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I recently purchased BSG the boardgame and, reading the rules, two questions aroused to my mind regarding the sympathizer mechanic.

  1. With 4 and 6 players, after dealing the starting loyalties cards, we have to add the Sympathizer card to the deck... That means the deck now has +1 card than the number of players, so is it possible that, during the sleeper agent phase, no one becomes the sympathizer, right?

  2. Also, if the sympathizer card goes to a non-revealed cylon player and there is at least one resource in the red zone, this player becomes a sympathizer. Then, if he deals the non-revealed cylon card to another player, we can have 2 cylon (sympathizer + cylon) in a 4 player game, and 3 cylons (2 cylons + sympathizer) in a 6 players game right? Wouldn't it be a bit unbalanced?

Thanks for the answers!

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  1. All of the loyalty cards are dealt out. The starting loyalty deck compositions have (2n - 1) cards in 4 and 6 player, where n is the number of players, so that when the sympathizer card is added, there are exactly enough loyalty cards.

  2. The point of the sympathizer card is to be half a cylon, by being either a handicapped cylon (no super crisis, can't activate the cylon fleet) or a handicapped human (in the brig). As each of these favors one side slightly, the side that is losing at sleeper phase gets the advantage so the game is a bit self-balancing. If the humans are winning (all resources in the blue), the sympathizer is a handicapped cylon; if the cylon's are winning (at least one resource in the red), the sympathizer is a handicapped human. Note that the sympathizer is always something; the sympathizer card always gets revealed and does something to that player.

Note on the sympathizer: Fantasy Flight (the maker of the game) was never quite happy with how the sympathizer worked. The game at its heart works best with 5 players and everything else is an attempt to make it work with other numers. The Pegasus and Daybreak expansions introduced four potential mechanics to replace the sympathizer, Pegasus introducing the "Sympathetic Cylon" and "Cylon Leaders (agenda cards)", and Daybreak introducing the "Mutineer" and "Cylon Leaders (motive cards)". Having tried all of these, the best option for a 4 or 6 player game (in my opinion) is using a Cylon Leader with motive cards from Daybreak.

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