Battlestar Galactica Board Game Review

Battlestar Galactica Board Game Review

by: Steven H. Ng

The Cylons have managed to destroy the human colonies, and the last surviving humans are on the run in Battlestar Galactica. Take on the role of Commander Adama and the rest of his crew as they try to escape the Cylon invaders and reach the fabled colony known as Earth. Things aren’t that easy though: you have Cylons attacking you at every turn, and there are plenty of internal conflicts to deal with. Worst of all, some of the crew are actually Cylons ready to destroy you from within!

Battlestar Galactica is a board game based on the 2004 re-imagining of the Battlestar Galactica science fiction TV series. The Cylons — a race of bio-cybernetic constructs created by the human colonists — have rebelled and destroyed the human colonies. The surviving humans are now on the run, trying to escape the Cylon raiders and hoping to reach the fabled colony of Earth. Protecting the human refugees is the Battlestar Galactica, apparently the last surviving ship of the Colonial Fleet.

In the board game, you can play as the major characters from the TV series. You can be Commander Adama and take on the role of admiral. Or you can play the part of gung-ho viper pilots “Apollo” Adama or Kara “Starbuck” Thrace. Or you can get political and take on the role of President Laura Roslin or Dr. Gaius Baltar. Each character has specific skills, advantages and disadvantages, all of which you have to carefully manage if you are to evade the Cylons and find Earth.

Battlestar Galactica is a cooperative board game. Everyone must use their skills and work together in order to escape the Cylons and reach safe haven. There’s a problem though… some of the players are Cylons in disguise and are trying to sabotage your mission. Even worse: when you are halfway to your destination, previously loyal crew members may be revealed as Cylon sleeper agents and will now focus all their efforts in destroying the Galactica and the human fleet.

At the start of the game, each player chooses which character they will play. The characters all have different skill sets and abilities. For example, Kara Thrace has access to the leadership, tactics and piloting skills. In addition, each character has a set of abilities, such as chief engineer Galen Tyrol being able to perform repairs as a free action. However, each character also has a negative ability. Commander Adama’s emotional attachment to his crew prevents him from sending other crew members to the brig. There are also a couple of special positions available. The highest ranking political leader is the President, and has access to powerful Quorum cards and can make certain decisions on his own. The highest ranking military officer is the Admiral, and has control over Galactica’s tactical nukes, as well as decides where the human fleet travels to.

Each player also receives a secret loyalty card, informing him whether he is a human or a Cylon, and hence whether he should be helping the Galactica escape or trying to sabotage the mission. Things will start to get interesting if the President or Admiral is a Cylon in disguise! Initially, the Cylons are in hiding among the humans, and will attempt to covertly sabotage the mission. However, if they start acting too suspicious, the other players might suspect them and lock them up in the brig. Or they can reveal their true allegiance and start commanding the Cylon fleet to attack the humans!

The primary goal of the game is to keep the Galactica operational and maintain the levels of critical “resources” such as food, fuel, morale and population as you search for Earth. Every action you take will work towards that goal, whether it is to use the ship’s weapons to shoot Cylon ships, locking up a suspected traitor, launching your Viper fighters, or even piloting your own Viper. However, a “crisis” will occur every turn that might throw a wrench into your operations. These crises represent events that happen during the course of your journey, and are basically the various sub-plots in the TV series. “Passing” a crisis skill check might reward you with more resources, and “failing” one may result in a damaged ship or some crew members in the sickbay. Each skill check will have a number of skills that can help “pass” it. Characters with the relevant skills can use their cards to help, but a hidden Cylon traitor can use cards of a different skill type to sabotage the effort and make you “fail” the crisis!

More important are the two possible effects that come with each crisis card. Each crisis card may have a Cylon “action”, whether it involves a new Cylon Basestar appearing near you, or having a Basestar launch raiders, or having raiders try to attack your civilian ships or board the Galactica. Results are usually unpleasant, and range from damaged ship sections, injured crew members and having Cylon Centurions boarding and taking over the ship. Each crisis card may also have a “jump” effect, meaning your fleet becomes one step closer to flying off to a new planet on its way to Earth. This is crucial, as the only way for the humans to win the game is to jump far enough to reach safe haven. Of course, the Cylon players don’t want that to happen.

Battlestar Galactica is a very interesting game that involves plenty of strategic planning (as well as bluffing if you are playing a Cylon in disguise). The cooperative effort to flee the Cylons and reach safe haven is very engaging, especially if you have watched the TV series and know the characters. The game isn’t too hard to learn, and the amount of choices and random events guarantee that no two games will be alike. A great game for all skill levels. But the journey doesn’t end here; things get even more interesting when the Battlestar Pegasus turns up!

Complexity: 4.0/5.0

Playing Time: ~ 3 hours

Number of Players: 3 to 6 players

You can read more about Battlestar Galactica at http://www.ageofboards.com/battlestar-galactica.html

About The Author
Steven maintains Age of Boards at http://www.ageofboards.com/ – a website devoted to the best and latest board and card games. You can read game reviews and customer comments via this website.
The author invites you to visit:
http://www.ageofboards.com

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San Juan Card Game Review

San Juan Card Game Review

by: Steven H. Ng

Transform a sleepy Caribbean town into an economic and industrial powerhouse in San Juan, the card game based on the award-winning Puerto Rico board game. Race against your fellow colonists as you strive to buy up plantations and mines, and build industrial, commercial and government buildings. Become the dominant power behind the economy of this tropical paradise and show the world who is in charge of the island!

Puerto Rico was an economic strategy game that transformed the board gaming world in 2002, introducing gameplay concepts that revolutionized the way games have been designed since. Its impact is still felt nearly a decade later, and is still ranked as the top board game on BoardGameGeek. San Juan is a card game derived from this revolutionary board game and designed by the same creator Andreas Seyfarth. It provides nearly the same amount of depth and strategy while making the game shorter and more fast-paced.

The goal of San Juan is to accumulate the most victory points by the end of the game, which occurs when any player constructs 12 buildings in his estate. The buildings you construct are worth a range of victory points, with some buildings providing a varying amount of victory points depending on how well you meet their required conditions. Your objective is therefore to build as many efficient buildings as possible and accumulate victory points faster than your opponents.

However, you can’t just simply construct any building cards you get your hands on. Each building has a construction cost, with the more expensive buildings being more powerful and worth more victory points. Similar to other card games like Race for the Galaxy, this cost is paid by discarding other building cards from your hand. So, playing a 4-cost building will require you to discard 4 other building cards. As you can see, constructing buildings will quickly deplete your hand.

There is also a time and place for everything. Similar to Puerto Rico, actions become available when players choose roles. Every round, the starting player or Governor gets to choose a role to play. Once every player has played the action associated with that role, the next player gets to select a role. This continues until every player has selected a role for the round. The starting player position then moves to the next player and the role selection begins again.

There are 5 roles in the game. When the Builder role is selected, every player gets to construct a building. When the Councilor is selected, every player gets to draw cards and choose one to keep. Selecting the Producer role allows production buildings to produce their goods, while the Trader role lets players sell their goods for more cards in hand. The Prospector role is slightly different in that it only allows the player who selects it to draw a card. Being the player who selects the roles also provides benefits. For example, the player that chooses the Builder role can build at a reduced cost, while the player that chooses the Producer role can produce an extra good.

There are plenty of buildings in San Juan, each of which confer powerful abilities to help you win the game. There are production buildings that allow you to produce and sell goods such as sugar, tobacco and coffee. Selling these goods is crucial as it helps you replenish your hand with more cards in order to construct more buildings, or even to find a building you want to construct. Other buildings that change the game environment include the Aqueduct which allows its owner to produce one more good, and the Market Hall that gives you an extra card when you sell a good.

There are also end-game buildings that have a variable victory point value. For example, the Palace is worth 1 victory point for every 4 victory points you have, while the Guild Hall gives you 2 victory points for every production building in your estate. Your goal in the game is therefore to construct a combination of buildings which will keep your hand constantly supplied with cards, and which mesh well together to provide an efficient path towards earning the most victory points.

As San Juan is derived from the Puerto Rico board game, a comparison between the two would be prudent. The most obvious difference is the game speed, with a game of San Juan taking less than half the time of a Puerto Rico game. The resource system has also changed; in San Juan, rather than having a separate currency resource, the building cards themselves are also the currency. San Juan does not have the ability to ship goods or man buildings with colonists. The associated Captain and Mayor roles are therefore not present. San Juan instead adds the Councilor role which helps players cycle and draw cards. There are also a couple of other minor tweaks to streamline the game to fit a fast-paced card game.

San Juan is an elegant and successful card game version of the best-selling Puerto Rico economic strategy board game, bringing to life the commercialization and industrialization of the sleepy Caribbean town. The game is quick and intense, and the gameplay is straightforward enough for beginners, yet has enough depth to keep experienced players entertained. San Juan is ideal for you if you like economic strategy and role-drafting board games such as Agricola or Puerto Rico, or similar card games such as Race for the Galaxy.

Complexity: 2.5/5.0

Playing Time: ~ 45 minutes

Number of Players: 2 to 4 players

You can read more about San Juan at http://www.ageofboards.com/san-juan.html

About The Author
Steven maintains the board game review website at http://www.ageofboards.com/ – a website devoted to the best and latest board and card games. You can read game reviews and customer comments via this website.
The author invites you to visit:
http://www.ageofboards.com

Ticket To Ride Board Game Review

Ticket To Ride Board Game Review

by: Steven H. Ng

The industrial age is upon us and the time is ripe to show the world who is the greatest railroad baron in Ticket To Ride, the rail-building strategy board game. Use your resources and locomotives to connect the many cities on the map and build the greatest railway empire in the country. Build extensive and exclusive networks and fulfil city connection contracts before the other players. Strive to become the top dog in the industry and defeat the competition!

Ticket to Ride is a strategy board game by designer Alan R. Moon and is based on the railway theme. It was published in 2004 and won the Spiel des Jahres and Origins awards the same year. The game has an engaging theme and gameplay, and has an elegant simplicity. This has made it very popular and easy for players to pick up. It is considered one of the best ‘gateway’ games to introduce new players to the world of strategy board games, introducing key strategy concepts while keeping the gameplay and rules very simple.

The premise of Ticket to Ride is pretty straightforward: a bunch of railroad barons are racing to connect the many cities in the country by rail, and the winner is the player who creates the greatest rail network. How well you do is measured in victory points, which you earn by building individual city-to-city rail lines, by completing specific cross-country connections, and by fulfilling other goals (depending on which version and/or expansion of the game you are playing).

In the game, each city on the map is connected to at least one other city via one or more potential rail lines. These lines represent where you can build your railway, and range from a short 1-track to a long 6-track line. These lines also have a color code, which determine which specific types of rail can be built on it. There are 8 line colors representing 8 different rail types, and gray lines which allow any rail type to be built on it. Once a player builds a railway on a line, no other player can do so.

So how do you build your railway tracks? The tracks are represented by colored cards that you play from hand. Cards are taken from the deck, of which a handful of them are visible for you to choose. During your turn, you can take cards from either the visible ones or randomly from the top of the deck, or you can use the cards to build a rail connection. Building a connection is essentially a color-matching exercise. You will need to match the color and length of a rail line with cards in your hand in order to build on that line. For example, the Atlanta-Miami line is blue and 5 tracks long. This means you will need to discard 5 blue cards from your hand in order to build it. There are also powerful wildcard cards that can be used to represent any color.

Building tracks will earn you victory points in 2 ways. The moment you place a new railway linking 2 cities, you earn points based on the length of the line. Longer lines are rewarded more: you earn 2 points for a 2-track line, 7 points for a 4-track line, and a whopping 15 points for a 6-track line. This system encourages you to collect large sets of cards of the same color in order to build longer and more rewarding tracks.

The second way of earning points is via fulfilling city connections on destination cards. At the start of the game, you get to choose destination cards from a handful that are randomly drawn from the deck. These destination cards represent city connections that you need to fulfil, and can range from short connections like the Denver-Chicago line, or long ones like the Seattle-Houston line. Successfully connecting the cities on a destination card using only your own tracks will award you bonus points at the end of the game. A short line might net you an extra 5 points, while a transcontinental line could give you 15 or more points. At any time during the game, you can use an action to draw more destination cards.

There is a drawback to these destination cards though: if you fail to connect the cities on your card, you lose the card’s bonus points instead of gaining it! Since every player will be trying to fulfil their destination card routes and will be crisscrossing the map with their tracks, it is very easy to have someone else block your connection and prevent you from fulfilling your destination card. The game therefore boils down to a race to connect the more popular central lines, while figuring out what connections your opponents are trying to make, and hopefully block them. Once the game ends (which happens when any player nearly runs out of train car tokens), destination cards (both fulfilled and unfulfilled) are revealed and victory points are tallied.

While the base Ticket to Ride is a great game in its own right, it has been improved by the various versions and expansions. The Europe, Marklin and Nordic Countries versions have extra boards featuring the maps of Europe, Germany and Scandinavia respectively. They also introduce new gameplay mechanics. The Europe game introduces ‘train stations’ that allow you to use other players’ tracks, while the Marklin game introduces the mechanic of transporting passengers across the map to gain victory points. The USA 1910 expansion introduces 3 new ways to play the game and includes a new method of gaining bonus points. There are other expansions, including a Dice expansion that replaces the card-drawing with dice-rolling.

Ticket to Ride is a simple and fun game that is easily taught and can be finished in under an hour. As mentioned previously, it is a great gateway game that introduces new players to the concept of the German-style strategy board game. It is also an exciting and competitive game as players race to connect cities and block their opponents. Ticket To Ride is ideal for you if you are new to strategy board games or prefer games that are fun yet do not require too much strategizing or planning.

Complexity: 2.0/5.0

Playing Time: ~ 45 minutes

Number of Players: 2 to 5 players

You can read more about Ticket to Ride at http://www.ageofboards.com/ticket-to-ride.html

About The Author
Steven maintains the board game review website at http://www.ageofboards.com/ – a website devoted to the best and latest board and card games. You can read game reviews and customer comments via this website.
The author invites you to visit:
http://www.ageofboards.com

イエローサブマリンショップ

イエローサブマリンショップ

すべて国民は個人として尊重される”と憲法第13条に記されています。

東京にあるイエローサブマリンゲームショップについての話と回想

秋葉原にあるイエローサブマリンショップでの人種的偏見について

私はイエローサブマリンが好きで、南新宿にあるそのショップをぶらぶらと見て歩くのを楽しんでいます。
秋葉原にあるこのショップについてひとつ言いたいことがあります。
店員が店中私のあとをついてくるのです。彼は私が何か盗むと思ったのでしょう。
彼は人種差別主義者だと思いました。おそらく日本人以外の人たちに何度か万引きされたことがあるのでしょうが、
日本人にも万引きをする人がいます。日本人のお客さんにも同じように近づくでしょうか。おそらくしないでしょう。
最近もゲームやゲームテーブル(遊ぶためのテーブル)がたくさんある秋葉原のショップへ行ったのですが、
良い感じはしませんでした。店員の態度が悪いときがあるのです。秦野市にあるトイザラスや小田原にあるショップでも
同じような経験をしたことがあります。
確かにときに目立つ存在になっているかもしれません。カナダの非コーカサス人が時々そのように扱われていることに
共鳴させる出来事です。

東京のどこでゲームを買い、遊べばいいのか。
もし水曜日に時間がある人は、秋葉原にあるイエローサブマリンで午後1時から午後8時半まで
行われているボードゲームミーティングに参加しましょう。
英語のミーティングではありませんが、費用はかかりません。無料です。
ゲームをする日本人に興味がある人は参加してみてください。
英語が話せる人も何人かいます。もし私が参加していたらお手伝いできます。
(だいたい午後6時から8時くらいまでいます)
もし私が確実にいるときを知りたいときは、メールしてください。
以前には西部地方の男性と一緒にプレーしたこともあります。日本語が分からなくてもゲームには
ほとんど支障がありません。ゲームをすること自体が言葉なのです。日本で楽しい時間を過ごせますように。

Joe
他のイエローサブマリンショップとの違いは何か。
これらのふたつのイエローサブマリンショップ支店との違いは何か。(場所を除く)

http://www.yellowsubmarine.co.jp/shop/shop-017.htm

http://www.yellowsubmarine.co.jp/shop/shop-029.htm

どちらのショップにもボードゲームや他のタイプのゲームがあります。日本の戦争ゲームや
他のヨーロッパ以外、TCG/CCG以外のものを探すのによいのはどちらか。
もしくはShosenが良いのではないだろうか。

http://www.shosen.co.jp/hp/mart/index_mart.html
Joe Yamasaki

これについて何人かの男性に尋ねました。彼らはふたつのイエローサブマリンショップに大きな違いは
ないと言っていました。ふたつとも同じようなものです。もし日本の戦争ゲームに興味があるのなら、
Shosenよりもイエローサブマリンのほうがラインナップが充実しています。
一方、アメリカのゲームを探しているのならShosenのほうがいいでしょう。私は秋葉原にあるイエローサブマリンを
おすすめします。そのショップでいいゲームが見つからなかったとしても、Shosenが近くにあります。
モノポリーや人生ゲーム、将棋などのゲームを買いたいのなら、秋葉原のヨドバシカメラもいいですよ。

Joe Gideon Marcus Lajos
他のイエローサブマリンショップとの違いは何か。
これらのふたつのイエローサブマリンショップ支店との違いは何か。(場所を除く)

http://www.yellowsubmarine.co.jp/shop/shop-017.htm


http://www.yellowsubmarine.co.jp/shop/shop-029.htm

どちらのショップにもボードゲームや他のタイプのゲームがあります。日本の戦争ゲームや
他のヨーロッパ以外、TCG/CCG以外のものを探すのによいのはどちらか。

http://www.shosen.co.jp/hp/mart/index_mart.html

2003年以来、私は新宿店に行っていません。秋葉原店にはつい4ヶ月前に行きました。
秋葉原店は高い建物のなかにあり、ロールプレイイングゲーム、卓上用ゲーム、ミニチュアゲームなど
テーブルを使って行うゲームがたくさんあります。店員さんもいつも親切です。戦争ゲームが好きな人たちが
何人か参加しているようです。彼らと何度か話したことがあります。
Drake Coldwinter

Quebec
先週新宿店に行きました。地下にはたくさんのカードがあります。同じビルの中にほかの
イエローサブマリンがあり、2階にはボードゲームなど、たくさんのゲームがあります。
秋葉原店ほど大きくありませんが、劣っているわけではありません。
Andy Kitkowski

United States
皆さん、私はテーブルトップロールプレイングゲームが大好きです。 ( http://www.j-rpg.com/talk)
私が持っている日本のRPGゲームは秋葉原店で購入したものです。アメリカや世界中のRPGを
探しているのなら、新宿店がいいでしょう。ですが、秋葉原店の品揃えも良く、
正規のものやインディーものがあります。新宿の東急ハンズでボードゲームを見つけたときは
びっくりしました。(紀伊国屋の隣、駅の外右側)
1階には日本の古いボードゲーム、新しいボードゲームが売っています。普通サイズと旅行用サイズがあります。
花札や将棋、碁など、さまざまな日本のボードゲームがあります。駅から遠くないので、時間をつぶすのにいい場所です。

Andy
新宿店を訪れたばかりです。ヨーロッパのゲームや戦争ゲームの輸入版など、種類が豊富です。
すべてにおいてすばらしいショップですが、私の興味に合ったゲームを見つけることが出来ませんでした。
来週秋葉原店で探すつもりです。それを考えるだけで頭が痛くなりますが・・・。
(東急ハンズはチェックしていませんが、新宿は東京の中心なので行ってみるつもりです)

Futaba RC Shop in Akihabara, Tokyo

Two floors of nothing but RC stuff. The place to go for RC things in Tokyo!

Futaba Sangyo: tel:03-3255-9984, fax:03-3251-9984
http://www.f-sangyo.co.jp/
on Yasukuni-Street;
Miyakawa buildg 1~2F, 2-9, Sudacho Kanda Chiyoda-Ku Tokyo 101-0041.
Closed on every thursday, 10:30~20:00.
R/C devices, airplanes, EP~30 class helicopters, boats, cars.

Futaba`s Car Pro Homepage:
http://www.pro-s-futaba.co.jp/home/

Pictures of Futaba

More RC stores in Tokyo with a Map.