Game Review: Battlestar Galactica the Board Game

Battlestar Galactica board gameBy Marcy Kennedy (@MarcyKennedy)

Welcome to a brand new regular feature I’m debuting!

As those of you who’ve been with me a while know, Fridays here on my blog are for fun. It’s the day when we try to bring a little fantasy into our everyday lives through talking with speculative fiction authors, exploring places and creatures from our world that look like they belong in a fantasy, talking food and music that appears in books/movies/video games, and just kicking back as we head into the weekend.

To those recurring features I’m adding reviews of tabletop games, computer games, and maybe I’ll even convince my long-suffering husband to review some of his favorite PlayStation games. Because what better way to bring fun and fantasy into our lives than through games 🙂

These aren’t going to be reviews for hard-core gamers. These are going to be reviews for the everyday person who plays for fun and has a busy life. I’ll try to review a variety of game types, as well as review games with variety in how many players they can play and whether they’re family friendly and 2-player friendly or not. My hope is that if the game one month isn’t for you, you might enjoy the one I feature the next month.

So no more delays. On to Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game…

Enter into the story…

Humans created cylons to make their lives easier, but the cylons rebelled. After a brutal war, the cylons left to find their own planet, but now they’ve returned to slaughter humanity and take their worlds instead. In a surprise attack, they killed all but 50,000 humans. These remaining homeless humans are now part of a small fleet of space ships, with limited resources, running for their lives.

As one of the human survivors, you need to help the fleet reach the planet of Kobol.

Along the way, if the cylons reach the end of the Galactica boarding track, the humans lose. If one of your resources (population, food, fuel, and morale) reaches zero, the humans lose. If the cylons destroy Galactica, the humans lose.

Why does the game seem weighted in favor of the cylons? Well, read on…

How Well Does the Theme Work? You feel like you’re there.

If you’re someone who enjoyed BSG, then you’ll at least enjoy trying this game. Not only are the board and other components beautiful, but the game was clearly designed by someone who understood the show. Your resources are limited and hard to replace. The cylons are stronger than you. You don’t know who you can trust, and you might even end up being a cylon sleeper agent halfway through.

Battkestar Galactica game board

This is only part of the board you’ll be playing on.

Battlestar Galactica ships

Three of the ships that will be on the board either attacking or defending the civilian ships.

Beyond this, when you draw what are called Crisis Cards, they’re events from the first season. As a fan of the show, it’s exciting to recognize them and take part. You’re often facing what seems like a no-win situation where every result is bad (or at least doesn’t help you in any way). Just like the characters in the show needed to decide what to sacrifice just to survive, you’ll need to do the same.  

Crisis Card

Events are based on episodes of the show.

The roles are also unique. If you’re a pilot, your character can leave Galactica and climb into a viper to engage cylon raiders. If you’re the Admiral, you decide what planet the fleet will make a faster-than-light jump to. Each of the game characters has strengths and weaknesses based on their matching character from the show. I refuse to ever play Gaius Baltar. The slimeball.

Kara Starbuck Thrace

My favorite character to play 🙂 I like to fly the vipers.

Type of Game: Cooperative with a traitor element.

At the beginning of the game, you’re dealt a secret loyalty card telling you whether you’re human or cylon. The humans all work together to reach Kobol, and so you win or lose as a team. You won’t always know who is a cylon (or a sympathizer) and who isn’t though, so this is partially a game of betrayal and deciding who you can trust.

In fact, you can’t even trust yourself. Halfway through the game, you deal a new set of loyalty cards. You might find out you’re really a cylon who was programmed to believe themselves a human. Suddenly the people you’ve been working with are your enemies, and the trust you’ve worked so hard to earn will be used to destroy them.

Length of Play Rating: Kill. Me. Now.

The game we won against the cylons took 4 HOURS. It’s shorter if the humans lose, but by the time you hit 2-3 hours of play, it all starts to feel a little repetitive.

Marcy’s Hint for Shorter Game Play: In the future, instead of needing to get 8 planet points + one jump to reach Kobol and win, we’ll be doing 6 planet points = instant win or 4 planet points + one jump.

Number of Players: 3-6 people

This game really plays better with 4 or more because it’s too easy to guess who’s the cylon in a 3-player game, and the cylon in a 3-player game makes it almost impossible for the humans to win.

Family Friendly? A snowflake’s chance in h*ll.

In other words, no way. The box says 10+, but this is really a 14+ game. In my opinion, the themes in BSG were too mature for children, so most kids won’t have watched the show and won’t know the story/characters. It’s a complicated game to learn, and it’s long.  

Would you try this game? What types of games are you most interested in having me review? And, the big question, are you a BSG fan?

Click here if you’d like to check out Battlestar Galactica (affiliate link).

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