Just a couple of notes from this weekend's gaming experiences. The Pegasus expansion for the BSG board game is a curious beast (much like the ship herself). The actual battlestar in question adds comparatively little (mainly a few alternative ways to blow shit up, including your own ships). The New Caprica board is an interesting idea, but it makes an already potentially long game far longer, particularly with a lot of players. By the time the fleet had made it to New Caprica, everyone was just as exhausted as the Colonials they were playing. On the other hand, one could quite easily tweak the rules slightly and actually play it as its own mini game, by randomly deciding how many civilian ships have made it, and in what shape the Galactica's resources, air wing, and locations start off in.
I'm also not yet convinced about the Cylon Leaders idea. This might be because I had a uniquely poor agenda to follow, but I'm not convinced; I think it's just as likely that said agenda revealed the flaw in the system. Other than to make sure the Cylons won, my only aim was to either end the game in the brig or detention, or be executed at least once. This meant the potential double-dealing and politicking that might otherwise have been involved was replaced by deliberately trying to wreck as much shit as possible so I would be dragged to the nearest airlock and introduced to Mr Vacuum. The fact that I was neither able to do a massive amount of damage to the fleet whilst making no effort to hide was not particularly encouraging, but the main problem was that the human players were in agreement that sending me to either the brig or the void was a waste of time since I'd immediately come back in a different body in any case. If a punishment system is so unappealing that you don't want to consider it for a player desperately trying to wreck your entire game plan, then something has gone wrong somewhere.
On the other hand, Red November is great fun, a lovely little quick game with plenty of character. The mechanic of replacing turns with minutes, and thus always allowing the player furthest "back in time" to have the next move is brilliant, and in any case I think there's a strict limit on how much bad things you can say about a game that forces you to ponder whether or not you're already too pissed to down the bottle of grog you need to make stabbing a Kraken to death a little easier. Of course, my viewpoint is a little coloured. Not only was I slightly drunk when I played it (Ooh! Red November drinking game: every time your gnomes polishes off a bottle of grog, you have to drink a beer), but I had an eye on the England game, which means I could have been playing Monopoly (most hated of all games!) and I probably would have appreciated the distraction.
It's also worth noting that, according to Garathon, the game was originally conceived as "Rescue the Kursk", before presumably being considered too legally tricky/in bad taste. It does make me wonder how much the game changed between iterations, though. As difficult as it might be to sell a game based on the tragic deaths of over one hundred sailors, one imagines it would be exponentially harder once your core game mechanic involves fuelling your repair attempts by stealing the captain's vodka.