In Battlestar Galactica, there is a card (Political Prowess) whose text reads thusly:

Play before making a skill check triggered by a location. Do not make the skill check; instead, it automatically passes or fails (your choice).

Another player is in the Brig. He wishes to escape, so he attempts to activate the location. Can I use this card to force him to autofail the check and remain in captivity?


I believe anyone can play Political Prowess before a location-based skill check, not just the current player. If not, the card doesn't make a whole lot of sense. Why would anyone activate a location and then use this card to fail the skill check? Even if the player were a Cylon, is there any location in the game which has a negative consequence for failing the check?

  • Offhand, the only skill check locations on the board are for 1) Vote in new president. 2) Brig target player. 3) Execute target player. 4) Escape the brig. In each of these, the consequence for failure is "no effect". So I can't imagine many situations where someone would activate a location with intent of triggering a failure; it'd be better for you to just do something else (barring some meta-goal of forcing the other players to waste cards on a check, but Political Prowess would prevent that as well...) – GWLlosa Feb 21 '11 at 13:45
  • @GWLlosa Right, so the ability to force your own check to fail seems rather pointless. So either the intent was to allow it to work on anyone's skill check, or the author's were just being complete to account for future locations that might have a negative consequence. I'd go with the former. – Todd Feb 21 '11 at 16:47
  • Interesting point. Maybe this does work on any location-based skill check, then. – lilserf Feb 22 '11 at 15:50
  • @GWLosa's logic is flawless. On the other hand, the card is hardly weak if that ability is useless... – Tynam Feb 23 '11 at 0:37

The core question here seems to be: does "make a skill check" refer only to yourself, or just refer to executing a skill check regardless of who triggered it?

My gut feeling is that this phrasing usually means you can only use this on skill checks YOU triggered at a location. The person taking the action is "making the skill check".

For one thing, this card would be extremely powerful (for cases like the one you describe) if it could be used on anybody's skill check any time.

  • The counterpoint to that is that since a skill check involves all players at the table, then each player can be said to be "making that skill check", thereby creating an opening for playing the card.... – GWLlosa Feb 20 '11 at 14:46
  • That's definitely true... I'm like 60% confident in my interpretation but totally see where you're coming from. – lilserf Feb 20 '11 at 20:44
  • I can see both sides. We've played it lilserf's way so far; seeing as it can definitely auto-force success at Brig, Admiral's or Airlock, it's hardly a weak card. – Tynam Feb 23 '11 at 0:35
  • True, the "or failure" could be purely for completeness' sake, with the power coming from the forced success. – lilserf Feb 23 '11 at 5:09

Political Prowess is not an Action card, what means that it can be used at any moment. You can use it in the Brig situation described in your question. Likely, you can use this card to:

  • Brig someone automatically in the Admiral Quarters location.
  • Change the President title in the Administration location.

This can be a powerful card if used at the right moment (for humans or unrevelead cylons). Not least, this card have strentgh 6.

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