Space-Biff on Unfathomable

Well, Unfathomable and how it differs from Battlestar Galactica, with a side expedition into Homeland (another of my favourite games nobody’s heard of). Ooh, I bet I could PBF that…


Aren’t all the traitors in these games just called werewolves regardless of theme?


“Spies”, for me, but I got into social deduction Resistance-first.


Except when you play and there are no werewolves.


In one group, definitely Cylons - there was a great spark of recognition there for me. It’s been a very long time since I played BG though - takes too long!

In another group, it’s about everyone claiming to be the Deputy (Bang the dice game)

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I played Unfathomable at the very end of last year, and it is a great game. If you PBF that I am all in.

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I bought unfathomable with the aim of wheeling it out due to loosened restrictions but my group seems still hyper worried about Covid so it’s goint to remain in the box. The monsters are nice and spiky.

I can completely get on board with what Spacebiff says here and also sort of am glad that if I want to play the Battlestar game I (and others) to scrabble for a copy of battlestar.

I think we are a little far from the FFG heyday of experimentation and interesting use of the big box. It was not that long ago but also feels impossible today.


When you play, all traitors are called Captbnut! :rofl:


I do this in real life too. He’s called Steve.


Gosh, just read that through my lunch break, phew. Somewhat verbose, isn’t he? I have the feeling I could have read that review elsewhere in a third of the words.

Interesting take on the genre, and I consider myself no-one to criticize as I have not played the Homeland game or Battlestar. But I have a couple of dibs. When I played I was the cultist, and it was pretty clear why you try to ruin the cruise on the very last stretch of the trip, because you need to survive. If the ship goes down before, you die. And in the game, you don’t portrait a suicidal terrorist. You want to come out alive.

And second, the game lasted just over two and a half hours with 4 players, including a teach. If that is unnecessary long, I wonder how much more thematic was Battlestar to make it welcome for longer, given that the combat is clunky, according to him? Yes, the purpose of the hybrids is very plain and simple, and the cultist a bit more obscure, but considering it simplifies a game that is looking like is going to be out of print for a while, and that its theme will dwindle with the years while the series gets older and older… I am more than happy to enjoy Unfathomable for now. Because I don’t think I want to expend the money that Battlestar will cost if it is going to last longer and become more difficult to table than this.

So there’s my 50 cents.


We call them “Gordon”, on the grounds that if there is a traitor in the game, and he is playing, it will be Gordon (regardless of what the game mechanics/rules say).

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Oh gosh, yes. There’s a lot of interesting stuff in there but it took far too long labouring each point. It’s like Peter Jackson was egging him on.

I enjoyed the thoughtfulness of the piece and the description of what actually makes a game thematic rather than being dressed in particular got me thinking. Slightly reaffirmed me in some of my thoughts on games that are not considered thematic that I believe are.

It also reminded me of a comment on an old SUSD podcast that I vehemently disagreed with. I think Matt said something along the lines of BSG just needs a second edition that is more streamlined, less clunky and so plays faster. I felt that this missed some of what actually made the game so special. Namely that the procedural elements that took ages added to the feel and thematics of the game. By being long and with lots of small tasks to do it bot simulated the drudgery and getting by of life aboard Galactica as well as distracting players from just guessing who was lying and just working out who can act best of those at the table. This is why it’s the only social deduction game I’ve ever enjoyed. It doesn’t become a popularity contest and it has enough for me to glom on to so I can be distracted enough that my inability to act it up doesn’t always leave me out of the meat of the game. As to wether or not I’d enjoy Unfathomable, I don’t know. It also seems irrelevant as I have a friend with a copy of BSG so I may never play it.


After watching the show, we gave the game to a friend for his birthday. We played a few times. But at the time, I seem to remember that it felt long and complicated. I was a bit surprised when I found out much later (after it was OOP obviously) that it has so many fans. We played Shadows over Camelot before that one and we had a friend who reveled in being the/a traitor… and he kept catching us unawares. Our friend still has BGtG so I could theoretically play it anytime I got enough people willing to play and I’ve been meaning to maybe rewatch the show.

In any case, I enjoyed reading this piece. Spacebiff always takes the reviews to interesting–if a bit verbose, but being verbose myself I can’t really comment on that–places.

I didn’t need to read a single review to come to my own conclusion whether I would buy Unfathomable. If I never see another insanity token or Cthulu reference in a game, it’s too soon. The last tentacle-themed game I tried was the LCG and I noped out hard of that. I think another friend has that one. I sold on my copy of Arkham Horror, gave away Mansions of Madness (1st ed) for free and I wish so much they had chosen a different theme. I go to goth festivals in the middle of summer but this theme has become too dark and dreary to even get close to–for me.

I love the cover, though. It’s pretty.


Interesting to see the discussion on length of BSG. I mentioned it above as one of the reasons we don’t play it. That’s purely group dynamics, not a criticism of the game - it takes longer than our regular allotted time. So we didn’t play it often enough (once a year, like if we are lucky TI4 - which one of my mates has declared a dislike for so even less likely) to actually remember the rules which added even more time.

That said, itching for a game right now …

I would love to play a game that felt genuinely Lovecraftian. (The paralysing fear of women, foreigners, and seafood aside.)

Having a meter for mental health that sits alongside your meter for physical health is not the way to do that. But it’s what Call of Cthulhu does and it’s what almost everyone copies.

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On the RPG side I used to love playing Unknown Armies. I think it handled the whole insanity thing in a much more interesting way, with 5 different (I think… It’s been a while) meters or so to gauge how far and where you’ve gone off to. It gave people a much better idea on how to play with that. I am noting: it’s not the insanity that drives me nuts per se but the whole setting of which the insanity feels representative.

I am really miffed I missed that collectible 3rd edition of Unknown Armies. (I know it’s in print, but I want the version Quinns has)

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Maybe the best Cthulhu game is when someone flips the board in a game of monopoly.

It has: people doing drudgery and nightmare then an extra universe force shows up uncaring and destroys everything.


To be honest, it has been the Lovecraftian game/RPG that I have played where insanity is less (or barely) touched. It is one of the four counters on the boat that if it goes to zero, you lose the game (as a human, that is), but it does not freeze you at all. Feels more like if there would be a mass hysteria/panic, and how it builds up to it. But it is no different than running out of coal, food or passengers, from what I can remember (besides what triggers it to go lower, of course). So if you can go past that, I think it could be enjoyable enough. But I understand if you are fed up with Cthulhu and all that world. It has been well squeezed in board games.