Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game - Board Game Box Shot

Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game

Battlestar Galactica title

Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game provides a unique gaming experience. Unlike most games where players win individually, Battlestar Galactica is a cooperative game, with the added complication that one or more of the players is a secret Cylon traitor – your entire side will win or lose, and you might not even be certain who is on your side until the game ends!

Battlestar Galactica game in play
images © Fantasy Flight Games

Each player is secretly assigned his or her loyalty at the start of the game. Players will either be loyal to the humans, or to the Cylons. Humans and Cylons have specific and conflicting winning objectives. The human players win by reaching Kobol, but the Galactica will be be threatened by a host of challenges along the way. Only through the cooperation of the humans will the ship (and fleet) survive. The Cylon player(s) wins by either destroying the Galactica with attacks from the Cylon fleet, or, through sabotage, by reducing one of the necessary resources (Food, Fuel, Population, or Morale) to zero.

Either all of the humans win together, or all of the Cylons win together…but both sides must figure out who they can trust in order to achieve victory.

Players' identities are secret and no one will know for certain at the beginning of the game who they can trust. Keep your eyes open and watch how the other players play. Can you trust them to watch out for Humanity’s interests? Or are they Cylons bent on destroying Humanity?

If your gaming group enjoys highly-thematic political intrigue, and can handle some good-natured infighting and backstabbing, you'll enjoy Battlestar Galactica.

If you like playing a game where there is a continuous challenge, and victory is always a very close call, Battlestar Galactica is for you.

If you're a fan of the hit Sci Fi Channel show, and want to simulate the twists and turns on your game table, then Battlestar Galactica is the game you have been waiting for!

User Reviews (40)

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4
Mantis Clan - Legend of the Five Rings
BoardGaming.com Beta 1.0 Tester
Tinkerer
Went to Gen Con 2012
10
55 of 57 gamers found this helpful | Medals x 1
“The best licensed game is also one of the best games, period.”

The Cylons were created by man. They rebelled. They evolved. They look… and feel… human. Some of them are programmed to believe they are human. There are many copies. And they have a plan.

Players in Battlestar Galactica take on the roles of leaders and notable figures of the Colonial fleet, the last remnants of humanity after the villainous mechanical Cylons obliterated the 12 Colonies on which they lived. They will have to deal with crises from outside and within the fleet that drain away their precious resources, fend off attacks by Cylon ships, and root out who among them is secretly a Cylon infiltrator working to destroy them from within.

That last part is where the real meat and replay value of the game lies. Like Mafia / Are You A Werewolf?, BSG is at its heart a social game about finding out who among you is a horrible murderous traitor. But unlike those party games, where the only way to progress toward each side’s goal is to remove players, BSG provides many more ways each side can help or hinder the mission’s goal, subtle or overt, and thus more ways for humans to determine who among them is a traitor and for Cylon traitors to be clever and sneaky about it. Most crises require the fleet to pass “skill checks” to avoid Bad Stuff happening — every player plays some amount of cards facedown into the center, two cards are added from a random deck, they are shuffled, and their numbers totalled, with certain designated types of card adding to the total and others subtracting. Was that 5-point Piloting skill card that tanked the check bad luck from the random deck, or is one of our pilots a Cylon? With multiple ways the fleet can be destroyed and multiple avenues to approach that destruction, the best course of action on any player’s turn isn’t always clear. Did the Admiral spend his turn drawing more skill cards instead of shooting down enemy raiders because he’s worried about passing skill checks, or because he really wants those raiders to blow up Galactica? The President just got to look at another player’s loyalty card and said he was a Cylon. Is he really a Cylon, or is the President the Cylon, and trying to get us to fight each other?

And just when you think you have a handle on who to trust, things get more complicated. Players are dealt a loyalty card at the start of the game, telling them if they are a human or a Cylon. But when the fleet has jumped halfway toward its destination, the Sleeper Agent phase happens, and players are dealt another loyalty card — meaning some of them were Cylons programmed to believe they were human! This does a great job of keeping the element of mistrust and paranoia stable longer, and creates interesting dilemmas for human players to deal with and cylon players to exploit. Do I use my character’s powerful once-per-game ability to help the humans survive now, when I don’t know for sure if I will still be human after the Sleeper Agent phase? It’s entirely possible that there will be no Cylon players at the beginning of the game, and both Cylon loyalty cards will be dealt out in the Sleeper Agent phase. If we focus our efforts on rooting out Cylons early, will we waste our time hunting ghosts? If not, will we be giving a Cylon infiltrator all the cover she needs? And if I AM a Cylon, do I play it cool and let people think we’re just getting unlucky, or go more overt and start putting the screws to them early and often?

Eventually, the Cylon players will be found out or reveal themselves, and move to a separate section of the board where they start trying to destroy everything without bothering to hide it. At this point, the game shifts from paranoia and mistrust to the brave humans weathering the worst the Cylons can throw at them, desperately trying to survive long enough for the fleet to jump to Kobol, their new home. This part of the game loses the most social elements of trust and betrayal, but is still great fun, combining the best aspects of a co-op and competitive boardgame. Humans have fun fighting through impossible odds, Cylons have fun tricking the humans and leading them on until they can reveal their loyalty at the most damaging time.

The game does a fantastic job of capturing the feel of the show’s early seasons, but knowledge of the show is not at all required to play or enjoy the game, and I’ve met many people who hated the show but still love the game. It takes a good long while to play the first few times you do so as you learn the game, and sometimes every random element can align to just totally screw over one side or the other, usually the humans… but if a game had to be utterly perfect to score a 10/10, 10 wouldn’t even be on the scale. Battlestar Galactica is still a superbly enjoyable game with amazing replay value that I recommend without hesitation to anyone who enjoys board gaming.

 
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3
Gamer - Level 3
9
62 of 65 gamers found this helpful | Medals x 1
“After some deliberation, I've decided to name Battlestar my favorite game. ”

First of all, this one is not for the light of heart. Your first game is probably going to take in the realm of 5 hours. Actually, most of our plays have taken about 5 hours, but don’t let that scare you away! It’s totally worth it!. You don’t have to be familiar with the TV show either. I’ve played multiple games with friends who haven’t a clue what the show is about and they’ve had a great time and are usually much more curious about the show after they’ve played.

Okay, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Fantasy Flight could write a rulebook that’s easier to follow. You’re definitely going to have to keep it in your lap for your first game…. Again, actually, I’ve had it in my lap for every game we’ve played. There’s just a lot of stuff going on. More recently though, we’ve gone to the rulebook less and have instead printed out some reference cards I found over at Board Game Geek. Sped it up a little.

The best part of this game: accusing everyone of being a dirty cylon. Battlestar is a cooperative game that secretly assigns one or more players the role of the traitor against the group. If you aren’t familiar with the show, Cylons are the evil cyborg race that look like humans, and are trying to infiltrate and destroy the human race. One of your friends is going to be a cylon. Probably a couple of them. Maybe even you.

The humans are trying to make it to their new home planet while figuring out who the cylon players are so they can avoid catastrophe. And more often than not, catastrophe strikes. The game is balanced to make it harder for the humans to win. But when you finally beat those dirty toasters… it feels great.

There are a lot of things going on in this game, and that’s why it stands out for me. Obviously, my favorite part is the traitor/deduction facet, but there’s also space battles determined by dice rolling, there are variable player roles, and a big worker placement element to the game.

The components are top notch (as is the way of Fantasy Flight) and do a great job of drawing you into the space theme.

If you’ve ever played Shadows Over Camelot the game play feels a little like that, but I really feel that everything that is broken in Camelot is largely smoothed over in Battlestar.

Anyway, enough blabbering. I obviously love this one. If you’ve got a few friends that are geeky enough to give it a shot, then go pick it up!

 
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7
Knight-errant
BoardGaming.com Beta 1.0 Tester
Intermediate Reviewer
The Big Cheese 2012
9
98 of 103 gamers found this helpful | Medals x 1
“Finally, my BSG review”

Do you love the show? Do you want to inspire your friends to buy into the theme of the show? Do you want to give your friends a reason to watch the show? This game is the answer to your problem. From personal experience, I have gotten almost a half a dozen people to play the game that never had seen the show. I also get at least a half a dozen to watch the entire show based on their experiences with this board game.

So… with that being said… LAUNCH VIPERS!

The gist of the game:
In Battlestar Galactica the board game, the players take on the roles of various characters from the television show. The ultimate goal of the game is for the humans to get to their final destination of Kobol and make one last FTL jump. Can you lead the humans to victory, admiral or president? The twist is that at least one of the players will secretly be an infiltrator sent by the cylons to make your life a living ****. The cylon players have one job and one job only, annihilate the human race. This is done by destroying Galactica, having a boarding part get all the way down the track, or reducing one of the resources of the humans to 0 or below.
Replay Value:
This is one of those games that you just want to start playing again as soon as you finish. It was surprising after playing the game with people who had not even seen the show when they were the most adamant about playing again. There are so many ways to lose as the humans and so many scenarios of how the game plays out. When a human element is added to both sides like this game does, it is almost a different game every time. You will fondly remember stories of times you played this game.
Components:
As per usual with a Fantasy Flight game, the pieces are awesome. Since this is a review for the base set, I’d have to say that the cardboard base stars are a disappointment. There are a lot of moving parts here, and I do just love the spinning wheels on the board for tracking the health of the human side. (fuel, population, morale, food)
Easy to Learn:
This game is challenging to learn. This became apparent when playing at GenCon with a bunch of strangers. Every single person from a different play group had a different way of playing the game. It still worked out in the end, it just took some time to get spooled up. It was almost as if a cylon virus had infected our FTL drive!
2-6 players It takes longer, typically to play the game with more players. It is also far more fun to play with more players! 10+ age This age suggestion really doesn’t match the game. I don’t see a 10 year old finding the game interesting. I also don’t see any younger kids “getting” the game unless they are mature for their age. 120+ minutes I don’t think I have ever played a game that just lasted 2 hours. 2.5 hours maybe, but never 2 or less. I’d label this game 180+ more realistically.
Conclusion:
If you like bluffing, this is your game. If you like BSG, this is your game. If you like feeling like you are flying by the seat of your pants the entire game, this is your game. This game can be stressful. This game can be intimidating. Each decision seems to hinge on ultimate victory or defeat. SAVE THE HUMAN RACE.. OR DESTROY IT!

 
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8
Senior
Critic - Level 3
Junior Reporter
Explorer - Level 4
7
72 of 76 gamers found this helpful
“Can the good guys prevail?”

I have a love/hate relationship with this game. I love it because it’s a co-op game, but the secret enemy in our midst, however, makes things unnerving and stressful. But unnerving stress can be fun, right? Well in BSG, it is, so I guess I love it after all!

The base game works with up to 6 players, each with different abilities (the game is best with max players IMHO). It begins with each character getting a secret loyalty card. Most are humans but some may be Cylon saboteurs who secretly work against the rest. The humans are desperately trying to find Kobol before the Cylon fleet locates and destroys them or an essential resource (fuel, morale, food or population) is completely depleted.

People move from room to room aboard the Galactica on their turns solving problems, launching fighters, jumping the fleet to new systems and performing other essential tasks.

All is not good for the humans, however, who are constantly besieged by a new crisis on each character’s turn and players need to work together to counter these threats by each playing skill cards of the proper type to resolve the problem (or bad things happen). All such skills are played in secret which is where the hidden Cylon player(s) do their dastardly sabotage work.

Characters thought to be Cylons can be thrown into the brig or if revealed as Cylons, take up a separate function where they actively oppose the humans, typically by trying to destroy one of the resources.

Not so bad, huh? Well I didn’t tell you that on top of the despicable Cylons, there are sleeper agents as well! Half way through the game some of them “wake up” and turn on the other humans making life really miserable for the good guys.

Can the humans win? Of course, they’re the good guys. Can the Cylons win, well yeah… because life isn’t always fair. But whoever prevails, the game is fun with it’s nice components, excellent theme, decent balance and good replay value.

 
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5
Critic - Level 4
Advanced Reviewer
BoardGaming.com Beta 1.0 Tester
9
48 of 51 gamers found this helpful | Medals x 1
“A Consistent Favorite Among Our Gaming Group”

Based on the (more recent) show of the same name, Battlestar Galactica is a game of team strategy, intrigue and suspense that comes to the table almost every time our gaming group meets. It’s faithful to the spirit of the show, but very accessible to those who have not watched.

Players take on a number of roles, mostly divided into military, political and piloting. They also take loyalty cards which determine if they are human or Cylon. In larger games, especially with the expansions, BSG plays more like a hidden teams game like Bang!, than a coop-with-traitor game like Werewolf or Shadows Over Camelot. The humans have an assortment of colored cards which have both a power they can use (generally) on their turn, and a numerical value which contributes to “skill checks”. Occasionally the players will be asked to add card secretly to these checks, where certain colors will count towards their goal and other colors will count against, allowing the tension of not having enough cards to pass and/or having the check sabotaged by a Cylon player.

The main goal is to survive long enough to advance the “jump track” and jump the human fleet closer and closer to their final objective, while managing a dwindling collection of resources, a persistent fleet of attacking Cylons and the constant skill checks, not to mention the looming threat of a traitor in their midst. The sublime twist is at the midpoint of the game, when a SECOND set of loyalty cards is distributed, meaning a player could have thought himself a human for half the game, then realized only later he was a Cylon sleeper agent.

The components for this game are great. The artwork is drawn directly from the television show, including a large number of stills featuring the various characters. The fighters around the base are small plastic ship molds, although the large basestars are cardboard punch-outs in the base game (this is corrected in the first expansion).

Gameplay flows nicely and generates a wonderful sense of tension throughout the game. Even with a large group, players can pass around Executive Orders to allow other players to take actions, and there are a number of skill checks throughout the game, so there is not a lot of down time between turns. This game carries a big advantage over the traitor aspect of Shadows Over Camelot, in that the Cylon can reveal his loyalty at a time of his choosing, and if he does so without being caught or killed, he gets a bonus. Also, the Cylons have a number of options available to play on their turn, meaning they are still interacting with the other players through the end of the game. The outcome of the base game is a little more prone to wider swings based on chance, but with expansions added, the vast majority of our games come down to the last jump.

If you like co-operative games, or if you like throwing a wrench into a team effort, or if you like sci-fi themed games, or if you just have a good-sized groups of sufficiently geeky friends, this game is not to be missed.

 
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3
Amateur Reviewer
Gamer - Level 3
7
56 of 60 gamers found this helpful
“Great game for both a cooperative and adversarial experience.”

In my experience, my feelings toward this game vary quite a bit based on how the game progresses. It can really be broken down into three situations.

The first situation is when you are absolutely unsure who the Cylons are for most of the game, than near the end you are in the process of being boarded, you’ve lost a couple civilian ships, are out of vipers, but you are only one jump away from your destination that you are ignoring your ship falling apart around you.

Then there is the situation where you think you know who a Cylon is and others agree with you and you go against that player as a group to find out in the end he wasn’t a Cylon.

Then there is the situation where the Cylon(s) have exposed themselves and are slowly whittling away at your resources while the humans flounder for what seems like forever until finally meeting defeat that was assured an hour ago.

The first situation is amazing and truly puts me in the mood of the BSG series. The feeling of hopelessness that looms constantly over all of the characters as unknown powers are manipulating their chances at survival. This, in my opinion, is what really makes the game.

The second situation is also fun though not as much. It can be frustrating for the one player who is being accused, but still retains that sense of insecurity that goes along with not knowing.

The third situation is why I don’t love this game. It happens too often to ignore and always puts the human players in a bad mood. They Cylons have a lot of fun slowly destroying the human fleet. But it is known by the players that the game is over for a while but it just drags on.

If you enjoy the deceit and betrayal of trying to decide who is a Cylon but don’t enjoy all of the other mechanics (along with the length), I suggest looking into The Reistance. It’s a quicker game with similar “guess who the bad guys are” mechanics. Though BSG wins outright in immersion.

 
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Intermediate Reviewer
Vanguard
Tinkerer
Novice Advisor
7
50 of 54 gamers found this helpful
“Craves attention”

First of all, I don’t think this game will appeal to everybody, and having a relation to the series is a huge advantage. They tried hard to bring you the feel of the tv show, and if you cannot relate to that I think the game will be strange.

Also, like always there’s a great hurdle in the rules themselves, for FFG stays true to their neverending mission of confusing and badly written rules. This makes the learning a bit harder, and to really enjoy the game all players really must know the rules quite well.

That said, quite often the game succeeds very well to mimic the tv series where everything is on the verge of falling apart. Basicly your mission is to survive without running out of fuel, people, morale or food. Each turn a player draw a crisis card, and the card itself will move Galactica closer towards the number of jumps through hyperspace required to win. All that needs attention are those crisis… that often makes the players drain resources if they fail. Most crisis cards are resolved by all players trying to contribute cards to reach a certain sum, but all cards are added face down, and any cylon player (oh, did I not mention there are traitors amongst the players?) can add other cards to spoil the attempt.

Each player have a role, and with the role comes some stats and some special abilities. Players can move around to different locations where different actions are possible, and there are also the special roles of the president and the admiral (that goes to players according to a chain of success in the beginning).

If you manage to get all players to pay attention it can be prettyf fun, but as soon as someone slacks of the game time is increased alot. So be careful who you play with.

On the negative side the gameplay tends to be a bit repetitive, draw a crisis, solve the crisis. Then off to the next player who does the same. But with the expansions it get’s more interesting.

Obviously, if luck sucks there are trouble ahead and the mission is VERY hard to accomplish. Like when startup dictated that both the admiral and the president turned out to be cylons and managed to get the few human players into the brig. But that’s life… =)

So, prepare for a long game where the first session will be spent learning the rules and get a hang of things. Session two and forward may be really enjoyable in the right company.

 
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6
Novice Reviewer
Knight-errant
Gamer - Level 6
10
61 of 66 gamers found this helpful | Medals x 1
“Betrayal Has Never Been So Much Fun”

“Okay, so Starbuck is a cigar-chugging chick, Tigh is white and Boomer is Asian. And a woman. Sure…”

That’s pretty much my initial reaction to news of the recent Battlestar Galactica TV remake. From my childhood I have two strong Science Fiction memories: the original Star Wars Trilogy and the original Battlestar Galactica. Messing with them in the wrong way is a sure fire way to raise my ire. Fortunately, I loved the new remake! Sorry people but Starbuck is absolutely a chick. And she can and will kick your butt if she wants. I loved the drama of all the flawed characters and the paranoia created when cylons can look like humans. For me, the new series worked. Oh, and for the record, there is no way that Greedo got a shot off first. But back to Battlestar Galactica.

Another thing to be feared, like the remake of an old classic, is a licensed game based on a beloved movie, TV series or book. Historically, only certain very big companies have been able to afford the license. And said big companies have, historically, not been very good at putting together interesting and engaging games for adults. More to the point they seem to have just wanted to throw together something quickly to sucker in some poor fans and make a quick buck. Fortunately, Battlestar Galactica dodged a second bullet as Fantasy Flight Games took up the challenge of creating a board game based on the remade TV series. Designer Corey Konieczka and the team at FFG have created what is, in my opinion, a licensed game more true to the spirit and feel of its source material than any game before it. And I’m struggling to think of a better one since…

So what’s it all about? The basic story is that a rag-tag fleet of humans are fleeing the cylons who have just leveled all of their homeworlds and want to finish the job of wiping out humanity. The humans are trying to reach the legendary planet called Earth with the first major stop along the way being the, also legendary, planet of Kobol. On a player’s turn they’ll draw some skill cards based on their character’s aptitude. Then they can move to a new location and take an action. The actions they can take will be based upon their current location, their character’s abilities and cards that the player has in hand. Finally they’ll draw a Crisis card which will generally cause stuff to go from bad to worse and it’s this stage that is the real heart and soul of the game. Crisis cards can cause the cylon fleet to jump in and attack, force a particular player to make a dire choice that affects everyone or call for a skill challenge in which everyone will contribute to pass. Or perhaps they’ll secretly try to thwart the challenge… That’s right. While the game may possibly start out as a nice cooperative game, by the end the group will have been split into two teams as cyclons in human form, either secretly or openly, try to bring about humanity’s downfall. This split is determined by some Loyalty cards which are secretly distributed both at the start of the game and halfway through the game. It’s during the crisis stage that the game becomes very social as players offer opinions and try to sense what motive is behind everyone else’s opinion. Finally the Crisis card may cause the cylon fleet to attack and hopefully for the humans they can successfully prepare for their next jump. Of course our heroes are going to have hope that the Admiral isn’t actually a cylon because they’ll be choosing the destination of the jump. And so this paranoid game will progress until either the humans win by managing to complete enough distance in jumps or the cylons finish off humanity by running down the fleet’s resources or destroying the Galactica herself.

Okay, this is a bit of a gushing review. But I love this game. As an occasional role-player and a cooperative games fan in general I love the social nature of this game. This is a game where you have to talk to the people you’re playing with and you will question everything they say in turn, no matter how off-hand and innocuous. And the game can be tense! Really tense. You can be cruising along nicely leading someone to say the fateful words: “II think we should win this.” Next thing you know, fate will backhand you with a couple of cyclon attacks and leave everyone desperately scrambling for survival. As a fan of the show I can get into the characters and I love how well FFG have recreated the characters within the game rules with their individual abilities and drawbacks. The overall production is of excellent quality with good quality boards, cards and miniatures of the various ships. And finally I like that you don’t actually need to know the show to enjoy the game. So long as you understand the basic premise you can play along just fine.

But sadly it isn’t all milk and honey for Battlestar Galactica as there are certainly elements of the game that can detract from the experience for some people. Some of the character roles can see you pigeon-holed a bit too much with pilots flying around shooting cylons, the President stuck on Colonmial One and so on. And it’s best not to mention “sympathizers” to some players of this game. The nature of the game can also make it harsh on new players playing with experienced players. I mean, I might be giving you good reasonable advice. Or maybe I’m a cylon… And perhaps you really did make an innocent mistake. But maybe you’re a cylon… And mistakes can really hurt. Also, not everyone is going to enjoy the level of tension and paranoia that the game generates. My final gripe with the game is sadly a production one. Seriously FFG, Cardboard basestar tokens? I realise the moulds for the plastic bits are expensive, but could you seriously not fit a couple of plastic basestars in there? Did you really need to wait for an expansion?

And yes, as a great FFG game there are a couple of expansions out for it. But honestly I think this is one game that doesn’t necessarily need them. For me, the base game is a near perfect creation. Well except for those frakkin basestars…

 
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9
Critic - Level 5
Professional Advisor
Professional Reviewer
Marquis / Marchioness
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128 of 144 gamers found this helpful | Medals x 1
“Backstabbing for Fun (or Tediousness)”

How would you react if you were part of a team, working toward a common goal, and you had the inkling one of your “teammates” was a spy working against you? Would you try to limit their abilities to have a say in decisions? Would you keep them away from any sensitive responsibilities?

Now, what if you were absolutely certain that there was a spy on your team, but you weren’t sure who? Could you balance getting things done against tracking down this/these nefarious individual(s)? Do you unmask such a villain if doing so could make their impact even worse? What if you eventually received information that compelled you to work against your colleagues, regardless of whether you wanted to or not?

These are the types of questions a game of Battlestar Galactica will make you face. Your ability to work towards completion of the game while constantly keeping one eye on everyone else will be tested. For some groups, this leads to a fantastic time with tons of replay value, while other groups will grind to a halt, turning a gaming session into a tedious affair that you’ll hope you never have to go through again. Unfortunately, you will often not know which type of group you’re in until it’s too late.

Gameplay

At its core, Battlestar Galactica is a cooperative game, with one or more guaranteed traitors. You’re trying to get your fleet to Earth, but you don’t know where Earth is, exactly. Along the way, you’ll face different crises, working as a team to be successful (or sabotaging to decimate the humans).

Each player represents a specific character with different specialties. Additionally, each player is given a loyalty card, either telling them they are a human, or a cylon. Part way through the game, more loyalty cards will be dealt, which could cause someone that was a human to suddenly realize they are a cylon. For those not familiar with the TV show – human=good, cylon=bad.

A turn consists of 6 steps:

Receive Skill Cards

Each character has certain skills, which determine the color of cards they draw. These cards will be used during crises for skill checks, some colors will count positively towards the objective, others will count negatively. These cards and hidden, and clever play (with a bit of luck) will allow cylons to cause a crisis check to be failed while not revealing who caused the failure.

Movement

Characters can move about the ship to different locations, or to different ships. The locations have different abilities.

Actions

Each player gets one action. These can come from locations, from their character ability, or from their skill cards.

Crises

This is where a lot of the action of the game happens. There are different types of crises you may face, cylon attacks, skill checks, and events. The way a skill check works is one of the more interesting parts of the game. A skill check will have certain colored cards that count towards the total value you’re trying to reach, and the other colors count against the total. Each player can play cards towards the skill check, and do so face down, so no one knows what colored cards they played. In addition, two cards are played from the “Destiny Deck”, which are in essence a random draw and may be good or bad. The existence of the Destiny Deck is what can help cover for a cylon, as many times, negative cards could be brushed off as being “destiny”, instead of being a ploy from the cylons to force a check to fail. Depending on the final total played, different results can occur.

Activate Cylon Ships

Ships (if any) attack, based on the card in play.

Prepare for Jump

If the crisis card has the jump icon, the jump token advances on its track. If it reached the end, a jump in made (you can also choose to take a more risky jump earlier than the end of the track). These jumps take you closer to your final objective. Ultimately, you want to get 8 units or more of jump distance (each selected jump with have a certain unit of distance). After this, one successful final jump will win the humans the game.

Game End

If the final jump is made and the four resources (food, fuel, morale, population) are all above zero, the humans win. If at least one dial goes to zero or below at the end the players turn, the cylons win. Cylons also have the ability to destroy the Galactica (damage 6 or more ship sections) or invade via their Boarding Party track.

My Thoughts

I have friends that consider this one of their favorite games, and I admit to being a bit jealous because my plays have been very tedious. Games can take over 3 hours, with a good deal of time added for people to accuse each other of being cylons (not in-game accusations, just general banter back and forth, which can get old after the 50th or so repetition), and almost becoming paralyzed from doing anything because they are so caught up in unmasking the traitors. Players can be voted into the brig, in essence stripping them of much of the gameplay, even if the accusations that got them put there are wrong. Having to sit through a game that is already going long without much ability to do anything should have been one of the punishments of Dante’s circles of ****.

There are some interesting concepts the game introduces, especially the skill checks where the Destiny Deck can either help cover for, or out, the traitors. The Destiny Deck starts with two of each color card, so you can try to track what you “think” has come from the Destiny Deck, versus what players may have played. The addition of more loyalty cards partway through the game keeps suspicion high, and ensures there will always be at least one cylon. Unfortunately, this ups the chances of people focusing on the traitor aspect of the game and forgetting to work towards actually completing the game. (This is a game that would benefit from Antiquity‘s strategy suggestion from the rulebook of not forgetting to try to get something done).

One plus for the game that should certainly be mentioned, I fully believe you need not have watched the show to get the full game experience. You may miss out on some of the side chatter, but the game itself is solidly built, not requiring external knowledge.

If you feel your group can handle a game with a guaranteed traitor without becoming completely derailed (or are ok with 1+ hours added due to this aspect of the game), Battlestar Galactica could well be a hit for your group. If you’ve had bad experiences with the traitor mechanic of Shadows Over Camelot, steering clear may be a good idea, as those issues will be magnified in Battlestar Galactica.

This game is fairly rules heavy, requiring a lengthy explanation and a good attention span. As such, social/casual/family gamers my find this game overly trying. Strategy/Avid/Power gamers may all really enjoy this game, though the game can easily see the playtime explode without much “fun” being added.

Fans of the show and groups that revel in backstabbing should add Battlestar Galactica to their list of games. Others may want to take time to analyze the gaming group(s) they would play the game with and determine whether those personalities will lead to a fun experience, or one to be avoided at all costs.

 
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6
Baron / Baroness
Champion
Strategist
10
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“What is firepower all about. ”

50’000 humans survived the slaughter of Twelve Colonies. Those 50’000 people, boarded on civilian ships protected by one of two remaining human flagships – Battlestar Galactica, are now chased by they greatest enemy – the one that is responsible for butchery of humankind – the Cylons.

The Cylons were created by man as a artificial slaves – to do hardest and most dangerous labors. Yet the cylons evolved. They get consciousness. They realized they are just slaves. They don’t like it. So they rebelled. After long war the truce have been signed and the cylons pulled back for 40 years. But they never forgot and they were striving for revenge. After 40 years of planing and technological advancement they came back to deal a deadly blow to humanity and wipe it once and for all.

Colonies of man have fallen and almost entire human race is slaughtered. The remnants are running for their lives.

Gameplay

In Battlestar Galactica: Board Game players will take place of most important and decisive persons in human refugee fleet. They will (or at least they will try) guide humanity to survival. They will be challenged by lot of crisis, cylons attacks and… cylons traitor(s) hidden among them! Yes – the machines can now look human and they taking this advantage to make perfect spies and saboteurs.

Battlestar Galactica is team vs. team (humans vs cylons) game with very unique traitor mechanic. All players start as a humans, but one or two (sometimes three in 6 player game) of them (according to the number of players) will be (or will become) cylons agents.

Loyalty Cards are drawn and read in secret.

Each player character have unique combination of pool of skill cards to draw, two special abilities and one flaw. Using this they are pursuing they goals…

Humans goal

Human goal is to reach planet of Kobol (New Caprica or Nebula in expansions), where they can find a clues for they way to legendary Earth – the home of thirteen tribe.

Cylons goal

Cylons will win after one of three conditions:

- One of four resources of humanity (fuel, food, morale or population) is reduced to 0.
- Battlestar Galactica is successfully boarded by cylons troopers (centurions).
- Battlestar Galactica is destroyed

Human (or unrevealed Cylon) player turn

1) Draw sill cards (as it’s written on character card)
2) Move
3) Action
- activate location
- use action skill card
- use your character special action ability
- use ability of your function (Admiral, President) or Quorum Card (President)
- move/shoot viper (Pilot aboard a viper)
- reveal yourself as a Cylon (unrevealed Cylon)
4) Draw a Crisic card. There are four types of crisis cards:
- Skill check
- Choice between two options
- Hybrid – choice between skill check and another option
- Cylon atack
5) Resolve cylon fleet activation (as it is marked on a Crisis Card)
6) Resolve FTL jump drive prepation (if is marked on a Crisis Card)

Skill check

One of the most important game mechanics are skill checks. Usually they are called when a skill check Crisis Card comes in or when activating some location.

When resolving skil check is where the traitor(s) easly come in to sabotage quitely. All players adds covered card that are needed to pass target test value. Value of cards with color marked on a skill check are added together and values of all other cards is subtracted. Some players (that are cylons) may add cards with negative value for this test to fail it. When failing a test, the consequences are drawn and (usually) resources are lowered.

Sleeper agent

After about half of game another Loyalty Card is drawn by each player – each of them can now find himself to be a Cylons sleeper agent and he now should act to help Cylon goal. It’s quite disturbing when you find yourself being on the other side you thought you are…

And much more…

Battlestar is quite a complicated game – you must play one or twice to catch all the rules. But after that – you’ll never want to leave a board. There are lot of different Crisis Card, Skill Cards, Destinations Cards, Quorum Cards an (even) a different Loyalty Cards. All of those variety of possibilities can make your head explode.

For everyone!

I find this game very attractive for everyone – even casual players find it very addictive and exciting. There is some sort negative interaction, but ,as the player who generally disproves negative interaction, I was never deterred by it in Battlestar Galactica. When playing with adults you should find it quite acceptable that one of your friend is lying to you because he is a hidden cylon agent – it is just a game and if you remember it everything will be fine.

I played this one A LOT – I mean about 500+ (sic!) games in about 5 last years and I watched a various player types enjoying Battlestar Galactica as one of the best game ever created.

Replay Value – goes to infinity and beyond!

Well – I played this one a lot. In my entire, long adventure with Battlestar Galactica I never played two exact game sessions. Some plays where better than the others, some situations where more epic than everything I played before and after and few of games were quite simple and boring, some where quite similar – but not a single one of them was exact as one of the other. I find BSG Galactica incredible replay value something that I have never met before.

Overall

It’s addicting and it’s one of most exciting game ever. I see no game that can beat Battlestar replay value nor some of it’s unique mechanics – along with the best traitor mechanic I ever seen. Battlestar is must-to-play with one restriction – watch out for yourself because it is extremely addictive.

 
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5
Norway
I play yellow
Strategist
Count / Countess
9
46 of 52 gamers found this helpful
“A great experience”

One thing is quite certain: you need some knowledge of the TV-series in order to enjoy or even understand this game. It’s thematically heavy, and character options and abilites are heavily reflected from the show.

That aside, it’s a highly enjoyable game with great replayability. Each player represents a character from the show, and your goal is to reach Kobol. But there are problems on the way. The Cylons are chasing you, and you have limited resources. And to top it all, you’ll have to face a crisis after each players turn.

The crises may vary from being short on water, heavy civil uprising and a lot more. In order to overcome the crisis and don’t face the bad stuff, you’ll have to contribute with your cards, which are very limited from round to round. Will you help? Can you help? You can’t show your cards to anyone. And to make things harder, two joker cards appear from a stack of random cards, that will either help or be negative.

Of course, in the series there are Cylons on Galactica portraying humans. That’s also a fact here. At the start of the game, each player receives a Loyalty card. That states whether you’re a Cylon or not. If you are, your job is to make it as hard as possible to win the game. But don’t make it too obvious, or they’ll put you in the brig and maybe execute you. So as a Cylon, try to put the focus on another player, and make everyone suspicious on other than yourself.

The game mechanism is on the light side, but the experience and suspicions is what makes the game. What do you do and how do you do it? Are you able to conceal yourself as a Cylon. Is there even a Cylon at all? That might happen, no one knows.

This is my favorite game, and it’s also my favorite TV-show. I can play this over and over with the right group of people. And a pro tip: learn the game well before getting an expansion – they really change things around.

 
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4
Scotland
Comic Book Fan
9
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“Humanity has lost...”

The second Cylon war is over. Humanity has lost, and now it’s only hope for survival is a small fleet of ships carrying all that remains of the human population, lead by the aging Battlestar Galactica.

Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game is based on the first season of the 2004 re-imagining of the classic 70’s TV show, where the surviving human fleet desperately tries to escape their Cylon pursuers on their way to the planet Kobol – the legendary planet where humanity began (and a waypoint on their longer journey to find the fabled 13th colony, Earth).

Players each play a character from the show, each with their own special abilities, and must work together to survive Cylon attacks and the perils of deep space…but there’s a twist! The Cylon’s have evolved and can now take human form – making them almost indistinguishable from any normal person.

Good use is made of this premise to add an excellent bluffing and strategy element to the game, as at any time up to 3 Cylon’s (depending on the number of players and stage of the game) may be working against the human players, with their only aim being to destroy Galactica and end human life forever!

Gameplay
The game starts with each player choosing a character, performing their set-up (positioning their player marker on the board, drawing cards etc) and drawing their loyalty card – which determines whether they truly are human, or a cylon in disguise! (At this point its usually wise to invoke a house rule for viewing your loyalty card for 60 seconds, as the Cylon ones often have special powers on them, so staring at them can give the game away!)

Cylon’s can either attempt to sabotage skill checks, or can reveal themselves to gain additional powers.

Each players turn (whilst they are either human, or unrevealed as a cylon) takes place over 6 stages:
1. Draw skill cards (as defined by their character)
2. Move (to different board locations)
3. Action – this can be either activating a character action, using a board location, piloting a ship, using special cards (in the case of the president character) or revealing themselves as a Cylon if they hold a ‘You are a Cylon’ loyalty card.
4. Draw and resolve a Crisis card (all players partake in most crisis resolutions).
5. Resolve Cylon fleet activity if marked on the Crisis card (i.e. launching ships from Cylon basestars and moving cylon raiders to either attack ships in space or to land boarding parties aboard Galactica.
6. Resolve the FTL jump track if marked on the Crisis card – jumping the human fleet a certain distance is the human’s win condition, so increasing the FTL drives preparation track is essential!

The Crisis resolution is the core of the game, and in most cases this is where all players interact in ‘skill checks’. If a skill check crisis occurs then each character can play as many cards face down into a pile as they like to attempt to match the win condition – for example, a skill check might ask for a total score of 10, and be coloured yellow and purple (different skill types have different colours such as Tactics being purple, Politics being yellow etc). Only colours which match those requested on the skill check count as positive, all other colours are negative to the score.

In addition to all the players being able to play cards, two random cards are played into each skill check from the ‘destiny deck’ – this allows any potential Cylon sabotage activity to be masked…or at least not too obvious!

At the beginning of the game it’s possible that there are no Cylon’s in play, however at the half way point a second draw of loyalty cards occurs meaning that in the latter half of the game there are definitely forces working against the humans! In larger games there is also a ‘sleeper agent’, who becomes a Cylon in the second half if the human’s resources are all above a certain level – this provides an interesting meta-game, where it can actually be sensible for the human players to purposefully lose some resources to make the later game easier… although it isn’t always easy to convince other players of this without receiving accusations of being a “frakkin’ toaster!”

This really just scratches the surface of this great game, and doesn’t really touch on the space combat or roles of special characters like the president and admiral…

Components

As usual the quality of the components provided by Fantasy Flight is top-notch: the board is solid and the cards are all excellent (although the skill cards are a little on the small side).

The game also comes with several ship miniatures, which whilst not on par with dedicated miniatures games are still nicer than using wee tokens for the space combat element of the game (other ships, such as the rest of the colonial fleet are represented by tokens which have values printed on their underside.)

It’s a shame the Cylon basestars don’t have their own models, instead represented by large ‘tokens’, however I believe two are contained within the Pegasus expansion (which expands the game into the events depicted in the second TV series…)

Play time

BSG is a big complex game, so be prepared to lose an afternoon or evening to it, especially on the first few plays as it’s likely you’ll be double checking the rules as you go along. My first play (with a full group of 6) took us about 5-6 hours, although subsequent plays tend to be closer to 3 hours long now that we’re accustomed to the rules.

Whilst the long playtime may put some people off, the game does always keep all players engaged, and the time flies by as alliances are made to attempt to root out and beat the hidden Cylons!

Summary

Battlestar Galactica is a favourite with my regular gaming friends. It can be tough going, but the co-operative nature of the game along with the constant threat of a hidden Cylon sabotaging your actions makes for a tense and exciting game.

So far, every game we’ve had has also been a very close call, with the humans either just managing to eek a win, or the Cylon’s managing to destroy the humans moments from their final FTL jump. The tension throughout the game is excellent, which has left us craving more every time we’ve played it – there is a lot of replayability in this, and there are lots of strategy options to employ for both human and cyclon players (whichever you end up being!)

I first picked it up as a fan of the show, however knowledge of the show isn’t a pre-requisite. Gamers who enjoy a bit of strategy, working together and (of course) stabbing others in the back will all enjoy it. Even some of my harder to please gaming friends often ask to pull this out for a game.

It’s not for everyone though – those that get upset easily might want to give it a miss, as it’s not uncommon to be accused of being a Cylon then locked in a cell (only for your accuser to turn out to be the real toaster!), and it certainly does need a good investment of time to play through – especially for the first few games.

It also certainly shouldn’t be played without first having a good read of the rules (and I’d suggest watching a quick gameplay video or two in advance as well, as it can be quite complex to begin with).

Overall though, since buying the game 3-4 years ago this remains one of my favourite board games.

 

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