Tuesday, March 15, 2011

So Say We All... Battlestar Galactica... The Series and the board game.

 A few weeks back, a group of friends dropped by and we played a full round of the Battlestar Galactica boardgame. Based on the modern incarnation of the series, it models the best aspects of the show very well. The game starts as a cooperative game, trying to get humanity to safety while preserving fuel, food stores, morale of the fleet and the population of the last of the human race.

Obligatory joke about "she can preserve *my* morale" goes here.

The game inspired me to do what I'd never made the time to do in the past, fire up Netflix streaming, and finally watch the rest of the series. Now that I have quite a bit of free time, my wife and I have made it to mid-season 4 and I'm remembering everything that drew me to the show in the first place. Suspicion, betrayal, sacrifice... alliances made and broken as loyalties are questioned, surprises are revealed, and everyone pursues their own goals.

Believe it or not, all of these elements are represented in the game, with the players not knowing who is human and who is cylon... and knowing the show doesn't help you a bit in that regard. The game starts off with characters picked out and loyalty secretly assigned, each character has their own skills and abilities to help Galactica deal with its crises... Combat, politics, sabotage... these all come up as the fleet tries to make it to Earth.

Awesome Game... not cheap, and not short, though... set aside 3-5 hours for this one.

One of the key twists comes mid-game, when loyalties are re-assessed in a “sleeper” phase, and players who believed themselves human may “wake up” to discover they've been cylons all along, and the game continues with everyone pretending to work together as several players secretly work against the team, and people start using their powers, cards and abilities on each other out of suspicion.

Our game played out like this, with players working against each other, then with each other based on rapidly changing conditions as humans accidentally hinder each other and cylon players cleverly manipulate. The humans eventually won in our 6 player game, despite half the table being cylons or their allies by its end. A great deal of fun, and something I look forward to playing again.

Definitely a remake that eclipses the original in every way... at least so far.

As I close in on the end of the series, I reach one of those topics that geeks are bitterly divided on. The series final episode... I know so many people who hated the ending, and look forward to seeing it so I can judge for myself. Love it or hate it, I think this year I may have to pick up the expansion for the game and invite friends over for a few more rounds.
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Chris said...

Are you Dwight Shrute?

Conspyre said...

"Bears, beets, Battlestar Galactica."

The expansion is good, though I question the wisdom of making a game that already stretches the boundary of play-it-in-a-night games even longer. Having a player playing a known Cylon from the beginning is interesting, though it seems to be crucial for that player to know the game VERY well, especially if they are sympathetic to the Humans- the game that we played, the Cylon's goal was to get the fleet to the end of the game with all the ship stats at 3 or less. He set that up too early, and the New Caprica phase obliterated us.

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