holds the keys to the kingdom in determining alligence, and you can't be sure of him from the begining.  It works both mechanically and thematically. 

Sharon, on the other hand, can't be sure of her own alligence.  Is she a cylon or a human?  She has a high probability of switiching sides mid game.  That works perfectly well thematically. 

I don't think your arguments are valid; I don't see how the sympathiser could choose to "proactively" align themselves with the winning side - if they try to help the humans too much, they turn Cylon.  If they try to help the Cylons too much, they remain human.  The sympathiser will *always*, ultimately, ally themselves with the losing side - that's kind of the point of the card!  And if something *does* come of it that means the sympathiser will ally with the winning side, well... that's Baltar down to a T!

Your arguments regarding Baltar/Boomer's alligence are still valid even with this variant, so no problem there.

In order to avoid meta-gaming I might (*might*) also add that *two* resources need to be in the red in order for the sympathiser to remain human... but this might upset game balance too much.



#6 Melonball

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Posted 29 November 2008 - 09:20 PM

Bleached Lizard said:

I think it's generally agreed that the sympathiser is a sucky role to be lumbered with.  Not only that, but it seems to me that the negative abilities of both Boomer and Balter are backwards when it comes to how the sympathiser mechanic works - Balter has more chance of being a Cylon and Boomer more chance of being a sympathiser!

So I was thinking of this as an alternate way of using the sympathiser (still for 4 and 6 player games only):

In the initial loyalty deck setup, replace one Cylon card with the sympathiser (this means that in a 4-player game, there will *only* be the sympathiser card in the deck - no Cylon cards).  After the initial cards have been dealt out, place the Cylon card back into the deck.

The sympathiser remains hidden for the course of the game, just like a Cylon.

During the Sleeper Agent phase, check to see if any resources are in the red.  If so, then the sympathiser reveals and is sent to the brig.  However, the sympathiser is now fully on the humans' side and will share their victory or defeat.

If all dials are in the blue, then the sympathiser remains hidden and will share in the victory or defeat of the Cylon side.

The sympathiser may reveal as an action, just like a Cylon.  If so, they are moved to the Resurrection Ship, just like a Cylon, and are treated as a Cylon-allied sympathiser as in the normal game (i.e, no Super Crisis and may not activate the Cylon Fleet location).

In this way, Baltar is now more likely to be a sympathiser, Boomer more likely a Cylon, and the sympathiser has to sit through the whole of the first half of the game thinking about which side he should support more!

I'm also thinking that in a 6-player game, the first player to receive a Cylon card during the Sleeper Agent phase must *immediately* reveal (in the same way the sympathiser does in the normal game) in order to more closely mimic what happened in the show (Boomer "awoke" as a Cylon and immediately shot... well, you know who).

Comments?

 

I think something that is routinely being missed when people talk about the fluff of the sympathizer is that the sympathizer doesn't represent a human who likes the cylons (ie. baltar).  it's representing a cylon that is sympathetic to the humans (ie Athena).  If the humans are doing well they say "frak you toaster" and kill you, sending you to the resurection ship and making you never be with your hu-man friends again.  If the humans are doing poorly they say "you're a toaster, you go the brig, but at the end of the day we need your help so join the human fleet"

 

mechanically the role exists because in a 4 and 6 player game the mathmatical edge for the humans would be to great.  The role needs to exist as a spoiler to keep the game from becoming runaway in one direction...which is ironic as the game is skewed in favor of toasters, i know.



#7 Smuggler

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Posted 29 November 2008 - 09:46 PM

Melonball said:

I think something that is routinely being missed when people talk about the fluff of the sympathizer is that the sympathizer doesn't represent a human who likes the cylons (ie. baltar).  it's representing a cylon that is sympathetic to the humans (ie Athena).  If the humans are doing well they say "frak you toaster" and kill you, sending you to the resurection ship and making you never be with your hu-man friends again.  If the humans are doing poorly they say "you're a toaster, you go the brig, but at the end of the day we need your help so join the human fleet"

Not that it effects the gameplay in any way, but I think you are wrong here. The rules (page 19) says "The 'You are a sympathiser' card represents a human or cylon that wishes to side with the other team". So the way I see it, depending on the resources being in red or not the sympathiser is either a human sideing with the cylons or a cylon sideing with the humans.

If it represented a cylon in both cases, then which side is the sympathizer playing for if sent to the resurection ship? If it represents a cylon sympathetic to humans, then you should be on the human side, but that would be a boring game since you can't do much on the cylon side that will help humans.



#8 Melonball

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Posted 30 November 2008 - 07:08 AM

OK I hear what you're screaming.

So if you're in the blue you're a human working for the cylons, if you're in the red you're a cylon working with the humans.

 



#9 Melonball

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Posted 30 November 2008 - 07:08 AM

OK I hear what you're screaming.

So if you're in the blue you're a human working for the cylons, if you're in the red you're a cylon working with the humans.

 



#10 F50

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Posted 30 November 2008 - 09:23 AM

IMO, the best sympathiser variant suggestion was on the old forums. I don't remember everything, but it was something like this:

The sympathiser card is dealt into the initial loyalty deck. Victory for the sympathiser depends on his other loyalty cards:

 

If the sympathiser is otherwise a normal human player:

The sympathiser shares in a close Cylon victory: The sympathiser wins if the humans are destroyed when distance is greater than or equal to eight.

The sympathiser does not share a human victory if it is too runaway: If at least two resources must be in the red (or perhaps even farther), Galactica has five damage tokens, or a centurion is at the last square of the boarding track, the sympathiser can win with the humans.

 

If the sympathiser is otherwise a Cylon player:

The sympathiser shares in a close Human victory: If the humans are really hurting when they win (Galactica has five damage tokens, a centurion is at the last square of the boarding track, at least one resource is down to "2")

The sympathiser does not share in a Cylon vicotry if it is too runaway: in order for the sympathiser to win, Galactica must be destroyed at a distance greater than six (or perhaps even farther).

 

The difficulty of the game may have to be adjusted in four and six player games, but that depends on how well the sympathiser balances the game.

 

In my opinion, it doesn't really matter if the sympathiser is marginally more likely to win, as long as it keeps the game fun for him/herself and the rest of the players. The "or perhaps even farther" phrase should be enough to balance the sympathiser to the other teams.

 

 

This makes gameplay sense (humans don't have to sabotage themselves, the sympathiser actually "sympathises" with the other team instead of making a reluctant or whole-hearted switch), and thematic sense (boomer is no more likely to be sympathiser than baltar, etc.).

 

Furthermore, depending on how strict the winning conditions for the sympathiser become (personally, I remember thinking that the conditions should be more stringent than what was proposed), the sympathiser doesn't merely ally him/herself with one side, but rather tries to achieve a third option, balance. Neither the Cylons nor the humans want that.






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