The Tao of Gaming

Boardgames and lesser pursuits

Year in Review — Secondary Thoughts

You know, since I was happy to play BSG multiple times this week, I may as well call it my game of the year.

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Written by taogaming

February 11, 2009 at 9:00 pm

Posted in Battlestar Galactica

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5 Responses

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  1. You must have gotten lucky. I have played it 5 times now and 4 of them were excruciatingly boring. The 5th time was at least mildly interesting due to the sequence of events. I was also not a Cylon in the 5th game, which helps since I find that being a reveal Cylon is one of the most boring experiences I have ever had in my history of gaming.

    Daniel Corban

    February 11, 2009 at 11:49 pm

  2. You must have gotten lucky. I have played it 5 times now and 4 of them were excruciatingly boring. The 5th time was at least mildly interesting due to the sequence of events. I was also not a Cylon in the 5th game, which helps since I find that being a reveal Cylon is one of the most boring experiences I have ever had in my history of gaming.

    Daniel Corban

    February 11, 2009 at 11:49 pm

  3. When I mentioned in a Geeklist some of my problems with my only disastrous attempt at BSG, I got scolded by Tom Hancock. Here are some of his comments:

    “The ‘downtime between turns’ is often more fun than actually taking your turn because the who-is-a-cylon metagame is far more important to winning than performing the most efficient action each turn.

    “Do you actually think optimizing your action on your turn is the path to victory in this game? A good Cylon will eat you alive if you are that predictable. The game is about figuring out who the Cylon is and outing him to keep all the humans on the same page and prevent sabotage.”

    I’m sure Tom’s on target with all of these. I didn’t respond to him, because by the time I’d seen this, too much time had passed. But if I had, it would have been very simple: “You’re probably right and now I know I never want to play this game again.” He’s just described about the worst gaming experience I can imagine. Bluffing games bore me, games where you need to figure out who is who bore me, and games with an excessive metagame annoy and bore me. I want to optimize my actions in most of the games I play. Add to that the game’s fiddly rules and relatively long playing time (plus the fact that I’m not really a fan of cooperative games) and you have a recipe for a game I need to stay far away from.

    That, of course, has no bearing on the quality of the game. Clearly, a lot of people love it. But just like Android, another recent FFG design that has “disaster for Levy” written all over it, this is simply not the game for me. Dan, maybe you and I share some of the same concerns.

    Larry Levy

    February 12, 2009 at 2:35 am

  4. When I mentioned in a Geeklist some of my problems with my only disastrous attempt at BSG, I got scolded by Tom Hancock. Here are some of his comments:

    “The ‘downtime between turns’ is often more fun than actually taking your turn because the who-is-a-cylon metagame is far more important to winning than performing the most efficient action each turn.

    “Do you actually think optimizing your action on your turn is the path to victory in this game? A good Cylon will eat you alive if you are that predictable. The game is about figuring out who the Cylon is and outing him to keep all the humans on the same page and prevent sabotage.”

    I’m sure Tom’s on target with all of these. I didn’t respond to him, because by the time I’d seen this, too much time had passed. But if I had, it would have been very simple: “You’re probably right and now I know I never want to play this game again.” He’s just described about the worst gaming experience I can imagine. Bluffing games bore me, games where you need to figure out who is who bore me, and games with an excessive metagame annoy and bore me. I want to optimize my actions in most of the games I play. Add to that the game’s fiddly rules and relatively long playing time (plus the fact that I’m not really a fan of cooperative games) and you have a recipe for a game I need to stay far away from.

    That, of course, has no bearing on the quality of the game. Clearly, a lot of people love it. But just like Android, another recent FFG design that has “disaster for Levy” written all over it, this is simply not the game for me. Dan, maybe you and I share some of the same concerns.

    Larry Levy

    February 12, 2009 at 2:35 am

  5. “”Do you actually think optimizing your action on your turn is the path to victory in this game? A good Cylon will eat you alive if you are that predictable. The game is about figuring out who the Cylon is and outing him to keep all the humans on the same page and prevent sabotage.” ”

    Well, I totally disagree with this, I think that the strategy you should employ is to maximize your efficiency and in fact, for the group to try to force everyone else to do the same. Especially in unambiguous situaitons.

    Note also that there are three kinds of actions:
    1) Good for the humans
    2) Good for me personally
    3) Bad for the humans

    People performing actions of type #2 are not necessarily Cylons. For example: You want me to executive order you so you can draw 4 cards in the press room to combat crises. I want to draw 2 cards in the press room. The XO is more efficient, but I dont have control. If your a Cylon, I get screwed. Or, if I BECOME a Cylon soon, I get screwed. There are two good reasons to do this type of behavior:

    1) The sleeper phase is coming. If we dont end up on the same team, then my XO was bad. The chances that either one of us will become a cylon is high.
    2) I dont trust you enough right now. I fear I might be giving an XO to a Cylon.

    Its important to distinguish between selfish actions and harmful acitons. Also, NEVER contributing is a harmful act.

    But still, its not more about outing the Cylon, thats just one part. If you spend your time trying to do that, and youre ever wrong, you just wasted a ton of resources getting a human into the brig. Its much better to only brig someone if the humans are all in agreement about it.

    I think oen big reason Investigative Committee is so powerful (broken even?) is that it makes it so Cylons cant harm the humans without giving themselves away.

    Based on Levy’s comments about not liking games where you try to figure out who people are, then yes BSG is not for you. To me however, thats one of the best mechanics 🙂
    As a Cylon your challenge early on is to do damage without being caught, which can be a challenge.

    Alexfrog

    February 12, 2009 at 12:02 pm


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