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Subject: Worst. Game. EVAR. rss

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Angry Augury
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"Ever" with an "a", no less. That's how bad it was.

Let me start off by saying that I love Galactica. BSG is still my favorite board game and I have quite a few that I enjoy immensely. Unfortunately living in Japan gives me few opportunities to play it as board games just don't have a huge following here. To make matters worse, one of the few people willing to play the game returned to the US this summer so I thought the odds of getting a game together could be more difficult.

To my surprise, I came upon an opportunity to have a game tonight with four other people. I was excited that it would be my very first 5 player BSG session. Since 3 of the 4 others would be new players, I decided to cut out all the cool expansion stuff we had slowly blended in and brought the base game to play. Then I learned they invited one more new guy to the mix so it'd be a 6 player game. Not what I was hoping for as I really want to try 5 players since everyone says that's the best but I didn't complain since it's much better than the 3 player games I had to endure in the past. Now it would be two veterans and four newbies.

I should have known it was a bad idea. First of all, the other "veteran" isn't really a board game guy. He just plays since he knows I need other players. The 6th man they added also does not dig board games (or anything "geek") but joined because he has nothing else to do. The two girls playing don't play board games and only one is a fan of Galactica. The other newbie has never played it but is a Galactica fan so out of the other 5 people he (and to a lesser extent, his girlfriend) was my only hope to get people interested during the game. It didn't quite work.

And, now, here is the disaster that was my game:

I will now introduce the players and their characters in the usual generic way that I have done in the past.

Me - Baltar (in hopes of being a Cylon)
Husband - Galen (he is the veteran who doesn't like board games)
Wife - Zarek (only joined since her husband and I needed her for 5 players)
Boyfriend - Helo (BSG fan)
Girlfriend - Boomer (BSG and Boomer fan)
6th Man - Apollo (only here to kill time)

I spend the first hour explaining the rules just to familiarize the players with how the game plays. I assure them that the explanation is much more difficult than how the game flows and I will constantly remind them of what can and can't be done in the situations that follow. Still it's not the easiest task when English is the second language of two of the players. But once everyone has a basic grasp on the game play we begin.

I deal out the Loyalty cards and, to my dismay, neither of my two are Cylon cards. Drat.

The first few turns are slow but pretty positive as the new players find their footing. We ended up getting (and passing) the Crisis that gives you 1 Distance before our first jump so that was pretty sweet. However, before we make our first official jump there were more Cylon ships on the board than I've ever seen during any game (even when using the Cylon Fleet Board). I was stunned. Yet our three Pilots held them off well. Nothing happened that cast doubt on loyalties yet so that was a little odd I thought. At -3 Population risk, Helo pulled the switch and sent us on our first jump. His roll passed so we lost no Pop and, as the Admiral, he found us a 3 Distance location with the downside of more Cylon ships to face but at least we reached the Sleeper Phase with just our first jump.

If that was all that happened during the first half, it wouldn't have been a bad start (for Humans at least). Sadly, it was what was going on outside the game that was ruining everything. Husband and 6th Man spent every free second that wasn't one of their turns just chatting randomly about stuff. Not only that, but they were chatting loudly and actually making it difficult for Wife to get into the game. Every time a Crisis came up, we had to draw their attention back to the game and then fill them in on everything that happened. It was completely killing the atmosphere of the game. I finally called them on it and fortunately it stopped (for the most part) but a lot of the enthusiasm was gone.

So the Sleeper Phase comes and I get my third card: Baltar is a human three times over. 6th Man becomes the Sleeper Agent and joins the Cylons as a gimped version. Now we know there has to be at least one other Cylon in the mix so I thought the game would get more interesting.

I was wrong.

A couple turns go by without anything really suspicious. From the spiked cards there was nothing incriminating but suggested that it could possibly be coming from Boyfriend or Girlfriend. I was pretty sure that Husband and Wife were completely human by the completely heroic efforts they had been putting out. I figured that 6th Man could have had a Cylon card in his pocket but, if so, he didn't pass it off after becoming the Sympathizer. Nothing happened to point conclusively to anyone as being a Cylon.

Then we had our first big spike in the form of 3 Blue cards. Plus it was the first Skill Check that we failed thanks to the large values on the spiked cards. The only people who participated in the Skill Check were Boyfriend, Girlfriend, and 6th Man (Symp). The only one who had blue, aside from the Symp, was Girlfriend. So all suspicion fell on her. Unfortunately, the Admiral's Quarters were damaged so we couldn't Brig her right away so we had no choice but to see what she did next. Yet everything she seemed to do from that point forward was very helpful to the humans. Ridiculously helpful, in fact. I thought she was either really trying to get on our good side or, as a new gamer in general, she wasn't playing properly. I was 95% convinced she was a Cylon, though.

The 6th Man was starting to enjoy his position as a Cylon and loved trying to turn everyone against each other. I was quite pleased that he got into the role though he almost certainly was not enjoying himself. I know that Wife was definitely unimpressed with the game. To make it worse, the next Jump took forever to come about and everyone was starting to get antsy as the night wore on.

We got our next jump with a lucky Crisis that moved the Jump Track up one for passing then gave us another at the end. We jumped and for the second time, the unbelievably MASSIVE number of Cylon, Human, and Civilian ships were removed from the board (Where were they coming from in the first place? Never seen so much.).

The next run had just about everyone helping out heroically. Girlfriend was going above and beyond the call of duty making me completely doubt she was a Cylon. But if not her, who else? No one else was acting suspicious. No Skill Checks had been spiked with more than 2 negatives, usually only 1 in the past few checks. Heck, even the Sympathizer threw in positives to help us on a Skill Check (just to sow confusion, but every card in that check turned out to be positive). There was one important Crisis that required Yellow, Purple, and Blue to pass. Husband used Gaylen's ability to make any Green cards a 0 value should they appear in the check. So the only thing that could hurt us would be Red. We ended up having four Spikes in that Check: 1 Red and... 3 Green.

...What?!

Only one card could come from the Symp. Only two from the Destiny Deck. So at least one other person Spiked the check but it was obvious the humans were dumping a TON into the check because it was important to pass and the Spiked cards were three Value 1 and one Value 2. And all but one of those five negative points were reduced to 0 thanks to Gaylen. So WTF was happening here? I didn't understand what was going on in the mind(s) of the people throwing in those cards.

Now it was getting very late, everyone was tired, and things were not being fun. The second and possibly third Cylons still made no move or did anything of consequence. The 6th Man, as a Symp, was getting really bored with how gimped he was and he had no help. It sure wasn't helping convince him that board games might be fun to play, even though he tried to get into it at first. Wife just wanted to quit and go to bed but she grudgingly stuck around since Helo pulled the switch to Jump us again and now we were at Distance 8. And Helo's luck also held up saving us from losing the -3 Pop yet again.

In fact our Population was so high all we had to do was get to the Blue and flip the FTL for a Human win. This was do or die time for the remaining hidden Cylons.

They chose the "die" option.

After an excruciating number of turns without Jumps we finally got to the -3 Pop spot on the Jump Track. Still no sign from the toasters. Very anticlimactically, we hit FTL and the Humans won the game.

At this point, 6th Man was completely bored since he could do nothing and had no help. Wife was bored because she didn't want to be there. Husband, Boyfriend, and Girlfriend were bored since the game lasted too long with almost no player-player conflict. I was just confused since I had no clue what on earth happened.

We asked everyone to show their Loyalty cards. It was about time we found out where the last two Cylon cards were. Girlfriend showed all 3 of her Boomer cards... all Human. 6th Man showed his unrevealed card: human. Husband: Human. Wife: Both Cylon cards.

...

Both?!

"Why didn't you reveal?" we all asked.

She said she didn't reveal because she thought she'd just play human to make the game end faster since she wanted it to be over.

I informed her that because of her inaction the game likely was far longer than it should have been. She laughed but didn't really care except for the fact that she probably wasted more of her own time than she had to.

For a first game introducing to completely new players--both to the world of BSG and gaming--it was a failure. I can't say anyone had fun, even myself. Had this been my first game, I likely would not want to play again. Sadly since this crew is my only hope to game with in the future, tonight may have inadvertently turned them away from gaming in general. That means tonight might have very well been the last time I played BSG--or any other board game--as long as I live in this city.

The thought of that disappoints me more than I can express. Say a prayer for me to the gods of gaming that maybe I can one day play again or, if not, that the memories of my good gaming nights safely make it to the Valhalla of the gaming world.
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John DeWolfe
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That's just sad. Hopefully you'll get a second chance with at least some of the newbies, and if you do, make sure you play a much shorter game so no one does anything odd to "end the game faster".
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Alex Villanova
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n107 wrote:
She said she didn't reveal because she thought she'd just play human to make the game end faster since she wanted it to be over.

She laughed but didn't really care except for the fact that she probably wasted more of her own time than she had to.


As bad as it is to not be able to play, I am not sure you will be missing out on too much by not playing games with people with this mentality.
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Roberta Yang
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"I was bored, so I decided to make one team ludicrously underpowered so that everyone else would be bored too. When told that I wasted everyone's time by doing this, I just laughed and didn't care because I'm a sociopath that way."

I don't think SHE'S the one who should be refusing to play with YOU in the future.
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Darren Nakamura
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It's tough sometimes. Battlestar Galactica is also my #1 favorite board game, but I only ever introduce it to people who either like board games, like the show, or ideally both. And even then, I always give a disclaimer that the game can run for a very long time (three to five hours when playing with new players), and make sure that everybody involved knows what they're getting into.

I know what it's like being in a new place and having to find a whole new set of people who share your enthusiasm, though I imagine it's even more difficult in Japan. I don't know if there are any board game conventions over there, or even dedicated board game stores, but if you're looking for other players to connect with, I'd start there.
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Shaun
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Hearing about these experiences always bums me out

My first thought is usually "Just move to Minneapolis, Minnesota (USA), and many of us will play any game that you want."

So, there's your answer Just move to a different continent whistle

I'm lucky that I happen to live in an area with a pretty strong gaming community. I still play a game now and then that isn't much fun (sometimes it's the game, sometimes it's the people I play with), but overall it's pretty easy to find gamers. My biggest hurdle is that although there are a lot of gamers around, I own a lot of games that many people aren't interested in playing, but that's probably typical no matter where you live.

Best of luck finding gaming partners!
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Gustav Åkerfelt
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Rough break there mate.
 
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Mike Forrey
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I probably would have called the game after seeing people who were totally disinterested in playing it. BSG isn't a really light BG and needs players to really get into the theme of the game for it to be enjoyable.
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Werner Bär
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n107 wrote:
First of all, the other "veteran" isn't really a board game guy. He just plays since he knows I need other players. The 6th man they added also does not dig board games (or anything "geek") but joined because he has nothing else to do. The two girls playing don't play board games
n107 wrote:
I spend the first hour explaining the rules just to familiarize the players with how the game plays.

3 people new to board gaming. Yo should have really played something that doesn't need more than 15 minutes of rules.
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Angry Augury
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Thanks for the empathy, everyone. Still disappointed by it in the next morning. It could have been so much fun.

Bipf wrote:

So, there's your answer Just move to a different continent whistle



Of course! It's so simple, why didn't I think of that! I better get my hiking boots, it's a long walk across the ocean.

bearn wrote:
I probably would have called the game after seeing people who were totally disinterested in playing it. BSG isn't a really light BG and needs players to really get into the theme of the game for it to be enjoyable.


I did try to end the game at one point but the outspoken members insisted they wanted to see the game to the end. Whether for my sake or to see if it improved, I can't say.


Werbaer wrote:
3 people new to board gaming. Yo should have really played something that doesn't need more than 15 minutes of rules.


Although the logic in that suggestion is sound, that would completely defeat the purpose of what I was trying to do. My goal is trying to play the board games I have and enjoy in a land where it's a challenge getting people to play any board game. If I waste what might be my only chance in 1 or 2 months to play a simple game no one really cares about I might still never get a chance to play BSG.

It wasn't that they didn't understand how to play, it's that a couple of them really didn't care and that ruined it for everyone. Especially since one of them held BOTH of the Cylon cards.

Two of the new players were BSG fans and wanted to play. One guy already played a few times so he understood the rules. I was expecting only his wife to need the help as she joined us just to make five players. But at the last minute they added the sixth player who is not a BSG or board game fan and that helped to seal our fate. It definitely wasn't any one person's fault that the game went south, even I hold some responsibility for the failure. In the end, it was the combination of a lot of unfortunate things that dragged the experience down.
 
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Chris Berger
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From your description it really didn't sound like that terrible of a game. Bad, but seems like it could've been worse. Yeah, it's more interesting when it's a tense fight to the finish, but the humans won, which I always think is more fun...

Either way though, yeah, this is one of those games that can be completely ruined by one person who doesn't care. Playing opposite your loyalty cards just totally destroys the game (as I've also heard from stories of players who just like to stir the pot when human). It's not the game's fault, but it's a reason to not bring the game out unless everyone is into it. Which is unfortunate.
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Andrew Adey
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Very sorry to hear of it. I play with four players altogether about once a month now, and we all love it. I`ve introduced about 12 other people to it and only one disliked it. He turned cylon half way and didn`t like it at all. Having to stab his erstwhile friends in the back.

You had a bad group - especially -



Never invite her again. Evar.

Better luck next time.

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Angry Augury
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arkayn wrote:

From your description it really didn't sound like that terrible of a game. Bad, but seems like it could've been worse.


Well, I did refrain from describing two hours of sighs and yawns but they were there. That didn't boost anyone's confidence.


arkayn wrote:
Either way though, yeah, this is one of those games that can be completely ruined by one person who doesn't care. Playing opposite your loyalty cards just totally destroys the game (as I've also heard from stories of players who just like to stir the pot when human). It's not the game's fault, but it's a reason to not bring the game out unless everyone is into it. Which is unfortunate.


That's very true. It just sucked that the one person who was the least willing to get involved managed to get both of the Cylon cards. Plus they were the Brig someone and -1 Morale cards so either could have caused decent damage.

It's also a shame because, as far as I know, this was only the second time the wife had ever played a board game. The first time was with us playing A Game of Thrones and she caught on quickly and did quite well. Here she just refused to get into the game and made it completely uninteresting for not just her but everyone else as well. (Again, not ALL her fault but it was a huge factor in the game.)
 
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Nicola Bocchetta
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BSG is a long game. I suggest, from my own personal experience, to play the shortened version devised here on BGG, when you play with first-time players.

I prefer to do a short rule explanation (half an hour), and be the first player to show some machanisms of the game, and let the players learn by playing (and me giving neutral advice).

Even so, the first game lasts almost 4 hours, so the short version is preferable for new gamers.
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Inspirational Leaderhips
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I'm sorry to hear about the bad experience. If you'd like a game of BSG in a different format, there are a lot of play-by-forum games going on here on BGG. There's a waiting list here: http://www.boardgamegeek.com/wiki/page/BSG_PBF.
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Kenneth H
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A geek gold for your troubles. Spend it on... gaming partners?

I second Billy's suggestion of Forum games on here. They're a great way to scratch my itch to play Battlestar Galactica, since it seems to be a very difficult game to get to the table.

When explaining the game, I always try to make the rules of being a Cylon perfectly clear to new players before the game starts. It never works. It seems you need to see it to understand it. I always seem to have one new player really curious about what Cylons are supposed to do, asking lots of questions while I shake my head. Either that, or they don't do anything, and let the humans walk all over them.
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Angry Augury
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Flamethrower49 wrote:
A geek gold for your troubles. Spend it on... gaming partners?



I'm honored by your generosity. Thank you kindly.

As for PBF games, that's just not my style. At least not for something like BSG. I prefer something a bit more live-action. Vassal would be my choice if I can't play in person but there's never anyone on when I sign in.
 
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John Velonis
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I sympathize. I played a BSG session a while ago where one player spent most of the game playing on a Nintendo DS. Unfortunately, he turned out to be the sympathizer and (despite multiple explanations during the sleeper agent phase) thought he was supposed to be helping the humans when he should have been helping the Cylons. As a result the Cylons (I was one) couldn't get traction, and it was not a very satisfying game even for the humans.

BSG is awesome when everyone is into it. Otherwise, you're much better off playing something else.
 
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Luke Morris
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Bad choice of game for the folk that came. I've never played it but seen it being played a few times and it seems to be a game that people need to invest themselves in. The alarm bells should have been ringing loudly enough to stop the game when the guys were just chatting. It's your responsibility as host to try and make the experience as fun as possible for people and your own force of will won't drag it through if people aren't into it.

The sixth guy joining at the last minute probably didn't help but if you're having to rope an uninterested wife in to play just to make up the numbers then you're probably starting the game on the wrong foot.
 
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Angry Augury
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HamsterOfFury wrote:
Bad choice of game for the folk that came. I've never played it but seen it being played a few times and it seems to be a game that people need to invest themselves in. The alarm bells should have been ringing loudly enough to stop the game when the guys were just chatting. It's your responsibility as host to try and make the experience as fun as possible for people and your own force of will won't drag it through if people aren't into it.

The sixth guy joining at the last minute probably didn't help but if you're having to rope an uninterested wife in to play just to make up the numbers then you're probably starting the game on the wrong foot.


Although I do appreciate you taking the time to suggest that everything going wrong was my fault, I must disagree.

First of all it wasn't a bad choice of game for the people that came as everyone knew exactly what game was going to be played and I explained the gist to them earlier. Well, except for the 6th man, who I intentionally didn't invite because a.) I really wanted to try 5 players and b.) it didn't strike me as the kind of game he'd get into. To my surprise, he really did get a kick out of it but that excitement died down once he was stranded as a Cylon Sympathizer without backup for the rest of the game.

Had I a large pool of potential players to select from I would never have put together that particular group. As it stands, they are all that is available to play with. The wife did well with her very first board game. She was uninterested in that one as well because she had never played board games before but she caught on after a few turns and was one of the strongest players in the game. I figured she had as good a chance to catch on to this one.

As for the husband and 6th guy chatting, they had been doing so since before the game began. I suppose I should have called off the entire night since they were getting along and there was danger of their friendship spilling over into the game. Unfortunately I only stopped their chatting after it continued during the game, but I suppose that was far too late for a superb master of ceremonies such as yourself. I will admit, however, that it did take me much longer to demand their silence than normal since the game was being graciously held at the husband's house. I felt that telling a man to shut up in his own home would be a bit over the line coming from a guest.

I would also like to take time to mention something I don't think I really made clear in my original post. The Boyfriend and Girlfriend actually did quite well and they caught on to the game rather quickly. It was still a bit tricky for the GF since she's new to gaming but the point of the night was to have everyone learn how to play. So although they did well and enjoyed the game to an extent, they didn't get to see how the game truly plays out thanks to the Cylon cards being in the hands of a Cylon pacifist.

Even though I can't create a flawless gaming experience, as I'm sure all your sessions are, I did my best with what I had to work with. And, though most players tried their best, fate conspired to make everything come down around us. On the plus side, the husband is asking that I hold another game soon, possibly even this weekend. This is completely out of character for him since, as I mentioned before, he only games to help me have enough players. I think the reason for his petitioning to play again is because even he realized that it was a bad situation that didn't do the game justice. So there is a small ray of light at the end of the tunnel right now.

We have already discussed that if his wife does wish to try again, the two of them will play as a team so she can get the hang of it. Or we'll just try A Game of Thrones again since she's already mastered that after one play.

Anyhow, thanks for the critique.
 
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The Bill
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I would work on finding a translation for the game so you can play with Japanese--or find someone to translate the cards. Or find some advanced students.

Are you there for English teaching or the military? (probably the former?)
 
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Darren Nakamura
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I think you may have gotten a bit too offended by HamsterOfFury's post. I don't believe he said much that others didn't. Another thing you may want to note is the flag under his name. Perhaps he could even be your salvation as far as lacking people to play with goes!
 
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blondlostime wrote:
I would work on finding a translation for the game so you can play with Japanese--or find someone to translate the cards. Or find some advanced students.

Are you there for English teaching or the military? (probably the former?)


I actually do have a complete translation of the rules (base game only) in Japanese. That wasn't the biggest problem, though.

And I do teach a couple advanced adult classes on the side but those people are not interested in board gaming at all and it's not my place to try to force it on them as technically they are paying customers and not "friends" (though they are great people).

Dexter345 wrote:
I think you may have gotten a bit too offended by HamsterOfFury's post. I don't believe he said much that others didn't. Another thing you may want to note is the flag under his name. Perhaps he could even be your salvation as far as lacking people to play with goes!


I wouldn't say I was offended, I just thought it was funny how he seems to think I could micro-manage everything down to the personalities of the people involved. Just the overwhelming negativity of his comment (that it was a "bad call" and it's my "responsibility as host" etc.) was completely off the mark for what actually happened. I don't hold any hostile feelings towards him, I just think he left an uninformed and unproductive comment compared to most of the others.

As for him being in Japan, looking at the location of his flag he is nowhere near me to help. Besides, it probably wouldn't help matters much if we added new players that just criticized every aspect of the organization of the night down to the chosen beverages. whistle (That last part was a joke, in case anyone thinks I'm just being snippy.)
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Jeremy Mease
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I don't think it was a bad group, I think (as the OP clearly stated) a few people didn't like games or want to be there/were tired.

My dad hates board games. My mom tolerates them. When they visit, I wouldn't pull out Caverna. We play games like codenames and kingdomino and have fun.

Know the audience is all. Not telling the OP that, just saying in general.

EDIT: I think we, as boardgamers, place our own internal enthusiasm onto others sometimes. I know I do. Like a favorite band, or movie, we share it with others and want to see them feel the same feelings we get when we play our favorite games.

I have found that this rarely happens with non board gamers. Most of the time, it's a "Neat" response and not a "WHOA let's play again!"
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Angry Augury
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ReluctantFr0g wrote:
I don't think it was a bad group, I think (as the OP clearly stated) a few people didn't like games or want to be there/were tired.

My dad hates board games. My mom tolerates them. When they visit, I wouldn't pull out Caverna. We play games like codenames and kingdomino and have fun.

Know the audience is all. Not telling the OP that, just saying in general.

EDIT: I think we, as boardgamers, place our own internal enthusiasm onto others sometimes. I know I do. Like a favorite band, or movie, we share it with others and want to see them feel the same feelings we get when we play our favorite games.

I have found that this rarely happens with non board gamers. Most of the time, it's a "Neat" response and not a "WHOA let's play again!"


In hindsight, it definitely wasn't a good choice of game for the people who gathered. But, at that time, I didn't have any light games in my collection and BSG was the only one these particular people hadn't tried yet.

Although there were a number of issues that night, the game itself became a nightmare simply because the Cylons never showed up. Even the guy who became the Sympathizer really started to get into it but that eventually faded as we realized there were no Toasters for him to assist.

If I had the collection back then that I have now, I would have definitely chosen a much more casual, quick playing game.
 
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