July 6th, 2013
Fantasy Flight Games recently announced Daybreak, an upcoming expansion for Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game. With two supplemental game boards and hundreds of cards and tokens, Daybreak invites players to undertake desperate missions, struggle under the constant threat of mutiny, and bargain with Cylon Leaders driven by motives of their own!
In our most recent preview, we took a look at the Mutiny mechanic, and we saw how the alternative Tom Zarek Character Sheet makes the player controlling him a master mutineer. Today, guest writer Trevor Fehrman presents a look at “The Search for Home,” an optional endgame that incorporates a new objective card, a deck of Mission Cards, and two new game boards.
Trevor Fehrman on Daybreak
In this installment of our ongoing series of previews for Daybreak, we’ll look at an exciting new game option: The Search for Home. This option introduces new rules, components, and victory conditions, as well as more opportunities for alliances, betrayal, and intrigue. Perhaps most importantly, it invites humanity to finally reach Earth. Let’s break down what’s involved.
When choosing to play with The Search for Home option, the human players will finally seek their ultimate goal: Earth. Getting to Earth will prove especially arduous as the Earth objective requires ten units of distance (as compared to eight units for the base game’s Kobol). Through the addition of the Demetrius and Rebel Basestar game boards, however, and the powerful new actions they provide, the journey is survivable…in theory. The catch, of course, is that these actions are available to Cylon players as well. The human players will have to manage their dwindling resources even more carefully than before if they ever hope to reach their destination. Meanwhile, the Cylon players will have to muster all their guile to either neutralize these new actions, or take them for themselves.
The Search for Home largely revolves around a single action space on the new Demetrius game board: The Bridge. By activating this space, players forgo revealing a crisis card for a turn and instead reveal a mission card. All mission cards require a skill check when revealed, and passing the check yields huge benefits to the human players. Even so, caution is wise, as failing the check can result in devastating consequences. Human players will want to activate this space only when they’re certain they can pass the checks–even one failure can prove decisive. Unrevealed Cylons will have to weigh the benefits of forcing a premature mission check (thus inflicting the failure penalty on their opponents) against revealing themselves for who they really are.
Our Last, Best Hope
Demetrius was designed as a sewage treatment ship, and as such its action spaces lack the tactical breadth of those on Galactica. Rather, the action spaces on Demetrius reflect the enormous risk of its far-flung mission. Let’s look at the spaces one by one.
We’ve already discussed the Bridge space above, so let’s explore the Tactical Plot space first. This space permits a player to look at the topmost unrevealed mission card and then decide whether he or she wants to leave it where it is or to tuck it away at the bottom. Mission cards, as we’ll see below, have the potential to dramatically tip the scales of the game, so both humans and infiltrating Cylons alike will reap substantial advantages by controlling which missions can be attempted when. The right mission at the right time could save the fleet–or destroy it.
In the diagram above, Lee Adama has activated Demetrius’s Bridge, and has in turn activated the top card of the Mission deck, which is Cylon Civil War. Click the image for a larger view of Demetrius.
The Captain’s Cabin space allows a player to choose a skill type and then distribute one card of that type to each player, including the enemy. This space enables players to acquire crucial skill cards they otherwise wouldn’t be able to, but only by benefiting their opponents in the process.
The Mission Cards are at the core of The Search for Home option. Passing these skill checks will be crucial in keeping the fleet alive while it makes its especially dangerous journey to Earth. By the same token, failing even one of these checks can mean the difference between humanity’s salvation and its extinction.
Passing Attack on the Colony, for example, wipes all the Basestars off the board and then reduces the Cylon supply of Basestars by 1 for the rest of the game–a strong and lasting advantage. Failing this mission, however, instantly places an additional Basestar in front of Galactica, damaging her to boot. Human players might choose to attempt this mission if they’re in the midst of a snowballing Basestar assault, though failure would only add fuel to the fire.
Mission cards offer great rewards and great risks. Click any of the above images to enlarge.
One undeniably significant Mission Card is The Search for Home. It’s a particularly difficult skill check, and failure results in the loss of a unit of fuel, but if the skill check is passed, the fleet gains two distance units, thus essentially negating the extra distance the fleet has to cover to reach Earth. Human players will plan their entire strategy around accomplishing this mission, while Cylon players will use every tool in their arsenal to stop that from happening.
Another significant mission, and potentially more far-reaching than those above, is Cylon Civil War. Passing or failing this check results in the Rebel Basestar game board entering play, but only the winning side earns access to its powerful action spaces. The Rebel Basestar, and whose hands it falls into (as indicated by a flippable Allegiance Marker), is the definition of a game changer. Let’s take a closer look.
Whichever side controls the Rebel Basestar, which comes into play as a result of the Cylon Civil War, controls a potentially game-changing weapon. Click to enlarge.
A Rebel Without a Crew
Following the events of the series, human players have the opportunity to add a Cylon Basestar to their fleet. The Rebel Basestar has three formidable action spaces, but the cost of activating these spaces is steep (each activation costs either a miracle token or a Super Crisis Card) so players must time their usage with great care.
The Hybrid Tank space allows players deep control over the crisis deck. Upon activation, players are permitted to look at the next five Crisis Cards, then rearrange them however they wish. If the human players have control of the Rebel Basestar, activating this space could spare them a potentially calamitous draw. If the Cylon players control it, the human players will be in for the worst disasters the Crisis Deck can offer.
The Datastream space gives players unprecedented access to the skill decks. Upon activation, a player can search an entire skill deck and its corresponding discard pile for any three cards he or she wishes. Those cards are then added to the player’s hand. Activation of the Raider Bay space confers instant dogfighting superiority to the side that controls the Rebel Basestar. Players may put into play either two raiders or four unmanned vipers immediately. The Raider Bay space is for neutralizing threats quickly, or for securing key tactical damage.
The End of an Epic
The Search for Home represents the harrowing adventure of humanity’s greatest trial and, potentially, the culmination of its greatest triumph. With the introduction of the Earth objective card, the Demetrius and Rebel Basestar game boards, and the mission cards, The Search for Home brings the Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game experience through to the epic conclusion of the series. Will mankind find a safe haven at last? The answer is yours to discover.
Thanks, Trevor! Click the link to the right to read an excerpt (pdf, 2.7 MB) from the rules for Daybreak (and look for the full rules in just a few weeks), then bring humanity’s journey to its conclusion when Daybreak arrives on store shelves