Friday, February 10, 2012

Session Report - BSG Exodus Expansion - Fate Favours the Cylons

This game was played on Saturday, 4 February 2012. This was our first game using the Exodus Expansion. We used all the Pegasus rules except New Caprica, and used the Exodus final five cards (no personal goals) and the Cylon Basestar board (no Ionian Nebula). Six players were present, most having experience with the game. 

Cally - Matt
Dee- Mike
Boomer - Charles (BSG Virgin)
Baltar - Nate
Starbuck - Brandon
Gaeta - Me
I am not a Cylon.

We are pretty keen to give Exodus a try. Most of us have about 10 plays of BSG but it has been off our game radar for a few session (due to fatigue). We stick with only a few rules from Exodus for our first game.

Nate is Baltar (again) and I inwardly groan. He has never been a Cylon in any game he has played (statistically unlikely for a guy who plays Baltar a lot) but he tends to make wild, unfounded accusations, making me think he is a Cylon trying to sow paranoia. It can be dangerous for him to be president. However, the games are always interesting.

In these session reports, a round refers to the time for all players to have their turn once. After round one, all players will have had the chance to complete one turn.

Round One starts in typical fashion. Baltar moves to Colonial 1 and takes Quorum cards. Starbuck and Boomer both launch in new vipers. Cally and Dee repair the new vipers while I XO Starbuck. Another Basestar and more raiders are placed in front of Galactica and Weapons Control is hit by the Basestar.

During round 2, Baltar raises morale by one while Cally lowers it with her crisis. Cally checks one loyalty card of Baltar and says he is not a Cylon. Starbuck destroys 3 raiders and Dee moves some civilian ships. Boomer uses the new escort rule and escorts a ship to safety. At the end of round two we finally advance to autojump. I pick a distance 1 and distance 3 card, and play the distance 3. Starbuck is XO'd and launches to end the turn.

Round 3 starts with a minor disaster, as Baltar loses 1 food and 1 population when 1 civilian ship is destroyed. At this point there are in excess of 10 raiders in the front section on the Basestar board and a large amount of civilian ships behind the Galactica. The humans are scrambling to keep the raiders away from the civilian ships. Between Starbuck's turn and being XO'd by Cally, five civilian ships are escorted off the board, lowering the civilian ships to a more manageable four. The rest of the round is concluded by vipers being launched and repaired.

Round 4 sees Starbuck XO's by Baltar to escort civilian ships and Cally moving to Pegasus to kills 4 raiders with the main batteries. Galactica jumps. I draw a distance 1 and distance 2 destination card and we jump 2 for a total of five. The sleeper phase begins and I find out I have been a Cylon.

So far the humans have been doing very well. Normally at this point in our games, there is at least 1 resource in the red. All four of our resources are in the blue and well in the blue. It seems like it will be an easy win for the humans. There is a short discussion around the table that perhaps Exodus makes the game too easy for the humans. Baltar hasn't used his ability yet and I haven't been checked (likely due to my first 3 distance jump) by anyone else. I figure it is coming soon and the best thing for me would be to revel sooner and allow my other Cylon to remain hidden.

During the rest of the round, Starbuck launches and we pass her crisis, however the pursuit track auto attacks, putting 13 raiders, 2 heavy raiders and 2 Basestars in front of Galactica. Boomer, who was placed in the Brig, tries to get out. I am trying to figure out who is the other Cylon, but no one has given any clues. Baltar and Boomer are the most likely candidates, as they both have 3 loyalty cards. There is a big discussion on whether or not to let Boomer out of the Brig. If she is a Cylon, I want to let her out, but most of the others figure its best to leave her in, so her attempt to get out fails. My turn is next and I revel. Trying to sow as much paranoia as possible, I give my second loyalty card (not a Cylon) to Starbuck, thinking that, of all the players, she is the least likely to be a Cylon. Breaking the rules of the game, Starbuck "accidentally" flips the card over, letting everyone see it is not a Cylon, right after I spend a lot of time implying that my second card is also "you are a Cylon". I am a bit pissed about the whole thing, as breaking rules about loyalty cards really takes away from the game. However, not much I can do about it, plus I cannot prove it was an intentional flip, although everyone is sure that it was. I am also disappointed by my Supercrisis card as it lowers morale and population on a skill check, and prevents humans from using their once per game power. I prefer the crisis cards that add Cylon ships to the board. How wrong I am about the usefulness of this card.

By the end of round 4, things seem to be going well for the humans. They know who one of the two Cylons are, all resources are in the blue and they have gone 5 distance and are potentially 2 jumps from winning the game. Little did we know that my revel marks the beginning of the downfall of the humans.

Round 5 begins with Baltar. With one Cylon reveled and the sleeper phase begun, now is a good time for Baltar to use his ability to look at the loyalty cards of one player. Part of the reason I reveled was that I was sure he would have used it on me. Baltar can't resist, he has to check someone. Baltar and Cally have been going back and forth a bit (they are brothers in real life) so Baltar focuses on Cally and decides to check her. Unfortunately, Cally is one of the Final Five and Baltar is killed. Baltar revels his loyalty cards and he is not a Cylon. The player playing Dee announces that he has to leave, so instead of picking a new character, we decide that Baltar will play Dee. This makes the game a bit harder on the humans, going from a 2 versus 4 to a 2 vs 3. With the death of Baltar, Cally has assumed the presidency. With a quorum card, Cally decides to take the Admiral position from Dee. Whether this is due to the fact that Dee might be the other Cylon, or the bad blood and threats that followed Baltar's death, I do not know. All I know is that what was looking as a difficult position for the Cylons has quickly turned. Although resources are still good, relations between the humans, especially Dee and Cally, have quickly soured. There are a lot of raiders on the Cylon fleet board that I can put to good use, plus some damage to Galactica. My best move might be the 2 heavy raiders on the Galactica board so I decide my next move is to activate them and try to get 2 Centurions onto Galactica. Unfortunately, Starbuck goes next, uses maximum firepower and destroys both raiders. I grit my teeth, twice foiled by Starbuck. Now the focus shifts to Boomer as the most likely Cylon, having 3 loyalty cards. Being stuck in the Brig, Dee decides to go to Pegasus and execute Boomer. I don't think Boomer is the other Cylon. In fact I suspect Dee. The execution passes without my help. Boomer is reveled to be human. Both 3 loyalty card players are human. The humans lose 1 morale and Lee Adama is brought in to replace Boomer. He XO's Starbuck. Starbuck, expecting Cally to zero in on her as the other Cylon, revels. Cally states that she was about to Brig Starbuck next turn. The cheat is reveled as an attempt to remove suspicion. The humans fail their next crisis and lose another morale and population. Cylon Felix is last this round and I go to the Basestar, reduce the jump track and damage Galactica. Galactica now has 3 damage and there is the potential for a win by destroying Galactica. This seems the most likely plan for the Cylons. The only problem with this plan is that most humans have a card in repair.

Round 6 start with Cally and she repairs Weapons Control on Galactica while Cylon Starbuck activates the raiders, destroying Apollo's ship and sending him to Sick Bay. The humans need to get going, so Dee goes to FTL and jumps the ship. All civilians make it, no loss of population. Galactica jumps a distance of 2 for a total of seven, forcing two more jumps for a human win. The crisis is Water Shortage and someone discards a treachery card. I play my Sabotage card, causing more damage to Galactica. Apollo is next. He XO's Cally who repairs Galactica. Apollo's crisis card causes damage to Galactica. Fate seems to want us to win with the destruction of Galactica. Seeing that resources are starting to move into the red and the humans are low on cards, I play my Supercrisis card and they fail, losing 1 food, 1 population and preventing anyone from using their once per game ability.

Cally starts round seven by again repairing Weapons Control but loses 1 morale and 1 fuel on her crisis. Starbuck moves the jump track back a space and damages Weapons Control again, sending Cally to Sick Bay. Dee launches in a viper and XO's Cally who launches 2 more vipers. Apollo escorts a civilian ship and XO's Cally to move a civilian ship, but it is not enough. On my turn I activate raiders and kill 2 civilian ships. More loss of population for the humans.

Round 8 and things are looking bad for the humans. Galactica hovers between 3 and 4 damage, as the Cylon threaten to destroy it. Resources are in the red and the loss of one more morale will cause Dee to kill herself. Meanwhile, Cylon ships threaten the civilians, and the humans are unable to keep up with the threats. Cally moves to Pegasus and kills two raiders. Cylon Starbuck activates raiders and destroys 3 population. Dee repairs Galactica but loses 1 food to a crisis while Apollo launches and more civilian ships are moved away from the huge Cylon raider fleet. I reduce the jump track again, while the humans lose 2 fuel and 1 food to various crises.

Round 9 and it is do or die time. Cally uses the last nuke (one was sacrificed to a crisis earlier) and, along with a strategic planning, kills 2 Basestars and 2 raiders. Cylon Starbuck strikes back by reducing the jump track and placing a Basestar. With the fleet at 1 fuel, 2 food, 3 morale and 1 population, one more fuel is lost in a crisis and the human fleet is drifting in space, easy pickings for Cylons.

Overall, it was a good game. Everyone agreed that the Cylon Fleet board added a lot to the game. As a Cylon, I felt I had a lot of options after I reveled, unlike in the past. I suspect we will continue to use the Cylon Fleet board and will try all the conflicted loyalties and the Ionian Nebula next time.

As I mentioned earlier, we were a bit concerned at the beginning that human resources were up through the first half of the game, higher than usual for us. However, they went quickly down as the Cylons reveled and the humans were giving in to paranoia. If this expansion has the effect of making things easy on the humans at first but has the potential for a quick downward slide, then the game will be much more exciting indeed.

Update: Welcome those of you from Gamers Alley. Stick around, kick the tires a bit.

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