Battlestar Galactica is an interesting game. Essentially a traitor type game, most of you are working together trying to get the Battlestar Galactica (and the fleet of ships she’s protecting) to the promised land of Earth, while simultaneously fighting off Cylon invasions and making sure none of your essentials hit zero. The traitors of course, are trying to make sure that doesn’t happen.
In order to get to the end, players have to complete challenges, and players can contribute cards, which may help or sabotage the challenge attempt. Throw in some random cards from the deck and there’s usually no way to know if a challenge failed because the group was unlucky, or because a traitor (in this case a Cylon agent) sabotage the attempt.
The twist is, nobody knows who the traitors are (even the players themselves sometimes), since loyalist and traitor cards are given out twice in a game, during the start of the game and during the ‘sleeper’ phase some time in the middle. You could literally be playing half the game as a loyal human only to realise you’re a sleeper cylon agent in the middle of the game. Which leads to some pretty interesting dynamics.
Like all ‘hidden traitor’ type games, the depth, interactivity and replayability lies in the social aspect. A lot of the tension lies in the Cylons not being found out and being effective enough in their sabotage though, which means that they can’t be too direct or brutal in their attempts to bring down the Battlestar. Of course, too light a touch and that means the humans will win. Which makes it a great game for both the Cylons as well as the Humans. Of course, your mileage may vary based on the type of players taking part in the game.
The bits that come with the game are also pretty good, with all the plastic doodads a board gamer could want (except for the basestar, but that comes with the Pegasus Expansion). Cards and player pieces are also very well produced, with small attention to details (like the cards with the snipped off corners that resemble the papers in the series) bringing a smile to BSG fans.
Perhaps the biggest compliment to the boardgame is that it made me want to watch the series.I thoroughly enjoyed the game (even if my Cylon attempt to take over the ship failed miserably), and hope to be able to break in the Pegasus expansion sometime.