I present to you: a night of un-cooperative games. First, at 8:00 Friday, Battlestar Galactica, the board game where some of you are secretly traitors...and some of them don't even know it yet. Then, at 12:00, that very night, the Paranoia Mandatory Bonus Fun Card Game, where your goal is to advance in rank by completing missions...and executing your teammates for treason.
I just bought Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game and gave it a test run yesterday. The human goal is simple: Make it to COBOL and find the route to Earth. The Cylon goal is equally simple: prevent this from happening. It's a cooperative board game with a new twist: Some players are secretly working for the Cylons at the game start. And more players find out they're secretly Cylons halfway through the game.
In the test run, President Apollo tricked Admiral Helo into sending Chief Tyrol to the brig, then shot him in the face and successfully overran the ship with Centurions just before Galactica would have jumped to victory. Notes from that run include:
•The mechanic for determining who is a Cylon is really cool but is flawed in that the "You Are A Cylon" cards all have game effects, but the "You Are Not A Cylon" cards don't, which messes with the game's enforced Secrecy rules. I compensated for this by instituting a mandatory "look at your loyalty cards" phase once per round during my turn. This was before I turned out to be a Cylon, but I still think it's a good rule.
•Tyrol is practically a mandatory character. He's the only engineering expert and you really need Baltar, Boomer, and Starbuck to compensate if he's not present. Woe unto you if he turns out to be a Cylon.
•Helo's special is awesome and he makes a kick-ass Admiral.
•The game contains two obvious-but-not-important spoilers for Season 2 and lots of not-obvious-but-important spoilers for Season 1.
•I haven't played a game with more players, so I have yet to use the confusing "You Are A Sympathizer" card.
To accompany BSG in the paranoid quasi-cooperative board game genre, I'll follow it up with a run of the Paranoia Mandatory Bonus Fun Card Game! It's flawless; Friend Computer says so. The players play a team of troubleshooters, who find trouble and shoot it! The object of the game is to be the player at the end who has the highest Clearance Level, but the end only happens when one of you runs out of Clones.
The game is fun if people remember to capriciously, cruelly, randomly, and vindictively laze each other, and not so fun if they actually work together in any way that resembles "on purpose". Remember, it's Mandatory!