Combat in Battlestar Galactica

By: Dennis B. B. Taylor


Combat in Battlestar Galactica

When I think about the combat in Battlestar Galactica, I can’t help but feel a sense of exhilaration. The heart-pounding moments when my squad tried to outmaneuver the enemy, the adrenaline rushing through my veins as each shot was fired – it’s an experience like no other.

You see, in Battlestar Galactica, combat is not just a means to an end. It’s a dance, a delicate ballet of strategy and skill. Each decision I make, each move I execute, has the potential to alter the course of the battle. It’s a responsibility I don’t take lightly.

The first thing you need to understand about combat in Battlestar Galactica is the importance of teamwork. In the heat of battle, communication is key. Every member of your squad needs to be on the same page, working together seamlessly to achieve victory.

But combat in Battlestar Galactica is not just about working together – it’s also about individual skill and agility. As a pilot, I am in complete control of my Viper, and I need to be able to maneuver with precision and finesse. Split-second decisions can make all the difference between life and death.

Of course, combat in Battlestar Galactica is not without its risks. The enemy is formidable, and they have their own strategies and tactics. It’s a constant battle of wits, a game of cat and mouse in the vastness of space.

But here’s the thing – I thrive on that challenge. I live for the thrill of the fight, the rush of adrenaline as I dodge enemy fire and score a hit. There’s nothing like it.

So, if you’re looking for a combat experience that is intense, strategic, and exhilarating, then Battlestar Galactica is the game for you. Join me in the fight and see if you have what it takes to be a true pilot.

Whenever there’s a Cylon ship on the game board, we are considered to be in combat. At the end of each turn, the Cylon ships come to life, and it all depends on the Crisis Card we draw.

This section has all the nitty-gritty details about combat – how to activate, attack, and pilot ships.

Cylon Attack Cards

When we draw a Cylon attack Crisis Card, we follow these steps:

  1. Activate Existing Cylon Ships: First, we activate any Cylon ships that are already on the board. The icons on the card tell us which ships to activate. If there are multiple icons, we activate them in order, following the normal rules for activation.

Setting up the Game

When starting the game, I place the new Cylon ships, vipers, and civilian ships on the game board just as shown on the card. The vipers always come from the “Reserves” and I choose civilian ships randomly from the stockpile, placing them facedown on the game board.

Special Rules

Most Cylon attack Crisis Cards have a special rule on them, and this is the time to follow that rule.

A Cylon attack card is discarded once I’ve completed these three steps, unless it says “Keep this card in play.” In that case, the card has an ongoing ability that usually lasts until the fleet jumps.

Activating Cylon Ships

When I’m in the heat of battle, my Cylon ships jump into action right after I resolve any crises that come my way. Each ship has the power to either move or attack, and they always follow the same set of rules, even if there’s a sneaky revealed Cylon player among us.

If there are multiple areas with ships that need to be activated, I get to choose which area goes first. I activate all the ships in that area before moving on to the next one. And here’s the catch – each Cylon ship can only be activated once during my turn. I’ve got to make each activation count!

Time to Activate the Raiders

When I activate, each Cylon raider only does one of the things below, doing the first thing it can do (in order of priority, with “Attack a Viper” having the highest priority and “Attack Galactica” having the lowest).

  1. Attack a Viper: I attack a viper in my area. If I can, I attack an unmanned viper; if not, I attack a piloted viper.
  2. Destroy Civilian Ship: If there are no vipers in my area, I destroy a civilian ship. I choose a civilian ship in my area and flip it over. The resources on its face are lost, and the token is removed from the game.
  3. If there aren’t any civilian ships nearby, the viper will move towards the closest one. If multiple civilian ships are equally far, I will move clockwise around Galactica.
  4. If there aren’t any civilian ships on the game board, I will attack Galactica.

If there aren’t any raiders on the game board when raiders are activated, two raiders will be launched from each basestar. If there aren’t any basestars in play, then nothing will happen.

Hey there! Let me explain what happens when the Crisis Card is resolved and the activate raider icon is on it. It’s pretty interesting stuff!

So, all the Cylon raiders on the game board, you know, those flying ships, they all wake up and get ready to cause some trouble. They’re all in the same area, so they decide to team up and attack.

The first raider spots a viper, which is one of the good guys’ spaceships. It swoops down, attacks the viper, and destroys it. Uh-oh! Trouble for our side.

Now, here’s where things get tricky. The second raider realizes that there are no vipers or civilian ships in its area. So, it decides to make a move and heads towards the nearest civilian ship. Sneaky, right?

Get Ready for an Attack

When the launch raiders icon shows up, each basestar sends out three raiders. If there aren’t any basestars in play, then nothing happens.

Whenever a raider (or heavy raider) is sent out, you grab a ship of that type from the ones not currently on the game board. Then, you put it in the area of the basestar that launched it. If all the raiders are already on the board, you can’t send out any more.

Turning on Cylon Raiders

  1. When I activate Cylon Ship 1, I look at the Crisis Card and see the raiders icon. Since there are multiple raiders on the board, I get to choose an area and activate the raiders in that area, one at a time.
  2. To start, a raider attacks a viper in its area. It rolls a “5” and damages the viper.
  3. The other raider in the same area doesn’t have any vipers to attack. Instead, it decides to destroy a civilian ship. The civilian ship token is turned over, and we lose the resources on its face, which happens to be 2 population.
  4. In the next area that gets activated, there’s only one raider. Since there are no ships in its vicinity, the raider moves towards the nearest civilian ship in a clockwise direction. It’s highly likely that the raider will destroy the civilian ship when it gets activated again.

Now, let’s talk about activating Heavy Raiders and Centurions.

When it comes to heavy raiders, they never attack. Instead, they always head towards the nearest space area that has a viper launch icon. Here’s an interesting twist: if a heavy raider begins its movement in a space with a viper launch icon, the centurions on board Galactica join the party.

When the centurions from a heavy raider come aboard Galactica, the heavy raider is taken off the game board, and a centurion token is put on the start space of the Boarding Party track.

If there are any centurion tokens on the Boarding Party track and heavy raiders are activated (even by a revealed Cylon player), each centurion token moves one space closer to the “Humans Lose” space. If a centurion token reaches the end of the track, the Cylons win the game.

The humans can try to destroy centurions by using the “Armory” location on the game board. If there are no heavy raiders on the game board when heavy raiders are activated, one heavy raider is launched from each basestar. If there are no basestars in play, then nothing happens.

Let’s Activate Cylon Basestars

Hey there! So, when we activate a Cylon basestar, things get intense. Those basestars go full attack mode on Galactica! Now, here’s how it goes down: I roll a die for each basestar on the game board, and that’s when we find out if the attack actually causes any damage to Galactica.

Target Locked: Attacking

Okay, so whenever a ship decides to go on the offensive, we’ve got some dice rolling action coming our way. Here’s how we figure out the outcome: I roll this cool eight-sided die and then refer to the table that matches the attack’s target (and sometimes even the attack method itself). Depending on what number I roll, the target can either end up damaged or, well, completely destroyed.

I should note that I can never attack human ships with vipers or with the “Weapon’s Control” location.

The Impact of Damage, Destruction, and Removal

What happens when a ship gets damaged or destroyed depends on the ship type.

If a Cylon ship gets destroyed, it gets taken off the game board, but it might come back later in the game.

If a viper gets damaged, it goes into the “Damaged Viper” box on the game board. A viper in this box can’t be launched or used until it gets repaired (usually with an engineering card).

If a viper or raptor gets destroyed, it gets removed from the game.

If a civilian ship gets destroyed, it gets turned faceup. The fleet loses the resources (usually population) listed on the token. The token then gets removed from the game.

Whenever I take a ship (or any other component) out of the game, I put it in the game box. I can’t use it again for the rest of the game.

Damage Tokens

When a basestar or Galactica gets damaged, you’ll need to draw a random damage token specific to the ship type. Each token has a different effect.

  • Damage Location: If you draw this token, you have to place it on the matching location on Galactica. As a result, all characters in that location are moved to “Sickbay”. It’s important to remember that characters can still move into a damaged location, but they won’t be able to use the action listed on it until an engineering card repairs it. Once a damaged location is fixed, you can return the damage token to the unused pile and mix them up again for future draws. #image.jpg
  • Lost Resource: This token has a different outcome. When you pick it, the fleet loses the specified resources. Once the token is drawn, it’s removed from the game.


  • Critical Hit: This token is really important and powerful. When I draw it, I put it on the basestar. While it’s there, it’s like having two damage tokens. Usually, it takes three damage tokens to destroy a basestar. So, having this token is a big deal. #image.jpg
  • Disabled Hanger: This token is also very important. When I draw it, I put it on the basestar. While it’s there, the basestar can’t launch raiders or heavy raiders. This can really limit the basestar’s strategy and ability to attack. It’s a big advantage for us. #image.jpg
  • Disabled Weapons: Another important token. When I draw it, I put it on the basestar. While it’s there, the basestar can’t attack Galactica. This can give us a chance to regroup and come up with a plan. It’s a great opportunity for us to strike back. #image.jpg
  • In this game, there is a token called “Structural Damage” that is placed on the basestar when drawn. As long as the token remains on the basestar, all attacks against it receive a +2 bonus to their die rolls.

    If the basestar receives three or more damage tokens, it is destroyed and removed from the game board. Any damage tokens on the destroyed basestar are returned to the pile of unused damage tokens.

    If six or more areas on Galactica have damage tokens at the same time, the Cylon players win the game.

    During combat, when the fleet jumps, all ships are taken off the space areas of the game board. Vipers are returned to the “Reserves”, and civilian ships are shuffled back into the pile of unused civilian ships. Any character piloting a viper is moved to the “Hangar Deck” location.

    When the fleet jumps in Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game, any centurion tokens that were on the Boarding Party track are not removed from play.

    How to Activate Vipers

    Even though Galactica has some weapons, its true military strength comes from its squadrons of single-man fighters called vipers. Vipers are mainly used to protect the fleet, especially civilian ships, from Cylon ships. To activate a viper, you need to go to the “Command” location.

    When you activate a viper, you have a couple of options:

    • Launch a Viper: Take a viper from the “Reserves” and put it in one of the two space areas with the viper launch icon.
    • Move a Viper: Choose a viper that’s already in a space area and move it to a neighboring space area. Just remember, vipers can’t fly over Galactica. They can only move in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction around it, between directly adjacent space areas.

    Attack with a Viper: I choose a viper and a Cylon ship that are in the same space area. Then I roll one eight-sided die to resolve the attack. The rules for attacking are explained in detail below.

    During my turn, I can activate each viper as many times as I want. However, I can’t activate a ship that another player is piloting. Vipers that don’t have piloting tokens under them are called unmanned vipers.

    Now let’s talk about piloting vipers. If a character has piloting in their skill set, they have the ability to personally pilot a viper. A piloted viper works a little differently than an unmanned viper and I can’t activate it using the “Command” location.

    If you want to pilot a viper, you can do so by going to the “Hangar Deck” location and taking the action listed there. After that, you can launch a viper just like I explained before. Put your piloting token underneath it, and remove your character token from the game board and place it on your character sheet.

    Moving Around and Taking Actions While Piloting

    When you’re piloting a viper, you still take your turn like normal. During your Movement step, you can move the viper to a nearby space or move your character back to a location.

    In addition to the usual things you can do during your Action step (like playing a Skill Card), you also have the option to activate your viper for more movement or to attack.

    Viper Destruction

    If I’m driving a Viper and it gets damaged or destroyed, I end up in “Sickbay” and the Viper goes to the right place (either the “Damaged Vipers” area or back in the game box).

    Moving on from a Viper, when the fleet jumps, all of us who were flying Vipers go to the “Hangar Deck” and our Vipers go back to the “Reserves”.

    During my Movement step, I have the option to move to Galactica or Colonial One from a Viper. To do this, I have to give up one Skill Card. Then, I put my Viper back in the “Reserves” and my character token in the location I choose. This can be done from any area of space.

    If I get sent to “Sickbay” or the “Brig” while flying a Viper, I’ll be moved to the right spot and my Viper will go back to the “Reserves”.

    When I’m playing a game and my character goes from piloting a viper to a different location, I have to remove my piloting token from the game board. It’s a simple rule, but an important one to know.

    Braving Raptors

    When it comes to battles, raptors are not used for combat. Instead, they are “risked” in order to earn specific rewards, as instructed by Skill and Destination Cards. To take this gamble, you’ll need to have at least one ship of the required type waiting in the “Reserves”. These cards will often tell you to roll a die and promise a reward if you reach a particular number.

    If your roll is lower than the specified number, any risked ships mentioned on the card will be destroyed and you won’t receive any reward.

    Let me give you an example: Imagine that you’re the current player and you choose to play the “Launch Scout” tactics card. This card allows you to risk a raptor in order to peek at the top card of either the Destination deck or Crisis deck. Exciting, right?

    Hey there! So, if you see a raptor in the “Reserves” area, you can totally do this action. All you have to do is roll a die, and let’s say you roll a “1”. Sadly, that doesn’t meet the goal of getting a 3, so you don’t get the reward and a raptor gets destroyed.

    Controlling a Viper and Launching an Attack

    I start by launching myself in a viper from the “Hangar Deck” location. This means I remove my character token from the board and put my piloting token under the viper. After this, I can take another action specified on the “Hangar Deck” location. I decide to activate my viper and attack a raider in my area. I roll a “3” and luckily that’s enough to destroy the raider. It’s taken off the game board, and now I move on to my Crisis Step. It’s important to note that in this example, I can’t use my character’s “Expert Pilot” ability because I wasn’t piloting a viper at the start of my turn.

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