Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Galactica, you and me need to have a talk

Last night, I was number 6 to arrive at VTES night.
(Yes, I made the evening-gown joke, and yes it was just as bad as you think. So stop.)

After a rousing game of VTES where my cruddy Marconius+Krassimir vote deck managed to win a 6 (ugh) player game (partly thanks to my grandpredator's Anathema giving me 10 yummy pool), we decided to play Galactica.

Now, see, I like Galactica. I think it's a great game.
But the last 2 games have soured it a bit for me.
In the EliCon game, the humans lost before the sleeper phase, due to randomness and unfavorable crisis deck shuffling; mechanically a total flop. The No Sympathizer rule didn't even enter into it, but you've heard my feelings on that.

In last night's game, which used Pegasus (but not New Caprica), another house rule was introduced to me:
If there is a Cylon Leader in an even-number-of-players game, he modifies the Loyalty Deck to ensure that there won't be 3-on-3 cylon-vs-human action.
I was on the Human side, playing Ellen Tigh, and didn't feel like we were ever in danger or challenged at all. I didn't ever even feel the need to use my special abilities, and spent the whole game tossing Treachery cards into the Engine Room boilers.
And, even though Morale got down to 1, it still seemed like an easy win for the Humans.
The Cylon Leader (John "Eno" Cavil) had a Hostile Agenda, and so the house rule dictated that there was only one other Cylon. It was Admiral Cain (played by Chris), who didn't get her Cylon Loyalty until post-sleeper phase after blasting us 6 distance forward.
Had there been another Cylon loyalty card in circulation (as per the standard rules), then there would have been a lot more sense of tension in the room; granted, the Cylons probably would have won in that case, but I think it would have been a more interesting game.
Despite winning, it kind of gave me a "meh" feeling about the game; especially the feeling by most players that House Rules are necessary "to balance things", when in fact they often don't matter or don't actually balance the game in the intended way.

I still don't know if I'm ever going to pick up Pegasus.
But whenever I am in charge of setting the "House Rules" for a game of BSG, I'm always going to be in favor of being minimally invasive.
That is, when playing the Base Game, leave the Sympathizer in a 6p game (unless someone twists my arm real hard) and only use the new rules from Pegasus that apply to the base game, and no other "house rules". I'd even love to play an "as-written" BSG base game sometime, which isn't really that outrageous. The Forum game I played (which barely counts) used completely unmodified base rules and I didn't have too much of a problem with, for example, old Investigative Committee...

When playing Pegasus, I'll encourage playing by the rules as-written, except for the choice between New Caprica (which I'd love to try, incidentally) or not.
You can say I'm overthinking it in the other direction, but as much as I love inventing house rules and variants, I really want to try the game as-is to be able to judge the imbalances for myself. Because, in my observation, none of the Major house rules (especially the respective No Third Cylon rules) have really accomplished what they set out to accomplish in the games I've played with them.

Ideally this game would get another expansion; there's plenty of plot left to work with, and I've even written down a bunch of ideas for a "wish list" for an expansion that covers the rest of the show.
I'm not holding my breath on that, but I'm sure it would address balance issues once again in its own way.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

EliCon Report (brief)

EliCon was a total success.
First of all, the namesake was a really good sleeper. He got up twice, confused by the noise downstairs, but went right back to bed when I went to talk to him.

There were about 12 people who showed up, and I didn't get to play games with every single one of them, and that's OK.

Apart from a few timefiller games (We Didnt Playtest This, which lives up to its name, and Fluxx), I got in a 4player game of Dominion (in which the winner, not me, gave 8 curses to everyone with Sea Hag), and the 6 player game of Galactica that I was itching for.
Unfortunately, the Galactica game was a big clusterfrak :)
A decision was made to play with the No Sympathizer Rule, but it didn't matter (or actually hurt us due to lowered resources) because we Humans lost before the Sleeper Phase, due to a Cylon Adama and an atypically large number of Cylon Attacks and other nasty crises.

A bunch of other games got played; Small World, one of my other favorites lately, was not one of them.
The only game I really would have liked to try and didn't get a chance to was Chaos In The Old World; maybe next time.

Could totally envision doing something like this again, especially with Talita actually in town so she can participate too.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

A couple of announcements

First, once again, this Saturday night is theoretically going to be rife with boardgame playing at my house. Contact me for info.

Second, do not be alarmed if my avatar disappears; my phone updated to the newest and greatest version of Android, which caused my photos to sync from picasa (which is where images are apparently hosted when they go onto blogger blogs), which led me to realize that I had not one, but eight identical pictures of Ossian up there; in an effort to clean up the mess, I'm deleting them a few at a time and then I'll re-upload if my avatar dies.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010


No kidding.. Someone just made a pretty sizeable purchase from my printfection store.
I don't make any money off of it and I don't get to see who makes the orders.
But that's still pretty awesome.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Ran out of Toast

The BSG PBF game has finally ended, with a Cylon victory.
At 1 food left, with an unrevealed Cylon President (on his turn), Starbuck used her once-per-game special to dump Water Shortage, and it was replaced with Food Shortage.

I was going to post a long thing about the game, but really the thread speaks for itself.
As the Sympathizer, I was the only "revealed Cylon" all game (technically, one action before endgame, Apollo revealed in an XO, but that had no effect on the game).
I got to deliver some custom-tailored crises without activating the jump icons, which did contribute to our victory, but it is really not that fun a role especially after skipping turn 1 for "Helotosis".

I may or may not try the Play By Forum system again, but if I get on the waiting list now it will be for a game that goes through Christmas Break and I don't want to deal with that sort of delays, so I will wait.

Hoping to get a "real" game of it soon, but so far there aren't many responses to my Board Game Day invitation, so I don't know when it will happen.

Link to the game.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

EliCon 2010

So, who amongst my loyal readership would be interested in getting together at my place on August 20 (Fri) or August 21 (Sat), after 7pm, for a bit of boardgaming?
And if either, which is better?

I am hoping to have 5 or more people at the house, and would like to be able to play at least one "long" game (i.e. Galactica).

The reason for starting after 7 is that hopefully Eli will be asleep. Mommy is out of town that weekend and Daddy is stuck at home.

Contact me either over email or with a comment here and I'll disperse details. But I don't think there are too many "locals" who follow this blog anyway.

(For those who read the blog and somehow don't know where I live, it is in the Greater Boston area; I'll give out my address on a need-to-know basis)

Monday, August 2, 2010

Hot Potato

Someone* posted to the Dominion forums on boardgamegeek asking for recommendations for cards that cost 1 money. I posted something as a joke, and he ended up mocking it up as a card template.

I give you:
Hot Potato

* I actually know who "buggy" is; he and I have been at Intercon at the same time although I don't know if we've ever LARPed together, and I doubt he recognizes my BGG persona.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Geek D'oh!

Looks like they're retiring the concept of http://www.geekdo.com/ , and reverting to the "canonical" idea of separate boardgamegeek and rpggeek (and now videogamegeek) sites. I'm sure nobody cares, I barely care, but it's the URL I got used to using.. Uh.. that is all.