Few would consider Secrets to be one of the best designs made by Eric M. Lang or his codesigner from my side of the pond, Bruno Faidutti. And yet, this lesser game of social deduction has managed to hit my table more than thirty different times. As players change sides, flip cards and betray their countries in order to become hippies, its flaws might be hard to ignore, but the fun of the resulting experience is also undeniable.
The might of science and the steam engine might have changed the world but, lurking below the sea’s surface, countless horrors remain unknown. As the S.S. Atlantica sets its course to Boston, a horde of creatures known as Deep Ones prepare to attack. The horror world of H.P. Lovecraft and the humanoid, fish-like hybrids that inhabit it set the stage for Unfathomable, a game of cooperation, crisis management and treachery.
In the 13 years since its release, Battlestar Galactica: The Board Game has become a cult classic. Its fate, however, was tied to that of the TV show. After the license ran out, it became increasingly expensive and hard to find. Now it returns as Unfathomable, with slightly different mechanics and set in a Lovecraftian world. Which one is better, and why?
Social deduction games, in which traitors try to subvert a group, tend to be very short. A match of The Resistance, Among Us or Werewolf can be completed in less than half an hour. The average game in the genre is a light affair, as easily played as put away in storage.
Battlestar Galactica, however, isn’t. It’s a serious game, taking two to three hours to play. Its length, seriousness and complexity make it stand out and make it one of the best titles in its field.