What You Missed...

What more could you ask for in a week of posts? Three reviews, an interview, and a ton of news! #boom Specifically...

spacesheepcoverWe shared news of the interesting-looking Space Sheep, a real-time customizable cooperative game from Stronghold Games.

Then I talked about Grail games a little bit—and how I was recently able to snag one of the games at the top of my Grail list. Update: I talked about moving to the next game—Magic Labyrinth—and I found a copy of this out-of-print gem for $34 shipped. Awesome!

Then we talked about yet another expansion for the hit game Battlestar Galactica: Daybreak.

Review #1 was a Double-Take Review of Reverse Charades. Spoiler Alert: We loved it.

Then we broke some news about another Smash Up expansion, sweet tiles for The Star Wars X-Wing Miniatures Game, and Mayfair's Facebook contest—which we didn't win... :(

Then we interviewed Randy Hoyt and Tyler Segel from Foxtrot Games about their upcoming game Relic Expedition.

Review #2 was The Crazy Creatures of Dr. Gloom.

And finally, Jeremiah gave us his first impressions of the print-and-play copy of Relic Expedition. Once I get a chance to play it (I've been ridiculously busy!), we'll have a proper back-and-forth on our thoughts.

Have an awesome weekend. We'll see you next week!

Daybreak—Fantasy Flight Expands Battlestar Galactica

BSG04_3Dbox-LeftFantasy Flight has just announced a huge expansion to their epic board game iteration of Battlestar Galactica. Daybreak seemingly brings the game full circle and concludes the series as the gameplay focuses on the twilight of Galactica, and the growing plight of both Humans and Cylons. From Fantasy Flight:

The Daybreak expansion for Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game brings humanity’s plight to its gripping climax! With two supplemental game boards and hundreds of cards and tokens, Daybreak invites players to undertake desperate missions, struggle under the constant threat of mutiny, and bargain with Cylon Leaders driven by motives of their own.

Daybreak includes:

  • 1 Demetrius Game Board, 1 Rebel Basestar Game Board, 2 overlays, and 1 rulebook
  • 12 Character Sheets and plastic Character Stands
  • 27 new tokens and markers
  • 129 new cards
  • 8 plastic figures

You can find all the info here.

Find all things BSG board game on Amazon here.

I'm (Jeremiah) hoping to get my hands on this expansion soon. I've been a big fan of the base game for some time now (read my review of it here). Have you kept up with the other 2 expansions for the game? Have a favorite? Share it here! Have a favorite Battlestar memory or moment? Share it here! We all miss the series too!

Thanks for reading; we truly appreciate it! For more up-to-the-moment news and fun check us out on Facebook and Twitter!

Battlestar Galactica - By your command!

A friend of mine recently referred to Battlestar Galactica as the "big brother" to "The Resistance." And in a way there is something to that statement. The intrigue and skulduggery of "The Resistance" is a key component of both games. However BSG adds a few twists and turns, and a little more housekeeping to the mix. Players begin the game by selecting a character, and then they are dealt a loyalty card. This will tell them whether they are a Cylon, a sympathizer or none of the above. (By the way, I'm writing today as if you have already seen and love the Syfy series by the same name; if you haven't, expect some potential spoilers and please come out from under that rock.) At this point as the game begins everyone is playing as if it were a co-op game, there IS a Cylon among you, but you don't know if that individual is a "sleeper" and doesn't know they are yet, or if they are just acting as if they don't know yet. Yes, you will give your friends many sideways glances.

The game is won by the humans, if the Galactica jumps 8 units of distance, and then performs one last jump. The game is won by the Cylons by several means, most common is depleting any one of the Galactica's resources (food, fuel, population or morale), but they can also destroy the Galactica or successfully board it with centurions.

The basic turn structure, allows you to make strategic moves to help the Galactica prep for a jump to light speed. While handling crises as they come at you, on every turn. All while trying to figure out if you have a Cylon saboteur among you. A crisis is overcome by players submitting skill cards to the crisis. Each crisis card will require a certain amount of  certain skills to pass it, and there is a positive and negative reaction for passing or failing the crisis. Players secretly submit their skill cards (Which they receive each turn, based on their characters abilities) to a crisis, along with a few random cards from the "Destiny deck", and add up the skill points. This is where the Cylons have their fun. Each skill card that is from a skill that is NOT required by the crisis counts as negative points towards passing the skill check, and Cylons can always claim that the destiny deck chipped in those random "off suit" cards. Typically the fail reaction results in the loss of a resource point, or the launching of Cylon Raiders.

After a set amount of rounds their is a "Sleeper Round" in which more loyalty cards are dealt out,  insuring at this point any Cylons in the game know who they are! Because of this mechanic, simply choosing a character that is a Cylon in the tv series, does not necessarily mean that you will end up being a Cylon during the game. Once the Cylons are outed they are tossed into the brig, or sent to a Cylon location where they can really wreak some havoc!

I have watched the tv series in its entirety more than once; it is probably one of the best science fiction series to hit television...ever. (I know I just made every Star Trek fan hit the ceiling.) That being said, there are a few elements in the show that rubbed me the wrong way. One being the over sexually charged nature of a number of episodes. The other being the strong use of religion and God as a plot device. They often blurred the lines of right and wrong using religion to do so. I didn't have too big of an issue with this—after all, it is science fiction, but if you've seen the last episodes of the series the lines are blurred once again, this time between fiction and commentary.

The good news in all of this, is that the game is filtered pretty well from these aspects of the series, so rest at ease if you choose Starbuck as your character you won't be asked to simulate some lewd act with one of her multiple partners from the series. And the only hint of the religion element appears on Laura Roslyn's character sheet. She has the special ability of "Religious Visions." It makes sense and is in line with the character and her "abilities"—she also has the character trait of "Terminal Illness," so there ya go.

My chief complaint about the game—which may seem petty—is that the skill cards are printed on those tiny little cards that are too small for your hands, and really hard to keep organized! We hates them!

The game box tells you that the game will take about 2-3 hours, and they weren't kidding! This is a game that will be your game night, not just a part of it. I've played with folks who don't know the show, and it is just as enjoyable to them, the twists and turns and pointing fingers and accusations seem to pull players in and it often doesn't feel like it's been a 2-hour+ game.

Spies Like Us: Reviewing The Resistance

I have a regular gaming group, and we’ve been getting together every week for eight years or so. Every once in a while a game comes along that completely captivates us, and it’s all we want to play. Loopin’ Louie did that. Crokinole did that. Dominion did that. And our latest obsession is a game called The Resistance.

This terrific little card game takes everything that's good about games like Battlestar Galactica, Werewolf, and Mafia and boils them down to a 20-minute gem.

Your team is part of the Resistance—a force that opposes the ruling government. If it’s easier, you can think of it as the Rebel Alliance fighting against the Empire. The problem is that the Empire has planted spies among your rebel forces. The spies know who each other are, but the Rebels have no idea who the spies are—just that they’re among the group.

The game is very abstracted. You’re going on five missions—they might be sabotaging facilities or infiltrating a base. It doesn’t matter and the game doesn’t specify. The point is that the Rebels want the missions to succeed, and the spies want the missions to fail. The first side to have three missions go their way wins.

At the start of the game you randomly choose someone to be Leader. That person will suggest a team to go on the first mission. People will convince and cajole, trying to get the Leader to put people they trust on the mission. But you don’t know if the Leader is a spy and seeding the team with a fellow spy!

Eventually the Leader proposes a team and everyone gets to vote on whether that team goes on the mission. If a majority of the players vote yes, the mission goes on. If a majority vote no—or the vote is tied—that’s a vote of No Confidence in the Leader. The leadership passes to the next player and he or she proposes a new team for the mission. It can happen that it takes a few times to finally land on a team that gets voted through. But the Rebels have to beware; if the vote fails five times on any one mission, the Spies automatically win because the Rebels aren’t organized enough to be effective.

So if the team passes, they go on the mission. This consists of handing out a set of cards to each person going on the mission. One card is a Pass, and the other is a Fail. Players secretly choose one and put it in the middle. Then the Leader shuffles all of the cards so no one knows who played what card, and they’re revealed.

As long as they’re all Passes, the mission succeeds, but if there’s even one Fail, the mission fails. (During the fourth of the five missions it takes two Fails for the mission to fail, but that’s the lone exception.)

Whether the mission fails or succeeds, you now have a bit more information. Those three people went on a mission that failed, so at least one of them must be a Spy. But who? That’s the vanilla game, and in the vanilla game the Spies win A LOT. SO the fine people at Indie Boards and Cards included some Plot Cards, which are meant to even things out a bit. Some of the plot cards force people to show another player their Role card (which reveals whether they’re a Spy or not). This creates great tension. Is the person a Spy? Did they show their card to another Spy so they wouldn’t be revealed?

The Spies are trying to sew seeds of confusion, throw people off the scent, or even (and this one of my favorite tricks), throw your fellow Spies under the bus after they’re served their purpose, which makes you seem trustworthy. Then you stab the Rebels in the back later. In my opinion, it’s much more fun to play as the Spies.

It’s definitely worth noting that the game involves lying. Keep an eye out for a short article where I discuss the role of lying, and the internal struggle I have with it. This is a fantastic game to play with a youth group, just be aware that you’re kind of encouraging deception.

This is easily my most-played game of all time. I can’t see it ever growing old.

We’re going to be giving away a copy of this great game, so stay tuned to see how you can get your own copy! And thanks for reading!