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Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game

Battlestar Galactica

Game Information

Year Published
Fantasy Flight Games

Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game is an exciting game of mistrust, intrigue, and the struggle for survival. 

Based on the epic and widely-acclaimed new Sci Fi Channel series, Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game puts players in the role of one of ten of their favorite characters from the show. Each playable character has their own abilities and weaknesses, and must all work together in order for humanity to have any hope of survival. However, one or more players in every game secretly side with the Cylons. Players must attempt to expose the traitor while fuel shortages, food contaminations, and political unrest threatens to tear the fleet apart.

Editor reviews

2 reviews

Very good game, which I found thoroughly immersive in spite of no being a fan of the TV show. Reading the rules - and the session reports - would seem to indicate this as a largely psychological game, but it isn't. There's a good amount of strategy for both sides to explore as well. So, tense, tactically challenging, highly interactive, very social .. what's not to like? Well, the rather repetitive nature of the skills checks and the fact that the game becomes rather less interesting once the cylons are revealed. The 100% co-op and solo variants from the publisher aren't great - don't buy the game on the strength of these alone.
#1 Reviewer 286 reviews
Battlestar remains, especially in its base box with 5 players, probably the best one of these types of traitor games. It rides that line between too much game and too much pure player bickering and suspicion perfectly. What holds it back is that it lasts one jump too long. The game, properly calibrated to say 5-6 distance, would be a perfect experience.

User reviews

6 reviews

1 star
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Sci-Fi Robo-Werewolf at Super Slo-Mo Speed
tl;dr — Just like the series, it goes on far too long, spreads itself far too thin, to support what it does.

Some games require you to bring more to the table than others—the best games are far more than the sum of their parts, and contain possibilities that are not spelled out in the rulebook, or even hinted at. They must be invented by the players. "Experience" games, especially, demand much of the players. BSG is guilty of this in spades. It's intimately tied to the show, requiring that you watched it, liked it, and are willing to engage in role-playing the paranoia and terror of tooth-and-nail survival and religious genocide. The rules and mechanics serve merely as a foundation for this play—dumping cards into a skill check is boring. Paying attention to who is dumping cards and how many, who is abstaining and why, demanding explanations for a player's behavior during that check is the game. That's where facial expressions, body language, and too-passionate denials trip up the wolves and damn the innocent.

The mechanics of BSG are not, in and of themselves, sufficiently interesting to entertain for more than 15 minutes. They are indeed "boring, fiddly and repetitive". But as a foundation to support the emergent play of like minds, it's pretty damn fantastic.

So... is BSG a good game? It all depends on who you have to play it with.

UPDATE: After a 6p game, this locks in at a solid 4 stars. The mechanical aspects of what's happening on the table are nothing compared to what's happening at the table. If you sit down to this game thinking you'll be playing out tactical space battles and puzzling to solve sci-fi crises co-op style, you'll be bitterly disappointed. Oh, sure, you'll be doing those things in a small way—but really, they are only there so you can watch how enthusiastically and competently (or not) people work to handle them... The real game lies in the social interaction of wolves slinking among sheep while bleating helplessly. It's all about poker faces, plausible deniability and hiding in plain sight. It's playing on emotions, constructing compelling arguments, and working at the chinks in others'. It's pure sociopolitics, more RPG than board game—it's Werewolf with a sci-fi theme and more moving parts.

PS. With the right people, it's a hoot!

UP-UPDATE: Bumping this up to a well-deserved 4.5 stars. Now that we have the rules down to the point where the mechanics fade into the background, BSG's true potential shines through. An incredible experience!

4.5 --> 3.5: Too long for what it does, too tied to a time and place that recedes into the past without any staying power for the future. The TV series stepped on its own dick and tore it off just before the finish line (DICKUS EX MACHINA: Angels! God did it!), stripping the timelessness out of what should have been a science fiction classic.* Besides, there are other games that do the same thing in a shorter timeframe without my unborn grandchildren scratching their heads over what a "Starbuck" is.

*Protip: If you stop at Season 4 / Episode 12 "Revelations" the whole shebang becomes literature.
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First play impressions
Really loved the tension and player interaction here! Great suspicion and teamwork combined with the theme. I have never seen any BSG episodes, but I feel like I got a pretty good feel of what the characters go through.

I did feel like it was a bit more rules heavy than I was expecting - Especially dealing with Cylon attacks and being a cylon player. I think this has more to do with my expectations after reading reviews than the actual game itself. Regardless, I was glad that I stayed human the whole time because I dont think I could've handled the nuance that being a toaster would've required.

Definitely must play this one again - and with the right crowd!
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Really awesome... except when it kind of sucks.
Full article here:

In a nutshell, depending on the way a particular game plays out, it can be terrific and tense, or tedious and repetitive. But it's a terrific implementation of the TV show (though I hadn't seen it before playing the game, and that didn't matter), and a great complement to Shadows Over Camelot in the "cooperative game with a traitor" genre.
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