I've got both expansions, and I'm running a game (4-6 players) this weekend. All of my players are sharp enough to pick things up quickly, so I'm confident I have the whole field of options available to choose from, and we don't get together often enough to want to "waste" an evening experimenting. On the other hand, I personally have only experienced the base game and Pegasus, but not Exodus (and let's just assume this inexperience won't be a problem). So, with the whole field of options available to me, I come to you fine folks for some insight into the rules, options and expansion components that I should and should not include.
I usually try to ask more direct questions when starting a new topic, but that's a bit tricky here. Generally speaking, could you please provide comments on your experiences with different combinations, and any recommendations or "sweet spot" combinations (even for different player counts) you may have discovered? I'd like to get a clearer sense of what to expect to design the kind of game we want to play, without having to waste one of our precious, rare gaming evenings fumbling about and experimenting for ourselves!
Let me try to get the ball rolling with some questions, but any advice would be much appreciated!
- Is there anything in Pegasus that is IMPROVED by additions from Exodus? Like Cylon Leaders? I'd love those Cylon Leaders to be everything they were intended to be, and it would be nice if Treachery actually, you know, did stuff. In your experience, does Exodus show signs of being playtested and designed with Pegasus in mind, or are they more like two ships passing in the night that managed to avoid a messy collision?
- What Pegasus/Exodus options are especially harsh on game length? Time-between-turns? My players are sharp, but they're the antsy sort. Games can go long if there's action, if turns move quickly and/or if there's plenty to do when it isn't your turn. But if, say, the Ionian Nebula's Ally cards double the length of each turn, well, I'll probably leave them out. On the other hand, the Cylon Fleet Option looks like it's designed to keep things crackling whoever's turn it is.
- Advice on Upping the Paranoia? This may just be fallout from our 6-player Pegasus experience with a sympathetic Cylon Leader, which basically cost us an unrevealed Cylon and replaced him with a character that everyone ignored. I'm thinking the Conflicted Loyalties option is the most obvious thing to add; it seems simple, and is clearly designed to do just this. Any take on whether to include both Final Five and Personal Goal, or does one work better than the other?
- Cylon Leader vs. Sympathetic Cylon vs. Sympathizer? Assuming a 4 or 6 player game, any advice on which to go with? I loathe the Sympathizer because it truly sucks for whoever gets it and encourages silly pre-Sleeper metagaming, and I'm a stickler for flavor. On the other hand, I'm doubtful that a Sympathetic Cylon Leader will ever be worthy of replacing an unrevealed Cylon (you think this would have come up around the design table...). So I'm leaning towards the Sympathetic Cylon card as a midway between both worlds, but damn, I'd REALLY like to make Cylon Leaders exciting and paranoia-inducing.
- What about diluting decks? I know there were complaints that merely shuffling the Pegasus crisis cards into the main Crisis deck made those Pegasus cards few and far between, and I worry that the Exodus crisis cards might cause the same problem. Same goes for Exodus Skill cards drowning out the Reckless checks and making Treachery even more pointless.
- General advice on combining Exodus with (or without) Pegasus: I just want to reiterate that I don't have any experience playing Exodus, so any insights you have specifically from playing Exodus that may not be so obvious from a read of the rules would be greatly appreciated!
Okay, I think six is enough! Thanks for making it this far, and thanks in advance for any advice you take the time to provide, it's much appreciated!
PS (and I'll edit this as my plans change): As of this initial post, I'm considering running
- All three expansions, with the Kobol objective.
- Pegasus: No Cylon Leaders (*sob*), but a Sympathetic Cylon card, if necessary, that might create one. No New Caprica objective.
- Exodus: Conflicted Loyalties and Cylon Fleet options. No Ionian Nebula option.