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#1 Just Another Skinjob

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Posted 06 January 2012 - 11:32 AM

Hi everyone,

I've just picked up the core BSG game today and I'm really looking forward to getting my mates round for a game soon but I just have a quick question regarding how the game plays.

Flicking through the rules it seems that, aside from the instances of space combat, the bulk of the game is based around card play and simply dealing with skill checks as described on pages15 to 17 of the rules. Is that actually the case? My friends and I are fans of Risk 2210AD, and I know from that game that what's in the rule book is only half of the experience, and when you're actually playing the game it's the constant alliances, deals and backstabbing that make the game a good social experience. Is BSG similar? Is there a lot of discussion etc while playing, or it it mainly a case of pooling your cards together? Based on the reviews I've read, I'm sure that's not the case, as they've all been really positive and made the game sound a lot more involved, so here's hoping that's the case.

Thanks very much in advance!



#2 Holy Outlaw

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Posted 06 January 2012 - 03:33 PM

 Just Another Skinjob,

The box calls it "A Game of Politics, Betrayal, and Survival." That's fair enough, and if I could change the second word to a more general term like "intrigue," I'd even agree that they're prioritized in the proper order. So while turns generally go in an A, B, C order that seems simple (move, take an action, draw a crisis), you are unlikely to find a player on this board who'll argue that repeating those basic steps is an accurate summary of the game experience. The unique combination of a cooperative strategy game (like "Arkham Horror" or "Pandemic") with an incomplete information game (like "Werewolf" or "Mafia") makes for a truly memorable experience. And if you've watched the show you'll find additional richness in how well the mechanics recreate the themes of the show. Let us know how your first game goes!



#3 flames

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Posted 08 January 2012 - 07:29 AM

You will love it!!!

If you have read the instructions each turn you have a crissis to pass. You know the cards you will use to pass it, but do not know the cards that the other members of the fleet use. At the begining it seems like a cooperative game to survive with your ship into the deep space, but you will find treachery at each corner of the space. Your friends might be Humans, Cylons against humans, and Cylons pro humans. You will have to talk a lot with your friends each turn about what can we do? Some of them will lie you, others will help you. You have to look them closer, looking what they do, what they say, which cards are played, ... to know them better.Do you want more? then play it!!!

 

Good luck!!!



#4 Skowza

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Posted 08 January 2012 - 11:45 AM

Just Another Skinjob said:

...and when you're actually playing the game it's the constant alliances, deals and backstabbing that make the game a good social experience. Is BSG similar? Is there a lot of discussion etc while playing, or it it mainly a case of pooling your cards together? Based on the reviews I've read, I'm sure that's not the case, as they've all been really positive and made the game sound a lot more involved, so here's hoping that's the case.

Its a very  social game, especially so for new players (maybe not quite as much for veterans since we generally agree on strategies... "So we're just gonna fail this Crisis, right?  Everyone dump your Treachery cards..." instead of the debating that occurs when the best strategy is unknown).  I have yet to play with anyone who doesn't love the game, but beware of sore losers (and sore winners too for that matter), they can really make the game unpleasant.  Hope to hear your group likes it!



#5 Just Another Skinjob

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 10:55 AM

Hey, thanks for the replies everyone. I've hopefully got the first game set up for this Thursday, I'm looking forward to it!

Glad to hear the social aspect of the game is important, I look forward to wheeling and dealing (and double-dealing) with my mates.

A couple of quick clarifications would be appreciated, if anybody has the time, just so I can get the session running as smoothly as possible;

First thought that springs to mind is whether all interaction and strategising between players has to be based on cards or whether it can be a bit more...organic, almost like roleplay I guess. As mentioned, when me and my friends play Risk, we'll often end up nipping away for secret discussions away from the other players to make pacts etc. Can this kind of thing be done in BSG? 

Similarly, is there any room for dealing and trading within the rules? Say I have an ally who I'm confident is human. We think it would be more beneficial for him to make use of a skill card I've received and so in exchange for him agreeing to undertake a certain action in his next turn, I give him the card. Is that allowed? From a fluff/immersion standpoint, I can see it representing a character giving another character an order or instruction to undertake on their behalf. From a gameplay point, it could open up even more strategies, and more excitingly, lead to some brilliant betrayals. If somebody who's earned my trust to the extent I hand them a card turns out to be a cylon, not only will I have been well and truly played, but it might also bring my own allegiance into question. I think it sounds great, but wonder if more experienced players can see it leading to balance problems.
 

Finally, and I guess this kind of links to my first question; I know the secrecy rules forbid discussing specific card values etc, so when discussing actions and how the players should respond to a situation, can they indicate their intent via in character dialogue? For an example; say there's a skill check which requires Politics and Tactics cards to pass. Lee Adama's player only has piloting cards left in his hand, and so legitimately can't contribute positively to the check. Obviously, he wants to avoid any suspicion as to why he's not going to help out, so if he told the other players that he'd have to leave this decision to them so he could focus on the defense of Galactica and the fleet (using his red piloting cards to keep the Cylons at bay), would that be acceptable? Or, is that a moot point, is it supposed to be completely secret as to whether a player contributes cards to a skill check? (i know they're played face down, but should other players not even see who's contributing to the deck?)

Oh, and one more quick question that's just cropped up in my practice play through...When the admiral looks at the two potential jump destinations, does he share this specific info with the other players? Or make his choice and tell them what the options were? I've just pulled two -2 fuel destinations and can imagine that in game, that would cast suspicion on me when we arrived at our crappy destination. Would people have to take me at my word? Showing the cards seems to defeat the point of having the choice.

Thanks for any help you can give. Sorry for the essay length post! I'm just really excited to get playing and want to make sure I'm getting as much intrigue and player interaction as possible, within the rules.

 

Cheers

 



#6 subochre

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 02:18 PM

Yeah, one big reason to keep the destination cards secret is that if sharing is allowed, it's a lot easier to catch the cylons in a lie (especially first-time players, whom you can probably stump just by asking for details about "that other card which was so much worse"), which kills a lot of the intrigue.  So, as with the other things, the most you can say is, for example, that it was "bad."  This also applies to your third question; whether it's destinations, skill checks, or scouted crisis cards, the more you're allowed to say, the less the cylons can get away with.  Some groups tend to get their butts kicked by the cylons and won't see that as much of a problem, but it does potentially make being a sneaky toaster a little less fun.

Similar concerns apply with trading cards between players, but in this case it is counterbalanced by the fact that the main way you have of sniffing out the cylons is through people's skill draws, so if you're passing cards back and forth, it's anybody's guess who could have played what into a check.  Not that this is a bad thing; in fact, one of my favorite characters is Ellen Tigh from the Pegasus expansion, who has a "give one of your skill cards to a character in your location" ability.  Within the rules as written, however, there is still plenty of room for trust and alliances; as you'll find, the most important skill card is Executive Order, and deciding whom to use that on (and when) is a pretty huge deal in itself.

These are just the standard rules, of course; you can talk about it with your group and decide what you think; I don't think it would break the game at all to play in any of the ways you suggest.  (Though, all things being equal, I tend to recommend seeing how the game plays normally before you start tweaking it.)



#7 LynchMob

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 03:18 PM

I got a noob question. (I just got turned into a sympathizer for the Cylons BTW-and I’m playing Tory, how that?!?!) But question:
DETECTOR SABOTAGE card is played and failed. Everyone in the research lab is sent to sick bay….
No one was in the lab, so Ignore this. But…”keep this card in play players may not look at others players Loyalty cards.”

 


First of all where do you folks keep these sorts of cards, there s no holding box for them, so I just laid it on the Research lab permanently.
But does this also mean that no Cylon detectors can ever be built to over ride this (none have been built yet. Can this card be overridden or removed??? So never look at another card ever again???.
 



#8 Holy Outlaw

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Posted 09 January 2012 - 06:45 PM

Just Another Skinjob,

For what it's worth, I posted a really nice long answer to your questions, with all the quotes layered in against my answers, and I hit "publish," and this janky forum threw it all down some deep dark well. Here is my abbreviated summary of that post:

1) Can you walk away for secret discussions?

I do not believe there is a rulebook answer to this question. Look at this as one player's opinion, but I consider it a violation of the spirit of the rules, which only distinguish between "secret" information (known to one player alone) and "public" information (known to all). I believe allowing secret communication, passing of notes, exchanging of text messages, whispering in ears, etc, to undermine secrecy rules and in fact all but ensure their violation. 

2) Can you deal and trade cards?

You can make deals all you want, but these deals do not have the power to supersede the rules, and they are not enforced by the rulebook. You absolutely cannot trade cards, though. That is strictly prohibited by page 20 of the rulebook, which forbids even communicating the value of a card in hand, much less passing it to another player.

3) Can I use coded communication to discretely reveal more than the "polar opposites" allowed by the rules?

While this is a grey area, my group would consider the example you give about a hand full of piloting cards to violate secrecy. However, I admit that many, if not most, players use coded communication in much the way you describe and consider it fine. It strikes me as a slippery slope, but this one really is best left to your group's discretion. I would encourage you guys to arrive at a consensus that's clear to all players before getting too far into your first game though.

4) What can the admiral reveal about the unchosen destination?

Nothing. He or she can call it "bad" and the other "good." (See page 20 of the rulebook, under "Cards in the Deck.")

Hope this helps!



#9 Skowza

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 02:24 PM

LynchMob said:

I got a noob question.  DETECTOR SABOTAGE card is played and failed. Everyone in the research lab is sent to sick bay….
No one was in the lab, so Ignore this. But…”keep this card in play players may not look at others players Loyalty cards.”

First of all where do you folks keep these sorts of cards, there s no holding box for them, so I just laid it on the Research lab permanently.
But does this also mean that no Cylon detectors can ever be built to over ride this (none have been built yet. Can this card be overridden or removed??? So never look at another card ever again???.
 

Its just a card that needs to be visible so everyone remembers they can't look at loyalty cards... it doesnt really matter where it goes, stick it on any empty spot on the board.  My group isnt particular about the arrangement of any of the pieces though, we don't even use the Kobol/NC/Nebula cards, its just one more thing taking up space on the table and we don't need anything to remind us that Sleeper occurs after we go 4 distance.
And yes, if you fail then you cannot look at any player's loyalty cards for the rest of the game.  Which is not necessarily a bad thing, especially if you are using Conflicted Loyalties where looking at a Loyalty card might hurt.



#10 Just Another Skinjob

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Posted 10 January 2012 - 11:47 PM

Thanks once again for the insights and help everyone. And also for the enthusiasm you project about the game! The only reason I asked about the clarifications I did is that taking the secrecy to the level where you can't reveal anything other than "it was bad" seems to cut down on the potential for weaving intricate lies to either fool those humans or to draw out a toaster!

Holy Outlaw, I'll definitely observe the rules you reference in your first 2 points. With the 3rd and 4th, I may see how my group feel as I think we could find a way to observe the secrecy rules (revealing cards will definitely be a no-no, as will any specific discussion about their effects) while still allowing ourselves to add a little character to the dialogue,such as "We sent Raptors to two locations, and if you think this place is bad, you don't even want to think about where the other one ended up." Simple example, I know, but hopefully that gets the point across. Also, that statement could still be an outright lie if the Admiral turned out to be a Cylon who'd ignored a jump top Ragnar Anchorage in favour of a dead planet! Thanks once again for your help though, and sorry your first response was lost to the internet.

The game's definitely on for tomorrow, there'll be four of us, which from what I read isn't the optimal number, but I'm sure it will still be good enough for us to get our heads around the game. Looking forward to it, and not just because it's an excuse to order take-out!



#11 Holy Outlaw

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Posted 11 January 2012 - 07:20 PM

Great, Just Another Skinjob. Glad to be of help. Let us know how your first game turns out! 



#12 Just Another Skinjob

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Posted 12 January 2012 - 11:41 PM

Well! That was ace!

 

The first game went off fairly hitch free, considering all of us were new to the rules. And sadly, one guy had to drop out last minute so we were only able to get a three player game, but it was still great fun.

A bit of a strange one for me as I drew a cylon loyalty card from the start, so I was a little conflicted. As it was our first game I wanted to experience the teamwork/suspicion aspect along with my mates, but straight away that was out of the picture. I decided I'd help out for the initial space battles first of all (I was playing Apollo) so I could strategise with them and get a feeling for that aspect of the game, and then once the skill challenges rolled around, that could be when I started to slyly subvert their plans.

As it was though, we drew 3 Cylon fleet cards within our first 5 crisis' - so my piloting duties ended up lasting a hell of a lot longer than anticipated and the first hour of the game was pretty much dealing with the attacks, taking a pounding and working on that FTL prep! (really evoking the feel of the show I have to say, it was nailbiting stuff)

After our first jump we then had a bit of a quiet period where I worked on building up some high value cards to toss into skill checks, although I was aware that any piloting cards would be attributed to me so I took a few political cards too.

Then, we were hit with another 2 cylon fleet cards in quick succession, and after a couple of turns were in a situation were there were 4 civvie ships at risk, there weren't enough unmanned vipers to cover them and I'd suggested that an executive order on me would allow me to get to them in time to set up a defense. President Baltar agreed and gave me the order, at which point I shot him in the chest, put the gun to my own head and then woke up on the Resurrection Ship, smiling at my newly aquired Incoming Nukes card! This was the high point of the game for me as the look on my mate's faces was priceless. We'd all been putting our all into the defensive plays, so I think they'd assumed that the cylon loyalty card was still in the deck ready for the sleeper phase.It caught them completely off guard and cost them 5 population thanks to the defenseless civilian ships being wiped out.

The rest of the game as a revealed cylon maybe didn't live up to the first half, although it was still good fun but I'd rather have still been included in the strategising etc. I revealed early as time was pushing on and we knew we weren't going to get the game finished, so we agreed that it was primarily a warm up and we'd play until they reached distance 4 instead of 8.

We called it a day at just gone midnight and food and population were both on 2. Galactica had 4 damage markers (thanks in part to an incredibly lucky attack by two raiders, both rolling 8s) and I think if we'd have played on I could have finished them off.

Both friends asked if we can get another game sorted for sometime next week, so that's great, I'm really glad they enjoyed it. It raised a couple of questions, which I may need some clarification on, but for now, I'll just say that it was a big hit and I can see that I'll be buying the expansions before long.

 

Good hunting!



#13 El Mariachi

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Posted 13 January 2012 - 06:36 AM

 Sounds like you had a great time! I've got my first game tomorrow- if no one drops out at the last minute it should be 5 players!



#14 Just Another Skinjob

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Posted 13 January 2012 - 07:12 AM

El Mariachi said:

 Sounds like you had a great time! I've got my first game tomorrow- if no one drops out at the last minute it should be 5 players!

 

Yeah man, it really was good fun. I've gone and ordered Pegasus based on that first play through! I don't think we'll start using the rules for it just yet, we'll stick with playing through the base game for a while, but I'm hoping I might be able include the new skill, Quorum and Crisis cards in the standard version of the game without too much hassle. Also, the plastic Basestars are too nice to miss out on.

 

I hope you and your group have as much fun as we did. Let us know how you get on, be interesting to hear from other new players as I thought I'd be the only person on here who hasn't been playing for years!



#15 Holy Outlaw

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Posted 13 January 2012 - 12:13 PM

 Just Another Skinjob,

Thanks for taking the time to type up the report. It was a really good read. I agree based on what I read that you probably had the fleet pretty much dead to rights. And you've got the right idea about what components to include from Pegasus. You can pretty easily mix in those decks without disrupting much else. We're here for the rules advice or clarifications if you need! 



#16 Just Another Skinjob

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Posted 13 January 2012 - 01:07 PM

Holy Outlaw

Thanks for the offer of any clarifications etc, I'm sure I'll be taking you up on that!

One thing that did come up actually, which I forgot to ask about earlier was whether it's possible to auto-pass a dice roll by using a skill card to modify the roll. So, you need 3+ to succeed and somebody plays tactical planning (that's the plus 2 to any roll card, right?) which means you'd need 1+. Is that an auto-pass? I know in some games a roll of a one equals an auto-fail, regardless of modifiers etc. It's not stated in the rules so we assumed not when my mate tried it. (plus I think I was still feeling guilty about betraying them!)

Is there anywhere people upload game reports by the way? I quite enjoyed writing mine up, despite it being a rush job while I was at work, and would quite like to read a few more to see how other people's games unfold, and to maybe pick up a few tricks!

Thanks all.

 



#17 Just Another Skinjob

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Posted 13 January 2012 - 01:07 PM

Holy Outlaw

Thanks for the offer of any clarifications etc, I'm sure I'll be taking you up on that!

One thing that did come up actually, which I forgot to ask about earlier was whether it's possible to auto-pass a dice roll by using a skill card to modify the roll. So, you need 3+ to succeed and somebody plays tactical planning (that's the plus 2 to any roll card, right?) which means you'd need 1+. Is that an auto-pass? I know in some games a roll of a one equals an auto-fail, regardless of modifiers etc. It's not stated in the rules so we assumed not when my mate tried it. (plus I think I was still feeling guilty about betraying them!)

Is there anywhere people upload game reports by the way? I quite enjoyed writing mine up, despite it being a rush job while I was at work, and would quite like to read a few more to see how other people's games unfold, and to maybe pick up a few tricks!

Thanks all.

 



#18 Holy Outlaw

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Posted 13 January 2012 - 04:10 PM

Just Another Skinjob, there is no rule about 1 being an auto-fail (or 8 being an auto-pass, for that matter, although I can't dream of a scenario where it would fail). My group doesn't even roll the die when we Strategic Planning a Launch Scout, for example.

As for game reports, you can find a nice list of them at boardgamegeek's forum, . You did a good job with yours though, particularly since it sounds like you were rushed. Congrats!






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