Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game

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In Battlestar Galactica, two teams, the humans and the cylons (not necessarily comprised of solely humans and/or cylons, though...), try to reach their destination, or keep this from happening, respectively. Before roughly midgame, however, who is on what team is not necessarily set, and throughout the game, information on the teams is strictly limited, leading to an atmosphere of trust, mistrust, accusation and betrayal.

Main Gameplay Design Patterns


The game progresses in two distinct stages, three if using the expansion. The first two are very similar, but differ in how much is known about the Team. When the game begins, each player in turn selects a character, each with Asymmetric Abilities. They also randomly draw a (some characters have you draw more than one) card which they may not show to the other players (this can also be seen as a limitation to the Communication Channel, as certain information may not be transmitted). This card informs the player what Team he or she is on. After roughly half the game (a third, if using the expansion) the players draw another card (again, some characters have you draw more than one) which may reaffirm or change their allegiance to their team.

The game progresses in turns in wich the players draw skill cards, execute one movement actions and one card, board or character action. If the player is human, he or she then draws a "crisis" card, wich all present some sort of difficulty for the human team. These can lead to the loss of Resources, the depletion of which loses the game for the humans. It can also lead to a challenge, in which the players secretly commit to contribute or hinder the successful resolution - generally the humans wish for a successful resolution, and the cylons for an unsuccessful. The contribution comes in the form of skill cards, making them valuable Resources.

Some of the avaliable actions relate directly to the fact that the two sides are hidden from each other until discovered; players may send other players into jail, for example, severly limiting what they can do. With the expansion, players may also kill other characters but these are replaced; the game does not have Player Elimination. This leads to ample Negotiation as players look to deduct who is friend, and who is foe, who it is safe to cooperate with, and who it is not. There will also at least initially be an atmosphere of Inherent Mistrust, since anyone could be on the other team. The cylon team has much to gain from earning the Trust of the other players, giving them more room to Sabotage the communal effort; there will be much Bluffing. If a player manages to deduce who is on his or her team, this person usually becomes a Trusted Collaborator, and as the game draws to a close, the players on both teams are generally known.

The cylons also have the ability to reveal themselves in an act of Betrayal, giving them access to a set of new abilities, but excluding them from others.

Example Game Mode 1

Example Game Mode 2

Other Noteworthy Aspects




References to external sources that describe the game, e.g. Wikipedia entries.


Place to acknowledge people that have provided examples and insights but not directly worked on the description.