The first Cylon, created by Graystone Industries on Caprica in 2229, was designed as cannon fodder for the Caprican Military. Within a few years of its invention, Cylons had been embraced by many colonials as robot slaves: Laborers, soldiers, housekeepers, nannies.
One day, out of the blue, the Cylons turned on their masters.
They rampaged through the streets with makeshift weapons. Cylon soldiers began attacking their comrades and then nearby cities. They turned the wireless networks against the humans. Traffic lights went haywire, air traffic control systems went down, shuttles and Vipers were wirelessly hijacked and used as weapons, starships were taken over and their life support vented to space. Communication and satellite systems were interrupted, and the VR grid went down.
It was chaos on a massive scale. Thousands upon thousands of people died before anyone realized that a war had begun.
The Cylons began to concentrate their forces. Whole cities and provinces fell under Cylon control, while others were abandoned and left to the humans.
In the Cylon-occupied areas, life was hell. They exterminated millions, and rounded up even more in concentration camps. Scattered bands of survivors hid from the Cylons, and a few even tried to fight back guerrilla style.
In human-controlled areas, they began to pick up the pieces. They geared up their war industry, retooled their factories, and built better network firewalls.
There was scattered fighting along the borders of Cylon-held territory, but no major offensives either way.
The Cylons launched attacks on multiple fronts. They targeted people indiscriminately - "non-combatant" is a word that apparently is not in the Cylon programming - but generally spared industrial areas and key infrastructure (roads, bridges, power grids).
At first it was a stalemate. But slowly but surely, the tide began to turn in the Cylons' favor. The new Cylon Basestars came onto the scene, able to take on multiple colonial ships single-handedly. Attrition was taking its toll - human soldiers were obviously harder to replace than Cylon Centurions rolling off the assembly line. The Cylons continued to expand their territory.
The colonies that had stayed on the sidelines so far suddenly began to realize it was only a matter of time before the Cylons came for them. An emergency council was formed with the leaders of the twelve colonies. After months of political wrangling, the Articles of Colonization were signed in July.
Meanwhile, engineers at the Scorpia shipyards were working on a new class of warship, one capable of standing toe to toe with a basestar. They dubbed it the Battlestar. After the colonies united, they agreed to jointly fund the construction of a new fleet of Battlestars and contribute troops to a unified Colonial Forces.
In October, only six months after construction began (an impressive feat - and one that has drawn criticism that perhaps corners were cut), the first two Battlestars were christened: Galactica and Athena. Crews were assembled from the new Colonial Forces, and two taskforce groups created.
Galactica would head up Taskforce: Phoenix. Athena would head up Taskforce: Manticore. Together, it was hoped they would turn the tide of the war.
The Cylons now have sizeable holdings on several colonies. See the Twelve Colonies page for up-to-date status.
In late April 2237, the Colonial Forces formed a special operations unit called the Timber Wolves.
For a summary of other important story developments since the game opened, see Story So Far.
A few important differences between the First Cylon War and the second:
It is not a nuclear holocaust. Think the London Blitz not Hiroshima. There are war-torn areas, but elsewhere life goes on.
The Colonial Forces are very new. Up till a few months ago, each colony has been fighting the Cylons independently with its own army/fleet. This is the first time people from different colonies have come together in the same unit.
The tech level before the war was more on par with modern levels with things like smartphones, VR, AI assistants, etc. Much of that tech now is vulnerable to Cylon network intrusion, but it's still out there.
Some things that are known ICly since the uprising began: