Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game is perhaps regarded as one of the founding games to create board game resurgence. Based on the TV show, using clever rules it manages to have a fully co-op experience but there is huge hints in there that there is an enemy amongst you. BSG has you choose one of the characters from the TV show as you must escape the Cylon menace and eventually reach that new place called home. Along the way of course there is treachery afoot as sabotage attempts are made, seduction and of course large scale battles.
What do you get?
Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game comes it a superb board that clearly defines where characters are, what resources are running low and all the plastic gubbins necessary. Of course the game comes with stacks of cards too.
How does it work?
To start the game every one is given a secret card that defines if they are working for the humans or Cylons. The game expands or detracts on this depending on how many players there are. Players work out their crew actions as a team and then they need to deal with crisis cards. Then, as a group you all secretly put in cards to help (or hinder) the task at hand. This is the most important aspect of the game here because it has the enemy player act if necessary unknowingly to the group. Gradually, as the missions progress you can venture out to further explore new lands and gather new opportunities and resources. The ending is won or lost as a group.
Is it any good?
In a word, it’s excellent. The mechanics flow smoothly and one of the most positive aspects of BSG is it forces social interaction. If you are too quiet people are often suspicious. Too loud, then they will likely think it more suspicious. BSG revels in this friendly banter and has every player throwing accusations and doubts about everyone. Being the Cylon player is a hell of a lot of fun too as essentially you are the perpetrator here to stir the pot and assign blame to others.
The crisis phase in itself is just incredible because it has an order in which you place cards into the pot. I played a game where one player put their cards in and then point blank, as a team everyone else decided to fail the mission just to see if this was the Cylon. It wasn’t… but that was the sort of amazing memory we had of this one event.
Another favourite time was when the admiral was making some pretty odd decisions. Obviously we threw him in the brig but it turns out the guy is just an idiot (no naming names)!
BSG creates very fond memories indeed. If I was to then point to some of its more negative aspects I would point to its run time. I don’t think I’ve ever had a game that was under 3 hours. As fun as it was, you don’t have a good fun turns the whole way through it. Some of it can feel like a grind and the actual combat is certainly stilted. When the Cylons are attacking it often doesn’t feel as fun as the who-done-it game of the crisis phase. There is a vanilla feeling to the battles and they probably should have been improved for intensity.
BSG is an old game by today’s standards and still holds up. The theme is really spot on and a direct translation of the TV show. Smaller games are not as good as the bigger games for sure and the actual group involved and how well you know each other can really play a part too. There are a few caveats I realise I just mentioned but given half a chance, you should jump to play this great game.