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March 1, 2009

Battlestar Galactica, the game

Filed under: Games,Work — Bob @ 2:03 pm

pic354500_tIts been a long time since I updated this site, so let’s start with what I did last night. A few friends I used to work with at Kodak were getting together to play Battlestar Galactica, The Board Game. The fellow organizing it was also the one who introduced me to a number of excellent board games such as Ticket to Ride and Modern Art. There were six of us in total, the game is much better with a large group.

The BSG game uses the storyline through Season 2 as its backdrop. The basic conflict pits the humans against the Cylons, but initially the identity of the Cylons is secret. Each player is one of the cast members although the “who is a Cylon and who is not” is still very much in play. For example, Boomer is already a known Cylon by this time in the storyline but in the game there is no guarantee. In a six person game at least one person is a secret Cylon from the beginning. Their job is to sabotage the work of the humans for as long as they can, and they can choose to reveal themselves as Cylon to gain new and different ways to play the game. Halfway through the game one of the humans is privately informed they are really a Cylon too, and their goals then switch to insure the destruction of the humans. This tension creates a lot of paranoid decision making, and if the humans are truly unlucky the Cylon can be a very powerful figure such as the President or the Admiral of the Fleet (or both, as happened in one of our games).

If you are a fan of the series and really enjoy moderately complex board games I’d recommend this one. It takes a bit of time to find the optimal move for each player on each turn, but the basic rules are pretty easy to learn and it moves along at a reasonable speed. The first game can be pretty long (ours was about four hours long) due to having to learn the rules. The second game went much quicker, once everyone was up to speed.

One word of caution: don’t play this game with people who are easily upset by duplicitous behavior. The whole point of the hidden Cylon agenda is to wreak the most havoc on the humans at the worst possible time. Get used to it, this is how the game works.

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