Sessions

Fortnightly on Sunday
afternoons (1pm-5pm)

Location
Room E.103 (Building E)
University of the Sunshine Coast, Sippy Downs
Map

Upcoming Meetings
September 2018
* September 30th

October 2018
* October 14th
* October 28th

November 2018
* November 11th
* November 25th

December 2018
* December 9th
* December 23rd

Admission
Non-members $2
Members free
(membership $25/yr)

Download the 2018 Calendar

Borrowing Sheet 2018

Betrayal Has Never Been So Much Fun!

Battlestar Galactica

Betrayal Has Never Been So Much Fun!

Review by Craig Hargraves

Okay, so Starbuck is a cigar-chugging chick, Tigh is white and Boomer is Asian. And a woman. Sure…”

That’s pretty much my initial reaction to news of the recent Battlestar Galactica TV remake. From my childhood I have two strong Science Fiction memories: the original Star Wars Trilogy and the original Battlestar Galactica. Messing with them in the wrong way is a sure fire way to raise my ire. Fortunately, I loved the new remake! Sorry people but Starbuck is absolutely a chick. And she can and will kick your butt if she wants. I loved the drama of all the flawed characters and the paranoia created when cylons can look like humans. For me, the new series worked. Oh, and for the record, there is no way that Greedo got a shot off first. But back to Battlestar Galactica.

Another thing to be feared, like the remake of an old classic, is a licensed game based on a beloved movie, TV series or book. Historically, only certain very big companies have been able to afford the license. And said big companies have, historically, not been very good at putting together interesting and engaging games for adults. More to the point they seem to have just wanted to throw together something quickly to sucker in some poor fans and make a quick buck. Fortunately, Battlestar Galactica dodged a second bullet as Fantasy Flight Games took up the challenge of creating a board game based on the remade TV series. Designer Corey Konieczka and the team at FFG have created what is, in my opinion, a licensed game more true to the spirit and feel of its source material than any game before it. And I’m struggling to think of a better one since…

So what’s it all about? The basic story is that a rag-tag fleet of humans are fleeing the cylons who have just leveled all of their homeworlds and want to finish the job of wiping out humanity. The humans are trying to reach the legendary planet called Earth with the first major stop along the way being the, also legendary, planet of Kobol. On a player’s turn they’ll draw some skill cards based on their character’s aptitude. Then they can move to a new location and take an action. The actions they can take will be based upon their current location, their character’s abilities and cards that the player has in hand. Finally they’ll draw a Crisis card which will generally cause stuff to go from bad to worse and it’s this stage that is the real heart and soul of the game. Crisis cards can cause the cylon fleet to jump in and attack, force a particular player to make a dire choice that affects everyone or call for a skill challenge in which everyone will contribute to pass. Or perhaps they’ll secretly try to thwart the challenge… That’s right. While the game may possibly start out as a nice cooperative game, by the end the group will have been split into two teams as cyclons in human form, either secretly or openly, try to bring about humanity’s downfall. This split is determined by some Loyalty cards which are secretly distributed both at the start of the game and halfway through the game. It’s during the crisis stage that the game becomes very social as players offer opinions and try to sense what motive is behind everyone else’s opinion. Finally the Crisis card may cause the cylon fleet to attack and hopefully for the humans they can successfully prepare for their next jump. Of course our heroes are going to have hope that the Admiral isn’t actually a cylon because they’ll be choosing the destination of the jump. And so this paranoid game will progress until either the humans win by managing to complete enough distance in jumps or the cylons finish off humanity by running down the fleet’s resources or destroying the Galactica herself.

Okay, this is a bit of a gushing review. But I love this game. As an occasional role-player and a cooperative games fan in general I love the social nature of this game. This is a game where you have to talk to the people you’re playing with and you will question everything they say in turn, no matter how off-hand and innocuous. And the game can be tense! Really tense. You can be cruising along nicely leading someone to say the fateful words: “II think we should win this.” Next thing you know, fate will backhand you with a couple of cyclon attacks and leave everyone desperately scrambling for survival. As a fan of the show I can get into the characters and I love how well FFG have recreated the characters within the game rules with their individual abilities and drawbacks. The overall production is of excellent quality with good quality boards, cards and miniatures of the various ships. And finally I like that you don’t actually need to know the show to enjoy the game. So long as you understand the basic premise you can play along just fine.

But sadly it isn’t all milk and honey for Battlestar Galactica as there are certainly elements of the game that can detract from the experience for some people. Some of the character roles can see you pigeon-holed a bit too much with pilots flying around shooting cylons, the President stuck on Colonmial One and so on. And it’s best not to mention “sympathizers” to some players of this game. The nature of the game can also make it harsh on new players playing with experienced players. I mean, I might be giving you good reasonable advice. Or maybe I’m a cylon… And perhaps you really did make an innocent mistake. But maybe you’re a cylon… And mistakes can really hurt. Also, not everyone is going to enjoy the level of tension and paranoia that the game generates. My final gripe with the game is sadly a production one. Seriously FFG, Cardboard basestar tokens? I realise the moulds for the plastic bits are expensive, but could you seriously not fit a couple of plastic basestars in there? Did you really need to wait for an expansion?

And yes, as a great FFG game there are a couple of expansions out for it. But honestly I think this is one game that doesn’t necessarily need them. For me, the base game is a near perfect creation. Well except for those frakkin basestars…

Comments are closed.