Battlestar Galactica: Preview 2 When Cylons Attack

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Preview #2: When Cylons Attack!
by JR Godwin

In the few remaining weeks before the release of Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game, we will be presenting a series of articles that expand on concepts found in the rules. The complete rulebook can be downloaded free of charge on the Support section of this website.

Paranoia is a part of the daily grind on the Battlestar Galactica. Every player has the potential to be a Cylon, and if the humans don't figure out who to throw in the brig, they may be doomed before reaching the halfway point.

Every game sees the crew of the Galactica trying to lead the Colonial Fleet to Kobol. Every game sees the dreaded menace of the Cylons, from Basestars jumping in to try to destroy the ship, to secret operatives working within the ship to sabotage the mission. These two factors make life in space very difficult.

The Cylons have three different techniques to eradicate mankind. The first is the most direct: damaging six sections of the ship.

When a Basestar is in close proximity to the Galactica, the Basestar can launch nuclear missiles directly at the Galactica! This is resolved by rolling one 8 sided die, or d8 — any roll of 4,5,6,7, or 8 damages the Galactica. The active player makes the roll, and if it is successful, he then draws one damage token at random from the pile. Each token features a different location of Galactica or a resource (such as fuel or food). If six or more locations on Galactica are damaged at the same time, it succumbs to its wounds and the Cylons win!

To combat this problem, Engineering cards can be drawn. Contained within this deck are the very valuable Repair cards which, as its name implies, can repair one location of the ship. When choosing characters at the start of the game, it is important to have someone capable of fixing damage to the ship. Four characters — Chief Tyrol, Boomer, Gaius Baltar, and Starbuck — have have the Engineering skill.

If Chief Tyrol is being played, one of his positive abilities is "Maintenence Engineer". Not only does he get two Engineering skill cards per turn, but after he uses a "Repair" skill card, he can take another action! Having the Chief able to repair Weapons Control then fire at a Cylon ship, or repair FTL Control then make a jump can save the entire fleet! On the other hand, if the Chief is a Cylon…well…things won't look great for the humans.

The second route to Cylon victory is to get a raiding party to board Galactica and vent the crew into space. At the bottom of the board there are two launch icons (the fore and aft entrances to Galactica's port hangar deck). If a Cylon Heavy Raider is activated while at one of these points, It unleashes a boarding party onto the Galactica. Each time the heavy raiders are activated from then on, the boarding party moves one space closer to the "Humans Lose" space. If they reach it, like the name says, the humans lose and the Cylons win.

To counter these deadly boarding parties, characters can move to the Armory location. A character may spend his action there to attempt to destroy a boarding party by rolling a d8. On a roll of 7 or 8, they remove one Centurion (boarding party) token.

The third (and most common) method of Cylon victory is to run the ship out of one of the four resources listed at the top of the board. Without fuel, food, morale, or population the fleet is doomed. If just one of these resources is reduced to zero, the Cylons get to do the victory dance. Savvy Cylon players will use their skill cards to undermine important skill checks, resulting in certain resources being lost.

Although resources are scarce, they can occasionally be increased. For example, the Admiral can to risk Raptors (the Colonial Fleet's scout ships) at specific destinations, to potentially gain food and fuel. In addition, the President can try to raise morale by playing special "Inspirational Speech" Quorum cards.

Humans should always be vigilant for Cylon activity. The destiny deck can add two cards per check, so if there are three or more negative skill cards, there is a Cylon in your midst! To counteract this hidden menace, you can move to the Admiral's Quarters. From this location, by passing a skill check of 7, you can throw other characters in the brig. Being in the brig severely reduces the amount of damage an unrevealed Cylon player can do.
Next week we dive into loyalty and how people find out if they are human or a frakkin' toaster!