Balancing out Cylon Attacks (without Exodus)

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I've played over 50 games of BSG and still can't get enough, I absolutely love it. My main gripe was that one of the biggest factors that makes a game "awesome" or a bit "meh" is the frequency of cylon attacks over the game. As it stands it’s totally random and a game can easily be swung by the number and/or timing of cylon attacks. Too many attacks in quick succession is "unfair" and leaves the humans no chance, while too few can be boring and frustrates the cylons.

The CFB from Exodus obviously addresses this BUT we prefer having that moment of tension - followed by relief or dread - when you flip over a crisis card to see if it's a cylon attack. In the interests of keeping games tense I thought the game could be refined by keeping a certain amount of randomness to the attacks, yet making them a little more predictable. It involves borrowing the “pursuit track” idea from Exodus, which is reset to 0 after an attack but increases each turn, making attacks more and more likely. Initially we just had the track increase by 1 each turn, but we soon replaced with this a "Pursuit Deck" which allowed various abilities to work with the new mechanic.

We've played this variant a few times now and it's working very well - games have been super tense and often there have been difficult decisions to make ("do we jump now or try and wait for the attack first??"). It works just fine with Pegasus and Daybreak too.

It uses the following game aid:

Setup
- Separate the cylon attack cards from the rest of the crisis cards.
- Place a counter on the left-most space of the Pursuit Track.
- Create a Pursuit Deck consisting of 15 cards: 3 each of -1, 0, +1, +2, +3 (we're using playing cards for now)

Rules
- When the current player reaches their Crisis Step, he rolls two dice (2d6 - see below).
- If the roll exceeds the current level of the Pursuit Track, he resolves the top card of the Pursuit Deck (put it face-up into a separate pile and move the counter that many spaces along the Pursuit Track), then draw a non-attack Crisis as usual.
- If the roll is less than or equal to the current level of the Pursuit Track, the cylons attack. The current player shuffles the Pursuit Deck back together, moves the counter back to the left-most space of the Pursuit Track, then draws the top cylon attack card.

We soon found that this reduced the effectiveness of some elements, mainly scouting but also some character abilities and cylon locations. Hence we use the following additional rules:

Launch Scout: If you choose the Crisis Deck option, this card also allows you to scout the Pursuit Deck (if the scout is successful).

Recon (Boomer): This ability also allows Boomer to look at the top card of the Pursuit Deck and place it on the top or bottom.

Religious Visions (Laura Roslin): Whenever Laura Roslin draws a cylon attack card, she may now also draw a non-attack Crisis Card and choose 1 to resolve.

Caprica / Human Fleet: If you choose the Crisis Deck option on either location, you may also perform the same action on the Pursuit Deck.

The Pursuit track is not reset after the fleet jumps... which often gives a real headache as to whether jumping early is a good idea or not. We've sometimes tried to bait out an attack by holding jumps off as long as possible, other times we've just had to bite the bullet and jump with the counter halfway up the track. It all depends on the situation.

With this variant we always seem to have stuff going on in space, and pilots are engaged almost all the time. Even when space is clear, there's always the effort to manage the Pursuit Track as far as possible while dealing with the ever increasing tension of when the next attack is "due" - even though it's never certain.

Why do we roll 2d6, instead of 2d8 or 1d8? Basically it results in (very close to) the same average number of attacks over the game as usual. I balanced it based on Daybreak's cylon attack frequency (16/100 crises are attacks, an attack every ~6.4 turns on average). Also, the track starts at 2 (rather than 0) to ensure the possibility of attack is always there.

So if you are finding the cylon attacks in the base game frustrating but don't like the steady, predictable nature of the Exodus board, I hope you give this a try! It's become the new norm for us. Though I wouldn't play it with new people as it does add some complication

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I like this idea, seems to address a constant discussion point of the game.

If I read this correct, seems that Laura (who already has issues) now has a Cylon detector...  Attack or crisis?  Maybe she could get 2 pursuit deck cards pick one (and her 2 crisis still), and for an attack deck, 2 attack cards pick one.   To me, that almost makes her exciting to play!   "Did she play the good attack or the bad one?"  or as you mentioned "Do we want an attack soon" (she could pick the higher pursuit card if).

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