December 21, 2011

Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game and Variant: Book and Boardgame Match-Up

The Game (from Fantasy Flight Games): After the Cylon attack on the Colonies, the battered remnants of the human race are on the run, constantly searching for the next signpost on the road to Earth. They face the threat of Cylon attack from without, and treachery and crisis from within. Humanity must work together if they are to have any hope of survival…but how can they, when any of them may, in fact, be a Cylon agent?

Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game is an exciting game of mistrust, intrigue, and the struggle for survival. Based on the epic and widely-acclaimed Sci Fi Channel series, Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game puts players in the role of one of ten of their favorite characters from the show. Each playable character has their own abilities and weaknesses, and must all work together in order for humanity to have any hope of survival. However, one or more players in every game secretly side with the Cylons. Players must attempt to expose the traitor while fuel shortages, food contaminations, and political unrest threatens to tear the fleet apart. --BoardGameGeek Description

The Book (by Robison Wells): Benson Fisher thought that a scholarship to Maxfield Academy would be the ticket out of his dead-end life. 

He was wrong. 

Now he’s trapped in a school that’s surrounded by a razor-wire fence. A school where video cameras monitor his every move. Where there are no adults. Where the kids have split into groups in order to survive.

Where breaking the rules equals death. 

But when Benson stumbles upon the school’s real secret, he realizes that playing by the rules could spell a fate worse than death, and that escape—his only real hope for survival—may be impossible. --Amazon Book Description

Do you enjoy being paranoid?  Putting these two together was too easy -- playing Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game and reading Variant spun the same gears in my head.

I've never seen an episode of Battlestar Galactica, but in five minutes, I was happily shooting people furtive glances and whispering, "I bet you're a Cylon."  For the first half of the game, there's no guarantee anyone is secretly working against the rest of the players.  Then the second half kicks in.  Is there one Cylon?  Two?  And is it the person sitting to my right?

The paranoia in Variant creeps up on you.  Maybe the rest of the students are just trying to survive, too.  Maybe it's okay to trust that person.  There are plenty of sympathetic characters hanging around Maxfield Academy.  As I read the first half of the book, suspicion tickled the back of my skull.  During the second half, I wondered if it was safe to even trust Benson Fisher, the main character.

Both of these have plenty to recommend them.  Battlestar Galactic: The Board Game is difficult and engaging, with nifty mechanics and painful decisions to make.  Variant has slick, seamless prose and a plot that feeds me plot point after plot point.  But I loved both of these for the reason they're similar.  It's all about being paranoid.  Trust no one.  And try not to blow up the space ship while you're at it.

*As a side note, I'm taking a break next Wednesday for the holidays.  Catch you all in January! 

1 comment:

  1. Very cool. Usually I'm more interested in the books you recommend than in the games, but both of these sound like things I might check out.