I wanted to share a pretty good BSG story from the weekend because it was the ultimate nail biter for us, lasting over three hours. Here's the set-up:
A four-player game, starring:
Cain (Admiral): A vengeful human thug.
Roslin (President): me, a human dying of some terrible, wasting disease in prison.
Chief: A gullible, confused sympathizer with a hostile agenda.
Lee: The little wooden boy who dreams of being a man but wakes up halfway as a devious, hateful robot.
Game variants used: Pegasus ship board, Pegasus and Exodus skill cards, and Final Five / Conflicted Agendas loyalty cards in the mix.
House rule additions: We use a Sympathetic Cylon loyalty card at the half and the person who receives it doesn't have to reveal themselves right away. Everyone gets an agenda card (hostile if resource dials are blue at half), but it only counts for the person who has the actual card. We do this because we've found the Humans in our 4-person games win a lot and we wanted to give the Cylons a greater edge. (On the other hand, because we use Exodus loyalty distribution, there's one card left over, so there might not be both cylons).
The game began very well for the humans, despite the Admiral pulling a 1 and then 2 distance card, then Blind Jumping another mere 1 to meet the half way point. Everyone had been human, with no funny business. Roslin piled up a lot of Quorum cards just off her Presidency title card and repeated XOs. All dials were in the blue, and so in our house rule version we gained a Hostile Sympathizer under cover.
Normally, the cylons are pretty screwed at this point – even with two baddies, we're more than halfway home and dials all high. And, as it turns out, the humans at the half have both the Presidency and the Admiralty and a boatload of Quorum cards. In other words, a pretty good day to be a carbon-based life form.
And then it all went to hell. First the Chief , who had drawn "Genocide" as her secret agenda, sabotaged a skill check. "Let's brig her! Better yet, kill her!" screamed Cain. Lee agreed… and promptly brigged Cain with a Yellow 6 Political Prowess card (auto pass a location skill check). Cain lost the Admiralty to Chief.
Cain couldn't get out with two of the three people against her. She XO'd Roslin, who in desperation used her OPG to draw four Quorum cards, find and play an Arrest Order card. Lee went to the brig.
Then the Chief went to the Admiral's Quarter's, repaired it, and used her second action to brig Roslin with Lee's help, Scientific Research and a crapton of blue, and used her OPG for good measure to make all yellow cards zero. So, now Roslin and Cain both were brigged. Lee revealed as a cylon and gave his remaining Loyalty card to Cain. This loyalty card was a Conflicted Agenda card in which you had to reveal the card when there are 6 damaged vipers or you lose a fuel at the end of the game. And as it turned out, Lee was also holding onto the Purple 6 Scout for Fuel card and was never going to give it up and let it reshuffle back into the purple deck.
For about the next hour – or so it seemed – the cylons whaled on the fleet, failing skill checks while Lee pulled 2 crisis cards. Chief used Administration to strip the Presidency from Roslin, and so now held both offices. Population fell to 2 and the fleet was still at distance 4. FTL and Armory got damaged and Pegasus hit twice. About the only thing the humans had going for them was that they were dying too fast, and Chief had an agenda in which she needed resources under 2 – so she began to slow it up a bit, killing a Centurion, causing the two cylons a little falling out. Chief even drew a few Quorum cards – I'm not sure why, maybe looking for the second Arrest Order in case the humans got out. As time went by, a jump did eventually occur, and Admiral Chief reluctantly chose a 2.
For the humans, this was an awful time, demoralizing and helpless. Cain and Roslin tried a few times to get out, but always fell short, given they could only give a few cards and had no strong Reckless options. At this point, Cain started to just XO Roslin so Roslin could Consolidate Power twice to get more yellow cards, then get her own three cards on her own turn – to use up the yellow deck, to get the discarded Yellow 6 reshuffled in, and to finally pull it once again and get out. As it turned out… the 6 was the last card in the reshuffled yellow deck. That's a lot of yellow cards to go through. One time, Roslin discarded eight cards at the end of her turn to get back down to 10.
Once Roslin finally got out, there was a time of struggle for power before the Humans were finally able to use Admiral's Quarter's to brig and – using Cain's intolerance capability – execute the Chief, giving Roslin both the Presidency and the Admiralty. Admiral Roslin then used Preventative Policy on Fuel and gave Cain an XO, who used it to finally bust out of the brig. Cain got a crisis card for the first time in years, and the fleet jumped.
At 6 distance and with 4 fuel remaining, Admiral Roslin had to choose to between Lion's Head Nebula (go 3, lose 4 fuel and move up two on the jump track) and Ragnar Anchorage (go 1, lose no fuel, repair ships). With 2 pop left, Roslin didn't want to have to go down the track two more times, and so took the gamble and went 3, thus losing 3 of the 4 fuel (one loss having been prevented), leaving the Humans with 1 fuel but basically a few jumps from ending the game. Seemed a good idea at the time - but it was actually quite bad.
Remember that Conflicted Agenda loyalty card Lee handed off to Cain? The one that loses fuel if not played when 6 vipers are damaged? Well, there were only 3 damaged vipers, and we were three jump symbols from the end of the game. And, as Chief and Lee took their turns, they each pulled two crisis cards and gave the humans jump symbols – pushing the the humans along to the inevitable auto-jump, where they will find out that they've lost one more fuel at the end and lost the game.
Galactica is now on the last jump position, it's Cain's turn, and suddenly she says, "Wait! We can't end the game yet! We'll lose!" It takes a while for everyone to figure out what's going on, because no one can really say what's on the loyalty cards. We have to use experience to telegraph what the problem is. And Lee is happily cackling, because he knows that it's his time bomb that's about to go off. There's a little yelling at this point about not having said something earlier. And I admit, I'm Roslin, and I'm yelling a bit.
So, here's how it ends:
Cain gives Roslin an XO. Roslin uses the Quorum card "Resignation." She discards 10 of her 12 Quorum cards (yes… 12) and draws the last remaining 10 Quorum cards – making this the only game in our history in which every single Quorum card is drawn – and gives the Presidency to Cain. Also probably a rare event. Now… Cain cannot draw a jump, or the Humans will end the game, lose a fuel, and lose the game. She draws… no jump. Everyone goes nuts.
Now it's Roslin's turn, and she has no cards to start off. She must be able to XO President Cain. She takes her two green cards… and draws an XO. Again, it's pandemonium. Cain plays the Quorum card "Unsavory Connections" that was drawn after the resignation to give the Humans back a Fuel.
And now it's crisis time, but the inevitable seems clear. Roslin draws two cards. One is an Attack Card. The other… has a jump. The crisis gets passed, the humans jump, lose one fuel and end the game with 1 Fuel, 2 Food, 3 Morale, and 2 Pop. Humans win… again!
Now, it's possible that war stories are boring to everyone else but those who were in the battle, but I have to say that this was one of our most painful and most momentous games. Thanks for reading!