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Firefly: The Game» Forums » Variants

Subject: Captain contracts. (Commodore mode) rss

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Aaron Wright
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So in keeping in mind the "sandbox campaign" I'm devising (using expansions eventually, official and unofficial) I'm coming up with ideas to have a player using multiple ships, either being captianed by a Leader who is "contracted" or a Crew (who is bought normally).

Now without counting all the leader cards in the actual game I don't have actual numbers so I'm going on a whim...

Have all available Leaders dealt face down and distributed by each Supply planet. On a Deal action you can flip a Leader card...that leader is who's available to fly your extra ship. Now either Thiers a flat fee to contract him or pay as a Crew when Jobs are complete, undecided. But maybe a negotiation check to see how many jobs that leader will complete before his/her "contract" is up (max 3 of course).

Now Leaders don't die or bail when disgruntled, so they'd be valuable in operating a ship, so I'm trying to flesh out when a Leader or crew gets disgruntled.

If your crew Captain dies...well no one's flying it so it then is a derelict. Up for grabs. Gear, upgrades, ripe for the picking. A Leader captain, on the other hand....if he gets disgruntled, fire what crew is there, heads towards the closest supply planet and dumps the ship returning all gear, cargo, etc. Or...maybe they go "rogue" and a AI mechanic takes over...with movement and such resolved by the opposing player. A Leader who is Moral/Immoral will definitely should have some kind of impact on Negotiation/ Contract tests and whether or not he'll take your stuff
 
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Jay Johnson
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FYI, there are 13 Leaders in the official game

7 in the base game (Burgess, Corbin, Malcolm, Marco, Monty, Nandi, Womack)
2 in Pirates & Bounty Hunters (Jubal Early, Sash)
2 in Blue Sun (Atherton, Murphy)
1 in Kalidasa (Wright)
1 in Jetwash (leader version of Zoe)

There is also the "Big Damn Hero" version of Mal in the promo pack, but that is supposed to replace the original version if used.
 
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Dale Braun
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Personally, I'm waiting for the Commodore-64 mode...
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Aaron Wright
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OK....so each Supply planet will start with at least 2 Leaders per..(with all expansions) having custom Leaders could even out the number more...thinking it'll always be a blind draw on a Deal action....hire or not, then Leaders get re-shuffled and dealt to each planet. (They tend to move around....looking for work)

Just got P&BH today....but I'll ask anyway....do some Leaders have a Wanted status? Just thinking..if I do a Deal and flip a Wanted Leader... there's a choice obviously...Work and bring them in or hire on...if that isn't the case...moving along...
 
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Aaron Wright
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dalembraun wrote:
Personally, I'm waiting for the Commodore-64 mode...


Say.... wasn't there a sci-fi exploration game for That??? (Time to Google)
 
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Jay Johnson
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ArionElquest wrote:
do some Leaders have a Wanted status?

in the official product, no. Even Zoe (who is "wanted" when a regular crew member) is free from that particular Alliance harrassment as a Leader (they didn't want the possibility of ending up with a Leaderless ship, similar to why "Leaders can't be killed").

Some of the fan-created content/variants may have come up with new gameplay rules for "wanted" captains, though.
 
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Aaron Wright
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JayJ79 wrote:
ArionElquest wrote:
do some Leaders have a Wanted status?

in the official product, no. Even Zoe (who is "wanted" when a regular crew member) is free from that particular Alliance harrassment as a Leader (they didn't want the possibility of ending up with a Leaderless ship, similar to why "Leaders can't be killed").

Some of the fan-created content/variants may have come up with new gameplay rules for "wanted" captains, though.


Oh I've been looking at variants religiously to see what I can plug in... have to find one....

Maybe on a roll of "1" on a Negotiation check to see if the Leader will work or is hireable it's an automatic Warrant.

Me:. "I did a background check and well...Alliance is lookin' fer ya."

Mal:. "Warrants. Schwarrants!"

Me:. " I agree...fine....got a job needin' done by Badger...do that...I'll clear it up for ya..."

OR

Me:. "Sorry Mal....can't have the Alliance knowin' my business or that we're talkin'. 'Fraid I'm gonna turn you in.". SHOWDOWN

Meh...
 
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George Krubski
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I've been reading this thread with interest, but it's largely been on my phone, making it hard to respond. Thought I'd check in now, but my thoughts may get a little lengthy.

There's a lot of different ways to look at this. First, there's theme. As Firedrake notes elsewhere, there "commodore" model isn't reflective of FIREFLY. In fact, given that FIREFLY is about independence and getting by on one's own in the black, it's arguably downright antithetical.

Having said that, Mal and his crew certainly aren't everyone, and it's very reasonable to assume that there are organizations, coalitions, and alliances out there, as well as folks who've just plain been profitable enough to scrape together two ships.

I know FD put forth the idea of working as a contact (which I think is cool), but I can also see the idea of a "commodore" (although the Firefly purist in me what's to more the term to something less military).

What, if anything, does a commodore bring to the table? In FIREFLY, each leader is unique, and many ships are as well, so when you pair up a ship with a leader, you get a very specific combination. Add crew to flavor.

This is important because, in the current version of FIREFLY, you're playing not as the leader, not as the ship, but as the leader AND the ship. You're not just Mal. You're MAL ON SERENITY. It's the story of THAT guy on THAT ship.

Adding a "commodore" changes that, reducing leaders to "supporting cast" (alongside crew), and potentially making the ships expendable as well. There's certainly nothing wrong with that, but, to me, it brings up all sort of questions about what being a "commodore" means.

Is there any impact on the table? Does the commodore have inherent skills or advantages or disadvantages? Can a commodore be Moral? Wanted? If so, what impact - if any - does that have on the game? If a commodore CAN be Moral, how does he feel about Jubal Early or Atherton Wing working for him? If a commodore is Wanted, does this translate down to his crews?

And that's not even getting into the inter-dynamics of ships, sister ships, and commodores. If I have two ships in my fleet, and one receives a Warrant, does that mean anything for me (as commodore)? How about my second ship? If both my shps are docked at the same port, can they share actions in any way? Can they all throw a giant Shore Leave party, for example?

What about space? Can they help one another in case of bad Nav cards? Fly together in caravan? Then there are Work Actions. Can my leaders loan one another Crew? If so, what limits apply? Can I have TWO crew work the same job together, as long as I'm willing to pay everybody (or throw a giant Shore Leave party)?

With respect to game mechanics, here's what I would recommend for hiring leaders:

* Each commodore begins play with one leader.
* All remaining leaders are put into a single deck.
* At any Supply planet, you may take a Deal Action to try to hire a leader. Flip over the top card. You may chose to hire that leader for $500. If you don't hire them, put them back on the leader deck and reshuffle)
* Alternately, it might be a little easier to treat the leader deck just like a regular deck, with discards, flip three, etc. On the other hand, that might be TOO easy.
* Leaders have a cost of $500 not only for hiring purposes, but for their cut of each job.
* If a leader becomes double-disgruntled, he still fires the crew, as in the rules. However, he only removes ONE disgruntled token when doing this.
* If a leader is double-disgruntled with no crew to fire, he quits, immediately leaving the ship where it is, and returning to the leader deck.

Also, if leaders are a more fluid commodity, you should be able to Kill them. Maybe they can be killed as easily as regular crew, or maybe they get SOME luck, and are only Killed if they are already Disgruntled.

With respect to the idea of a ship being crewed without a non-leader, consider this:

1) A ship on it's own is a derelict and cannot take actions. If the ship is "parked" at a Supply Planet, the commodore can pay a certain amount at the beginning of every turn ($100? $200) on security to keep it safe and in his fleet. If it's not on a Supply Planet, good luck! It's now a salvage opportunity.

2) With Crew onboard, the ship gains +1 Action per turn. This is enough to limp by, right? We certainly see the crew take action without Mal more than once (generally in an effort to rescue Mal, but, hey, who's keeping track?), so that should be reflected in the game. However, a worthy leader can get more out of his or her crew so...

3) With a Leader onboard, the ship gains +1 Action per turn, to a maximum of 2. A leader with a crew complement, even a small one, can do wondrous things. A leader without a crew? Just an overpaid errand boy.

So, with a leader AND Crew, you get 2 Actions per turn, just like normal. But if things go poorly, you can still limp along long enough to rebuild your resources.

*****

I know I have more, but I'm drawing a blank right now, and I've likely said enough!
 
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Jay Johnson
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gwek wrote:
3) With a Leader onboard, the ship gains +1 Action per turn, to a maximum of 2. A leader with a crew complement, even a small one, can do wondrous things. A leader without a crew? Just an overpaid errand boy.


I think an exception should be made for the Interceptor, as that ship seems to have been designed to be effectively run by a solo captain.
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Gerald Bocook
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I would think that, in this kind of game, you're still you as the Leader, so choosing another Leader to lead up your second ship would diminish the point of you, as the player, being a Leader. However, something that Firedrake and gwek pointed out is absolutely true; this whole gameplay model is against the whole idea of Firefly... and I think that's why it's secretly brilliant.

Think of it like this; you own a restaurant. A popular restaurant. And people love your restaurant. So you expand to a second restaurant. It's the same name, same ascetic, same menu... but a different crew. You obviously can't be in two places at once, so you have someone you trust head up the other location. And you're a little less involved in that other location, eventually letting it be more autonomous, because you have to. It gets to where the staff are really nothing you worry about; you're worried more about your location, and the relationships you have with your crew. You can't have that same relationship with the other location; you just don't have the time to divide your attention between both, so the other crew becomes just a bit more expendable than your crew.

So you take that step back, and you see your crew, and you see this other, second, contracted crew... and you don't care so much about them. Sure, they're probably fine people, but you don't really have to know them. Don't care if they fight each other, so long as they fight for you.

That's just thinking thematically.

In-game, I don't think what one ship does would reflect poorly on what another ship in the same organization does, with the exception of Contacts. If one crew gets a Warrant, the other crew isn't going to be bound by law. If the Leader - the commodore's - crew gets Solid, I would think both crews should be Solid... but that the second crew could also screw up that Rep, which might upset you as the commodore.

It's kinda blurry and fuzzy, but I think this could be as simple as "buy a second ship, assemble a second crew." You still get two actions per turn, and can duplicate an action if the second ship is taking the same, as the ships operate independently (perhaps a special caravan rule where, if both ships are Flying together, it only eats up one action but still uses Fuel from each?) Warrants are localized to the ship itself; Rep is across your organization. Second ship manned by all Crew; no second Leader. If the crew all dies, it's a Salvage Op. Tow the ship to a Supply Planet and hire a new crew, get 'er flyin'.

The possibilities are intriguing here. It's costly as heck to start up a second ship, but could pay impressive dividends.
 
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Jay Johnson
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alternatively, you could have each player have two different ships with two different leaders, without adding any sort of "commodore" rules.
(Bob has Mal on the Serenity and Monty on the Bonanza, Tom has Jubal on the Interceptor and Sash on the Walden. for example).

Play it just like a 4 player game, except each "player" has two ships.
Obviously, both of a player's ships would probably be more cooperative with each other than competitive (unless you wanted to roleplay that they weren't). Credits could be transfered between the two via the Meridian Credit Exchange (mentioned in the Blue Sun rules, but basically just says that money can be exchanged between "players" without having to be in the same location). Crew, Passengers/Fugis, and Goods can be transfered between ships if they meet up at a location.

If you really wanted to, you could come up with house rules for the possibility of one ship dropping off crew, passengers/fugis, and/or goods at a planet and the other ship picking them up on a later turn (Similar to the scene with Mal and Monty at the beginning of "Trash").
Of course, there should be the possibility of another player's ship being able to raid/steal the caches at such dead-drops (perhaps requiring some sort of skill check to see if they can find the hidden location of the goods, etc.). Or perhaps some sort of dice roll to see if the locals at that planet mess with it. (most likely leaving a crew member, as long as they aren't disgruntled, would decrease the chances of items being lost. And/or a "storage fee" could be paid to represent hiring a local to look after the stuff until pickup.

And there could be Story Cards created (or modified) to factor in this "team" play, where perhaps the player's two ships could work together on the Story Goals, or with the winning conditions taking into account both of a player's ships.

Just an idea of incorporating some of the notion of the "commadore" but mostly within the existing framework.
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Aaron Wright
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Good debate and thank you for all the insight!

Gwek: your bullet point were EXACTLY what Iwas thinking of implementing. Cost, crew etc. Disgruntled Leaders have the possibility of going rogue.

Of course, I'd add custom/variant Leaders for more choice.

Let me get some coffee and I'll write more....
 
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Aaron Wright
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"Commodore" which is a rank just above a navy Captain...is a loose term for this idea. Reminds me of in " Pirates of the Caribbean" where Jack Sparrow refers to Barbossa as such when they have two ships to go off and do some piratey type thing. An uneasy Alliance but for a common goal. That's kind of the mindset I'm going for.

So if through a campaign style session, or maybe a story, whichever....you have cash to acquire another ship, as some Story Goals go....well my line of thinking why not.

Basic level....2 (or more) ships you control....single bank account.

Keeping with the subtlety of risk vs. reward, getting another leader to pilot another ship should be a little challenging....

Try not to peek as you place any extra ship boards next to a Supply Planet...those ships are what's available for that play session. Buying a ship...obviously a Buy action.

A blind draw out of the leader deck on a Deal action just to see who's available...maybe even having the cards spread out to each supply planet so you have to fly there specifically.

Negotiate with the prospective Leader just to see if he will work for you. Success....a bonus (or less) on top of his hiring fee and how many jobs they'll do (max 3) before you renegotiate (if all goes well)

Don't want that leader? Failed to negotiate? Discard into a separate pile...once all Leaders have been dealt with (revealed), re-shuffle Leaders and distribute among supply planets (separately of course)

Blind draw from contact decks for the contract (max 3)...that's the jobs they'll do...if completed, good for you, if not, well.... somebody's getting disgruntled...not worried how long it'll take unless someone thinks a timer to complete a contract would make it challenging

Your ship under contract has a greater risk of being stolen, impounded by the Alliance, or captured and chop shopped by the Reavers.

We'll assume you'll be in constant contact with the other ship, a Leader will be "authorized" to acquire crew and gear to complete his contract and clause stating "you assume all responsibility for your actions"

I plan on eventually having a custom Leader as my go-to guy, so if I were to use an official Leader, it shouldn't be to hard remembering who your "primary" or "Commodore" is.

 
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Aaron Wright
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Putting more thought into this

Adopting a couple of gwek's variants "Career Opportunities" and and off-shoot of "First Mates". Those while tying in where ship loss is a real possibility. Upping the challenge and risk factor of operating a second Boat.

Some prerequisites to have a second ship under your control...

1. Have the credits (obviously)

2. A First Mate or Pilot to effectively assume command/control of the vessel.

3. Have at least one Solid contact. The second ship should only be able to do jobs you're solid with. If your Solid with more than one, a Negotiate check with the difference being how many jobs the subordinate Leader will accept. Thinking still a blind draw per each Contact will add to the challenge.

A "trickle down/trickle up effect" as far as Rep/disgruntled tokens, showing the relationship between all Leaders, like outlined in "First Mates". This is where maybe a disgruntled Leader may/not steal your ship. Example, a disgruntled Leader ( with stolen ship) heads toward a nearby Supply Planet or A.I. NPS rules come into play.

Also gaining a ship during play during a successful Piracy/Boarding/Bounty Hunter encounter. A die roll of a "1" or similar existing mechanic you take the ship. Essentially all Crew should be eliminated, Leader is Disgruntled (or killed), etc. Either use a Lifeless Derelict Option, "Break Down" or scrap a ship for X amount of Parts, or take said ship, spend X amount of Parts to make it space-worthy again...I mentioned something like this in another thread.


Thinking out loud....
 
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