Game Length: 2-4 hours
Best enjoyed: With 5 argumentative friends
You’d be forgiven for thinking that a board game tie-in to a popular television show wouldn’t be worth the cardboard it’s printed on, but nothing could be further from the truth for Battlestar Galactica. In this game, the players are humans escaping from the Cylon threat aboard the eponymous Galactica. Food, fuel, morale and population are dwindling, and if any of these drop too low (or Galactica itself is destroyed or conquered), the human players will fail. However, some of the players are actually Cylon agents in disguise, who are out to destroy Galactica – in fact, they may not even know they are Cylon agents yet!
Each player is dealt a secret loyalty card that tells them whether they are a Cylon or not, and halfway through the game each player is dealt an additional loyalty card, which may cause them to change sides. Players will take on roles such as the Admiral and President, and you need to be careful that the player with access to the nuclear weapons or the powerful Quorum cards isn’t on the wrong team.
Cylon players will be torn between trying to obviously sabotage the efforts of the human players or do so more subtly, because an undiscovered Cylon can be much more damaging to the humans’ efforts than a revealed Cylon – and if the human players target another human inadvertently, that can work out even better.
Battlestar Galactica plays best with exactly 5 players, though it does go from 3-6. With 5 players, you can be guaranteed that there will be two Cylons in the mix, which provides the best balance. With 4 or 6 players, there might be an additional Cylon revealed halfway through the game if the humans are doing well enough, which tends to mess with the balance of the game. With 3 players, there just aren’t enough players for the arguing and politicking to shine.
You don’t need to be a fan of the show to enjoy this game, and you don’t need to worry about having the show spoiled for you if you haven’t seen it yet – the outcomes of each crisis are determined through play instead of following a script. This is a fairly complex game with a lot of rules that the players will need to understand to make the most of it, but there are few better games for wildly throwing around accusations, so long as each player doesn’t take it too personally after the game is packed away!