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Subject: Playing less-than-pro-human as a human? rss

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Andy H.

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Hi all,
The question I want to ask today is this: how rational is it, really, to purposely under-perform as a pre-sleeper human on the chance that you will turn Cylon at sleeper? The rulebook mentions this as a potential "strategy" and it has been alluded to on the forums before now.

I ask because recently I played a round with my brothers, and some issues came up. One of my bros is fairly new to BSG - he chose Boomer, and early on he mistook the Crisis card I handed him (face-down, but for his Crisis step) for the one he gets to scout. He said to put it back on top, but I reminded him that this was his Crisis step and that we were facing this Crisis. Turns out it was a Cylon Fleet card. We brigged Boomer at the first chance we got, over his protests that 1) he wanted more Raiders to shoot (again... newbie) and 2) since it was unlikely that any of us were playing Cylon based on what we were seeing, he had a 1/2 chance of being the lone Cylon in our 3p game come Sleeper. Thus he claimed it made sense to split his efforts between Cylon and human sides.

I would have sworn that it was just a case of a Cylon desperately trying to talk his way out, but things really got interesting when we had to call the game early, and all three of us flipped over YANAC cards. WTF.

It's entirely possible that I'm missing something, but I have never bought into the aforementioned note in the rulebook, and I firmly believe in playing loyally to the side that I'm on at the moment. Firstly, because doing otherwise would be disrespectful to the people who are on your side. Secondly, there's always the possibility that you'll remain human, meaning your prior efforts may have put you and your teammates at a disadvantage. What then?

So, as always, input is much appreciated! Did I do the right thing by brigging Boomer? Are there any other details about the session that would be helpful? And IS there any sense to not playing too pro-human when you ARE a human?

Thank you in advance!
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Rus
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If you think that you are a strong player and are confident that you can swing a close game in your direction, then you should keep the game close up to the sleeper phase if you are human. In other words, if the humans have a strong lead, reduce that lead.

Otherwise, a pre-sleeper human should play pro-human. (This can be mathematically shown to be the optimal strategy at least in the case of a player whose actions don't affect the outcome of the game post-sleeper phase.)
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Yao-ban Chan
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If you know absolutely nothing about the loyalties of other players, there is a 2/9th chance of turning cylon if you're human (5-player game, no Boomer or Baltar, not factoring in the Resurrection Ship). If you are certain everyone is human, this chance rises to 2/5ths. Either way, an argument can be made that it is always more likely you will remain human, and so should play pro-human.

On the other hand, the view I take is that if you do so, you doom yourself on the times you turn cylon. The smarter play is to act neither pro-human or pro-cylon but to gather power to yourself. Then you are in a much better position to influence things the way of your team, once you know what that team is.

There is a fine line between acting pro-cylon (obviously bad) and maintaining the balance of power as you describe in your example (plausible, if not completely convincing). I don't buy the argument about it being disrespectful though, as this is really a game in which everyone is out for him/herself.
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Steye
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I never play less-than-pro-human, simply because:

1. You'll probably remain Human.

2. If you have a obvious pro-human reputation before Sleeperphase, you're a less likely suspect after Sleeperphase. Cylon or not.
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Darren Nakamura
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This discussion comes up every now and then, and the general answer is to play pro-you (gain titles, draw cards, et cetera), so that no matter what happens after Sleeper phase, you'll be in a better position to affect the game toward your side.

However, lately I've been thinking about the meta-meta-game, where now that my core BSG group is pretty well experienced, there isn't much wiggle room for a Cylon to suggest a poor play without gaining a lot of suspicion. So I've toyed with the idea of doing irrational things as a Human, so that later, in future games, I have a cover when I'm a Cylon and I want to suggest something suboptimal.
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Andy H.

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Quote:
This discussion comes up every now and then, and the general answer is to play pro-you (gain titles, draw cards, et cetera), so that no matter what happens after Sleeper phase, you'll be in a better position to affect the game toward your side.

Quote:
The smarter play is to act neither pro-human or pro-cylon but to gather power to yourself. Then you are in a much better position to influence things the way of your team, once you know what that team is.


Seems pretty fair. Though I imagine you'd clearly want to lean human so that you can at least get to the sleeper phase.

Quote:
I don't buy the argument about it being disrespectful though, as this is really a game in which everyone is out for him/herself.


I respectfully disagree. That only applies to games where a singular person becomes the winner. BSG is a team game, the kicker simply being that you don't know who your teammates are for much of the game. Trying for a balance is one thing, but sabotaging human efforts while you ARE a human isn't great sportsmanship toward the other humans (especially if they, like me, prefer to play pro-human).
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ackmondual
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jedisurvivor wrote:
I respectfully disagree. That only applies to games where a singular person becomes the winner. BSG is a team game, the kicker simply being that you don't know who your teammates are for much of the game. Trying for a balance is one thing, but sabotaging human efforts while you ARE a human isn't great sportsmanship toward the other humans (especially if they, like me, prefer to play pro-human).
But if you do turn out to be cylon and it wins you the game, will you still consider it the same thing? Or would you rather be an honorable cylon/player, have humans jump into 6-distance sleeper phase with surplus resources, and have a much lower chance of winning?
 
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Andy H.

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Quote:
But if you do turn out to be cylon and it wins you the game, will you still consider it the same thing? Or would you rather be an honorable cylon/player, have humans jump into 6-distance sleeper phase with surplus resources, and have a much lower chance of winning?


This can quickly become a circular argument, because it's just as easy to ask: what if you STAY human and it LOSES you the game? What if playing less than 100% pro-human shifts things enough to (for example) jump into sleeper with four distance and with one resource on the edge of a knife? (Especially if there is already a Cylon creating havoc?) Is it not preferable to be an honorable human?
 
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Gerry Smit
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The odds were mentioned above, and I would go with the odds.

If a cylon reveals or soft reveals pre-sleeper, odds are you remain human, so play pro-human. Doubly so if all the cylons (1 in 3-4 player games, 2 in 5+ player games) because obviously you'll stay human. (Modified somewhat if you have sympathizer in a 4 or 6 player game. At that point, Pretend you're Zarek, and drive one resource into the red).

Finally, the arguement most people care about, if no cylons have revealed: well, the odds are still in your favour of staying human, so pro-human.

Certainly maximizing personal power will give you more options post-sleeper, but you can be the target for hand-off loyalty cards as well. And it'll look suspicious. The meta-meta game is only a concern if you play this a LOT, something I'm in no danger of. (sigh)

Whatever you do, don't go anti-human "just to shake up the game and make it interesting". That so defeats the presumed game style of "root out the evil players, minimize their impact, and escape from the clutches of their allies/minions". All that really does it wreck up 3 hours of play time.
 
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ackmondual
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Ultimately, I try not to get too much into what I'll become. Only exception is we're clearly going to lose, so the only hope to win is to live long enough to get to sleeper phase and get a cylon card*.


Otherwise, you can have cases where both cylons lie low, or 1 or 2 people acting suspiciously really were human.



* If playing with exp, also get executed, perhaps via trauma tokens, and pick Baltar/Boomer
 
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Pieter
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I agree with the "doing good for yourself" approach pre-sleeper.

I definitely will avoid an assured human victory pre-sleeper unless I know the identity of all the Cylons.

Case in point: I recently modded a game in which the admiral decided to jump from distance 3 to distance 6, and became a sleeper-Cylon in a situation that was a virtually guaranteed human win. I have been in the same situation myself, and had the choice to jump to distance 4 or 6 -- I picked distance 4, remained human, and still swung the game to human victory as I had sufficient power to do so.

Also, the closer the game gets to the sleeper-agent phase, the less likely I am to take pro-human actions. Why would I do that? To convince others I am human? Anything that I accomplish along those lines will become moot after the sleeper-agent phase has hit. I will not take any pro-Cylon actions either, of course, but I will invest into gathering strength to help the side I am on after I have received all my loyalty cards.
 
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Cameron McKenzie
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Sleeper phase is coming up, and I'm a human right now. I will probably remain human, so if it's an obvious pro-human choice vs an obvious pro-cylon choice, the pro-human choice should be picked every time.

But as other's mentioned, there are "pro-self" choices that will help you no matter what happens. If sleeper phase is about to come up and I have choose: discard 5 cards or lose 1 food. Discarding cards will be bad for my team, whichever team I end up on (I probably won't use all 5 of them before sleeper phase anyway). Losing food is bad for the humans, and I might not be one. Discarding the cards may be the better choice after sleeper phase, but before sleeper phase you could argue keeping the cards as insurance against being a sleeper yourself.

When playing Boomer, you have a much greater chance to be a sleeper, so these kind of self-serving acts are even more worthy of consideration.

That being said, leaving a cylon attack crisis on top is not really self-serving, especially since it will probably be the pilots that have to spend cards fighting the raiders, and they are actually leaving themselves in a weaker position when sleeper comes (a non-pilot may be able to justify it - e.g. Roslin could justify picking an attack crisis if the other crisis is very bad overall or bad for her personally)

Another observation is that effects that make others lose cards, go to the brig, or go to the sickbay, is often a good thing for you. There is a nearly a 50% chance that the player being targeted will be your opponent after the sleeper phase, if they are not now, in which case the choice would be beneficial instead of harmful. You shouldn't go out of your way to inflict harm on others, but you shouldn't work too hard to spare them either. This kind of argument
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Robert Stewart
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There's a strong thematic element to hedging your bets in case you discover you've been a sleeper agent all along - one of the big questions for a couple of characters in S1 is "Am I a Cylon?" - so it's in flavour for players to try to look out for number one rather than sacrificing themselves for the team when they're not convinced they're on the right team...
 
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Mark Arnold
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rbelikov wrote:
then you should keep the game close up to the sleeper phase if you are human. In other words, if the humans have a strong lead, reduce that lead.


Orntt wrote:

On the other hand, the view I take is that if you do so, you doom yourself on the times you turn cylon. The smarter play is to act neither pro-human or pro-cylon but to gather power to yourself.


Dexter345 wrote:
This discussion comes up every now and then, and the general answer is to play pro-you


Flyboy Connor wrote:
I agree with the "doing good for yourself" approach pre-sleeper.

I definitely will avoid an assured human victory pre-sleeper unless I know the identity of all the Cylons.

Case in point: I recently modded a game in which the admiral decided to jump from distance 3 to distance 6, and became a sleeper-Cylon in a situation that was a virtually guaranteed human win.


I've played this game quite a bit now, and what I don't get from these quotes is: In my group, if anyone was to do anything like this, humans would lose - hands down. I mean "assured human victory" ? I've never seen such a thing (actually once. Humans got to 8 distance handily and my cylon partner had not handed off her other loyalty card. Grr.)

In my groups, even if you played PRO-human to the absolute best of your ability, if you end up Cylon you are STILL far more likely to win than to lose (our human win/lose ratio would be probably 4/20; and the last 8 or so have been with +2 resources) therefore it is absolutely in your best interest to play 100% pro human, because if you end up Cylon... you haven't really hurt your chances too much, and if you stay human you need every edge you can get.

It's actually a great shame, because straying from the optimal path is such a guaranteed loss for the humans, that it becomes very difficult for Cylons to do anything unrevealed.
 
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Paul W
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It depends on what combination of expansions you're using. With just the base game...if you have experienced players using good human strategies (XO'ing a lot, scouting frequently, activating the Press Room regularly and using ICs), then humans can get very strong leads with room to spare and the game as a whole arguably tilts slightly pro-human.

If your group isn't doing those things, then certainly getting any human victory at all is pretty tough.
 
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ackmondual
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In the pbf games as well as IRL, many players will refuse to use their OPG abilities until they hit sleeper phase.

MasterDinadan wrote:
Sleeper phase is coming up, and I'm a human right now. I will probably remain human, so if it's an obvious pro-human choice vs an obvious pro-cylon choice, the pro-human choice should be picked every time.

But as other's mentioned, there are "pro-self" choices that will help you no matter what happens. If sleeper phase is about to come up and I have choose: discard 5 cards or lose 1 food. Discarding cards will be bad for my team, whichever team I end up on (I probably won't use all 5 of them before sleeper phase anyway). Losing food is bad for the humans, and I might not be one. Discarding the cards may be the better choice after sleeper phase, but before sleeper phase you could argue keeping the cards as insurance against being a sleeper yourself.
Was Food an illustrative example? If it were something like Morale, Pop, or Fuel which are resources which have a much better shot at losing humans the game, then THAT would be a more relevant decision.
 
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