|Incoming Message from the CIC...
A designer diary for Exodus, the upcoming expansion for Battlestar Galactica
|Battlestar Galactica | Published 15 December 2010|
As humanity searches desperately for the next sign of hope, the Cylons mercilessly maintain their pursuit. Among the harried citizens of the Colonial Fleet, every day is a torturous wait for the next bit of news... a battle, food shortage, or violent act of sabotage. Something has to give. But for the crew of the Battlestar Galactica, redemption may be closer than they think.
The release of the Exodus expansion for Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game is imminent! So far, we’ve seen the three major mechanics Exodus offers: the Cylon Fleet option with its constant pressure from enemy ships, the Conflicted Loyalties option and the distrust it creates, and the Ionian Nebula option with its themes of psychological conflict. Today, we’re pleased to offer a designer diary by Corey Konieczka, in which he shares some of his insights into the design process. Thanks, Corey!
More Cards, More Characters, More Components
With the Battlestar Galactica: Exodus expansion nearly upon us, I thought I’d take some time to share some insights into the new rules and mechanics (as well as some spoilers of new content!). The general design philosophy of this expansion was threefold; first, I wanted to build on what has always been the game’s strongest aspect: Paranoia. Second, I wanted to expand space combat in a meaningful way. And third, I wanted to continue to faithfully recreate the themes of the hit television series.
Exodus adds general components, as well as three optional ways to play. Any combination of the options can be used, and all options (except the Ionian Nebula, with its alternate endgame) may be used with the Pegasus expansion. But before we get into the mechanics of these three options, I thought I’d provide an overview of the general game additions.
Included in Exodus are new Crisis, Super Crisis, Quorum, Skill, Destination, and Character cards. These cards provide all sorts of new options for players. For example, the humans still start with two nuke tokens, but can now build additional ones during the course of the game. The card above (left), “Build Nuke,” makes use of the additional Nuke token that comes with Exodus. This is an amazingly powerful card, with a strength of six and an outstanding text effect... but there’s only one such card in each particular skill deck (check out Political Prowess!), so receiving them is somewhat less likely.
You’ll also notice new skill cards that do not contribute any strength to skill checks (like "Trust Instincts"; above, right). The abilities on these cards are only triggered during skill checks, and add more options that can benefit Humans or Cylons depending upon the situation.
Moving on to the three major options presented in Exodus, the Conflicted Loyalties option was conceived of to make it even more difficult to distinguish friend from foe. I’ve been wanting to do personal goal cards for a while now, and was pleased with the final results. I remember one session in which one of our playtesters was clearly working against the humans. As I started to rally support against him, he fought other players' support to get ME put in the brig!
Over the next few turns, tensions rose and I eventually ended up locked in a lonely jail cell. To my surprise, the playtester then revealed his personal goal (which required me to be in the brig). These few turns of infighting unfortunately let the real hidden saboteur cause even more mayhem while I was distracted!
White-knuckle Space Combat
Any veteran of Battlestar Galactica will tell you that Cylon attacks are the biggest variable in a given game. Although the unknown can be exciting, I wanted to create an option for players who prefer more combat-heavy games. After some discussions, the Cylon Fleet option was born.
The first big element here is that jumping away from a Cylon attack is only delaying the inevitable. Any ships that you do not destroy can (and will) come back to hunt you! My second favorite element is increasing the importance of pilots. The CAG title gives one pilot many important decisions to make, while providing him with a bonus when piloting. In addition, the need to escort civilian ships makes vipers (and pilots) vital to the fleet’s survival! Whenever a viper occupies a space with a civilian ship, the player activating that viper may “escort” the ship to safety, removing it from the board.
The Cylon Fleet Option also provides some options for trickery...
When firing Nukes, the Admiral now targets areas of space rather than ships, meaning he can waste valuable ammunition... or even try to target civilians!
An Emotional Powder Keg
Much like with the Pegasus expansion, it was important for us to advance the theme and plot of the game to coincide with the television series. The Ionian Nebula is for players who want to really embellish the story and flavor of the universe.
Let me give you an example from one of our playtests. I was a support-class character, and was on my way down to the hanger deck to “get the birds back in the air” (ie: fix our dwindling supply of vipers).
I showed up at the flight deck and was not surprised to find the Chief there working on his own repairs. Fans of the show will instantly recognize the Chief’s hot headed temper and how much it affected the fleet at pivotal moments. I approached him asking for help, but startled him, setting off some sort of psychotic or alcohol-induced behavior. Needless to say, I ended up in the sickbay with two black eyes. Luckily, it did not cause us to lose the game, nor did I die from undiagnosed cranial bleeding (as can now happen in sickbay, with an unlucky Trauma token draw).
I hope that you’ve enjoyed this glimpse into the design of Exodus. I’m really excited for its upcoming release, and look forward to crushing some humans... AHEM, I mean Cylons. So say we all!
Thanks, Corey. Keep checking back; we’ll make the rules for Exodus available soon!
Based on the hit Syfy series, Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game is an exciting game of mistrust, intrigue, and the struggle for survival in which three to six take the roles of their favorite characters from the show. Each playable character has their own abilities and weaknesses, and all must work together in order for humanity to have any hope of survival. However, one or more players in every game is secretly a Cylon, and wants the humans to perish.
Look, the game needs more boobz. Srsly.
I want to see the new political character.
Please tell me this is coming to us within a month, the anticipation level is just boiling over at this point, and as a loyal "Apollo" player, I want my CAG title! lol I'm assuming he will be on the top of the line of succession, judging by his player card.
FOR FRAK'S SAKE! JUST SELL ME THE BOX ALREADY!! =)
Also, to previous poster, why not have a "fresh" basestar replace a damaged one if a new one would appear.
Okay this all looks absolutely amazing but I still think the way basestars are damaged needs to be revamped. The fact that it is nearly always better to have a basestar sitting with two damage tokens on it than to have it destroyed is really dodgy. When a basestar has two damage tokens on it, assuming you haven't hit the double damage token it will be a near useless or completely useless basestar, and because it doesn't disappear with the new Cylon Fleet option this means there could permanently be a basestar that can't shoot or make raiders that's just sitting there stopping any more basestars from spawning.
Or to execute someone automatically? - It is quite strong card...
I can't wait to Political Prowess myself out of the brig, personally.
I had the pleasure of being taught the original board game by Corey him self at Gen Con and I've been hooked like crazy ever sense. Hooked almost a dozen people who's never seen the shoe, and after playing the game watched all 5 seasons! I think this expansion puts the fire back into the game, and everyone always says the best part is not knowing who the cylon is, so we keep that going while making all other aspects more person and exciting.
Used to hate being a pilot, now I can't wait to be XOed to become a Star player and discard my whole hand and draw 10 piloting cards, nuke an entire space area with a long shot then full throttle it over to an area and maxium fire power 4 raiders out of the sky!
Awesome. although I balked at the BSG boardgame originally as I am not a fan of the show, I'm loving the way it plays!!
I can't wait to buy it! Exodus seems to be great!
So say we all! This is just getting better and better! Looking forward to play this!
To be beaten by the Chief and end up in brig.. Cylons are at work here for sure :-)
Can't wait to play it. Looks fantastic!