This review (really just a first impression) is based on a single four player session, where I played another gentleman's game (thanks Gary!).
First off, I can say that it is a rather beautiful game, I would expect nothing less from a Fantasy Flight production.
The board is big enough to hold the pieces and everything seems pretty clear and straight forward. I really like the dials feature for tracking the resources.The standup counters for your playing pieces are a delight, good thick card standing on a solid well thought out base.The character cards were nice. they could so easily have been simple card-size, but having them so large made them feel significant.
The action cards being so-small seemed a bit of a shame. The iconography and text was clear, no problem there, just a bit of shame they are so small when you have to handle them all of the time.The fighter ships were nice to look at and "fiddle" with.
So all in all the components were nice and suited the game play very well.
But how did it play?
I'll be more than happy to play again, I really enjoyed the game. Yet... There is a real feeling of overwhelming pressure to do something, but the something isn't something I could achieve.
I tried firing the guns a few times, but that was very ineffective. I tried to save cards to put someone in the brig, but couldn't do it in time. It kind of felt like the game was playing me. So much went on between my turns, and my actions seemed so pitiful, that I was never able to effect a stratergy, it was just reactive moves.
I haven't played the game without cylons, but I suspect the game would still kick butt. Add them in and suddenly its a wild chaotic ride!
I can compare the game to two other cooperative games (both without traitors) , Lord of the Rings and Red November. In those two games there are similar constant complications and at times they are overpowering in the same way, yet I don't get the same feeling of hopelessness from them.
In LOTR you often don't have the cards to do what you want, in RN the same thing, but you can co-operate with the other players. You can make a plan. Perhaps that's what is missing, there's no planning stage.
Well if this all sounds negative, don't read too much into it. It was only one game (which I lost) and I'm really looking forward to playing again.