Tuesday, November 18, 2008


With a basestar right ahead, Admiral Adama, President Baltar, and the crew of Galactica (Chief Tyrol and pilots Apollo and Helo) had no time to waste. Yet things started poorly -- the crew failed to overcome their first crisis (a hangar accident), costing them some men and precious Raptors. Meanwhile a second basestar appeared, and soon four heavy raiders stuffed with Cylon boarding parties were steaming towards the hangar bay. The basestars opened fire and damaged Galactica's jump control, leaving the ship dead in space. Challenge after challenge was left unconquered, and morale dipped dangerously low. Only Apollo's deadeye shooting (knocking out two of the heavy raiders) and Chief Tyrol's quick repair of jump control kept humanity's slim hopes alive.

The Cylons soon caught up with two basestars, but a precious nuclear warhead from Admiral Adama dispatched one, and the other failed to add more damage before the next jump. At this point things seemed to improve. Crises were dispatched at a solid pace (though one cost the crew its only remaining nuke), the remaining boarders were dispatched, and Galactica was repaired. Despite all resources being at 50%, the third jump put Galactica 75% of the way home, and optimism was growing.

Which is, of course, when the bottom falls out. First a basestar ambushed while green pilots were on a trainee mission. Apollo flew out to protect them, and started mowing down Cylon raiders at a dizzying pace (he would end up dropping 14 in four turns). Meanwhile Baltar's new screening device discovered that Chief Tyrol was a Cylon. But the next player (Apollo) was unavailable to throw Tyrol in the brig, and the next player after that was...Tyrol. He revealed himself, shot Baltar, and called in a massive assault of ten more ships. And before the crew could rally to defend came the worst cut of all -- Admiral Adama revealed himself as a Cylon, threw the bleeding Baltar in the brig, and took personal control of the invading fleet. In two minutes the humans ran out of raptors; in five they ran out of humans.


Holy cow, this game is fantastic. A bit long, but that will come down with experience. The slow creeping dread punctuated by total panic when the basestars arrive is just fantastic.

It turned out that Brian (Tyrol) and I (Adama) were both Cylons from the beginning, so the humans were hard-pressed. I steered Galactica's jumps as poorly as possible and wasted both nukes, while once Brian stopped fixing things, the humans were in trouble. I think human victories will rely heavily on more scouting (to find better Crisis and Destination cards), more Quorum cards, and quicker detection of the Cylons (since they are generally stronger while hidden, where they can screw up Crises more efficiently). Can't wait to play again.


At 8:46 AM, November 18, 2008, Blogger Dennis Ugolini said...

By "raptor", I meant "viper". Not quite hip to the lingo yet.

Another thing -- I think the humans needed to get Baltar out of the brig. He wasn't drawing Crisis cards while there, but that may have been a negative, since most of the cards would effect things they could afford to lose (everything but population), and the cards would get the jump counter moving (it was one short of the blue when the last civilian ship blew up).

At 9:50 AM, November 18, 2008, Blogger Schifani said...

"It turned out that Brian (Tyrol) and I (Adama) were both Cylons from the beginning"

I suppose that's better than being SABG's Shroom (Michael) and Swiss (Jon).

At 11:36 AM, November 18, 2008, Blogger Dennis Ugolini said...

Brian pointed out that I had three rules wrong:

1. Cylon boarders advance on the boarding track every time raiders are activated. This would have been bad news with a capital BAD.

2. Raiders only fly clockwise if there are equidistant ships on both sides. Otherwise they go to the closest ship.

3. Revealed cylons discard down to three cards.

Two of the rule mistakes were in favor of the humans, so I don't feel too bad. But good that we find the errors now.

At 11:50 AM, November 18, 2008, Blogger Michael said...

So when are we playing again?

And by again, I mean for the first time for me.

Shroom and Swiss? I do not get this reference. Can't I just be the most interesting man in the world? I'm working on the beard again.

At 12:19 PM, November 18, 2008, Blogger seanp said...

I volunteered to sit out of the game, as it took 6 and we had 7 - Tiffany and I played Agricola with the seasons postcard instead - but we had fun just listening to the table playing this game. Few games cause this much crowd reaction and interaction. Multiple gasps, crys of "Holy #!$$", and laughter (to avoid crying, I think) punctuated the evening. Toward the end when the cylons were in pretty solid control, the quote of the night (from my perspective) - "No, let's save the major crisis for your next turn".

BTW - the seasons postcard is terrible / wonderful. It either breaks or greatly enhances several components of the game, adding even more variables to consider. You can't fish in the winter (which is bad when it falls on a harvest year) and it costs a food to plow a field in winter. But you can grow without room for a cost of 2 wood and 3 food. Everyone competes hard for that right, and if you can get it the balance shifts mightily in your favor for a few turns. That's the biggest overpowered advantage. One of the others is 2 free fences with the purchase of at least 1, and taking a grain when you take the migrant worker action. Crazy nuts. I don't know if I like it or not, but it adds some variability to the game, and to each round.

At 2:34 PM, November 18, 2008, Blogger Jeff said...

FYI - Dragon's Lair will let us demo Red November (cooperative game where players are drunken gnome crew members on board a gnomish nuclear sub trying to keep from dying en masse before help arrives) next Monday.

It's a bit chrome-heavy (it's from FFG), but I like the theme.

At 3:51 PM, November 18, 2008, Blogger seanp said...

Note: the staff at Dragon's Lair said to let them know if there's a game we'd like to demo - they're open to letting us try other games as well. I've got no idea what their expectation is with that - but the offer is out there.

At 4:13 PM, November 18, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

1. Cylon boarders advance on the boarding track every time raiders are activated.

Oh. Okay. Because I thought that's just what the game needed. Even MORE sadism. And clearly the Cylon boarders are SOOO easy to get rid of (25% chance of killing one per turn if you use your action to do so).

Good to know we were playing the Care Bear, G-rated version of Battlestar Galactica.

Wow. I hope I'm a Cylon next time. Because the humans are screwwwwwed. They're losing morale already, and we haven't even started the next game.

Good luck humans.

At 4:23 PM, November 18, 2008, Blogger Dennis Ugolini said...

It's nasty, but not impossible. The "+2 to die roll" skill card makes it a 50% chance, and only two got on the ship. We would just have to be less lackadasi...lackadazi...relaxed about heading over to the Armory to get rid of them.

At 5:05 PM, November 18, 2008, Blogger Brian said...

Things the humans can do better:

1) Use the "Give someone else 2 actions card."
2) Let Helo fight the Cylons. He can reroll once/turn and gets to keep any bonuses from the first roll.
3) Apparently those quorum cards are verrah nice.

And I think this would play pretty well with seven. (Perhaps just not dealing out a card during the second phase to any revealed cylon). Or the Gaius Baltar split personality variant. Obviously a bit more downtime.

I do suggest that we set the game slightly easier next time, as I think the humans will be screwed fairly often.

At 5:39 PM, November 18, 2008, Blogger Dennis Ugolini said...

The nice thing is that's a relatively easy adjustment to make -- just set the resource dials one pip higher.

At 9:40 PM, November 18, 2008, Blogger Carlos said...

This is not supposed to be a silly question, but how does this compare to Shadows over Camelot? I would really love to try this one.

At 9:41 PM, November 18, 2008, Blogger Ben said...

Great report. If nothing else the theme of the show seems to have been captured well.

2.5 hours until the big XBL update... I'm mainly looking forward to streaming Netflix directly to my TV, though now Tivo is providing the same capability in a few weeks as well.

At 10:33 PM, November 18, 2008, Blogger Tiffany said...

I will add to Sean's commentary of Through the Seasons. The ebb and flow of resources changed the dynamics of the game for sure. Reed, clay and wood were occasionally removed from the board -- so no reed could be taken in a two player game. Which lead to Sean hoarding all the reed and I hoarded all the wood. Which worked relatively well. Bt stone accumulates a lot faster. And the immediate breed phase and/or take a veggie is fantastic. The day laborer plus grain is awesome. And the family growth without room that early in the game helps a lot. If you can afford the food. Staring in the summer, lets you take that action in round 3, but then leaves you scrambling for food in round 4 for the harvest. But I think the postcard is a fantastic addition. And I look forward to more plays with it. And it isnt that bad having a german copy. Once you remember what things are, and place the workers in the correct places it is relatively language independent. Though I do have the english copy printed off.

At 7:39 AM, November 19, 2008, Blogger Rob said...

Can't wait to get my hands on this, now that I've been watching the series (midway through season 3)

BTW, for the xbox'ers out there...
Wii+Xbox360=new xbox interface. Looks very nice.

At 12:52 PM, November 19, 2008, Blogger Jeff said...

Carlos - I felt far more panicky during BSG than I ever have during a game of SoC. The way the Cylon player(s) are determined played a large role in that. BSG is more complex than SoC, but if you've got someone who knows the rules to keep things organized and flowing (Thanks, Dennis!) the other players don't have to learn too much to get started.

RE: Demos at DL I'm always up for mostly anything, but Red November is something I had actually wanted to try if anyone else is interested.

At 6:25 PM, November 19, 2008, Blogger scott said...

i am torn since red november does look interesting to me but another shot at BSG is also enticing to me

At 7:16 PM, November 19, 2008, Blogger scott said...

In SABBL news Sean beat the MarlinCubs 11-1 to send the world series to a game 7.

At 8:36 PM, November 19, 2008, Blogger Ben said...

NXE: I was hoping for more creativity in the avatars, e.g., monsters, aliens, weapons, lycanthropy... perhaps these will be added later.

Netflix works wonderfully. I just added another 15 movies to my hopper.

Installing games to hard drive seems wise to cut down drive fatigue and noise. I installed Fallout 3 in just a few minutes.

Anyway, I miss the blades, but I'm sure it will pass.


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