Last night was one of drama and tension, nothing less than you might expect from a game of Battlestar Galactica. We were hosted by Geoff and Gill, with Emma, Adam, and Ann and I. Geoff, Gill and Emma were playing for the first time, and everyone was familiar with the BSG concept, Emma being a die-hard fan of epic proportions. The night started with us unloading the car in hail and rain, and getting drenched on the way inside. Having dried off, we setup the game and loaded up the drinks and nibbles. I had the new players watch the Scott Nicholson video as a primer, which made life easier as we went over the game concepts and structure.
I allowed players to choose their own characters, so it was an interesting mix we ended up with. Emma choose the Admiral Adama, Gill was Gaius Baltar, Geoff was Starbuck, Adam selected Boomer, Ann choose President Roslin, while I rounded out the cast with Apollo. This would add a couple of extra loyalty cards with Gaius and Boomer both getting 2 loyalty cards at different times.
Our start was a little slow, we had in the first round plenty of trouble with Crisis cards that challenged us, sucked out cards, and started a big drain on our resource dials. We were under a lot of pressure, and we were already developing feelings about each other. Geoff, Adam and I seemed to have a feeling that Gill was a Cylon. After the first round we started to speed up, and our new players started to gain some confidence in their playing. The biggest problem was Crisis cards, and there was definitely a hidden Cylon or maybe two in our midst who were throwing in the odd cleaver card to fail checks. Our biggest problem was food, more specifically we were bleeding water like it was running out a tap. To add to that, our first jump was just a “1” and our President seemed to be collecting Quorum cards and not playing them. We were fighting of fleets of Cylons in seemed and just not getting anywhere. Mine and other s suspicions spread, maybe our President was not all she seemed.
I think most of us were wondering if we would even get to half-way. The Fuel was dropping, we had no Raptors left, Food was well into the red, Morale was fine, and we had a massive population. Ways to turn population into food or fuel made an interesting aspect of our out of turn conversations. Gaius seemed to be having a change of heart, which had me wondering, while Roslin was certainly a toaster. Boomer took two attempts to get out of the Brig, Adama took another still, while several of us were actively voting to keep Roslin in the Brig.
Eventually we made half-way, and we were now fairly sure that Gaius and Roslin were both toasters. The Sleeper phase saw Boomer go to the Brig, and the Admiral drew the Sleeper Agent card, so I became Admiral. My first action this half was to seize the Presidential office. This might have cost a few cards, however the resulting Crisis card sucked out all my cards as I was both Admiral and President. Roslin was upset, and by her next turn she held another election and took back the President title. Frustrated I decided on another option, and had her sent to the Brig with a tense vote. Now Boomer, Roslin and Adama were all in the Brig, and strangely the worst of the Crisis flow seemed to stop or slow.
It was just after Boomer and Adama got out of jail that things started to go really wrong, and I have to say I was looking the wrong way. As the Food and Fuel edged closer to out, morale just dipping into the red while population was still ridiculously high, Roslin decided to reveal her true self and went up to the Cylon Resurection Ship. Her parting action was to make Gaius President, which I though might be a disaster, so in my turn with the aid of a Crisis Card took the President title from her.
I was now running the show, the only problem is that we were in the last act and the bad guys were well ahead. With the thought of a super crisis coming, we continued to hang on a knife edge over the Food and then Fuel, choosing to sacrifice Morale as we edged past 6 jumps and with only a faint chance of survival. The former Roslin now unleasher her Super Crisis which we managed to over come with plenty of cards and active playing aboard Galactica. Finally with 3 dials on 1, Adama decided to come out and reveal her Cylon self, sinking Morale 1 more level to our collective human loss. It had only been in this last round that I had picked Adama as a possible problem and now it was to late. The Cylons were jubilant, the humans struggling with disbelief. It had been a big game with lots of drama and tension, and now it was over. Well, until the next game.
BSG is a game I want to get out of the box more. Its a game with an experience each time, and for fans of the TV series it is like getting cast in the series, all the action, all the drama, all the tension and deception. We need more games like this.