How would you do Battlestar Galactica?

We've seen the series and love it. The official story has come to a conclusion. But why stop there?

How would you do a roleplaying game in the BSG setting?

Would you use the characters from the series?
Would you play a story seen from the cylon side?
Would you do a larp, a table top, or something else?

Comments

  • I like stories with endings. I wouldn't want to push past where the series stopped.

    I'd tabletop story-game a zoom-in on something in the middle that deserved more coverage.
    - A transition point for Zarek... showing at least a flash of genuine, principled idealism... and then an impetus to fall back into bloodthirsty power-hunger.
    - Helo facing more distrust among Galactica crew after some of his actions.
    - Tori trying to revel in her newfound identity, and the friction when Tyrol/Tigh/Anders don't see it the same way.
    - Lampkin's journey from outsider to valued commodity to president.
    - The fate of that prophet lady on New Caprica. Did her gift stick around after she'd done her part?
    - Boomer going from human-lover pre-New Caprica to Cavill's pet later.

    I've never roleplayed a character already well-defined in fiction, so I might shy away from Helo or Boomer. I think I could do someone like Zarek, though; he was given little enough development in the show that I'd feel comfortable making him my own.
  • As for system, there's an older thread on that already.
  • I would use a variation of the BSG boardgame!
  • Razor, played using My Life with Master.
  • Tony just blew my mind.

    I'm running a BSG game now, using Solar System. The system seems to work fine, but the game itself is challenging for players used to being part of a cooperative party, so we're still working out the kinks at the player level.

    We set the game in a totally different refugee fleet, based around a battlestar (Actaeon) that was still fitting out before Fleet acceptance trials, and that the Cylons had therefore expected to be able to destroy while it was still in spacedock. Instead, the Commander ordered the crew to use demolition charges to blow the ship free of its moorings, and things got off to a rocking start. Now we have an incipient civil war over the rights of "Cylon clones," who are of course skin jobs who insist they were actually victims of Cylon scientific research.
  • I started working on a homebrew system for play that felt like the new BSG series a little while ago. I've never played Mountain Witch and I suspect that would influence my design, but nonetheless I never got any further than the following notes:

    Tragedy and despair. How to make this fun?

    Pressure needs to be represented, as does paranoia. Trust?

    Sleeper agents: PCs might suddenly discover themselves to be Cylons! How to manage this randomness?

    Characters are often separated, because despair is harder to deal with when alone.

    Hard decisions: resorting to suicide bombings, sympathizers, etc.
  • I'd just play 3:16.


    What? I'd be playing the Cylons....
  • edited May 2009
    I'd ignore everything that happened after the first episode, and run it using Agon.

    Viper pilots vying for Glory while out on patrol, raiding fuel dumps, trading with fringe colonies, finding clues to the whereabouts of Earth, playing Triad, etc. Yeah, pretty much the original series.
  • edited May 2009
    Since BSG is partially a siege tale, how about a siege game like M1244 or Geiger Counter? Tho I'm not sure how I'd map the burn-or-recant decision that has to happen at the end of M1244 onto BSG.

    GC seems especially apt, since it's all about stabbing the other players in the face while the menace lurks and picks off people one by one. And maybe everyone plays a ship instead of a character?
  • I will give the obvious answer: Primetime Adventures.
  • Posted By: jenskotI would use a variation of the BSG boardgame!
    Some more thoughts on this, John?

    I think the issue of humans behaving like machines vs. machines behaving like humans is the key to the setting and I'd very much want the players to address this through play. Are we human because we act like humans or because we were born as humans?

    An alternate fleet or a replay from episode 1 are good choices, Jason Larke and John Powell. You get the freedom of not being bound by the actual events in the series. However, you wouldn't be able to use the characters everyone knows from the series, e.g. introducing Gaius Baltar in the story brings a lot of associations with it that can be used for good play.
  • The boardgame focuses on paranoia, traitors, dwindling resources, time running out, hard decisions, politics, sacrifice, and some rudimentary space battles. You can view the rules (minus the cards which really add many twists and turns) here: http://new.fantasyflightgames.com/ffg_content/Battlestar_Galactica/bsg_rulebook_web.pdf

    This game does not address machines vs. machines behaving like humans or religion. If that's your main focus, it's probably not a great fit but there may be elements that you can draw inspiration from.
  • Posted By: jenskotThe boardgame focuses on paranoia, traitors, dwindling resources, time running out, hard decisions, politics, sacrifice, and some rudimentary space battles. You can view the rules (minus the cards which really add many twists and turns) here:http://new.fantasyflightgames.com/ffg_content/Battlestar_Galactica/bsg_rulebook_web.pdf

    This game does not address machines vs. machines behaving like humans or religion. If that's your main focus, it's probably not a great fit but there may be elements that you can draw inspiration from.
    From what I have heard, the game does a great job of recreating the paranoia and "who can I trust?" part of the game. I mean, at the beginning you draw cards to (secretly) find out if you are a human or a Cylon, but then halfway through the game you all draw cards again, so some of you might be Cylons and never realize til the game is almost over!

    Damn sleepers...

    ME
  • It also means that before that second round of card-drawing, you have an incentive to not push for the humans to win as hard as you can - after all, you might be working against yourself in the next few rounds?
  • The BSG boardgame is a heaps good time. I've played it seven times now (never been a Cylon, though!).

    In a BSG story game I'd want to include some possibility of PCs being Cylons, and that pretty much means that I'd need to ditch the canon storyline. As described above, keep the miniseries and/or first episode and then forge a new path from there. It would be interesting to have a list of activities or events that would cause players to accrue secret "Cylon points", which the GM rolls against at the climax of each session to determine if a given player was a Cylon all this time.

    For example, a critical failure on a given skill check could be simple bad luck... or it could be subconscious sabotage by a Cylon sleeper agent. Any time you roll a critical failure, you get one Cylon point.

    Players would be aware of the kind of things that cause Cylon points to accrue (part of the fun is the paranoia and second-guessing) but they would not be permitted to keep an actual record.

    Just before the climactic scene of each session, the GM checks each player to determine if they're a Cylon sleeper. Each player receives a note (saying either "Cylon!" or "Not A Cylon!"). I'd do all of this towards the end of the session so as to increase the possibilities for cliffhangers and sudden betrayals. Ideally there would be some kind of passions/aspects mechanics involved in the game - something that will strongly motivate Cylon players to promote The Plan, but still allow for the possibility of sympathisers.
  • Posted By: merb101at the beginning you draw cards to (secretly) find out if you are a human or a Cylon, but then halfway through the game you all draw cards again, so some of you might be Cylons and never realize til the game is almost over!
    Yet-another Werewolf/Mafia clone, with a twist. ;)
  • Posted By: simjamesJust before the climactic scene of each session, the GM checks each player to determine if they're a Cylon sleeper.
    And, of course, if the PC dies! *gasp* "And you wake up in the resurrection ship!" After all, that's the only really meaningful (physiological) distinction between a "skin job" and a normal human: the former are immortal. Gotta play the mortality angle up, some.

    And the system ought to have a variety of means of reveal, both to the player of the (now) Cylon and to the rest of the playing group. Consider all the ways they find out about a Cylon in the series:
    * Boomer is caught committing sabotage (IIRC).
    * The music draws together four of the the Final Five.
    * The Fifth just walks onto the scene, to the shock and chagrin of Saul et al.

    That leads me to think of at least two ways to reveal to the player of the Cylon:
    * In a "weird scene" moment.
    * At death.
    * Passing a note.

    ...and all sorts of ways to reveal to the remaining players. BUT... now that I consider it, I don't think trying to keep it secret from the players will work, totally. Play by post or IRS or similar, sure. But I find it a real bitch to keep whispering scenes or taking folks aside to keep a secret. Further, you'd have to do it for EVERYONE playing, else the secret is revealed by exception. Finally, let's be real: most folks with whom we regularly game couldn't hide being a Cylon from us, once they read the card. I can often spot total strangers as Werewolves, when I watch them first check their card in Mafia/Werewolf.

    So why not go ahead and keep it open, then, once revealed, and avoid a ton of handling problems? In fact, you'd still get paranoia--even more, actually!--if the GM is testing for Cylon-ness EVERY time someone fails a roll. Heck, players would even wonder if their character was a Cylon or not, until a Big Reveal! Just takes some play balancing, to make sure not EVERY player becomes a Cylon (maybe do a Final Five thing--only 1/3 or so of the players can ever convert, then the GM's just faking the roll).

    OK, just brainstorming, now. It's an interesting conceit, though: basically a form of Mafia with a way to be "corrupted" while going about otherwise normal (for BSG) day-to-day shit.
  • I'm sure you could do a BSG "mini-series" ala Razor with The Mountain Witch... Though pondering the possibility, I think it would be cool to give everyone a Dark Fate as normal, and then have them draw a second card from a different deck that specifies whether the character is human or cylon... But maybe give the second deck 9 cards: 6 human and 3 cylon. That way, you'll have a variable number of cylons, from none at all, to half the play group...
  • edited June 2009
    My wife and I decided that the thing we liked the most about the show was Helo the extensive cast, who sort of came and went out of the spotlight in a PTA way, but who were at the same time far to VAST to be handled in typical PTA way with one star-per-player.

    Accordingly, we thought a long-form IAWA game (different oracles, with a couple landmine cards that revealed cylons from preexisting characters) would be ideal -- once the core cast had been established in the first three sessions or so, we'd have our main cast with the potential for introducing new supporting cast and rotating them up in importance -- the 'spotlight' character would be whoever was at the top of the We Owe at the end of last session.

    Since the game would be long-term, you'd also hack in something from Dictionary of Mu, so that players can/should/must add new entries to the oracle.
Sign In or Register to comment.