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Babylon 5 ccg Drakh questions

Posted: Thu Feb 01, 2018 12:03 pm
by dr_moffett
I have a couple of questions about the drakh…

First, if I am whatever race…and I sponsor the drakh ambassador…I know drakh can only sponsor drakh, but can I still sponsor characters from my original race? Or can I only bring out drakh characters from that point on?

Also whats the deal with chaos tokens? I see certain cards can use them, but is there a general point to have them except the one or two cards that use chaos tokens?

Re: Babylon 5 ccg Drakh questions

Posted: Thu Feb 01, 2018 2:19 pm
by Horizon Ian
I highly recommend using Sam's site for information on Precedence CCGs, here's the B5 page:

I did play some B5 last year, but it's been a long time since I've had to know the rules. I am not aware of any restriction on playing cards of your race as normal after Drakhifying within the listed Drakh rules on the site.

Chaos tokens don't have any inherent use to my recollection, being something you mainly use with the Drakh Agenda that give you abilities to spend them. I have vague recollections of conversations in playtesting around Chaos tokens, but I can't even recall if that was when playtesting Wheel of Fire or when we were working on later sets.

Btw, if you aren't already aware, Bruce Mason took what we were working on for the next B5 expansion and put together his version of the Anla'Shok set that never got published, here:

Re: Babylon 5 ccg Drakh questions

Posted: Fri Feb 02, 2018 8:01 am
by dr_moffett
Thank you very much! Someone told me you helped design the game. I just wanted to say that B5 is one of the best CCG, in my humble opinion, ever made. I am curious if I could pick your brain...What strategies or game play did you not like or disapprove of? For example, the Drakh faction seem overpowered compared to the other factions. I was wondering what your thoughts are on the game?

Re: Babylon 5 ccg Drakh questions

Posted: Fri Feb 02, 2018 9:58 am
by Horizon Ian
More specifically, I was doing design for the game at the end, after years of playtesting - in other words, I wouldn't call myself one of its designers. There were five original designers, a couple lived in this area, plus other people in Precedence who were involved in its creation. And, when I was doing design, there was a group of us that came out of the playtesters.

Before rambling a bit, I would say that my B5 experience greatly shaped my views when it came to CCGs. For example, I grew to really hate the use of hosers as a way to fix unbalanced environments, which gets into the whole conversation about what is a hoser versus what is a counter versus what is an answer. Certainly, my contributions to Traveller were with what I liked and disliked about B5 in mind (given that I stopped playing regularly around 15 years ago and forgot a lot about playing the game).

Drakh were problematic. At first, they were amazing at preventing people from winning but terrible at winning themselves. Over time, players came up with better strategies for "winning", which often may have involved simply being ahead on power when time was called. The abilities of Drakh cards are kind of ridiculous, but B5 is intended as a four-player game, so there is the ability to gang up on a deck. Drakh versus Drakh wasn't that common outside of playtesting, so that metagame is one I'm not too familiar with. Also, there are other ridiculous things in the game, especially once Crusade was printed and you could get free fleets or do techno-mage things.

If you don't play in a tournament-style environment, and I wouldn't expect anyone to be playing in that anymore, you can run into crazy disparities of what's in play. The answers to that may involve building more ruthless decks or playing more hosers/counters or working on the social contract since B5 is really more like a very complex, customizable board game at this point, like most out of print CCGs.

Introduced at the same time, ISA was another huge problem, as I term the card/creation of it "The Ultimate Hoser" for the ISA's ability to shut down all sorts of things, including using Expelled to stop someone from winning who joined the ISA.

There are a lot of things that bugged me about the card pool for B5, as well as certain rules that didn't work as intended, e.g. war. I'd rather you take a look at my blog,, for more of my views on other games as it seems gauche (for me or someone else representing Traveller, you all feel free to talk about the games you want to talk about) to get into deep criticism of other games here. I will say that B5 was the card game I was most invested in even if I had played other games more.

What I enjoyed most about B5 was when major, and minor, characters were the focus of the game. I thought the post Severed Dreams environment was the best environment even if Nightwatch was over represented. By that point, the game had balanced better power decks versus influence decks. Now, to me, B5 is more about the Shadow War, so, while Shadow/Vorlon stuff was unbalancing from the get go, the game early on was closer to the show's feel. Severed Dreams got back to major characters by having alternate ambassadors and more versions of other characters. I thought that was the way to keep expanding the game, plus get Walker Smith printed (I submitted ideas repeatedly and they didn't go anywhere). Not add more decks (i.e. Crusade piles) and more pseudo-factions. Though, I didn't have an issue with the idea of corporate or ranger decks, so maybe I'm overstating things just because I really disliked the Drakh as a major thing in the game.

As I said, I played last year. That was the first time in years. One of my decks was tremendously silly and accomplished nothing, and the environment was Crusade-heavy, but it was fun and I would happily play the game more. I certainly have plenty of cards for decks to be built out of.

Re: Babylon 5 ccg Drakh questions

Posted: Fri Feb 02, 2018 12:32 pm
by dr_moffett
Wow! Thank you so much for your insight! That is some really cool behind the scenes stuff. I will check out your blog!

Re: Babylon 5 ccg Drakh questions

Posted: Mon Feb 19, 2018 7:38 am
by Frewfrux
I remember Babylon 5! What a great game!!!

We had a weekly group that got together to play. Fun times. :)

Re: Babylon 5 ccg Drakh questions

Posted: Fri Feb 23, 2018 4:55 pm
by SolomanMedici
I too had a lot of fun playing the Babylon 5 ccg back in the day. Was never able to use the later decks though so I never ran into the Drakh problem.

One of my favorite gaming memories is of a come-from-behind human victory while the much more powerful Narn and Centauri players were beating each other up. The look on their faces was worth every penny I put into the game.

Re: Babylon 5 ccg Drakh questions

Posted: Thu Mar 08, 2018 5:18 am
by Horizon Jeff
I only played a few games of B5, but what I recall enjoying was the focus on the main characters from the show.

To me, one of the detriments to Game of Thrones (which I still play at least monthly) is that the identifiable characters aren't always very good, or they're too vulnerable. Which is reflective of the IP, but at the same time I, at least for me, when I'm playing a licensed property, I really want to enjoy the setting materials.