April 29, 2013

Battlestar Galactica: the boardgame

Just today I had the chance to play the Battlestar Galactica board game, and to be quite frank, I was impressed. It full-heartedly embraces the paranoia and uncertainty that runs rampant across the rebooted series. Now, I am a fan of both the original show, and the new, and I won't discuss them further here.

By necessity, a solid chunk of the Cylon antagonism is mechanically driven, and, by chance, some players start as cylons, or will become them after a number of full turns. The game encourages distrust, and keeps everyone guessing, even if, by chance, no one player is a cylon initially. The cylon players must engage in a game of subterfuge for as long as possible, potentially having the human players harm their own chances of success.

The game we ran had the full six players called for. Being the new guy to the weekly game my coworkers run, I got first dibs on characters. And all the major characters one would expect were there, with a few (from the expansion) I wouldn't have considered, such as Gaeta or Molly. For simplicity's sake, and my liking of actor Michael Hogan, I played Saul Tigh. Every character has a benefit, a once-per-game ability, and one flaw. He could add a large bonus to any attempt at throwing someone in the brig that I wanted, once per game he could automatically brig someone, but was a drunkard, and would discard his skill chits whenever he held only one, on anyone's turn. The chits perform certain actions, but can be traded in to avoid or incur catastrophes drawn at the end of each player turn. Good stuff, and it really lost us the Galactica at the worst possible moment.

The whole game really sunk in. It left me thinking just how perfect the whole formula would fit for a John Carpenter's The Thing, the board game. That doesn't exist, but I wish it did.

Cheers.

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