In the few remaining weeks before the release of Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game, we will be presenting a series of articles that expand on concepts found in the rules. The complete rulebook can be downloaded free of charge on the Support section of this website.
In Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game, every character has skills. Whether they are political, engineering, tactical, everyone has something they are good at. These skills play a huge role in how easily you can get to Kobol and win the game.
Each player is dealt a hand of skill cards at the start of his turn, based on his character. Take Kara "Starbuck" Thrace as an example. Starbuck is dealt 2 Tactics skill cards, 2 Piloting skill cards, and her choice of either 1 Leadership or 1 Engineering card. If another player gets Leadership cards already, Starbuck may choose to take 1 Engineering card, thus giving the crew a good cross-section of skill cards.
Each turn these players will receive another full set of skill cards. This may seem like a lot of cards, but each turn they will be using these skills to overcome crises.
Here is an example of Apollo's character sheet
At the end of each turn a Crisis card is drawn. These represent the vagaries of running a spaceship. Crises range from unidentified ships showing up and weapons malfunctions, to bomb threats and food shortages.
Most Crisis cards will allow all players to participate in a skill check. Each check lists a difficulty, and a list of which skill types which will help and which certain skills will hinder. For example, the "Unidentifed Ship" crisis card has a difficulty of 10, and is helped by the Tactics (purple) and Piloting (red) skills. Conversely, Political, Leadership, and Engineering cards will hinder the efforts to overcome this crisis.
To resolve a skill check, 2 cards are first drawn from the Destiny deck and placed face down on the skill card. The Destiny deck contains two cards from each of the skills, and will provide a smokescreen for the unrevealed Cylon players. Each player has one opportunity to play any number of skill cards (even zero), face down in the pile.
Once all the cards have been placed in the pile, they are shuffled together. The cards are then revealed and totaled. All cards that match the helpful skills are counted as positive and all cards that do not match are counted as negative. If the total sum of the cards equals or beats the difficulty number (10), the crisis is passed. If it is less, the crisis has wrought some form of disaster on the ship.
In this example, Failing the crisis causes the fleet to lose 1 population. Pass, and nothing happens…and in this game, sometimes that's just for the best.
Even if you pass this crisis, you're not out of the woods. The icon at the lower left-hand corner of the card means that, no matter how the crisis plas out, each Basestar in play launches three Raiders. Scramble Vipers!
If a skill check is failed, this may mean that one of the players is a hidden Cylon seeking to ruin the ship. It also may be the Destiny deck messing with you. However, don't be afraid to let accusations fly!
Next time, we will look at how the Cylons are infiltrating the ship and how they can destroy it from the inside.