Happy Frakkin’ New Year

So, it’s New Year’s Eve, and it true geek fashion, my friends and I got together for a nice dinner and an evening of games.

This year, we decided to test-drive the Battlestar Galactica boardgame from Fantasy Flight Games. I got it just before Christmas, and wanted a chance to try it out before demoing it on January 10 at Imagine Games.

We had six players, which is the maximum, and none of us had played before. To compound our difficulties, I had forgotten the rulebook at home after taking it out of the box to read. Fortunately, Fantasy Flight Games posts the rules for their boardgames online in .pdf format, so we just powered up the laptop and used that for the rules.

It’s late, and I’m coming down off all the caffeine I had this evening, so I’m not going to go into detail about the mechanics of the game. The rulebook is up on the site, and a number of reviews have discussed the game in detail*. I’m just going to talk about my impressions after a first playthrough.

  • The components are the luxurious quality I’ve come to expect from Fantasy Flight Games. Nice board, nice cards, nice little plastic ships, nice everything. My one tiny little complaint is that it would have been very cool (but understandably expensive and cumbersome) to have plastic base stars, along with the plastic vipers, raptors, raiders, and heavy raiders.
  • Same thing for the civilian ships, but that creates the problem of being able to identify what resources you’d lose from the shape of the ship model.
  • Fewer pieces than something like Arkham Horror or Runebound, so faster setup and teardown. About on a par with Fury of Dracula. However, those little plastic ships are pretty tiny.
  • From opening the box lid to closing it again, about four hours time. This is pretty good for learning an new game, though we rushed through the last two turns to get to the end. Hey, it may be New Year’s Eve, but we’re old and tired. Anyway, I expect a normal game to run about the two to three hours the box claims.
  • It was a lot of fun. Everyone had something interesting to do on their turn, and there’s obviously a fair bit of strategy involved, though we didn’t get all that deep into it.
  • Man, when the cylons start swarming around the ship, you can really start to feel boned.
  • The secret cylon mechanics were great at sowing discord and suspicion.
  • The revealed cylon mechanics were great at making you feel completely outnumbered.
  • The idea of the sleeper agents is brilliant.
  • There’s a lot to keep track of: what’s on your character card, what’s on your other cards, what’s on the board locations, etc. I found I kept forgetting my character’s special abilities.
  • The choice to jump early can be a difficult one.
  • Being Admiral and having to choose between two sucky jump destinations is bad. Being forced to choose a bad location in order to gain required distance hurts. And it should.
  • The game was very close. It came down to what Crisis Cards were drawn in the last couple of turns as to who would win.
  • The humans won. I was a human. I was happy.
  • Those who played cylons said it was a real blast.
  • Everyone said they wanted to play it again. Preferably not so late at night.

I count it as a win. We had fun, saved humanity, and ushered in a new year.

Who could ask for more?

Happy New Year, everyone.

*Here’s one. Here’s another.

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