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on October 8, 2007
The Good:
Nicely organized: Chapter and section headings match what they are about. Also, an index. This might seem like an odd point, but... I've seen some things over the 30 odd years that I've been gaming to lead me to believe otherwise.
Pretty pictures: Stills from the show showing the topic at hand, also, the schematics of the Galactica and Colonial One are nice.
System: While not a huge fan of the system, it seems workable.
The tonality: Nicely done, and the way it's written, brings home the points of the series. While no direct comparisons are made, the point is brought home to avoid the technobabble - this is not Star Trek, where the problem of the week will be solved by reversing the polarity of the subspace transfusion warp capacitors, the problem will be solved by people.

The Bad:
Ship Design: Rules forthcoming... want to design your own ship, or fill out the fleet? Wait till that book is published, or, do what I'm going to, and fudge the Serenity ship building rules.
Sometimes the "in game" tonality of the rules is a little intrusive. On some occasions I find that I feel like Saul Tigh is growling the rules at me... take that how you will.
The Quick Start rules feature an introductory scenario, and sample PCs. Perhaps a continuation of the scenario and more sample PCs would have been a good idea.

Edited to add:
Among the other Good features is a lexicon listing common terms from the show and the game, like what exactly DRADIS stands for.
There is also semi-official support at this website: cortexsystemrpg.org, which includes the official errata list.

The Ugly:
I'm not a grammar or a spelling Nazi... but dear lord, for the price, and coming from professionals, I expect more. There's a typo in the introduction by Richard Hatch ( which, by the way, I think is pretty cool that they got him to write one). There's misspellings, the wrong use of words ( I don't think the character is "knew to the fleet"), lack of spaces between words, etc. I had the same experience with the Serenity RPG - the feeling that the book is already late, and there's just not time for one more pass by the proof reader. Well, for the record, take the time.

Overall:
Why the 4 star rating? Because they don't offer a 3.5, the bad and the ugly don't outweigh the good. A statement up front that the RPG only covers the events of the first season (and I'm not sure it even goes that far) would have been good.
Hopefully, later printings will see a cleaned up book, and the supplements will fit out the cracks. A search on Amazon shows a GM screen for the game, but no due date.

I'd recommend this game for people looking to role play in the reimagined BSG universe.
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on April 25, 2008
Let me preface this review by saying I am a fanatic of the new Battlestar Galactica series. I wasn't aware of it at all until I picked up the first season. I was instantly hooked and burned through three seasons in less than a week.

I began searching for more material and found this book. I like pen and paper games and ordered the book from Amazon. I was very impressed with the Cortex Gaming System. It's very straightforward and doesn't take time at all to learn (I was used to D20 and D10 systems.)

It goes into good detail about the Colonies, character creation, skill and combat resolution. Like some of the other reviewers stated, the ship combat resolution area is somewhat sketchy, but you can manage through. The really nice thing are Plot Points which allow characters to change the story in subtle ways to aid themselves by basically buying off the storyteller. The book also has a system of merits and flaws which I find interesting and can really impact game play if characters and the storyteller don't ignore them.

I would have preferred more information about society prior to the fall, but the game is based on the series which plunges you into humanity's fight for survival post-nuclear holocaust.

However, with the material in the book, I am running a pre-nuclear attack game taking place on Canceron (the Colonies' tylium planet.) I believe in the future more books will be coming out that will flesh out military and other faction details and I hope more information will be available about the specific colonies.

Now on to the bad. The book indicates that Liz Wilhelm was responsible for proofreading. I certainly hope she was paid in potato chips, because she did an absolutely atrocious job. I'm not perfect by any means in my writing (as you can tell), but the grammatical and spelling errors are so numerous and some so glaring that it's a wonder if this woman can read at all. A great example is in the back of the book in the reference section where they go over the Colonial Phonetic Alphabet. Alpha is spelled Aplha instead. Horrendous.

My only other complaint is more narrow. In my job I deal with a lot of firearms. The book lists some firearms, such as the Picon Five-seveN (a pay on the real-world FN Five Seven.) The picture presented, however, is clearly a Beretta style 92FS pistol. The LEO M12 submachine gun is picture as an H&K MP-5, the Leo Storm Carbine as some variant of the AR-15, and the Milirem 700 is clearly a picture of a Remington 700 rifle. Again, this is something that most people won't mind, but it greatly irritates me. I've resorted to scrapping some of the weapons entirely and building others from scratch.

Despite all of this, I am impressed with the book and gaming system. I plan on purchasing additional books as they become available.
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on February 15, 2008
The Battlestar Galactica Roleplaying game is simple, yet manages to cover the essentials for gaming in the Galactica universe. Character creation is quick and can give you a nice array of personalities through the use of the asset and complication mechanic. The task resolution is easy and swift, as is combat. Another review complained about the lack of a comprehensive weapons list, but I found it to cover the guns seen in the show -- there are more than enough examples to extrapolate other weaponry.

There are a few limitations to this core book: there is no ability to play humanoid Cylons (although it is easy enough to reverse engineer one using the examples near the back of the book.) The space combat system is slick and designed for cinematic combat, not tactical gaming. There are no spacecraft creation rules -- those are pending in another book. This is understandable for the page/word count of the book. Editing is occasionally sketchy, something more and more common in the publishing industry. I would like to have seen more on the Twelve Colonies, but since the show focuses on the rag-tag fleet and post-invasion Caprica, it is no surprise that they have little to work with.

Overall, the design of the book is solid, with good use of screencaps and decent text layout. The system is complete and where it could use expansion we should be able to expect new material in the scheduled books from Margaret Weiss.
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on June 12, 2011
The Battlestar Galactica RPG book is an excellent resource material for the gamer and fan alike; I'd recommend it for the serious RPGer interested in running a Battlestar campaign as well as a fan of the show just looking for an additional reference material on the show.

- Sample character creation sheets are included, featuring the main characters from the show

- Raptors, Vipers and Cylon Raider vehicle stats are featured, as are some minor deck plans/ship images for some of the other ships that make up the rag tag survivor fleet.

- Weapons with RPG stats are featured, most without pictures

- Layout of the book is done well, with each chapter forewarded by a "character comment".
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on February 12, 2013
not nearly as useful or usable.

I'll begin by stating that I am a huge fan of the classic series and of the remake of Battlestar Galactica and I bought this game for two reasons: to recreate the saga of my own way of the long search for a new home for the derelict humanity and have some first-hand information on the technologies and the vehicles of the series, as the TV series from this point of view is rather stingy, with a view to then use these statistics with a gaming system that I'm more congenial with.

I instead found myself with a most beautiful, expensive and colorful book from which I was not, however, able to draw a damn thing.

This is because the Margaret Weiss has had the wonderful idea to base (yet) its products on the so-called "storytelling" that was the prevailing fashion until a few years ago, where trifles such as size, mass, speed, weapons etc. pass completely overshadowed by the mental masturbation of unlikely, angst-ridden heroes full of themselves.

In fact, the game statistics that apply to the characters are also applied to inanimate objects and technological constructs alike, Let's take for example the workhorse of the series, the Viper space fighter: it is not described in terms of power, performance, or other physical measurements, as one would expect, since it IS ultimately a combat aircraft but in terms of ... aspects, quantified by the dice that you can use in the game, from which we can deduce that it is small, fast, relatively well-armed and fragile compared to the Galactica... and thanks my ass!... I would say, so far I could get there myself without having to buy this useless brick of a book!

The remainder of the volume does water everywhere, including on the background and the various aspects of the series, because it was published with the TV series still going on and and I do not miss that much if I say that the MW prod. did not have at the time the faintest idea of how things actually were or where they would go.

Beautifully useless (and expensive!)
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on January 19, 2009
For those who does not know the Cortex system, I was surprised how well it's works.
It's an average product, with tons of details missing (most of them role play technical info, for example a star map of the colonies, how far jumps a battlestar... little things that you can figure out but would be really nice to be inside the book).
In the other hand, you can feel the Battlestar Galactica in every corner of the book. A veteran Narrator should not have any problem...
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on September 4, 2008
This role-playing game is a nice addition to the Battlestar universe. Using basically the rules system as the Serenity RPG, this game lets players take on the rolls of the survivors of the Cylon attack on the colonies. It provides lots of different options so that your game is not a carbon copy of the tv show. Role-players and Battlestar fans should check this out.
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on October 2, 2007
A few things right off the bat that are missing:

1) No stats for Pegasus.
2) The weapon list is woefully incomplete.
3) No list of the ships in the rag-tag fleet.
4) No Blackbird.

The game system is good. I'm REALLY hoping for some support system for the game, even downloadable updates and source material will be appreciated.

Still and all, its a start, and a fairly good one. If you're looking for some sort of comprehensive guide to the BSG (rebooted) universe, look elsewhere.
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on April 27, 2014
This book is clear and just a fun read and play. Easy game play and informative. I recommend for all levels of gamers
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on March 21, 2008
I must give the authors of this book at least a little credit. The prose is witty, exciting and true to the spirit of the "modern" version of the TV series.
On the other hand, I could not figure out why a game book had to rely on so many swear words and profanity just to seem "real." The subject matter of the book is great and the earthy comments that invade every single paragraph do nothing but pull the quality down. Mayne the authors were trying to write an "adult" book that would make younger folks feel older because of the verbal filth.

The Cortex system (a modified d20 rule set)is one of the book's greatest assets because it was well tested and received in the Serenity game that the authors published previously in MW press series. ignoring the things I mentioned above, this is a game system that is complete in every way. Multiple web sites for fans provide extra materials and helps to get a beginning GM started in the world of BSG. Better yet, the book contains vital future historical information on the Federation, the Cylon wars and the wars between the tribes. The game is very limited by the fact that it is a little hard to create original, non-TV, characters.

As a drama-based game, this product is impeccable. Even the writing seems fluid, fast-paced and full of feeling. I recommend this book to anyone who passes by it on a shelf or rack at the local hobby store or large chain store. I gave this title two stars because the incessant profanity in its pages serve no purpose to the theme of the game. The authors were very lazy in writing this book, and I would not recommend it to anyone under the age of fifteen.
The more you read this book, however, the game engine speaks for itself and is a great value warts and all.
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