19 Jun 2012

Tuesday Table Top Fun - BSG The Board Game

A 2003 TV mini series returned the last survivors of the Twelve Colonies of Kobol. The drama was survival, set in space. The series was good. No matter how you feel about the last two seasons and the shows controversial conclusion.

BSG changed the way sci-fi presented itself. Use of computer animation, web series between TV seasons, developing characters… the mode of the show was a game changer. The mature drama, approach to serious subject matter and moral gray areas changed the idea of good and dramatic science fiction on TV
Someone at Fantasy Flight had a good idea.

Get some smart game designers make this into a board game experience that unique and that uses the strength of the TV series

In 2008, BSG the board game was released.

By the by if you can’t guess this game is awesome. I can even convince the wife to play every so often.
You randomly pick one of ten characters with various one time abilities and various resource gathering attributes. On your turn you gather the resources you will use jointly with the other players to complete challenges on each players turn. Failure of these challenges can have a variety of effects including reducing the four supply counters that represent the state of the Galactica and the fleet under its protection. When possible you ‘jump’ progressing the fleet closet to its goal.

A few catches, Cylons, the antagonists of the series are at times due to appear in a physical form to wish and apply harm to you and your fleet. You may have to fight them in space or push back boarding actions on the Galatica. It can get quite harrowing at times as the players decide to sacrifice parts for the survival of the whole. Those choices will haunt you as the game continues.

The last note is one or more of the players may start or once you reach the half way point become an enemy, a dirty Toaster aka a Cylon. Their input is to derail the efforts of the others. Some do so in secret forcing out other players from positions of political power, others announce their Cyclon allegiance. I’ve even been part of a game where the Cyclon player decide to continue to help the human players, convincing them to be allowed to continue as a member of the crew as we fought off hoards and hoards of Cyclons.
She never betrayed us, but we still lost.

This inspires and places players in roles and situations to make the choices that the TV series became known for. You can fight the game, fight each other or do both. I find it interesting when the Human players argue on how to survive, geting so worked up they begin to even fuck each other up more then the efforts of the Cylon or the game itself.

The success of the series spawned a pair of expansions. I own the first; Pegasus, relased in 2009 with more characters, different styles of play for the Cylons and new goals for the Fleet to strive towards. The second, Exodus, is on my short list of games to pick up. I love the feel of the game and how it uses the Intelectual Property. I've not seen the like of this since the days of the late 1990's playing the Babylon 5 Collectable Card Game with the first Canadian and World Champion.

Why do I like this game?

We work together, we fight and accept the cost of those choices. Do we play our role, do we condemn those who’ve hurt us, allow lines on charts to decide who is on which side of a conflict.
In the end the game is about being human and what that means.