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The 'optimum' game


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#1 Sausageman

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Posted 10 September 2012 - 12:32 AM

I've had BSG since it came out, and own both expansions (though I haven't experienced all of what Exodus has to offer).

Much of which the expansions add are optional rules, and the Pegasus expansion added two elements which I hated and won't be using again (the Cyclon Leader characters and New Caprica).  Reading through the Exodus rules, I was struck with the thought of both expansions together would add an inordinate amount of stuff to the game, to the point where it would be borderline baffling and certainly not good for beginner characters.

So, are there any veteran players out there that believe they play the 'optimum' game, cherry picking elements from both expansions, dumping stuff that doesn't work so well, etc.  And what are they?

Your thoughts are welcome.



#2 Holy Outlaw

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Posted 10 September 2012 - 09:15 AM

 Sausageman, 

I played a six-player game last night that included a novice in every sense of the word (to the game and to strategy games in general). I know you have expressed reservations about cylon leaders and I have quite a few as well, particularly when playing a five-player game. Still, I believe it is best to place new players in that role so they are immune to some of the intrigue and machinations; they know from turn one which side they're on and that it will never change; that reduces the strangeness for new players and makes it more like team games they're probably more familiar with. If they suck at the game on their first try, all the better: designers have always said that fourth or sixth player is intended to be "half a player" in terms of game balance, so a neophyte cylon leader unintentionally fits that bill very well, whereas one team being saddled with the dead weight of a bad cylon or bad human can be unbalancing and unfun for all, especially the new player who is likely to feel confused, ordered around, and mistaken when taking initiative. Our new player really took to the cylon leader role. She engaged in all the intrigue and recriminations as a sort of interested observer, occasionally weighing in and asking for clarifications.

As for components, we used: (1) all characters, (2) cylon fleet board, (3) Ionian Nebula. We actually used conflicted loyalties too since she didn't have to worry about reading them and the experienced players like them, but I wouldn't say it's necessarily part of the "optimum game" (though without the loyalty deck system from Exodus, you should certainly do something in your house rules about the overpowered effects of executions and, to a lesser extent, abilities that look at Loyalty cards). My take on these items is:

(1) Using all characters is fine, it really doesn't matter. 

(2) Cylon Fleet Board is neat. Conceptually, it is very easy to explain that you have jumped away from your pursuers but they're still behind you. The difference between jumping away and shooting down cylons is clear and the visual representation of where the "other team" is at is nifty. I think it clarifies, not complicates, board status for new players.

(3) Ionian Nebula adds an ending and NPCs from the show who are otherwise absent from the game, so players familiar with the show might appreciate the game as a fuller experience, but it also adds the complication of the trauma tokens. As a general rule, I would actually say that the best bet for a new player is usually Kobol. (We had a great experience with the Nebula though.)

Anyway, those are my two cents. Actual mileage may vary. Happy gaming! 



#3 Sausageman

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Posted 11 September 2012 - 12:38 AM

Thanks for the response Holy Outlaw.

I've noticed you made no reference to the Pegasus.  I tend to use that in most games now - do you not rate it?



#4 Mephisto666

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Posted 11 September 2012 - 11:27 AM

I don't have an answer to your optimal game, per se.   I think there are some nice combos out there, but a good part of that answer has to deal with the group and their tolerance/desire for game factors.  I think for a regular playing group Exodus Ionian can offer an added challenge, but for an infrequent group it's elements may not add up (Like game elimination, extra play time).

A year ago I played a game version I liked at a Con that was Base game, Cylon Fleet, and I think Pegasus Overlay for Cylons ship.  It worked well with beginner, kept the cylons happy, but kept straight forward rules, pilots busy.

I played several games this weekend with several people I did not know and I taught some new people.  We played lots of vanilla base game - which I ended up likely because it's been a while since I have!  For really new people, I recommend they play Pilot and if they are a Cylon, reveal quick.  As a pilot, they mostly just have to roll well, maybe scout, and learn the game.  If they go cylon, it's easy enough to give them (fair) suggestions until an experienced cylon/sym comes forward.  After that, I recommend support or Military that is NOT admiral to start.  We had someone who was military, and later they became Admiral (when Adama got brigged) but by then they had seen enough to "get" the basics of Admiral.  I think president is the hardest to play, as you have so many cards and choices - which you can't really get help with - it's a challenge for a 1st time player, even a 2nd time player depending on what happened there first game. 

Later, we expanded to Pegasus and even when that was a players 2nd game, they were a lot more comfortable with the few additions it brought - and pretty much every crisis was new already…   I did not due New Caprica since the games were already running LONG, and that is such a new group of rules.  The groups were not ready for Exodus!  haha

I say if you can get a regular group of players, you play with as much as you can handle and reliable fit in your time window.  If you are in a pick up game situation - experience level, enthusiam, and be clear on what an expansion brings, especially in time and hassle. 

I like Holy Outlaws idea of the Cylon Leader for a new person.  In a sense it's a Win-Win… no one expects the new person to meet their goal (win), and if they do! (super win).   My only concern is it is hard to "advise" them what to do without knowing their agenda…  but hey, they are new and probably just thrilled to be playing!  And as HO said, they mostly only hurt their agenda, but aren't laming up a team.  It makes me less concerned about "starting" with Pegasus version.

If there are lots of new people, I have just "run" the game and not played… to keep it moving, help with questions and advice, etc… not as exciting for me.  I have been working on a "demo" game that I can "run" that would rush threw the game in 60-90 minutes to get all the elements out, then start a "real" game…  so I would assign roles and loyalty cards, would start 2 jumps in, maybe a cylon reveals on turn one, guarantee a 2 jump, etc.   Rules explained on the fly, etc…  but get the mechanics of spaces and voting and ships out there. 

Any BSG game is a good game…hehe



#5 Holy Outlaw

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Posted 11 September 2012 - 02:54 PM

Sausageman said:

Thanks for the response Holy Outlaw.

I've noticed you made no reference to the Pegasus.  I tend to use that in most games now - do you not rate it?

Actually I forgot to mention it but we do use the Pegasus ship. We house ruled the method for Galactica and Pegasus receiving damage though, to keep the threat of human defeat by ship damage real (and to retain the value of blue cards) but we do use and like the ship.

Also, I agree with Mephisto666's recommendation of using the base game standalone for a new group and directing the new player to pilot. They can also play support but obviously shouldn't be president or admiral, if for no other reason than to avoid being faced with all the "President / Admiral Chooses" events. 



#6 Anacreon

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Posted 11 September 2012 - 04:32 PM

Holy Outlaw said:

We house ruled the method for Galactica and Pegasus receiving damage though, to keep the threat of human defeat by ship damage real (and to retain the value of blue cards) but we do use and like the ship.

What are your house rules for ship damage?



#7 Anacreon

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Posted 11 September 2012 - 05:10 PM

To begin with, our group has generally found that the five player game is optimal.  This is not shocking.  I imagine most players have found this experience.  We have four core players, though, and find ourselves unsure of we'll get our fifth wheel.  When we have an amazing six, we sometimes have one of the more advanced players play a Cylon Leader.  This is curiously different from what was suggested above (i.e., have a noob play the CL).  Our logic has been that it is difficult with six players to have an influence on the game to make your agenda work out, so an advanced player is most likely to have a chance at it.  Also, our advanced players are most hungry for "something different," and we don't pay with Cylon Leaders often.  We never play with CLs in 4 or 5 players - with 4 it's not very fun and with 5 it's a waste of a good Cylon.

We use all the characters and all the cards from all three games.  We use the Pegasus Cylon locations.  We use all the crisis cards except the CAG cards.  We use the Exodus Loyalty system, so there's always the chance a Cylon or Sympathetic Cylon card is not picked - and it does happen.

We pretty much never use New Caprica.  Just not a great variant.

We used to play with the Pegasus ship but have not been doing this for a while.  The ship is fine, but it's overpowered if you don't use anything from Exodus to balance out the human strength (it also makes pilots seem useless), and frankly we have not agreed in liking a whole lot from Exodus.  We've tried the Cylon pursuit board, but didn't enjoy it enough (admittedly, it makes pilots relevant again).  We've done the Conflicted Agendas and appreciated that it made things harder for humans, but still felt it was a meh part of the game.  We've used the Ionian Nebula and allies/trauma tokens and found one of our group really enjoyed it, but the rest of seemed more ambivalent toward it.  Ionian Nebula feels like it changes a lot of the game from the base game, and if you like it, that's great; I just don't think we've liked it enough to adopt it.  Maybe we just love the Base game dynamics too much. 

We end doing a lot of funky house rules, also.  I fear if we ever played with other people who knew the game, we'd be hopelessly confusing to one another!  When we have four players - which is about 2/3 the time - we change how the Sympathizer is used.  At midpoint, if all the resources are blue, the Symp gets a Hostile agenda; if any resource is in red, she gets a Sympathetic agenda.  Thus, always two cylons, but some ambiguity.  We also say that the Hostile variant cannot activate the Cylon fleet, as a small tweak to keep the Cylon team from being overwhelming in a straight up 2v2. 

We tweaked the Agendas so we have our own set of made up Agenda cards that are similar to the originals but more interesting to us.  I posted on this many months ago.

Recently, we started trying yet another house rule variant where at the midpoint we deal out a Sympathetic Cylon card but the person does not immediately reveal it but can action reveal per usual cylons (tho without any "reveal" and no Super Crisis) - and every human gets dealt an Agenda card and reads it along with their Loyalty card.  The Agenda card received is meaningless to anyone except the real Sympathizer.  Thus, we have two unrevealed Cylons and the mystery and paranoia - which is generally our meat and potatoes - is prolonged, for humans and cylons alike.  Now, I have assumed that this is a huge deficit for the Humans, and it must be - two unrevealed cylons late game could beat up on the two humans pretty badly.  However, in the four or so games we have played to test it out, in one of them it was not at all bad; in another, it was pretty bad to have two people who could screw the humans in the late game; and in two unlikely back-to-back games, the extra cylon was the unpicked Loyalty card (even when someone died and redrew, it didn't get picked).  We're going to keep using this for our 4 player games, I think, and continue to tweak the balance.  It may be bad enough for Humans to invite back Pegasus regularly.

 



#8 Mephisto666

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 04:45 PM

Sounds like the only answer we have agreed on is "5 players is best"… grin



#9 Holy Outlaw

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 05:35 PM

Anacreon said: 

What are your house rules for ship damage? 

 

This is going to sound harsh, but when basestars activate, they fire twice; one shot is for Galactica and one is for Pegasus (we keep the damage tokens separate). This makes Pegasus powerful but fragile, and visiting its overpowered locations carries inherent risk. Unless the fleet designates heavy resources to shooting down basestars and repairing Pegasus, it's likely to at some point meet the fate it did on the show. (Note that at that point, damage basically works like it does in the base game: one shot per basestar, targeting only Galactica locations.) 



#10 noise

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Posted 12 September 2012 - 10:30 PM

Holy Outlaw said:

This is going to sound harsh, but when basestars activate, they fire twice; one shot is for Galactica and one is for Pegasus (we keep the damage tokens separate). This makes Pegasus powerful but fragile, and visiting its overpowered locations carries inherent risk. Unless the fleet designates heavy resources to shooting down basestars and repairing Pegasus, it's likely to at some point meet the fate it did on the show. (Note that at that point, damage basically works like it does in the base game: one shot per basestar, targeting only Galactica locations.) 

 

 

 

What would you do with players located on Pegasus if it is destroyed? Send them to sickbay?



#11 Holy Outlaw

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 02:26 AM

 Yes, exactly. Just send them to sickbay. It would be more thematically appropriate to execute them, wouldn't it? But we stick with the rulebook on this one.



#12 Anacreon

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Posted 13 September 2012 - 04:32 AM

Holy Outlaw said:

This is going to sound harsh, but when basestars activate, they fire twice; one shot is for Galactica and one is for Pegasus (we keep the damage tokens separate). This makes Pegasus powerful but fragile, and visiting its overpowered locations carries inherent risk. Unless the fleet designates heavy resources to shooting down basestars and repairing Pegasus, it's likely to at some point meet the fate it did on the show. (Note that at that point, damage basically works like it does in the base game: one shot per basestar, targeting only Galactica locations.) 

 

I like it.  I like it a lot.



#13 aisrham

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Posted 14 February 2013 - 11:12 PM

 

hello!
galactica and is a game with a good finish that initially requires no expansions. anyway with extensions added more color to the game.


#14 Anacreon

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Posted 26 February 2013 - 04:22 AM

Holy Outlaw: When you use the house rule for shooting at Pegasus and Galactica both from a basestar, do you allow the current player of that turn to choose if a hit rolled on Galactica can instead be chosen as a hit on Pegasus (in line with the Pegasus rules) or is it set that a roll for Galactica can only hit Galactica and a roll for Pegasus can only hit Pegasus? 



#15 kizi2

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 04:21 PM

It’s actually a great and helpful piece of info. I am glad that you just shared this helpful info with us. Please keep us up to date like this. Thanks for sharing.
 



#16 Mephisto666

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Posted 14 March 2013 - 04:43 PM

I just noticed he never answered!  But yet, I believe it is played one shot for each.   You can call which shot is first  (ie "First shot is on galactica") but there is not redirecting or after called… like "Oh, a hit… that shot was on… galactica!"  is a no-no!






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