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Subject: Balance Variants rss

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Brian Bankler
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Here are some random suggestions (some are mine, some are other peoples).

FYI, I (along with a few others) think that the game is a bit too pro-cylon. Especially the 5 player game. Probably best to add these slowly.

1) Revealed cylons don't get cards and don't get to add to skill checks. You can be a saboteur or an enemy general. Not both. (A sympathizer on the cylon side can, if you like, just because he/she can't direct the fleet).

1a) When all cylons (and the sympathizer) are revealed then the destiny deck isn't used, either.

Both of these are to force the cylons to lurk a bit longer.

2) In the 5+ player game, only one cylon card is put in the deck. The other is added before the sleeper phase.

3) When the cylons use a crisis card (the Caprica action?), they still ignore ship activation, but have to allow the jump to advance. The problem is that revealed cylons slow the game down. This helps game length.

7 Player Variant -- As six players, but the sympathizer card is only "Pro-Human" if two dials are in the red. Completely untested.
 
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Alex Rockwell
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I'm posting a big variant right now in another thread that I've worked on this evening.
 
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Alex Rockwell
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Bankler wrote:
Here are some random suggestions (some are mine, some are other peoples).

FYI, I (along with a few others) think that the game is a bit too pro-cylon. Especially the 5 player game. Probably best to add these slowly.

1) Revealed cylons don't get cards and don't get to add to skill checks. You can be a saboteur or an enemy general. Not both. (A sympathizer on the cylon side can, if you like, just because he/she can't direct the fleet).


This was something I had also thought of and am including in my variant. But I decided that they should only get to use cards in skill checks that they drew using the Human Fleet space. Because currently that space sucks, and this is thematic (if theyre in the human fleet, then they can effect crises).

Quote:

1a) When all cylons (and the sympathizer) are revealed then the destiny deck isn't used, either.


Interesting!


"Both of these are to force the cylons to lurk a bit longer."

I really think this is important, since right now a revealed Cylon is probably stronger than an unrevealed.



Quote:

3) When the cylons use a crisis card (the Caprica action?), they still ignore ship activation, but have to allow the jump to advance. The problem is that revealed cylons slow the game down. This helps game length.


I'm thinking about adding this to my variant, but I worry that it makes Caprica very weak.

 
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Alex Rockwell
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What if, on a Caprica played event card, that has the advance on the Jump track option, it worked like this:


The humans may choose to either not advance on the jump track, or they may advance the jump track, but they also pay some cost and the ships listed on the card get activated as well.

Maybe the cost is a resource of the president's (adimirals?) choice, and possible cards?
 
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Scott Muldoon (silentdibs)
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Quote:
I really think this is important, since right now a revealed Cylon is probably stronger than an unrevealed.


Y'all need to be more paranoid and throw peeps in the brig.
 
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Sean McCarthy
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sdiberar wrote:
Quote:
I really think this is important, since right now a revealed Cylon is probably stronger than an unrevealed.


Y'all need to be more paranoid and throw peeps in the brig.


That kind of change in playstyle obviously doesn't help if being a revealed cylon is stronger than being an unrevealed cylon...
 
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Matthias
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If the game seems to be too cylon-friendly, why not just add one to all resources at the start of the game?

Would'nt that be the easiest method?

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Chris J Davis
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I have to agree with the above poster - this variant sounds like it's pretty much removing all power away from the Cylons.

The designer has stated that the game is tilted slightly in favour of the Cylons, as he thought that the "struggle" should be more humanity's rather than the Cylon's, in line with the theme. I think you just need to play more often and learn to play as a better human.

And in response to how someone can be both a sabateur *and* a military general at the same time... There are many copies!
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Chris Cieslik
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Bankler wrote:
Here are some random suggestions (some are mine, some are other peoples).

FYI, I (along with a few others) think that the game is a bit too pro-cylon. Especially the 5 player game. Probably best to add these slowly.

1) Revealed cylons don't get cards and don't get to add to skill checks. You can be a saboteur or an enemy general. Not both. (A sympathizer on the cylon side can, if you like, just because he/she can't direct the fleet).


I'm sure your cylon players will love being reduced to crisis-drawing bots. This really isn't a good idea.

Bankler wrote:
1a) When all cylons (and the sympathizer) are revealed then the destiny deck isn't used, either.

Both of these are to force the cylons to lurk a bit longer.


The destiny deck is a central mechanic. By eliminating it entirely, you're taking out a big chunk of what makes skill checks interesting. You're also making the Investigative Committee card much weaker.

Bankler wrote:
2) In the 5+ player game, only one cylon card is put in the deck. The other is added before the sleeper phase.


This is somewhat reasonable. A double-cylon pre-sleeper phase can be awfully nasty, if your humans are having trouble winning this might be one of the best changes you can make, aside from tweaking the resource dials up.

Bankler wrote:
3) When the cylons use a crisis card (the Caprica action?), they still ignore ship activation, but have to allow the jump to advance. The problem is that revealed cylons slow the game down. This helps game length.


This would make the choice between the two cards they draw somewhat tougher. It's a heavy balance tilt toward the humans, however.

Bankler wrote:
7 Player Variant -- As six players, but the sympathizer card is only "Pro-Human" if two dials are in the red. Completely untested.


Probably would work, but if you're complaining about game length, I don't think 7 players is the correct decision to go in.
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Alex Rockwell
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stinger_6 wrote:

If the game seems to be too cylon-friendly, why not just add one to all resources at the start of the game?

Would'nt that be the easiest method?



This doesnt change the fact that a revealed cylon is more dangerous than an unrevealed one, so Cylons should just reveal quicky and do maximum damage.

It also doesnt solve the problem that you can get into a position where you have multiple revealed cylons, a human in the brig, youre not drawing many crisis cards at all that can push you forwardo n the jump track, so progress grinds to a halt, while the cylon players deplete one of your resources (morale from events, or population if they get lucky with cylon attack cards). 1 more of each resource just means it takes them 1 more event to kill you.
 
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Brian Bankler
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angelkurisu wrote:

I'm sure your cylon players will love being reduced to crisis-drawing bots. This really isn't a good idea.

Perhaps a middle ground between my variant and Alexfrogs ... Cylons discard down to 2 cards, and draw 1/turn (besides the human fleet action). This allows some minimal messing.

But part of the idea of the variant is to make the Cylons play unrevealed longer. It's more interesting.

angelkurisu wrote:

The destiny deck is a central mechanic. By eliminating it entirely, you're taking out a big chunk of what makes skill checks interesting. You're also making the Investigative Committee card much weaker.

But by forcing the cylons to reveal, shouldn't the humans get a benefit? As it stands now, with 2 cylons revealed, there are two bad cards from two players each time around the table. The other issue is that once one cylon is revealed, the second usually reveals soon afterwards, to a) slow the game down and b) pile on when the fleet arrives. I could see keeping the destiny deck and relaxing the secrecy rule in skill checks. ("I put in 4").

angelkurisu wrote:

This would make the choice between the two cards they draw somewhat tougher. It's a heavy balance tilt toward the humans, however.

I agree that this would be a heavy tilt. Perhaps it should be something slightly lesser -- the humans can decide whether to accept or reject the bottom part of the card, but have to take both sides. Another (more mechanistic) approach is just that revealed cylons roll a die and advance the jump drive on a 1-2, no matter what they do. That way revealing doesn't slow the game down.

angelkurisu wrote:

Probably would work, but if you're complaining about game length, I don't think 7 players is the correct decision to go in.

I don't see why. The game will be decided after some number of "Activate Jump Drive" symbols appear. 3-5 per jump, and 3-9 jumps (probably an average of 4 per jump, 5 jumps. Call it 20 jump activations). This doesn't depend on number of players.

It does dilute the number of turns (and therefore, control) that each player has. It may have more bickering.

Combined, all of these are probably too much pro-human. It may be that only 1-2 are necessary.

 
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Spencer Beni
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Alexfrog wrote:
stinger_6 wrote:

If the game seems to be too cylon-friendly, why not just add one to all resources at the start of the game?

Would'nt that be the easiest method?



This doesnt change the fact that a revealed cylon is more dangerous than an unrevealed one, so Cylons should just reveal quicky and do maximum damage.


I disagree that a revealed cylon is more powerful than an unrevealed cylon. In the games I've played, I've found that circumstances can vary greatly. Granted, sometimes it is better to be a revealed cylon (especially, for example, if there are lots of raiders on the board and a cylon is on the cylon fleet location). But there are also times that being unrevealed can be extremely useful. Unrevealed cylons can sow a lot of distrust among the humans. Putting people in the brig, escape attempts, and elections all cause human players to waste cards that should have been used for a real crisis. Being able to throw in more than one skill card during a crisis is risky, but in the right situation can kill a key skill check and further spread suspicion if done right (e.g. using skill cards that other players could have thrown in). I've even played one game where the unrevealed cylon was able to go to communications and send colonial ships straight into raiders.
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Cactus god
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An unrevealed cylon is infinitely more powerful than a revealed. I can't count how many times there have been no major threats to galactica on the board and the revealed cylon sat there and did nothing except play two crisis cards and pick one. As an unrevealed cylon you can sow dissent among the crew AND contribute more than 1 bad card into the pile if you play smart. This is so much more powerful.


However, if you're at spot 1 on the jump track and there are 40 raiders on the board and 5 civies, then you should probably reveal and go move those raiders, or be smart, stay unrevealed, and move the ships INTO the raiders with communications and such. There are so many neat little moves you can do to really hurt the humans when you're hidden. I try and stay unrevealed as long as possible.
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Cactus god
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Binzer wrote:
Alexfrog wrote:
stinger_6 wrote:

If the game seems to be too cylon-friendly, why not just add one to all resources at the start of the game?

Would'nt that be the easiest method?



This doesnt change the fact that a revealed cylon is more dangerous than an unrevealed one, so Cylons should just reveal quicky and do maximum damage.


I disagree that a revealed cylon is more powerful than an unrevealed cylon. In the games I've played, I've found that circumstances can vary greatly. Granted, sometimes it is better to be a revealed cylon (especially, for example, if there are lots of raiders on the board and a cylon is on the cylon fleet location). But there are also times that being unrevealed can be extremely useful. Unrevealed cylons can sow a lot of distrust among the humans. Putting people in the brig, escape attempts, and elections all cause human players to waste cards that should have been used for a real crisis. Being able to throw in more than one skill card during a crisis is risky, but in the right situation can kill a key skill check and further spread suspicion if done right (e.g. using skill cards that other players could have thrown in). I've even played one game where the unrevealed cylon was able to go to communications and send colonial ships straight into raiders.


Yeah i guess i should have read this post because you say just about the same thing and we are in complete agreement ;p
 
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Ken
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Alexfrog wrote:
This doesnt change the fact that a revealed cylon is more dangerous than an unrevealed one, so Cylons should just reveal quicky and do maximum damage.


Except I don't buy this for a minute. A well played unrevealed Cylon can spike crises, cast doubt, and generally make the humans confused as to who is on their side. But you can't do this in a way that's so obvious as to make it easy to identify the Cylon.

Revealed Cylons are, in my mind, significantly less powerful than unrevealed Cylons. They can't contribute as much to kill crises, they can't take actions that are OK but sub-optimal, they can't use their character's special abilities to screw the humans up rather than help them out. If you figure out who the other unrevealed Cylon is, you can't Executive Order them to make life even more miserable. Yes, revealed Cylons can be a pain (particularly when they're back-to-back in the turn sequence), but unrevealed ones can grind the humans to a halt in a horrible, horrible way.

Quote:
It also doesnt solve the problem that you can get into a position where you have multiple revealed cylons, a human in the brig, youre not drawing many crisis cards at all that can push you forwardo n the jump track, so progress grinds to a halt, while the cylon players deplete one of your resources (morale from events, or population if they get lucky with cylon attack cards). 1 more of each resource just means it takes them 1 more event to kill you.


It sucks to be a human sometimes. There are ways to deal with all of the above which vary based on the characters in play, the situation on the board, and the resources you have available. With the Cylons only throwing in a single card, you should be able to shepherd some resources to make it through. This is supposed to be a tense game, right?

The one variant that makes some potential sense to me is holding out the second Cylon card until you actually hit the sleeper phase. When there are both Cylons active early in the game, it sets you up for far more pain than if there's only one - plus it makes identifying smart Cylons very, very difficult.
 
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Ken
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Bankler wrote:
But part of the idea of the variant is to make the Cylons play unrevealed longer. It's more interesting.


They should be doing this because they can do more damage unrevealed than revealed.

Quote:
But by forcing the cylons to reveal, shouldn't the humans get a benefit? As it stands now, with 2 cylons revealed, there are two bad cards from two players each time around the table.


Which could be offset by two good cards from the Destiny deck. I know I've spiked a challenge with three bad cards and those were the only bad ones that showed up. The Destiny Deck may help as much or more than it hurts, particularly on crises with three colors to match.

Quote:
The other issue is that once one cylon is revealed, the second usually reveals soon afterwards, to a) slow the game down and b) pile on when the fleet arrives. I could see keeping the destiny deck and relaxing the secrecy rule in skill checks. ("I put in 4").


Then the second Cylon needs to examine the situation more carefully. Revealing leaves no doubt as to who you can issue Executive Orders to safely, eliminates the need to burn cards on Investigative Committee, and allows the humans to focus far more tightly. The one "no brainer" situation I can think of to reveal is when the Cylons will go one after the other in the turn sequence. That's brutal and can set the humans up for a terrible fall.

Quote:
I agree that this would be a heavy tilt. Perhaps it should be something slightly lesser -- the humans can decide whether to accept or reject the bottom part of the card, but have to take both sides.


Even that's too much. The humans would reject it all early in the jump prep sequence, and accept it when it swung things over to your benefit. The choice the humans should make is more "do we eat this particular crisis to preserve cards? Or do we throw resources at resolving it?"

I've yet to see the humans lose without working on their final jump. The game seems very finely balanced as it stands to me.
 
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Seth Jaffee
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Alexfrog wrote:
stinger_6 wrote:

If the game seems to be too cylon-friendly, why not just add one to all resources at the start of the game?

Would'nt that be the easiest method?



This doesnt change the fact that a revealed cylon is more dangerous than an unrevealed one, so Cylons should just reveal quicky and do maximum damage.

This is not true, so the rest of the discussion is largely pointless.
 
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Chris Farrell
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In the relative strength of revealed vs. unrevealed, we need some shades of gray here.

You are clearly better off being a revealed Cylon than you are:
- An unrevealed Cylon who is playing essentially just like a loyal human player in order to maintain cover;
- An unrevealed by strongly suspected Cylon who will shortly be sent to the brig.

Let's assume that you, as a Cylon player, are complete deadweight to the Human cause. That is to say, the actions you are taking are neither helping nor hurting the humans. Your skill cards are played to no good effect, you never use your special abilities to help, you offer no game input, etc. That is to say, you aren't just not helping much, or playing suboptimaly, you are actually managing to contribute absolutely nothing to the human cause by wasting all the resources you are given. If that's the case, you'd still be better off being revealed - you have more options than just drawing a Crisis card, and can actively sabotage skill checks and hinder the human cause instead of just being complete deadweight.

The thing is, just from a tactical perspective, simply being total deadweight is actually pretty tricky to achieve and in many groups it alone would be clearly enough to get you convicted as a Cylon. You have to find some way to throw away all your cards without helping the humans at all, never use your powers, and never offer productive advice.

So you have to make up the difference and then some with bad advice, getting helpful humans thrown in the brig, and sabotaging skill checks, all without getting picked out and thrown into the brig before you reveal. Sabotaging skill is actually surprisingly hard without taking significant risk of discovery, due to the way skill cards are allocated. Given how much information is openly on the table, convincing the humans to do stupid things is not a reliable way to drag them down. And getting people thrown in the brig isn't always helping you, because for a loyal player short cards being thrown in the brig for a couple turns isn't always clearly bad since you don't draw a Crisis card.

I'm not saying it can't be done; clearly it can. But it's not easy to bring yourself to the point of being reliably worse than deadweight to the Humans while unrevealed, while revealing immediately gets you to that state.

This calculus is altered somewhat for the Admiral and to a lesser extent for Roselyn, who can both have special powers that aid in sabotaging the humans while remaining unrevealed (which they lose by revealing). On the other hand, for Baltar and Valerii, you're going to be suspected of being a Cylon anyway, so given a higher level of suspicion its hard to get down to the level of being deadweight which you have to achieve to make remaining unrevealed remotely viable. Arguably if you're Valerii and get a Cylon card in the first round, you should just reveal right away because nobody's going to trust you later anyway.
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Brian Bankler
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Another point is that how much deadweight you can be varies by group. A novice group will try lots of different strategies, but after 5-10 games many deadweight plays will be instantly recognized by the group. Some good plays may also be shunned due to groupthink as well, or some bad plays may be accepted, but in general a stronger group will be tougher to manipulate with just the cards in your hand. They don't vary enough to allow players to reasonably claim a poor strategy is good.
 
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