Saturday, 24 January 2015

Bluff and paranoia aboard the Battlestar Galactica



My first visit to my local gaming club, LivingstonBattleground, for 2015 so after the round of belated 'Happy New Years' I was quickly subsumed into a five player game of Fantasy Flight's Battlestar Galactica board game. Having never played before my fellow players soon had me up and running with at least a basic understanding of what I was supposed to be doing. 

"Each player is secretly assigned his or her loyalty at the start of the game. Players will either be loyal to the humans, or to the Cylons. Humans and Cylons have specific and conflicting winning objectives. The human players win by reaching Kobol, but the Galactica will be threatened by a host of challenges along the way. Only through the cooperation of the humans will the ship (and fleet) survive. The Cylon player(s) wins by either destroying the Galactica with attacks from the Cylon fleet, or, through sabotage, by reducing one of the necessary resources (Food, Fuel, Population, or Morale) to zero."

The game is designed to be played cooperatively for 3-6 players. We had five players, so there were two Cylons amongst us - but who?  It quickly became a delicious game of bluff and paranoia, with each player drawing and playing various skill cards,  all done exhibiting their best poker faces. 

For example, my character was the Chief Engineer, Galen Tyrol, who somehow seemed to spend much of his time in the ship's brig - apparently my fellow players all somehow suspected him of Cylon tendencies. Not sure how to take that! On my turn my fellow players can pool some or all of their skill cards in their hand to help me escape the brig, but as it's done without revealing what they've actually played in the skill test they may be surreptitiously making it more difficult for me to reach the required pass score!
 

It's not until the all Cylon players reveal their identify (with much devilishly wicked consequences) that the game settles into a more traditional 'us and them' scenario, with the human players then battling to get the Galactica home to Kobol whilst fending off marauding Cylon ships, sabotage and Centurion boarding parties.  
 
A surprisingly entertaining game that successfully captured the Battlestar Galactica narative and plays very well in a club setting.