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Subject: Support characters rss

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Gridash
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Hey people, I wondered about the strength of support characters ingame, both from a human and a cylon perspective, so my question is the following:

Why would anybody pick a support character? I mean, they don't get any titles and are usually the last ones in line of succession to get the President/Admiral/CAG titles. They could spike checks better because of their blue draws, but it also makes them superobvious in being a cylon that way. I guess you could say the same about pilots (except for Apollo).

Is it better to reveal right away the moment you draw a cylon card then? I know these are "guidelines" and everything is ingame context dependent. I guess the only way you'd consider going support is when all the other classes are taken and nobody is drawing blue. At least then you could reveal and they'd have to activate the lab or CP to get blue draws. Although I'd probably still go with a character from a different class that happens to draw blue then (Starbuck, Baltar, Gaeta, ...)

Bottomline, if you picked a support class and happen to be a Cylon, you just deprived yourself from any actual ingame influence through title cards and if you happen to be a human, chances are that an actual cylon is running around with a title card now. So it feels like you shot yourself and your team in the foot. I'd love to hear some opinions about this and get some insight. Prove me wrong.
 
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Robert
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Actually Chief is quite high in line of succession for the President and Dee is high in line for the Admiral. In my games with Dee it frequently happened that she held both titles at one point.

Also support characters are often the target of XOs because of their useful draws. This makes them excellent hidden Cylons, because they get the chance to choose the most detrimental moment to reveal.
 
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Gridash
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Dee might be semi-useful in that regard, but then it would still be better to roll with Gaeta or Baltar since they have more chance to get a title and are overally more flexible. You'd get less trust as Baltar though but I guess it depends on playstyle. As for Chief, hes on spot 10 of 18 characters to become a President, even Adama and Helo comes before the Chief, I guess it very much depends on the draws of others (as always). Also, getting the President title would mean the execution of the previous president, otherwise reelections are in order, and its usually not characters like Chief who gets it since they need to run around to repair things rather than doing Presidenty stuff. Your argument about XOs is valid, so no comment there.
 
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Josh
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Um.. have you seen Cally?
* She draws a rainbow of colors, so she's often helpful and also can easily spike checks.
* Her regular ability is very strong (I have used it to good effect in many games).
* Her Once-Per-Game might be the strongest OPG in the game, and just by being in play it changes how everyone else plays.
* Her "penalty" gives her plausible deniability in not contributing to a check when she's a Cylon.

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Gridash
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Well, both Baltar and Gaeta can draw this rainbow of colors just as well.

That said, Cally is a good character to pick from, if not just for her OPG ability.

Then again, when you're a cylon, people expect you to quick fix by discarding certain bad cards. Yes you could make the check fail, but then your turn is over and you'll find yourself in the brig during the next turn. It would have to be a very crucial check, so the blade cuts two ways here (helping less crucial checks to succeed). Her OPG makes up for it though and is arguably the best way for Cally to reveal after having gotten an XO.
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Pieter
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Chief is great as Cylon. He often ends up with the President's title; he is like the "natural choice" for it. His OPG is also quite good if combined with an Investigative Committee -- he can, for instance, use it to keep himself out of the Brig. His biggest disadvantage as a hidden Cylon is that he has no real reason NOT to repair on his turn.

Dee is rather average as a Cylon. If she is hidden and there is an assault, she might be able to put all the civilians in danger. But I have seldom seen that happen in a game.

Finally, Cally has a great OPG for a Cylon, of course, but what I see happening with her is that (1) nobody wants to XO her for fear of het OPG; (2) Cylons reveal quickly for fear of her OPG; (3) if she is a Cylon and uses her OPG, that is in replacement of revealing, so she will suffer for it the turns after. Basically, I hate Cally as a BSG character -- but I quite hate the other characters from the Exodus expansion too.
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Gridash
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So basically, you can't really rely on the fact a President's title MIGHT come your way at some point in the game. You have the dilemma of revealing right away or helping the humans all along the way hoping for the oppertune moment (getting a title, doing some damage). Basically to earn trust, you'd have to do alot of good first, and after the sleeper phase all that trust is out of the window again anyway.

That said, if I rolled a political or military character that is like number 2 in the line of succession (depending on the characters in play), the odds increase dramatically that I could have a title at some point in the game).

You could argue that the game is not all about titles, but imho its the key to winning the game. Support characters seem at a big disadvantage here, blue doesn't show up much on crisis cards so thats an advantage there that blue characters can do alot more potential damage in spiking checks, but its also usually the worst way of sabotaging humans.

Overplaying cards in checks and crying poor in case of more crucial checks seems the way to go here. Keeping up the suspicion that a Cylon might be among the human team tends do alot on its own, hoping that the humans make a mistake here and there. Once people have some good experience though, those mistakes tend to become rare.

I realize though that alot of parameters can't be discussed here since its too specific to the games played themselves. Speculating stuff usually doesn't lead to an accurate assessment. I just have the feeling that picking a support character helps OTHERS, not yourself or necessary your team winning the game.

That said, I appreciate the feedback that has been given so far in this thread.
 
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Gridash
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A good strategy might be that in the situation where there are already characters drawing engineering (but still lacking in the engineering department), you could just play a character that also draws engineering (but is not support). And in case that nobody picked a character with engineering, you could play a support class and screw the humans over in case you're a cylon by revealing early.

I'm sure there are other situations where you might opt to go with a support character, the above will just be a guideline for myself.
 
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Carl Bussema
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With exodus and Pegasus, the blue deck is much stronger and more interesting than in the base game, to the point where if you have two people drawing blue, it can be a huge advantage.
 
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ackmondual
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Gridash wrote:
Hey people, I wondered about the strength of support characters ingame, both from a human and a cylon perspective, so my question is the following:

Why would anybody pick a support character?
Because of selection rules that the "millies", "pollies", and "pilot-ies" (eh, just call 'em pilots) have to be choosen in breadth, you'll often get locked out of your favorite single character. For example, wanna play Baltar? if you're 2nd for selection and the 1st player picks Ellen, then so much for that. For that reason, it's good to have a 2nd or even 3rd alternate. With Support, you can always pick 'em without any restrictions. On a personal note, my groups tend to leave Galen and Dee free, so I can often count on them if the other category of characters are not available.


Gridash wrote:
I mean, they don't get any titles and are usually the last ones in line of succession to get the President/Admiral/CAG titles.

Having titles can also be a liability....
If it's agreed we'll go the "Quorum route", then the President is expected to work the Pres. Off. and draw and play Qcards. If the pres. claims to not have any good Qcards after 3 to 4 turns, some groups will be suspicious of that. Expect Admin to be used, but AQ, or even executions to be in order. There's a Pegasus crisis card that executes the president

Admiral needs to nuke when needed. That can be a decisive moment if the cylon admiral wants to maintain trust, or soft reveal b/c destroying too many cylon ships can give the humans too much reprieve. If you keep picking bad destinations, that's not necessarily grounds for brigging or executions, but it can be accelerated if your groups are more aggressive about this sort of thing. Also, in the case someone else has scouted the Destination deck, then the admiral is more hard pressed to claim that a bad destination was left on top. There's a Pegasus crisis card that executes the admiral

CAG has the same issue as pilots in general... it's difficult for them to do clyon stuff without it being obvious, so they're often forced to just reveal, or play as a known, unrevealed cylon. Just how long can you hold off using your CAG for extra actions to set up a defensive viper cloud and escorting civvies?

General titles often are forced to discard skill cards. That's a mixed blessing... on one hand, that's less skill cards to help humans and a reason not to help. OTOH, if you reach crucial moments where suspected humans have alot of skill cards, you'd want to be able to spike skill checks. Also, it can be bad if you're forced to discard cards that are also pro-cylon, like Pol. Prow. or Calculations.


Gridash wrote:
They could spike checks better because of their blue draws, but it also makes them superobvious in being a cylon that way. I guess you could say the same about pilots (except for Apollo).
It's harder for those who draw only 2 colors to do the same thing... FOr example, Roslin who only draws YG, and Adama/Cain/Tigh who only draw GP. Granted, almost everyone draws green and it's easier to pin it on others, but still, having only 2 colors really is more restricting in spiking skill checks and getting away with it.


Gridash wrote:
Is it better to reveal right away the moment you draw a cylon card then? I know these are "guidelines" and everything is ingame context dependent.
In general, when you lose any of the titles, do YOU reveal? If you can do other stuff (e.g. use up your OPG, brig someone, execute someone, use up some skill cards to spike a skill check so they won't go to waste when you do reveal), then don't. If you have nothing else to do in the unrevealed world, then do so.

Gridash wrote:
I guess the only way you'd consider going support is when all the other classes are taken and nobody is drawing blue. At least then you could reveal and they'd have to activate the lab or CP to get blue draws. Although I'd probably still go with a character from a different class that happens to draw blue then (Starbuck, Baltar, Gaeta, ...)
You can always lie and say you don't have any Repairs* to buy yourself some time. Then when they get suspicious, at least you've gone a round of turns or so without helping them. If the jig is up, then in a way, it's no different then revealing since in both cases, you're soft revealing vs. hard revealing, but revealing either way. With soft revealing, it may be worth it to you for them to waste actions and skill cards to deal with you.

* I had one game with both exp... I choose Galen around 6-distance since we needed alot of repairs. Both cylons were already out. I went 2 turns (4 blues) without drawing a single Repair card! shake Not fun not be able to use your special AND fix up Galactica when needed.


Gridash wrote:
Bottomline, if you picked a support class and happen to be a Cylon, you just deprived yourself from any actual ingame influence through title cards and if you happen to be a human, chances are that an actual cylon is running around with a title card now. So it feels like you shot yourself and your team in the foot. I'd love to hear some opinions about this and get some insight. Prove me wrong.
See my comments above.

I don't know how much of your comment is overexaggarated or not, but it makes it sound like is the whole game is determined by what team the title holders are on. Sort of a cylon title holders = instant cylon win, human title holders = Colonial Fleet win. If you wanna stretch that a bit, then say that there are some things you can do to change titles, but then once that's set and done, which ever team the new title holders are on will win. The game has ALOT more depth to that. I've definitely seen my fair share of games where the untitled cylons win.


EDIT: forgot to add my anecdote with Galen and no repairs.
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Gridash
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Nah, not an instant win, but at least a distinct advantage. But I agree that there are disadvantages too at holding titles. Thank you for your feedback, this is exactly what I needed.
 
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Adria D
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Some of my favorite cylon wins came as support characters. Dee was responsible for the destruction of 8 civilian ships in one turn. Chief let the ship fall into disrepair, then made himself President while everyone else was busy trying to keep up with repairs and space; then the humans turned too much of their focus to airlocking me/taking the President title (after the airlock check was failed with his OPG) and Galactica was destroyed. It's been a really long time since I've been a cylon Cally, but I've seen well-timed OPT uses to cause significant resource losses on bad crisis cards (usually with an Iron Will, sometimes with some reckless cards & effects involved).

The support characters might not be high in line for titles, but that puts them under less scrutiny. I rather like their OPGs, and all 3 of them can be devastating under the right circumstances.
 
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Darren Nakamura
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I've been Cylon Chief with the damage reveal before. It was great because I was able to convince the team to take damage in lieu of some other consequence, since I'd be able to fix it easily, then get an XO to fix it, only to make things worse, leaving the humans without a natural way to draw Engineering. Good times.
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ackmondual
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Here's what I could flesh out for the support staff....


Chief YGGBB
skillset
These go either way: Hold on to Calculations for those crucial rolls you really need to pass or fail. You don't get as many Calcs as SP, but since you only need to commit them when needed, it sort of evens out. Iron Will can sneakily keep you from bad fail effects (especially in conjunction with cards like Jury Rigged or DE), or lose a precious Morale out of the blue. Playing SR + Est. Networks is sort of a "OPG" since while it can be repeated, it's not easy to save up that many cards and strength to keep spamming.

Pro human: Drawing 2 green means he's more likely to have XOs when you need them. Not to mention Major Victory. Repairs are moreso prohuman, but there are rarer cases where you'd want to use a location for cylon use.

pro-cylon: For a cylon Chief, since there's only one State Of Emergency, it doesn't really make up for the relative abundance of XOs you SHOULD have, but State Of Emergency's the only thing that leans closer to the cylon side of things.


special
Worth noting is Chief is the only one who can reliably fix a location and then immediately use it in the same turn. Another single char can pull this off, but he'd have to already be at the location (requires a bit of planning and looking ahead), use Crit. Sit. (only of these in the entire deck), then Repair + act. location. That's much harder to pull off.

Any other case, it's a 2-man job.... to repair a location and then use it back-to-back, you need to XO someone else already at that location, or have one char repair then the next one to activate the location. Being able to repair and use a location on your own eliminates the need to have others trust you, or for you to trust others, which can be worth its weight in gold. When there unrevealed cylons whose identities have not been uncovered, it's harder to pull off.

For human use, basically, any location you'd want to use NOW. Repair ER then feed it, Armory to get a crack shot at cents. For both human and cylon, repair Airlock/AQ and Political Prowess the appropriate target (that location being damaged keeps others from using it), or use Command to put out vipers/escort, or escort the last civvy/move viperes out of position.

For human use, you can do double repairs at Hangar Deck (nice if vipers have been taking a pounding). For either, repair a location and then play an XO or any other skill card action.

OPG
This is nice where you can really swing the total strength to pass or fail the appropriate skill check *. As an added bonus, you can cause the other team to waste ALOT of skill cards.

One game, Food was at 4, Morale was at 5, and we got Low Supplies 7YG
-1 morale. If food is less than 6, -1 additional morale.
A human played IC. I was 3rd to contribute in a 6p game, so I piled on enough skill cards + Iron Will to make it around -11. The others past me including Baltar and Tory put in a whole lotta yellow. With everything except Destiny face up, of course I use my OPG on yellow to cancel out that 20 or so positive strength robot They lost 3 Morale on that one single crisis card, and had to make 2 more full jump cycles with 2 Morale left cool It turned out the other cylon had the Morale reveal power, so it was actually 1 Morale left. I'm quite proud of that power play


Another feature of his OPG is it can be used on location based skill checks too, so it's helpful in keeping others in/getting others out of the Brig, or getting yourself out of the Brig. Ditto for when you wanna pass or fail that Airlock skill check.

weakness
I have had to discard cards on some occassions due to having 9 or 10, and even if you have 11 or more, discarding 2 extra isn't that nice, but among weaknesses, this one isn't too horrific. I deem this to be neutral and thus, works both ways.



Dee GPPPB
skillset
She's a "purple monster"... iow... draws 3 purple. Very helpful for team human to help get through crucial die rolls (e.g. LS for when raptors run low, Armory, Inspirational SPeech, FTL Control, and Peggy locations). And Scouting For Fuel can be a life saver.

As a cylon, using SP means you'd be soft revealing, so it won't get used as much there, but still has some meager utility. Trust Instinct is the only purple taht's moreso pro-cylon.

OTOH, Crit. Sit. and LS are cards that can work for either team.

special
As mentioned, one of Dee's powerplays is donning the hat and cane and becoming the master civvy sheppard. While escorting is the long term solution, if there's not enough time, for the short term she can move a huge lot of civvies more effeciently, save for some Ally effects and other text effects. As a cylon, she can move civvies closer to harm's way, cutting down on the # of raider activations needed for their destruction

Also possessing knowledge of all civvies is nice, as you can designate the appropriate civvies to be destroyed, or try to trick members of the opposite team into destroying the wrong ones. This knowledge is lost when you jump, so it's really nice if you get prolonged jump cycles. If playing with the CFB, since the same civvies stay out, you're knowledge is compounded until the civvies get escorted and come out again.

OPG
Extra cards are always nice either way. Some examples include contribute reds into a skill check to also hope for Protect The Fleet. Declare yellow and hope for Pol. Prowess, or any other color with specific cards you're looking for and put them into your hand.

weakness
Humans can use this to rid her and get deny her the usual benefits of an unrevealed cylon.

Only cylon use is to allow Dee to get a jump start on her cylon turns (e.g. activating Cylon Fleet to have both basestars shoot, or moving up cents).

Cally YGPBB
***human-wise
skillset
Jack of all trades. Good news is she gets access to everything, but bad news is swingy in even the basic key cards like XOs or SP. The advantages afforded to Chief's 2 blue draw mostly applies to Cally as well.

special
Either way, this is a nice way to help her out of the Brig. On crucial skill checks, this is nice too, although it will of course out her as a cylon.

OPG
Good either way. Bonus points if you can convince the other team that you made a mistake and they should NOT retaliate Humans losing Morale and key character's and their abilities can be devastating. Keeping a cylon from holding onto titles, continue using their abilities, and denying a super crisis card in that direction.

A human use is to execute someone who has dangerous and unfulfillable PGs (assuming proper navigation of secrecy rules waters can be achieved), or to meta-game to get a new character in the game.

Only cylon use is to pop her cylon ally to get a jump start on cylon turns, but that doesn't seem that strong. As a "denial tactic", if all cylons reveal early, then she's stuck with a OPG that's anywhere from useless to very situational in use... unless she ends up getting killed and coming back as another char.

weakness
As mentioned pro-cylon use is to use this as an excuse for assisting in skill checks. However, it helps the cylons when a human Cally needs to sit out of certain skill checks, or she has to compensate by throwing in an extra, undesirable card that ended up costing the team.
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Robert Stewart
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The support characters, while they don't have game-breaking abilities like Cain or Tory, are generally solid characters. Engineering has a strong self-synergy - both Scientific Research and Establish Network are better the more other blues there are around. Establish Network also offers an unrevealed support Cylon the chance for an almost unbeatable spike.

Other people have already covered some of the reasons why the three support characters are playable - something to consider is that picking the Chief or Cally early gives you a good chance of being the only player to draw Engineering - if you then turn toaster, damage is going to be a serious threat; if you don't, you're well placed to keep Galactica flying...


It's also worth considering that, while the support characters are, generally, low in the lines of succession for all 18 characters, you're not going to be playing with 18 characters, but with 5-6, and it's your ranking in that group that determines how likely you are to inherit a title - and Admiral may only normally pass via the line of succession, but anyone can be elected President.



On the other hand, not everyone is looking to get the same thing out of the game - some people are more interested in having a good story to tell afterwards, or in pulling off some cool combination of actions, than in optimising their expected win percentage. Or they may prefer a more straight-forward role where they don't have to make as many hidden decisions - in which case being a fair way down the line of succession is an advantage rather than a drawback. Not having to worry about nukes, destinations or Q-cards lets a new player ease into the game more gently.
 
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