I rarely watched the original Battlestar Galactica TV show, and I watched the new one not at all. The new show's reputation did reach me though, partly through internet buzz, but mostly through Andy's enthusiasm. The new series' reimagining of the original material - with its equal-opportunities casting and darker tones - appealed to Andy where it appalled some geeks online. I have to admit it was precisely this contrast between the new and the old shows that made the new Battlestar Galactica in the slightest bit interesting to me, and then not interesting enough to get my bum in the seat in front of the TV (which says more about my TV habits than it does the show, naturally enough).
My lack of interest in the subject matter of the Battlestar Galactica game announced by FFG meant that the game might've stayed on the shelves in my FLGS were it not for 2 things:
- I was looking out for some modern conflict-oriented multiplayer games to supplement Settlers and Ivanhoe.
- I read 'The Unbearable Lightness of Being (a Cylon)', a great session report on the game over at the F:AT - traitors, paranoia, and general screwage? What's not to love? I knew I was going to give this gave a try.
In the box?
Battlestar Galactica (BSG) is packed in one of FFG's small boxes, and is remarkably light for a FFG production. Don't be dismayed though: the contents are the quality FFG fans will be familiar with. There are some nice character cards and stand-up counters - complete with nice pics from the TV; the usual card decks, large and small; and what seems to me to be a smaller than usual number of carboard tokens. This last point is not a complaint - I think it makes sense for FFG to try to lighten the load of this game, in the hope that it might get picked up by BSG fans who're not gaming geeks.
The highlights of the box contents for me though are the board and the plastics. The board is a fully-mounted foldout board that would grace any game by any company. In full colour, It is covered with pictures taken from the show. And it has little dials on it that you use to represent the resources of the human community. Yes! It moves! And the plastics are nice wee models of the human and Cylon fighters and raiders. They're nice enough that miniatures geeks might covet them for their space fleets!
The overall effect of all these components is very impressive. FFG is a byword for high quality, and BSG strikes me as a real benchmark of this. Integrating imagery from the TV series with the use of layout and colour to convey gaming information, the graphic design looks to me to be top notch. I can easily imagine the excitement the game's colourful and purposeful appearance would generate in the hearts of those to whom opening games boxes to assess the contents is still a fresh experience.
And the gameplay?
I've not played, so there's not a lot I can say here. I can say that the sequence of play looks simple enough, and seems to be well explained. There are enough cribsheets provided to enable players to keep on top of the details of what should be happening when, and of what everything means. I can also confirm that the game requires no knowledge whatsoever of either TV show. Those of my friends who've watched BSG will be able to tell me how much that knowledge might bring to the atmosphere.
So I'm quite pleased with my purchase so far. If I have one worry it's that BSG is one of those games where map position is a matter of abstract locations; as opposed, that is, to an actual map across which your pieces manoeuvre. This could turn the game into a rather static, procedural affair. I hope not, naturally enough. And I do have good reason to be hopeful: exactly the same could be said of Up Front, and regular readers will know how much I like that game! More when I've played. ;)
My 2009 gaming wishlist:
- #1: Combat Commander: Pacific
- #3: Corps Command: Totensonntag
Battlestar Galactica boardgame
- Done down by dastardly Donald's devious duplicity!
- The fickle finger of fate
- Toasters, toasters, everywhere!
- A moment to marvel at...
- The end is nigh?
- What price survival?
- Again, the toasters' offensive
Sounds interesting. I too am unfamiliar with the new BSG series but my brother is a big fan. It's good to hear the game doesn't require knowledge of the show but I bet it adds greatly to the atmosphere if you recognise people and places.
Look forward to hearing a session report.
The key thing about the game which attracted my attention is the fact that there will always be at least 1 cylon traitor (depending on how many players there are in the game). This player is going to have to play a subtle double-game, proving their loyalty while simultaneously sabotaging the humans' efforts (there are key rules which help with this). I couldn't resist the notion of this. I'm just hoping the game lives up to this promise.
I'm also hoping that Andy's knowledge of the series will benefit us all. He's alreay offered to bring some DVD's round. ;)
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