The Battlestar Galactica Board Game Provides a Memorable and Engaging Experience
In the Battlestar Galactica board game humanities struggle against the Cyclons continue. Players must unite to overcome not only the Cyclon onslaught but the constant crises that they continually encounter. However, on board the Galactica not all is as it seems. Cyclons, sentient robots, have disguised themselves in human form. There is at least one if not two that have to be rooted out. Then there is the possibility of a Cyclon sympathizer. Humanity must stand strong and united if it wishes to survive.
Battlestar Galactica is one of my favorite TV series of all time and nearly everyone I have introduced this board game to has enjoyed it immensely. Let’s have a brief look at how it is played.
The Game Begins
You are off to a bad start. A Cylon basestar and three raiders have just appeared in front of Battlestar Galactica. The Colonial One and the civilization ships behind you are all within striking range.
Admiral William Adama, President Gaius Baltar, Sharon Valeri and Galen Tyrol (the chief) scramble to deal with the alarming situation.
Each player takes a turn to deal with the crisis. Admiral Adama takes his turn first. Below are the steps that all players take during their turn.
1. Receive Skills Step
The admiral draws the type and number of skill cards listed on his character sheet. In this case, 3 leadership and 2 tactics cards.
2. Movement Step
He can move to any place on board the Battlestar Galactica or the Colonial One. He considers going to Weapons Control and attack the basestar with the Galactica or to the Command Deck and activate 2 unmanned vipers. He decides to move to Weapons Control.
3. Action Step
Players are not limited to just taking the action of their current location. His or her character sheet and skill cards may have an action that can be taken as well. The President can put into action his Quorum cards and the Admiral can launch one of the two nukes the Galactica has.
The Admiral fires on the basestar. A dice is rolled. A 5 damages the basestar and a damage token is randomly chosen to put on it. It turns out the hit was worth two damage points. It takes three to destroy a basestar.
4. Crisis Step
Admiral Adama now draws a crisis card.
A Cyclon Virus has knocked out the main power and auxilary units on board the Galactica and threatens to do far worse. A skill check of 13 must be performed to avert it. All players put in cards but come up short. As a result, the player in the FTL Control location is sent to the sick bay and a cyclon boarding party manages to board the ship undetected.
5. Activate Cyclon Ships Step (if necessary)
The Cyclon Virus card has a symbol on it. A basestar and three raiders. That means the basestar launches three raiders into it’s immediate area. Now there are six raiders to deal with!
6. Prepare for Jump Step (if necessary)
This card does not have the jump symbol on it so the players remain where they are on the jump track.
The next player now takes his or her turn and goes through the same steps.
Skill Checks in Battlestar Galactica
There are many skill checks during the game. Here’s how they work.
Skill cards come in 5 different colors and have a number ranging from 1 – 5. Two of every type are randomly chosen, shuffled then placed on the Destiny deck space. Whenever there is a skill check two of these cards start it off and are placed face down.
The crisis card ‘Low Supplies’ requires players to come up with 7 skill points in yellow and green. If any other colors are present it will substract points.
Although they don’t know it yet the players are off to a bad start. The Destiny cards contain a red 5 and a green 1 card so it’s a -4 start. Admiral Adama throws in a yellow 2 and green 1. President Baltar puts in a green 3. Sharon contributes a yellow 2 and a green 3. Unknown to the players though is the fact that the chief is a cyclon. He throws in a red 5. This means that the players only got 2 in the skill check. That results in -1 morale.
Having two cards from the Destiny deck weighing in helps mask if a Cyclon is present. As only two negative cards showed up players can’t be sure if they were from the Destiny deck or if someone put them into the pile.
Fuel, Food, Morale and Population Dials
There are four dials on the ship representing food and fuel (8), morale (10) and population (12). If any of these reach ‘0’ in the game the Cylons win. Humans win by traveling 8 units of distance in the game.
Jump Preparation Track
The fleet marker is placed at the beginning of the jump preparation track. Everytime a crisis card reveals a jump icon the fleet token moves one space along the track.
If you make it to the third or fourth position on the track you can force a jump by going to the FTL Control location on the board. However, you risk losing population if you do so.
Later on in the game players are on the third position of the track that is -3. Since the enemy is swarming around them and posing a great threat they decide to chance a jump.
An eight-sided dice is rolled and it’s a 5. Anything 6 or less will result in a population loss in accordance with which step on the jump preparation track you’re on. In this case, 3 population is lost.
Cylon Boarding Party
If a heavy raider ship starts it’s movement in a space with a viper launch icon they board the Galactica right away. A centurion token is placed on the start space of the Boarding Party track. Every time you get a crisis card that activates heavy raiders the centurion moves one space to the right. If it eventually reaches the last space the cylons have won.
The Battlestar Galactica board game is the most requested game in my collection. It stands out from many other games because it’s based on a beloved TV series, it’s a co-operative game and a good looking game that has lots of eye candy. Humorous accusations fly, “You’re a Cyclon!,” and even human players can find themselves accused of being a cyclon and thrown into the brig and left to rot! Trust me, I know!
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