Jump to content



Photo

Alternative Method for Sympathizer Mechanic?


  • Please log in to reply
15 replies to this topic

#1 mi-go hunter

mi-go hunter

    Member

  • Members
  • 412 posts

Posted 27 December 2011 - 05:14 AM

Would the following for a 4-player (or maybe 6-player) game work:

Set-up is normal. There is 1 'you are a cylon' card and 6 'you are not a cylon' cards. After distributing loyalty at the start of the game, instead of automatically adding the sleeper agent:

1) Shuffle 2 'you are not a cylon' cards, 1 'you are a sympathizer, 1 'you are a cylon'

2) Seed the loyalty deck with a random card from the deck I mentioned above.

Will this be balanced? I thought it might be more interesting, as it introduces more uncertainty when the sleeper agent phase rolls around, yet giving the humans a fair 50-50 chance that they are safe so that the cylons are not overpowered.



#2 Holy Outlaw

Holy Outlaw

    Member

  • Members
  • 307 posts

Posted 27 December 2011 - 06:53 AM

Mi-go hunter,

I kind of like that idea. On the one hand, if you look at individual games within this method, most of them will be strictly speaking "imbalanced." (It's never balanced to have 2 full-blown cylons against 2 humans, nor is it balanced to have 3 full humans against only 1 cylon (maybe even a sleeper cylon). These will be your results 75% of the time with this method, which, as I say, is less balanced (in the literal sense of that word) than the rulebook method. So what you're prescribing isn't so much for balance as for thematic depth and intrigue, and I agree you gain those by going with this method over the janky sympathizer mechanic. My group's solution is to never play four or six-player games. Other groups I know of insist on having a cylon leader in such games. I'd say your suggestion is an honorable compromise, particularly for people who don't have access to the cylon leaders from the Pegasus expansion.



#3 subochre

subochre

    Member

  • Members
  • 475 posts

Posted 28 December 2011 - 06:04 AM

Alternatively, if you do have Pegasus but nobody wants to be a cylon leader, I seem to remember someone around here (JerusalemJones?) doing something similar to your approach; all they do is randomly choose from between the Sympathizer and the Sympathetic Cylon from Pegasus.  In my opinion, these are still the two least fun roles to play, so it's not that much of an improvement for it to be a surprise which one you're going to get, but it does have the virtue of making people less likely to metagame the resource dials, without being quite as swingy as your solution.



#4 mi-go hunter

mi-go hunter

    Member

  • Members
  • 412 posts

Posted 28 December 2011 - 04:05 PM

subochre said:

 

Alternatively, if you do have Pegasus but nobody wants to be a cylon leader, I seem to remember someone around here (JerusalemJones?) doing something similar to your approach; all they do is randomly choose from between the Sympathizer and the Sympathetic Cylon from Pegasus.  In my opinion, these are still the two least fun roles to play, so it's not that much of an improvement for it to be a surprise which one you're going to get, but it does have the virtue of making people less likely to metagame the resource dials, without being quite as swingy as your solution.

 

 

Thanks for your suggestion, but unfortunately I only have the base game :/

Is there a better way to somehow prevent metagaming the sympathizer mechanic other than the idea I posted above (using only the base set)?



#5 mi-go hunter

mi-go hunter

    Member

  • Members
  • 412 posts

Posted 28 December 2011 - 04:07 PM

Holy Outlaw said:

Mi-go hunter,

I kind of like that idea. On the one hand, if you look at individual games within this method, most of them will be strictly speaking "imbalanced." (It's never balanced to have 2 full-blown cylons against 2 humans, nor is it balanced to have 3 full humans against only 1 cylon (maybe even a sleeper cylon). These will be your results 75% of the time with this method, which, as I say, is less balanced (in the literal sense of that word) than the rulebook method. So what you're prescribing isn't so much for balance as for thematic depth and intrigue, and I agree you gain those by going with this method over the janky sympathizer mechanic. My group's solution is to never play four or six-player games. Other groups I know of insist on having a cylon leader in such games. I'd say your suggestion is an honorable compromise, particularly for people who don't have access to the cylon leaders from the Pegasus expansion.

I see what you mean. The method I proposed above will make the Sleeper Agent phase most likely swing victory to one side or the other.



#6 Holy Outlaw

Holy Outlaw

    Member

  • Members
  • 307 posts

Posted 28 December 2011 - 06:32 PM

Yes, that's a concern. Over time you might still wind up with results that are 50-50 or 60-40, but that won't mean that each individual game was all that balanced, rather it's likely to indicate that some were unbalanced toward one end and others toward the other. Admittedly, you control for having two cylons at loyalty with your method, but it's still imperfect.

I'd love to offer an insightful solution here, but I'm empty. I admit that the cylon leader mechanic from Pegasus is an upgrade. My group, as I mentioned, solves this problem by throwing our hands up and refusing to play anything but five player games. No help there, I'm afraid ...



#7 subochre

subochre

    Member

  • Members
  • 475 posts

Posted 29 December 2011 - 03:02 AM

There's the "No Sympathizer" variant in the optional rules, in which the starting resources are reduced and revealed cylons get an extra skill card.  My understanding is that this is pretty popular with six players, but a four player game with only one cylon would probably be a little weird.  ...Aside from that, I got nothing either.



#8 Holy Outlaw

Holy Outlaw

    Member

  • Members
  • 307 posts

Posted 29 December 2011 - 04:56 AM

 Oh yes, I forgot about that one. That's a good option for 6.



#9 wootersl

wootersl

    Member

  • Members
  • 123 posts

Posted 29 December 2011 - 05:31 AM

well another good option, if you feel the Cylons are more powerful in the 4 or 6 player game, is to increase the humans resources or put in rules that hinder the Cylons a little (like they cannot add skill cards to any Crisis cards the Cylons play). When I only had the basic set and the humans were handed their butts every game, I increased each resource by 2 and out of the next 3 games the humans lost twice, but it was a very close loss. So, something as simple as modifying those aspects could help. Heck, change the jump track. Add a -4 for the final stage and the humans could jump 1 square sooner (so you'd have a -1, -2, -3, -4).



#10 subochre

subochre

    Member

  • Members
  • 475 posts

Posted 29 December 2011 - 08:29 AM

Yeah, I mean, there's basically three options for four-player: 3v1 with a handicap, 2v2 with a handicap, and 2.5v1.5.  3v1 seems kinda boring, and 2v2 would be really difficult to balance (though if anyone does try 2v2 with an altered jump track, I'd be interested in hearing what happens).  So the question is how to specify half a cylon.  The problems with the sympathizer, as I see it, are twofold: 1) metagaming and 2) it's less fun to play a hobbled member of your team.  (Personally I'm more annoyed by the second of those, but YMMV.) 

The agendas from Pegasus do a pretty good job of fixing both problems, by giving the player a goal that partly helps the humans and partly helps the cylons, and replaces the intrigue of "which team are you on" with that of "which goal do you have."  The main complaints about it have to do with the details of these agendas; namely that some are far more pro-human or -cylon than others, the range of agendas creates less intrigue than there could be, and the other players don't have much reason to interact with you.  The good news there is that you can't heave a brick on the BGG forums without hitting about a dozen fan-made variants, some of which are pretty good.  So it wouldn't be difficult to implement one of those (or create your own) without owning Pegasus, just treat the sympathizer as a Cylon with a randomly determined agenda.

I know people have also experimented with having an unpredictable sleeper agent phase; I don't remember how, exactly, maybe after each unit of distance you roll a die, or maybe it's secretly determined at the start of the game, but that prevents people from gaming both the dials and the sleeper distance itself.  Of course, there's no telling what kind of balance issues this would introduce.

I'm just thinking out loud here.



#11 Holy Outlaw

Holy Outlaw

    Member

  • Members
  • 307 posts

Posted 29 December 2011 - 09:23 AM

Subochre, I agree with you about the second thing being more troubling. I think the design goal is that if the number of human players is X, then the number of cylon players is supposed to be X-1. So while 2.5 vs 1.5 might be best for balance, it really does suck to be the .5, notwithstanding how easily the mechanic can be gamed.

And while I endorse the cylon leader option, I admit that depending on the agenda, individual games can be pretty unbalanced with that method just as they would be with the method suggested by the OP.

I think we're mainly talking about 4's here that are really problematic at this point. The no sympathizer thing is probably as good an answer for 6's as any.



#12 mi-go hunter

mi-go hunter

    Member

  • Members
  • 412 posts

Posted 29 December 2011 - 06:45 PM

Someone already mentioned this in an old post on this forum, but what if the sympathizer joined the humans only if TWO or more resources are in the red zone? This will make it riskier for the human players to game the system, but would this house rule upset the game balance?



#13 subochre

subochre

    Member

  • Members
  • 475 posts

Posted 31 December 2011 - 03:44 AM

Probably; I mean, it might well make things balanced at the "sympathizer swings human" end, but it does so by widening the range within which the cylons get an advantage.  It's hard enough for the humans to win if the resources are just barely all in the blue; if one of them is in the red and the symp joins the cylons, they're toast.  Of course, If your group is cool with that--either because they already have a pretty high win ratio, or they just don't mind losing--then go for it.

But that actually gives me some more ideas: one is to go with that plan and just give the humans some kind of bonus to rebalance things...the most obvious tweak is to give them more starting resources, but this would be strange, in that it means that the sympathizer will almost always go cylon, unless the humans have really wasted their lavish resources.  The only other thing I can think of to bolster the humans (aside from making Caprica work like it does in Pegasus: i.e. humans get jump icons and ignore cylon ship activations), is wootersl's jump track suggestion.  It seems kind of precarious, but it might work.

Another option--I forget whether I've seen this somewhere--is to keep it so that it only takes one resource in the red to make the symp join the humans, but there is some other effect.  Say, if all dials are in the blue, the sympathizer sides with the cylons, but the humans also get +1 to every resource, and if one or more is in the red, the symp sides with the humans, but they get a -1 to, I dunno, every resource that's still in the blue?  Or just the second-lowest resource?  Or something?  With any luck, one should be able to strike a balance such that either outcome is desirable enough that nobody will waste their efforts on trying to hit a particular point on the dials.



#14 mi-go hunter

mi-go hunter

    Member

  • Members
  • 412 posts

Posted 06 January 2012 - 02:25 PM

subochre said:

Another option--I forget whether I've seen this somewhere--is to keep it so that it only takes one resource in the red to make the symp join the humans, but there is some other effect.  Say, if all dials are in the blue, the sympathizer sides with the cylons, but the humans also get +1 to every resource, and if one or more is in the red, the symp sides with the humans, but they get a -1 to, I dunno, every resource that's still in the blue?  Or just the second-lowest resource?  Or something?  With any luck, one should be able to strike a balance such that either outcome is desirable enough that nobody will waste their efforts on trying to hit a particular point on the dials.

Sorry for the late reply. Anyway, that actually sounds like a good idea! This indeed might strike a balance, thanks.

 



#15 subochre

subochre

    Member

  • Members
  • 475 posts

Posted 08 January 2012 - 04:05 PM

Cool, let us know what you come up with and how it goes

(The main issue I was having in deciding what sort of penalty the humans should get is that they probably shouldn't be forced to take -1 fuel if it's already running low; but I'm sure there's any number of solutions to that)



#16 EscapeArtist

EscapeArtist

    Member

  • Members
  • 5 posts

Posted 10 February 2012 - 05:44 PM

So I just played a game with some friends with a new variation that seemed to work pretty well.  This is for 4P.

At the midway point of the game, if there is a resource in the red, shuffle 1 You Are a Cylon and 3 You Are Not a Cylon cards together.  If there are no resources in the red, do 3 You Are a Cylon and 1 You Are Not a Cylon cards.  Then randomly draw one card out of the 4 you just made and put that into the midgame loyalties instead of the sympathizer/sympathetic.

In the case you have 2 cylons, the first Cylon reveals like normal.  The second Cylon that reveals goes to the Resurrection Ship and draws a super crisis but does not get the revealed cylon effect and cannot activate the fleet.

It worked out well in our game.  We had a resource in the red even though we had found and executed the cylon before the game's midpoint.  After the midpoint, there was still a LOT of tension amongst the 3 remaining players on Galactica, even though it ended up that none of us were cylons.






© 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