Wednesday, October 31, 2012

BattleStar Galactica - The Board Game

I really like games that spin off from movies or TV, especially ones that draw you into said movie/tv program.  A good friend of mine John, hired a the BSG board game, which is very much a close portrayal of what happens in the TV series.  Now, I must advise that I haven't seen BSG (at least, not really) I've seen a few bits of episodes of the remake when my beautiful wife watched them.  All I really got was that the last of humanity was flying through space trying to outrun machines that look & act like humans.  Some, actually don't know they are a machine.  And this one dude who likes having sex with them.... SO anyway, when Asked if I wanted to play BSG, I was keen as Long as I got to play the Coffee Machine Starbuck.
Starbuck is a pilot, her skills are Tactics, Piloting, Leadership & Engineering, It's vital to have a crew with a range of skills.

Premise:  You are a person on Galactica, fleeing from the Machine race of "Cylons". Humans are trying to flee from the Cylons, keeping Galactica in tip top shape, destroying cylon ships, killing cylons & jumping through space.  Cylons are trying to destroy Galactica before it jumps too far through space.  The game is a semi-cooperative one, in theory everyone is working towards the better good, however secret cylons can be plotting against the team.  Galactica has a set amount of Food, Fuel, Morale & Population, various actions within the game will cause these to go up and down.  As soon as any of these resources hits 0, its game over for the Humans.

Setting Up:  Preparing the game board is pretty straight forward, just a case of seperating the cards into different decks, putting the various game pieces in piles ready to use & deciding on who would play what character.  The game play allows 3 to 6 players, although we played with 7 people, twice.  I believe this made the game a bit more difficult, as we had 4 cylons the first time around.

To start with, we need specific roles to be filled.  There are 4 types of players, Political - Military - Pilot & Support Characters.  Although in theory people could pick support characters first, other roles must be spread out, so if the 1st player picks a Political character, the 2nd player has to pick either Military or Pilot, or a support character.  Once everyone has their character, you distribute the titles, highest rank Political is President, highest Military gets Admiral.  The loyalty deck is based on the number of players, so everyone will get 2 loyalty cards, 1 at the start and 1 1/2 way through the game.

Everyone gets 3 skill cards, a combination of what your character sheet says you can have.  You start in the location as depicted at the bottom of the card, as you can see Starbuck starts in the Hanger Deck.

Deciding which team: You start the game with a loyalty card, which puts you on a specific team, either "You are Not a Cylon" (human) or "You are a Cylon" (Cylon) or, depending on the rules in play, "You are a Sympathizer", which, depending on current status puts you on either team.

You look at your card secretly and remains face down throughout the game.  No one knows whether you are a Human or Cylon unless you reveal yourself, or someone gets a chance to view your loyalty card.

*NOTE: If you do get to check out someones card, you can't tell anyone what it says!! - In our game, an over enthusiastic player got to look & then proceeded to show everyone the card.  Based on the way the game works, you can accuse people of being a Cylon, but you can't show them the card proving it.  It's up to the players to decide.

Play Time:  Once everyone has their cards, skills, is on the board & ready to go, the players decide who's going first.  As a house rule, we let the President go first each time.  After all, they are the leader of the people!  Step one is to get your full complement of cards - this is depicted on your character card, in the above example, Starbuck would get 2x Tactics, 2x Piloting and 1 of either Leadership or Engineering, the blending of two colours means you get a choice.

After you have your skills, you can do 2 things, 1) Move to any where on Galactica and 2) Trigger an Action.  Actions are based on the Room you are in, a card you have, or a skill you can use.  From firing Galactica's guns & repairing ships, to putting someone in the Brig & jumping through space.  Some actions will improve odds, others will replenish resources.

Then the Crisis occurs, which is where your skill cards really come in handy.  The crisis card depicts something happening, from going on rescue missions, to water shortages, to Cylon attacks.  The car states how many points you need & of what skill type, what happens if you pass or fail, & what happens afterwards.  The idea is that everyone in the crew puts down skill cards, there are 2 cards from the "Destiny Deck" which can either help or hinder the crew.  If there is a Cylon this is the point where they can really make a difference. (more on that later)

Humans are charged with protecting resources.  Food, Fuel, Population & Morale are all resources that must be kept up in order to survive.  There are ways of getting Food & Fuel through crisis cards.  Population, obviously, can't go up.  Morale is improved by the President making speeches as role of the President.  Although if you're anything like Heather, you're best to keep your mouth shut!!

The 1/2 way Point: As play continues the crisis cards can move Galactica along the Jump Track, after 5 jump sequences Galactica Jumps through space, all the ships are wiped from the board and the Admiral chooses one of two locations.  Each location has a number assigned to it, this is how far through space Galactica has traveled so far.  Once Galactica travels at least 4 units through space, the 2nd Loyalty round starts.  IF there wasn't a cylon on board Galactica the first time, there most certainly is now!!

Cylon Game Play:  The cylon will generally start stealthily hindering the crew of Galactica by playing negative cards during the Crisis phase, or perhaps deciding not to play helpful cards when it would help (such as re-rolling, etc). Tactics are a strong part of not being caught, when you decide that you can't hide anymore, you can out yourself as a cylon.  When you do, there is generally a lot of pointing, accusations and "I KNEW IT!" thrown around.  Now you get to discard your skills cards down to 3, you get sent back to the Cylon ship & there is a skill you can use on your Cylon card.  This generally causes some issues aboard Galactica.  On my first game, I became a cylon & managed to blow up 2 areas of Galactica.

Once you are a Cylon, you've moved to your own ship, discarded your skills down to 3, your turn is over.  On subsequent turns, you can act the same as before, you can move to one of 4 different spots on your own ship & you still pull cards & skills, but your aim is to destroy Galactica instead of save it.  The down side is that you can only put 1 skill card into any Skill Check.

Winning The Game:  Winning depends on what team you're on.  After the 2nd round of Loyalty, you know which team you are fighting for.  Humans win by Jumping through 8 units of Space.  It is possible, but like most games of Good Vs Evil, it is tilted towards the bad guys for winning. 

Humans can loose by running out of Resources, which is the most common way, as they are super hard to regain.  Galactica being destroyed, probably the next most expected outcome, destruction comes from invading ships, that shoot Galactica if there is nothing else to shoot at, so when the Cylon ships blow through your fighters, they attack Galactica.  Once 6 areas are blown up, Galactica explodes.  Lastly, if Heavy Raiders board Galactica, Cylons are let loose through the ship.  Getting to 5 Cylons, or having at least 1 cylon move 5 times through the Ship, will cause the Humans to be eradicated.

1 comment:

  1. It sounds complicated, and it looks complicated but it easy to get the hang of it after a few turns.