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Monday, January 24, 2011

Battlestar Galactica - Exodus

I played a game of Battlestar with the Exodus expansion.  The characters were: Starbuck, Tom Zarek, Cally, and Felix Gaeta.  There are some significant changes with Exodus which greatly changed the way the game works.  We played with the Cylon base, Personal agendas, and Final Five.  We didn't bother with a sympathizer, there would be only one cylon.

The very first event out, which we failed, prevented anyone from viewing other's Loyalty Cards.  Starbuck wanted this to fail and Zarek seemed to agree with it.  I immediately suspected a potential cylon among my compatriots.  My analysis was wrong, as both of them had a Final Five card, and therefore didn't want their loyalty questioned.  However, not used to these changes in the game, I continued to suspect a cylon.

First order of business: repairing the Mark VII's.  By the time Starbuck arrives, all of them are available.

At this point I'd like to express my initial disappointment in the cylon board.  Yes, the cylon's attacked, but their  attacks were weak and disorganized.  Starbuck chewed through whatever raiders appeared, and the Galactica's main guns obliterated the Basestar.  So, far, not impressed with the cylon board.  One card, which we couldn't succeed at, executed Cally.  She was replaced by Tyrol.

A few strategies became very apparent.  First, escorting all the civilian ships off the board is a bad idea.  Starbuck did this once, and the raiders immediately attacked the Galactica, inflicting damage through sheer numbers.  Second, the Communications office becomes critical and receives much more attention.  A typical turn would go as follows:

1) Three Civilian Ships appear on the board,
2) Starbuck Executive Orders Zarek, who is in the Communications.  Zarek moves the two civvies to Starbuck's location.
3) Zarek Executive Orders Starbuck, who then escorts two civvies off the board.

If we need to escort 3 ships, Starbuck (who is CAG), uses the CAG ability to have on ship escort 1 ship and still has 2 actions left (CAG ability gives one raider activation and an action).  Starbuck can then escort two more civvies.  Very quickly we could vacate the entire area of civilian ships.

Lo, I'm the Cylon!
The build up of the fleet on the cylon board continued.  About the third or fourth time they make an appearance, it is swarming with ships.  We blast the ships.  Cylon Raider parts are scattered in space by Starbuck, Heavy raiders fall to the Big Guns, and a nuke launch (with Strategic planning) annihilates a basestar and its escorts.  When Galactica jumps, the cylon fleet appears to not be a threat.  The Galactical did take damage, although we did the best to repair it.  Often it would seem we would repair a system only to have it get hit again.  Visiting the sickbay due to Galactica blasts became a hobby.

At the halfway mark the Loyalty cards are dealt out and I find out I'm the cylon!  That threw me for a loop as I really suspected Starbuck (escorting all civvie ships?  Suspicious.  Promoting not looking at loyalty cards?  Suspicious.)

Looking at the resource dials I'm amazed at how incredibly well we are doing.  The lowest dial is on 7, and population is practically untouched.  Yep, it's going to be a long haul.  I determine I can't win through the basic "drain them of resources", I'm going to go through the destroy Galactica route.

At this point I want to point out another wonderful addition to the game: the Consequences cards.  The Consequences actions had come to our rescue several times in the past.  It is one of the major reasons our resources were so high.  However, as a hidden Cylon I added several Consequence cards to great effect.  One was a Green 0, where no green was needed.  I also added to additional cards which drove the final score to -1.  Woohoo!  Morale is -1!  Just 8 more to go!  Even as a Cylon I managed to manipulate the Consequence skill cards once or twice to negatively impact the crew.  A few times it did backfire.

I manage as a hidden cylon for one full turn before my cover is irretrievably discovered.  They humans are too busy fixing galactica, but Starbuck is onto me after Zarek's skill check.  I decide it is time to bug out and send Starbuck to the brig.  Timing was fortuitous, as the Launch Bay is shot to pieces and she won't launch immediately.  My Supercrisis is a doozy for the CAG: either lose some civvie ships or be executed.  I realize the damage Starbuck has done earlier, and hope she chooses execution.  She does and is replaced by Lee Adama.

Lee Adama is good, but he is no Starbuck.  Civilian ships are lost faster than the humans can escort them.  The Mark VII's become damaged.

From here I spend my time either on the new Cylon board: adding ships, activating fleets from the main board (when they arrive), and once or twice I did the crisis search.  Quickly the damage mounts on Galactica.  The humans manage to fend them off and repair her, but the resources dip into the Red.  The Galactica makes it to  distance 8, and it becomes a race to finish off Galactica before they jump again.

One lone unmanned viper stands between my raiders and two civilians.  Galactica is severely damaged.  I activate the Raiders, in huge numbers now.  The proud viper pilot dodges left, dodges right, dodges up, but to no avail.  The last Vipers is damaged and the vipers close on the civilians.  Population, for the longest time the must expendable resource, drops to 1.  The final civilian ship is flipped, and its the big population carrier, two population is lost.  The humans lose after a great battle.

Final Thoughts
Exodus adds great options for both the cylons and the humans.  Executing Starbuck was critical to my success.  Having her as a CAG was brutal.  She annihilated raiders left and right, took potshots at basestars, destroyed heavy raiders.  A real menace.  When she voluntarily executed herself,I could then focus on destroying Galactica.  I didn't succeed in that plan, but the continuous damage inflicted on her kept the humans busy while their civilian ships gradually dwindled.

I took two pics (with a poor phone camera), which I've included here.

A cylon happy sight:

Yep, every one of the vipers was damaged.  First time I've seen that.

End condition.  Look at all those pretty raiders around those civilian ships.  I consider this a lucky win as next turn the humans were going to jump to victory.

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