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Tweaking Cylon Agendas


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#1 Anacreon

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Posted 29 January 2012 - 06:12 PM

The Cylon agendas have been rightly criticized.  Seeing as how there is diminishing likelihood that FFG will come out with a new "Earth" expansion and that even if they did it would not necessarily mean new Cylon agendas, our game group has been considering on our own how to rebalance the Cylon agendas with the least amount of radical alteration.  (For what it's worth, we play a variant where the Sympathetic Cylon may get a Sympathetic or Hostile agenda, not just the Sympathetic agenda, depending on if the resources are all blue or at least one red, respectively, when the sleeper phase arrives.).

So, below are the Cylon agendas and the tweaks I've heard suggested or am suggesting myself.  Your ideas?

Sympathetic Agendas

 

Guide Them to Destiny”
The humans have won, and
Population and morale values are within 2 of each other.

 

     issue: a little dull... tweak: Could make it "Population, morale, and food all within 2 [3?] of each other."

 

 

“Prove Their Worth”
The humans have won, and
At least 5 raptors/vipers are damaged or destroyed.

   tweak:  At least 7 raptors/vipers are damaged or destroyed.

 

 

“Join the Colonials”
The humans have won, and
You are Infiltrating and not in the "Brig" or "Detention."

   issue: This one's just a total gimme to the humans.  What to do?

 

 

Convert the Infidels”
The humans have won, and
All resources are at 3 or lower.

   possible tweak: All resources are at 4 or lower.

 

 

“Salvage Equipment”
The Cylons have won, and
2 or fewer Galactica locations are damaged.

    tweak:  2 or fewer Galactica or Pegasus locations are damaged, and

                 2 or fewer vipers are damaged.

 

“The Illusion of Hope”
The Cylons have won, and
6 or more units of distance have been traveled.

    tweak: 8 units of distance have been traveled.

 

Hostile Agendas

 

“Genocide”
The Cylons have won, and
Both food and population are at 2 or lower.

 

“Reduce Them to Ruins”
The Cylons have won, and
4 or more Galactica and/or Pegasus locations are damaged, and
Morale is at 3 or lower.

 

“Show Their True Nature”
The Cylons have won, and
Either you are in the "Brig" or "Detention" or you have been executed at least once.

    issue: what's to hold them back from being full on evil?

 

 

“Siege Warfare”
The Cylons have won, and
Every resource is half or lower (in the red).

    possible tweak: Every resource is at 3 or lower.

 

 

“Grant Mercy”
The humans have won, and
Population, morale, or food is at 2 or lower.

 

“Mutual Annihilation”
The humans have won, and
You have played a Super Crisis Card.

    tweak: You have played two Super Crisis Cards, and

                 Two or more Galactica or Pegasus locations are damaged.

 

 



#2 Eunomiac

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 04:05 PM

You've got a partner in fixing the Cylon Leader Agendas, if you want one!  I've been frustrated by them ever since they came out, and have been contemplating all sorts of changes to make CLs (and Sympathetic Cylons) play better.

The Agendas are seriously flawed in at least three ways:

  1. They are terribly unbalanced, as you point out. A drunken illiterate could play "Join The Colonials" in their sleep, but the poor sap with "Guide Them To Their Destiny" may as well just give up.  Moreover, drawing a Sympathetic "cylons win" Agenda or a Hostile "humans win" Agenda absolutely cripples the balance of the whole game, creating either a 4-vs-1 cakewalk for humanity, or an impossibly difficult 2-vs-2/3-vs-3 scenario.
  2. They reduce paranoia and intrigue.  One of the defining features of this game is determining who you can trust.  The Loyalty Card/sabotage mechanic is so effective because it combines the risk of being caught with the possibility of escaping undetected; by contrast, a CL's Agenda tends to either be very obvious or virtually impossible to tell.  There are no logic games to be played with Agenda objectives, or any real investigative strategies.  The end result in most games is that the other players just ignore the CL.  Since a CL often replaces an unrevealed cylon—one of the most essential parts of the paranoia theme—this is a serious problem.
  3. They are outside the CL's control.  Agendas often require the CL to manipulate things they can't really control, like fine-tuning Morale and Population to a sufficient degree to satisfy "Guide Them To Their Destiny."  Those that don't, either are manipulable only if the CL makes it very clear what Agenda s/he is running (e.g. worrying about vipers or damage), or require the CL to do very little (e.g. "Join The Colonials," "Mutual Annihilation").  In all three cases, the CL's path is set, with very little room to maneuver or misdirect.

Balance isn't enough to fix these flaws.  The Agendas need to give the CL's more room to maneuver in interesting ways, and they need to make the CL's matter to the other players.

A fantastic solution to the last problem was proposed in the Razor Cut variant, which provides a full set of alternate Agendas:  Make everyone's victory dependent on the Agenda!  Razor Cut proposed three types of Agendas:  "Shared Win" Agendas, where the CL shared a win with whichever team was victorious, as long as they satisfied an objective unique to that team (requiring them to pick a side at some point); "Team Win" Agendas, where the CL was put on one side or the other, and that team could win only if the CL's Agenda objectives were satisfied; and "Exclusive Win" Agendas, where the CL would steal a solo win, making every other player lose, if they satisfied their Agenda conditions.  Furthermore, each objective appeared on more than one Agenda—so the CL worrying about vipers might be on the human team, or might be going for an Exclusive Win. 

On the downside, the Razor Cut Agendas are a little cumbersome, and require funny things like running two Cylon Leaders in 5-player games.  So I'm still looking.

What I want to do is brainstorm possible objectives that might appear on Agendas, and possible alternatives to implementing them (one idea I had was to deal a Loyalty Card to each CL along with their Agenda, from a "half-built" Loyalty Deck that affords a 50/50 shot of being on either team; then, the rest of the "You Are Not A Cylon" cards are added and dealt to the other players as normal). 

Once we've gathered a bunch of ideas, we'll be in a better position to fix Cylon Leaders.  I'll post some more of my ideas tomorrow; right now I have to get back to Skyrim. ;)



#3 subochre

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 05:26 PM

I disagree with Eunomiac on a number of points; in particular I think the Razor Cut solution is a bit of an overreaction, in that it makes the CL matter far more than anyone else in the game.  Meanwhile, I'm more optimistic about the possibility of a balancing solution.  For example, I don't think that balance is necessarily crippled by having the a hostile cylon draw a "humans win" agenda or vice versa; the win conditions just need to be that much harsher in order to get the person to act more cylon-like.  (In that way, the intrigue is also preserved; "they just sank a resource check; are they planning to Grant Mercy, or are they engaging in Siege Warfare, and can we afford to take that chance" etc).

The simplest solution I've come up with is one that corrects what strike me as the most glaringly problematic agendas, namely Join the Colonials and Mutual Annihilation, the former being (as you note) pointlessly unbalancing, and the latter being overly scripted and un-fun.  So what I do is put the agenda cards in opaque sleeves (so you can't see from the back whether it's a 4/6 or a 5-player agenda) and then just replace Join the Colonials with Grant Mercy if I need a sympathetic agenda, and Mutual Annihilation with Prove Their Worth for a hostile agenda.  This isn't great for balance, mind you, as a cylon who is trying to eliminate raptors and vipers isn't exactly as hostile as one who is trying to do the same to food and population.  However, given how much of the game is subject to chance already, I'm inclined to let it slide rather than pursue a more radical solution.



#4 Holy Outlaw

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 05:27 PM

Funny; I was typing this before subochre's post. When I hit "submit," I got a warning. Instead of reading and revising, I'm just posting anyway. Sorry in advance for any redundancies:

I agree with Anacreon on the current agendas' issues, and with Eunomaniac on the principles of the whole thing. Far be it for me to criticize a labor of love like Razor Cut, particularly when it had so many good ideas in it, but it's true that the agenda fixes fixed some things and broke others, so the issue needs more attention. The greatest problem I have with the agendas is basically Eunomaniac's point #1, which I'd phrase like this: The first part of the agenda (which side I'm on) is 90% of the agenda's importance, while the second part (my additional conditions) is 10%. As for those additional conditions, some are impossible, some are ridiculous easy, some are realistic but out of my control, and a couple are kind of fun and interactive. Note that the other players generally care less what my additional conditions are; they just want to know which side I'm on, and although I sometimes act coy about that, there's really very little game-based incentive for me to do so, since it's very hard for other players to punish me. 

As for potential solutions, it's true that Razor Cut points the way. There needs to be additional information of import to all players on the agenda, to preserve intrigue and make the cylon leader more of a free agent / wild card. The problem with the Razor Cut agendas is that the *only* thing that matters to the table is often the cylon leader's agenda, which tips the scale too far. It's like it went from the old problem of the sympathizer being .5 of a player to everyone but the cylon leader being .5 of a player. That's too extreme, but it's got the morsel of the solution in it, I'd say. 



#5 subochre

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Posted 30 January 2012 - 05:31 PM

Ha, and on top of that I was just fixing a typo when you posted, so now it's going to cause that annoying "unread topic" bug.  Sorry, all.



#6 Eunomiac

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 09:07 AM

I concede your point about the Team Win Agendas from Razor Cut:  They do make the CL the most important player at the table, and that's not a good thing.  I suppose our table is alright with that because we don't play with Agendas very often, but if our goal is to make CLs a worthy part of any game, then the pendulum can't swing too far in their direction.

I also agree that balance should be possible by tweaking objectives and by making the "offside" Agendas (i.e. hostile "humans win" / sympathetic "Cylons win") more destructive to the CL's team (I especially like Anacreon's tweak to "The Illusion of Hope," raising the required distance to 8.)

This still leaves my other two points:  the Agendas don't promote paranoia and intrigue, and their objectives don't really give the CL much room to deviously maneuver.  For the most part, you've persuaded me that we can improve these problems by tweaking the existing Agendas, rather than reinventing the wheel.  But I do think we should open ourselves to entirely different objectives, rather than restricting our tweaks to adjusting numbers and remixing the existing objectives.  This is why I still propose we brainstorm objectives for a bit, just to explore the design space.

As I see it, the objectives on each Agenda have to satisfy certain design conditions (this list is by no means complete; please add to it if you can think of other guidelines for objectives):

  • Objectives (and Agendas) are balanced.  Objectives shouldn't be impossibly hard or absurdly easy, and the objectives on offside Agendas should sufficiently hurt the CL's own team so that overall balance is preserved in 4-on-1 games, and games with equal numbers of Cylons and humans.  As I said, I agree that this can be done solely by tweaking objectives on the current Agendas.  These next conditions, however, might require more dramatic changes.
  • Objectives are concealable, without being invisible.  A CL should have a reasonable chance of satisfying his Agenda while keeping his alliance secret.  Likewise, the other players should have a reasonable chance of figuring out the CL's Agenda (or at least alliance).  Most obviously, no objectives should be invisible (e.g. the "do-nothing" objectives of Join the Colonials).  The best objectives would be those that require intelligent play on the CL's part to keep secret, while also rewarding intelligent play by the other players as they try to figure them out.  But "concealable" doesn't need to be inherent to every objective; some objectives can (and maybe should) be very difficult to hide... as long as they appear on multiple Agendas so they don't give up the mystery all by themselves.  This invites a different type of gameplay from the CL (misdirection, rather than subtlety), while creating the interactivity and intrigue that subochre pointed out:  "They just sank a resource check; are they planning to Grant Mercy, or are they engaging in Siege Warfare, and can we afford to take that chance?"
  • Objectives are fun and controllable by the CL.  Some of the current objectives are outside the CL's control, often feeling totally random, especially in larger games where the CL has fewer turns to operate (Guide Them to Destiny is my go-to example on this point).  Other objectives simply aren't fun, either because they require the CL to do nothing (Mutual Annihilation), or are so dependent on the actions of the other players that it's hard to fulfill them without breaking secrecy (Show Their True Nature).
  • Objectives matter to everyone, without putting all the focus on the CL.  This is the one I'm least optimistic about solving with simple tweaks to the objectives.  No matter what those objectives are, it seems to me, the other players only need to worry about which team the CL is on.  This just occurred to me:  What about including end-game sabotage actions on certain Agendas, similar to the penalties on "Personal Goal" Loyalty Cards?  "At the end of the game, if you satisfied your objectives, do [X]."  This would make the CL's Agenda matter (and would introduce the "should we help or hinder the CL fulfill their objectives?" question to the game), without putting all of the focus on the CL as Razor Cut's Team Win objectives do.  Also, it's flavorful in the sense that completing an Agenda actually accomplishes something concrete.

I'll get things started with the various objective ideas I've come up with.  These are obviously very rough and unbalanced; many of them probably have the same problems as existing objectives—it is brainstorming, after all, so maybe one of my bad ideas will give you a good one!

Manipulating Skill Cards in Hand:

  • You have at least one Skill Card from each Skill type in your hand.
  • You have a 1-to-5 sequence of one Skill type in your hand.
  • You have no Treachery Skill Cards in your hand.
  • You have two or more 6-Strength Skill Cards in your hand.
  • You have a total of 20 Strength worth of Skill Cards in your hand.
  • You have more cards in hand than cards in the Destiny Deck.

Manipulating the Destination Deck

  • The humans have made at least one 1-distance jump.
  • More 3-distance Destination Cards have been buried than 1-distance Destination Cards (requires keeping the bottom of the Destination Deck separate).
  • The humans entered the Sleeper Phase having traveled a distance of exactly 4.

Misdirecting & Confusing Other Players
(For these, we need a new rule:  At the end of any game with a CL, before revealing their Agenda, each other player secretly records the team they think the CL is on, and then reveals.  There should be some reward/penalty for guessing right/wrong, to prevent players metagaming their guess solely to frustrate/satisfy the CL's Agenda.  As an aside, I really like these ones—they have the potential to influence every aspect of the CL's gameplay, and would create very thematic CL's.)

  • At least one player guesses differently from the others.
  • A majority of players guess your team incorrectly.
  • A majority of players guess your team to be different from their own.

Miscellaneous

  • The humans have lost Population to FTL Control while Population was in the red.
  • You have activated FTL Control while the Jump Preparation Marker was on the "-3" space.
  • You have successfully executed the Admiral by activating the Airlock.
  • You have successfully executed a player by activating the Airlock, and Treachery contributed more Strength to the skill check than any other skill type.
  • At least five Civilian Ships have been lost to raiders.

Okay, that's it for now.  I'll keep thinking, and if I get a bunch of responses, I'll compile them into one list and start a new thread to bring more people in.



#7 Skowza

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 01:23 PM

Lol, it appears I'm all kinds of late to this party.
The first tweak we made to using the CLs many many months ago was not allowing them to be used unless it is a 6-player game.  With less players it creates the imbalance issue you guys have mentioned (3 humans + CL vs 1 sole Cylon were the worst games we ever played); on the rare occasion that we play 7-player, each player gets so few turns that the CL completing his/her objective is almost total dumb luck.  Subsequent tweaks included mixing all the Agendas together so there was a 50/50 chance of siding with one faction or another, and finally just throwing some of the Agendas out entirely after realizing some were just way too easy or difficult to complete.  We also house-ruled Cavil's OPG because it is way OP in my opinion.  I still think its fun to play as a Cylon Leader because regardless of who I side with or what Agenda I draw, I play the most chaotic character imaginable, doing crazy things like jumping the fleet with FTL from the -3 Pop spot for no apparent reason.  I think that type of strategy does give the CL some room to manuever because everyone is so confused by my antics they have no idea what to do.  It's kind of like Eumoniac said, misdirection rather than subtlety.

I'll add my thoughts about specific Agendas here if anyone cares to read them:

Illusion of Hope
Excellent idea tweaking it to 8 distance; its really far too easy for Cylon victory to occur after 6 distance and doesn't even require effort on the part of CL.

Mutual Annihilation
Currently it seems as stupid as Join the Colonials: the CL can draw a couple of SC cards, pick the one that hurts the least and then help the humans pass it, all the while playing a pro-human game.  At the very least it should require the humans fail  a SC skill check (dont have access to game components right now, there's only one or two SC that do not require a skill check, right?)  I'm not sure that the tweak listed above (you've played 2 SC cards and two or more locations are damaged) is any easier for CL to control than something like Guide Them to Their Destiny.

Genocide, Convert the Infidels, Guide Them to Their Destiny, Siege Warfare, Grant Mercy
Aside from Convert the Infidels, all of these can be very difficult for CL to control, I don't have specific tweaks to suggest at this time.

Join the Colonials
Obvious problems, this is one of the ones we don't use at all.  The best solution I can think of is requiring Resources to be very high since it really hurts the Cylon team when the CL just helps the Human team the whole game (especially if it's Cavil removing Basestars).

Salvage Their Equipment
Another one that seems way too easy for me, especially when playing the chaotic CL method I mentioned above, but we still use it.  Maybe it should require that a number of executions have taken place when the game ends or a number of Centurions on the track or progressed a certain distance on the track; this seems more thematic to me, because the Cylons would need to get in there and get their hands dirty to really "salvage equipment."

Reduce Them to Ruin
This one actually isn't bad imho, though its easier to do when using the Cylon Fleet than it was with just Pegasus. 

Show Their True Nature
As Anacreon said, it's too easy to just infiltrate at the beginning and play a brutally anti-Human game from inside the ship until they airlock you.  Hell, you could get on board and try to brig/airlock yourself over and over, eventually the Humans won't have enough cards in hand to fight it.  I left this one for last because it might be hardest one to tweak properly.  Some of the suggestions Eumoniac made, Airlocking people, requiring use of Treachery somehow, etc may be appropriate, but that seems to be pushing into the area CL have little control over, and I don't know whats a reasonable tweak for this one either.  So how's this for a radical (and cumbersome) suggestion: The Cylones have won, at least two executions have occurred (excluding execution by Crisis cards) and you have played (?) or more Treachery cards.

And like you Eunomiac, I imagine some of my ideas aren't so good, but maybe they'll inspire better ones in others.



#8 Holy Outlaw

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 03:07 PM

 Eunomaniac's way ahead of me on this one. I've read his most recent post a couple of times now and it's pretty clear-headed analysis. My group, like Skowza's, long ago restricted the use of cylon leaders, so my analysis isn't as fresh as it could be, but we did have a honeymoon period in which we played them quite a bit, and that was followed by a brief fling with the Razor Cut alternatives before we finally ditched the leaders altogether. But Eunomaniac's alternatives seem promising (and I agree that Anacreon's 8 distance fix to "Illusion of Hope" is brilliant).

Some other thoughts:

I like the idea of manipulating skill cards in hand, since it seems to fit thematically as something the leaders already do. It seems too easy by itself, but a nice condition to stack with others. Requiring a player to have 5+ cards, but none from their own skill set might be interesting, simulating an unpredictable character. Incidentally, these agendas will all be hard for Cavil, easy for Six, and medium for Leoben.

I like the *idea* of incentivizing Destination manipulation, but I don't like having to keep count of what's been buried (since some cards reshuffle), and I don't like the idea of a cylon leader's game being effectively over at the halfway point, so only the first of those three really works for me. I am interested in exploring this more though, because it does seem promising.

The guessing your loyalty sounds quite interesting. It seems it would be best to simply add that step to every cylon leader game, so that the players don't learn until after they've guessed whether or not it was actually part of the agenda to mess with them or not, right?

The miscellaneous ones work for me, but the Airlock ones both sound hard. Maybe my group doesn't Airlock as frequently as others. In my games, it'd be kind of hard for a cylon leader to get any kind of traction on a witch hunt they initiate. And eventually these agendas might nudge a cylon leader toward secrecy violations (a la "Show Their True Nature"). 

Here's a thought: would it be advisable to have agendas with, say, four conditions, but only three of which must be fulfilled? (e.g., Humans Win + Admiral Executed + Rainbow Skill Hand + Everyone Guesses You're Enemy) This could allow for some maneuvering and guessing, and maybe allow for agendas that include one component that's usually decided by around sleeper phase (like the 4-distance jump Eunomaniac suggests), which could be earned or lost early on, but would only restrict or loosen the noose on the leader, wouldn't end his/her game. Just a thought.



#9 Anacreon

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 04:06 PM

Interesting ideas, all.  And I've just realized how differently people can approach the issue of the Agendas when their game groups have very different experiences.  For example, our game group is a core of 4 people, and so we almost *never* play Cylon Leaders (we tried the first time with 4 and it was crap).  We've played with CLs about 3 times out of 60+ games, when we happened to have 6 players and wanted to avoid the Sympathetic draw.  We shoot for 5 players to avoid the problem entirely, but this happens only about a quarter of the time.  So, the other 75% of the time, we're playing 4 players with the Sympathetic Cylon sleeper draw with an agenda.  That being said, I realize that it means something very different from a CL agenda draw!  Whereas the CL starts off with an agenda they know the whole game, the sleeper with an agenda has just half the game to in meeting their agenda, albeit the important half.  On the other hand, because we play games with fewer people, the person with the agenda has a great deal more capacity to manage the outcome of the game.  All the talk above about not being able "control" the agenda, while not unheard of in our games, is far less an issue than it is when you have the larger player games you've experienced and the agenda is with a CL.  Also, because we have smaller groups, the person with the agenda has not been entirely ignored - their help or hurt to each side has been important to gauge by all involved.  The issue has usually been, though, that either their agenda isn't sufficiently mixed and they too frequently end up playing "all human" or "all cylon" a la "Join the Colonials" - that unbalances the game.  Obviously, this has some impact on how I've been thinking about these things compared to some of the rest of you.  Also, when you're playing with Exodus or not might make a difference.

That being said, mainly what I've been trying to do is come up with the *least* radical solution to the problem of the agendas.  That is, solutions that involve tweaks but not entirely new systems of play or game design.  This is not to dismiss the points made above by Eunomiac (whose name I keep reading as Eunomaniac ;) ), as I think coming up with better systems would be welcome - I simply don't know if our game group is going to be as happy with radical overhauls in the rule sets as with just coming up with "better" agendas. 

It seems to me that there are several ways of approaching the agendas, and they may not all be reconcilable.  You want them to be:

1) balanced - not turning games into massively unbalanced cylon vs human games; 

2) opaque - hard to guess, leaving *all* players paranoid and uncertain.  In practice, I think this means you create some amount of chaos....

3) fun - make them interesting for the agenda-based players to work with;

4) manageable - or "controllable," giving the player some chance of fulfilling it whether they start at the beginning or the sleeper stage; and

5) meaningful - the agendas impact play in some interesting but (again) balanced manner.

My first aim was to try to rebalance all the agendas, or make them all equally interesting.  But as I think about it more, my aim also has to be try to make - as has been mentioned by others - the agendas seem opaque to everyone at the table.  How to make them both all equally balanced and interesting but still hard to guess from one another?  From a balance perspective, the agendas should force a player to hurt the side they otherwise love to some extent, and the counterintuitive ones (the ones where the humans need to win under Hostile agenda, or cylons win under Sympathetic agenda) should in particular make them bleed their own side badly before flipping over (or make the other side believe in them until they sink in the knife).  But then the opaque issue arises: if you threw out "Join the Colonials" or "Mutual Destruction" then you would know never to trust the person being too nice to your side - it would be a dead giveaway that their agenda was, say, to get the humans to 8 spaces and then savage them, or hurt the humans down to 2 resources and then suddenly save them.  In some ways, the really terrible agendas like "Join the Colonials" do help out in one significant way: they give situations that totally mimic the counterintuitive agendas but with a different last minute outcome, meaning that the players will never be entirely sure if the nice cylon is going to stab them in the end or not... if the mean cylon is not, in fact, just looking to convert the infidels.  So, within single game experiences, they suck to have, but across multiple games they function as a way to shield the player's intent.  (that's what I'm think about right this moment, anyhow)  So... while my initial desire was to rebalance each individual card, I then feel it's important that the agendas not be too obvious. 

Initially, I wasn't so crazy about Eunomiac's "manipulate skill cards" idea, but it occurred to me a little later that maybe the "Join the Colonials" could be tweaked with just those kinds of (admittedly not very interesting or fun?) goals.  You help the humans, but you have to, say, get two or three 6 point cards and have them at the end of the game, or cards worth a certain total value.  Or perhaps you have to have two or three 3 point treachery cards in your hand (holding high point cards would subtly hurt the humans and drawing treachery cards would make people unsure of you).  Or maybe the "Join the Colonials" would say "You can never repair a location," or "You can never FTL" or "You can never activate Caprica."  Small, subtle things with some thematic logic, enough to keep people uncertain, but nothing really devastating. 

One thing I try, and would suggest everyone else trying, to avoid is anything that involves having to "count" something that is difficult to verify or would be obvious to players that the CL/symp is counting on the side, like "number of treachery played" or "number of vipers damaged."  It leads to the temptation to argue over it when the game is done ("No, you only played five").  Number of SC cards is easy to verify.  Number of dead raptors, vipers, or civvies is easy to verify b/c they're in the box.  Cards in hand can be shown.  etc.

I do like the addition of destroying a certain number of civilian ships for one of the agendas.  That should go somewhere. 

I also think, as Skowza mentioned, getting the Centurions involved somewhere is a nice idea, perhaps on Salvage Their Equipment, as he suggested.

Show Their True Nature sill needs some tweaking, though. Unfortunately, so far, all I can think of is that they do nice things like repair a certain number of locations or other things that - as I already mentioned - I don't want to have to count up and argue over.  Thematically, the idea would be that you did nice things for the humans, and this is the thanks I get for my trouble (brigging/executed is how it is in the current card, but it's just not enough - you should have to do something nice alongside the mean things that you do to actually end up deserving the brigging or execution). 

Well, it's late, and those are some of my additional ideas and responses.  Thanks guys, and let's keep it going.



#10 Holy Outlaw

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 04:21 PM

Anacreon said:

This is not to dismiss the points made above by Eunomiac (whose name I keep reading as Eunomaniac ;) ), 

Guilty. 



#11 Holy Outlaw

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 04:30 PM

Anacreon said:

 Thanks guys, and let's keep it going.

This. 

Though I'll admit that I'm coming at the conversation from the perspective of someone who finds the cylon leader agendas fundamentally flawed, and while I'm interested to hear about the slight tweaks (like the 6 to 8 distance thing we've all basically conceded is a good idea), I'm personally kind of wondering if we couldn't arrive at a more fundamental re-envisioning of the agendas. Maybe we could come up with both? A midway solution that satisfies the players looking for a tweak, and a bold re-envisioning for players like me whose group has long since abandoned the cylon leaders.

Frankly, I'm still excited about the idea of a cylon leader having multiple cards with individual conditions, drawing several and having to satisfy most. I don't know whether it would be "draw one from the 'Which Side Are You On' pile, then one from the 'Deck Manipulation' pile, etc," or whether it would just be "grab four cards and go," but I like the idea of multiple conditions, and I generally think the ones from Eunomiac's (Yay! Got it right! What do I win?) list are the type I'm looking for.



#12 Eunomiac

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Posted 31 January 2012 - 06:42 PM

Jesus H. Christ Himself said:  "THIS FORUM PLATFORM IS TERRIBLE AND EVERY FFG MODERATOR, SYS ADMIN AND WEBDESIGNER SHOULD BE FIRED."

Moving along, without the benefit of QUOTE tags because they **** everything up (bitter? yes, I just lost a whole goddamn post—not for the first time—to this ludicrously incompetent forum), the actual quotes of which I've actually had to repaste by hand—honestly, am I to start churning my own butter?!

Anacreon said: "... (whose name I keep reading as Eunomaniac ;) ) ..."

You are the first person on any forum, anywhere, who has not written my name as "Eunomaniac", and I mean that completely and unequivocally literally — everyone writes "Eunomaniac," everywhere:  Fark; Reddit; Boardgamegeek.com; here; ...seriously, you are person numero uno, to the absolute best of my recollection.  (I don't bother correcting anyone; my signature explains my symbolic religiosity to my satisfaction :D )

Holy Outlaw said: "... and I generally think the ones from Eunomiac's (Yay! Got it right! What do I win?) ..."

Sorry, I'm an ungrateful bastard whose only reward is a shout-out that was already claimed ;)

Honestly, just about to head to bed, but was tickled enough by the accurate recount of my handle to post. I'll try to add one constructive point, though: I'd love more input, for good or for ill, re: the "guessing CL's allegiance at end-of-game" idea that I've had percolating for awhile now. A mechanic that requires the CL to confuse the other players to the point that they are unable to reach a consensus as to the CL's loyalty not only strikes me as the perfect means to create that enigmatic feel the CLs from the show were so good at creating; it also would serve to balance almost any Agenda by inherently demanding the CL to straddle the fence between both teams.

Does anyone else have any ideas for new objectives? Just throw some out there; consider every mechanic in the game, or create new ones (e.g. secret polling of CL allegiances). Once we get a good number, we can divide them into "ones that are obvious" (and that would need to appear on multiple Agendas to keep things mysterious), and "ones that are less obvious but not invisible" (which could serve as the second/third objectives on Agendas, as the real objectives the CL would need to keep secret OR convince others of, and that the other players would need to—and could—investigate).

Because I totally agree that many of the ideas I suggested are terrible—but what they do accomplish is explore design space that the existing Agendas don't touch. I want to hear more terrible ideas that do the same!

 



#13 subochre

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 03:02 AM

Eunomiac said:

I'd love more input, for good or for ill, re: the "guessing CL's allegiance at end-of-game" idea that I've had percolating for awhile now. A mechanic that requires the CL to confuse the other players to the point that they are unable to reach a consensus as to the CL's loyalty not only strikes me as the perfect means to create that enigmatic feel the CLs from the show were so good at creating; it also would serve to balance almost any Agenda by inherently demanding the CL to straddle the fence between both teams.

 

I like it from a balancing point of view, but as it is, just taking a vote at the end seems a little too artificial and "werewolfy," but I'm wondering whether it's possible to create a variant that's more closely linked to the usual game mechanics.  I was thinking that skill checks would be an obvious way to do it; say, the agenda is effectively a crisis card that resolves when the last jump cycle starts, and the humans have to decide what to do with you.  They know what the colors are and that you'll live on a positive outcome and get sent to the resurrection ship on a 0 or less, but there'll also be other consequences depending on what card you have; maybe if they kill you by too great a margin the basestars attack, or if they trust you too much you end up nuking a civilian ship or if they're too undecided you blow up their water supplies etc (edit: there could even be conditions as specific as "no red cards in this check" or "no single card higher than 3").  That way their chances of victory (and, by extension, yours) are connected to whether you can convince them that you're on a certain side, while doing things that might or might not be at odds with that.



#14 Anacreon

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 09:13 AM

Eunomiac said:

Anacreon said: "... (whose name I keep reading as Eunomaniac ;) ) ..."

You are the first person on any forum, anywhere, who has not written my name as "Eunomaniac", and I mean that completely and unequivocally literally — everyone writes "Eunomaniac," everywhere:  Fark; Reddit; Boardgamegeek.com; here; ...seriously, you are person numero uno, to the absolute best of my recollection.  (I don't bother correcting anyone; my signature explains my symbolic religiosity to my satisfaction :D )

In fairness, I believe Subochre beat me to this by writing your name correctly in the third post! 

You may have missed it because he was busy disagreeing with you....



#15 Anacreon

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 09:24 AM

I agree with Holy Outlaw that creating both 1) a set of tweaks to the existing system and 2) an overhauled system altogether would be valuable, so people could choose which framework to use in future play. 

I also like Holy Outlaw's idea of a system - which sounds somewhat more than a tweak but something less than an entire overhaul - that would have the person with agenda draw multiple cards from amongst a deck of single agenda items (or several sets covering different areas of play) and the player would then have to accomplish either all or a certain number of the agenda items.  That being said, the immediate issue that I foresee arising would be incoherence of the agenda because it is made up of just a whole bunch of randomly distributed expectations, and not all agendas thematically would need to involve the same "sets" (e.g., card manipulation, damage to locations, etc) to make sense.  What makes the current agenda style nice in this regard is that the agenda is supposed to have some theme and the goals are in alignment with it. 



#16 Skowza

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 10:47 AM

Anacreon said:

Eunomiac (whose name I keep reading as Eunomaniac)

Lol, I only got it right b/c I recognize the reference.
 

I think we also need to make sure that all the Agendas are equally balanced for each CL.  For example, the idea of having to have certain skill cards in hand is going to be a whole lot easier for Leoben than it is for the other two.  Outlaw mentioned this previously, but I personally think it would be easier for Leoben who can grab an entire hand than for Six.  Then again, it changes depending on what other characters are being used; if its Cain and Roslin and a bunch of characters who only get 2-color draw, Six will have it easy, but if its Apollo with his 4-color draw and Adama with his OPG, Leoben will be better. I'm not saying the printed Agendas are currently balanced in this way because, for example, Cavil can Salvage Their Equipment a lot easier with his OPT.
And I agree that "opaqueness" depends on having the Agendas be similar enough that players cannot intuit them; one of the things FFG did well with the Agendas was printing the bunch that require resources to be at certain levels.  Players may know the CL is trying to manipulate the resource dials but cannot know specifically which Agenda.
Sorry if I'm stating the obvious and restating what others have already said, this thread has gotten quite lengthy.



#17 Eunomiac

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 11:04 AM

subochre said:

 

... That way their chances of victory (and, by extension, yours) are connected to whether you can convince them that you're on a certain side, while doing things that might or might not be at odds with that.

 

But the "guess what team the CL is on" objectives do more than just require the CL to convince the others they're on a certain team:  An objective requiring that the other players guess differently from each other would be far more interesting, I think.  The emphasis there wouldn't be on persuasion, but on confusing the other players and keeping them guessing (much like the CLs on the show).  I agree the mechanic could be a bit more elegant than simply writing down a guess, though.

On another point, what about dealing Loyalty Cards to the CLs, along with their Agendas?  Some Agendas would ignore them (placing the CL on a team no matter what), but others could defer to the Loyalty Card for team assignment, and contain different objectives depending on what team the CL's Loyalty Card puts them on.  The advantage here is that you wouldn't need a separate set of Agendas for hostile/sympathetic cylon leaders, since the number of human players vs. cylon players would be preserved (if the CL is human, then there's an extra unrevealed Cylon, and vice versa—with a few Agendas that ignore Loyalty Cards just to keep things from being too predictable).  Also, this would keep the number of unrevealed Cylons a mystery in games of any size.

But what about those objectives?  Anyone have any to add to the list I started?  We gotta start somewhere :)



#18 Holy Outlaw

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 01:56 PM

Eunomiac, I'm still ruminating on the potential additional agendas. I'll compile a list soon. But I have another thought to get out there for now:

If the "multiple individual condition cards" and "guess the CL's loyalty" both wind up taking hold, it would also be possible to have "guess one of the CL's conditions", with some conditions penalizing the CL for being accurately guessed. Now that would really reward opacity.

And Skowza, I realize now that you're right about Leoben having the skill card ones easiest. I was mixed up on the abilities. Goes to show you how often I use the CLs. 

 And I agree that there's some risk of losing theme with the "agenda salad" approach I suggested. They don't have proper names, and depending on what is drawn, the conditions may not cohere well. Still, I suspect the conditions more often than not would cohere, and I don't consider this a fatal flaw. Also, I agree that simply breaking out a pen and paper at the end of the game to scribble a few predictions is less than an ideal method of achieving our goal. Not sure the fixes for these complications, but I acknowledge that both are there.  



#19 Anacreon

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Posted 01 February 2012 - 06:48 PM

Here's where my thoughts are continuing to go with the "tweaks." I've provided some gut sense of the difficulty of achievement, the likely behavior of the player with the agenda toward the humans and the "opacity" or difficulty of discerning the specific agenda from other agendas within the set.  Critiques, additions, alterations, ideas are welcome.

 

Sympathetic Agendas

 

Guide Them to Destiny”
The humans have won, and
Population, morale, and food are all within 3 of each other.

 

Difficulty: High (low control).

Likely behavior: Benevolent but unpredictable, suspicious.

Opacity: High (could be confused with others).

 

“Prove Their Worth”
The humans have won, and
At least 7 raptors/vipers are damaged or destroyed.

 

Difficulty: Fairly Easy (focused task)

Likely behavior: Benevolent but reckless.

Opacity: Moderate (probably could be discerned).

 

“Join the Colonials”
The humans have won, and
You are Infiltrating and not in the "Brig" or "Detention"
and

You are holding two 6 point cards in your hand, and

You are holding six total points worth of Treachery cards, and

   [alt: You are holding two 3 point Treachery cards]

You may never repair a location. [alt: You may never give an executive order].

 

Difficulty: Fairly Easy (few tasks).

Likely behavior: Benevolent but somewhat suspicious.

Opacity: Moderate (probably could be discerned).

 

Convert the Infidels”
The humans have won, and
All resources are at 4 or lower.

 

Difficulty: Moderate.

Likely behavior: Unpredictable, suspicious.

Opacity: High (could be confused with others).

 

“Salvage Their Equipment”
The Cylons have won, and
2 or fewer Galactica or Pegasus locations are damaged, and

2 or fewer vipers are damaged, and

There is at least one Centurion on board.

 

Difficulty: Moderate to High.

Likely behavior: Hostile but unpredictable.

Opacity: Moderate (probably could be discerned).

 

“The Illusion of Hope”
The Cylons have won, and
8 units of distance have been travelled.

 

Difficulty: Moderate to High.

Likely behavior: Unpredictable.

Opacity: Moderate to High (depends).

 

Hostile Agendas

 

“Genocide”
The Cylons have won, and
Both food and population are at 2 or lower.

 

Difficulty: Moderate to High.

Likely behavior: Hostile, with special focus.

Opacity: High (could be confused with others).

 

“Reduce Them to Ruins”
The Cylons have won, and
Four or more Galactica and/or Pegasus locations are damaged, and
Morale is at 3 or lower.

 

Difficulty: Moderate to High

Likely behavior: Hostile, with special focus.

Opacity: High (could be confused with others).

 

“Show Their True Nature”
The Cylons have won, and
Either you are in the "Brig" or "Detention" or you have been executed at least once, and

Fewer than 4 civilian ships have been destroyed, or

There is no more than one damaged location on Galactica.

 

Difficulty: High (not as controllable)

Likely behavior: Hostile but unpredictable.

Opacity: Moderate (probably could be discerned)

 

“Siege Warfare”
The Cylons have won, and

Every resource is at 3 or lower.

 

Difficulty: Moderate to High.

Likely behavior: Hostile.

Opacity: High (could be confused with others).

 

“Grant Mercy”
The humans have won, and
Population, morale, or food is at 2 or lower.

 

Difficulty: High.

Likely behavior: Unpredictable, suspicious.

Opacity: High (could be confused with others).

 

“Mutual Annihilation”
The humans have won, and
You have played two Super Crisis Cards, and

Three or more Galactica or Pegasus locations are damaged.

 

Difficulty: Moderate (few tasks but hard to control damage).

Likely behavior: Unpredictable, suspicious.

Opacity: Moderate (could be confused with others).

 



#20 Eunomiac

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Posted 03 February 2012 - 05:25 AM

Sorry for the delay in replying, I don't want this thread to die because it's an important one; I'm visiting friends this weekend and have less time to ponder forum posts than usual.  I'm working on a response and will post it when I can!






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